Last weekend, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, was all smiles as he walked and waved in the parade at Coalton Days 2013.
Today, the smiles are pretty much gone.
While Manchin was parading through a town once run by the West Virginia Coal and Coke Company, the White House was putting the finishing touches on an Obama "global warming" speech that spells disaster for the coal industry and states like West Virginia.
The speech, delivered Tuesday, launched Obama's "national climate action plan." He's ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to draft new regulations on all sorts of things, including carbon emissions from existing coal power plants.
The president declared, "The planet is warming. Human activity is contributing to it. As a president, as a father and as an American, I'm here to say we need to act."
Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate advisor, put some flesh on the bones. "The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed."
The president didn't say "war on coal" on Tuesday, but it sure was implied, and the fate of 288 coal power plants in 32 states hangs in the balance.
Time now for a reality check. The president's comments notwithstanding, "global warming" is actually a political phenomenon, with science and computer models manipulated to spew out political conclusions.
The late Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University professor and an author with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, once admitted that scientists "offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have."
Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and an official on the same U.N. panel, elaborated. "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world's wealth."
Now for the clincher: Global temperatures have been stable for the past 15 years, and "global warming scientists" can't explain why.
What we have, then, is Obama using bogus science as an excuse to strangle our nation. People will be thrown out of work, energy production will drop, we'll have to pay more for whatever energy we can buy and our economy will wind down to the level of, say, Indonesia. Wealth redistributed. End of story.
Sen. Manchin doesn't seem all that happy about the war on coal right now, maybe because it could affect his fortunes, personal and political.
In a press release Tuesday afternoon, he said he "slams" Obama for going after coal. And on Fox News Special Report that evening, he rambled through another rebuke of the president.
Okey dokey. But skeptics wonder, "Is the anger genuine or is it theater for the benefit of constituents?" Signs point to theater.
Consider:Obama has never made a secret of his distain for coal. In 2008, he said that under his plan, "If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them," Also, "Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."
So why would anyone, most of all Manchin, be so taken aback now?
Manchin also is a loyal and good soldier. On Monday, one day before Obama's speech, he voted with the Democrats in support of an immigration bill that could destroy the nation as we've known it. And the very next evening, just hours after Obama's speech, Manchin reaffirmed his support for stricter gun control measures favored by the president.
It seems, then, that Manchin remains loyal to Obama, coal or no coal, and the only serious questions left on the table are: Will Coalton still be around in 2014, and, if so, will Manchin be invited to walk and wave in next year's parade?