"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Obama Delay On Keystone XL “A Poorly Disguised Political Punt”; Is Obama Putting His Job Over Jobs In The Heartland?

December 1st, 2011 by mopns · No Comments


The AP reported yesterday, “Angered by President Barack Obama’s delay of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada, Senate Republicans are moving to force him to act. A bill introduced Wednesday by 37 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would require the administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days, unless the president declares the project is not in the national interest. The State Department decided on Nov. 10 to delay the project until 2013, after the presidential election . . . . McConnell, R-Ky., called the $7 billion pipeline the ultimate ‘shovel-ready’ project and said it could create as many as 20,000 jobs.”

In fact, Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO’s building and Construction Trades Department, agreed in a piece for The Huffington Post last month. Ayers wrote, “For America’s skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS. . . . Throughout America’s Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect. . . .”

Yet, as the AP notes, “The pipeline project has divided labor groups eager for the jobs it would create from environmentalists and other traditional Democratic allies who oppose the pipeline as an ecological disaster waiting to happen.”

Indeed, environmentalists have been vocal in their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. McClatchy reported in early November, “Thousands of protesters encircled the White House Sunday in a show of numbers intended to persuade President Barack Obama to stop a proposed oil pipeline from being built. . . . Environmentalists say the project is a key test of Obama’s environmental credentials. Protesters first heard from prominent environmentalists, a preacher, a Nobel laureate, and a movie star, and then gathered to hold hands in a ring that stretched in front of the White House and several blocks down sidestreets before joining behind the White House lawn. Organizers estimated that the crowd exceeded 10,000 people.”

Politico noted at the time, “Activists fighting a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline brought their message to the White House on Sunday: Their support for President Barack Obama next year is not a foregone conclusion. . . . And they said at the protest that no matter the decision that Obama makes, the pipeline will not disappear during the election. Rather than turning out to support Obama, activists would continue to push the president; instead of knocking on doors,, student and retired activists will continue challenging the campaign and interrupting fundraisers, organizers said. . . . No doubt the administration faces a party divided on the pipeline.”

So when President Obama decided to delay a decision until after the election, the Houston Chronicle editorialized, “The Obama administration’s decision to postpone a ruling on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline till 2013 is a poorly disguised political punt. The ruling has 2012 presidential politics written all over it, despite the environmental reasons given. By delaying a decision on the $7 billion project, which is ‘shovel-ready’ and would immediately produce an estimated 20,000 well-paying jobs in this country, Obama has avoided offending environmentalists on his party’s left, a key fund-raising and voting bloc.”

The Hill pointed out today, “The pipeline delay was a victory for environmentalists that had said approval would sap their energy to mobilize on Obama’s behalf in next year’s election.” And the AP adds, “[McConnell] and other Republicans called Obama’s decision to delay the project transparently political and said Obama had put his reelection above job creation. ‘This is politics, pure and simple,’ said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports:National Poll: Gingrich 45% Obama 43%

Mother Jones: Barack Obama Has, on Average, Attended a Fundraiser Every Five Days in 2011

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