At some point over the very short term (perhaps even before you are reading this), President Obama is expected to issue the third veto of his presidency. That veto will terminate the effort of Congressional Republicans (and, fleetingly, former Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu) to force approval of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Only three vetoes! Yes, it is somewhat amazing. By the time he left office, George W. Bush had racked up 12 vetoes. Bill Clinton: 37. The other Bush (H. W., not Jeb, in case you're reading this in 2018): 44. So, how has Obama gotten away with only three?

The answer, naturally, is Congress. If you look at how the vetoes since 1973 were distributed across the presidencies -- which we can do thanks to GovTrack -- you can see clearly that recent vetoes have come when the president and Congress are controlled by opposing parties.

So it's very safe to assume, as people have, that Obama's veto count will go up quickly.

We looked at the history of vetoes in January and found something interesting. Since the first veto by George Washington in the 2nd Congress, nearly half of vetoes have come when the Congress and White House are controlled by the same party.

Notice that as recently as the Reagan administration vetoes of legislation from a Congress controlled at least in part by the president's party wasn't abnormal.

Or even more recently: Obama's first two vetoes came with Democratic control of the House and Senate. If the next two years go the way we might expect, we can probably consider those to be outliers.

It’s Congress against the White House once again. The fight over the pipeline is a potential political victory for Republicans and Democrats. (Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)