Let's review: President Obama unilaterally killed the Keystone XL pipeline, a privately-funded project that would have created thousands of American jobs and decreased our reliance on energy from hostile nations. When Congress moved to override his terrible decision, he personally lobbied members of his own party to hold the line and bury it. But with Americans laboring under punishingly high energy prices -- which he and his administration ideologically support -- Obama is starting to feel the political heat. Something must be done. That 'something' turns out to be an ingeniously shameless piece of political Kabuki theater:
President Barack Obama plans to announce in Cushing, Oklahoma, on Thursday that his administration will expedite the permit for the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, a source familiar with the president's announcement told CNN. Late last month, TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, announced it would move forward with the process to build the southern half of the pipeline, which would begin in Cushing - the president's third stop on his two-day energy tour. The White House praised the move.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner balked at the idea that President Obama could claim credit for speeding up the approval process of the southern segment of the pipeline. “This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license,” Brendan Buck said. “There is only a minor, routine permit needed for this leg of the project. Only a desperate administration would inject the President of the United States into this trivial matter. The President’s attempt to take credit for a pipeline he blocked and personally lobbied Congress against is staggering in its dis-ingenuousness. This portion of the pipeline is being built in spite of the President, not because of him.”
Allahpundit puts this presidential "action" in context:
TransCanada announced weeks ago that it was planning to start building the southern half of the pipeline by late spring or early summer at the latest. It doesn’t even need approval from the State Department to do so because no international boundary is implicated. All it needs are regulatory approvals from whichever federal agencies are in charge here. (Bureaucracy being what it is, no one’s quite sure yet who that might be.) All The One is doing here is making sure there’s a little less red tape in the way of a project that’s already a fait accompli.
Incredible. He showed up to smile and wave at the cameras ("see, America, I care") in an effort to make it seem like he's doing something meaningful to alleviate high gas prices. What he's actually doing is magnanimously blessing a private company's project that was going to happen anyway, and that does not require presidential approval. What a guy! This stunt ranks right up there with this administration's series of head-fakes on energy messaging and its faux "accomodation" on the birth control mandate. Make no mistake: They do these things because they think you're too stupid to see what's up. They'd better hope this round of trickery works better than their last one, an aspiration that may be complicated by pesky ads like this from American Crossroads:
Public support for the Keystone pipeline has reached lofty, super-majority heights. Good news, America: The president now "supports" it, too! What a joke.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography