The State Department recently said it has no major objections to the Keystone Pipeline while not exactly endorsing it, giving President Obama maximum flexibility to make his decision on the long-delayed project.
The decision is, as Jonah Goldberg notes in National Review, a no brainer, which I suppose technically means that you could have a completely empty cranium and still make the right choice.
Now, the presence grey matter within craniums is not always detectable among the political class in Washington. But it is well stocked beneath the skulls of those in the West Wing, at least when it comes to use for political calculation. And it is mostly politics that will drive Obama’s decision to at last embrace Keystone.
Here are the seven reasons why he’ll do it:
1. The election is over. The decision last year to start re-reviewing the Keystone pipeline was made just after environmentalists began ululating outside the White House that the pipeline would cause the earth to explode and ruin their faith in Obama.
But unlike last term, Obama is now deadly serious about regulating the pants off industry to combat global warming, and he can better afford to anger the enviros since he has other bones to throw them. Which means he has a golden opportunity to appease the business community – and those who want to be less dependent on Islamists for oil – by approving Keystone.
2. Jobs. Keystone could create tens of thousands of jobs. As you’ve probably noticed, the economy needs jobs, and so does a president who can’t seem to create very many of them.
3. Gas prices. Filled up your tank lately? If it gets worse, Obama can note he just approved the pipeline and he’s really, really trying his best to keep you happy at the pump.
4. The oil has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It’s from Canada. We love Canada! Name two major nations in the world that border each other and never go to war or have border clashes. Canadians are just Americans who root for the wrong hockey teams.
Sorry, my Canuck readers, I realize Canadians hate that kind of thing.
5. If the oil doesn’t head south of the Canadian border, it will head west to China, which craves cheap oil for its military build up and its metastasizing territorial claims in East Asia, which it is Obama’s stated policy to vigorously oppose.
6. It’s a four- word response line to any criticism that he isn’t doing enough for fossil fuels or takes his orders from the National Resources Defense Council: Dude, Keystone Pipeline yo!
7. With the State Department essentially signing on, there is NO RATIONAL REASON to reject the pipeline. I’m aware rationality with respect to policy does not have strong cachet either in the White House or much of the rest of Washington, but you at least have to offer the public some reasonable explanation for your actions.
And in this case, there is none.