In yet another sign that Team Obama is increasingly worried about their prospects in Pennsylvania, they’re bringing in the big guns of big labor to do some damage control in the Keystone state’s coal country. Earlier this year, the longtime Democrat-endorsing United Mine Workers of America conspicuously abstained from endorsing President Obama as they did wholeheartedly in 2008, reflecting the growing sentiments of energy and mining workers in Appalachia and across the country that President Obama doesn’t exactly have their best interests at heart — and how. As much as Team Obama would like us to believe that Team Romney’s recent bid for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes is one of the last “desperate” acts of a dying campaign, bringing in Richard Trumka to do some last-minute campaigning there demonstrates that the very real problem of Obama’s “war on coal” is definitely rearing it’s ugly head. Via The Hill:
In prepared remarks shared with The Hill, the head of the nation’s largest labor federation will say at a Pittsburgh, Pa. rally with former President Bill Clinton that Romney would cut back on clean coal technology jobs and that Romney, as Massachusetts governor, opposed the coal industry.
“Mitt Romney says there’s a war on coal, and he’s right. But it’s a war he started in Massachusetts when he sued the EPA to force new regulations to kill coal jobs. Today, Mitt Romney has campaigned against those same exact regulations and he blames them on President Obama. But we know the truth,” Trumka will say.
“Mitt Romney says he’ll be a coal president, but he swore he’d cut funding for clean coal technology. And you know and I know that clean coal technology creates jobs, good jobs. And if that funding gets cut, those jobs will get cut,” Trumka will say.
I get that they need to counter the Mitt-mentum surge and quell workers’ fears about the policy-and-regulatory onslaught killing their jobs (fears which are more than justified, by the way — the mining and resource extraction sector shed 9,000 jobs in October alone), but unless Trumka holds some sort of unbreakable sway over mine workers, I feel like this could actually backfire.
Can anyone honestly believe that Mitt Romney would be worse for the coal industry than a second term for Barack Obama, who can already boast of a definitive rap sheet of actions that have inflicted the coal industry with immediate damage? Why is pointing out a few of Romney’s policies as governor (of Massachusetts) going to do any good, when Obama has done all that and much more as president? As for clean coal technology, it’s a longtime federal-subsidy recipient but plants are still prohibitively expensive to build and operate, and those supposedly “good” jobs are largely dependent on the government dole — a task lately made even less realistic by the natural-gas boom.
Anyhow, this just goes to show that the Romney-surge is real, that coal country is indeed still feeling skittish about the president’s policies, and that Team Obama is nervous. On CNN this morning, Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Pat Toomey added his to the chorus of voices intoning that Romney’s chances of taking the state are looking better and better:
Oops: I accidentally had Toomey as Pennsylvania’s governor earlier; fixed it to senator!