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Editorials Castigate Obama"s Keystone Rejection As "The Most Craven Sort Of Election-Year Politics" | Missouri Political News Service

Editorials Castigate Obama”s Keystone Rejection As “The Most Craven Sort Of Election-Year Politics”

January 23rd, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Trying to find any sense in President Obama’s stunning rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and the 20,000 jobs it would have created, columnist Robert Samuelson writes today, “It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and — beyond the symbolism — won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his re-election that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.”

Indeed, many other observers have criticized President Obama for his placement of electoral politics of American jobs and energy security with this decision. The Houston Chronicle editorialized yesterday, “President Barack Obama has made a shockingly shortsighted decision by rejecting a go-ahead for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. By doing so, Obama has openly proclaimed the primacy of his own re-election over the nation’s long-term energy and economic security. . . . The truth is, [Keystone] offends a key Obama constituency, green voters. And so the president has done their bidding rather than allow Keystone to do its important work of strengthening our economy and national security by providing energy from our reliable friend and neighbor Canada in amounts that could replace half of that provided by the tinderbox known as the Mideast.”

The Wall Street Journal pointed out, “Keystone XL has been planned for years and only became a political issue after the well-to-do environmental lobby decided to make it a station of the green cross.” And the Chicago Tribune added, “Blocking construction of the Keystone pipeline became the No. 1 objective of the green lobby, which raised concerns that construction and operation would pollute aquifers and destroy wildlife habitats. There just isn’t much evidence for those threats, though.”

The USA Today editors were particularly blunt: “What’s really going on here, of course, is the most craven sort of election-year politics. The Obama administration seemed to be on its way to approving Keystone when environmental groups made the pipeline a key test of their support for the president, who suddenly decided the administration couldn’t possibly make a decision until sometime after the election.”

Samuelson emphasizes, “By law, Obama’s decision was supposed to reflect ‘the national interest.’ His standard was his political interest.” As Politico’s Morning Energy reported on Thursday, “Environmentalists were thrilled with the decision, calling it the work of the man they went to the mat for in 2008 and predicted the president’s decision will pay dividends in 2012. ‘I think it shores up his base definitely,’ says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.”

The WSJ editors pointed out, “Environmentalists seem to think they can prevent the development of Canada’s oil-rich tar sands, and that their rallies against Keystone XL will keep that carbon in the ground. They can’t, and it won’t. America’s largest trading partner will simply build a pipeline to the Pacific coast from Alberta and sell its petroleum products to Asia instead, China in particular.” They wrote, “Such green delusions are sad, and Mr. Obama’s pandering is sadder, though everything the country stands to lose is saddest.”



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