What The Frack, Senator Paul?
Rand Paul is doing what all earnest young job-seekers do—padding out and fluffing up his resume, an item that, let’s face it, is a little thin if Senator Paul is serious about the Oval Office. Twenty years an ophthalmologist; head of the Baylor U chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas; Best Boy on Dad’s presidential campaign; and half a US Senate term probably wouldn’t make it off a headhunters’ desk if we did anything as sensible as professionally vetting candidates for one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.
One of several executive experience areas in which Paul the Younger is noticeably lacking is foreign policy, so Sen. Paul has been toiling away at foreign policy op-eds, interviews and world leaderish big ideas sound bites.
Yesterday, for the benefit of Fox News’ dwindling audience, Paul closed his eyes, held his nose and took a deep dive into the shallow end of “if I were President” foreign policy wonkery and came up dazed:
I would do something differently from the president,” Paul said. “I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas, and I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.
What a boyishly endearing but naive and foolish idea that is. First of all, to get the job done in our lifetime, I have to assume that President Paul would be forced to use his “pen and phone” to circumvent the hundreds of “laws of the land” that address such autocratic impulses to rape the environment to score geopolitical points.
And then, of course, there’s the “executive powers” fallacy in which President Paul learns, to his utter dismay, that presidents don’t get to direct export destinations to the Free Market and, if they did, they would probably choose the much more profitable Asian markets because . . . duh.
Solve that glitch and then you’re faced with logistics. Moving usable gas is not like sending data packets over fiberoptic networks.
As the killjoys on The New York Times editorial board point out:
The [Energy] department could speed up its review of export applications, and Congress could help by easing restrictions on exports to American allies. But even if the government approved more exports, setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars. Moreover, unlike Mr. Putin, American officials will not be able to dictate to energy companies where they sell their gas and at what price.
It’s also unlikely that Comrade Putin would pack up his gas and go home if President Paul suddenly jumped into the ring with cheap Liberty Gas to save Europe. Putin would simply discount his prices to hold onto his market share like any other self-respecting free marketeer.
Personally? I’m with the eminent Doktor Zoom who says:
. . . you have to admire Sen. Paul’s can-do spirit, which would literally drill every conceivable possible place to get oil and gas to Europe right away within a couple years of this crisis, after which there had better not be any more international crises involving fossil fuels, because then we’d have to start drilling in the inconceivable places.
Of course, one of Sen. Paul’s main objectives in bringing this up was to demonstrate how ineffectual the current president is for not attempting any of this unhelpful silliness, himself. Sometime soon Sen. Paul will realize that, if nominated [a HUGE “if” BTW], he will not be running against Barack Obama.
Should he find himself running against the presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, well, see that’s a problem, too . . . because Secretary of State Clinton actually set up a Bureau of Energy Resources to do something like what Paul suggests—only in a real world way and better—so this particular issue might not be a terrific choice for future debate
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