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Why not meet with real people with real issues?

Now that the Presidential election is off to an early start, it is time to wonder if there are any candidates in either party who will be coming into eastern Kentucky or other Appalachian regions. Is there any interest in the problems common to the millions of people who share these hills?

If Presidential candidates have no interest in visiting this area, it may be because they prefer to spend time with residents of Greenwich, Connecticut. That’s the place, it seems, where everyone is a millionaire, everyone except the billionaires who also live there. “This gilded shoreline suburb,” as The New York Times called it in an article earlier this week, has been visited in recent days by Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former President Bill Clinton on behalf of his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and by Sen. Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. We note that former Sen. John Edwards was not listed among those making the trek to Greenwich.

Greenwich, “with the mansions along its winding back roads now awash in hedge fund money, “has joined New York, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley as must stops on the presidential fundraising tour,” The Times reported.

Typically, the candidates attend receptions in private homes. Attendees are expected to make donations of up to a $2,300 cap imposed by federal law.

We don’t know what the candidates hear from the wealthy in their handshakes and casual chats at these events. But it is a good bet candidates are not asked about the closing of tens of thousands of American factories and the transfer of jobs to China, India and points around the globe.

We doubt much is said about the countless thousands of Appalachian sons and daughters who cannot afford college. Is there talk about health care, or about how difficult it is for the ordinary family to make-do, to pay the bills and hold the family together?

On the one hand, America opens itself to millions of illegal migrants who undercut many of our nation’s hardest working workers, while at the same time we keep closing the manufacturing plants that are a major component that support our middle class. No American job is secure.

It seems likely that many of those individuals who are quite happy and can afford to spend $2,300 to glad-hand the presidential candidates are the same people who made their millions and billions by placing narrow personal greed ahead of the basic wellbeing of America itself. They made the corporate and Wall Street decisions to swap American jobs to China for nothing in return, nothing, that is, except for extreme wealth for those who sold us out.

President Bill Clinton and President George Bush share one thing in common. It was these two men who pushed and shoved the numerous “fair trade” agreements in Congress and brought about the wholesale destruction of American industry, and both declined to secure our borders from a floodtide of unneeded immigrants.

The goings-on in Greenwich and in money places in California and elsewhere make us afraid of the future. Is there a candidate who cares for real people with real problems?

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