I like to think that while I am a very well informed person when it comes to US political news, I generally remain somewhat detached regarding what the latest artificially created crisis du jour facing the nation is. I find that regardless of what dire consequence both sides try to convince us will happen if the other side gets their way, life goes on, business as usual for the rest of us, and inevitably some compromise is reached which allows both sides to claim victory. It is a cycle I’ve seen play out so many times in my relatively short time on Earth that I find it quite comical. However, I do find my blood pressure rise ever so slightly when contemplating the mismanagement and lack of leadership in energy policy in this country. The recent Keystone XL Pipeline debacle is a perfect example of how DC politicians chose to put political posturing ahead of US energy security, national security and true environmental policy.
Here are some things I know and/or believe to be fact. First, I know to be fact there are thousands of miles of oil pipelines crisscrossing our nation at this exact moment. Also a fact, these pipelines pump a whole lot of oil through them every day, relatively uneventfully and with almost no negative ecological effect. Really, what is the big deal about an additional 1,700 miles, except to create a political issue to pander to various constituencies? This excuse from the Obama administration that they must do an even longer environmental impact study, longer than what they have already had seeing as how the project was proposed in 2008, is a lie. Finally, I believe to be fact that the approval and construction of this pipeline is inevitable… provided it is not too late. Let’s assume however, that the proposed Keystone Pipeline does not come to fruition, I will enumerate how everyone will come out a loser because of the antics of the people we have elected to office in Washington.
Beginning with the President, PresBO has placed himself in a very precarious position with his administration’s refusal to approve the necessary permit for construction to go forward. He is at the helm of an economy that is on life support. If this were a person, they would have harvested their organs for transplant already. The President is simply making himself look more and more foolish by the day, claiming to be concerned about the state of the economy and unemployment, yet choosing to pander to extremist environmental groups rather than approve a project that will create a lot of jobs and help perhaps ease some of the strain increasingly high energy prices are putting on our struggling economy. Unfortunately for him, Americans are no longer freaking out over this improbable idea that the SUV they drive is leading to the destruction of our planet. And another thing, it doesn’t take a Karl Rove-type political genius to realize that the same extremists he chooses to kowtow to will never, and I repeat NEVER, cast a vote for Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney, or whoever else the Republicans decide to nominate. That’s the thing about insane, single issue voters, why does any politician care about them except for in a primary? They make themselves irrelevant in a general election.
Next, the Republicans aren’t going to come out of this scot-free either. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a little political posturing and threatening, but one must be prepared if the person you are trying to force to do something isn’t willing to play along. And while it seems like PresBO’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL project would be an easy sell to the American public, who are paying over $3/gallon to fill their gas tanks, when many people aren’t even sure how they are going to feed their families, Republicans always fail to realize how their participation in the negotiations is going to be spun by the PresBO enamored media. Hasn’t it already begun? According to the administration, they were seriously considering granting the permit for the Keystone XL, but were not given the time to make a responsible and thoughtful decision. Did I mention it was originally proposed in 2008? So by forcing this deadline on the President, they essentially gave him an out so that he did not alienate one of his core constituencies, while also being able to blame Republicans for his inaction on a project that could actually improve our economy.
And now for the real losers from this whole idiotic situation, me, and you, and anyone else who drives a car or buys things. Congratulations, those are the people you elected to hopefully improve and protect your quality of life. Here is another fact, Canada may decide to construct this pipeline on their own soil to transport the oil to the West Coast where it can then be shipped to the Asian market where demand is actually higher than it is in the US. The Canadians have a resource that is in increasingly high demand, they will find a buyer. Unfortunately, our leaders simply aren’t serious about lessening our reliance on Middle Eastern oil, because if they were, they would facilitate the Keystone XL project rather than murder it.