Rena Schild /

When asked on NPR’s special coverage of the midterm elections for an example of the kind of legislation Republicans could pass with a Democrat still occupying the White House, a GOP lawmaker spat out without any hesitation the Keystone XL pipeline.

That’s what you can expect from this new Republican majority. They’ll be willing to deal, so long as the issues favor their donors. And with Democrats also in the pocket of big oil, it seems only a matter of time before the project, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, gets the green light. President Obama has been hot and cold on the issue, but he’s so desperate for friends on Capitol Hill, and so eager to move things along in the twilight of his presidency, he could very well cave. He has come close before. Coincidentally enough, the relatively low cost of oil on the open market has made expensive alternatives such as Keystone less appealing to producers. That won’t stop their supporters from taking advantage of a strong political hand.

Whatever the Democrats do, they’ll be thinking about 2016. Not just because they need a standard-bearer to cling to the one branch of government left to them — the executive — but because they’ll look for issues that could benefit down-ticket races.

Trying to get women to pay attention to GOP attacks didn’t work this time around. It also didn’t help that the Dems failed to deliver on key issues like immigration reform. In fact, President Obama has deported more immigrants many times over than George W. Bush.

The Republicans have been a party of inaction for six years. It will be interesting to see how they respond to holding genuine power, with a legitimate crack at the White House two years from now.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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