In the space between savage, deadly mining culture and reason stands Denny Rehberg. Challenging John Tester for the Montana US Senate seat this man is a poster boy for what’s wrong with American politics. Opposed to almost every mining regulation, advocating for a scorched-earth approach to coal production, the man is flying on wings of cash. Jobs and security are so scarce that he might get traction with voters who are too frightened to think a couple of steps ahead, in spite of great grief and tragedy still fresh in memories (like the Upper Big Branch diasater which killed 29, where regulations that Rehberg opposes were ignored). And think about the Coal Hard Cash that he can spend on TV spin all year long. Tester’s message has got to be that coal with regs and safety is good for the miners of Montana, relatively speaking.
The recent Times piece will curl your hair, or at least make you feel gritty with flammable coal dust. But of course, the real problem is in the way campaigns get financed. And what the truth is, by the time Big Coal and friends get their dirty hands on it.