Newsletter subscribe

Features, Politics, Top Stories

Obama finds new way around Congress, Keystone

Posted: March 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm   /   by

It is hard to know on any given day what does more violence to America . . .

  • President Obama’s hatred of domestic energy production
  • President Obama’s tendency to violate the Constitution and do end runs around Congress and the law
  • President Obama’s hatred of American economic activity and growth

No need to stress over having to pick one, however—Obama has found a way to combine all three:

It was a gaffe on the order of bitter clingers, and this time in full public view: “If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that,” President Obama said at a July 13, 2012, campaign rally in Roanoke, Va. “Somebody else made that happen.”

The president’s defenders and sycophants rushed to rationalize it away. Look at the complete context, they said, and we did:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

So, let’s stop building!

But although government can build infrastructure, and may even be good at it, government can also delay and obstruct it. Lo and behold, that turns out to be the real agenda of Obama’s second term, according to a Bloomberg report:

President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.

The result could be significant delays for natural gas-export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn. . . .

Congress? We don’t need no stinking Congress . . .

In taking the step, Obama would be fulfilling a vow to act alone in the face of a Republican-run House of Representatives unwilling to pass measures limiting greenhouse gases. . . . Industry lobbyists say they worry that projects could be tied up in lawsuits or administrative delays.

And look, a new way to stop Keystone!

National Review’s Stanley Kurtz notes that the directive could end up stalling the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even if the administration gives it a long-delayed green light:

In this scenario, headlines loudly proclaiming Obama’s approval of Keystone would shield him from Republican attacks. Simultaneously, the president could mollify the left by claiming credit for guidelines that effectively allowed his allies to stop the pipeline. And that would be right. Obama can publicly “approve” Keystone, while simultaneously handing the left the tool they need to put the project on semi-permanent hold. Environmentalists would take the political heat, while Obama would get off scot-free. Pretty clever.

So the reality of Obama’s governance turns out to be even worse than the repugnant declaration “You didn’t build that.” For the next 46 months, Washington will operate under the principle “Don’t even THINK of building that.”

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

Obama finds new way around Congress, Keystone