Pipeline Blocked. Keystone Kops in pursuit. Suspect is Middle-aged Black Male.

January 19, 2012

The Plum Line  – Washington Post:

Republicans are already blasting Obama for failing to stand up to his base — environmentalists had organized aggressively against the decision, and deserve tremendous credit for helping to make this outcome happen. Whether or not a fear of the base drove this decision, Obama did stand up to his Republican opponents.

When Congressional GOP leaders initially tied the Keystone approval decision to the debate over whether to extend the payroll tax cut, Republicans — and some neutral commentators, too — confidently predicted that Obama would not be able to oppose the pipeline, because he would be nixing jobs heading into an election year. It didn’t matter that an independent study cast doubt on how many jobs the probject would create; this was seen as a sure loser for the president.

But even some proponents of the project say that by attempting to box Obama in, Republicans ended up making it more likely that the Presient would call the GOP bluff and shoot down the project, the political consequences be damned. As John Engler, a pipeline backer and former Michigan governor who is now head of the Business Roundtable, put it last week: “No chief executive likes to be painted into a corner by anybody.”

The politics of this going forward are murky. Republicans will hammer Obama relentlessly as a “job killer” who puts the whims of pointy-headed greenies before the interests of the American worker. One question is whether the media will uncritically report on the GOP’s argument without pointing to doubts about the number of jobs the pipeline would have created, and without noting the larger context, which is that Republicans have opposed virtually every job-creation policy Obama has proposed in the last year. Also: Will the fact that the state department warned that it could be forced to reject the pipeline if Republicans insisted on an expedited decision vanish down the memory hole?

All the breathless talk about the need for the jobs from this single project might lead you to believe that the GOP congress is chomping at the bit to do whatever it can for the unemployed and hurting – not with just boom-and-bust projects in a few red states, but in every community, every state.

You’d be wrong. The congressional GOP has consistently, even unanimously, opposed anything the black guy brings up to create jobs – even when their own constituents think its a good idea.

Washington Monthly: 

Here, for example, is the breakdown of what self-identified Republican voters think of the components of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, as it currently exists in the U.S. Senate:

Do you favor or oppose “cutting the payroll tax for all American workers”?

Republicans in favor: 58%
Republicans opposed: 40%

Do you favor or oppose “providing federal money to state governments to allow them to hire teachers and first responders”?

Republicans in favor: 63%
Republicans opposed: 36%

Do you favor or oppose “increasing federal spending to build and repair roads, bridges, and schools”?

Republicans in favor: 54%
Republicans opposed: 46%

Do you favor or oppose “increasing federal aid to unemployed workers”?

Republicans in favor: 36%
Republicans opposed: 63%

Do you favor or oppose “increasing the taxes paid by people who make more than one million dollars a year”?

Republicans in favor: 56%
Republicans opposed: 43%

Remember, overall, each of these ideas enjoy broad national support, but I’m highlighting the opinions of Republicans only. And in four of the five key parts to the Democratic plan, self-identified GOP voters approve of Obama’s ideas, in some cases by wide margins.

I mention this in part to show just how mainstream the American Jobs Act is, but also to note the chasm between Republican voters and Republican policymakers. With 63% of the GOP’s rank-and-file supporting, for example, aid to states to protect teachers’ and first responders’ jobs, it’s tempting to think at least some GOP lawmakers in Washington would support the idea. But in reality, that’s just not the case — literally zero Republicans on Capitol Hill are willing to even allow a vote on a popular jobs idea, during a jobs crisis, that even their own party’s voters strongly support.

Congratulations, congressional Republicans. You’re now far more extreme than your own supporters.


15 Responses to “Pipeline Blocked. Keystone Kops in pursuit. Suspect is Middle-aged Black Male.”

  1. guylacrosse Says:

    I’m happy about the decision, but not the reason they gave for it. This won’t stop the destruction caused by the Tar Sands development. And it won’t keep this dirty oil from getting to our refineries. More needs to be done to put a stop to it.

    The President needs to show more leadership on the environment. He’s still much better than any of the Republican candidates on the issue.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the president is operating in a tricky environment, and in this case, the decision was a correct one. I believe in applauding the things that move us in a positive direction, however slightly.

      • guylacrosse Says:

        I agree. This whole Tar Sands thing is just so awful on so many levels it’s hard to imagine how even the most callous of people could support it. Not accepting global warming is one thing. Saying yes to destroying an area the size of Florida to extract the world’s dirtiest oil is just unacceptable.

        • astrostevo Says:

          Er .. I think I agree with you mostly – but are you really saying that advocating a specific individual tar sands oil pipeline is worse than *all* of climate denialism when it comes to the existence of Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating threatening our whole planet? I’m not so sure that’s correct!

          • guylacrosse Says:

            No. It’s not worse, but it’s still terrible. What I was saying that even if you are a global warming denier, how could you support something like that? Toxic pools of waste water that can be seen from space. An entire region destroyed just for the sake of extracting bitumen. The pipeline would have been bad but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the overall damage from the Tar Sands. That is without considering the impact it has on the climate. Add in the green house gas emissions and it becomes not only Canada’s man-made catastrophe, it is a global catastrophe. It would have been kinder just to drop a few nukes on Alberta instead.

  2. astrostevo Says:

    This blog post :


    by Ed Brayton seems to make a good case for pessimism on this front unfortunately.

    Hopefully its wrong but I don’t think we can say this is a victory just yet.

  3. astrostevo Says:

    There’s also this take on it :


    as well by Jason Thibeault on his “Lousy Canuck” blog which is only slightly more optimistic.

    Hope these links are interesting / helpful on this issue – apologies & please let me know if not.

  4. Peter Mizla Says:

    Very Funny Caption. Obama knows what the Tar sands represent- the republicans? They still think we have an atmosphere that can be used as a dump infinitely forever. The republicans? They are many things- mostly bad- which I cannot say here without my post being deleted.

  5. prokaryotes Says:

    [Crimes Against Humanity] 2012 Dr. James Hansen On Climate Change

    IN his latest message James Hansen calls the manipulation from Special Interests, about the public opinion on Climate Change, a Crime Against Humanity.


  6. prokaryotes Says:

    IN his latest message James Hansen calls the manipulation from Special Interests, about the public opinion on Climate Change, a Crime Against Humanity. http://climateforce.net/2012/01/20/crimes-against-humanity-2012-dr-james-hansen-on-climate-change/

  7. Reblogged this on manoffireandlight and commented:
    Peter Sinclair does it again – I’m addicted to his blog. “…63% of the GOP’s rank-and-file support[ing]…
    …aid to states to protect teachers’ and first responders’ jobs…
    [whilst] …zero Republicans on Capitol Hill are willing to even allow a vote on a popular jobs idea… [that their own] …voters strongly support.”

  8. Martin Lack Says:

    Excellent piece, Peter. Well done.

    What everybody – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Disillusioned – needs to accept is that you cannot spend your way out of a debt crisis.

    However, while taking their hard reality medicine, the mostly Republican supporters of Tar Sands exploration and ineffective emissions reductions programmes should also accept that, just as “we did not save the ozone layer by rationing deodorant” (Dr Myles Allen), we will not save the planet without some degree of abstinence and carbon taxes.

  9. jpgreenword Says:

    My hope is that if we can keep chocking the pipelines out of the Tar Sands, we can slow its expansion. If we can do that, maybe we can begin slowing it down (I know: wishful thinking!)
    As a Canadian, I am disgusted by this project and the support it has from our Federal Government. What they call an “energy plan” is really an export plan because the majority of the energy that is extracted from within our borders is refined in other countries. In the meantime, we have no climate change policy, not true energy policy and little to no support for the renewable energy sector.

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