By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire’s Politics Blog
And the Reign Of Morons dawns. Many in the Beltway are beside themselves which, I guess, is easier than talking to some of the new unmoored members of our national legislature — and speaking of unmoored members, congrats to my new friend, United States Senator Joni Ernst. And all of you sweaty people waiting on hold in your cars for Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham, dream big. Anything is possible. Of course, the overall narrative is that we are in for a period of sensible conservative governance which, while it may collide from time to time with a Democratic president who declines to become whit…er…turn into Mitt Romney despite the clear verdict of a third of the voting populace, can prove that our new congressional leadership can “govern” while keeping its toes out of the oatmeal. This is why I saw Dana Bash this morning, talking to new Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York, who looks more like a member of the largely mythical Not Insane caucus than does, say, Jody Hice, the guy from Georgia who believes Islam is not a religion, or Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, who believes that gay people are after him (Not bloody likely, Glenn), or Mark Walker, the North Carolinian who wants to start a new Mexican war, this time with…frickin’ laser beams. Better to bring out Zeldin as the face of the freshman follies. He did, after all, get elected from a “blue state.” Of course, Zeldin is a good little GOP squirrel who knows where all the nuts are buried. [..]
It will be interesting to see if this constructed narrative of Responsible Conservative Government holds true through the first time the president vetoes something on the new Congress’s wish list. In fact, the person for whom I would have sympathy, if I felt any sympathy for him at all, is not Boehner but Mitch McConnell, whose new senatorial majority is studded with jumped-up loons from the fringes of Republican state goverrnments, like my new friend Joni, and which also still contains both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, with their national ambitions and their utterly self-involved attitude toward their jobs. This is a harder wrangle for McConnell, who still isn’t altogether popular, than the one Boehner faces. And, of course, it should be said that the Democratic party is positioned quite well to make the lives of both Boehner and McConnell utterly miserable, but very likely won’t do it, because Joe Manchin (D-Anthracite). If there really is rising populist power in the Democratic party, then here’s a chance to prove it. Screw with these people every way you can. Make the even more radical Republican state governments more furious at the “Washington establishment” than it already is. Monkeywrench the whole business and explain in simple terms to the country why you’re doing it. This has to start in the White House. The rest of the country needs to be protected from the hazardous material for which a third of it voted.
And first up on the agenda is the Keystone XL Pipeline but apparently not without a fight from the Democrats and the White House. Once more from Charlie
Well, give them credit. They started off the way they said they would. The first issue of the new Congress is indeed our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel that will bring the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel from the environmental moonscape of northern Alberta to the refineries on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and thence to the world. And, it seems, they’ve picked the fight they wanted to fight.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest says he does not expect Obama would sign any Keystone legislation that reaches his desk. The spokesman says there is a “well-established” review process that is being run by the State Department that should not be undermined by legislation. Earnest also says the pipeline’s route through Nebraska also must be resolved.
Now, let us take to heart the advice of Mr. Winston Wolf. The White House veto threat is not a categorical threat to the pipeline’s construction. The president is saying that the bill in question is premature, that it is short-cutting established procedure that already is underway, and that it is an improper federal infringement upon the function of the state judiciary of Nebraska. The president has not eliminated any of his options. [..]
So, good for the White House. It said the right thing today. (Win The Morning!) If the president vetoes this faith-based legislation, good for him, too. But, in that case, the story will be White House Wins First Showdown (!) There will still be the State Department report, and the Nebraska Supreme Court, and nobody’s really out of the woods yet because the pipeline is inherently dangerous, the fuel that it will carry is inherently poisonous, the company seeking to build (and to profit by) the pipeline is inherently dishonest. Some things don’t change. You can paint pretty flowers on the death-funnel, but it’s still a death-funnel.
With the price of oil dropping like a stone, Keystone XL may not be cost effective for its Canadian owners or its foreign customers.