Gary Lambert - The Politics of Tough Choices

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 

The politics of tough choices

 

By GARY LAMBERT

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.

 

There is perhaps no sector of the economy more vital to sustained economic growth than American domestic energy production. To become more competitive in a variety of economic sectors – technology, manufacturing, transportation –we need affordable energy sources with stable pricing in order to compete globally and create more jobs domestically.

 

A reasonable person might expect that given the importance of a strong American energy sector, an 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline would be a sure thing to be approved by an administration which has repeatedly asserted its commitment to an all-of-the-above energy policy.

 

A reasonable person would be wrong. After an exhaustive review by a multitude of executive departments, President Barack Obama has still not approved the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are perfectly happy with that outcome; it means embattled incumbents like Ann Kuster don’t have to face a politically tough issue in an election year.

 

Earlier this year, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough had this to say about the president’s approach to the Keystone XL pipeline approval process: “What the President’s role is now is to protect this process from politics.” Judging by the other promises the president has made and broken (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” anyone?), we shouldn’t be surprised he broke this one too.

 

When the president last month delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline until after the November election, he gave up on any pretext that the delay was based on substantive issues about the pipeline’s environmental impact. Rather, President Obama basically admitted that there is only one reason why this project has not been allowed to go forward – politics.

 

The president does not want to give House Republicans, who have fought the administration’s delaying tactics at every step, a win in an election year. On the other end of the spectrum, liberal activists have fought the president at every step to delay, sabotage, and stop the pipeline project because it isn’t an energy source popular with the left – no windmills, I guess. To make matters even worse for the president, labor unions have supported the Keystone XL project from the beginning and now they are making their voices heard in favor of approval. So President Obama and Washington democrats like Ann Kuster are in a political pickle – trouble to the right and to the left.

 

No wonder people can’t stand Washington politicians. After statements flaunting “shovel-ready projects,” after a two-year re-election effort which highlighted the president’s “maturity” and “desire to get something done,” and after a 2014 State of the Union speech which declared a “year of action,” an item which satisfies all of those promises comes to the president’s desk for approval, and he takes a pass. He whiffs. He takes the coward’s way out.

 

As typical as that kind of “leadership” may be in Washington, I still find the president’s capacity to put the politics above the people absolutely astounding. It’s unacceptable leadership for a great nation and its unacceptable leadership for a trying time in America. We need better.

 

If you send me to Washington as your representative, I’ll raise my voice and cast my vote as many times as necessary to make sure the Keystone XL pipeline is approved and construction begins as soon as possible.

 

I cannot promise you that I can fix Washington alone. I cannot promise you that you will agree with me 100 percent of the time. If I did, we all know I’d be lying. What I can promise you is this – I will never take the coward’s way out. I’ll step forward and take the tough vote, take the stance which is right and honorable and moves our country forward. I won’t represent you based on political polls and the punditry; I won’t make a decision which directly affects American jobs and economic growth based on politics. I’ll represent you on the basis of what is best for America, New Hampshire, and the 2nd District. If the career politicians don’t like it, so be it.

 

That is my campaign pledge, and it’s why I’m running for Congress. I want to serve. I did it for 35 years in the United States Marine Corps and I did it in good times and bad. Service is the same regardless of the circumstances – you have a duty to do what is best for others. If President Obama understood that concept and understood that what is best for him politically is not what is best for the country, the Keystone XL Pipeline would have been approved long ago.

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.