Go figure. The last eight years have had Democrats in charge like Barack Obama, who openly declared their policy to “bankrupt” coal operators, and under whom the EPA has attacked the use of coal by existing power providers. Why should they be nervous about another four years of a war on their industry and way of life? Sheesh, Bill Clinton says — they did well enough twenty years ago, so … what’s the beef?

We all know how her opponent’s done real well down in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky because the coal people don’t like any of us anymore. They all voted for me. I won twice and they did well. And they blame the President when the sun doesn’t come up in the morning now.

Actually, they blame the President for forcing a sunset on their livelihoods. It’s not as if Obama made it a secret, either. “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can,” Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008 in promising to impose a carbon cap-and-trade system. “It’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” When Obama didn’t get his cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, he instead used the EPA to hound the coal industry with novel expansions of their authority Clean Air Act.

Bill should give more credit to Obama for keeping that particular promise. The sun set on 80,000 coal jobs in the past seven-plus years.

Besides, an argument that “coal people” are being unreasonable in opposing Hillary Clinton means looking at this and saying Who you gonna believe — me or your lying eyes?

I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country.Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right Tim?

And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

This is the ultimate in We’re from the government and we’re here to help, and people in coal country have heard these promises before. In fact, they just went through a very similar process when federal and state governments teamed up to start shutting down tobacco farms. How’d that work out? Pretty much as you’d expect:

“The government can’t really help Appalachia,” said Gary Lambert, a retired coal machinist who also sold his tobacco farm to the federal government. “The tobacco settlement was a rip-off. They ripped us up one side and down the other.” …

“We have great broadband, we’ve gotten some call centers. That’s helped us,” said Terry Kilgore, chairman of the state’s Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. “But it wasn’t enough to replace tobacco, and it’s not enough to replace coal.”

It also seems to be far too little for the scale of the problem.

“I’m a lawyer. I rarely get offended by an offering of money to redress a wrong,” said State Senator Ben Chafin, a Republican, who watched the decline of his father’s tobacco farm. “But $3 billion a year won’t even be enough to buy everyone a custard cone.”

Bill Clinton can make fun of “coal people” all day long, but the truth is that they’re seeing through the friendly smile that masks policies that will destroy their economies and send them into poverty. They’ve seen the light, despite the Clintons’ attempts to pull the wool over their eyes.