For any progressives out there still grumbling that Terry McAuliffe is not your type of Democrat, it’s time to pay attention to the actual positions the man is running on. Health care, education, transportation, jobs and economic development — and yes, energy and the environment.
Julie Carey of NBC 4 in Washington reported yesterday that Terry McAuliffe has now come out in support of President Obama’s proposed climate change rules. This is a courageous move, and a big deal that ought to make more those who care about these issues get off their butts and hit the streets to help Terry beat world-class climate denial conspiracy theorist Ken Cuccinelli.
Needless to say, Cuccinelli’s right wing allies are tripping all over each other to sputter nonsense in response about a “war on coal.” Lowell has done such a good job demolishing this phony talking point that I beg you to read his posts here and here and I’ll simply provide the headlines:
– Cheap natural gas is what’s destroying coal in the marketplace right now — you know, that “free market” that conservatives like to talk about, except when it’s in their political interest to oppose it?
– The US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that EPA has not only the statutory authority but the responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
– Climate change is happening, based on human activities, according to the published research of 97% of all scientists who’ve addressed the issue.
– While employment in the coal industry actually went up a bit during Obama’s administration, the long term downward trend has made it a much smaller factor in Virginia’s economy, representing about 5,000 coal mining jobs at the moment — out of a total workforce of around 4 million.
– Meanwhile, the most important factor in Virginia’s economy is the one that Cuccinelli (like all his Tea Party buddies) has spent his entire career attacking — the Federal government. And the renewable energy industry, particularly wind and solar, are growing dramatically as their prices continue to fall. Why not invest in the jobs of the future, while helping people transition away from the jobs of the past?
If you want to know what really drives Cuccinelli on this issue, then follow the money — as in the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars donated to his campaign by fossil fuel interests, including over $400,000 from coal industry barons to date.
What the Cuccinelli crowd really wants is to bring Virginia back to the musty old days when it was a backwater like West Virginia or Mississippi, ruled with an iron fist by industry titans who pay the politicians they own to keep the regulations in check. They can shed crocodile tears all they want about the people who work the coal jobs — even as they fight ferociously to cut off the health care and food of any who do get laid off — but what they’re really defending is the ability of the Big Coal barons to afford to keep their yachts, Ferraris and mistresses.
That’s the only “war” that the Tea Party ever really fights — to have a government that fully represents the interests of the 1%, while the rest of us suffer the ill effects of industries that are under-regulated and out of control. Better to have a governor like Terry McAuliffe, who’ll support regulation where necessary, while aggressively working to bring Virginians the jobs of the 21st century — not the 18th.