Monday, October 18, 2010

Webb Turns Back on Appalachia, Cozies Up to Big Coal

To understand Jim Webb's shocking flip on the coal industry, you have to understand where he began. Here's what he wrote in his book, Born Fighting, just six years ago:
The ever hungry industrialists had discovered that West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia sat atop one huge vein of coal. And so the rape began. The people from the outside showed up with complicated contracts that the small-scale cattle raisers and tobacco farmers could not fully understand, asking for "rights" to mineral deposits they could not see, and soon they were treated to a sundering of their own earth as the mining companies ripped apart their way of life, so that after a time the only option was to go down into the hole and bring the Man his coal, or starve. The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. They got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land.
Now Jim Webb is standing before those very same industrialists & pledging to do their bidding. This video from a recent Virginia Chamber of Commerce event shows Webb promising to fight any effort to rein in coal's destructive, polluting, poverty-sustaining excesses. Webb's pandering to corporate polluters stands in contrast to Sen. Mark Warner's appearance at the same event making the case for energy reform.

Who else is Webb fighting for these days? The ultra-rich, pledging to protect them from having to do their fair share to reduce America's deficit.

Speculation so far has centered on whether Jim Webb wants a 2nd term in the Senate. But I'm hearing more & more Virginia Democrats question whether we should want six more years of Jim Webb.
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