Clinton Faces Tough Task

Former President Bill Clinton is likely to receive an enthusiastic welcome when he visits Wintersville on Thursday. As sometimes is the case, Clinton the ex-president is more popular than when he was in the Oval Office.

One reason for that locally may be that for all of Clinton’s flaws, East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle fared better during his time in office than we have during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

The comparison between Clinton’s years in office and Obama’s first term is far from favorable to the current president.

Obama’s war on mining, once a mainstay of our region’s economy, has caused thousands of layoffs in the coal industry – including some in East Ohio.

Virtually every household in the Ohio Valley will suffer from higher electricity prices that will result from the Obama-mandated shift away from coal-fired power plants.

Already in Monroe County, about 1,000 jobs at the Ormet aluminum mill are in jeopardy because of higher utility bills.

Our valley’s industrial base has been declining steadily, with steel industry layoffs not uncommon even while Clinton was in office. But Obama has done virtually nothing to keep local steel mills from closing – and most of them have done just that.

Thousands of East Ohio and Northern Panhandle families are struggling with the unemployment Obama vowed to curb. On both sides of the Ohio River, most counties have unemployment rates in the high single digits, with two above 10 percent.

Jefferson County, where Clinton hopes to win votes for Obama, suffers from 10.6 percent unemployment, according to the most recent state report.

And unemployment reports do not count the many local residents who have simply given up hope of finding work, stayed in or gone back to college because of the dismal job outlook, or are “underemployed” in positions that simply don’t pay the family’s bills.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has made it clear he is a friend of coal and of the inexpensive electric power that goes with it. He is not willing to give up on American manufacturing. His policies will lead to more and better jobs for millions of Americans, including many right here in the Ohio Valley.

Clinton, then, has been assigned an impossible task – convincing voters in our area that re-electing Obama is in our best interests. It is not.