From USA Today comes this great exchange about the Pickens Plan between Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist, and Bob Beckel, a Democratic strategist. Here’s a taste:

Bob: One of your conservative heroes, T. Boone Pickens, has stepped forward to take the lead on energy independence where Washington has failed, even appearing on Capitol Hill earlier this week. And this man, who has made his money in oil, said something you rarely  —  outside of this column, anyway  —  hear people say: “This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats.”

Cal: Pickens may be the equivalent of Richard Nixon opening the door to China nearly 40 years ago. He offers a comprehensive plan that includes wind farms and natural gas as two ways to generate cheap and always available electricity. The wind energy would be used instead of natural gas to generate electricity, and that freed-up natural gas could then be used for transportation fuel. He envisions cutting oil imports by a third in just a decade. It will take a thinker like Pickens joining others who have innovative proposals if we are to move toward energy self-sufficiency.

Bob: He’s not the first, nor last, to suggest this. What makes this any different from past efforts?

Cal: Two things: The depth of his plan and the megaphone that comes with being a billionaire. Think about it, if billionaire Ross Perot could bankroll a presidential run and get Americans interested in the national debt, imagine what Pickens could do when it comes to gas prices and pocketbook (and environmental) issues that affect all Americans.

Bob: Good point. And he’s already running print ads and TV spots and has launched a website devoted to this issue. If Pickens can get Obama and McCain thinking big about energy independence  —  as he clearly has  —  it will be money well-spent.

The full exchange is definitely worth a read. Check it out here.