Asked to react to Chris Moody’s Yahoo article in which he claimed that the Republican charges of a “war on coal” starts at home for Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Republican Minority Leader refuse to deny the charges and instead lobbed a dirty bomb at his opponent’s father.
Moody’s Yahoo article charged that McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao sits on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies. That entity has “plunged $50 million into the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, an advocacy effort with the expressed goal of killing the coal industry.”
Asked about the article yesterday, the Republican Senator refused to deny the charges directly and instead threw a rather desperate Hail Mary personal attack, “Well, you know, first of all the article is inaccurate. And second if I were my opponent and had a father like Jerry Lundergan, I don’t think I would want to be taking shots at Mitch McConnell’s wife.”
McConnell makes no denial of the specific claims, just a general “the article is inaccurate” dodge. Further revealing his desire to avoid this topic, McConnell has not established that his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) is behind the Yahoo article, but he based his pivot on that presumption. Then, McConnell, who is the person who made the alleged “war on coal” the issue of his campaign, decided to equivocate the 25-year-old history of the Democrat’s father with an actual issue that McConnell himself brought to the forefront.
That’s a sign that McConnell has no better answer for the accusation that the “war on coal” starts at home for him.
It’s not off base to presume opposition research is being leaked to the press, but it is rather desperate to launch a personal attack of this magnitude on that assumption. It’s also desperate to pretend that a candidate’s parent’s ethics troubles – now overturned – from the 1980’s are relevant to the campaign in the same manner as McConnell’s wife’s current political and policy work is. Let’s not forget that McConnell has had his own very recent ethics violation alarms.
McConnell is also a leader in the party that has stood by currently ethics-challenged Republicans like Chris Christie, Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Mark Sanford… The list goes on. The point is that ethics are not a GOP value. This is not a can of worms McConnell can afford to open, even as a Hail Mary dirty bomb.
The Yahoo article expressed the direct connection between an actual “war on coal” and Bloomberg Philanthropies, saying their “funded campaign has a stated goal of “retir[ing] a third of the nation’s 500 coal plants by 2020, replacing the majority of retired coal plants, and keep[ing] coal in the ground in Appalachia.”
There’s even a map of Kentucky with skull and crossbones marking the coal plants. Ouch.
Chao, who was the U.S. labor secretary under President George W. Bush, joined the Bloomberg board in 2012. The entire premise of Mitch McConnell’s campaign rests on his claim that he is a friend to coal, whereas his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes is not. The only way he can make this argument is through spurious attempts to tie her to President Barack Obama, since she does not have a record of being pro-coal regulation and in fact she vigorously denounces President Obama’s stance on coal.
And yet, it seems Mitch McConnell is sleeping with the “enemy”.
That’s not just a random bomb ala Sarah Palin’s “pallin’ around with terrorists”; Moody pointed out that the “Kentucky Coal Association, an industry-funded group that labels the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal efforts the ‘enemy’ of coal.”
If coal is the issue, and McConnell made it so, then McConnell had best prepare to discuss coal instead of tossing dirty bombs about Grimes’ father and running away.
Mitch McConnell has been a Kentucky Senator for 30 years and apparently did nothing to stop this “war on coal” in all of those years. What he is going to do now that he couldn’t and didn’t do when his party had the majority is left unsaid.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.