New KY campaign theme is … Coal Miner’s Model?

posted at 2:01 pm on June 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

If the news in politics and war has become too grim this week, let’s remember why we love politics in the first place … absurdity. In Kentucky, where one of its most famous daughters produced the anthem Coal Miner’s Daughter, the coal industry is key to both the economy and identity of the state. After the Obama administration went after the coal industry with new EPA regulations, Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes produced an ad promoting coal in order to distance herself from Obama and establish her bona fides as an authentic daughter of Kentucky.

There was only one problem with the ad:

President Barack Obama’s new EPA rules on carbon emissions are politically toxic in Kentucky, so it’s no surprise that the Democrat challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to distance herself. Her campaign blasted out an ad on Monday afternoon that says, “President Obama and Washington Don’t Get It … Alison Grimes Does.”

Accompanying that message is a large picture of a man in a hard hat with a sooty face holding out a piece of coal toward the camera. It was taken by Ukrainian photographerVictor Gladkov and is for sale on the photo website Shutterstock.

Also available there are pictures of the same model dressed as a doctor, engineer, soldier, student, carpenter and painter. He is also shown making an obscene gesture toward the camera in one image.

Republicans leaped all over the photo choice, of course. That prompted the Grimes campaign to point out three stock-photo mismatches on Mitch McConnell’s site, but that misses the point of Grimes’ strategy. McConnell has been around long enough to not have to worry about his own authenticity, especially in the context of the Obama administration and EPA restrictions on coal. Replacing an Obama opponent with an Obama supporter in the US Senate does nothing to protect Kentucky’s native industry, which is why Grimes has to paint herself as a Kentuckian first and a Democrat second. Using a European male model rather than an actual Kentucky coal miner for a website picture makes Grimes look much less like an authentic Kentuckian and more like a poseur.

How difficult would it have been to send a staffer to a coal mine for a snapshot? There has to be at least one actual coal miner supporting Grimes … right?

This is an absurd little tempest-in-a-teapot scandal, but it points out a much larger problem for Grimes and other Democrats like her in the midterms. Josh Kraushaar wonders if Obama even cares about Senate races any longer with his unilateral declaration of war on coal:

Does President Obama care about keeping the Senate?

The president reportedly has told his close allies that losing the Senate would be “unbearable,” but his administration is doing everything possible to make things difficult for his party’s most vulnerable senators. On energy issues alone, the administration’s decisions to impose new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired plants and indefinitely delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline could help burnish his long-term environmental legacy, but at the expense of losing complete control of Congress. …

To understand the disconnect between the White House and Congress’s views of energy politics, just look at the disparate results from 2010 and 2012 in the energy-producing battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Obama won all three states in 2012, even though Mitt Romney attacked him over his administration’s environmentally minded policies throughout the campaign. But in the previous midterm election, when blue-collar workers made up a larger share of the electorate, Republicans picked up a whopping 13 (out of 28) Democratic-held House seats in those states, with Rob Portman and Pat Toomey scoring huge Senate victories. Most of the successful Republican challengers in those states campaigned against the Democratic cap-and-trade legislation, which didn’t become law, but nonetheless served as a rallying cry for the GOP. Obama won despite his liberal environmental policies, but when he wasn’t on the ballot, his party lost nearly half of its members in those crucial battleground states.

In other words, it’s a weird time to remind these voters of the damage that Democrats can do in their own back yards.

Republicans weren’t alone in laughing at Grimes. Mika Brzezinski noted that she had a problem with “optics,” and the panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe found it quite amusing:


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Trust no one with two last names.

NotCoach on June 6, 2014 at 2:07 PM

November Tsunami…

PatriotRider on June 6, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Accompanying that message is a large picture of a man in a hard hat with a sooty face holding out a piece of coal toward the camera. It was taken by Ukrainian photographerVictor Gladkov and is for sale on the photo website Shutterstock.

Seriously? There are about 10,000 unemployed Coal Miners here in Kentucky and she couldn’t get one to pose for a picture for her campaign?

She is stupid and this will not sit well for her. I have not seen that Ad, but we don’t watch must Network TV except for Fox.

Johnnyreb on June 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Hmmmm, maybe The One needs to get a pic of himself lifting TWO pieces of coal AT THE SAME TIME, with the headline, “Doing the Heavy Lifting For America.”

vnvet on June 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

His name is Julian.

BobMbx on June 6, 2014 at 2:10 PM

This is an absurd little teapot-in-a-tempest scandal, but it points out a much larger problem for Grimes and other Democrats like her in the midterms.

Slow news (outrage) day, I see. Why not pump out 10 more Bergdahl posts?

themuppet on June 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Maybe she really is…Grimey!

22044 on June 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Optics-wise, I still wish Ashley Judd were the challenger instead of Mrs. Grimes. The results would still be same but think of the entertainment factor.

Rix on June 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Perhaps Obama and his team know that even if they loose the Senate majority nothing will change as long as he is President and the current minority party cannot achieve 60+ votes next year.

tuptian on June 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

She should have just photo-shopped Obama in a coal miner’s hat and clothes.

AZCoyote on June 6, 2014 at 2:18 PM

European pajama boys: doing the jobs American pajama boys won’t do.

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Are you f’n kitten me right meow?
We’re talking about a stock photo? as if we’ve just exposed the emperor as wearing now clothes? I understand MSNBS talking about it because they are void of any cognitive thought… but HotAir? Pulease.

RedManBlueState on June 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Impeach Obama this summer, send it to the Senate by Labor Day.

What the Senate does or does not do WON’T matter

Then make EVERY Democrat in the country either defend the “President above the law” or spend their time trying Stupid Shit ™ like this to distance themselves.

PolAgnostic on June 6, 2014 at 2:23 PM

As far as coal, let’s say we shut down half our power plants which would have a crippling effect on our economy and quality of live and international stature and competitiveness, CHINA is going to raise their coal output by 1000%. Um, this is insane to shoot ourselves in the foot in the face of coming international tensions.

And China, with its hordes of scientists, doesn’t believe the Western baloney on global warming. Or perhaps they would be a little more concerned about their skyrocketing CO2 emissions. And perhaps they wouldn’t be building costly artificial islands that according to the warmists will be under the “rising” sea in a few years: http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/china-looking-seriously-at-creating.html

“Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of eco-refugees, threatening political chaos.” -Noel Brown, ex UNEP Director, 1989 [wrong!]

anotherJoe on June 6, 2014 at 2:23 PM

To all the people in Kentucky, I remind them of the parable of “The Frog and the scorpion.”

No matter what a democrat candidate says before the election, they will vote in lockstep with Reid, Nanzi, and Obama if elected.

Happens. Every. Time.

jukin3 on June 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Mock, MSLSD, mock like the wind!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM

RedManBlueState on June 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM:
I understand MSNBS talking about it because they are void of any cognitive thought… but HotAir?

Consider the source, and I don’t mean HA itself.

earlgrey on June 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

To all the people in Kentucky, I remind them of the parable of “The Frog and the scorpion.”
jukin3 on June 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM

“That’s what we do”

tommyboy on June 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Europe Kentucky?!?

Flange on June 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

As far as coal, let’s say we shut down half our power plants which would have a crippling effect on our economy and quality of live and international stature and competitiveness, CHINA is going to raise their coal output by 1000%.

Even lefty lawyer Jonathan Tobin says the same. In an article in Commentary a few days ago, he argued that these new EPA regulations have zero chance of actually lowering global carbon emissions, but they will undoubtedly kill jobs and severely harm the U.S. economy.

So why is Obama doing this? Tobin believes Obama cares more about his “legacy” as the “environmental president” than he cares about the country. It’s all about Obama’s hyper-inflated ego, and his cred in the faculty lounge. Who cares if American businesses are ruined, or American lives are destroyed, or the American economy is crippled — what matters most is that Obama can preen around and boast to his eco-loony buddies that he tried to save the planet.

AZCoyote on June 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

How difficult would it have been to send a staffer to a coal mine for a snapshot?

Actually, a lot more difficult than using the stock shot. You can go to Shutterstock’s (or another stock photo library’s) website, select a photo, pay for it (usually less than ($30), and download it in less than five minutes. To get an actual miner, you’d have to drive to a mine (much longer than five minutes), choose and/or recruit a miner to shoot (also much longer than five minutes), then pay either the miner, the photographer or both for the shot (much more than $30).

A big reason why political advertising is so gaffe-prone is that its practitioners take the fast, easy way out, not even thinking about bigger things, like the real-world marketplace. They often do this because their clients, the politicians, force them to for budgetary or other reasons.

bgoldman on June 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

To all the people in Kentucky, I remind them of the parable of “The Frog and the scorpion.”

Not to worry, Obama pushed Grimes over a table and banged her in the dirty hole.

Somebody tell that MSNBC jack hole that there are no Coal Mines in the Danville area. There is a rock quarry.

Wallythedog on June 6, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Hmmm… let me try real hard to care… sorry I don’t. Nice try, though.

Is Hot Air trying to whip up conservative sentiment against Grimes? Well, it’s not working on me.

McConnell has no principles. He will gladly trade away the coal future of KY to Obama if the price is right. So forgive my not caring what Alison Grimes does to him in order to win.

Go, Grimes, go. Help retire Mitch McConnell.

TheRightMan on June 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

One other little problem any miner will pick up on. I am pretty sure that is not an MSHAW hard had. They are pretty easy to spot. I have one because I have worked on mine sites and frankly they are much better.

I would be insulted if I were a miner seeing a supposed miner of any sort wearing a toy hat with a light stuck on it.

CW20 on June 6, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes produced an ad

He is also shown making an obscene gesture toward the camera in one image.

…she just used the wrong image…that’s all!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2014 at 3:18 PM

If you can’t dazzle them with doubletalk, baffle ‘em with BS.

29Victor on June 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Hmmm… let me try real hard to care… sorry I don’t. Nice try, though.

Is Hot Air trying to whip up conservative sentiment against Grimes? Well, it’s not working on me.

McConnell has no principles. He will gladly trade away the coal future of KY to Obama if the price is right. So forgive my not caring what Alison Grimes does to him in order to win.

Go, Grimes, go. Help retire Mitch McConnell.

TheRightMan on June 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

And Grimes will vote against Obama and the EPA? Do you honestly believe that?

Johnnyreb on June 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Hmmmm, maybe The One needs to get a pic of himself lifting TWO pieces of coal AT THE SAME TIME, with the headline, “Doing the Heavy Lifting For America.”

vnvet on June 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

They would be much heavier than those little dumbbells he was lifting in his exercise video.

Steve Z on June 6, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Is this KY Classic, Warming or Yours+Mine and is it Jelly or
Liquid?

Tard on June 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

This is much ado about nothing. McConnell has to go. He is corrupt.

Jayrae on June 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Josh Kraushaar would do better to wonder if Obama even cares about Senate races any longer with…

…his dictatorship powers growing in so potently.

The republic is lost. The senate beauty pageant is of no real importance.

ROCnPhilly on June 6, 2014 at 4:03 PM

themuppet on June 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

You do know no lone is forcing you to come to this website and read, don’t you?

Barred on June 6, 2014 at 4:16 PM

lone=one

Barred on June 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Slow news (outrage) day, I see. Why not pump out 10 more Bergdahl posts?

themuppet on June 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

So why don’t you just go shimmy up a cactus, Big Bird?

bimmcorp on June 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Are you f’n kitten me right meow?We’re talking about a stock photo? as if we’ve just exposed the emperor as wearing now clothes? I understand MSNBS talking about it because they are void of any cognitive thought… but HotAir? Pulease.
RedManBlueState on June 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Indeed. Where’s mcwattles showing outrage at the EPA? Better yet, do some of that vaunted senate manuevering to derail the latest regs, or even get the house to pass a bill now taking away 25% of the budget and force dingy to bring it to a vote next week or publicly table it. He won’t, you know. Here’s to her beating him in November.

AH_C on June 6, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Still, Grimes as a junior senator would probably do less damage to the country than McConnell as Majority Leader. It could be worthwhile voting for her to get rid of him. Depends on how the rest of the Senate races are shaping up, of course.

PersonFromPorlock on June 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Hey back off, would you really rather that Ed risk his financial career pointing out that Barack Obama Release 5 Four Star Generals, give them 6 million dollars (Yea, that’s 1.2 million dollar each), while the war is still on going…

Giving aid and comfort (what the hell else do you call giving 5 Four Star enemy General’s 6 million dollars and sending them back on to the battlefield?) to the enemy in a time of war is the legal definition of TREASON.

oscarwilde on June 6, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Perhaps Obama and his team know that even if they loose the Senate majority nothing will change as long as he is President and the current minority party cannot achieve 60+ votes next year no one will even bother to hold him accountable for separation of powers or adhering to the Constitution.

tuptian on June 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

FIFY

GWB on June 6, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Don’t you mean “tempest in a teapot,” Ed?

boru on June 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Don’t you mean “tempest in a teapot,” Ed?

boru on June 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Yup … and thought I had. *sigh* I fixed it.

Ed Morrissey on June 6, 2014 at 6:55 PM

I just donated $100.00 to her campaign. We need to get these statists out of office

Brock Robamney on June 6, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Hmmm… let me try real hard to care… sorry I don’t. Nice try, though.
Is Hot Air trying to whip up conservative sentiment against Grimes? Well, it’s not working on me.
McConnell has no principles. He will gladly trade away the coal future of KY to Obama if the price is right. So forgive my not caring what Alison Grimes does to him in order to win.
Go, Grimes, go. Help retire Mitch McConnell.
TheRightMan on June 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

A vote for McConnell is a vote for the status quo, and more importantly, preserving Obamacare

Brock Robamney on June 6, 2014 at 8:13 PM

lone=one
Barred on June 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Let me guess, IPhone?

Brock Robamney on June 6, 2014 at 8:27 PM

And the the coal miner said to his father, “Pop…I think I’ve got the black lung .” (Zoolander)

iwasbornwithit on June 6, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Yeah, Conservatives, I know. It sucks. hold your nose and vote for her, anyway.

K. Hobbit on June 7, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Yeah, Conservatives, I know. It sucks. hold your nose and vote for her, anyway.
K. Hobbit on June 7, 2014 at 10:35 AM

She is the most conservative candidate running. Isn’t that the argument that the Krispy Kremers use? Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win?

Brock Robamney on June 8, 2014 at 7:51 AM