Sure, approving the Keystone XL pipeline would alienate a small but deep-pocketed sect of the Democratic base, leaving President Obama and his party without that particular battalion of influential donors and infuriating its activists into a probably well-publicized frenzy — but not approving the pipeline is liable to have the some of the same effects with a different heavily-donating wing of the party.
When the Obama administration announced yet another through-the-upcoming-election delay of the embattled project on Friday, using the legal holdup on the ground in Nebraska as their entirely lame excuse, Big Labor was evidently none too amused. Via the WFB:
Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers International Union of America (LIUNA), called the move “gutless” and a “low blow to the working men and women of our country.” …
“The administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process—and which has nothing to with the national interest,” he said in a Friday statement.
O’Sullivan’s union represents many workers who would be employed in the construction phases of the project.
“It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics,” he wrote.
“Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”
Not mincing words there, eh? I don’t know if this means that Big Labor will actually pull any money from the sort of vulnerable red-state Democrats who have come out swinging in favor of the pipeline or not, but I doubt it bodes well for any donations to bluer, anti-pipeline Dems — although it might not even matter. The eco-radical contingent of the party was pretty jazzed with President Obama’s non-decision, and billionaire Tom Steyer and his like-minded minions might have enough cash to make up any differences of their own accord:
The Koch brothers may get the media attention, but the billionaire getting the most political bang for his buck is Tom Steyer. The hedge-fund politico has pledged to raise $100 million to help Democrats keep the Senate, and on Friday he received a major return on his investment when the State Department again delayed its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. …
So Senate Democrats get to have it both ways. They can benefit this year from the riches of Mr. Steyer, who pronounced himself well pleased by the delay. But they can also run in support of the XL pipeline and the thousands of new jobs it would create. Then President Obama can formally nix it next year.