Monday, September 18, 2017

Vox's Sad Apologia For Hillary's Coal Gaffe

There are other reviews of Hillary Clinton's new, question-mark-deprived book, What Happened, that cover more ground (e.g. David Harsanyi's in Reason), but I want to focus on David Roberts' absurdist comments in Vox regarding her "coal gaffe". He quotes Ms. Clinton directly (formatting is all theirs):
Instead of dividing people the way Donald Trump does, let’s reunite around politics that will bring jobs and opportunities to all these under-served poor communities. So, for example, I’m the only candidate who has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right, Tim? [Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) was in the audience.]

And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce energy that we relied on.
Roberts' point — that there were plenty of media outlets who took the emboldened passage out of context and used it to slay her — was true as far as it goes, but also trite. In every election of consequence, people will do their damndest, even lie, to change the outcome. Yet it shocked Hillary, who then was trying out for the role of politician. It is clearly a skill set beyond her, despite Vox's earlier fatuous claims to the contrary. You don't say things that can be used as a bludgeon against you. The steel collapse of the 1970's is still within living memory. Peabody Energy filed for bankruptcy only last year, in April, well before the election. Her words got traction precisely because workers affected by those bloodlettings stopped listening past the first paragraph.

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