Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor Pat Cadell was stunned last night by Senator Barack Obama’s comment that he would “bankrupt” the coal industry, made behind closed doors to the San Francisco Chronicle in January but just released. He couldn’t believe the senator had said this. Yes, these remarks are terribly important, Cadell said. But it’s the Sunday night before the election. Where had Republican opposition research been?

Where indeed? These remarks could have been a game-changer. I note that my daily newspaper doesn’t play this on the front page (“A Positively Negative Home Stretch” is today’s tsk tsk lead), and I can’t find this story anywhere else in the paper,  so here are Obama’s thoughts on the use of coal to alleviate our fuel crisis:

“If somebody wants to build a coal power plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Barack Obama said in January. This was not his pitch in West Virginia. Like so many of the truths about his thoughts, this came in a closed-door session with those Obama apparently regarded as fellow members of the educated elite. It’s very, very serious and has enormous implications for the future of the U.S. economy.”

The McCain waited for Joe the Plumber to raise what was all along the main issue of this year’s presidential campaign: redistribution of resources. I don’t say wealth because I’m not wealthy but I know my resources are going to be redistributed. Only by raising the issue and forcing the senator to speak on it could we get the gems of rhetoric that we have heard in the waning days of the campaign.

One of my favorites is Senator Obama’s contention that, with regard to tax policy, the Republicans are against sacrifice. Sacrifice and hard work, he said. His sacrifice will be sending your money to the government, which will then spend it on programs that many of us think harm rather than help recipients. Why didn’t the McCain campaign begin flushing out this philosophy earlier? In mocking the claim that he is a socialist (or “socialistic,” as he calls it), Obama shows just how callow and immature he is. He jokes that he shared his peanut butter and jelly with other kids in kindergarten. This confuses personal generosity (good) with the confiscation of resources to redistribute them (bad).

Late in the day for these lumps of coal.