I meant to get to this the other day but I read it while I was traveling back and forth to London and just couldn’t sit long enough to write anything. This is yet another one of the things that has fueled my cynicism and disgust with the elitists and most of the members of what is perhaps the most inept, tone deaf and incompetent political class in the history of this country.
Much like Bill and Ted, Obama has been on an XLent adventure and thank goodness that the New York Times is there to chronicle it or we would never know who the villains of this story were.
Joe Nocera, a predictable Obama sycophant, writing in the New York Times on Monday, uses the typical “progressive” logic to explain Obama’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. Nocera appears to want to pin the tail on the Obamadonkey but just can’t quite bring himself to do it. He captures every point correctly but knits together a fantasy tale where Obama isn’t to blame and even while pointing out all the reasons why it is Obama’s fault, Nocera just can’t quite connect the dots.
Let’s help him.
First, even Nocera gets the importance of Keystone XL, by pointing out out that:
Along with the natural gas that can now be extracted thanks to hydraulic fracturing — which, of course, all right-thinking environmentalists also oppose — the oil from the Canadian tar sands ought to be viewed as a great gift that has been handed to North America. These two relatively new sources of fossil fuels offer America its first real chance in decades to become, if not energy self-sufficient, at least energy secure, no longer beholden to OPEC.
He also hits on another salient point – Canada is:
…a staunch American ally that has historically sold us virtually all of its crude exports. Over the past two decades, energy companies have invested tens of billions of dollars in the tar sands, so much so that Canada now ranks No. 3 in estimated oil reserves.
He was rolling the rock down the right hill for a short while, but using that vaunted “progressive logic”, his train of thought comes completely off the rails:
I also understand that the Republican decision to force Obama’s hand was a political stunt, allowing them to denounce his decision during the campaign. As Jennifer Steinhauer put it in The Times recently, “Republicans are framing Keystone as an urgent jobs and energy project at a time of high unemployment and creeping gasoline prices.”
Predictably, it is the Republican’s fault. Leaving aside the facts that 1) it is a job creating project and we do have high unemployment, 2) we do need the energy from a friendly neighbor and 3) gas prices ARE at a historical high and more supply makes energy cheaper, simply requiring the administration just to make a decision is seen as a bad thing. Actually, the Republicans are “framing” the situation accurately and with precision. The mean old Republicans had the temerity to force the president to make a quick decision on a pipeline project that 1) would mostly run along a path where there are already existing pipelines, even over the Ogallala Aquifer and 2) has only been under consideration by the State Department for three years (that last bit was sarcasm).
Nocera parrots the Obama line, as Obama himself used this excuse in his announcement of the rejection, blaming Republicans for imposing a “rushed and arbitrary deadline” which he said did not give officials enough time.
So how is it more of a “political stunt” for the Republicans to force a simple decision on a project that has been pending for three years than Obama postponing a decision on that same project until after an election that was over a year away? Nothing political there, no sir…move along, folks. Nothing to see here…
Nocera gets the answer right, the decision was thoroughly and completely political:
I realize that President Obama rejected Keystone because, politically, he had no choice. My guess is that, in his centrist heart of hearts, the president wanted to approve it. But to give the go-ahead before the election was to risk losing the support of the environmentalists who make up an important part of his base.
But sadly and yet typical for a “progressive”, he gets the reason wrong:
Surely, though, what the Keystone decision really represents is the way our poisoned politics damages the country. Environmental concerns notwithstanding, America will be using oil — and lots of it — for the foreseeable future. It is the fundamental means by which we transport ourselves, whether by air, car or truck. Where do we get that oil? Mostly from countries that don’t like us, like Venezuela, which has the world’s second-largest oil reserves.
It has nothing to do with “poisoned politics”- it was nothing but a bad decision, one that will hurt the entire country, made by a president for a pure and unadulterated political reason – his reelection. He calculated that two political factions – the environmental movement and the “green” energy money men – mean more to his campaign than regular Americans (and even the union workers that would have undoubtedly been employed on this project). Apparently Obama gaining a second term is even more important than the energy security of this nation or lower energy prices (costs which hit the poor disproportionately hard – I suppose BHO will soon be proposing a federal gas pump subsidy program for the poor to offset the higher gas prices that he caused).
In a typical example of “progressive” alternate reality generation , by blaming the Republicans and “poisoned politics”, Nocera can construct a “reality” where Obama and his supporters can’t be blamed and the Republicans. I mean, how can you blame the Immaculate President for things that he can’t control? It is sort of a “Bush’s fault” meme – but since they can’t use Bush anymore, they gin up a condition that must have been caused by Bush’s party.
But even Nocera eventually stumbles on the truth:
As it turns out, the environmental movement doesn’t just want to shut down Keystone. Its real goal, as I discovered when I spoke recently to Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, is much bigger. “The effort to stop Keystone is part of a broader effort to stop the expansion of the tar sands,” Brune said. “It is based on choking off the ability to find markets for tar sands oil.”
This is a ludicrous goal. If it were to succeed, it would be deeply damaging to the national interest of both Canada and the United States. But it has no chance of succeeding. Energy is the single most important industry in Canada. Three-quarters of the Canadian public agree with the Harper government’s diversification strategy. China’s “thirst” for oil is hardly going to be deterred by the Sierra Club. And the Harper government views the continued development of the tar sands as a national strategic priority.
So let’s, see here – Obama makes a bad, politically motivated decision that even Nocera recognizes will hurt America while satisfying a faction that he needs for reelection but wants to kill this energy form in any way possible – but he can’t be blamed because it is due to the Republicans creating a poisoned political environment. Then he states:
Thus, at least one country in North America understands where its national interests lie. Too bad it’s not us.
So, to complete the exoneration of Obama, the amorphous and ubiquitous “us” is to blame. Not anyone in specific – not Obama, not the Democrats, not the environmentalists who openly state their goal of killing this form of energy in any form – it is “us”.
It would seem to me that Republicans do, in fact, understand where our national interests lie. That’s why they supported the pipeline and why they forced a decision after the Obama administration kicked the can down the road for three years and were going for four.
It would also seem that Nocera should recognize that what Obama and the Democrats did was wrong and the Republicans were right.
To take this path to exonerate and insulate Obama from blame is the worst form of hypocrisy – but that is what the New York Times is all about these days.
No wonder my cynicism meter is pegging the needle to the max.