On Wednesday, Dem. Sen. Claire McCaskill contradicted both President Obama and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying that the House Republicans’ tax deal shouldn’t be declared DOA (as Reid was doing at the time) and that there are several Democrats who favor approving it with the XL Keystone pipeline attached. President Obama pushed the pipeline approval beyond the 2012 election, which would effectively kill it, and had accused Republicans of putting politics ahead of the economy in attaching the pipeline to the payroll tax cut extension that he wants, but isn’t paid for. The president threatened to veto the Republican bill, should the Senate pass it. But that’s when he thought the Senate Democrats would stick together with Harry Reid. McCaskill going public suggests that several more Democrats want to pass the Republican bill.
Well, check out this action from today’s White House press conference:
The White House is expressing cautious optimism that a compromise can be reached on an oil pipeline provision that Republicans insist must be part of a Social Security tax cut extension.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declined several opportunities to say that President Barack Obama would veto the tax cut if it contained language aimed at expediting the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline project. Obama last week said he would reject efforts to tie the pipeline to the payroll tax.
Obama’s green base should prepare for a Christmas betrayal.
The politics of the pipeline were never on the Luddites’ side. The pipeline is safe. It will create thousands of jobs while increasing our fuel supply, while keeping our ally Canada a few inches closer to us and a few inches farther from China. A whopping 78% expect the pipeline to get approval.
Obama could have burnished his centrist credentials by approving the pipeline and taking it off the table as an issue. But he bowed to the left, and now the Republicans are enjoying whipping him back around to the right. They will end up getting the credit for forcing him to defy his own base to create jobs.
And if Obama vetoes the bill? Then pass it again, and deploy political theater against him.