Green Room

Keystone decision already endangering Dem Senate seats

posted at 10:07 am on January 26, 2012 by

We’ve already seen more than a little speculation over what Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and its associated jobs will do to his own reelection chances this fall. (All energy based protestations during the SOTU aside…) But what about the effect on the down-ticket contests? Surely those who sided with him on the issue might find themselves paying a price as well, no? There are some early indications in a few hotly contested races that this may well be the case.

In Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill is facing a tough bid to stay in office and critics are already noting the somewhat tepid, conditional support which she has shown for Keystone.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., reaffirming her earlier comments that give conditional support to the Keystone XL, said in a statement Wednesday:

“I support the pipeline. It should be built, and it should be built in a thoughtful and responsible manner, not based on a political timetable.”

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, said:

“With an unemployment rate above 8 percent and an underemployment rate of 15 percent, I am completely bewildered at why this administration has decided to reject a true shovel-ready project that will create 20,000 direct jobs and about 118,000 spin-off jobs, many of them through small businesses.”

In Virginia, George Allen is back, and he’s going after the Keystone issue with a vengeance as he seeks their open Senate seat this fall. In fact, he’s already put out a new TV ad going after Tim Kaine.

Republican George Allen is quickly turning President Obama’s decision not to approve a controversial oil pipeline into a talking point in Virginia’s open U.S. Senate race.

Allen is out with a new web video ripping Democrat Tim Kaine for siding with Obama on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, hoping to point out that this is a growing trend on the campaign trail.

The video, titled “unabashed,” is 75 seconds and is a montage of newspaper clips and footage critical of both Obama’s decision and Kaine’s support. Like other anti-Kaine videos in recent months, it also shows footage of a speech in which the Democrat said he was an “unabashed supporter of the president.”

Those aren’t the only places, and in some cases, even Democrats who openly supported the pipeline are feeling the sting. In Montana, Jon Tester has been in favor of the project, but Denny Rehberg has still been tying him to it in public statements by referring to “Tester’s allies in the Obama administration” when discussing the lost jobs and opportunities. It’s hard enough to elect a Democrat in Montana as it is, and Tester certainly can’t welcome that sort of association.

The GOP doesn’t need very many seats to wrest control of the Senate away from the Democrats, no matter who wins the White House in November. As long as unemployment remains unacceptably high, expect Keystone to be a major bone of contention over the summer and to resonate in congressional races.

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Just getting control of the Senate isn’t enough. The GOP needs to get a filibuster-proof majority to accomplish anything. Heaven knows that the media will spin everything as best they can–if the GOP pushes something through, they’ll be “running roughshod over the minority.” If the Democrats filibuster (which they will), the GOP will get blamed for not accomplishing anything.

Mohonri on January 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Yes, tie Keystone around the necks of the Dems and throw them overboard.

climbnjump on January 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Wow, if George Allen is running that kind of ad in Virginia, Obama’s poll numbers there must be dismal.

rockmom on January 26, 2012 at 10:34 AM

OT…If an anti-Obamacare republican were to defeat Obama and the Senate and the House to remain exactly as is…does Obamacare get repealed?

Tomolena1 on January 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM

2nd that cnj

cmsinaz on January 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM

If the Dems were able to get Obamacare through, surely a Republican majority could get some things accomplished, if not we are doomed.

Imrahil on January 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Serves ’em right to get tossed from office. And the GOP should hammer and hammer and hammer Obama and all of them repeatedly until they get it right.

stukinIL4now on January 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Whether we get Obummer for another 4 years or a RINO in the WH – and both are possibilities this year – we need to get a veto override Republican majority in both houses of congress to reverse the damage. That means even Dems who support the pipeline need to be tossed out, because when it gets nasty, they will toe the party line on critical votes.

dentarthurdent on January 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

OT…If an anti-Obamacare republican were to defeat Obama and the Senate and the House to remain exactly as is…does Obamacare get repealed?

Tomolena1 on January 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM

That would be a “no” it won’t be fully repealed.

So many things are in motion in hospital systems and health care plans the momentum that has already started just in system overalls and infrastructure spending it will not be stoppable. Elections matter.

Mitt or Newt (if elected) will be able to re-configure or nibble around the edges, but that’s it. And then starts the generational shift of people who have never known anything different just growing up knowing that the government provides everything.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM

we need to get a veto override Republican majority in both houses of congress to reverse the damage.

but … using the oft-heard adage that repeating something in the hopes of getting a different result is insanity … why will this time be different? The last time we had (R)s in power in both houses AND the White House … they spent so much time proving that they cared about what the libtards thought and said … that they accomplished nothing in the conservative playbook. What will prevent those clowns from rolling over and playing dead once again? ESPECIALLY if squishes like Mitt or Newt take the White House?

small_c_con on January 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

The quote from Graves really cuts to the heart of the matter. Just earlier today, I was thinking to myself–Obama likes to talk about “shovel-ready” projects, but he also likes to stop such projects from actually getting underway.

Mr. Prodigy on January 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

small_c_con on January 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Very valid point. What we really need is a 3rd party that is not entrenched in their own survival and power – but that won’t happen any time soon. The best we can hope for is enough TEA party influence in the Repub party to break the establishment stranglehold and start changing things. While I agree with your point about the Rs – we already know for sure what the Dems would do and how much worse that or the status quo would be.

dentarthurdent on January 26, 2012 at 1:20 PM


J.E. Dyer on January 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM

They need to be hitting not just the jobs issue, but the energy-supply and security issue.

There is no question that buying oil from a stable North American democracy (better-run than our own, to be sure) is better than buying it from a Mideast kleptocracy.

There is no question that expanded pipeline capacity benefits US energy exploration as well as Canada’s.

And as a side benefit anything that helps reduce the influence of the enviro-legal complex is a good thing.

JEM on January 26, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Don’t worry Senate Democrats you have Obama on your side.

Smedley on January 26, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Let’s hope Obummer does to/for the Dem party what he’s doing for the “green energy” industry (see post on the latest bankruptcy of a green energy recipient of Gubmint money).

dentarthurdent on January 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

What was that old high school football cheer? Oh, yeah:
| “Hit ’em again, hit ’em again! Harder! HARDER!!”

“Cogito, ergo TEA Party!” ~ DeepWheat

DeepWheat on January 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

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