Posted on | August 15, 2012 | 10 Comments
Mitt Romney speaks in Beallsville, Ohio, Aug. 14, 2012
REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Mitt Romney’s stop yesterday in Eastern Ohio’s “Coal Country” was an interesting event. Here was Romney — whom Democrats say is “out of touch” with working Americans — on stage with dozens of grimy-faced coal miners, and getting cheered by a crowd full of hardhat-wearing miners.
A miner’s wife sports a hardhat at the Beallsville rally
Many of the miners had brought their wives and kids to the rally. They got Cokes and hot dogs and it was like a late-summer picnic. There was nothing “astroturf” about this crowd of miners: Big muscular bearded guys with tattoos, and the warm-up music before the event featured lots of tunes of the modern country type, with rock guitars and lyrics about dirt roads and trucks. Frankly, I’m not sure what political message — if any — is sent by Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” but the crowd seemed to enjoy it, which was probably the point.
Romney senior advisor Kevin Madden talks to reporters at Beallsville.
A coal miner makes pretty good wages. It’s very much a man’s job, the kind of job that enables a guy with a high-school education and a strong back to be the bread-winner for his family and, as such, coal mining is a community institution in Eastern Ohio.
Why the hell would Obama want to diss these blue-collar guys to pander to a bunch of environmentalist weenies? I talked about the stakes in my American Spectator column today:
Romney began his Ohio tour Tuesday with a rally at a coal mine in Beallsville, highlighting the coal industry’s importance to the local economy — and the hostility of the president’s policies toward that industry. Hundreds of muscular miners in hardhats, wearing stickers with the slogan “Stop Obama’s War on Coal,” cheered and applauded Romney as he asked a rhetorical question, “We have 250 years of coal, why the heck wouldn’t we use it?” Near the West Virginia state line, Beallsville is in Monroe County, which Obama carried by nine points over Republican John McCain in 2008, but the Democratic administration’s energy and environmental policies have estranged many miners and their families. Even the United Mine Workers, the union once bossed by current AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, has hesitated to endorse Obama this year. Referring to the administration’s plans to limit coal-fired electrical power plants, the UMW’s spokesman told the Washington Times, “Our members aren’t stupid… they see what this means.” . . .