By Michael Reagan
Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.
A week ago I was in bitterly cold Nebraska — Omaha, to be exact — visiting with my wife Colleen’s family.
On Tuesday night of that week I watched the diehard Democrats in the Senate stop a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada and Montana and North Dakota to the refineries of New Orleans.
The proposed $8 billion shortcut across Nebraska and other Red States is a big deal.
It makes economic and environmental sense for their citizens and for all Americans. But of course that hasn’t stopped the pipeline from becoming a political cause célèbre for liberal Democrats and their narrow interest groups.
President Obama, Senator Reid, and their wacko pals in the environmental lobby have managed to delay the Keystone XL’s approval for six years.
But they’d better celebrate that night’s buzzer beater while they can. Their one-vote “victory” in the Senate is the last time they’ll be able to get away with their “we know better than you” attitude toward voters.
The Keystone XL will get the green light as soon as the Republicans who were elected in the midterm elections start running things in Congress next year.
Watching the diehard Democrats in the Senate vote against the pipeline was creepy. It reminded me of the spiteful thing President Carter did in 1980 when he was blown out of office by my father.
As the 1980 election returns were coming in from back east, my father was taking a shower and getting ready to go to dinner in L.A.
Polls were still open in the rest of the country, but Jimmy Carter already could see the landslide coming. At 6:01 Pacific time he called my father to concede.
Giving up so soon — and thereby discouraging many Democrat voters in the western time zones from going to the polls — made the Reagan avalanche even worse.
Republicans took control of the Senate, 53-46, picking up 12 seats.
Carter knew what he was doing. He was an outsider who never worked well with his party’s Washington insiders.
Insisting on conceding so early, despite advice from his advisers and the pleas of party leaders like Tip O’Neill, was Carter’s way of punishing the Democrats who ran Washington.
I think Senate Democrats were acting like Jimmy Carter on that Tuesday when they defeated the pipeline vote.
It’s inevitable that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. Harry Reid and his gang of obstructionists know that.
But they voted against the pipeline anyway, even ignoring the small chance that a pro-Keystone vote might have saved Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana.
Democrats flat didn’t care. The pipeline vote was their final act of spite. It was a last-minute kick in the teeth of Red State voters for electing so many Republicans to Congress in the midterms.
I believe it was President Obama who famously said to Eric Cantor after re-winning the White House in 2012 that “elections have consequences.”
Obviously, you were right, Mr. President.
But seeing Democrat senators stick it to the American electorate on the pipeline, and watching you desecrate the Constitution to push your immigration agenda, has made me realize something.
When you and the Democrats win an election, America suffers. And when you guys don’t win an election, America suffers just as much.
For the last six years, voters have been playing in a lose-lose game. But for the next two years things will be different. Because, thank God, elections do matter.
Michael Reagan is the son of former President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the League of American Voters. His blog appears on reaganreports.com