A protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to “oil sands” in Louisiana. This version has been updated.

On Friday, the State Department quietly released a notification that the Keystone XL pipeline decision is being delayed yet again.  The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Terry O’Sullivan, called the delay “another gutless move” by the administration.  We could also dismiss the announcement as just more of the usual dithering from this White House.  I don’t think the delay is gutless or dithering, but a more sinister, cynical ploy by this administration to manipulate two groups into continuing to support vulnerable Democrats in an attempt to keep the Senate in 2014.

By appearing to have not made a decision, President Obama keeps the money pouring in from those on the fringe left — like billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer — who want the Democrats to swear allegiance to their global warming agenda.  And at the same time, the delay — not outright denial — deceptively makes voters in key states like Louisiana believe there is still some hope that the pipeline will come to life.  In Louisiana, voters think that if they reelect Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who touts her ability to influence the president on such things, the pipeline will become a reality.

One side or the other is being played for a fool.  But given what we know about the weakness of the president’s second-term agenda, and the fact that he could have approved the pipeline already if he wanted to, one would have to bet Keystone XL has no chance of being approved after the 2014 elections.  There is nothing new about government officials manipulating announcements of planned projects and the like to suit their political objectives.  But Obama’s manipulation has reached a peak. Neither side that he is playing will win.  Somehow, the delusional environmentalists think that if there is no pipeline, there will be less oil.  But the oil will not stay locked up in Mother Earth — it will be extracted and either travel by freight to the United States or it will go to China.  And Louisiana voters who are placing their faith in Landrieu are equally delusional.  She voted with Obama 97 percent of the time in 2013, and she knows she has some explaining to do.  You can bet that if she is reelected in November, it will be her last term.  By that point, she will not care about her constituents who are working in the oil industry in Louisiana.  She would rather be a celebrity in Washington, getting cozy with the left-wing beautiful people who dominate the Democratic Party.

That said, the White House strategy will no doubt work, at least partially. Global warming money will keep coming, and maybe the Louisiana voters will be fooled into giving Landrieu another term. The question is whether or not it will be enough for the Democrats to hold the Senate for the last two years of Obama’s time in office. Approval of Keystone XL, the jobs it would create for hard-working Americans and the positive impact it would have on America’s energy independence will have to wait until after 2016.

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