Keystone XL: WSJ – Robert J. Samuelson – Ron Radosh – The President’s Political Calculation: White Working Class v Suburban Upper Middle Class and Coastal Elites
WSJ Editorial 18 January 2012 A re-election campaign is a terrible thing to waste, and this year’s race is already producing miraculous changes at the Obama White House: The latest example of a bear walking on its hind legs is the President’s new embrace of . . . natural gas from shale.
Last week the White House issued its latest report on jobs and it includes a section on “America’s Natural Resource Boom.” The report avers that a few years ago there were widespread “fears of a looming natural gas shortage,” but that “the discovery of new natural gas reserves, such as the Marcellus Shale, and the development of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas from these reserves has led to rapidly growing domestic production and relatively low domestic prices for households and downstream industrial users.”
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the White House has favorably mentioned the Marcellus Shale, the natural gas reservoir below Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other Northeastern states. And now he’s taking credit for this soaring production.
“Recall the article appearing a few weeks ago, noting that the Democratic Party has decided to write off the votes of the white working-class in the 2012 election, which it has judged is going to overwhelmingly go to the Republicans. Instead, it has decided to try and increase the vote of the suburban upper-middle class and coastal elites, as well as the vote of college students who had been so enthusiastic about Obama in 2008. Without such an increase to make up for the loss of working-class votes (once a Democratic mainstay), the Democratic policy wonks believe Obama will lose.”
So if the unions supported the pipeline, as they did, why are they so silent now that the president has turned against a proposal they backed? The answer is that I suspect a private deal was made last week: The unions would downgrade their disappointment at the veto of Keystone XL, in return for the president unconstitutionally using his powers to override the Constitution and put in pro-labor recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the same board that tried to penalize Boeing for wanting to move its new facility to South Carolina from the state of Washington. “