Hey, let’s give points to the Republicans on Capitol Hill: once they find an issue they can beat Obama and the Democrats over the head with, they never give up. They sent Obama a bill requiring him to approve the pipeline, knowing that he would veto it, as he said he would. That’s part, a major part, of their point: look at how terrible this president is! Holding up new jobs for the nation over silly environmental worries like, you know, the entire underground water supply beneath Nebraska might be contaminated.
So, Obama vetoed the bill (he might still approve the pipeline and, in fact, that is the TerryReport prediction, once the State Department is finished, once again, with its long, long study of the issue). It’s all working out, though, because the Republicans get something to scream about and to try to intimidate Obama into not vetoing 90% of the other bogus bills they will send. By forcing him to veto this bill, they set up the narrative, which they have used for years, of an “imperial president” (as if the veto has not been used by all presidents and are, after all, part of the Constitutional “checks and balances” envisioned by the founders).
Why call the bills the Republicans plan on sending to Obama “bogus”? Because, when something is done for political effect, when bills are crafted with the intention of drawing a veto, it is not exactly what you would call statesmanship or even just leadership. It is around 98% petty politics. Based on the election returns of 2014, the Republicans believe they are winning by pounding on this drum, even if the country is not getting much from it and, indeed, is bone weary of hearing about conflict rather than progress.
The Washington Post summed it up rather nicely: the environmental lobby/citizen action groups built the whole thing up in order to have a contest they thought they might win and, also, to force Obama’s hand. Then, the Republicans joined in, with the same objectives, hoping for results for themselves either way it might turn out.
Here’s how the Post editorial board summed it up in one paragraph: