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The reason that Keystone XL has a chance is that Biden is a throwback. He came of age when horse trading in the Senate was the norm, not something you did to avoid a crisis. The closest observers of the president-elect say he remains an old-school senator at heart, suggesting he’d be willing to lose some points if the eventual payoff is worth the pain of a few difficult news cycles.
“There are going to be a lot of days when Democrats are going to be saying, `What the hell did Joe Biden just give away,’ and there will be days when they say, `Huh, I didn’t think (the White House) could get that,’” Evan Osnos, author of a new biography of Biden,said recently on The Ezra Klein Show, a podcast on U.S. politics and public policy.
Osnos, a writer at The New Yorker magazine, observed that Biden’s negotiating style is to consider what the other side needs to get to where he himself wants to go.
Where does Biden want to go? Histransition website lists four priorities: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equality and climate change. There is no mention of Keystone, but the transition team doessay this: “Biden knows how to stand with America’s allies, stand up to adversaries, and level with any world leader about what must be done. He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change — he will go much further than that. He is working to lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets.”