Shadow President DeSantis; the Tennessee Valley Authority; and the Democrat's Gas Price Desperation.
Last week Michael Walsh’s editor’s column evaluated the various contenders for the White House in 2024, and found them all wanting. This week, he’s written about the man who currently seems like the Leader of the Opposition (to import a concept from the Westminster parliamentary system) and a president-in-waiting, Ron DeSantis.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a former Congressman who won a squeaker election against, in retrospect, a manifestly unsuitable Democrat candidate in Andrew Gillum, whom DeSantis beat by half a percentage point. Following the election, "Gillum was found inebriated and with a man, who had identified himself on websites as an escort, who was treated on scene for a possible overdose. Crystal meth also was reportedly found at the scene." Florida thus dodged a bullet, DeSantis got a leg up on the other politicians of his generation (he's 43, Trump is 75), and in just a couple of years has transformed himself into a national figure. How did he do it?
As the old saying goes, it's better to be lucky than good, but DeSantis has been both. Practically since he took office, events have broken his way, starting with the unnecessary hysteria over Covid-19 that, in the final analysis, was the thing that destroyed the Trump administration. After briefly flirting with lockdowns, DeSantis reversed course, bit the bullet, ignored media flapdoodle over "cases," and made Florida the free-state alternative to such draconian fascist entities as New York and California. Florida boomed as its rivals faded, hemorrhaging population and losing economic and political clout while the Sunshine State and also Texas happily welcomed the refugees.
DeSantis has been lucky in his enemies as well. Incredibly, the now-"woke" Walt Disney Company—the embodiment of family friendly entertainment since its founding in 1923 through its founder's death in 1966 and up until recently—has decided that the Florida Parental Rights in Education bill (which DeSantis enthusiastically signed) preventing state teachers from discussing human sexuality, sexual orientation and "gender identity" with children in kindergarten through third grade is the hill the company wants to die on….
No matter how agitated Disney's woke workforce is, this is a fight Disney can only lose and DeSantis can only win. Disney and other work corporations exist in a fantasy-fueled Twitterverse in which nothing is more important than extending the Left's fetish about sexual license unto the generations. That Disney's core audience—the suckers who shell out a fortune to partake of the dubious joys of Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida—is dead set against the sexualization of children is just another reason to do it. The usual suspects in the media, naturally, are overwhelmingly in favor of the law's repeal, as a glance at Google will readily confirm, and as can be seen by their insistence on siding with the Democrats and calling it the "Don't Say Gay" bill—three words that aren't in the bill and certainly not in the title.
With enemies like the company that bought Harvey Weinstein and the mainstream media, DeSantis doesn't need friends. Meanwhile, the governor has the wind at his back: more than a dozen states are considering similar bills, putting the Florida governor in the de facto driver's seat on the issue. From Covid to the Chinese suborning of America's institutions to the sitting daffy duck called Disney, DeSantis has staked out positions in direct opposition to the Biden Democrats—exactly what you'd expect from a Shadow President who's looking forward, not backward.
Steven F. Hayward reported on some interesting goings on at the Tennessee Valley Authority, and suggested that they might represent our liberal governing class beginning to accept that their utopian dreams aren’t going to work.
Barrack Obama was an ideologue, but he wasn’t stupid. After the financial crash of 2008 and the slow-growth recovery that followed, the oil and gas sector was about the only sector that boomed aside from Wall Street. He likely knew that without the resurgence of oil and gas, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, he likely would have lost his re-election bid in 2012. Ironically the hated fracking revolution led in the U.S. to the largest decrease in carbon emissions anywhere in the world, as suddenly cheap natural gas outcompeted coal in the marketplace—all without a signing ceremony on the White House lawn…. By the time he left office, Obama was embracing an “all of the above” energy strategy that implicitly recognized the long-term necessity for fossil fuel energy.
Joe Biden took office apparently after gulping extra helpings of climate Kool-Aid, determined to strangle fossil fuels more seriously than Obama ever did. Halting the Keystone XL pipeline in mid-construction was an unprecedented step. It is one thing to block a permit application for a project, but a president had never before stopped a private sector construction project that was already under way. And while the administration lacks the power to halt fracking in private or state land, proposed new regulations for “fugitive emissions” of methane could significantly hobble fracking activity, which is the intent. The administration is slow-walking permits for oil and gas production on federal lands, and expanding its regulatory chokepoints for oil and gas production finance.
Once again reality has intruded upon the climate fanatics’ green dreams, in the form of energy shortages and price spikes, but most especially the Ukraine crisis which has revealed the folly of dependency on despotic regimes for oil and gas. Even irresponsible governments, which are most of them, have turned on a dime. Germany has abruptly reversed course on its Energiewende (green energy revolution) by making plans to keep coal-fired electricity sources online longer, while France is going to expand its nuclear power capacity and Britain is going to relax its hostility to fracking for natural gas. (According to one recent estimate, one-quarter of British households will be unable to afford their skyrocketing energy costs by the fall.)
Here in the United States, coal production was rising even before the Ukraine crisis, after falling during the Trump administration, because the price of natural gas has been rising. The limits of “green” energy are starting to bite hard, such as in California, which now has retail electricity rates twice the national average.
By far the most embarrassing news for the climate campaigners in the U.S. is the news that the Tennessee Valley Authority, the electric utility for the southeastern U.S. that is an appendage of the federal government, has decided to invest heavily in new natural gas generation rather than wind and solar power. The New York Times reported recently about how TVA was “undermining Biden’s climate goals.” ….
The TVA decision makes clear what every serious energy analyst knows—that even large amounts of solar and wind power require significant natural gas backup capacity to secure electric grid reliability. The Agency knows that you can’t replace old coal power plants with windmills and solar panels alone, despite what the green energy fanatics say.
Jack Dunphy contributed a piece about George Gascón, district attorney of Los Angeles County, and best friend that L.A.’s criminal element has ever had.
Gascón is one of the so-called “progressive” prosecutors recently installed across the country, men and women who persuaded sufficient numbers of voters to share their childlike fantasy that criminals, no matter how hardened, will mend their ways if we would but treat them more kindly. Alas, any evidence that this is not merely a fantasy remains elusive.
Like his progressive comrades, Gascón campaigned on claims that the criminal justice system is unduly harsh on defendants, most especially those “of color.” Flush with cash from George Soros and other deep-pocketed leftists, Gascón defeated incumbent Jackie Lacey in 2020, riding the national wave of anti-police sentiment that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Immediately upon taking office, he implemented changes that would have the effect of decreasing the overall number of prosecutions in L.A. County and minimizing the sentences of those so depraved as to be unworthy of outright dismissal of their charges.
He also eliminated cash bail for most defendants, declined to seek the death penalty in even the most heinous murder cases, and ended the practice of trying juveniles accused of murder in adult court, no matter how many they may have killed, how cruelly they may have carried out the killing, or how near to turning 18 they may have been at the time they killed. GranWhat has followed comes as no surprise to anyone not still clinging to the notion that crime can be reduced by softening the consequences on those who perpetrate it. In the city of Los Angeles, by far the largest of L.A. County’s 88 municipalities, violent crime is up 12 percent since 2020, with homicides up 18 percent….
Gascón is now facing a recall effort, the second one attempted after the first fell short of obtaining a sufficient number of signatures. Crime and disorder now so weigh on the minds of L.A. County residents that 33 city councils within the county, including those in such well-heeled, leafy burgs as Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, and Palos Verdes Estates, have passed no-confidence resolutions on Gascón and his failed policies.
Tom Finnerty compiled a list of ways that frenzied Democrats are attempting to deal with the soaring price of gasoline.
The president's decision to further deplete the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a prime example, but it isn't the only one. Here are a few others:
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced that the city would spend $12.5 million on 50,000 gas cards -- each worth $150 -- to be distributed to residents of her city through a lottery. The Lightfoot administration will offer another 100,000 cards, each worth $50, for the use of public transportation in the city.
According to the Wall Street Journal, lawmakers in several Democratic controlled, high-tax (but I repeat myself) states, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York, are considering the possibility of temporarily suspending their local gasoline tax. Connecticut, meanwhile, has already suspended its gasoline tax until at least June, and heavily Democratic Maryland has done the same for 30 days. All of those states have gubernatorial elections in the November, and all but New York and California are expected to be competitive. But even those 'Safe D' states have to worry about the ugly congressional math projected for this Fall.
Six Democratic governors -- Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, Colorado's Jared Polis, Minnesota's Tim Waltz, Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf, New Mexico's Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Wisconsin's Tony Evers -- have called for the suspension of the 18.3 cents per gallon Federal gasoline tax through the end of this year. Once again, each of these states is likely to have a contentious gubernatorial election in November.
California deserves its own special mention here. Golden State governor Gavin Newsom recently unveiled an $11 billion relief package in the hopes of combating the state's highest-in-the-nation gas prices. The average price in California recently hit $5.88 per gallon, though it has passed the $6 mark in many areas. As the Wall Street Journal notes dryly, "Gasoline prices in California are often higher than in other states due to higher fuel taxes and stricter regulations." No kidding. More than $1 billion of the Newsom proposal comes from the gas tax reduction.
The biggest chunk of money, however, is allocated to issuing $400 debit cards for all registered vehicle owners (with a two-car maximum). Unlike the Chicago gas card plan mentioned above, which is directed towards middle and lower income residents, Newsom's plan has no income cap. Neither is it targeted towards the owners of gas-powered cars. Electric vehicle owners are also eligible. For some reason. The cost: a cool $9 billion. Newsom also called for $750 million to be spent on free (at the point of service) public transportation for three months and, this writer's personal favorite, $500 million to "promote biking and walking."
Finnerty also wrote about the ways that we’re all being screwed over by the Left’s malformed understanding of economics.
The Left has an unhealthy tendency to treat the economy -- a complex, organic system of human interaction -- as if it were a machine they can easily manipulate by means of a clever regulation or three. We caught a glimpse of this in the early months of the pandemic, when talk about "shutting down" and then "prudently restarting" the economy (once Donald Trump was safely out of office, of course) was ubiquitous in respectable leftist discourse. In fact, the economy never stopped running, lockdown or no. That's because it isn't like a computer which can be flipped off and on again. The economy is more like a human body, and when you seriously disrupt the function of a body, the consequences are dire.
And he spent some time breathing in Leftist hysteria about the most recent I.P.C.C. report so that you wouldn’t have to.
And finally, our very own acclimatised beauty, Jenny Kennedy, was invited to be on a panel. It didn’t go well.