Erika Johnsen

As Guy pointed out last week, the Obama administration's decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is a practically giftwrapped opportunity for Republicans to pummel the President on his colossal failure to immediately invite private-sector job creation and economic growth into the USA -- highly hypocritical of him given his recent "We Can't Wait" motto. Knowing the potentiality for an election-year PR nightmare is in the works, I'm sure, the White House is hoping to beat Republicans to the punch:

White House and campaign officials are parrying attacks on Keystone by offering a broader defense of Obama’s record on oil-and-gas, pointing to increased production in recent years and steps the administration is taking to expand development.

“President Obama has pursued a comprehensive energy strategy that has increased our domestic energy production, reduced our dependence on foreign oil to below 50 percent for the first time in 13 years and supported more than 224,000 clean energy jobs,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement

Meanwhile, Heather Zichal, Obama’s energy and climate adviser, wrote an op-ed in USA Today and a post on the White House blog last week defending the decision.

She sought to undercut Republican claims that Obama’s rejection of the pipeline shows that the administration isn’t making creating new jobs a top priority. The GOP says Keystone would create 20,000 construction jobs and hundreds of thousands of other jobs over the life of the project.

Recovery Act investments in clean energy “have created hundreds of thousands of jobs and spurred thousands of clean energy projects across the country,” Zichal wrote on the White House blog Wednesday.

She added that the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program has helped finance 40 energy projects that will create 60,000 jobs, and, disputing industry and GOP claims about Keystone’s jobs potential, said the pipeline would create only a “few thousand” temporary jobs. ...

“So, before they engage in more political theater, they should take a look at the important bipartisan proposals on their desk that will strengthen the middle class, create jobs and improve the economy,” she said.

Political theater, indeed! If you can't get behind the philosophy that the federal government (read: taxpayers) should not be financing green energy ventures in the first place, just look at the results: there are at least twelve Solyndra-esque projects that have robbed the public coffers floating around out there; the growing employment in the energy sector is coming from oil and gas; and our decreased dependence on foreign oil has little to do with green energy (hint: we're in a recession. We're consuming less oil.).  The Obama administration minions are the ones engaged in more political theater here, just doing what they do best: pretending that government-backed, politically-appealing, clean green energy investment has had any significant role in driving economic growth.


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.