Guy Benson


The news hook for the segment below was a letter signed by 11 purple and red state Democrats essentially begging President Obama to finally approve the Keystone Pipeline -- which should be a political slam dunk for the many reasons we've explicated in the past. Our Ideologue-in-Chief has declined to make the easy call because of the repeatedly-refuted and -addressed concerns of leftist environmental ideologues. Enough of the game of footsie, these Senators are basically saying, we need this win:

Eleven Senate Democrats, including six who face contested races this year, urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of May. The five-year review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline has been "exhaustive in its time, breadth and scope" and has taken longer than reasonably justified, the senators wrote to the president. Approval of the pipeline is needed to ensure pipeline operator TransCanada does not miss another construction season, the senators' letter said. But politics likely is a larger factor. Six of the Democrats who signed the letter face challenges this year: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, John Walsh of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia.

I discussed the issue with a pro-Keystone Democrat on Fox News, laying out the basics of the White House's political quandary:



As I said on the air, Obama surely wants to hand vulnerable Democrats a victory they can trumpet back home -- plus the creation of thousands of jobs would be nice. But on the other side of the equation are left-wing "green" billionaires who are bankrolling the Democratic Party. It could be very bad for business to cross them on their pet issue. Also, Dems are already worried sick about turnout problems among their core base in 2014. Can they afford to demoralize a key group of largely single-issue voters? So far, it looks like the money men and hardcore activists are still winning:


The White House on Thursday rejected a push by 11 Senate Democrats — including several facing tough reelection fights in November — for President Obama to make a final decision on whether to approve the the Keystone XL pipeline by May 31. The lawmakers made their case for a "definitive timeline" in a letter to Obama on Thursday. They called on the president to use his executive authority to approve TransCanada's permit application for the pipeline that would deliver oil from the tar sands of northwest Canada to the Gulf Coast. "Our position on that process hasn't changed, which is that it needs to run its appropriate course without interference from the White House or Congress," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.


But if the polls continue to look bleak in the early summer, I wouldn't be surprised to see Obama finally give this project the green light as a Hail Mary-style lifeline.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography