Liberal pundits have tried to make a race of it, but in the end it looks like Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes just isn't going to be able to run away from President Obama and his war on coal in her effort to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls has McConnell up by 2 percent as of May 29, but more significantly, the most recent of those polls by Rasmussen Reports has McConnell up by 7 points.
That surge roughly coincides with publicity about strict new environmental regulations proposed by the Obama administration that would effectively end construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States and force many more to close or switch to natural gas.
President Obama continues to pay homage to the dubious theory of manmade global warming. He keeps the Keystone XL pipeline bottled up (even though that delay actually is adding to carbon emissions) infuriating his union allies, who want the thousands of high-paying jobs the construction would produce.
And in a recent commencement speech to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Obama suggested the cadets would spend as much time fighting climate-induced disasters as they would terrorism. Seriously. He called global warming "a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we're called on to respond to refugee flows, natural disasters and conflicts over water and food."
That's SyFy channel stuff, not rooted in reality.
For her part Grimes has done her best to fend off the albatross of Obama's environmental zealotry. She called his new coal regulations - designed to cut carbon emissions from coal plants by 30 percent by 2030 - "pie in the sky." She said the president has "taken direct aim at Kentucky jobs" and says she is "deeply disappointed."
But McConnell's camp hit back hard, noting that Grimes carried out her role as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention with full knowledge of the president's war on coal and stood by silently while Kentucky lost one-third of its coal jobs over just the last three years.
McConnell also has pointed out the practical folly of the administration's new requirements. He says even if one buys into the idea of carbon-induced warming, implementing the new EPA standards will have no effect if, as is occurring, Europe backs off of its efforts to reduce use of coal and China and India refuse to accept limits. As columnist Charles Krauthammer frequently points out, China and India are collectively adding one new coal-fired power plant a week, such that even if all the U.S. coal-fired plants were shut down, net carbon from coal would still be growing. McConnell says the result is an administration policy that is "all pain and no gain."
McConnell also has effectively pointed out that if elected, Grimes will surely vote to retain Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who "has the president's back" on the new EPA regulations, and who once stated, "Coal makes us sick."
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported late last year that there are now fewer coal jobs in Kentucky than at any time since the state began keeping records in 1927. Eastern Kentucky has lost more than 6,000 jobs since July 2011, a decline of more than 40 percent.
Grimes already faced an uphill fight trying to navigate issues such as gay marriage and Obamacare that led to President Obama's 23-point drubbing in Kentucky in the 2012 election. But the impact of the war on coal resonates in Kentucky, particularly in regions that have been Democrat-friendly in the past. Despite all of the national media predictions of a close shave for McConnell (wishful thinking from the Georgetown cocktail circuit) it looks like unseating the senator is going to be much too big a hill to climb for Grimes.