When your base puts you in the middle of a food fight.

When your base puts you in the middle of a food fight.

There are four pressure points in politics. The Press. Contributors. Interest Groups. And Voters. The first three will often try to pull you in a direction that will cost you with the fourth. An even stickier situation arises when interest groups that are part of your natural base put you in the middle of a food fight.

Last week Obama knelt at the altar in the Church of Global Warming, and left 140,000 jobless union workers out in the cold. He will pay a price, with his base, and with the voters.

In early November there were protests at the White House. Some 12,000 environmentalists demanded that Obama pull the plug on TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL project, a 1,700 mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada to Texas, transporting more than 800,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

“We are your base,” chanted one protestor, a member of the Democratic National Committee who opposes the project. A spokesman for the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO suggested that if the project is not approved, members of his union will sit on their hands in 2012.

The problem environmentalists have is that the pipeline would transport tar sands oil, which the greens contend will cause global warming. The President’s decision however, won’t stop Canada from extracting tar sands oil. They have made clear that if the United States doesn’t want the oil, they will be happy to transport it to the Pacific Coast and sell it to China.

Rather than make a decision on the pipeline, Obama kicked the can down the road to 2013, opting to placate the greens, and infuriating the jobless union workers who would like to partake of those 13,000 new union jobs, or some of the 120,000 spin off jobs the project is expected to create.

If the economy were humming along at a 5% annual growth rate with unemployment below 4% Obama’s indecision might get a pass. But it isn’t.

By siding with the greens, Obama has created an opening for a Republican willing to embrace the pipeline, the cause of the jobless workers, and the consumers who are sick and tired of $4 gas and skyrocketing fuel oil prices.

Lesson here to all those running for public office. When parts of your natural base put you in the middle of a tug of war, it is best to keep the voters in mind when deciding which end of the rope to pull.

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