Editorial - Manchin, Tomblin for W.Va.
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 08:10
In less than one week, the 2012 election season will finally come to an end. Although the presidential election tends to garner most of the attention, there are many other important races you should be paying attention to.
Chief among these are the various races for congressional seats and governorships across the country. Even though these races aren’t as hyped as the presidential race, they are just as important. Leaders who represent us as citizens of the state of West Virginia are closer to our needs and desires than national leaders and thus can be more responsive to them.
Two of West Virginia’s key races this election season are its race for a U.S. Senate seat and the gubernatorial race.
For the U.S. Senate race, in which incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is being challenged by Republican Morgantown businessman and perennial candidate John Raese, The Daily Athenaeum editorial board endorses Sen. Manchin.
Although Manchin’s coziness with the coal industry, from which he has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, should trouble all West Virginians, Raese’s candidacy simply cannot be taken seriously.
In addition to his tendency to make outlandish comments, including his comparison of the Monongalia County smoking ban to Hitler’s requirement for Jews to wear a Star of David on their clothing, Raese’s far-right policy positions, notably his calls to deregulate the coal industry and his promise to support the repeal of the health care reform bill, would be harmful to all West Virginians.
Moreover, Sen. Manchin has spent his first two years in the senate carving his independence from both of the two major parties and considering the individual issues when necessary, as opposed to simply toeing the party line. This independence should be applauded, especially considering the hyper-polarized nature of today’s political environment. It is also reflective of the West Virginian public, which tends to support programs that create a social safety net but are socially conservative.
For the gubernatorial race, we endorse Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Like Raese, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney’s support for eliminating regulations, which are needed to prevent future mining disasters and maintain a safe and healthy environment, would be harmful to West Virginia. Unfortunately, Tomblin also has close ties to the coal industry.
Because of this relationship, we would like to point out that we were somewhat reluctant to make both these endorsements.
West Virginians have been subjected to a long history of abuse from the coal industry. At almost every level, the politicians we elect to keep the industry in check owe a substantial fraction of their campaign coffers to contributions from this very industry. Thus, their objectivity is undoubtedly compromised, and this has resulted in tragedies such as the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster and the decimation of our pristine mountains via mountaintop removal.
This problem is a deep-seated one that West Virginians must address in the long run. However, for this election season, there is clearly a lesser of two evils.
The two Democratic candidates, despite their faults, will serve our state better than their Republican counterparts, whose calls for deregulation and further capitulation to the coal industry will only serve to exacerbate our state’s many problems.