President Obama’s energy tour was supposed to placate public anger over rising gas prices, and show voters that the White House is taking their concerns seriously. Instead, the tour only ended up highlighting Obama’s dismal energy record, and gave Republicans ample opportunity to make their case to the media.
The reason is that Americans have heard these promises from Obama before, and know better than to expect results.
“We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again,” Obama said in a major address last March. But apparently he can, and he did, because his administration squirmed out of making a decision on the Keystone XL months ago when gas prices weren’t a major concern, and is now trying to pretend it loves nothing more than drilling domestic oil.
If there was any way Obama could back out of his decision to kill the Keystone XL, he probably would. But at this point there’s not much he can do, short of acknowledging that his excuse for delaying the pipeline decision for another year was essentially a political stunt. So he’s out on the campaign trail giving ostentatious displays of support for the southern leg of the pipeline, which doesn’t even need the administration’s approval to begin with.
The charade isn’t even working with members of the president’s own party:
“I think it’s the most idiotic political move I’ve ever seen,” said Cardoza, who supports the pipeline. The California Democrat said the president needs to make a decision one way or another and stick to it.
If he’s going to build it, “do it, take your lumps, be done with it,” he added.
Cardoza said the latest maneuver amounts to “highlighting a waffle.”
“They don’t build statues to wafflers,” he said.
And Obama hasn’t just succeeded in aggravating Keystone XL supporters. He’s also managed to anger the pipeline’s opponents as well:
National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger said the president had taken a “dangerous wrong turn on energy.”
“Rushing pipelines and drill rigs for rich oil executives will only delay the investments we need in renewable energy and create long-lasting damage to our waters and lands,” he said in a statement.
Obama thought he could walk the middle line on this issue by delaying the Keystone XL decision until after the election. Instead it looks like he might actually end up alienating both sides, which would be a pretty remarkable achievement.