Obama’s Positive Flip and Romney’s Negative Flop


| 11/15/2011 4:28:49 PM


Tags: Global Warming, Election 2012, Keystone XL pipeline, Barack Obama, President Obama, Transcanada Pipeline, Mitt Romney, environment, TomDispatch, Bill McKibben,

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This post originally appeared at TomDispatch.com 

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Conventional wisdom has it that the next election will be fought exclusively on the topic of jobs. But President Obama’s announcement last week that he would postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, which may effectively kill the project, makes it clear that other issues will weigh in -- and that, oddly enough, one of them might even be climate change.

The pipeline decision was a true upset.  Everyone -- and I mean everyone who "knew" how these things work -- seemed certain that the president would approve it. The National Journal runs a weekly poll of “energy insiders” -- that is, all the key players in Washington. A month to the day before the Keystone XL postponement, this large cast of characters was “virtually unanimous” in guaranteeing that it would be approved by year’s end.

Transcanada Pipeline, the company that was going to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the tar-sands fields of Alberta, Canada, through a sensitive Midwestern aquifer to the Gulf of Mexico, certainly agreed.  After all, they’d already mowed the strip and prepositioned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pipe, just waiting for the permit they thought they’d bought with millions in lobbying gifts and other maneuvers. Happily, activists across the country weren’t smart enough to know they’d been beaten, and so they staged the largest civil disobedience action in 35 years, not to mention ringing the White House with people, invading Obama campaign offices, and generally proving that they were willing to fight.

tom fox
11/21/2011 12:22:35 PM

Global warming is an international problem that will require international cooperation and solutions. Domestic political problems aside, it will take more than four years to erase America's "go it alone" reputation abroad, I think.