Thursday, March 22, 2012

Will we see wide-crowd shots of Potemkin speech?

By Donald Sensing

Today President Obama will speak about how wonderful his energy policy is in Cushing, Okla. It will be nothing but pure political theater. IBD pegs it right: "Obama's Keystone XL Visit A Potemkin Village Photo-Op"

Politics: The president stages a photo-op in Oklahoma to take credit for the portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that doesn't need his approval and for oil production on private and state lands beyond his jurisdiction. If one of his aides some morning remarked on a particularly lovely sunrise, it wouldn't surprise us if President Obama responded with a "thank you," so gifted is he in taking credit for successes that he has nothing to do with and that occur despite, not because, of his policies. So it will be Thursday, when Obama is scheduled to appear in Cushing, Okla., known as the pipeline capital of the world, to take credit for the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project announced weeks ago by TransCanada, the Keystone builder. It's the section that doesn't need presidential or State Department approval since it does not cross an international boundary.
But Obama will nonetheless take credit for it, as he has been doing for increased domestic petroleum production even though not a single barrel of increased domestic production has ben pumped from public lands, just private lands, and not one new gallon of oil has been pumped from permits approved by the Obama administration. But my question for today's circus is simply whether the visual media will ever show a full shot of the crowd gathered when Obama speaks. We know that this event is being very carefully stage managed. It is closed to the general public, for example.
Obama's Thursday visit to Cushing is not open to the public. Credentialed media and 150 people invited by the White House will be on hand for the president's tour of a storage yard holding pipes to be used for construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Tickets are required to enter the closed event, and tickets are being handed out by Oklahoma's Democrat operatives, meaning that only the purest of the pure Democrat Sooners will get tix. Still, even with a hand-picked, carefully-vetted crowd, it will be interesting to see just how many people turn out. You can bet if the crowd is not so large, we'll see only close-in shots, no wide shots.

Update: The oil market has yawned at this speech.