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The Keystone Cops

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Front page, top headline in the dead trees edition of The Washington Post: “State plays down pipeline’s impact.”

Sub-header, all in caps: “BUT KEYSTONE APPROVAL STILL IN DOUBT”

There are zero economic reasons not to approve the pipeline’s construction in short order. Only a neo-theological basis for opposition exists, but there is genuine doubt whether the president will antagonize one of his few solid bases of support.

“Foes say it will contribute to climate change” the paper notes, which is absurd when one recognizes that moving oil from Canada by rail, truck and barge has become the alternative to the pipeline.  We need the oil.  We use the oil.  The oil helps all Americans by providing cheaper energy, and we will get it whether it arrives via truck or pipeline.

Raising the marginal cost of delivery to dampen demand is the only argument left to the anti-pipeline theologians, but try that out on anyone who has to drive to work or heat a house. If the president wants to make that argument, fine.  But the last pretense of opposition grounded in reason is gone.

This is an irrational administration, however, mired in the cliches and received truths of its most ardent true believers.  The House GOP would do better to spend more time talking about energy than immigration, just as it should focus on Obamacare and not on cutting the COLA for the career military.  Really, how hard is it to set up the 2014 elections in the right way?

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