The governor takes one for pro-choice coalfield Dems

April 2, 2014

This will be little more than a review for members of the class who have been paying attention. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of House Bill 4588 could have been easily predicted by those who listened to the instructor from the beginning.

Tomblin did what Democrat legislators were afraid to do in an election year. He vetoed the bill designed to protect the life of an unborn baby at 20 weeks of gestation. Tomblin, like his counterparts in the legislature, will say he is not “pro-choice.” He and his southern coalfield comrades will insist they are Christians who are, at least to some degree, pro-life. The handling of this bill shows that they are not.

Again an aside to readers: I have said that I, personally, would not have voted for House Bill 4588. But I would have clearly told voters I was choosing the pro-choice side, not pro-life. Southern coalfield Democrats want to cry they are pro-life while quietly doing all they can to promote a pro-choice agenda. Tomblin helped them in an election year.

Now these fellows can claim they voted pro-life while doing absolutely nothing for the pro-life cause in years. If they could have voted secretly, many of these delegates and senators would have voted against House Bill 4588. Finally put on the spot by Republicans, West Virginians for Life and a limited amount of truthful media, they had to vote for the bill. In the House, they hoped the Senate would kill the bill; in the Senate, they were thinking the same of the House.

When that didn’t happen, the last recourse was Tomblin. Since he cannot run for re-election and will likely never seek elected office again, Tomblin had no trouble rescuing Democrat legislative allies. A swift brush of the veto pen while West Virginians for Life were gathered for their annual dinner in Morgantown was a further show of insensitivity by the governor’s staff. Tomblin did the dirty work to stop the protection of babies and Democrat legislators do not have to feel the electoral heat.

Tomblin wrote of the possibility that HB 4588 was unconstitutional, a charge that should have been decided in court, not in the governor’s office.

As noted here earlier, it would seem strange that this administration would worry about legalities in light of the fact that Tomblin refuses to appoint a new circuit judge in Mingo County, as he is constitutionally required to have done weeks ago; and he permits internal lawyers to hold nursing home hearings under OFLAC when the law clearly requires that such hearing examiners be “independent” of government. Yet, on a bill designed to protect the life of a 20-week-old fetus, the governor worries about constitutionality.

Priorities are screwed up in West Virginia, indeed. Babies are fair game, it seems; protecting those in nursing homes is also not a priority.

In addition, pro-choice advocates such as The Morning Sickcall continued to mislead readers about the passed bill, even after Tomblin vetoed it. The Gazette insisted, Saturday, that the bill would have health care providers who performed abortions after 20 weeks “guilty of a felony” when amendments to the bill clearly covered by Gazette reporters changed any penalty to a misdemeanor. Also, The Gazette continues to promote the idea that “all abortions” would have been outlawed after 20 weeks gestation, when exemptions for health reasons were always included in the bill.

Nevertheless, the governor is now clearly pro-choice and has left no reason to wonder about it. I wonder how many voters who cast ballots for him twice knew he was the pro-choice candidate?

I still think he is a great guy, but this action is horrible, indeed, and goes against the will of the people of West Virginia.

… Del. Jeff Eldridge, one of only two Democrats in the House who has supported protecting unborn babies at every opportunity, has scheduled a meeting to discuss problems with reopening Coal River Road in Alum Creek. The session will be held Thursday at Alum Creek Lions Club Park. The road has been closed for months due to slippage on the adjacent hillside and efforts to get it reopened have stalled.

Eldridge said he is inviting all local residents to come out to the meeting to form an action plan regarding how to get the road open as quickly as possible.

… U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is always impressive when he appears in public and Friday’s forum at the Boone County Courthouse was no exception. Called in conjunction with Circuit Judge William Thompson, the meeting addressed problems of drug abuse and addiction in Southern West Virginia. Although nobody appears to have an answer for the ever-increasing problem, Manchin offered suggestions and asked his audience for their ideas to combat the epidemic.

Before the meeting, Manchin, who actually arrived early as opposed to many politicians who are habitually late, worked the crowd. It appeared that he shook hands with everyone on the scene, including Boone County school students, drug school graduates and elected officials. Like most members of the Manchin family, the senator is a natural for politics and always appears to enjoy the company of his fellow West Virginians.

Nobody would ever confuse Manchin with the senior senator, Jay Rockefeller of New York, or Tomblin, for that matter. Despite having been state Senate president and now governor, Tomblin actually appears a bit bashful and certainly is not gregarious like Manchin.

Hopefully, meetings such as the one held in Madison will help bring resources together to combat illegal drug activity.

Also, state Sen. Ron Stollings of Boone spoke eloquently during the meeting and likely takes a bum rap from some who criticize him as a medical doctor fighting the “war on drugs.” Stollings is logical in his thinking and makes every attempt to represent the public while maintaining his medical practice. He, too, treads a fine line in that regard but certainly seems sincere in wanting governmental assistance in the war without limiting the ability of a doctor to use his or her best judgment for his or her patients.

Those who criticize Stollings should “walk” the proverbial mile in his shoes. It has to be difficult.

… One would think it is confession time but, again, I am running out of things to admit to. I will say here that, as a political consultant, I have sometimes become involved in debates with candidates about whether they got their money’s worth from me. I honestly know many more politicians have lied and cheated me than I have ever had an opportunity to return the favors. Still, some have legitimate beefs and I also acknowledge that for the good of the order.

Meanwhile, I am hoping I can catch a bus from the revival at the fieldhouse to the Rally in the Valley so I can get a good look at the bikini-wearing females. I trust God has foreordained that.

… Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has conducted nearly a one-man crusade on ridiculous pro-gun legislation. On a recent “Decision Makers” program with Bray Carey, Jones was emotional in his concerns for the children of Charleston who may face loaded guns at recreation centers under a new law.

It goes without saying, probably, that I support the mayor. The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to carry a firearm into a recreation center, except for law enforcement.

… The warm welcome I received at a Bank of Mingo board of directors annual shareholders meeting at Belo was impressive. Those in attendance were charming and virtually all had something positive to say about this column. I appreciated the food and fellowship.

Your comments, rumors and story ideas are always welcome. Well, at least they are tolerated. Use my email address listed herein or call my cell, 304-533-5185. Starting a conversation by telling me how great I am always helps gain my undivided attention.