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Alan M. Webber

Alan M. Webber

Alan Webber, a founding editor of Fast Company magazine, is an award-winning editor, author, and columnist. His most recent book is Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself.

The Spin Meister at work

Q: Republican leaders have built their energy policies around increased oil and gas extraction, dismissing environmental dangers. How should they respond to the Gulf oil spill if they want to preserve offshore drilling as a politically viable option?

"I'm sitting with Spin Meister, Republican Message Manager in Republican Message Center to talk about the seemingly endless flood of oil into the waters off the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

Spin, what's the Republican take on this environmental disaster?

Spin: Spills happen, baby!

Yes, but this is a really big spill, Spin.

Spin: Yes, but America is a really big nation. With a really big oil Jones--I mean, really big oil appetite. What do you think our economy runs on? A bunch of bird-killers?

I'm sorry. Bird-killers?

Spin: You know! Wind mills, baby! Now I know there's no such thing as a wind spill, or a sun spill, but still. We need this oil. We can't back down from the economic and energy challenge posed by the likes of China. We need our own oil. And if, along the way, a few feathers get ruffled, or slicked, or whatever, well, Americans have never been afraid to pay the price of progress and independence. Especially if that prices comes in the form of environmental costs, which, to be frank, nobody calculates anyway!

So you're saying the spill is just the price of progress?

Spin: Exactly! I mean, I'm as sorry as the next guy to see all that beautiful black gold going to waste. When what we ought to be doing is burning it in our cars and trucks, which is why God put it there in the first place. But believe you me, Mother Nature will take care of the problem. That old slick will be a memory in no time at all, and then it'll be business as usual. Remember: if you don't pump it yourself, you pay to import it. So which would you rather do? Pollute your own waters, or pay nations that have been known to harbor anti-American terrorists to send us their oil? I'd say that's a no-brainer.

But are those the only two choices?

Spin: I already mention wind and sun. They're cute, but they can't keep the American economy running. Now don't tell me you're a socialist? Don't tell me you oppose growth and prosperity and economic expansion? Here we are, finally getting the economy going again, despite the best efforts of Obama and his cabal of commies, and you want to put the kibosh on that by penalizing Big Oil?

But should the costs of the environmental damage be assessed to the company or companies that cause it?

Spin: That's just wrong, son! We need those companies to be strong and competitive. So they can find more oil, drill more wells, and, if it comes to it, risk more oil slicks! Because we just gotta have that oil. So I'd say, no! Don't take it out on Big Oil--not when it's giving us what we all need. Hell, son! If you were a junkie would you shoot your dealer?

So who should pay?

Spin: I'm afraid that under the capitalistic system we all love and cherish and that is the birthright of every American, it's up to all of us to suck it up--in this case I don't mean suck up the oil spill, you understand--and pony up to pay for flushing that big toilet that is the Gulf of Mexico. If you wanna play, son, you gotta pay!

One last question, Spin. Do you think this oil spill will have any impact on America's energy policy for the future?

Spin: Hell, yes! Now that we wasted all that good oil, we're gonna have to spend even more money to find more offshore oil to drill! Which means we'll have to have more lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to make sure we can overcome the lily-livered enviros who think we can live on an oxygen-and-sunlight economy! Which means I get to do a whole lot more of these interviews! In fact, I'm gonna have to ask for a raise! See, I told you the oil business is good for the American economy!"

By Alan M. Webber

 |  May 6, 2010; 1:16 PM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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