President Obama announced that he won’t make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the election. DC pundits speculate that he’s doing that to take the issue off the table for the 2012 election. These DC pundits don’t get it.

President Obama’s ‘voting present’ on this issue guarantees that this issue will be a weapon used mercilessly against President Obama.

The 2012 presidential election could be close, with President Obama needing support from every segment of his political base to win re-election.

So the president’s move (made through the State Department) to delay his controversial decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until beyond Election Day 2012 isn’t really a shocker. The White House, for the record, denies that politics played a role in the decision.

Environmentalists opposed to the project which would construct a 1,700-mile pipeline to transport oil from Canada’s Alberta tar sands region to refineries in the U.S. and ports on the Gulf of Mexico, recently protested en masse at the White House.

The protests involving thousands were meant as a last-minute reminder to the White House of the political risks the president ran if he approved the pipeline despite such concerns.

Given so much environmental opposition to the pipeline, the president would have certainly outraged an important part of his political base, environmental activists, less than a year before Election Day.

This undoubtedly will excite President Obama’s base just as surely as it’ll turn independents against him. Independents will see the high gas prices and the jobs that could’ve been created and they’ll take it out on the guy who’s won’t put country ahead of political considerations.

During his jobs tour, President Obama kept repeating the line “Pass my bill now.” Now that Republicans are pushing a project that would create 20,000 jobs, President Obama didn’t take positive action. Instead, he ‘voted present’.

The Keystone XL Pipeline project will be used, politically speaking, to beat President Obama bloody on multiple fronts. The GOP presidential candidate will use it to bring up the Solyndra/Green Jobs scandal. The GOP presidential candidate will use it to highlight President Obama’s putting his re-election ahead of doing what’s right for the nation. The GOP presidential candidate will use it to prove President Obama puts a higher priority on satisfying his political allies than he puts on creating jobs.

If I were managing the GOP presidential campaign’s messaging, I’d have the candidate and his running mate highlight this decision for all of the above reasons at every stop they make.

The American people want, in overwhelming numbers, an all-of-the-above energy policy. This administration has pursued a green-jobs-first energy policy. This administration’s energy policies have been rejected. The American people don’t like this administration’s environmental policies either.

I’d highlight the Solyndra/loan guarantees/Obama bundlers scandal, the high gas prices and President Obama’s dismal jobs record daily. Keystone XL would be the centerpiece of the campaign’s messaging.

This was terrible energy policy. It’s stupid political strategy. This won’t be a base election. This will be about the American people voting for a leader who’s putting nation ahead of political cronies. Mostly, this will be a repudiation of President Obama’s administration.

If Newt is the GOP nominee, and I think he will be, President Obama and the Democrats will certainly face a wave election because that’s Newt’s specialty. Democrats laughed at his Contract with America, often calling it the Contract On America.

Vic Fazio, now a retired Democratic congressman, said the night before the 1994 slaughter that Republicans would be fortunate to gain 25 seats in the House. He said that they’d misplayed their hand. That Tusday night, House Republicans gained a net 52 seats.

The point to all this is that a) President Obama’s decisions go against the will of the American people and b) Newt’s gifted in creating national governing majorities. That’s because he listens to people, a talent President Obama doesn’t have.

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