July 20, 2022

GREAT MOMENTS IN MESSAGE DISCIPLINE:

Shot: Pete Buttigieg blasted for touting ‘benefit’ for electric vehicle owners from ‘pain’ of high gas prices.

Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was once again blasted for pushing for electric vehicles on Tuesday, this time for saying, “The more pain” Americans feel at the pump, “the more benefit there is for” EV owners.

Buttigieg testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the transition to “domestic clean energy production” by the Biden administration, which launched an initiative to ensure 50% of all auto sales are electric vehicles by 2030.

The topic soon turned to gas prices, which reached record levels in June. House Republicans questioned Buttigieg on how Americans struggling to pay $5 per gallon for gas could afford to purchase an electric vehicle.

Buttigieg then reiterated that the “pain” at the pump could be offset by using an electric vehicle.

“The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicle,” Buttigieg said.

—Fox News, yesterday.

Chaser: Also yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was retweeting announcements of (slightly) lower gas prices:

As Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon asked at the start of the month: Who’s In Charge?

Every time I speak to a conservative audience, I am asked who is really in charge in the White House. My answer has been that the president is in command. After all, institutions take on the character of their leaders. If all the White House has to offer is excuses, if decisions are made either slowly or randomly, if the communications team and the president and vice president seem to live on different planets, if incompetence and mismanagement appear throughout the government, it is because the chief executive allows it. No conspiracy is required to explain the ineptitude. This is Joe Biden we are talking about.

Lately, though, I have been having second thoughts. Not that Barack Obama or Ron Klain or Dr. Jill are running the show in secret. What I have been wondering, instead, is whether anyone is leading the government at all. There is no power, either overt or covert, in or behind the throne. The throne is empty.

Think of the economy, the border, and Ukraine. From time to time, Biden addresses these issues. He may even answer questions about them. The White House sends out press releases describing its latest initiatives. Vice President Harris or the second gentleman pops up somewhere to talk about all the good she and he are doing.

Yet each of these elements—the president, his staff, his spokesperson, his vice president, his policy—comes across as disconnected, discombobulated, as if each inhabits a separate sphere of activity. Whether because of Biden’s age, or his weekend trips to Delaware, or years of remote work, or lower-level staff turnover, or a painstakingly slow decision-making process, or ideological stubbornness, or a lack of a strategic plan, this administration drifts from crisis to crisis, and from one bad headline to the next. And nothing improves.

Of course, Buttigieg’s quote above is a reminder that high gas prices are entirely a crisis of team Biden’s making: Why Team Biden might be purposefully grinding down the middle class.

UPDATE:

(Updated and bumped.)

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