Morrisey claims untrue

One puzzling aspect of the advertising being used in an attempt to force West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey out of office is that much of it is easily disproved. Perhaps it’s a test of whether the big-lie theory of politics remains valid.

That’s the suggestion that if you want to smear someone or something, go all-out. The more sweeping the claim, the better – especially if there’s no truth to it.

Morrisey, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Doug Reynolds. At one time, the political party affiliations would have been decisive. Mountain State voters were staunch Democrats for many decades.

No more. Even though Democrats still hold a substantial edge in voter registrations, many West Virginians no longer are loyal where it counts, at the polling places.

President Barack Obama and his war on coal and affordable electricity bears much of the blame for that. A few Democrat leaders, including U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, have battled the White House on that. Many, including some still in office, have sided with the president – and against their fellow West Virginians.

That makes it all the more peculiar that much of the advertising for Reynolds has included the claim that someone needs to stand up for coal miners. The implication is that Morrisey has failed to do so.

That claim would come as a surprise to Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency. If any of the nation’s state attorneys general could be muzzled by the EPA and the White House, it is entirely likely they would choose Morrisey. He has been a giant-sized thorn in their sides.

Morrisey has filed or joined multiple lawsuits against the EPA – taking the lead in some of them. It is fair to say he deserves much of the credit for the current Supreme Court order that the EPA delay enforcing new rules aimed at coal-fired power plants.

A more vigorous defense of coal miners is difficult to imagine.

In fact, Democrats in the Legislature at one point tried to restrain Morrisey’s ability to go after the EPA. Did I mention Reynolds, of Huntington, is a Democrat member of the House of Delegates?

Perhaps Reynolds and his supporters assume voters missed all that.

Another Reynolds advertising tactic is that someone needs to do something about the epidemic of drug abuse in West Virginia. Again, the implication is that Morrisey has been idle.

Hardly. He has been among the most active state officials in battling drug abuse in multiple ways.

Morrisey’s office worked with the state Board of Pharmacy to find ways technology can be used to help health care providers avoid over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. His Best Practices Toolkit helps with more guidelines to reduce abuse of prescription drugs. Finally, he has partnered with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on other intiatives against substance abuse.

Again, Reynolds may hope, perhaps voters haven’t been paying attention.

Another shot at the incumbent involves campaign contributions from drug companies. The implication is that Morrisey is in their pockets.

Really? During his tenure, Morrisey’s office has been involved in action against drug companies that resulted in $4.2 million in settlements against five of them. That’s a darned poor return on any investment they may have made in him.

Morrisey has accomplished a variety of good things in the attorney general’s office. Among the most-needed reforms was that involving the outrageous outside counsel system of his predecessor, Democrat Darrell McGraw. Under McGraw, the attorney general’s office frequently used private attorneys in lawsuits. Sometimes they had made contributions to McGraw’s campaigns. And sometimes they collected fat fees. Morrisey ended that.

Reynolds seems to have a well-funded campaign, and he’s taking quite a few shots at Morrisey. To date, however, none has hit the mark – and voters have been paying enough attention to know that.

Mike Myer is the executive editor at the Wheeling Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. Myer can be reached at mmyer@theintelligencer.net.