One of the biggest political and policy winners for Republicans is their strong support for expeditious approval of the Keystone Pipeline. Their unified support for this propitious project has provided voters with a sharp contrast to Obama’s casual disregard for private-sector job creation and cheap energy for consumers. Hence, it is a no-brainer that the pipeline issue should be used as a rallying cry for all Republicans running for elected office in 2012.
In that vein, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman would be wise to remain in Lincoln, and discard any aspirations to run for Senate.
Toward the end of the summer, amidst pressure from members of his own administration, Obama was on the verge of signing off on the deal. The State Department had published yet another favorable environmental impact study, and even Energy Secretary Steven Chu seemed to concede that opposition to the pipeline was indefensible. But then came the vociferous protestations from Obama’s base; greenies, hippies, Hollywood bimbos, and….Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman.
Late in August, the Nebraska Republican penned a letter to the President and Secretary of State requesting that they deny the permit for the pipeline. Heineman stated that he objected to the route of the pipeline for fear that an oil spill would affect that Ogallala Aquifer – an underground water table in western Nebraska.
Never mind that unlike oil tankers, pipelines are much safer, and in the rare event of a spill, the affected area is measured in tens of feet, not thousands. Never mind that the EPA and the State Department saw no concern with the proposed route of the pipeline. Disregard the fact that the only legitimate threat to the water supply comes from the ethanol production that is so blithely promoted by Nebraska’s Republicans, without any concern for the Ogallala Aquifer. Dave Heineman felt that he must convene a special session of the legislature and block the pipeline, granting Obama the vital bipartisan cover he needed to scuttle the project.
Two months later, buoyed by Republican Heineman’s moral support, Obama suspended the pipeline until after the 2012 elections. As they say, the rest is history.
Now, Senators Cornyn and McConnell are imploring the governor to seek the Republican nomination in the Senate race against Ben Nelson.
Let’s not muddle our unified message on energy policy by electing the Keystone Pipeline slayer to the Senate?