#SOTU in Review

Former GAO Board Member Horner Updates GAO’s Pre-SOTU Prescience, Courtesy of The Pipeline

GAO previously wondered aloud what it must have been like for a Biden White House aide tasked with writing this week’s State of the Union address. Having spent weeks crafting an opus of appeals to Congress over Biden’s “climate” agenda, reality barges in and scrambles the planned approach.

Quickly, squandering the inheritance of energy dominance, and ushering in a U.S. equivalent of Germany’s disastrous energy policies here — with a reliance on China for rare earth-mineral dependent ‘renewables’ more than a Russian pipeline if, yes, increased reliance on Russian oil — went from being weirdly out-of-touch with Americans to utterly disconnected from reality.

What to do?

Unfortunately, adjusting to events and scrapping old plans until better times hopefully return was not the option chosen. Acknowledging how policy mistakes have brought the world to this week’s deadly and further-perilous point is therefore plainly out of the question.

Instead, Tuesday night’s speech, after opening with supportive words for Ukraine itself, was otherwise oblivious to the fact of Western Europe now lying prostrate — cornered by its own obsession with Green New Deal policies (called “Net Zero” over there) into near-total reliance on intermittent energy and unreliable foreign sources of traditional hydrocarbons.

For a few days the line coming from Europe and the Biden administration was a unified one, that the “Ukraine turmoil” shows “fossil fuels” are clearly bad and it’s time to go harder on the windmills-and-sun-catcher fantasy. Apparently, the world only just recently started down that path, and have been insufficiently committed to it or something.

Germany has spent the most time and money pushing this agenda and, as is now well-known, is the worst offamong its neighbors for the effort from both economic and national security perspectives. Encouragingly, over the weekend Germany made several “about-face” announcements giving hope that maybe the dogmatic slow-learners in government there are somewhat teachable. A Monday Wall Street Journal headline noted, “Germany’s Climate Left Gets Serious: Greens in Berlin start to make responsible energy trade-offs. Is President Biden listening?”.

That said, as of now Germany still plans to shut down three nuclear power plants this year, in favor of more reliance on Putin’s gas. Dogma and donors are cruel mistresses.

Back here, pre-speech trial balloons told us that, because real energy infrastructure “would take years,” that’s a no-go. And Tuesday night, we heard the now-ritual, “We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations…”, and the apparently immediate solution of “double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind and so much more [and] lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month that you’ll never have to pay at the pump.”

In normal times, the most galling line might have been the promise that more Green New Deal-style policies will “cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change.” After years of confessions that energy costs will have to skyrocket, “necessarily,” and “climate change needs higher energy bills,” joining headlines blaring “Energy bills will have to rise sharply to avoid climate crisis, says IMF,” this gamble on public amnesia showed that selling an ideological agenda is what matters.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewed this business-as-usual approach on ABC’s This Week. A mere eight of the past nine presidents have used the State of the Union speech to push expensive governmental interventions in the name of a renewable energy agenda to replace what works and lies underneath American soil in abundance (the virtues of which Trump deviated from the norm to extoll). Tuesday made that 9 of 10.

In 2011 the Competitive Enterprise Institute took this Punxsutawney preaching on, in a video noting the Obama-Biden’s embrace of the tired pose. CEI’s video opened with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart also picking up on the same thing a year earlier, if with the endearingly naïve hope that this time it would be different.

If only this had been explored in a West Wing episode. Alas, here we go again.

Like the Europeans now reaping the climate-policy whirlwind, President Biden and his party are too heavily invested in the matter with their base and (like a growing flock of Republicans) their donors to let go.

Biden’s use of the State of the Union reflected an unnerving resistance to change course in the face when certain inevitable consequences of the “green” agenda came home to roost. Demanding more of the same last night, faster, was simply irresponsible. Failing to exploit one’s own, plentiful resources in fealty to the Green Blob has proved a “lesson in energy masochism.”

Western Europeans for years complained the U.S. was too slow to follow their examples on “climate” and energy policy. Tuesday night was a plea for ideological priorities. Existing law allows Biden to resume actual policies grounded in real-world experience. The world should hope that in coming weeks the Biden administration joins, yes, the German Left to acknowledge the world we live in, holsters the green dogma, and does what’s best.

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