The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg (pronounced “boot-a-judge”) is making a splash this week. He seems to be everywhere, giving media interviews and testifying before Congress.
The Secretary’s timing is no happenstance (nothing is, in Washington). It comes amid increasing vexation among Democratic Party pooh-bahs and mouthpieces who are now saying the quiet part out loud: Joe Biden is too old, too feeble and too unpopular to even think of running for re-election for president in 2024.
Enter presidential wannabe, Pete Buttigieg, to evangelize on the that old-time Party religion, climate change.
The climate “crisis” is the Democratic Party’s dogma; the embrace of which is a minimum requirement of every elected official with a “D” by his-her-he-she-they-their name. Mr. Buttigieg stepped right up to the plate this week and hit it out of the park.
Before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Secretary Pete made one of the most tin-eared, tone-deaf statements by a politician: “The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access [an] electric vehicle” (emphasis mine).
In other words, electric vehicles are a luxury item obtainable by upper income and the wealthy (“for those”), and everyone else needs to suffer high gasoline prices because, after all, we need to “transition” to so-called cleaner greener energy. He made no pretention of empathy for the average American stuck with high fuel costs.
Even President Biden and his spokespeople dare not reveal such insouciance.
It matters not that Secretary Buttigieg had no answer to the reality that the electric grid in America cannot support tens of millions of electric vehicles. That’s tomorrow’s problem for someone else. Every day — especially in July, north of the Equator — is for pontificating on climate
Climate change is at or very close to the bottom of Americans’ concerns, especially in the new runaway inflation era with its very real, deleterious effect on living standards.
Pete Buttigieg, however, does not care about the average American at the moment, if ever. He has larger ambitions of exploiting climate issues to catapult him to the presidency. That means his first concern are wealthy Democratic Party donors, a vast number of whom are fanatical about climate change.
Secretary Pete knows from his first run for president in 2020 that securing electric-vehicle-loads of early donor cash from wealthy elites provides a huge advantage in securing the Party’s presidential nomination. Being a climate extremist, no matter how obtuse or absurd, is how you prepare for a run at the White House.
Pete Buttigieg is angling to be the climate donors’ guy (I mean, person). And, why not? His name invariably appears on every media short list for the next president.
Being a candidate for the people, the little guy, comes much later in the presidential cycle, after one locks up the Party’s nomination. First things first.
Becoming Secretary of Transportation is among the least interesting cabinet positions to hold, down there with being Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. These massive bureaucracies more or less run by themselves. A crisis that involves transportation, such as the air traffic controllers strike in 1981 or the supply chain calamity of today, necessitates presidential leadership and reliance on policy experts and business leaders, less so the secretary, and much less so, this secretary.
No one is counting on Pete Buttigieg to manage anything or fix a problem, which is why he felt no compunction last summer about taking family leave for two-plus months. Almost no one noticed until his leave time was ending, and no one missed his absence.
But Mr. Buttigieg is no fool. Being Secretary of Transportation gives him a platform not to oversee or repair the nation’s vast transportation systems, about which he cares not a whit, but to evangelize on the Gospel of Climate Change, which he’s done since his first day on the job.
That is why he talks obsessively about electric vehicles, or asphalt contributing to climate change, or mileage taxes on Americans driving their cars; that’s why he’s pushing unauthorized carbon emission mandates and wanting bullet trains everywhere, notwithstanding the colossal boondoggles in California and Texas.
That is why Pete performed his virtue-signaling stunt last year of riding his bicycle to the White House for a cabinet meeting, contrasting himself from his colleagues pulling up in gas-guzzling SUVs. (As I wrote at the time, he didn’t count on the media exposing his chicanery of being driven in the Department’s SUV to then ride his bike for the last few blocks.)
The likely next step for Secretary Pete will be to announce his resignation following the mid-term elections. If predictions of big losses by Democrats in Congress occur, President Biden will get blamed and be pressured to announce he is not running for re-election. Then with great alacrity will the former Transportation Secretary announce his campaign.
Keep your eye on Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a man (person) on a climate mission to be the next president of the United States of America!
Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit entity that promotes free-market, technological solutions to environment and energy challenges (@PeterMurphy26).