Leaving aside Joe Biden’s ridiculous denial about inflation and his Walter Mittyesque claims to having been there and done that, he still managed to hit a new low last week.
If Congress plays by the rules it followed during Donald Trump’s presidency, Biden committed an impeachable offense. And he admitted it on television!
The president told CNN that “there will be consequences” for Saudi Arabia after the kingdom refused a White House request to postpone a cut in oil production.
Depending on circumstances, penalizing an ally might be necessary, but the problem is the request. It was politically self-serving, designed only to help Biden’s poll numbers and his party’s mid-term chances.
The White House, after being rebuffed on its demand that the planned production cut be rescinded altogether, focused on the timing. It was then that officials asked for the cut to be postponed a month, meaning it would take place after the elections.
In effect, the president’s team wasn’t as concerned with rising gas prices as it was over when consumers would feel the pain at the pump. The goal was to avoid price hikes before voters made their choices.
The Saudis, speaking for the OPEC+ cartel, which includes Russia, understood what was being asked and said no, leading Biden to level his threats.
This is a far more blatant case of courting foreign help for an election than the one Democrats cited for their first impeachment of Trump. The issue then was aid to Ukraine, and Nancy Pelosi’s House Dems accused the former president of soliciting “foreign interference” in the 2020 election by seeming to connect American aid to his request that Ukraine help find dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden.
In the case at hand, Biden did not personally make the appeal, though he approved it, as illustrated by his threats when it was rejected. Aides say the US will reevaluate the relationship with the Saudis and there is talk of an arms embargo — all because the ruling crown prince said no to a corrupt plea to meddle in the midterms.
Again, by the standards used against Trump, this is an open-and-shut case of the president of the United States soliciting “foreign interference” to sway an American election.
Of course, as long as Pelosi has the gavel, Biden is safe, though it’s also true that GOP speakers are notoriously averse to using their majorities to play hardball the way Dems play.
How Dems play ball
Beyond Pelosi, the Saudi episode also reveals fundamental ways in which Washington Dems always enjoy home-field advantage.
First, notice there’s no Deep State Deep Throat complaining to Congress about the illicit oil request, nor is there a parade of self-described whistleblowers, such as blowhard Alexander Vindman, emerging from the basement to explain that they and not the president set foreign policy.
Second, there are no media denunciations of the bid for foreign election interference or calls for an FBI probe. Nor is there a push for the White House to release the transcript of the call.
Trump voluntarily released the transcript of his call with the then-unknown Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, which, while not perfect, undercut the Dems’ allegations of quid pro quo.
Perhaps some pesky, fair-minded White House reporter will cite the Trump precedent and demand the transcript.
If Biden’s sordid appeal for help and his threats were the only ways he damaged the relationship with Saudi Arabia, it would be enough. Unfortunately, the backstory demonstrates how his disastrous foreign policy is undermining all our allies, including Israel.
The Saudi drift away from America and toward Russia and China started in earnest when then-President Barack Obama wooed the Iranians into a nuclear deal. He believed he could bring Iran in from the cold and make it an Islamic power center that would balance Israel, whose leaders he didn’t like or trust.
This was a problem not only for Israel, but also for Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states. Iran is their sworn enemy and uses proxies to try to overthrow their governments.
In Yemen, Iran funds and arms the Houthis to attack Saudi oil fields, much as it funds and arms Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Israel.
Trump flipped the Obama approach on its head by scuttling the Iran deal and courting Israel, the Saudis and other Arab nations. The most obvious fruits are the historic Abraham Accords, which further secured Israeli security, spread prosperity and created a new alliance against Iran.
Then Biden comes along and, determined to undo everything Trump did, repeats the Obama mistake. Against the advice of Israel, the Saudis and others, Biden is desperately seeking a new Iran deal, which would complete Obama’s vision.
It’s a fool’s errand and antithetical to the spread of democracy, as shown by the fact that both Obama and Biden chose the repressive mullahs over freedom-loving demonstrators. In 2009, Obama gave no support or meaningful encouragement to the Green Revolution, despite many foreign policy specialists believing that even minimal American help could have toppled the cruel regime and liberated 86 million people.
Silence from the WH
Biden is following the same playbook now. In a challenge to the regime that started over the rule that women cover their hair in public, courageous Iranian demonstrators again are being beaten, tortured and gunned down by secret police. And Biden says next to nothing.
Additionally, his Iran policy is stuck in a time warp, making it even more muddled than Obama’s. In recent weeks, Iranian troops were spotted in Ukraine and Russia is using Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian towns and cities.
Meanwhile, Biden continues to designate Russia as our go-between for the Iranian nuke talks, as if Vladimir Putin can be both a war criminal and a trustworthy mediator. Try to make sense of that.
So if you’re keeping score at home, the president threatens Saudi Arabia with consequences for cooperating with Russia to manipulate gas prices. At the same time, he restricts American energy production and offers to drop oil and economic sanctions against Iran, which is helping Russia kill Ukrainians even as we ship arms there and train its fighters.
All in the hopes Russia will get Iran to sign another nuclear deal it will violate before the ink is dry.
How to plug our holey mess at border
Reader Ronald Dushkin applies common sense to the migrant crisis, writing: “When there is a big rain storm (illegal immigrants at the border), and the roof leaks (open borders), you do not just get more buckets to catch the leaks (money for food and shelters), you FIX THE DAMN ROOF!”
Lefties stumble into truth
In an email pitch for contributions, the far left Working Families Party writes that when its candidates win, “people feel the difference in their lives.”
So true — prices and crime both rise.