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How mad would Eddie Chiles be now?

Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me, Friday, May 16, 2008 on Newstalk 600 KTBB.

(A quick closed circuit to Michael Carter. Your comment on last week’s piece is one of the best we have ever received. Thanks for listening and thanks for the response, Mr. Carter. It’s greatly appreciated. Click here to read Mr. Carter’s comment.)

Back in the late 1970s, Eddie Chiles, the CEO of the Western Company of North America, an oil services firm, collaborated with adman William Finn from right here in Tyler. Together, they produced and ran radio commercials all over the southwestern and midwestern United States. You might remember the copy. The announcer would start off, “Are you mad today, Eddie Chiles? ‘Yes I’m mad,'” he would say and off he would go on how poorly we were being represented by a too-liberal, big-government Congress.

The effort became something of a cultural phenomenon. All over this part of the world you would see cars with bumper stickers that said, ‘I’m mad, too, Eddie.’

(Click here to read about Eddie Chiles’s ‘I’m Mad’ campaign.)

Chiles’s radio campaign ran for nearly a year leading up to the 1980 election. And although it did not materially impact the Democrat dominance of Congress, it did serve to remind many in Congress that they do, in fact, serve at the pleasure of the voters. There were some unpleasant moments for many congressmen and some outright defeats for some, all of whom otherwise believed that they had little to fear with respect to re-election.

I’m reminded of all of this because I, like Eddie Chiles, am mad. Like William Holden in the movie Network, (the reputed inspiration for Eddie Chiles’s radio campaign) I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.

(Editor’s note: It was actually Peter Finch who said, “I’m mad as hell…” not William Holden as we said on the air. We stand corrected and we thank the listener for pointing out our error.)

This piece today is little different from what we discussed last Friday and the Friday before that. But what’s happening with respect to energy is the big story. Our way of life and our prosperity are being threatened in ways we haven’t seen in over 30 years.

Gasoline prices are killing us. The high price of gas is rippling all through the economy. It’s raising the price of food. It’s killing business for auto dealers, boat dealers, RV dealers, marinas, restaurants and retailers. Money that is being diverted into filling up cars is being withheld from home improvement, dining out, buying clothes, going on vacation and so much more.

High gasoline prices are quite literally making us poorer.

And yet, much of this pain is completely unnecessary. Yes, demand is up. And it will continue to go up because even if we curtail our driving and our usage of energy, the burgeoning economies in China and India will not.

Increasing demand for fossil fuel is a fact of life.

So if demand is going to increase, the only mechanism for lowering the price is to increase supply. Which would be happening if free markets were allowed to work but isn’t because of the churlishness of the leadership in Congress.

Every person currently occupying the political spotlight is part of the problem. Every one. Republican John McCain is on record as being against drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, (ANWR). I so far can’t seem to find where he stands regarding the Outer Continental Shelf and the shale deposits in the Midwest.

Presidential candidates Obama and Clinton, together with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, good Democrats all, are just plain against drilling anywhere. They apparently don’t want the U.S. to drill a single additional oil or gas well, no matter how much energy could be produced and no matter how desperately we need it.

Obama, Clinton, Reid and Pelosi would all have you believe that they are the stalwart advocates for the poor and the disadvantaged and those who are victims of oil company greed and unfeeling Republicans. Answer me a question, Madame Speaker. Who is more damaged by $4.00 gasoline, one of your rich San Francisco liberal buddies or someone trying to get by on minimum wage?

I said it last week. A simple announcement from Reid and Pelosi that they are reversing their positions regarding drilling in ANWR and on the Outer Continental Shelf and on other federal lands, and the price of oil will plummet immediately.

The fact that they, together with nearly every Democrat and way too many Republicans, won’t do this, is simply outrageous.

Yes, I’m mad, Eddie. I’m mad as hell.


  1. It was Peter Finch who was “mad as hell” in NETWORK, not William Holden…

  2. Patrick Williams says:

    I’m mad as hell also!

    Your words of the past two weeks ring true like the gospel. The needs of the many are being overridden by the interest of a few. I seriously doubt that very many Average Americans would object to drilling anywhere if it would bring down the price of gas.

    It is absolutely sickening to think that we as a country could be energy independent if our own government would let it happen.

    The million dollar question is what can we as Average Americans do about it before it’s to late

  3. BigRube says:

    Does anyone get out and look around in Texas. Right now there is drilling going on all over East Texas and the Ft. worth area. The biggest Natural gas field in the U.S. has been discovered. Estimated between 300 to 400 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So don’t tell me the Democrats are not letting any drilling happen. If you don’t believe it just drive East of Tyler.

  4. miss chiles says:

    my uncle is eddie chiles and i agree 100% with this article. i am mad too uncle eddie.

  5. Sure do miss the good ole days when it was fun to work 24 hrs a day & actually enjoyed it. Good Company good people w/ good attitudes. Unfortunate to see a really good outfit dissolve. Still miss it.

  6. jimmy vestal says:

    Feb 7, 2010 @ 8:08 am
    Eddie Chiles is or should be an inspiration to all americans and people with work ethic for the good of mankind and a drive to achive perfection in every aspect of his life both public and private .
    I have been saddened to see his efforts undermined and destroyed by lazy unethical individuals that are driven by greed rather than patriotism to their country and ours who held public office and legislative authority .

  7. Mark Wilcox says:

    I had the prevladge of working for Eddie at The Western Company from 1980 to 86 possible the best job I ever had. I KNOW that Eddie is turning over in his grave now.

  8. c chiles says:

    The oil well drilling began years ago. I am still holding my land in Honeygrove, waiting for them to discover oil there. It is strange how all this never came to light when GW Bush was in office. The problem started when they were allowed to drill without an emergency plan in place. Starting in time, beats fast running?

  9. I was just a boy then, but I still remember the Mad as Hell spots. The parallels between then and now are startling. I bet you could replay those messages and they’d still be just as relevant today.

  10. I have a I’M MAD TOO, EDDIE! bumber sticker that Eddie himself signed and gave to me in NOV of 1980. This was right before the general election in which Ronald Reagan was elected. Eddie was traveling with Senator Tower and a few others in Odessa,TX.

  11. I am one of the few people that remember being at the grand opening in Seagraves,TX of Western Company of North America.

  12. I worked 11 years in the West Tx Oilfield in Snyder Tx for The Western Company Of North America, and I too miss those days.
    I got to meet Uncle Eddie and he was one hell of a fine man. God fearing and hard working. YES! he’s got to be turning in his grave with all that is going on in our country.
    God Bless’em.

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