The often inept Republican congressional leadership was badly outflanked by President Obama during the year-end game of chicken over whether to agree to a two month extension of the payroll tax holiday.
But while Boehner & Bunch lost the battle, they did win a significant skirmish over to the side.
As you are probably aware, included in the payroll tax bill was a provision forcing Obama to decide within two months on whether to accept the current Keystone pipeline XL proposal. Wednesday, he declared it a no-go.
By making Obama actually, physically reject the Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans put him on record against the project.
Obama had niftily sought to merely delay a ruling until after 2013, after Election Day, claiming he wanted to wait until further environmental reviews were completed over at the State Department.
But now, the gentleman has voted nay. And so instead of a nebulous conflcit awaiting adjudication, the GOP has a tangible issue it can ride all the way to Election Day.
As political feasts go, this one has all the trimmings.
The hard hat vote is not going to be happy. The word is out that despite his avowed commitment to the working man and reducing unemployment, Obama has smacked down a project that would have created thousands of jobs.
No matter how many times Michelle pretends she’s interested in auto racing and runs out to be Grand Marshal at NASCAR races, the Obamas have their work cut out for them attracting white working class voters, the fabled Reagan Democrats whose jobs belong to the unions but whose hearts belong to the GOP.
What’s more, with the pipeline delayed, the Canadians may look for other place to send their oil, most notably CHINA.
You can see the grainy black and white ads now: “Obama Sends American Jobs to China!”
Of all places. China! RED China.
And there’s more. By failing to take a significant amount of oil from those friendly Canadians, Obama has helped maintain our reliance on the Death to America crowd.
Not mention that, after three years of studying the proposal, we gave the loyal Canucks the finger.
Sure, Obama pleased the enviros and his wealthy Prius-driving donors by rejecting Keystone.
But, while they certainly need a little poke in the behind to prod them along now and then, these people were already fully in step with the president.
Deeply ironic, all this, since contrary to what most people think, the Keystone pipeline is not dead. The company building it is simply going to reroute it and apply again for approval.
The new analysis will take about a year. But instead of getting to say he’s still thinking about things, Obama has made an actual decision. Which is often not a good thing for a politician, particularly when it loses jobs.