I’d agree with all of that. It’s why I still have a casual rooting interest in things DC. To your specific points:
- The transparency issue is one of the most significant defects in the “administrative state” style of governance. All the “comment period” stuff is no substitute for open hearings in Congress.
For all practical purposes, it’s worse than you can imagine. As you might expect when I worked in both comment submitting and comment reading I was very familiar with the pathologies. “Comments” are largely submitted on-line these days. Interest groups send out “suggested” comments which are then cut and pasted and sent in. On the order of tens of thousands at a time. They range from complete babbling incoherence to 40 page PhD physicist penned dissertations and everything in between. And in the end while the agency is required to respond to significant issues, it’s entirely up to agency personnel to choose what’s “significant”. I had some really great responses from the physicists (at least a few) that I never got a chance to practically address either inside or outside the agency. Open Congressional hearings would at least be a disincentive to the government-spiked Tesla water car kooks (I actually got into a bit of a tussle with a guy who ran a Tesla water car museum when I was working a trade show in DC for Volvo).
- The arctic oil and gas leasing stuff is largely moot, for the moment at least. Thanks to all the other developments in petroleum production, we are so awash in oil right now that those leases are hard to sell. The recent auction was mostly a bust.
Ongoing cheap gas in this country is the biggest hurdle the global warming folks face. I’ve run through the calculations on this many times on the old forum, but the base price of a gallon of gas continues to be about a buck and a half. Every price beyond that in the world is due to additional taxes and government mandates, period. The last gas price scare had to do with the price of oil getting up over about $110/barrel (my numbers are invariably based on somewhat rusty memory but they ain’t too far off. You can look it up yourself if you need precision).
At those prices there’s zero market incentive for fuel economy. As witnessed by the “automaker betting market” (kind of like Vegas but based on where the long term product moves signal) of Ford going to 2 platforms, basically the Mustang and trucks).
- The real limit on Biden is the economy. For the majority of Americans, all the sturm and drang in Washington is meaningless. Mostly, all they want is to be economically secure and comfortable.
It’s interesting that when you get beyond the largely incompetent oligarchs of the Federal government who were born to circumstances that never required competence in anything, conservatism is growing (that South Dakota governor is a farm girl who actually know something about work). And state and local governments can’t deficit spend as New York, Portland, Seattle, and the rest are going to find out soon enough.
Probably the biggest trap Trump advertently or inadvertently left for Biden.