STEPHENS: -- let's make a deal with the president and keep delays and delaying the various mandates as long as they can. Hopefully, pass the 2016 presidential election. But should be negotiating for things like the medical device tax. That's -- I mean, look, there is a view within the Republican Party that the worse the better. This is the kind of Trotskyite view --
-- sympathetic to another context.
GIGOT: But not in this one.
STEPHENS: But -- no, not in this one. Because there is power to the Democratic argument that the more people then role in the exchanges, the more popular the law is going to become and it's going to gain that kind of political clout.
GIGOT: So you would like to see this extended out if it is -- as long as possible. Delayed as long as possible. The more the delay, the less likely it ever takes --
STEPHENS: And Republicans should be saying, why should we talk about a one-year extension in the employer mandate, because that creates all kinds of uncertainties for business. Let's delay it for five years to give the administration all the time it needs to make sure it has the architecture in place.
GIGOT: But the alternative argument, Joe, is, look, if you help ObamaCare, you actually -- by fixing it in some way, you're giving the administration the power to do what it wants to delay, then you are making it that much more likely that Americans will respond and favor it.
RAGO: Well, Paul, you are right that there is a significant segment of the Republican Party who is opposed to any kind of fix but this is a fairly new position. If you remember, very early in the -- in 2010, Congress repealed something called the 1099 business recording requirements, which were a huge burden on corporate America. And we have gotten rid of the Class Act, which was an unaffordable entitlement designed to explode.
GIGOT: For long-term insurance.
RAGO: So the idea that we can't fix this, I think they should really be going for tangible improvements in the law, getting rid of the medical device acts, or some of the insurance tax that's will just passed on to consumers. I think they can -- they can't repeal it, but they can make it --
GIGOT: And by holding the vote, they will put Democrats on the spot --
GIGOT: -- and force them to vote, which is its own form of accountability.
All right. When we come back, muted response from environmentalists after an oil train derails, all but wiping out a Canadian town. Could the catastrophe boost chances for the Keystone Pipeline?
GIGOT: More than 20 people are dead and two dozen others are still missing after an oil train derailed 20 miles from the main border last weekend, destroying much of a Canadian town, and dumping thousands of gallons of crude into a nearby river. Canadian officials are calling it an unprecedented environmental disaster. And proponents of a Keystone XL Pipeline say the catastrophe is further proof that the project should move forward.
We are back with Bret Stephens and Kim Strassel. And Wall Street Journal columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, also joins the panel.
Bret, what lesson do you take away from this train derailment? Before we get to Keystone, just the lessons of the derailment itself.
STEPHENS: The basic point is if you are going to move oil over many thousands of miles, there's going to be -- there are going to be environmental safety hazards.
GIGOT: No matter how you do it.
STEPHENS: No matter how you do it. But some safety hazards are greater than others. This town, 20 miles from the Maine border, Lac-Megantic, which has experienced a kind of war-zone-like catastrophe, in the words of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Now, we are going to have an investigation looking at what kind of failure led to it. But the point is there will be failures one kind or another that lead to these kinds of spills. We had a 24-fold increase in last four and a half years of the amount of oil that's being shipped by rail from places like Alberta or North Dakota to the coast, and so naturally the number of environmental spills, oil spills, is rising.
GIGOT: What about the argument, Mary, that environmentalist would say, you know what, we just shouldn't develop the tar sands, oil sands in Canada because you are going to have -- if it is not going to be pipeline leaks, it is going to be rail car derailments or transporting the oil by ship and that has its own problems. Just don't develop that oil at all. Too dangerous.
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: Actually, Paul, I think what's unfortunate in the Keystone case is that you and I and the Keystone people were thinking that if only we could address these risks of leaks, this would satisfy the environmentalists. What you find out is that's really not their issue at all. And the director for the international program at the National Resources Defense Council said last week that the question to the administration is not whether crude should be shipped by pipeline or rail. The question is whether we will deepen our reliance on dirty fuels of the past.
GIGOT: So any kind of oil is dirty?
O'GRADY: Yeah. They want what you refer to as clean energy solutions of the future. And we know all about those solution.
GIGOT: Are pipelines safer than rail cars, Bret?
STEPHENS: Yes. Look, there is no -- let's put it the table. There is no perfectly safe way to transport energy. There is no perfectly safe energy source to begin with. But on a --
GIGOT: Windmills kill birds.
STEPHENS: Right. Kills a lot --
GIGOT: Tens of thousands.
STEPHENS: But on miles-per-gallon basis, pipelines are more than twice as safe. They're subject to half as many leaks as rails.
O'GRADY: You know, not only that but what is interesting is that the newer pipelines, for example, Keystone, which is -- you know, will be 20 years newer than, say the Enbridge Pipeline, which had a big leak in Michigan, have amazing innovations in them where they can detect the tiniest kinds of leaks and shut off. They're really quite good. And President Obama talks about improving our infrastructure. But when it comes to improving the pipeline infrastructure, he's not interested. So the older the pipeline, the more the risk, and that's actually what he's inviting by not allowing Keystone.
GIGOT: All right, Strassel, get in here on the politics.
What do you think about this?