Thursday, January 19, 2012

Right Thing, Wrong Reason

I was delighted to read that President Obama had put a stop to the Keystone Pipeline yesterday. Initial evidence earlier this year was that he would approve it, but recently he has been bowing to public pressure and environmentalists and granted a delay, and now we have a final rejection. Then I read the details which gives his reason for the rejection.

"This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama said in a statement. "I'm disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration's commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil."

I’ll take that last sentence first, with its “commitment to American-made energy” and to his desire to “reduce our dependence on oil," because it is just pure nonsense. The pipeline would be carrying Canadian-made energy which is oil; so the statement is, at best, totally unrelated to his rejection of the pipeline and is thrown in merely to distract the voters.

Then there’s the “arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," which is enough to make a sane person either have a coronary of fall out of his chair laughing. The project was proposed in 2005. This is 2012. Seven years is not sufficient time to “gather information” to make a decision?

He says specifically that the decision is not about “the merits of the pipeline” but is due to the Republicans, which is a clear statement that he is making a purely political decision for the purpose of making Republicans look bad and for no other reason. For the next eleven months that is the only reason our president is going to do anything, is to make the Republicans look bad and to get himself reelected.

After three years of “being above partisanship” and cooperating with Republican demands, suddenly, when the election season begins, he has become the steely eyed liberal who is beating up the other side and is going all out to be the die-hard liberal who will go to any length to defeat the evil designs which they have for this nation. And if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn on which I can give you a really good deal.

And rejecting the pipeline damn well should be “about the merits” of it.

I think the dangers to the aquifer are a bit exaggerated; the Alaska Pipeline has operated for 34 years without incurring any of the kinds of spills that are promoted as threats to that water source, but any threat to the Ogallala Aquifer is unacceptable if it can be avoided. It’s also not unreasonable to assume that in today’s climate of corruption and greed the pipeline would not be built with the integrity that the Alaska pipeline was built.

The larger issue, though, is that the pipeline would be carrying oil extracted using possibly the most environmentally disastrous procedure ever devised by mankind, and we should not be involved in encouraging that process. Sure, if we don’t use that oil someone else will, but that boat don’t float with me. Just because evil is happening in the world and we can’t stop it doesn’t mean that we have to participate in it. Building that pipeline would mean participating in it, and we damn well should not do it.

The initial delay was, of course, simply an effort to put the issue off until after the 2012 elections, which I regarded as cowardly. It was pretty clear to me that he would approve the project after he had been reelected. Now he has realized that rejecting it benefits his reelection chances, especially since he can blame it on the Republicans.

Someone once said that doing the right thing for the wrong reason has no more merit in heaven than doing the wrong thing. Politics is not heaven, certainly, but motives count with me, and Obama gets spitballs from me for this gesture, not flowers.

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