"Showing Disdain for 'Coal People'"
According to this morning's lead editorial Bill Clinton joked in Pennsylvania last week that the "coal people" in eastern Kentucky and West Virginian "don't like any of us anymore." The editorial goes on to tell us that "coal people" have suffered as a result of the Obama administration (which Hillary was part of) and Bill Clinton "knows it." Bill and Hillary are then connected to the president and, as with similar editorials, the president is blamed for everything that has gone wrong for "coal people." Never mentioned is that coal started its decline long before Obama took office and that coal cannot compete in the marketplace. No, that's an inconvenient fact:
Additionally, since it is an anti-Hillary editorial, we once again need to be reminded that Hillary has promised to put "a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."
Is "coal-dependent" Arkansas facing a "bleak" situation?
Local editorials and Myer columns only sometimes use evidence to support the points they make. One of the things that I've learned doing this blog is that while most of their editorial's arguments are simply asserted to be true, any evidence that they use needs to be verified. Sometimes the evidence is recent and from a reputable source. Often its dated, is taken out of context, or simply doesn't say what the writer claims. Today's first editorial uses Arkansas's attempts to deal with the EPA and the Clean Power Plan to illustrate "what a president can do to them." (I guess it doesn't matter that the Clintons haven't been connected to Arkansas for 25 years.) From the editorial:
National Geographic magazine has described Arkansas as “coal-dependent,” and, in the light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, facing a “bleak” situation.
I would note that the original Geographic article is from 2014 and it appears to hedge on its use of "bleak":
Arkansas's situation seems rather bleak on the surface.
Since the sources of our energy are changing dramatically, I decided to see if there was more recent evidence. Utility Dive (a website that reports power news) published this article in May of this year:
Arkansas emissions drop below Clean Power Plan's 2030 targets
Yes, the "bleak" situation ain't so bleak - they've already reached their 2030 goal.
Meet the Deplorables
As I've noted on a couple of occasions, neither local "newspaper" has ever criticized candidate Trump for any of his personal attacks on individuals or minority groups. Their silence, particularly when compared to their near-daily attacks on Clinton, says a lot about their attitudes toward women, Muslims, non-heterosexuals, Hispanics, and any other minority that crosses Trump's path. Consequently, the first time I heard the Hillary Clinton quote that half of Trump's supporters were "deplorable" I knew that I'd see an editorial about what she said. The editorial notes that Clinton called some of Trump's supporters "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic" but the editorial argues that they aren't "deplorable," they are merely disagreeing with her! I'm sorry but those terms are not mutually exclusive -- "disagreement" is independent of whether or not they are "racist" or any of the other "deplorable" adjectives.
Clinton's comment has encouraged a number of sources to look more closely at the polling results of the attitudes of Trump supporters. Here are two interesting discussions of those numbers: fivethirtyeight.com and slate.
Would a vendetta by any other name smell as sweet?
I'm still working on part 2 of my post on Obama's supposed "vendetta" against coal and West Virginians. However, I would note that despite both editorials being supposedly about Hillary Clinton, both find room to attack the president and both refer to his comment from 2008 about his lack of support from central Pennsylvanians that has made it into numerous local anti-Obama editorials and columns. Here's the original quote:
It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
From today's "coal people" editorial:
“They” heard President Barack Obama make fun of those who are “bitter” and “cling to their guns or religion.”
And from the "deplorable" editorial:
During his own campaign for president, Obama made his disdain for those who questioned him — people who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them …” — abundantly clear.
Neither editorial uses "vendetta" but according to these quotes, the president has" made fun" and been "disdainful of us" since his first campaign - thus, his "blood feud" with us is at least eight years in the making.
Finally, I think it could be argued that Obama, while not directing his comments specifically at West Virginians as the editorials intimate, was incredibly prophetic back in 2008 with his "guns or religion" comment. Look at the priorities for this year's legislative session, how quickly they passed the open-carry gun law, and how much legislative time was spent on a religious freedom bill which would have allowed discrimination based upon narrow personal religious beliefs. (I'm sure a new version will be ready in January.) These bills may have been easier to deal with than budgetary matters but they were also what a lot of voters wanted.