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When a liberal cause turns conservative

Thousands of protestors gather at the National Mall in Washington calling on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, as well as act to limit carbon pollution from power plants and "move beyond" coal and natural gas, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. But as it turns out, it's not just a liberal cause anymore. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

At his inauguration the President mentioned climate change. To environmentalists, that means stopping the Keystone oil pipeline, which is being built to bring oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico.

Activist Bill McKibben was at last weekend’s pipeline protest outside the White House. He’s worried that the President is so determined not to be stereotyped as some liberal oil-phobic, anti-car, pipeline hater that he might be too eager to compromise.

But the opposition, as it turns out, isn’t just from hyper-sensitive urban liberals.

“I just don’t believe that a Canadian organization, that appears to be building a pipeline for their financial gain, has more of a right to my land than I do,” said Julia Crawford.

Crawford owns a Texas farm and doesn’t want a pipeline under it.

Then there’s this woman – Deborah Medina. “Why would the legislature allow a company, merely passing through our state, to forcibly take land for Texas landowners?”

You’ve never heard of Medina, but she ran for governor of Texas, is a Tea Party member and considers gun rights sacred. She doesn’t exactly come across as a Save-The-Polar-Bears type, and she told a state hearing last year she doesn’t see how this Canadian company gets off forcing its pipeline across private land.

With gas prices going up, the President is under pressure to approve the full pipeline. But with the protest expanding from an environmental issue to a property rights issue – he might have the political cover to say no, and be seen not so much as a fossil-fuel-hating liberal, but as a property rights protecting conservative.

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