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With Keystone XL, Obama Mask Slips on Jobs, Energy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I have to admit that the blame falls squarely on the rest of us this time. Obama is not at fault here, even though his decision to scrap the Keystone pipeline- along with other energy and jobs mistakes- will probably cost him his job.

We’ve allowed Obama- and most other politicians- to continue to believe that we, collectively as a nation, are as stupid as they think we are. To Obama and his ilk, we’re all just hayseed bitter-clingers, clinging to our guns and religion or our union and our food stamps because we’re not as clever as Obama has been in parlaying our disaffection with ourselves into a career or a faith. 

And while Obama’s lack of faith in ordinary Americans is wrong, he does have a point, even if it’s cynical, too blunt and a little rusty.

Only 48.3 percent of people disapprove of the job Obama has done, while 46 percent actually approve of Obama’s complete disregard for our country’s interests, according to an average of polls by Real Clear Politics. This, even as 65.3 percent of the country thinks we’re on the wrong track.

The discrepancy is explained, I believe, because there are still some people in the middle who haven’t quite made up their mind about Obama. They’d like to like him because he’s president; they’ll give him every opportunity because he’s liberal; and they don’t want to offend anyone- because he’s black.  

Obama takes advantage of this benign ambivalence by speaking one way and then doing another- and some are taken-in by the act even though they do know better.

Of course Obama’s not the only politician who does one thing while saying another. 

But politicians- even Obama- don’t get off quite so easily with that trick when it comes to jobs, taxes and the economy, as the president will find out on the Keystone pipeline.

Saying one thing on energy and doing another is going to present a problem for Obama and his friends at re-election.

Because energy is jobs, taxes and the economy, all in one. If you deny energy development that creates jobs, fuels the economy and doesn’t involve federally-guaranteed bankruptcies, people- even liberal people- might notice. 

Since Obama first proposed another stimulus of half-a-trillion dollars back in August of 2011, he’s been campaigning like the only thing holding up job creation in the US is the act of writing a hot check with eleven zeroes after it.

He forgets to mention that we already spent a trillion dollars on stimulus measures- and more if you include bailouts and TARP and Fannie and Freddie- that created no jobs, no taxes, no growth and no energy. It truly was a do-nothing stimulus, as most conservatives pointed out it would be.

Americans still gave Obama some marks for good intentions on the stimulus, even if they subtracted marks for poor results.

He won’t get that kind of pass on his decision to kill the Keystone pipeline, which means he killed jobs, taxes and economic growth that would have cost the government nothing. The decision not to allow construction of the pipeline will cost American citizens a sum with eleven zeroes after it in lost wages, tax revenues, GDP growth and higher oil prices.

“Once again the President has sided with environmentalists instead of blue collar construction workers” said Terry O’Sullivan, head of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, whose workers expected to get the jobs Obama killed. Obama killed those jobs “even though environmental concerns were more than adequately addressed. Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this.”

Nor will ordinary Americans.

Newspapers across the country are editorializing against it. 

The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson wrote: “Rejecting the Keystone pipeline is an act of insanity.” Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, says “Obama made a decision that will deny the U.S. a reliable source of oil. Note that Canada has never threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz. Obama made a decision that will cost the U.S. good jobs. He seems to think those jobs will still be there when he gets around to making a decision on the pipeline. But they may well be gone for good.”

If you’re Obama, who cares?

Jobs, taxes and the economy are small change of the Change Obama and the liberal left want to bring to the world.

But don’t think the voters won’t begin to notice.

As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the green economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse. It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.

The only thing left then for those bitter climate clingers would be the shoddy science of Global Something-or-Another.  

Oil from tar sands, reports the BBC on the Keystone decision, “is so plentiful that full-scale development would seriously delay the transition to low-carbon alternative fuels,” which is the holy grail of the left.

Full scale development of tar sands can only be stopped by taxing oil out of existence, like was tried with cap and trade.  Cape and trade was never about trying to cool the earth. It was about giving "green" technologies a competitive advantage over fossil fuels that free markets won't conceed.    

The Atlantic echoes the theme:

The Keystone XL is merely on hold, and oil from all sorts of other "dirty" situations continues to flow into our gas tanks…. We need to stop fighting oil development project by project -- and instead focus on passing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (which could make the Keystone XL economically unviable).

And the New York Times goes further, stating: “Far more important to the nation’s energy and environmental future is the development of renewable and alternative energy sources. This is the winning case that Mr. Obama should make to voters in rejecting the Republicans’ craven indulgence of Big Oil.”

But voters won’t vote for that argument, as Obama well knows. So he says one thing, and does another.

Americans want jobs, and cheap, reliable sources of energy. And Obama said he wanted those things for America too.

But the contrast between Obama’s reckless spending of a trillion dollars that created no jobs and his prevention of private capital investment that can create many jobs has let the mask slip. Obama doesn’t care about jobs if jobs don’t mesh with his ideology. He wants the America that he wants, not the one you and I create every day.  

And that frames perfectly what the 2012 presidential election is all about- even if Obama won’t admit it.

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