Ken Ward on West Virginia’s coal politics

Ken Ward, Jr. has a terrific, thoughtful post today on his blog, Coal Tattoo. It's long, and wide-ranging, but worth the read. As we creep ever closer to November, we can expect election rhetoric around coal in Appalachia to heat up to a fever pitch. But, as Ward points out, "challenges we face as a state aren’t really discussed in a way that would help us move forward." He finishes his essay with this indictment of two of West Virginia's political leaders:

Complaints from Sen. Manchin and Gov. Tomblin about the proposals from the Obama administration to deal with coal’s worst aspects would have more credibility if, instead of ignoring these issues, instead of refusing to talk about them and hoping nobody else would, if instead they confronted climate change and mountaintop removal, and mine safety and the coming market collapse, and outlined their own plans for dealing with these challenges.

The media's obsession with polling data and soundbytes doesn't help. How can we as voters make sure our politicians, and our journalists, are talking about things that matter?