His now controversial stance on the coal industry, as elucidated to the SF Chronicle, is in the mainstream–of the American left’s view of the environment and the economy, as I already noted relative to the oil industry:
Today, it’s fair to say that the Democrats, on the whole, would like to see a more European style of economy come to these shores. For them this involves putting into place the social net they see in Europe (universal health care, a robust dole for the unemployed, widespread trade unions, etc.) and the high, progressive taxes to go with them. What’s generally missing from their programme is the economic development facilitation, and no where is their animus against this more evident than with offshore oil development. The Republicans forced them, kicking and screaming, into letting the moratorium on this on both left and right coasts to expire. It’s a given that, under an Obama presidency and a Democrat controlled Congress, that would be reimposed, and our dependence on foreign oil imports stretched out.
Fuelling this animus is a luddite, romantic vision of a country, once depopulated, being returned to its pristine state. Such a vision drives the environmental movement, and drove much of the 1960’s radical revolt, another reason why people such as William Ayers matter. Under such a regime we would have the worst of both worlds: a socialistic economy without the drive for the wealth creating development it needs to live on. Even the Soviet Union was committed to industrial development.
And Europeans wonder why some of us feel the way we do about our counterparts on the left…