A week has passed since President Obama made his shocking announcement delaying the Keystone XL pipeline decision until after the presidential election. The news has been met with cries of victory and sighs of disappointment, but the tactic shouldn’t have surprised anyone as it totally fits with his ideology.
Additionally, TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, handed the environmentalists a win.
First, we all know that the President is fundamentally opposed to all carbon-based fuels (think Solyndra, et al)—so the pipeline’s approval was a longshot. But it would have created thousands of true shovel-ready jobs without a dollar of taxpayer money—many of which would have been union (not to mention the spin-off jobs).
The pipeline’s approval would have made the unions happy, while angering the environmentalists. Two of Obama’s solid funders were in conflict—one shouting in one ear, the other in the other ear (drowning out the voice of the American public). Waiting for the decision, watchers wondered which base held more sway.
The delay announcement, however, is a possible fundraising coup.
In April, the President announced that he would raise a record-breaking $1 billion for his reelection campaign. To date, fundraising has not been as strong as expected.
In August, when the Environmental Impact Statement on the pipeline “reaffirmed the environmental integrity of the project,” environmental groups threatened to pull their support for President Obama in the upcoming election if he approved the project—some calling his environmental record disappointing and dismal. Because they have no place else to go, Obama expects them to stick with him.
Not only will environmentalists likely stick with the president, his apparent quandary invites their input—only this time, not in his ear, in his pocket.
We all know that President Obama is not immune to the influence of donors on his decisions. With less than twelve months until the 2012 election, both the unions and the environmentalists will be buying—oops, I mean vying for—his favor. While some are calling his punt indecisive or a debacle, it could be a brilliant fundraising tactic as both sides over-donate in support of their positions.
We also know that the Obama administration supports higher gas prices. The Keystone XL pipeline would have provided more stability in oil supply and pricing at a time when crude oil from Mexico and Venezuela is declining. The pipeline would have provided refiners in the Gulf region with a secure supply—and a supply from a friendly source. Less supply means higher prices. Without the XL pipeline on the horizon, prices are predicted to increase as they did following the delay announcement. Higher oil prices translate to higher prices at the pump. With the cover of environmental concerns as the cause, President Obama could put the pipeline off and raise gas prices without the average person realizing his responsibility for the increasing costs. With higher gasoline prices, the Government Motors Chevy Volt becomes more attractive—giving the president a win/win.
So President Obama chose to appease the environmental base and raise gas prices rather than to support the jobs that he claims to want. Additionally, the pipeline would have….
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