President Obama’s decision on Tuesday to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry “dirty” oil from Canadian tar sands to American refineries, drew the expected response from familiar corners. The vocal green fringe is ecstatic; the Canadians are disappointed; and the entire Republican Party is quietly celebrating this ready-made political club for use in the coming election.Yet even on the Left, it appears that Obama is losing some ground on this issue. The Washington Post editorial board, not generally known for its “red meat” conservative tastes, has joined the growing chorus of critics, accusing Obama of making a boneheaded political ploy that will help neither the economy nor the environment:
We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question. Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen—with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground—but it would go to China. And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude—just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.
As the WaPo goes, so goes the nation? President Obama’s upper middle class liberal progressive political instincts are his biggest weakness in a general election campaign. Decisions like this will put Indiana out of reach and significantly reduce the President’s chances in Ohio.