(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/11/r1.jpg)The ongoing theatrics surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline continued in earnest Tuesday. Desperate Democrat incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) spent the afternoon trying to secure the critical 60th vote necessary for the filibuster-proof majority that would get the legislation through the Senate and onto Obama’s desk, while her fellow Democrats weighed the pros and cons of alienating their radical environmentalist constituency. Democrats chose to stand with the radicals, defeating the bill by a 59-41 vote.
By the middle of the afternoon, Landrieu’s chances of winning over one more Democrat looked increasingly slim. Every one of the Senate’s 45 Republicans were on board, but Democrat support that included those who cosponsored Landrieu’s bill, as well as those who had publicly voiced their commitment to its passage, brought the overall total to 59 votes. On Monday, two Senators Landrieu thought she might flip, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Carl Levin (D-MI), both reaffirmed their intention to vote against the project. They were joined Tuesday by Sen. Angus King (I-ME). “Congress is not – nor should it be – in the business of legislating the approval or disapproval of a construction project,” he said in a news release.
Landrieu’s motives were politically transparent. She faces a Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, and her ongoing effort to get Keystone through the Senate was aimed at demonstrating her political clout as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee. Yet despite a long speech made within minutes of the lame-duck session beginning last Wednesday, during which she contended Keystone was “clearly supported by sixty or more members of this body,” her message ultimately failed to resonate with her Democrat colleagues.
Landrieu’s future is likely to mirror the Senate vote. On Election Day she was the frontrunner in a four-way race against three Republicans, including Cassidy, Rob Maness and Thomas Clements. Yet she only secured 42 percent of the vote, necessitating the runoff against Cassidy, who finished a point behind. More tellingly, Landrieu finished well behind the overall Republican vote total of 56 percent.
Since that day, a series of inconvenient realities have further diminished Landrieu’s chances of getting reelected. When the GOP takes control of the Senate in January, Landrieu, assuming she survives, will be forced to relinquish her post as chairwoman of the Energy Committee. It was that power position that provided much of the impetus for her campaign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pushed the knife in deeper, promising to put Cassidy on the Energy Committee if he wins. Cassidy also sponsored the House version of the pipeline bill that elicited overwhelming support in the GOP-controlled chamber, sailing through on a 252-161 vote.
In other words, Cassidy prevailed while Landrieu failed.
Adding to Landrieu’s woes, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has virtually abandoned spending any money on her runoff election, canceling more than $1.8 million worth of broadcast buys, even as the National Republican Senatorial Committee (RNSC) remains on track to spend $2.3 million on broadcast ads to put Cassidy over the top. It shows. Of the 26 surveys cited by Real Clear Politics, Cassidy leads in 20, Landrieu in 5, with one tie. The Senate vote will undoubtedly make those numbers worse for Landrieu. If Cassidy wins the runoff, the GOP will have gained 9 Senate seats in the 2014 mid-term election.
The number nine is also one that puts the lie to the media-promulgated notion that Republicans are the “obstructionist” party: the House’s latest vote to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline marks the ninth time they have done so. The eight prior approvals were sent to the Senate where the nation’s foremost obstructionist, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, allowed them to languish over the course of the last four years. The Wall Street Journal mocks Reid’s sudden interest in a pipeline vote he has routinely thwarted. “Call it the Save Mary Landrieu Act of 2014,” the paper states.
Reid is not alone. Liberal Democrats who worship at the Church of Global Warming are also against the pipeline being built. One of them, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) sent an email blast to his supporters asking them to sign a petition rejecting the project. All of them are beholden to the radical environmentalists, including protesters who swarmed Landrieu’s Capitol Hill townhouse on Monday, as well as big-bucks donors like California billionaire Tom Steyer, who ended up spending $74 million to support a “green” agenda and oppose Keystone.
Steyer’s hypocrisy is monumental. Prior to his “green conversion” he was one of the world’s largest funders of coal projects. He is also an unabashed rent-seeker. At one point his hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, had $40 million invested in Kinder Morgan, an entity building a competitor to Keystone. That revelation elicited a promise to sell his stock shares and donate the profits to charity. Regardless, Democrats—the very same ones who rail about corrupting effect of too much money in politics – stand with him and a raft of other donors who have, as the _WSJ_ puts it, “made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats.”
It is a litmus test wholly embraced by President Obama, who has spent six years stonewalling the project, hiding behind the excuse that he wants the State Department’s seemingly endless environmental evaluations to continue. That would be the same State Department that released a review last January revealing there would be no significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions if the pipeline were approved because the oil will be produced regardless of America’s involvement or lack thereof. Nonetheless, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated Tuesday Obama would veto the project, irrespective of the Senate vote. “There is a process that’s underway that’s going through it’s regular course.” he said. “The State Department is the proper venue for reaching this determination.”
Obama himself indicated his opposition as well during a speech in Burma on Nov. 14 when he insisted that ”we should judge this pipeline based on whether or not it accelerates climate change or whether it helps the American people with their energy costs and their gas prices,” further insisting he has to “constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States, or is somehow lowering gas prices.”
The first bit puts Obama at odds with uncomfortable reality. There’s been no global warming for over 18 years, the oil will be obtained and sold even if it ends up in China, and Obama himself has promised to continue forging ahead with an agenda that would cause energy prices to “skyrocket.” Moreover despite the private enterprise fracking boom, (which Obama likes to take credit for, even though he had nothing to do with it) America still imports nearly 30 percent of its oil. This leaves us vulnerable to a cadre of South American and Middle East thugs who yearn for our demise—and use oil revenues to facilitate it.
The last bit seemingly puts the president at odds with the State Department, which estimates 42,000 direct and indirect jobs generating about $2 billion in earnings would be created during the construction phase of the pipeline. After the construction, only around 50 permanent jobs would remain, primarily for maintenance.
Perhaps more to the point is the president’s effort to rather casually dismiss part time jobs. Obama is the same president who was touting his administration’s job creation efforts in 2013—despite the fact that 75 percent of _all_ net jobs created that year were part time.
Despite the Senate’s rejection, the American public stands firmly behind Keystone. A USA Today survey shows they support the construction of the pipeline by a whopping margin, with 60 percent in favor, versus 25 percent who oppose it. A Pew survey reveals almost identical support at 59 percent overall, but Democrat support has dropped from 54 percent to 43 percent since 2013.
Republicans have also made up their minds. While Obama is off the veto hook temporarily, there is no doubt whatsoever a Republican-controlled Congress will send a continuing stream of bills his desk approving the pipeline, forcing him to veto them over and over again. Or perhaps once a soon-to-be Democratic congressional minority gets more time to reflect on their second electoral wipeout in four years, as well as the politics involved in the 2016 races, they might conclude that defying a president who told the electorate they were running on his policies in the mid-terms is the sensible thing to do.
In other words, a veto-proof majority approving the pipeline might be a possibility.
An Associated Press story on alternative energy sources demonstrates why. The highly-touted Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the world’s largest of it type, is producing only half the amount of energy its green cheerleaders predicted it would. Why? “The sun isn’t shining as much as expected,” the AP reports. “Factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather have had a greater impact on the plant than the owners anticipated,” the California Energy Commission said in a statement. In other words, as far as radical environmentalists are concerned, whether or not American have enough electricity to light their homes should be based on accurate, long-term weather predictions–and fewer jets flying overhead. One suspects most Americans want a tad more reliability than that.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.
Leave a Reply