What to Say about Sen. Landrieu’s Keystone XL Gambit?

File this one under convenient, one-stop examples for the occasionally fathomless stupidity of the Democratic Party.

By Nathan Pippenger

File this one under “convenient, one-stop examples for the occasionally fathomless stupidity of the Democratic Party”: Mary Landrieu, who is almost certainly going to lose her runoff election in December, is trying to save herself among Louisiana voters by pushing for a Senate vote approving the extremely controversial Keystone XL pipeline. This would create fewer than three dozen permanent jobs in the entire country, and almost none in her home state (even during the construction period, which will bring in seasonal workers). Oh, and there’s the small concern of trying to prevent climate change from catastrophically altering life on Earth, a rare cause on which the United States actually made progress this week. Taking a step backwards on that front might make sense if a victory in the runoff would give Democrats control of the Senate, which it won’t. Or if her opponent could be attacked for opposing the pipeline, which he doesn’t. Or if the electoral advantage to this useless, cynical maneuver weren’t utterly chimerical, which it is. Or if the Democrats hadn’t just last week suffered a massive defeat in the midterms by, in part, failing to turn out their their young, liberal coalition, who probably will not be motivated to vote by the impression that when things get tough, their party is happy to cravenly promote the favored policies of the opposition.

Other than these small quibbles, this is a brilliant political move that will certainly save Landrieu her seat, in a most gallant and inspiring fashion.

Nathan Pippenger is a contributing editor at Democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @NathanPip.

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