The GOP’s 20% lie

Republican Representative Roy Blount is on board with the GOP fiction that Alaska produces 20% of the US’s energy (or oil — they can’t keep the story straight).

The fiction is important for the GOP to maintain because Sarah Palin has zero foreign policy or national security experience. Therefore energy production has to be touted as a national security issue in order to give her the credentials she lacks. Energy is of course related to the national security of the US, but there’s no logical connection between knowing about energy production and having any knowledge of or expertise in national security.

Palin was of course appointed in February 2003 to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to fill the seat “reserved for a member of the general public” (as opposed to those reserved for those with expertise in the field — the person appointed at the same time as Palin had 30 years experience in the oil industry, including in the middle east). She resigned in January 2004, meaning that she server for less than a year. That’s a remarkably short period of time in which to become, as McCain claimed the person who knows more about energy than any other person in the US.

Palin claimed in her interview with Charlie Gibson that Alaska “produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.” According to,

…if by ‘supply’ Palin meant all the energy consumed in the U.S., and not just produced here, then Alaska’s production accounted for only 2.4 percent.

Even with the more generous assumption that she was talking about production and not consumption, factcheck puts Alaska’s contribution at 3.5%. This is according to the official figures kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

McCain repeated the same lie on ABC News when he said that Palin has “been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply.”

Given that both McCain and Palin have made similar false claims, it’s clear that there is a concerted attempt to mislead the public in order to get the McCain/Palin team elected.

Whatever happened to the straight-talk express?