The presidency of Obama has always been about Obama.
Obama’s presidency is not about the American people. Or about the economy. Or national security. Or America’s national energy security.
Obama’s threatened veto of the Keystone Pipeline is simply derived from his inflated sense of self, personal pique and his view of his historical legacy.
For six years the Republican Congress has frustrated Obama’s efforts to obtain a political consensus on his own favored policies: Obamacare, immigration reform and pro climate change environmental measures (ie a carbon tax or a cap and trade system).
Whereas in the first two years of his first term as president, Obama enjoyed Democratic majorities in both Houses.
But in 2015, in part because of Obama’s own failings as a president, Obama is now faced with solid Republican majorities in both Houses.
Note in the 2014 mid-term elections, many House and Senate Republicans, specifically sought and obtained a mandate from the American people to approve and proceed with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oilfields to North Dakota and then down to the Gulf of Mexico refineries.
However, in the Senate, though the Republicans have some rare bipartisan support from certain Senate Democrats, ( a combined total of about 63 votes of Republicans and Democrats), to date, the Senate Republicans do not have the necessary 67 Senate votes to override Obama’s veto of the said legislation.
Within hours of the Republicans announcing their intention to proceed with a pro Keystone bill, Obama, through his press secretary, announced that he would veto this bill.
To Obama, it is personal pay back time against the Republicans for always opposing his own policy initiatives, these past six years.
By vetoing Keystone, Obama is also burnishing his image, during his last two years of office and post-presidency, as a serious pro environment, climate change president.
In addition, it is also pay back to Obama’s wealthy pro environment supporters in the blue states of California and New York- his billionaire hedge fund buddy, Tom Steyer, and his precious Hollywood supporters, ie Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah and other Hollywood movers and shakers, who have raised big bucks for Obama’s two presidential campaigns and to whom Obama still makes a “Splash”.
But this is where things get really interesting, politically speaking, folks!
Let us assume 37 Senate Democrats follow Obama, like lemmings, to prevent the Senate Republicans and the pro-Keystone Senate Democrats from obtaining the required 67 votes to over-ride Obama’s veto.
The Democrats have just screwed themselves with the American people for the 2016 Congressional elections and the presidential election.
Obama will have handed the Republicans a great populist election issue with which to campaign against the Democrats, fund-raise and oppose the inevitable Hilary Clinton candidacy for the 2016 presidency.
Obama’s very own State Department has estimated that this $8+ billion project, which is privately financed, will generate over 42,000 related jobs. That may be a drop in the bucket in the context of the United States’ entire employment picture. But those jobs would be very important to 42,000 American families who would benefit from such employment, income and benefits paid for by private dollars, not by government deficit spending or taxpayer dollars.
Accordingly, the proposed construction of the Keystone pipeline has attracted moderate Democratic Congressmen and very strong moderate and independent support and key union support among the American people. These latter groups could very easily leave the Democratic fold and move to the Republicans in 2016.
In addition, there is great support for Keystone across the board, among Democrats, Republicans and independents for national energy security purposes. Notwithstanding American oil and gas supplies are increasing, the US still imports foreign oil from such unreliable countries as Venezuela, Nigeria and the Middle East.
Canadian oil from America’s neighbor and most reliable ally, is clearly preferable for national security purposes.
Lastly, the environmental case, even according to American climate scientists , is very weak. More symbolic, than substantive.
Obama’s own State Department has concluded that the Keystone pipeline will have no material effect on the environment, as Alberta oil will still be extracted and shipped by rail or the Eastern pipeline, with or without the Keystone pipeline.
Also the exploitation of the world’s coal reserves create 30 times more damage to the environment than the Alberta oil sands. And pro environment climate scientists strongly suggest the emphasis should be directed against coal and not the Alberta oil sands.
The fact is that as a lame duck president, Obama does not give two fracks about the Democratic party or the electoral chances of the Democratic Congress. And certainly Obama does not care about the chances of Hillary Clinton to replace him as president in 2016.
The Republican leadership knows this and it will hammer Obama and the Democrats on Obama’s Keystone veto, for the next two years if it has to, as further evidence of Obama’s ignoring the popular will of the people. Also as another example ( together with Obama’s illegal executive order granting citizenship to 6 million illegal immigrants) of Obama’s elitist, imperial, and non-populist presidency, which has been aided and abetted by the dastardly Democrats.
I believe that the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot by blindly supporting Obama’s veto of Keystone.
And by supporting Obama on this veto and probably other politically tone-deaf Obama vetoes or measures, the Democrats will be handing Jeb Bush or Governor Christie, or some other Republican presidential aspirant, the keys to the White House in 2016.