It is unclear if some Democrats are suffering an internal conflict of, and search for, identity because as the recent midterms demonstrated, a lot of them cannot come to grips with how to express their political affiliation. One would like to think that as Democrats, they would at least make a nominal effort to delineate themselves from Republicans or, dog forbid, at least tell voters the truth. It may have been Democrat Howard Dean who said not long ago that if given a choice between voting for a Republican, or a Republican-lite, voters of both parties will always opt for the real Republican; because they cannot trust a Democrat pandering for votes as a Republican. It is a lesson Senator Mary Landrieu, and soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would do well to heed.
For the second time in months, a Democrat is calling for a vote to approve immediate construction of Canada’s KeystoneXL pipeline. It is still an unconstitutional attempt to subvert President Obama’s sole Executive branch authority to approve a permit for foreign project crossing America’s national border. It is something Republicans have attempted in the past, and it is just as despicable when a Democrat does it; particularly to pander for votes that Republicans will seize upon and use against a Republican-lite candidate like Landrieu.
There is, of course, another strategy Landrieu can employ to appeal to Louisiana voters; tell the truth about the foreign corporation’s project. But it would mean being a strong Democrat like Senator Al Franken, Sheldon Whitehouse, Independent Bernie Sanders, and President Barack Obama who refuse to be pseudo-Republicans.
First, it is refreshing that a few bold Democrats are finally telling Americans the truth, albeit watered-down, about a climate-killing gift to a foreign corporation, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Koch Industries, foreign export profiteers, and China. At least there are a few Democrats who are not suffering political identity crisis. What is, frankly, stunning is that there is such a wealth of information at Landrieu’s disposal to inform Louisiana voters as to why enriching a foreign corporation, the Koch brothers, John Boehner, and foreign oil exporters will do nothing positive for Louisiana residents and in fact, be an detriment environmentally and economically; but that requires being a bold Democrat unafraid of being forthright with the truth.
Initially, Landrieu can tell Louisiana voters that of all the 1,500 – 2,000 temporary (2 years) jobs, and at best, 50 permanent ones, according to the pipeline’s foreign owner TransCanada, not one will be in Louisiana. The proposed pipeline route never crosses into Louisiana territory, and in fact terminates in two Texas cities; a refinery hub in Houston, and export shipping hub in Port Arthur. This simple fact is something real Republicans will not hesitate to tell Louisiana voters as proof that Landrieu’s pipeline advocacy is just a political stunt to garner votes.
She might also consider alerting Louisiana voters that because TransCanada’s refined tar is going to China, residents will never see one drop of the refined oil; that is until there is another of the 91 (as of 2012) regularly-occurring tar-sand spills that will certainly end up along Louisiana’s shores. Even the ignorant conservative folk living and working along the state’s shoreline will recollect what happened when another foreign oil company accident in 2010 polluted miles and miles of pristine and sensitive coastline.
While she is telling the truth about the pipeline, if she were a bold Democrat, Landrieu could expound on the costs to residents when the Koch brothers siphon diesel fuel from Midwest oil reserves to expedite tar to flow through the pipeline. According to an oil energy consulting firm founder, Philip Verleger, “The Canadian plan entails raising prices 20-23 cents in the central United States to get more money from consumers.” That increased fuel cost will not only impact Louisiana drivers, they will see increased costs for agriculture and food imports into the state as a result of increased transportation costs.
If none of those arguments against building a foreign corporation’s export pipeline convince Louisiana voters Keystone is a horrible idea, maybe alerting them who will profit will do the trick; because it will not be any Louisiana Republican voter. The Koch brothers will profit by hundreds and hundreds-of-millions of dollars refining a majority of the tar on its way to Texas for export. Oil exporters will profit from selling a foreign corporation’s oil on the international export market, and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner’s stock portfolio’s worth will increase beyond his wildest dreams. In fact, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) considered investigating Boehner for lying about the number of jobs the pipeline would create to expedite its construction and increase tar sand companies’ share prices. After that fact was revealed here, it incited creation of a (MoveOn) still active national petition demanding that Boehner resign or face a House ethics investigation and expulsion for lying to Americans for the sole purpose of personal profit. It is not the first time Boehner has been guilty of using his congressional position for personal profit due to favors to corporate interests.
It is beyond hope that Landrieu would cite the environment destroying consequences of constructing a foreign company’s pipeline regardless the Canadian government’s refusal to allow the pipeline’s construction over their land. Environmental dangers, much less climate change’s damage, is just something that conservatives could not care less about, particularly when the oil industry, the Koch brothers, a foreign corporation, and Republican John Boehner stand to profit.
Look, one might understand why a Democrat would feign being a Republican to preserve their Senate seat, but when even the GOP’s media outlet, Fox News, labeled the Keystone XL pipeline a “bad deal all along,” it is not a stretch for a Democrat to tell the truth. Last year Fox News said President Obama was absolutely right to nix the pipeline and went so far as to utter the stunning admission that the President “rejecting the Keystone XL deal was the best decision possible” and reiterated six reasons the pipeline was a bad deal; including enumerating exactly why critics of the project are right to continue stating them ad nauseum.
The only advocates for the KeystoneXL pipeline are the few who stand to profit and Americans too ignorant to heed the preponderance of dire warnings of every imaginable disaster related to the dirty oil industry. Republicans have attempted several ploys to subvert the President’s constitutional authority over a foreign project crossing into sovereign American territory, and whatever a Democrat’s reason for acting like a Republican, and there is no acceptable reason, it is just as despicable and informs why some Democrats need to resolve their identity crisis, get back to being bold Democrats, and oppose the pipeline’s approval with extreme prejudice.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.