WASHINGTON — Thumbs-up from Alec Baldwin, Ron Burgundy’s Action News team jumping for joy, and a face-planting Stephen Colbert are part of the Colorado GOP’s humorous multimedia presentation on Sen. Mark Udall’s Keystone pipeline vote.
The witty take on a serious election season issue is a tumblr of the top five things to know about the controversy, including how many times Udall has voted against construction of the pipeline – Wednesday’s vote will mark the fourth.
The collage also notes that 66 percent of Coloradans support the pipeline, and that the State Department has reported “no major environmental objections.”
“If Mark Udall voted in favor of building the Keystone pipeline, he would risk losing financial support from radical environmentalist groups supporting his reelection campaign – including those sponsored by climate activist Tom Steyer,” the collage said.
“Even prominent Colorado Democrat and former Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar supports building the Keystone pipeline,” it said.
Udall’s reasoning for voting against the pipeline has some Washington insiders scratching their heads.
In a town where excuses run the typical mundane gauntlet of “It didn’t go far enough” to “It went to far,” or the project costs too much money or doesn’t include enough funding, Udall’s claim is unique among politicians.
“Sen. Udall has been eminently clear that Congress should not inject politics into the administration’s ongoing review process,” spokesman Mike Saccone told Fox31 News.
“That’s why he voted against Democratic and Republican amendments that attempted to dictate a result on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Saccone said.
Dan Kish, a veteran Capitol Hill staffer who now serves as senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, called the excuse a weak dodge.
“The senator’s job is to make tough decision, it’s why he was sent to Washington,” Kish said. “For him to pretend he doesn’t want to get involved because of politics, it’s either because he’s got his head in the sand or someplace else.”
“For him to say he doesn’t have an opinion because of politics, and he’s a politician? It’s just so absurd on it’s face,” Kish said. “Clearly, this is a federal decision.”
The State Department has signed off on the pipeline project that would stretch from Canada to Texas, stating that the environmental impact would be minimal. But President Barack Obama has delayed his final decision on numerous occasions, the most recent in April.
Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers International Union of America said the Democratic administration is to blame for playing politics with the issue, and called the president’s inaction “gutless.”
“It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.
“Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach,” O’Sullivan said.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday is expected to pass a bipartisan measure designed to pressure Obama to make a final decision on the pipeline, which has been locked down in consideration mode for six years.
A leading opponent of the pipeline is the billionaire Steyer, who ran anti-Keystone ads to coincide with Obama’s State of the Union address in January, and reportedly pressed the president on the issue during a February fundraiser at his San Francisco home.
Steyer’s political action committee is also supporting Udall’s reelection bid, and has so far spent $52,000 in ads attacking Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner.
“For a guy bankrolled by Steyer, I guess Udall knows politics when he sees it,” Kish said.