As much as he may try to say that he’s his “own man,” Jeb Bush is looking more and more like big brother George by the day.
Example: Next week Jeb will be meeting in private with several coal industry executives who are no doubt pissed off by the EPA’s recent rule change which lessens the allowable pollution emanating from power plants around the nation. This is especially galling to those who mine and sell coal, the dirtiest of all fuels for power production. Some have even bemoaned the Obama Administration’s “war on coal.”
The former Florida governor meet with a virtual Who’s Who of the coal industry: Joe Craft III of Alliance Resource Partners, Kevin Crutchfield of Alpha Natural Resources, Nick DeIuliis of Consol Energy, Garry Drummond of Drummond Company, John Eaves of Arch Coal, and Jim McGlothlin of United Coal Company.
But they’ll probably be talking about immigration and how to fight ISIS, don’t you imagine?
The six companies that will be represented in the room when Bush shows up for a $7,500 per plate luncheon have given more than $17.4 million to various political campaigns and lobbying efforts since the 2012 election. No wonder Bush agreed to break bread with them.
The Coal & Investment Leadership Forum will take place at the members-only Olde Farm club in Bristol, Virginia, and is not open to the public. Also, a Bush spokesperson says many issues will be on the table. Kristy Campbell remarked:
“It is a great opportunity to meet with stakeholders in the state. He will be talking about a variety of topics.”
And they will also be discussing how the coal industry reps can best buy a larger stake in the man they perceive to be the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination. Bush is more than willing, one would imagine, to sell whatever they wish to buy, including his soul, if it gets him to the White House.
Meeting with energy industry executives in private is exactly the same behavior exhibited during the Administration of George W. Bush, when Dick Cheney convened a secret conclave with oil and gas bigwigs to set national energy policy. Truly the very definition of the fox guarding the proverbial hen house.
As Nick Surgey of the Center for Public Integrity noted:
“I think the major question is what promises is Jeb Bush making to the coal chief executives in that room. We assume Bush is there to raise money for his campaign … it is pretty clear why Jeb Bush was invited there. If Jeb Bush is elected they want him to protect their industry.”
Scratch, scratch, scratch is the prevailing sound that will be coming from the forum: the sound of Jeb Bush and the coal industry scratching each other’s backs.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.