The decision over whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline ought to be based on energy needs, environmental concerns and the thousands of jobs the project would provide for Americans.
But it is not. As U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., put it, the Keystone plan has become "a political football."
President Barack Obama rejects the proposal because he believes he will gain votes by doing so. All but a handful of Democrats in Congress oppose it simply because they are doing the will of their president.
Among that handful is Manchin. He has co-sponsored a bill that would allow construction of the pipeline. Manchin is the only Democrat signed on as a co-sponsor.
Manchin has consistently fought for the best interests of his West Virginia constituents. He understands the pipeline would be good for all Americans.
He also has battled against the White House to protect the coal industry.
Meanwhile, what of our state's other senator, Jay Rockefeller? The veteran Democrat is with Obama on the pipeline. He seldom voices opposition to measures designed to cripple the coal industry.
Too much of what happens in Washington involves partisan politics. Clearly, that's fine with Rockefeller - but Manchin is right to see it as wrong for both our state and our nation.