Paralyzed by Politics: What Will Obama Do With Keystone?

Posted by on Apr 07, 2014 at 7:39 am

Forget what’s in the best interests of America. It’s all come down to how it affects Obama and the Democrats as to what the vacillating chump in the White House will do when it come to the Keystone XL pipeline. He could do the right thing and side with the overwhelming majority of the country and approve the long-delayed pipeline. Or he could pander to the environmental extremists pulling his puppet strings. Decisions, decisions. Frankly, he’d rather forego doing anything and hit the links.

If Obama gives construction of the oil-sands pipeline a green light this spring or summer, he could frame it as an example of his support for North American energy production, a boost for the economy, and a helpful concession to vulnerable Senate Democrats who support the $5.4 billion project.

But he could go the other way. A flat-out rejection of the pipeline might enthuse the Democratic base for the midterm elections in November, which will hinge on turnout.

Sure, let’s sacrifice and economic boon by pandering to the fringe minority in his party. That’s sure to help. Guess their thinking on this one is the GOP voters would not turn out to show their disapproval?

The third option: Punt a decision again. A delay until after the midterms might be safest for the president because it would excite only mild criticism compared to the storm of opprobrium that would follow a firm decision either way.

Delay could also make Keystone a bargaining chip for the president in either the lame-duck session of Congress or next year, when he could face a Republican House and Senate.

It’s a vexed question, with which Obama’s canniest strategists are still wrestling. Which is perhaps why the White House evinces little enthusiasm in talking about the subject.

How about option four: Doing the right thing for America? Yeah, crazy thought, huh?

But allowing Keystone to be built would enrage environmental pressure groups, which are a powerful part of Obama’s base. Green activists vow to punish the president if he decides against them on their most important issue.

Keystone’s opponents say green-lighting the project won’t save Landrieu or any other vulnerable Democrat. In addition to enervating the base, they argue, it would anger big Democratic donors such as Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge-fund investor who has threatened to buy advertisements against anyone who backs the pipeline.

“Turning out the base is the key to winning midterm elections and the Democratic base opposes Keystone XL,” said Jamie Henn, spokesman for 350 Action, an environmental group. “There are a lot of young people who would like to go help elect climate champions, but there is no way they will rally behind [Obama] until he says no to the pipeline.”

If he has the slightest bit of testosterone left he’d tell these clowns to go pound sand. So look for him to punt.


5 Responses to “Paralyzed by Politics: What Will Obama Do With Keystone?”

  1. steve walsh on 7/07/14 at 11:54 am

    Why not approve it and blame the GOP? Even if that is not true it certainly would energize the Democrats to vote. They could easily spin the story that if they controlled the Congress Obama could have rejected the pipeline, thereby making it critically important to get out the vote to protect the Senate majority and possibly take the House. What does Obama have to lose, he’s not running for anything?

  2. Kirk on 7/07/14 at 2:39 pm

    Backing away from the specific, internecine aspects it is easy to know what Pres. Obama will do.

    More energy = More wealth.

    Less = Poverty.

    Pres. Obama will side with poverty and chaos, every time. He will squelch Keystone.

  3. Steve S. on 7/07/14 at 10:40 pm

    TransCanada, and all who are sailing with her in this Keystone XL ship, have already reworked their economics on the basis that the pipeline is not going to be built until 2017. They pegged him as a gutless tool at least two years ago, and have just been playing a media game ever since.

    If the President attempts to play his Keystone chip the Republicans should tell him to take a hike. Tell him to put on his big-boy pants and make a freakin’ decision. If Obama says ‘go’ then the world is fine; if he says ‘no’ then they’ll deal with it in 2017 when there is a real President in office. Under absolutely no circumstances should the Republicans bargain anything whatsoever over Keystone. Let the President live with his own d**n legacy.

  4. jukin on 8/08/14 at 12:37 pm

    this is too easy. Obama will always do what hurts America the most or help our adversaries the most.

    He says NO to pipeline.