With President Obama’s cave on the Keystone XL pipeline yesterday, the Congressional GOP ended the year with two huge wins. Mitt Romney also headed into the high Christmas season with two early presents.
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have succeeded in making the president’s job-killing environmental extremism the central issue at the close of 2011 and it will reappear early in 2012, not long after the GOP primaries begin and perhaps even identify the likely nominee to stand against Obama. The two-month deal struck by the Senate yesterday obliges the president to approve or kill the crucial Keystone XL pipeline, and to do so in early 2012 after another two months of having it play the role of stand-in for the president’s entire economic theory which is the crony capitalism of government-manipulated decision-making for preferred constituents. The Boeing plant in South Carolina served as the symbol of this approach for much of 2011, as has the raid on Gibson Guitar and the collapse of Solyndra, and now Keystone XL is the new shorthand for Obamanomics. Because the president and his colleagues on the Hill can never seem to see past the next page on the weekly planner, they have guaranteed a return trip to Keystone in February where the president will either outrage his appointees and allies that are among the environmental extremist wing of his party or he satisfy them and halt the creation of 20,000 construction jobs and an advance towards American energy security.
Well played Mr. President. No wonder your numbers are sinking to lows that no one foresaw, with everyone around you committed to digging deeper. Press on! Play some golf and give some more interviews about how you didn’t overpromise and underdeliver. Add in some slams on America being lazy. Ask the Iranians to give back the drone again. Merry Christmas.
Mitt Romney by almost every account won the last debate of 2011, and did so handily. To that strong showing he added the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, which means when he is attacked for being the establishment’s choice, the establishment now includes Haley, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty, John Thune and a long list of Tea Party leaders and Tea Party-supported Congressmen like California’s John Campbell and Dana Rohrabacher. The MSM lefties have retreated to “he can’t break above 25%, having given up on the $10K bet as the “great gaffe of 2011” meme in less than a week.
As The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza told me on Wednesday’s show, he cannot find a Democrat inside D.C. who wouldn’t rather the GOP nominate Newt, but if InTrade is not so-much a genuine futures market as an early indicator of trend (Romney back up to 63% and Gingrich down to 16.5% this morning), the Newt bubble is well and truly burst. And as Mark Steyn told me on air Thursday, Newt is the antithesis of the small-government conservative that Tea Party activists still uncommitted to Romney are looking for. Which is why Obama’s “mastermind” David Axelrod is tweeting obsessively about Romney.
One of the two Ricks could still make a run, and Guy Benson reported from western Iowa all week that Texas Governor Perry had great crowds and a warm welcome, and the indefatigable Rick Santorum is having a good “small donor” showing for his “moneybomb” as he continues to be the candidate that everyone agrees with and few endorse openly. Santorum has run the true stealth campaign, and as the caucus-goers look for a statement candidate his great selling point is that he has, in fact, been getting it right and doing so with success, for two long decades at the front of the conservative movement.
Time to dive into the Christmas preparations, as it is for most Americans. I’ll be watching the tweet feed, of course, and the candidates won’t break until the 24th and then will resume on the 26th because there really is no down time. But if you are Mitt Romney, John Boehner or Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell or Jon Kyl, there’s a spring in your step, and for the president only misgivings and a sense that this is what a lame duck feels like.