THE BLOG
03/20/2013 06:14 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2013

While Obama Fiddles -- Congress Fires Up the Keystone Pipeline

It seems that the American Congress is finally sick and tired of President Obama's bully pulpit, post-partisan presidential two step.

It goes like this.

Step one, Obama mounts the Presidential lectern, speaks directly to his Teleprompter and then launches thunderbolts at the masses. Full of soaring rhetoric and inspiring logic. Step two, he then withdraws to the sidelines, and expects his staff and Democratic Congressmen to get down and dirty in the political trenches and implement his Presidential will. Which has been generally thwarted by Republican obstructionism.

For over two years now, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have been rightly criticized for being "Dr. No". For criticizing and opposing all of Obama's initiatives. For being almost pathologically negative and confrontational.

I think the Republicans even opposed the Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn.

Even Democratic Congressmen have been criticized for their failure to cooperate with their fellow Republicans.

Result. Soul-destroying and national embarrassing political gridlock.

So imagine my surprise when it was recently reported that both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are introducing complementary bipartisan legislation, as Reuters reported, "to pluck the power of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which runs from Canada's oil sands to Texas, from the hands of the Obama administration." And put the power of approval in the hands of Congress.

Is the end of the world upon us? Do I see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse over yonder?

The bipartisan Senate bill is being led by Democrat Max Baucus of Montana and Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota.

As reported, this bipartisan Senate Bill is being co-sponsored by 16 senators. Surprisingly, 8 of the senators are Democrats. Supposedly, 50 senators are already backing this proposed legislation. The co-sponsors are very optimistic that they will secure more than the required 60 senators to pass this legislation in the Senate.

Both Republican and Democratic senators see the Obama administration as unduly delaying the approval of this Keystone pipeline. They claim that the administration has been reviewing this pipeline for over 4½ years. They worry that Obama will throw in another regulatory hurdle at the last minute.

These Senators cite Obama's own State Department report which concludes that this pipeline will have a negligible effect on the environment. And that the construction and maintenance of this pipeline will create over 42,000 jobs both directly and indirectly related to the pipeline. Also since the source of this oil is coming from Canada, a trusted ally and neighbor, this will reduce America's dependence upon oil from more unstable and unreliable foreign suppliers.

The Obama administration claims that this Keystone decision is strictly a State Department administrative decision, independent of politics.

And I have a waterfront condo to sell you, for no money down, on environmentally pristine lands.

No one, not one Washington Democrat or Republica, believes that this is a purely administrative decision.

Last year, the then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was prepared to grant approval for the Keystone pipeline. But she was prevented by Obama and his political consultants, for fear that such approval would alienate their strong and very wealthy environmental supporters, on both coasts, prior to Obama's reelection campaign.

I appreciate that there was an issue of the pipeline travelling on or near an environmentally sensitive North Dakota aquifer. But approval could have been given, subject to the acceptable rerouting of the pipeline away from this aquifer. As has been accomplished.

What truly mystifies me is why didn't Obama, once he was reelected, approve the Keystone pipeline? And pacify and placate his climate change supporters, by throwing a ton of money at subsidizing uneconomic renewal energy companies involved in wind farms, solar panels or electric car manufacturers?

Once again Obama has let events get away from him.

Once again, Obama is leading from behind, instead of getting ahead of events.

Through his inaction and delay, Obama has forced the obstructionist Republicans to make common cause with the Democrats.

By the end of May, when this bipartisan Keystone legislation is passed in both Houses, his second term and his historic legacy may be irreparably diminished.