What Alison Lundergan Grimes really thinks about the coal industry
Despite declaring herself the "pro-coal candidate in this race," Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky, Allison Lundergan Grimes is only saying that to get elected, according to staffers and supporters caught on hidden camera by James O'Keefe.
The video’s release comes as Grimes works to salvage a campaign that has consistently trailed in public polling and which, according to Nate Silver’s election model, has just a 12 percent chance of victory in November.
“Let me set it straight for you Mitch McConnell. I am the pro-coal candidate in this race,” Grimes declared at a recent campaign event with former President Bill Clinton.
Grimes has used that type of rhetoric in attempts to distance herself from President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, which has enacted regulations on coal-fired power plants that coal companies and supporters say are taking a heavy toll on the industry.
Support for such regulations is a political albatross in coal-heavy Kentucky, and Grimes campaign staffers featured in O’Keefe’s video recognize that fact.
“She’s saying something positive about coal because she wants to be elected,” said Ros Hines, a staffer in Grimes’ Lexington campaign office. “And in the state of Kentucky, if you are anti-coal, you will not get elected, period, end of conversation.”
Some Grimes supporters captured in the hidden-camera video likewise suggest that Grimes is lying about her support for the industry in order to get elected.
“She has to say that,” remarked Juanita Rodriguez of the Warren County Democratic Party. “But you know what? Politics is a game. You do what you have to do to get [elected]. … It’s a lying game unfortunately.”
Rodriguez speculated that Grimes does not in fact support the industry to the extent that she has declared publicly.
“I really don’t think her heart is 100 percent in backing coal. But she has to say she is because she will not get a high number of votes in this state if she doesn’t. But she’s got to get in there first and she’s gonna say whatever she has to say or do. And that’s the way the political game is played.”
That kind of cynicism is rare, even in politics. The fact is, politicians will say a lot of things to get elected, but on big issues, they will usually avoid lying. Hedging and trimming on an issue like coal in Kentucky was probably the smarter play, rather than coming out full bore against the EPA.
In this case, Grimes would have an opportunity to put her money where her mouth is. McConnell should pose the question whether she would vote for his amendment that would prevent the EPA from finalizing the draconian rules on CO2 emissions that would virtually kill the coal industry. If she says yes, she will lose Democratic votes. If she says no, she will be a proven liar and be buried.
O'Keefe, whose undercover videos have revealed massive hypocrisy by Democrats and liberals, says that this is only the beginning. More videos are on the way.