June 17 2014

Not a Good Omen: Hillary Won't Say What She Thinks about the Keystone Pipeline

Charlotte Hays

It looks like President Obama is going to ride out the clock on the Keystone Pipeline, leaving the decision to his successor. But one would be successor can’t say what she thinks about Keystone:

Asked last week by the Toronto Globe and Mail if she believes the U.S. should build the Keystone XL pipeline, she replied: "I can't respond."

Who knew an oil pipeline was classified information? As the former Secretary of State explained, "I can't really comment at great length because I had responsibility for it and it's been passed on and it wouldn't be appropriate." If she told you, she'd have to kill you. Or, to put it differently, if she told you, some Democrats might try to kill her presidential chances.

Of course, Clinton’s reply was nonsense. She can talk about the Keystone Pipeline anytime she wants to. This is pathetic for a woman who wants to be president.

Any answer she gives would be a political liability but voters nevertheless deserve to know. The Wall Street Journal comments:

She certainly speaks on other issues, such as gay marriage, where she now exudes the zeal of the convert, having changed her mind only a year ago. She's also more than happy to revisit her 2003 decision as a Senator to support the invasion of Iraq, something she now regrets at every opportunity. And she's perfectly happy to distance herself from President Obama's decisions that are turning sour, such as refusing to support the moderate opposition in Syria.

All of which suggests that her Keystone reticence is an attempt to dodge the Democratic divide between unions that support the pipeline for its jobs and billionaires like Tom Steyer who brook no dissent on climate change. By ducking now, she can see what Mr. Obama decides (if he ever does), test the political wind, and come out on the side that offers the most political benefit. You can't say she didn't learn from all those years with Bill.

Except that Bill Clinton did take some stands (he signed welfare reform) that put him at odds with his base but were good for the country. He is also a wonk who likes discussing issues. Hillary Clinton in her underwhelming book release demonstrated that she is in many meaningful ways quite different from her husband.  

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