The PJ Tatler

Pass the Pipeline, Republicans

Republicans, it’s time for a little political theater.

Yesterday, the House Republicans linked job growth and fuel prices to the payroll tax cut extension in the form of a bill that would extend the payroll tax cut while also jump starting development of the Keystone XL pipeline. That was a good move. The pipeline could create from 10,000 to 20,000 quality, well-paying jobs immediately, with many thousands more secondary jobs created, and by increasing our fuel supply, the pipeline should reduce prices at the pump. Building it also maintains good relations with Canada.

President Obama scuttled the pipeline to appease his green base, and to keep to his goal of pushing America off fossil fuels and onto economically unproven, and possibly dangerous, alternative technologies. Scientific studies suggest that the pipeline is perfectly safe; there are already thousand of miles of pipelines in the region where the pipeline would be built.

President Obama has thrown down the gauntlet with a veto threat against the Republicans’ bill. Republicans should pick that gauntlet up and throw it back in his face. The Democrat base is split on the pipeline, with unions supporting it and greens opposing it. Exploit that split and put yourselves on the side of Americans out of work and reeling from high gas prices.

Pass the bill out of the House. Make a big splash of pushing the bill in the Senate, where some vulnerable Democrats might be persuaded to vote for it. Get some union types to testify that the pipeline will help create good, middle-class jobs. Have a few video ads produced to push out on YouTube and small buys in the vulnerable Dems’ states. The ads should pull hard on the heart, hit the rough economy, we need jobs but Obama is standing in the way for the sake of politics. If the vulnerable Dems help pass the bill, great, but if they won’t, hold a press event when the bill dies, pointing out how many jobs were just lost, and how much tax revenue just went down the drain. Serve up charts to drive the point home visually. Bring the union guys in and have one or two of them slam the bill’s failure. Tie the bill’s failure to Obama and the Democrats opposing the creation of good, well-paying jobs.

If the bill passes the Senate, ramp up a campaign to pressure the president into signing it. He loses either way he goes because he has boxed himself in. If he vetoes it, jump up and down about the jobs and the pump price impact, and the fact that he just raised everyone’s taxes by vetoing that payroll tax cut extension. If he signs it, his green Luddite base sees him as just another tool of “Big Oil.”

Don’t let him vote “present.” Force his hand. Make him choose between two powerful factions of his base and make him go on record as either favoring tax cuts and jobs, or favoring his anti-technology base and his hidebound politics.