Obama faces defeat on pipeline as Dems defect
While much of the political world obsesses over Twitter fights and Seamus the dog, Barack Obama has set himself up for a high-profile defeat on one of the most important issues of the campaign.
The president has put his feet in cement in opposition to the Keystone oil pipeline. But on Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether Obama wants it or not.
The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway -- by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That's a lot of defections. >>>
"We're right around the corner from actually passing it," says a well-informed Senate source. "Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing."
The president didn't help his cause when he staged an odd photo-op last month, delivering a speech in Cushing, Oklahoma in front of huge stockpiles of pipes. Obama sang the praises of pipelines -- "It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority," he said -- and made a big deal of his approval of a section of domestic pipeline that didn't need his approval. But he remained unyielding on Keystone. >>>
But Obama could prevail only at grave political cost. >>>
Meanwhile, the pipeline project is going forward. This week the company that will build the pipeline submitted plans for a new route through Nebraska, where much environmental opposition has been focused. And in Lincoln, the Nebraska legislature passed, and the governor signed, a new bill that would hasten state approval of the project.
The odds are overwhelming that the Keystone pipeline will become a reality. In the end, Barack Obama has mostly hurt himself by trying to stop it.
The rats are abandoning ship. Every rat for himself! Meanwhile, our affirmative action hero is still tilting at windmills.