Saturday, December 17, 2011

Keystone Pipeline and Latest "jobs" Bill

The Democrat controlled Senate passed a two month extension of the payroll tax cut and an unemployment benefits extension. Although touted as a jobs bill, this will do little to help the economy. The payroll tax cut has so far done nothing, and will continue to do nothing except bring the day of reckoning on social security much sooner. That this doesn't produce cognitive dissonance at the AARP is beyond me and shows how deeply they are embedded with the Democratic party.

However, the Republicans managed to get a provision into the bill forcing the administration's hand on the Keystone XL pipeline. I was wondering how the left might spin this, and was surprised at the pretty realistic coverage by Joan McCarter at DailyKos:
Of course this doesn't mean that construction on the pipeline itself will be expedited, it's just intended to make Obama look bad at the beginning of an election year. When it's denied, as the State Department has already said would happen if forced to have to decide in just 60 days, Republicans can screech about his killing jobs. If he overrules the State Department, a possible but unlikely outcome, then Republicans can watch his base explode. Their favorite pastime.

Of course Joan doesn't remember the first Bush years, and all of the Reagan administration, where this was the favorite pastime of Democrats. It's a healthy part of the political system, because it forces choices on the parties and makes them say what they stand for. This is why being in power is hard, you can't equally please all parts of your coalition. In this case Obama will be forced to choose between his base of enviro-greenies and labor. I think that he will still try to finesse the deal, but it will be a test of how badly he wants to be re-elected. My guess is that because he does desire re-election, he will stiff the greens, because they have nowhere to go, and ensure labor support, because they have cash and boots on the ground.


  1. Considering the four figure sum of jobs to be created versus the truly vast loathing for tar sands by the environmental movement or anyone who 'gets it' on climate change. I can see which way this will be pushed.

  2. I also think the economic argument will prevail in the end. After all, new jobs are needed more than ever and looking at the current studies that reveal the growing importance of the energy sector in Canada and in the US as well I think Obama will do everything to accelerate the economic recovery.