Obama Keystone Decision "Politics At Its Worst," "Missed Economic Opportunity," "Thwarting Thousands of Jobs"

This is politics at its worst.” That’s how Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America described President Obama’s decision to reject the bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline and the more than 20,000 jobs that would come with it.

But the president’s union supporters aren’t the only ones shocked by his willingness to make out-of-work Americans wait for much-needed jobs. Editorial boards across the country are calling the decision everything from “shortsighted” to “a missed economic opportunity” to “the most craven sort of election-year politics.” Here’s a look:

  • What's really going on here, of course, is the most craven sort of election-year politics. The Obama administration seemed to be on its way to approving Keystone when environmental groups made the pipeline a key test of their support for the president, who suddenly decided the administration couldn't possibly make a decision until sometime after the election.” (USA Today, 1/19/12)
  • President Barack Obama has made a shockingly shortsighted decision by rejecting a go-ahead for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. By doing so, Obama has openly proclaimed the primacy of his own re-election over the nation's long-term energy and economic security.” (Houston Chronicle, 1/19/12)
  • Obama made a decision that will cost the U.S. good jobs. He seems to think those jobs will still be there when he gets around to making a decision on the pipeline. But they may well be gone for good.” (Chicago Tribune, 1/19/12)
  • The pipeline is politically dicey for Obama, who enjoyed strong support from both organized labor and environmentalists in 2008. ... [B]y rejecting the pipeline, Obama risks losing support from organized labor, a key part of the Democratic base, for thwarting thousands of jobs.” (Charlotte Observer, 1/19/12)
  • The missed economic opportunity was spelled out Tuesday by Mr. Obama's own Jobs Council, which released a report that endorsed an ‘all-in approach’ on energy, including the ‘profound new opportunities in shale gas and unconventional oil.’ ... Only last week the White House issued a ‘jobs’ report praising domestic energy production, but that now looks like political cover for this anti-jobs policy choice.” (Wall Street Journal, 1/19/12)

President “We Can’t Wait” Obama says he just didn’t have enough time to make a decision. But “Keystone XL has been planned for years,” notes the Wall Street Journal. USA Today says the permit process “has been going on since 2008” and the rejection comes “more than three years into the approval process.” As Speaker Boehner put it yesterday, “The president expedited the approval of the Solyndra loan project, but won’t approve a project that’s been under review for over three years.”

Terry O’Sullivan said, “Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this.” Neither will the millions of other Americans still asking the question, “where are the jobs?”