Editorials, Opinion

Will he, though?

Would The Dominion Post like to see a Morgantown native in the governor’s mansion? Sure, but we think there are more important qualifications for the person who wants to be West Virginia’s leader. For example: Caring more about what’s happening in the Mountain State than in Washington, D.C.

Mac Warner, in his essay, points to the four governors he wants to emulate: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. If Warner’s intent was to reassure us of his priorities, he’s failed.

The first two of his heroes, Abbott and DeSantis, are under investigation for the anti-immigrant antics they’ve pulled. The U.S. Treasury is looking into Abbott for the possible misuse of federal CARES Act funds for border-related operations. A Texas sheriff has opened a criminal investigation into DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard stunt, which involved recruiting Venezuelan asylum seekers in Texas. And the D.C. attorney general is investigating multiple southern state governors, including Abbott and DeSantis, for “misleading” immigrants into boarding buses and planes to other states. No formal charge has been brought yet, but the swindle they pulled — coercing vulnerable individuals with false promises of work and shelter — fits the definition of human trafficking.

Do West Virginians really need — or want — a governor who is willing to embroil himself, his administration and the state in criminal investigations, just so he can “own the libs”?

DeSantis in particular has shown himself to be two-faced on immigration policy: As he wastes taxpayer dollars on his political stunts, he refuses to support legislation that would require private employers to verify employees’ immigration/citizenship status. He knows that shipping migrants to blue states plays well with his base, but he also knows Florida’s thriving service industry depends on cheap, illegal laborers.

Youngkin was responding to a national zeitgeist — not federal policy, as Warner claims — when he won the Virginia governorship on a platform of “parental control” in education.  The same anti-school spirit swept through West Virginia last year, and voters had an opportunity to codify legislative control over education with Amendment 4 — and they handedly rejected it.

As for Noem’s anti-trans bans … Unfortunately, that ship has already sailed. The West Virginia Legislature passed a trans-athlete ban last year, and a federal judge recently upheld it. But it’s concerning that West Virginia’s secretary of state doesn’t seem to realize that. And Warner’s claim about “mutilating” 10-year-olds is straight B.S. The national standard for any gender-affirming surgery is 16 years old at the earliest, and even then only a mastectomy, aka “top surgery.”

We wish we had the space to discuss his faulty claims about the flow of drugs (a Cato Institute analysis shows about 80%-90% of drugs come through legal ports of entry and more than 70% of the smugglers are U.S. citizens) and the Biden administration’s COVID policies. Alas, it takes more space to dispute lies than to spout them.

And for all his bluster, Warner still hasn’t shown that he’s looking out for the Mountain State’s best interests. Warner should spare West Virginians four years of posturing as he sets himself up for the federal office he so obviously wants.

ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, previously writing for The Dominion Post. She uses experience gained working on organic farms in Europe to help her explore possibilities of local productivity and sustainable living in Preston County. Email columns@dominionpost.com.