Obama's Keystone Rejection Shows Election-Year Politics Trumps Jobs

If you follow Washington long enough you’ll be forced to fall into one of two camps: the cynical or the morosely depressed.

The former tries its best to laugh in the face of dysfunction, carrying some nugget of belief, however small, that eventually what is good for America will become the standard by which actions are judged. This follows pretty closely to the line by Winston Churchill that “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing . . . after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

The latter has simply dispensed with all hope. These are probably the smarter of the bunch. They follow PJ O’Rourke’s mantra that “the mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.”

I, for better or worse, fall into the cynic category. And the only thing keeping me from falling into total despair (beyond the chance of seeing Obama beaten in 10 months) is the Scale of Political Dysfunction. It doesn’t fix anything, but it at least provides me with some entertainment when Obama does things like squash the Keystone XL Pipeline, because, well, three years just wasn’t enough to study the issue.

The Political Dysfunction scale is scored along the following guidelines:

  • The topic in any way relates to whether or not to spend money: 100 points
  • It requires John Boehner and Harry Reid to be in the same room together: 25 points
  • If the Administration holds a press conference to explain his views: 50
  • If Jay Carney uses the words “gorilla dust” in said press conference: 250

    "Can you take me seriously with this face? No seriously."
  • It makes Rachel Maddow say the word “bullpuckey”: 200
  • The issue is covered by the Daily Show: 300 points
  • …And makes John Stewart slip into the accent of an old Jewish woman: 100 points
  • President Obama convenes a counsel to discuss the issue: 100
  • President Obama subsequently acts like the counsel and its recommendations were nothing more than a discarded West Wing story idea: 300

As you can see it is fairly unscientific.

Nevertheless, the past week has witnessed the single most ridiculous example of Obama’s  newfound “I-don’t-care-about-jobs-or-really-even-good-policy-if-it-gets-in-the-way-of-my-reelection-bid” stance that I’ve ever seen.

So what am I talking about?

Here’s a snippet of the report from Obama’s Jobs Council, ya know the one that he convened and handpicked the people to serve on:

“Continuing to deliver inexpensive and reliable energy is going to require the United States to optimize all of its natural resources and obstruct pathways (pipelines, transmission and distribution) to deliver electricity and fuel. The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

And here’s the headline from the next freakin’ day: Obama Rejects Keystone Oil Pipeline.

Um. Say what? Sure the Jobs Council didn’t use the words Keystone XL, but how much do they have to spell it out for ya? I’m literally speechless. Fortunately, others weren’t. Check out some of these snippets:

  • “What’s really going on here, of course, is the most craven sort of election-year poltics.” – USA Today
  • “President Barack Obama has made a shockingly shortsighted decision by rejecting a go-ahead for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. By doing so, Obama has openly proclaimed the primacy of his own re-election over the nation’s long-term energy and economic security.” – Houston Chronicle
  • Obama made a decision that will cost the U.S. good jobs. He seems to think those jobs will still be there when he gets around to making a decision on the pipeline. But they may well be gone for good.” – Chicago Tribune
  • 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.” – Washington Post

If you’re a Democrat and you’ve got the Washington Post editorial board against you, you know you’ve got problems. But then again not even his hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, was willing to give him any love.

This is utter dysfunction. The Keystone XL has been in the review process for more than three years. It’s application has gone through the ringer of ten separate agencies. It’s passed each and every environmental test with flying colors. Republicans and Democrats in Congress want to see this thing passed. And how many times do you see labor unions and Republicans on the same side of an issue?

But despite all of that Obama’s political team made the decision that they wouldn’t lose labor union support (they’re already all-in) but they may lose the environmentalist vote. And THAT was something they just couldn’t abide.

As it turns out the only job President Obama really cares about is preserving his own. I think I just slipped into the morosely depressed category. Ob