Political chicken

When the Republican governor of Nebraska raised objections last fall to the Keystone XL pipeline because it crossed the Ogallala Aquifer – that state’s major source of fresh water for drinking and agriculture – you’d think it might have blunted talk that President Obama was a job-killer who hated the internal combustion engine and the fuel that makes it go.

“The White House wants the price of gas to go as high as possible,” intoned a sage on a Beaumont radio news program one morning this week. Why? Because “Obama hates Texas” and “Obama hates the oil and gas industry.”

His co-host agreed and groused that it cost him $11 worth of gas to make some trip in the area. These comments were offered after they played a statement by Congressman Kevin Brady urging the president to approve the Keystone Pipeline “immediately” and to stop “slow walking” oil drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.

Brady is one of a number of Republicans in the House who have blocked any meaningful consideration of administration initiatives to create jobs and get our economy moving, preferring to prolong the pain in the dubious hope that voters will somehow reward their obstructionism in the next election.

Another strategy employed by Brady and company is inane attempts to embarrass Obama by pointless gestures like imposing an artificial 60-day deadline on the Keystone decision they tacked onto the bill to preserve the reduction in the payroll tax. This “deadline” wasn’t enough for Brady, however. The environmental concerns of his fellow Republicans in Nebraska don’t matter to this congressman – not when he has another chance to bash Obama, much to the delight of the radio guys.

This political gamesmanship might be great sport for people looking for easy scapegoats – and who aren’t concerned with the truth. Like when Obama the Job Killer turned the Environmental Protection Agency loose to challenge the way Texas issues air quality permits under the Clean Air Act. Except that EPA action took place more than two years before Obama became president. So wait – that means George W. Bush was a job-killer who hated Texas? Facts are stubborn things.

The fact is political dialogue has grown so shrill and coarse in this country that truth has become a secondary consideration – and that hurts us all.

The Examiner supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline because it will reduce our dependence on oil from dangerous parts of the world and create jobs here at home. The responsible production of fossil fuel is a reality that will be with us throughout our lifetimes even with advances in alternative energy – which we also support.But the bluster, braggadocio and false representations that characterize so much of the current political dialogue are pointless and counter-productive. And it needs to stop.

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