Obama’s politically strategic inaction
In 2008, the slogan was “Yes We Can.” For 2011-12, it’s “We Can’t
Wait.” What happened in between? Candidate Obama, the vessel into which
myriad dreams were poured, met the reality of governance.
His near-$1 trillion stimulus begat a stagnant economy with 9
percent unemployment. His attempt at Wall Street reform left in place a
still-too-big-to-fail financial system, as vulnerable today as when he
came into office. His green-energy fantasies yielded Solyndra cronyism and a cap-and-trade regime not even a Democratic Congress would pass.
And now his signature achievement, Obamacare, is headed to the Supreme Court,
where it could very well be struck down. This comes just a week after
its central element was overwhelmingly repudiated (by a 2-to-1 margin)
by the good burghers of Ohio.
So what do you do when you say you
can, but, it turns out, you can’t? Blame the other guy. Charge the
Republicans with making governing impossible. Never mind that you had
control of Congress for two-thirds of your current tenure. It’s all the
fault of Republican rejectionism.
Hence: “We Can’t Wait.” We
can’t wait while they obstruct. We can’t wait while they dither with my
jobs bill. Write Congress today! Vote Democratic tomorrow!
We can’t wait. Except for certain exceptions, such as the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline,
carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created
thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence.
For that, we can wait, it seems. President Obama decreed that any decision must wait 12 to 18 months — postponed, by amazing coincidence, until after next year’s election.
Because the pipeline angered Obama’s environmental constituency. But
their complaints are risible. Global warming from the extraction of the
Alberta tar sands? Canada will extract the oil anyway. If it doesn’t go
to us, it will go to China. Net effect on the climate if we don’t take that oil? Zero.
to a major aquifer, which the pipeline traverses? It is already
crisscrossed by 25,000 miles of pipeline, enough to circle the Earth.
Moreover, the State Department had subjected Keystone to three years
of review — the most exhaustive study of any oil pipeline in U.S.
history — and twice concluded in voluminous studies that there would be
no significant environmental harm.
So what happened? “The administration,” reported the New York Times, “had in recent days been exploring ways
to put off the decision until after the presidential election.”
Exploring ways to improve the project? Hardly. Exploring ways to get
past the election.
Obama’s decision was meant to appease his
environmentalists. It’s already working. The president of the National
Wildlife Federation told The Post (online edition, Nov. 10) that
thousands of environmentalists who were galvanized to protest the
pipeline would now support Obama in 2012. Moreover, a source told The
Post, Obama campaign officials had concluded that “they do not pick up
one vote from approving this project.”
Sure, the pipeline would
have produced thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs. Sure, delay could
forfeit to China a supremely important strategic asset — a nearby,
highly reliable source of energy. But approval was calculated to be a
political loss for the president. Easy choice.
It’s hard to think
of a more clear-cut case of putting politics over nation. This from a
president whose central campaign theme is that Republicans put party
over nation, sacrificing country to crass political ends.
Nor is this the first time Obama’s election calendar trumped the national interest:
Obama’s decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is
militarily inexplicable. It comes during the fighting season. It was
recommended by none of his military commanders. It is explicable only as
a talking point for the final days of his reelection campaign.
At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to
veto any agreement that was not long-term. Definition of long term? By
another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past
Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).
●On Tuesday it was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned Oct. 28 announcement of layoffs until Nov. 3, the day after the midterm election.
contemporaneous e-mail from a Solyndra investor noted: “Oddly they
didn’t give a reason for that date.” The writer was obviously born
yesterday. The American electorate was not — and it soon gets to decide
who really puts party over nation and reelection above all.
We can’t wait.
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