Before Announcing Russian Oil Ban, Biden Pledged U.S. Oil Embargo - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Before Announcing Russian Oil Ban, Biden Pledged U.S. Oil Embargo

The Biden administration, a public relations outfit disguised as a presidency, advanced the hashtag “PutinPriceHike” as a means not of alleviating service-station strain but to deflect blame for it.

Long before Joe Biden announced an embargo on Russian oil, he promised one on American oil.

“Would you close down the oil industry?” Donald Trump asked at the second 2020 presidential debate. “I would transition from the oil industry,” Joe Biden responded. “Yes.”

In post-debate damage-control mode, Biden insisted that “we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time.” Does the president consider 17 months “a long time”?

One way to avoid blame for “getting rid of fossil fuels” — a commodity used by even (news flash!) electric vehicles deriving energy from the coal- and natural gas-dominant grid — involves pursuing policies to make them cost-prohibitive. On Thursday, AAA pegged a gallon of regular unleaded, up 59 cents from a week earlier and 84 cents from a month earlier, at $4.32 a gallon. Where do prices go this weekend? Up seems like a pretty good guess.

The policies of the president of the country that provides about half of U.S. oil and gas, not the strongman running the country that provides less than 5 percent of U.S. petroleum, exert a far greater influence on the price at the pump. #BidenPriceHike

Joe Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office placing a moratorium on Arctic National Wildlife Reserve drilling and blocked offshore drilling for parts of the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea. That same executive order “determined that approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest” because “the United States must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy” and “that approval of the proposed pipeline would undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countries to take ambitious climate action.”

A week later, Biden compounded the problem by issuing executive order 14008.

Therein, he instructed the secretary of the Interior to “pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters” to “consider whether to adjust royalties associated with coal, oil, and gas resources extracted from public lands and offshore waters, or take other appropriate action, to account for corresponding climate costs.” The order also ordered several cabinet secretaries to “identify steps through which the United States can promote ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy while simultaneously advancing sustainable development and a green recovery.”

The president of the United States stands so committed to this cook-the-frog oil embargo on the United States that rather than lift any of these restrictions to replace the now-forbidden Russian energy he instead goes in search for fossil fuels in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Better for his image to pay far-away commies and princes who dismember critics and death-to-America ayatollahs to produce the energy, he reasons, than Americans. (READ MORE from Daniel J. Flynn: Biden’s Energy Ideology Fuels Russia’s War)

Like the hashtag public relations “solution” to the gas price problem, this strikes as a superficial approach in that it aims to placate environmentalists rather than help the environment. Americans still use the fuel. The president just wants to continue boasting that he banned drilling in an oil-rich but creature-poor desolate outpost, blocked a pipeline, and refused permits on coal leases here in America. The energy sector under the Biden administration increasingly resembles any tech company’s customer service department: outsourced.

The weakness President Biden displayed in Afghanistan that effectively provided encouragement for Putin’s foreign adventurism, and the inflationary policies pursued by the economic illiterates of both parties that sent the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet from roughly $3.8 trillion in September 2019 to $8.9 trillion today, fueled the fuel-price explosion. So did oil and gas policy, boasted about by the Biden administration before every motorist reacted to digital pump-price signs the way Marion Crane reacted to Norman Bates dressed in his dead mother’s clothes.

President Nixon, seeing a way to gain advantage on the Soviet Union and bring the North Vietnamese to the peace table, went to China. President Clinton, looking at massive deficits and the public’s weariness with Washington’s power, declared the era of big government “over” as he enacted welfare reform and presided over a balanced budget. Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan entered into an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union. Events cause presidents to pivot in directions people did not anticipate.

Current events, and long-standing anemic poll numbers, suggest that Joe Biden needs a fossil fuels reversal almost as much as America does. Just don’t count on it. The office that makes some men big keeps others small. Biden, a rigid servant to interest groups rather than the whole country, lacks the political imagination of a Nixon or a Reagan or a Clinton.

He postures. We pay.

Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website,   
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