In an editorial published Wednesday, the Washington Post urged President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and “ignore” activists who want it blocked on environmental grounds.
In it’s most recent editorial on the topic, The Post says President Obama should “ignore the activists who have bizarrely chosen to make Keystone XL a line-in-the-sand issue.” They also subtly rebuke Obama for failing to get this decision right the first time, saying, “After years of federal review, there was little question last year thatconstruction of the pipeline…should proceed” [Emphasis added]
Somewhat surprisingly, given the paper’s liberal reputation, the Post has been consistently in favor of Keystone XL. Last January, the editors highlighted the hypocrisy of the administration for promoting Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy out of one side of its mouth, while disapproving the pipeline out of the other.
The paper was even tougher on the President in a May 2012 follow-up, saying his refusal to authorize the pipeline had “little rational basis.” That’s true if you limit your view of “rational” to arguments about environmental impact. But as the Post knows, that was never the reason Obama rejected it.
Environmental activists turned the pipeline into a political football. They staged high-profile protests at the White House, at which hundreds were arrested. In the lead up to his re-election push, Obama had a choice between kicking the can down the road or telling his green constituency that its tantrum wasn’t important to him. Looking at it that way, his decision was plenty rational.
But one year later, time to avoid a real decision is running out. Environmental groups are already warning the President that his decision will be the first test of the green commitments he made during his 2nd inaugural speech. They’re right about that.
Will Obama finally pivot to creating U.S. jobs as his first priority, or will he decide that he’s with the fraction of his party who think no cost is too high if they can claim, however irrationally, to be saving the world? This decision should tell us a lot.