You probably recall how in 2006, George Allen repeatedly attacked Jim Webb for supposedly never coming to Southwest Virginia. Of course, that was utterly absurd, even by George Allen standards, for several reasons.
First, who on earth is George Allen to talk, when he grew up in Southern California, lives in Mt. Vernon, and has absolutely ZERO family ties to Southwest Virginia (SWVA)?
Third, this election cycle, Allen hasn’t even been “west of Lynchburg since before Sept. 1” – 5 weeks ago. Busy man, I guess. That includes shooting this ad, by the way, not in SWVA but in Richmond (on the Facebook page of Mayor Swiney – who appears in this ad and who works for Arch Coal, by the way – he says that the Allen campaign asked him to come to Richmond to “plead our plight”). Kind of ironic, wouldn’t you say, that an ad falsely attacking Tim Kaine for not coming to SWVA was shot in Richmond? Of course, Arch Coal is headquartered not in SWVA, not even in Virginia at all, but in St. Louis, Missouri. Again, ironic.
As for Tim Kaine, he has deep ties to SWVA, just as Jim Webb does (and George Allen doesn’t!). For starters, Kaine’s father in law, A. Linwood Holton, was born in Big Stone Gap (Wise County), Virginia. His daughter, Anne Holton, was born in Roanoke, where her father was working as an attorney before he got into politics.
Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the irony of Allen attacking Kaine on coal, of all things, when that was the subject of significant criticism by environmentalists, including “Green Miles” and yours truly, over the new Wise County coal-fired power plant Gov. Kaine supported.
Other than all that, this ad makes a whole lot of sense. Not.
P.S. The entire “war on coal” meme is, of course, utter nonsense. In reality, SWVA coal’s decades-long decline stems from a variety of factors, including – irony once again! – higher-quality coal from the Powder River Basin, where Arch Coal operates. These days, the main cause of SWVA coal’s problems is not “EPA regulation,” but as a study by the Brattle Group finds, it’s almost all due to “changing market conditions” — specifically “low natural gas prices.” Yet another irony here, too: George Allen shills for the oil and gas industry, among others. Fascinating how this all works, huh?