Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Down the "War on Coal" Rabbit Hole in Kentucky

Kentucky's own barefoot and progressive blogger Joe Sonka hits the big time - The Nation - with his usual sharp insights on the Mitch'n'Alison Show.

There are some political races in America—though admittedly not many—that are classic examples of a healthy democracy in action. Races where candidates engage in intelligent and thorough policy debates, commonly field probing questions from reporters and answer with great detail, and have face-to-face conversations with voters to hear their concerns. 

Kentucky’s US Senate race between Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has not turned into one of these races, and looks unlikely to join those ranks any time soon.
Though the two candidates have traded barbs since Grimes entered the race last July, they kicked into high gear after McConnell disposed of Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in the May 20 primary. Or perhaps I should say low gear, considering the absurdity of a campaign that has largely consisted of trolling via press releases and tweets, infrequent and highly scripted public events, dodging reporters’ questions (when not trying to arrest them), and negative attack ads from outside groups—the total of which from all parties is estimated could reach $100 million in little ol’ Kentucky. 
Though Grimes has repeatedly touted her support for raising the minimum wage and equal pay, she has been reluctant to go in depth on many issues and risk giving ammo to McConnell’s seemingly endless supply of attack ad money. She’s banking on being the safe and uncontroversial alternative McConnell, whom several polls have shown is just as unpopular as Obama in Kentucky.  
However, there is one issue that both candidates have talked about ad nauseam, with rhetoric that often borders on the absurd. That issue is coal and EPA regulations of the industry, as both candidates are falling over each other to convince voters that they love Kentucky’s black mineral of heritage the most, and hold the president’s EPA in the lowest regard. 


Right or wrong, the conventional wisdom in Kentucky is that Democrats can’t win statewide elections without pandering to the coal industry—as Governor Steve Beshear did in 2011—and Grimes certainly isn’t eager to test that theory.

No comments: