- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama is so unpopular that in Tuesday’s primary, 4 out of 10 West Virginia Democrats voted for a federal inmate. Keith Judd, otherwise known as prisoner No. 11593-051, doesn’t even live in the Mountain State. Since 1999, he has been locked behind bars in Texarkana, Texas. That’s a sign even Democrats are catching the anybody-but-Obama fever.

West Virginians have a lot of reasons to gripe. The coal-industry-reliant state is not happy about the administration’s all-out war against fossil fuels. “From overregulation to gas prices and standing in the way of the Keystone pipeline, Obama’s energy policies have hurt Americans, and it shows with his lack of support in states like West Virginia,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Kirsten Kukowski.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is capitalizing on his opponent’s weakness. On Wednesday, the former Massachusetts governor stood in front of an oil drill in Fort Lupton, Colo., and said, “I recognize that what you’re seeing in terms of growth of the energy sector is happening in places like this. Where men and women working in oil, coal, gas, are able to create jobs, help keep the cost of energy down to the extent that we can.” He added, “That’s good not only for American families, it’s good for American enterprise and manufacturing.”

The public is siding more and more with Mr. Romney’s position. For three decades, Americans prioritized environmental protection over economic growth. The numbers flipped after Mr. Obama arrived at the White House in 2009. A recent Gallup poll shows Americans are more likely than ever to say energy production is more important than protecting the environment, 47 percent to 44 percent.

Voters want jobs and secure finances, especially as the scare stories about looming environmental catastrophes prove increasingly hollow. The left hasn’t yet figured this out. On Tuesday, the president took Air Force One to Albany, N.Y., to unveil his “to-do list” for Congress. One of the five items is to “invest in clean energy manufacturing” - which means keeping tax loopholes for his buddies in the green-energy business.

“We’re already hearing from folks who produce wind turbines and solar panels and a lot of this green energy that they’re getting worried because there’s uncertainty out there,” Mr. Obama told students at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York, Albany. “So we should extend these tax credits.” With a $15.7 trillion debt, giving tax breaks to industries that are shedding jobs is something that needs to be scratched off Congress’ to-do list.

Mr. Obama must be humiliated to lose almost half his votes to someone like Judd. Voters have only seen the man from a mugshot in which he sports a gray prison uniform and a frizzy ponytail reaching midchest. This is an important reminder that 3 1/2 years of liberal policies have resulted in real suffering for American families. Now even Democrats want to see Mr. Obama feel a bit of their pain.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.