Federal safety officials found it necessary last week Reminder Americans don’t put gasoline in plastic bags. Guys, this is dangerous. remember?
What turned out to be a short-lived gasoline shortage at thousands of local stations quickly affected the most fuel-dependent consumers. Many lined up, filled up and then messed up by storing extra gallons in unsafe containers. Imperfection It was concentrated in the southeast, but millions of others across the country were watched on TV.
We may shake our heads in tales of extremist behavior, but we all get stark reminders of the role that gasoline plays in our daily lives and our national economy. Remote DarkSide Computer Hackers Those who attacked the Colonial pipeline showed that they could pinch an artery in our neck. And that Oh really Dangerous to the economy and the country.
Some Americans actually remember it Gas lines in the 1970s And how they contributed to the fall of two presidents. And if not, at least you’ve heard the stories and seen the pictures.
Any kind of energy disruption can drive prices up, causing complications quickly. This may be especially true when a shortage of other raw materials is already raising inflation concerns. We don’t even mention how hardships like these make it difficult for the CEO to manage other concurrent challenges.
All this brings danger to President Biden and his party. So it came as no surprise that the White House had at least discussed calling up the National Guard, like NBC News mentioned They have, or are considering other military options. The Pentagon issued a statement saying the president had not directed the military to provide assistance.
Not surprisingly, a Republican governor who might be a presidential candidate declared a statewide emergency, as did Ron DeSantes of Florida in response to the gas pipelines.
By the middle of the week, colony I got a 5500 mile system that works And it looks like the turmoil will soon be over. Panic buying subsided. News media has moved.
But lessons still have to be learned.
The colonial shutdown certainly demonstrates the extent to which the energy sector – and US industrial facilities in general – is vulnerable to cyber attackers demanding ransom money. If rogue cyber gangs can cause so much damage, how much more can a hostile military force accomplish?
(Management officials indicated the hack came from Within Russia But it wasn’t necessarily linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin or his former cybercrime partners.)
If the kind of gas pipeline that we saw in the southeast states last week happens again, it will point to problems of the most terrible kind for any president. Biden, with his stated commitment to moving away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible, will be particularly vulnerable.
The administration has made clear its long-term commitment to independence from fossil fuels. But in the time it takes to get there, Biden & Co. will have to respond to an electorate that still depends on those fuels. A host of critics will stand ready to blame any shortcomings in Biden’s policies, whether they are fair or not.
Not too long ago
Harvey George / AP
The average age of Americans today is around 38, so fewer and fewer of us remember being on those gas lines in the 1970s. But these lines had a place in the national memory as the foolish strikes of presidential assassinations and major terrorist attacks. In 1973, when the first Arab oil embargo supported the drivers of the blocks and quadrupled the prices at the pump, a presidential adviser compared the event to the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the United States into World War II.
The embargo prompted the United States to pay more attention to the Middle East and instability in the region, paving the way for multiple wars and military interventions.
The president at the time was Richard Nixon, a Republican who was re-elected a year earlier by an overwhelming majority in 49 states. But on October 1 of his second term, Nixon suffered two crises. One of them was the Watergate scandal, a tangled tale of abuse of power, deception and cover-up that caught the eyes of the investigative in Congress, the Special Prosecutor, and the media.
The other crisis was the shooting war that broke out when Israel was suddenly attacked by several of its Arab neighbors on Yom Kippur. Israel was on the line for a while before the United States pressed for support of its ally, angering Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries that were exporting an increasing share of the oil used in the US When they cut off shipments, it took only days for the shortages to emerge, to panic, and to buy the ranks. endless. Drivers have run out of fuel while waiting in line.
Nixon’s approval rating was already dropping from its peak of 67% in January. Then the Arab embargo began in the same month that Nixon sacked the Watergate special prosecutor, and the ground broke off. Nixon’s approval dropped to 27%. The ban extended for six months, and Watergate eventually forced Nixon to resign and never again rose to more than 30% (his final approval was 24%).
Fred Emery, the BBC reporter who covered the White House in this era, later wrote a 500-page title titled History Watergate.
Emery wrote: “Nixon’s remarkable political weakness certainly contributed to the crisis.” “The oil crisis undoubtedly contributed to the decline of Nixon’s political fortunes at home.”
The second ban
Brian Albert / Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Fast-forward to Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who was elected in 1976 largely as the inferior candidate like Nixon. Carter Help broker the peace Between Israel and Egypt, but he saw his presidency falter in another oil-producing country in the Middle East, Iran. The Islamic fundamentalist revolution of 1979 there initially reduced global production by only 4%, but the price of oil would double within 12 months.
Carter’s approval rating, which was at 50% at the start of 1979, has steadily declined, reaching 28% in July – the lowest point in his presidency.
Ironically, Carter’s numbers will improve that winter after Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for the rest of Carter’s presidency. There may have been some influence of the “gathering” around the flag in the public’s initial response to the hostage incident, but Ronald Reagan still ended Carter’s tenure in office with the Electoral College landslide in November 1980.
Like Nixon, Carter definitely had issues outside of gas lines, odd and even days of rationing and price hikes in the budget. But Washington scandals and international affairs have not disrupted the daily lives of ordinary voters, at least not as quickly or as painfully as unavailable or unaffordable gasoline does.
The effectiveness of any American president is always a matter of contention in the media and the gravity of the election campaign. But there is no question about the sight of the gas pipelines, or the real hardships they can cause to individuals.
Something about seeing cars and trucks being backed up blocks connected to a deep and dark set of fears in the American psyche. To be sure, millions depend on their gas cars for their jobs, which often entail life and death services. Millions more don’t want to worry about the needle on the scale or the numbers on a computer board.
This time, re-imagining the metaphor This is the ’70s show It only lasted days. But what about next time? Surely no one thought this was the last time.