The Colonel has seen it all. The retired United States Air Force pilot and war veteran has always had a keen interest in politics, with an opinion on almost any issue at the ready.
Against stereotype, he isn’t a ‘blind right winger’ – as evidenced in his claim that he has voted for a Democrat for president “…several times when they were the best choice.”
“Truman, Ike, Kennedy, Reagan, they all had their good qualities and ideas. Even Clinton had a couple of good days,” he said with a chuckle. “Of course, there were the others. Like Carter.”
International issues dominate the all-too-rare occasions when the two of us get a chance to chat. Whenever something that transcends the border hits the headlines I know there will be a no-holds barred conversation coming.
Today was no different. The Alberta/Iowa connection sizzled today over President Obama’s decision not to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline. The project, which would double the amount of oil shipped from Alberta’s ethically-produced oil sands to Texas, has long been the target of radical environmentalists and D-list celebrities trying to get their face in the paper (see: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Daryl Hannah, etc.).
I asked the Colonel about Obama’s hesitation to take a stand.
“First of all, it should come as a shock to no one that he won’t make the call. That’s his M.O. He’s the vote ‘present’ president. “
He continued: “Here you’ve got record unemployment and the Keystone would create thousands of jobs both in Canada and the U.S. Then you have the environmentalists raising hell using fear of hypothetical damage.”
“Obama’s base, his two main segments of support, is left-wing tree huggers and unions. This issue has pitted each side against the other. If he says yes, the unions are happy but he loses the environuts. If he says no, he’s a friend of the Earth but loses the unions. So, in typical Barack Obama fashion, he says nothing. He turtles.”
Holding off on the Keystone pipeline by calling for another ‘study’ and possible moving of the planned route runs the risk of stepping on the toes of unions, but the Colonel figures the Obama administration can appease organized labor with other goodies.
“You can promise unions a whole list of things. Environmentalists have a pretty narrow scope.”
We then discussed the options for Canada. The oil sands aren’t going away, and will continue to grow into one of the top global producers. I told the Colonel that many of us are of the opinion that if the U.S. doesn’t want our oil, there is a lengthy list of countries that do.
After all, building a pipeline west to the Pacific Ocean is just as possible as building one south to Texas.
“That’s the real potential problem here,” he said. “The longer this drags out, the more oil Americans will use from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela instead of increasing the amount of oil we get from a safe and democratic ally in Canada. If you folks decide to sell your petroleum to China or Russia instead – all because of environmental hysteria and a spineless, Carter-like president…well, who can blame you?”
“We’d have no one to blame but ourselves.”