This polling nugget isn't so much newsworthy as it is timely. Americans have strongly and consistently supported green-lighting the Keystone pipeline for years. It would create thousands of American jobs, please our Canadian allies, and support North American energy production. It's a privately-funded, shovel-ready infrastructure project that won't cost US taxpayers a dime. And not only has the State Department repeatedly concluded that its environmental impact would be negligible, studies show that it would lead to fewer carbon emissions and carry less risk of a spill than other methods of transporting fuel. But a handful of powerful lobbyists and monied special interests vehemently oppose the project for ideological (and perhaps other) reasons, so our "not particularly ideological" president is slamming the breaks on it. Team Obama couldn't shut this thing down prior to the elections without hanging members of his party out to dry, so he waited. Now he's a lame duck; the coast is finally clear, and Tom Steyer's money talks -- so out comes the veto pen to strike down what will be the first, wildly popular, bipartisan act of the new Congress:
Dozens of Congressional Democrats joined Republicans to approve the pipeline in legislation that passed by large margins (266-153 in the House, and 62-32 in a key Senate test vote). One of the White House's go-to excuses also bit the dust last week, rendering the president's position even less defensible, yet unchanged:
Nebraska's Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that struck down a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state, potentially clearing the way for the construction of the controversial project. The ruling shifts the focus on the issue back to Washington, where a GOP-led Congress has vowed to send a bill approving the pipeline to President Obama's desk. The administration previously said it would allow the legal process in Nebraska to play out before rendering a decision on the project, and the White House signaled this week it would veto any congressional attempt to force the president's hand.
Our Canadian friends' patience is reportedly wearing thin:
he White House confirmed Thursday that Canada has postponed the North American Leaders Summit scheduled for next month but would not say whether tension over the Keystone XL oil pipeline is the reason. Canada, this year’s summit host, announced Thursday that the summit will be held later in 2015, though no exact date has been set. Some Canadian media outlets, such as the Toronto Sun, reported that the meeting was rescheduled because of President Obama’s continued indecision on Keystone, which the Canadian government strongly supports. The Canadian government for years has consistently and publicly urged Mr. Obama to approve the project.
But remember, this president is all about "what works," and routinely avers that he's open to good ideas, regardless of their provenance. The chief White House spokesman says that Obama's unwillingness to sign a consensus piece of bipartisan legislation is, if anything, further proof of Congress' unwillingness to work with him, or something. So labor unions, construction workers and the Canadian government will be forced to wait for yet more interminable "studies." I'll leave you with George Will's column on the subject, which says the Keystone saga has been useful in exposing Obama's singular close-mindedness and deep ideology, both betrayals of the persona on which he rose to national prominence.