Like most debates in
The goofiness began with the reason the vote was taken at all. Louisiana’s Democratic Sen.
What's goofy about that? Well, for one thing, though Landrieu is a sponsor of the Senate pipeline bill, Cassidy is sponsor of the House version, and it is hard to see how passage of the legislation would give Landrieu any advantage over Cassidy.
For another thing, if this was meant to be a demonstration of Landrieu’s clout as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, it did not work very well. The bill missed getting through by one vote, and, as the world knows, even if Landrieu defeats Cassidy, her influence will only shrink when
Still, California Sen.
"What on Earth were they thinking?" an incredulous Maddow asked. "How is this even conceivably, by any stretch of the imagination, a constructive use of time by the Democrats?"
Republicans, even though they lost the vote, were perfectly happy that Democrats gave them the chance to grandstand on the issue and highlight how things will be different when they are in charge. The incoming Senate majority leader, Kentucky Sen.
Significantly, McConnell referred to the measure as "the Keystone jobs bill." Republicans think they are on to something by shifting the terms of debate toward the job-creation aspect of Keystone. If President Obama decides to exercise his veto, they will slam him for killing jobs – and, for good measure, they will also hammer him for undercutting American energy independence.
That is more misleading silliness. According to TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, the project is expected to create fewer than 2,000 temporary construction jobs for two years and just a handful of maintenance jobs after that. The exceptionally dirty oil that will be extracted from Alberta's tar sands and pumped through the pipeline will bring a lot of money to Canada and to multinational energy companies, but the oil itself will go to foreign countries, not to Americans.