Why am I willing to wager that the Preezy is going to deep six the polluters? Because ... Tim Kaine. Hear me out.

I am among those who worry that the President will announce a lot of steps on climate change and prepare to slip in approval of Keystone XL. But I do not think that will happen, and here is why.

That he puts out information about a major upcoming speech in the NY Times is pretty standard. That he also hypes it up using a YouTube video is less standard and raises some expectations. But what happened in between those two events? An editorial by Tim Kaine opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tim Kaine: Obama should block the Keystone pipeline

The timing cannot be coincidence, and the person writing this cannot either. Tim Kaine is very close to the White House for this to be a chance.

1) He was one of the candidates Team Obama considered very seriously for VP in 2008.

2) Then in 2009, Team Obama hand picked him to head the DNC.

3) Members of Team Obama lobbied him to run for Senate in 2011.

I submit to you that it is NOT POSSIBLE that Kaine wrote this editorial without the knowledge of the White House, and the White House would not approve of the timing  just ahead of a major energy speech unless they wanted it out there.

Now add to that the Obama campaign staffers rallying over the last week, and it looks like the Preezy of the United Steezy could be getting ready to "deep six" the polluters.

I can't imagine that the White House is stupid enough to raise expectations that it will not be able to meet. Here is part of Obama's argument, as presented by Kaine:

By most accounts, oil from tar sands is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum, and the process of extracting and refining it is more difficult and resource-intensive. With so many cleaner alternatives, there is no reason to embrace the use of a dirtier fuel source. Approving the pipeline would send a clear signal to the markets to expand the development of tar sands oil. Such an expansion would hurt our nation’s work to reduce carbon emissions. We have to make energy cleaner tomorrow than it is today. That’s why the president should block Keystone.


But tar sands oil is the opposite of an innovative, make-it-cleaner approach. It represents a major backslide. Why would we embrace a dirtier energy source when smart innovation and policy are opening up so many cleaner alternatives? I explained my thoughts to a manufacturing executive recently, and he said: “I understand your point about Alberta tar sands oil, and even agree, to some extent. But it will be mined, refined, shipped and used by someone. Shouldn’t we try to benefit from it in America?”

I have two responses. First, we may not be able to control what other nations do, but that’s no reason to embrace a lowest-common-denominator approach. Second, if release of the tar sands oil were inevitable, the pipeline wouldn’t be such a big deal. If it were just as easy to ship this oil via road or rail, proponents wouldn’t be pushing so hard. There’s a longer-term answer, too. Someday when I am long retired from the Senate and kids ask me what I did for energy and the environment, I want to tell them a story about how the United States led the way with innovative solutions that created jobs, reduced pollution and tackled our energy challenges head-on.

I hope the president gets to tell that same story long after he’s out of office.

Read that and tell me that was not vetted by the White House. Hope lives.

Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:28 AM PT: Hi all. Thanks for all the feedback. Much appreciated. I will also make a case to the cynics (I myself have been one on Keystone, readying myself for disappointment).

I believe the NSA may play a huge role in him killing KXL. I basically see him as a politician who shares most of my views in the abstract, but balances it with the possible and the political realities of the time.

I think the NSA issue creates a political reality in which he needs to go bold for the progressive base.

He is a politician, and he knows the only way his presidency collapses is if he loses the base for good. If he keeps his base, the country is so divided that he will never fall below 45% (every time he has fallen below 45 has been when the base has deserted him).

It would be absurd for his political team to believe that carbon regulations will buy him cred with the base if he approves KXL. I would accept it, but consider it a net zero.

1) He needs the base to believe his progressive credentials, and nothing short of killing KXL will do it on energy.

2) His advocacy group, OFA, will continue to be hounded and hamstrung by climate change activists, preventing lift-off. I am sure they have been in his ear.

3) He can pick a big fight with the right and give the liberals a massive target to aim at (a target that is not him in light of the NSA).

This seems like the gay marriage moment last year; when the base needed the hope; when people were getting tired of his caution after Biden spilled the beans. The left needs to see him take a stand and let the chips fall wherever they do. The stars seem to be aligned for a 'hopey-changey' moment.

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