By Rebecca DiFede
In Jan., Obama made a big show of vehemently denying requests to build a Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created thousands of jobs and helped restore to the sluggish economy.
The funny thing is, Obama only controls three inches of the Keystone pipeline — the three inches that cross the US/Canada border. The majority of the pipeline, existing from the border to Alberta and from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX is out of his jurisdiction.
However despite that fact, he vetoed the entire project because he (and his environmental supporters) believe that those jobs, since they are going to support oil instead of his preferred “green” energy, the jobs are now “dirty”. He refused to even consider it, and even lobbied the Senate against it.
Last month TransCanada, the company behind the project revealed plans to move forward with the southern half of the Keystone pipeline without Obama’s permission. They don’t need his approval to start building in Cushing, which just so happens to be the president’s third stop on his two day energy tour.
On Thursday, President Obama has decided to “approve” the move, and release plans to supposedly cut the red tape and expedite construction of the pipeline. What a sudden change of heart from our illustrious president, especially because of the ardent public outrage he originally displayed for the issue.
As recently as Mar. 8, the president was lobbying against the GOP fast track bill for the Keystone XL pipeline and now, a mere 22 days later, he is giving the green light to the southern portion of the exact same project. One that, as we’ve already established, doesn’t need his approval to proceed.
I suppose in this pre-election time, Obama wants all the attention he can get, and this stunt is surely an attempt to win him favor with some on-the-fence Democrats. By giving a very public thumbs up to this project, he hopes that when it is finalized, he will get credit for making good on one of his promises. As if his too-little-too-late announcement is going to allow everyone to forget how much time and money he spent arguing for this project’s dismissal.
All ploys aside, this is a low move, even for him. President Obama’s seeming endorsement of TransCanada’s decision was summarized best by Brendan Buck, Press Secretary to Speaker John Boehner, who said: “This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license.” Or a mother telling her adult son not to get a tattoo, only to give her approval when he comes home with one.
Neither has the right to issue such an approval, and knows it, but feels the need to assert dominance anyway, as if to say “I see what you’re doing over there. No, I don’t like it. But hey, since you’re doing it anyway, who am I to stop you?”
The president just wants to focus attention on him, especially in the wake of the primaries, and he figured the best way to do it was to ride TransCanada’s bandwagon all the way to the polls. However this does pose one problem, he has become that which he has always aspired not to be: a flip-flopper.
Sure, he’s gone back and forth on issues before, all politicians do. But never before in his presidency has he gone on such a direct public tirade against an issue, only to give it credence once he realized he couldn’t stop it from being done.
He cannot stand to not have control of every aspect of America, and when TransCanada announced their plans to trudge into Oklahoma without him, waving their tails in his face as he visited the state, he had to fight back. He knew they didn’t need him, and feeling left out he gave them his “blessing”, framed by his ever-present Cheshire cat grin.
After all, in this administration, everyone’s mad here.
Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.