Put a Lump of Coal in Hillary's Blue Stocking

Hillary Clinton has walked back so many of her campaign statements, she should consider putting her pantsuits on backwards!  

Last week at a Democrat town hall meeting, Ms. Clinton vowed to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” In their wake, she pledged $30 billion in a plan to “transition” the industry workers to clean-energy jobs.

Democrats love using vague action verbs like “transition,” especially when they relate to social and economic adjustments other Americans are forced to make. Hillary, of course, would never dream of “transitioning” her own lifestyle into anything other than her above-the-law privilege and lucrative cronyism.   

Appalled reaction to her coal comments was swift, some of it coming from Democrat lawmakers like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. And even Barney Frank resurfaced to brand it a “dumb” thing to say, since older coal workers wouldn’t end up in solar.   

Predictably, the former secretary of state at once retracted and then clarified her position in a staffer-crafted letter of apology that began, “Simply put, I was mistaken in my remarks.” 

The rest of the letter was couched in the usual bureaucratic jargon intended to mollify critics. “You know my history and the depth of my commitment to our coalfield workers, families and communities,” she pleaded. “I feel so strongly that we need to stand with those who have kept America’s lights on and factories running for generations.”

Despite that bit of flattery, the lofty rhetoric didn’t quite resonate as convincingly as what she had said about putting “a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” At a later rally, Hillary reassuringly shouted, “I love coal miners!”  Well, she can forget about that comment going viral. It wasn’t half as believable as her imitation of dogs barking.

Stuff like that only adds to Hillary’s credibility deficit. The more she opens her mouth, it seems, the wider that gap becomes. But sometimes Hillary plumb forgets, like when she accused Bernie Sanders in a recent debate of not supporting her health care act back in 1993. “Where were you then,” she roared, even though an old tape showed then-congressman Sanders standing right behind her on the stage as she thanked him for his support. They say an elephant never forgets. But a donkey? 

Of course Hillary, like most politicians, has a conflict when party ideology clashes with personal ambition. For example, her campaign was supposed to be all about serving as the guardian angel for America’s marginalized middle and lower classes, giving voice to their concerns, and promising them a better life under her presidency.   

But at a subsequent town hall meeting, Hillary again flunked the smell test as the candidate to whom these citizens could turn for answers. When a woman in the audience pointed out that her insurance costs for a family of four had more than tripled under the ObamaCare exchanges, Ms. Clinton advised the dismayed woman to “shop around” more diligently next time for a better deal. (By the way, whenever a candidate says, “I’m glad you asked that question!” the translation is, “Who let this creep in?”) 

Naturally, Hill has the same confusion with the fate of miners in an age of global warming consciousness. She may have said flat out that more coal factories will be closed, but the situation is already bleak, even with heavy investment in new technologies for cleaner coal. Within a short time after the mandated EPA requirements and restrictions, 26 coal companies, large and small, have gone bankrupt and 264 mines closed. A third of the jobs have gone away, and the losses to the diminished coal industry have exceeded $650 billion; on the stock exchange the coal index lost 76% between 2009 and 2014. Nobody expects it to rebound.    

As the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, perhaps coal deserves its fate. Yet the United States still depends on it, primarily for 2/3rds of our electrical generation. And as the coal industry reminds us, it is the cheapest form of fuel, as well as the most abundant and easily available. 

Were it not for coal, millions around the world -- and especially in third-world countries -- would be without heat and electricity. China has been the largest coal producer for three decades, with 12,000 mines spread around the country. 

Once in a while Hillary barks out the truth, if only to apologize afterwards. Donald Trump has his own problems with what he says, but he sticks to his guns. As one of his supporters put it, “It’s refreshing. I like that he doesn’t back down when people act like he said the worst thing in the world and demand an apology.”

As for Hillary, her “kill coal” sound bite will come back to bite her during the general election. It’ll be like getting a lump of coal in her stocking months before Christmas.