Hardly a week goes by in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia without some kind of coal related drama. This week is no exception.
Yesterday, a friend emailed me this story about WV's junior senator Joe Manchin, for whom some days are better than others. Apparently Manchin is concerned that the youth of America are in danger of not getting enough exposure to mercury, thanks to those evil environmental extremists in the Obama administration. Apparently, the belief is that mercury exposure creates a lot of jobs or that curtailing it kills them.
All this is part of the EPA-is-the-devil narrative which blames all the ills of the coal industry on the black guy. The fact that the real war on coal is being waged by the natural gas industry (which seems to be winning) goes unnoticed.
Even weirder that all this is the effort of Republican senatorial candidate John Raese, who is challenging Manchin again this year, to portray Manchin as an environmental extremist and close ally of President Obama.
Raese doesn't have nearly as many good days as Manchin. Not so long ago, he compared bans on smoking to the Nazi treatment of Jews.
As we head into the 2012 general election, look for lots more war on coal posturing on one side and lots of subtle and not so subtle reminders that candidates of a certain party can be associated with a black man on the other.
Should be fun to watch.