Proponents of biofuels were stunned. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, was equally harsh. In a stinging letter to the president, Braley, who was “angered and frustrated,” argued that the reversal amounted to an “unprecedented pivot” from previous policy that would harm the economy in general and the biofuel industry in particular. “I’m stunned,” he wrote, “that the White House is caving to Big Oil.”
Former Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss., saw the reversal as a potential political blunder. “The biodiesel announcement,” Shows wrote in an op-ed, “was puzzling because the president has stated for years that advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, are a critical component of this nation’s fuel supply.” The flip-flop reveals an administration that is “indecisive,” which could prove disastrous for the Democratic Party in the upcoming midterm election.
On that point, beyond the pundits, the television commentators, and the president himself, the final arbiter on whether the Obama administration is up to the task of governing will be the American voters themselves — when they go to the polls in November.
Paul Alexander is the author of Machiavelli’s Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove. His political reporting has appeared in George, Rolling Stone, Salon and The Huffington Post.