There's a great country music song by Dierks Bentley that goes, "I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking?" that should be playing in the Oval Office today. That's because an unpopular president, in the throws of a hotly contested re-election bid, just handed his opponents a plum by effectively killing a popular and widely supported pipeline project that would have brought much needed oil into this country from our friends in Canada at a time when Iran is sabre rattling, crude oil is above $100/barrel and gasoline is creeping back toward $4.00 a gallon.
While the 1700-mile project could still come back to life, the notion of TransCanada (TRP) restarting the application process from scratch following three-years of wasted Washington wrangling seems unlikely. There is already talk that Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper will redirect the project to the West and sell its oil to China.
To be fair, the President was up against a tight decision deadline that was purposely put in place by Congress to make it difficult - or at least painful - to block their $13 billion dollar plan. By siding with environmentalists over the majority, the President will not only have to answer questions on his commitment to secure America's energy independence, but also on his ability to create badly needed jobs.
As much as the latter point is important and the country needs all the jobs it can get, the Keystone Pipeline seemed to be first and foremost about energy. Had the President's well known support for green energy programs been more successful that would be one thing, but by most accounts his initiatives have created more kickbacks, cronyism and complaints than kilowatts.
Again, I call upon Dierks Bentley: "I knew that there'd be hell to pay, but that crossed my mind a little too late. What was I thinking?"
From Macke's point of view, the silver lining in an otherwise ''idiotic policy'' decision might be in the form of alternative energy stocks. I argue the point that any alternative to the status quo is a good alternative and should therefore be seriously and swiftly pursued.
Will this pipeline project return to haunt the President on the campaign trail or was it the right thing to do?
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