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Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party

Calamity Kaine

Virginia governor Tim Kaine set a new standard for politician mealy-mouthedness with a letter to his Virginia Air Board (tip of the hat to Raising Kaine for digging this one up). Although he asserts that his letter isn't about any particular decision, everyone outside the governor's office knows that the letter is about one big decision: the proposed massive coal-fired power plant being planned for Wise County, Virginia. His bureaucratic opacity (PDF) is sure to be taught in government schools around the world about how to say nothing through the written word:

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My intent in issuing this directive is not to influence the substance of any decision you may make but to assure consistency, certainty, and predictability in the process of issuing decisions. The directive is one of general application and not specific to any particular matter.

Governor Tim Kaine offers sympathy to victims of extreme weather.

The rest of the letter doesn't clear matters up any more -- but the situation is clear to most Virginia watchers: Kaine is terrified of Big Coal, personified (or rather, corporatified) here by Chicago-based Dominion Power (and financed by Citibank). So much so that even though the plant's incredibly high costs are actually projected to drive up electricity bills (PDF) (along with, of course, producing 5.3 million ton of carbon dioxide, more air pollution deaths (PDF), and the destruction of many of Southwest Virginia's remaining mountains), he's unwilling to take a clear stand against it (or, for that matter, for it) -- even though he is on record in favor of federal action on the climate crisis (for which he doesn't have any responsibility).

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