By Rick Manning
Who would have guessed that the November 4 election results would break the logjam on an issue that pits North American energy independence and radical environmentalists determined to stop the use of fossil fuels?
Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana did not lose on election day, but she also did not win. Due to Louisiana’s unique jungle election system, the state has a run-off on December 6 that will determine whether Landrieu maintains her seat.
While most political pundits are predicting Landrieu’s political demise, Senate Democrats are desperate to retain the seat. They are so desperate that they plan to bring up a vote on the Senate floor on legislation directing that the Keystone XL pipeline be completed.
Louisiana is an energy producing state, and the pipeline from Canada has come to symbolize the Obama Administration’s war on energy. Landrieu’s entire campaign has revolved around her supposed clout as Chairman of the key Committee handling energy issues. The multi-year failure of the Obama Administration to approve what was initially seen as a simple request, and Landrieu’s inability to have any influence over that decision has decimated the legitimacy of Landrieu’s claim to power.
Now, with her career on the line, Senate Democrats are attempting to restore her illusion of influence.
Countering the Senate action, House Republicans are moving forward with legislation sponsored by Cassidy that will authorize the project.
After years of Obama Administration delays, it now appears that the project’s approval will be on the President’s desk before Thanksgiving.
The only question that will remain is whether Obama values Landrieu’s place in the Senate more than he values his place at Al Gore’s table.
Senate Democrats should watch Obama’s actions warily. Nothing could be more dangerous for an elected Member of Congress than a lame duck President who proves that he doesn’t care about their political needs while he recklessly seeks a legacy based upon Executive Orders and Constitutional disregard.
Should Obama veto the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline it will send an unmistakable notice to every sitting Democrat that they should trust and follow Obama over the next two years at their own risk.
It may just turn out that Mary Landrieu becomes the poster Senator for the dangers of getting to close to the self-absorbed Obama presidency.
Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.