In her latest cry of despair at the supposed horrors of the Obama presidency -- this one's titled "The Nihilist in the White House" -- Peggy Noonan explains the real meaning of Keystone:
And there is the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration's apparent intent to veto a bill that allows it. There the issue is not only the jobs the pipeline would create, and not only the infrastructure element. It is something more. If it is done right, the people who build the pipeline could be pressed to take on young men -- skill-less, aimless -- and get them learning, as part of a crew, how things are built and what it is to be a man who builds them.
On top of that, the building of the pipeline would show the world that America is capable of coming back, that we’re not only aware of our good fortune and engineering genius, we are pushing it hard into the future. America's got her hard-hat on again. America is dynamic. "You ain't seen nothin' yet." Not just this endless talk of limits, restrictions, fears and "Oh, we're all going to melt in the warm global future!"
Which is sort of the spirit of this White House.
Where to begin? Well, I'm trying to be high-minded here so, in response to the notion of Keystone allowing laborers to "take on young men," I'll resist the temptation to post sexualized totalitarian shirtless-laborer propaganda. Instead, I'll say: We need to build this specific pipeline in order for laborers to be able to mentor other laborers? Hey, how 'bout we ask the American Society of Civil Engineers whether there are any other projects that need doing?
Are you telling me, Peggy, that you don't see anything we could build on this list that would show the world that "America's got her hard-hat on again"? It has to be Keystone?
And if you're looking for some sort of engineering marvel, well, is Keystone even what you're looking for? Isn't it just another pipeline, apart from the fraught nature of what it's supposed to carry?
Ahhh, but I guess that's the point -- it carries a payload that's utterly masculine in its viscous dangerousness. Build it and you're the boss of the beach, able to kick sand in the face of our 98-pound weakling of a president and his effeminate whining about climate change.
That's the message of the last bit I quoted, of course: that Barack Obama is a big girl because he worries about greenhouses gases, and because the thought of fossil fuels doesn't make his sap rise. Of course, when he tried to fund some actual cutting-edge manufacturing technology, in the alternative-fuels area, the program was vilified by the right, including Noonan herself, even though the overall programturned a profit for the U.S., and even though the world would probably be much more impressed by U.S. breakthroughs in alternative energy than by one more pipeline meant as a conduit for unusually dirty oil. But that wouldn't have the intended effect on Noonan, would it?