Allen B. West

Message to Sen. Landrieu: it doesn’t matter how you vote on Keystone XL

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Remember the game show Monty Hall hosted called, “Let’s Make a Deal?” Perhaps instead of random people, we should resurrect that show and use elected officials. In a strange turn of events, the U.S. Senate will finally bring forth a vote on the infamous Keystone XL Pipeline. And so goes the charade of politics versus policy on Capitol Hill — what exactly has changed about the Keystone XL pipeline that all of a sudden inspired outgoing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow this legislative action?

As reported by Fox News, “The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to take a long-awaited vote Tuesday on approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline — in an unexpected and politically-charged turn of events for legislation that has languished in the upper chamber for roughly six years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow the vote in part to give Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu an opportunity to vote “yea” and perhaps help her win her runoff election next month with Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.”

As you may not know, Senator Landrieu is currently the Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and oil is a vital resource for the economy in Louisiana with its refineries. However, how is it that the Chair of the Committee has not been able to persuade Harry Reid and President Obama to support this endeavor?

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Yep, politics again, but what is clear is that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and many other liberal progressive groups are pulling their support and ad buys out of the Louisiana Senate runoff. There are polls which have Landrieu trailing Rep. Cassidy by as much as 16 percentage points. She was successful in defeating Cassidy in the “jungle primary” by 43 to 42 percent — but the third-place finisher former US Air Force Colonel Rob Maness finished with some 14 percent and has given his endorsement to Cassidy. Last week on Friday, the GOP-controlled House passed legislation, sponsored by Cassidy, to move forward with Keystone, which would carry crude oil from Canada and several U.S. states to Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries.

So in reference to the Senate vote on Keystone — well — “what difference at this point does it make?” Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

Even if the Senate votes to approve Keystone XL, you can bet that an intransigent President Obama will veto it — of course after the Louisiana runoff election. As Fox News reports, “Most political analysts think Landrieu’s effort to win a fourth term by trying to show voters in oil-rich Louisiana how much she supports Keystone is a lost cause, with reports of Washington Democrats pulling out and polls showing Cassidy ahead by double digits. South Dakota GOP Sen. John Thune said on “Fox News Sunday” the vote be a “cynical attempt to save a Senate seat in Louisiana,” considering Reid has blocked the vote for years. President Obama appears to be giving every indication that he will veto the bill, repeatedly saying the only way the $8 billion pipeline can be approved is after the completion of a long-stalled State Department review.”

And typical of the far left progressive socialist base, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told “Fox News Sunday” that he hopes Obama will veto the bill, considering the oil is “the filthiest fuel on the planet.” Fox reports “Whitehouse said he thinks the new Senate Republican majority “has long despised and denigrated this president and if they can roll him I think they would like to.”

As usual, it’s never about good policy for our energy security enabling us to cut ties with countries like Venezuela and our economic security in getting more Americans working – it’s simply identity politics.

The Keystone XL detractors — including President Obama — decry the claim that it will produce a boost in long-term jobs. Fox says, “The debate in Congress is centered on the pipeline’s proposed northern leg, which would run from Alberta, Canada, through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The Gulf Coast segment of the project began carrying oil earlier this year from the northern Oklahoma town of Cushing. A study commissioned by the Consumer Energy Alliance shows the Gulf Coast project, which began in 2012 and became operational in January, pumped $2.1 billion into Oklahoma’s economy, including more than $1 billion in wages and $72 million in total taxes.”

However, far left climate change supporters like the infamous progressive socialist billionaire Tom Steyer — yes, those adjectives seem oxymoronic if you believe the left — will continue to put pressure on Obama and Democrats to not support this pipeline. Even though the unions wholeheartedly do — they want to grow their ranks with new employees.

Landrieu has said she doesn’t know Obama’s plans but that he “most certainly understands my position” and that at least 15 other Senate Democrats “really want to build the Keystone pipeline.”

Let me explain this all to Senator Mary Landrieu. The Democrats have lost the Senate and her runoff race has no implications whatsoever. Therefore her losing is not a concern for President Obama — the cosmetic political optics of a Senate Keystone XL vote will be granted — but it will go nowhere. It matters little what a select group of Senate Democrats want, it is about the far left climate change disciples and what they want.

Regardless, the American people are not as “stupid” as Jonathan Gruber and the progressive socialists of the left believe. We recognize political gimmickry — hence the results of the 2014 midterm elections.

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