On Monday (appearing in the print edition on Tuesday, New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera gave President Barack Obama a pass for rejecting the Keystone Pipeline. In the process, he also complained about "the way our poisoned politics damages the country," and, in a revelation which shouldn't but did surprise him, learned that far-left environmentalists want to stop all tar sands development and not just the pipeline. Imagine that.
Here are several paragraphs from Nocera's column (my comments are in italics):
... 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. (And where were they going to go? -- Ed.)
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.” (Uh, because it is "an urgent jobs and energy project at a time of high unemployment and creeping gasoline prices" -- Ed.)
... 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. (But the President doesn't seem too concerned about that. -- Ed.)
... 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.” (Where have you been, pal? -- Ed.)
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. (As long as Obama is in the White House, you can't rule it out -- Ed.)
Nocera wraps by writing that "at least one country in North America understands where its national interests lie. Too bad it’s not us." Oh, we know where our interests lie, Joe. President Obama either doesn't know, doesn't care, or is hostile to our interests. Which do you think it is, pal?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.