Sunday, August 02, 2015

Hillary: On Board With The Boardroom


The courageous environmentalist who refuses to take a stand on Keystone XL

"Dems," reads a headline in the Beltway trade paper The Hill, "Give Clinton Pass On Keystone." A more accurate, less Beltway headline would read: "Some Dems Give Hillary A Pass On Keystone, And Many Others Are Demanding She Take A Position." Every Democrat I know wants her to take a position. And they want her to oppose it. Professional careerist Democrats see it very differently, of course. To them sound public policy, which is almost always controversial, is always secondary to career opportunities.

Of course The Hill questioned the sincerity and motivation of Democrats who were demanding answers, particularly Bernie Sanders, who they claimed is "looking to bolster his credentials with environmentalists," saying, "It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline."

Clinton is getting a pass from many Democrats on Capitol Hill, even those opposed to the pipeline, something that could undercut the pressure on her to publicly say that the pipeline should be constructed or shelved.

“I think the decision is going to be made in this administration, so I think her position on this is moot,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a fierce Keystone opponent who is not pressing Clinton to come out in opposition.

“I want to make sure that she’s the president, and I think her recent video shows how important the climate priority is for her, and how she wants to develop that argument is, to me, up to her. I don’t question her judgment on this,” he said.

Even the lawmakers most opposed to Keystone gave Clinton cover on the matter.

 “The climate policy is what we care about,” said Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a Clinton supporter and vice-chair of the congressional Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). 

“Out of respect for the president and her professional role in his administration, it would be improper for her to comment at this point on the Keystone pipeline while the decisions are currently pending.”

Clinton introduced the first aspects of her climate change platform this week but gave scant details on several issues important to environmentalists, including off-shore drilling and oil and gas policies.

Yet it was her strident refusal to say if she supports Keystone that struck home the hardest for greens.

“This is President Obama’s decision,” Clinton said. “And I am not going to second-guess him, because I was in a position to set this in motion, and I do not think that would be the right thing to do.”

She then laid out a marker for when she might offer her position: “If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” she said.

The answer did not please environmental groups.

“We find it completely unacceptable that she cannot provide an answer,” Jane Kleeb, the founder of the anti-Keystone group Bold Nebraska, said. “She is the only candidate in the presidential race that doesn’t have an answer on where she stands on Keystone.”

...Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate yet, and he said Clinton’s wavering on Keystone is a leading reason why.

He said he thinks Clinton is eventually going to have to take a position on the issue given not only its policy implications, but its symbolic importance for many environmentalists in the Democratic Party. 
“If it is a symbol, it’s an environmentally important symbol, Keystone, and to 2016, politically, a very important symbol,” he said. If Clinton were to come out against the pipeline, “I think her campaign would be very pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction. Symbol or no symbol, it’s there.”

Grijalva is one of the few Democrats on Capitol Hill to scrutinize Clinton’s silence on Keystone.

...Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who hasn’t endorsed a candidate, said he “assumes” Clinton opposes the pipeline because of the climate proposals she began rolling out this week. He said Clinton is right to resist taking a position just because her rivals are pushing her toward one.

“She doesn’t want to look like she’s being pushed by anybody. It’s not good for her campaign to appear to be sort of influenced. But at the same time, the base wants these things,” he said.

“At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Malley, Sanders and Clinton have taken very comparable positions.“

But green groups say they don’t want to judge a candidate on assumptions alone.

Kleeb said she thinks Democrats should push Clinton to take a stand on Keystone, but she expects many of them are “playing the long game” and trying not to alienate the odds-on favorite to win the party’s nomination.

Her group, she said, will look to pressure Clinton when she campaigns near the Iowa-Nebraska border later this summer by playing a game of dodge ball outside her events.

“Us in the heartland aren’t looking for an invitation to the White House,” Kleeb said. “We’re looking for clean water.”
There's an alternative to Hillary-- and I'm not talking about a worse alternative. I'm talking about Bernie Sanders. Do you want to help him save America for real? Here's the page.

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At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article details why I will only vote for Hillary if the GOP nominee is a real threat. Otherwise, I will vote my conscience, and that will be Bernie first, then Jill Stein if Bernie loses the primary.


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