Give the executive committee of the Republican party credit, they have integrity. Jim Justice, the opportunist in chief, thought he could buy them by switching to the GOP — he did not. They did not endorse a road bond set for October — something they were not particularly keen on to begin with. So it seems that big Jim abased himself to no purpose.
Normally the Republicans in Charleston should not get so much praise, but at least they fight with open visor. Conrad Lucas could not be purchased by the squire of the Greenbrier. Defectors are never liked — ask Benedict Arnold, who betrayed the American Revolution for Peggy Shippen and a promotion in the British Army. At least he stood by Major Andre. Justice dumped Nick Casey on the thin reed that his wife was too fond of the Democratic party.
Perhaps this is why electing a businessman with no government experience might have been a bad idea. Ross Perot saw little green men and conspiracy theories and Donald Trump will twitter about stocks without considering repercussions. Narcissists that give us themselves are not to be trusted. Justice treated the legislature like they were so much kitchen help. Republicans and Democrats alike are offended by such unprincipled behavior.
It is a pity that Justice does not simply resign and a new election ensue. Bill Cole would be a better governor and could work and guide the legislature. For Justice, the only people that count are his peer group — the 0.002 percent.
This is not easy, because my vote went to Justice in November. Personally, I felt robbed of a vote. In hindsight, Cole was the better candidate. But Democrats probably deserved the trick played on the party. Unable to rebuild the state apparatus around a platform that made sense, they went down the road of vagueness and nominated a self-promoting billionaire. The party is fossilized, weak and a shadow of its once-mighty self. Leadership at almost every level is lacking with no vision for how to move the state forward.
Moreover, the party does not heed its own voters. Despite Bernie Sanders sweeping every county in the May 2016 primary, Hillary Clinton received one more vote at the state convention. And what a magnificent candidate she proved to be, garnering 26 percent in West Virginia. The hacks, plunder bunders and the summer soldiers selected Clinton, who to say the least had no support in the Mountain State.
Such a party deserves to lose if the only message is a pathetic “me too” embrace of the opposition’s platform. At least the WVGOP was smart enough not to go for the bait. To their credit, the Republicans have cleaned out the bureaucracy in Charleston. The nepotism jobs, the fees for nothing and harebrained schemes were at least reduced. And you cannot say you were not getting what you voted for.
It is a lesson to be heeded that every now and then, integrity must be rewarded. Apologies are due to the better man, Bill Cole.