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Red State? West Virginia shift
The Charleston Gazette ^ | 4-28-05 | Newspaper editor

Posted on 04/28/2005 9:38:04 AM PDT by wvgasman

April 28, 2005 Red state?

West Virginia shift

Several times, we have posed this question for political experts: Why did West Virginia — long a Roosevelt-and-Kennedy Democratic “blue state” — become a Republican “red state” in the past two presidential elections, despite 2-to-1 Democratic registration?

Why did this low-income state vote for the party of the rich — a party openly slashing help for common Americans and giving huge rewards to the wealthy?

We never received an explanation from any of the state’s political professors or other societal analysts. But an answer was offered by one of the world’s premier journals, Le Monde of Paris.

In a long report titled “What’s the matter with West Virginia?” the French newspaper said the Mountain State has been pulled to the right by exaggerated patriotism, love of guns, Bible Belt fundamentalism, resentment of liberal intellectuals, and defense of the coal industry against environmentalism.

The report (the title mimics the brilliant book, What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America) actually was written just before last fall’s balloting. The author, international observer Serge Halimi, toured the state, interviewing voters.

“George Bush’s policies in his first term mainly benefited the rich, but surprisingly he is most popular in the poorest states, which were former union and Democratic strongholds,” the report began. It added: “The history of the United States would have been very different if West Virginia had not broken with tradition last time.”

The author found various reasons for West Virginia’s rightward swing. He said he talked with “a brother and sister in the state capital, Charleston, who will vote Republican for ‘religious reasons’ — yet the brother is a schoolteacher and he has no health insurance.”

The analysis said environmentalists are disliked by mountain folk because they’re “suspected of endangering the few remaining jobs in industry that relocations and pit closures have spared. And the issue of gun control plays into the hands of the most reactionary candidates.” The writer noted that West Virginia schools close for deer season, and “several thousand animals are slaughtered in just a few hours.”

Le Monde said President Bush’s invasion of Iraq didn’t “dent his popularity” in West Virginia, because “most Americans support the idea of a blow for a blow.” They wanted to strike Iraq in retaliation for the 9/11 terrorist attack, even though Iraq had no connection to that tragedy. Instead of worrying about the war, it said, West Virginians focus on “local concerns: faith, patriotism, mining and guns.”

The Parisian paper said Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry seemed snobbish and unsure, while Republican Bush was simplistic and direct. It said Bush’s “anti-intellectual stance and his feel for ordinary people connect with the expectations and resentments of his least-fortunate supporters” — even though “he is well-known for his tongue-twisted Bushisms and at times can seem almost simple-minded.”

“The Republicans’ phony populism and constant insistence on issues of cultural identity — religion, hunting and tradition — take advantage of the fact that people have little time for social history.”

Le Monde said the GOP, Fox News and other right-wing voices stirred working-class resentment against superior-acting left-wingers — “the liberal elite, a horde of quibbling lawyers, haughty academics, depraved journalists and know-it-all actors.” It added: “This con trick is possible only because the smugness of those in the know is even more insufferable than the insolence of the rich.”

Does this explain why West Virginia became a red state in the past two elections? We aren’t sure — but we haven’t heard any different explanations.

The real question, of course, is whether the conservative shift is permanent. Has West Virginia become part of the Republican “Solid South,” or will the Democratic majority regain its footing? Since the Democratic Party represents working families, and the Mountain State consists mainly of them, we hope the pendulum swings back, and the state’s electoral votes cease going to the party of the rich


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: bush; bushcountry; bushvictory; culturewars; issues; lemonde; realignment; values
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The West Virginia "flagship" MSM newspaper sides with that great French bastion of literary purity and objectivity with this editorial .... (a really big surprise for the 'real people' of the Mountain State!!)
1 posted on 04/28/2005 9:38:05 AM PDT by wvgasman
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To: wvgasman
Why did this low-income state vote for the party of the rich — a party openly slashing help for common Americans and giving huge rewards to the wealthy?

Stopped reading right there.
2 posted on 04/28/2005 9:38:58 AM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: wvgasman

West Virginia was a REPUBLICAN state until the 1930s, I believe. They're just "coming home" not betraying their party.


3 posted on 04/28/2005 9:40:10 AM PDT by Clemenza (I am NOT A NUMBER, I am a FREE MAN!!!)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: wvgasman

West Virginia a red state for a 1000:

What is a flaming far left wing social agenda that shocks mainstream America, Alex.


5 posted on 04/28/2005 9:40:49 AM PDT by TXBSAFH (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, who's bringing the chips?)
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To: wvgasman

Somehow I'll bet this paper just loves the Kleagle.


6 posted on 04/28/2005 9:43:07 AM PDT by jpl
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To: Clemenza

Mountain people are a breed apart, politically. Not just West Virginia, but all of "Appalachia" from PA down to GA and AL. They were and are Republicans in NC, but not the usual sort. I suspect that WVA was more susceptible to the charms of Dem-style socialist nostrums due to union influence in coal mining. That has faded in importance, and the native independent streak has risen to the fore once again.


7 posted on 04/28/2005 9:43:21 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: wvgasman

As long as WV has the Grand Dragon as one of their senators, they will be a blue state.


8 posted on 04/28/2005 9:43:55 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wvgasman

The Frenchies sure seem to have a lot of time on their hands.


9 posted on 04/28/2005 9:46:44 AM PDT by Search4Truth (When a man lies he murders some part of the world.)
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To: wvgasman
Why did this low-income state vote . . .

Is it possible that West Virginia remained a low-income state because it followed to policies of the Democratci party for close to 70 years?

10 posted on 04/28/2005 9:46:44 AM PDT by LdSentinal
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To: wvgasman

The Frenchies sure seem to have a lot of time on their hands.


11 posted on 04/28/2005 9:46:48 AM PDT by Search4Truth (When a man lies he murders some part of the world.)
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To: wvgasman
First of all, what type of paper is this? Its awfully bigoted and biased.

The reason that democrats lost the past election can be read between the lines in this piece. It assumes that Bush is for the rich and against the poor - wrong. It assumes that Bush voters are dumb and were somehow duped - wrong again. It assumes there is something wrong with the state of WV. It invokes names of old democrat giants who have nothing, not a single thing, in common with today's democrat party.

For example:
The author found various reasons for West Virginia’s rightward swing. He said he talked with “a brother and sister in the state capital, Charleston, who will vote Republican for ‘religious reasons’ — yet the brother is a schoolteacher and he has no health insurance.”

So why is this Bush's fault? Are all sschoolteachers supposed to vote democrat autocmatically? The union or the school district should be the one providing a health plan.

I am only a few paragraphs through this ignorant article.

12 posted on 04/28/2005 9:49:29 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Clemenza

West Virginians are beginning to see that liberalism is and therefore Democrats are full of lies, lies, lies.


13 posted on 04/28/2005 9:50:34 AM PDT by uncitizen
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To: wvgasman

All of America is "Red" except for a few Canadian outposts we refer to as the "Blue" sectors.


14 posted on 04/28/2005 9:51:35 AM PDT by TheForceOfOne
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To: wvgasman

"Le Monde said the GOP, Fox News and other right-wing voices stirred working-class resentment against superior-acting left-wingers — “the liberal elite, a horde of quibbling lawyers, haughty academics, depraved journalists and know-it-all actors.” It added: “This con trick is possible only because the smugness of those in the know is even more insufferable than the insolence of the rich.”"

So that is to say that Kerry, Dean, Boxer, Pelosi, Reid, Biden, MacAuliffe?, Clinton, Clinton, and the lot believe this? Pretty revealing.... and ditchdiggers are Republicans too.


15 posted on 04/28/2005 9:51:44 AM PDT by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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To: wvgasman
Since the Democratic Party represents working families, and the Mountain State consists mainly of them, we hope the pendulum swings back, and the state’s electoral votes cease going to the party of the rich.

Is this for real? This is like its written by a college sophomore trying to please some leftist radical college journalism professor.

16 posted on 04/28/2005 9:51:57 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: wagglebee

One of the selling aspects of moving from Virginia to W.Virginia was to vote Byrd and Rockefeller outta office.
I was surprised to find that several No. Virginia residents were doing the same thing (according to my realtor). We were fleeing the Islamization of No. Virginia! (still commuting distance to the capital)


17 posted on 04/28/2005 9:52:40 AM PDT by Sweet Hour of Prayer
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To: Sweet Hour of Prayer

Where is General Lee when you need him?


18 posted on 04/28/2005 9:54:17 AM PDT by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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To: wvgasman
Why did this low-income state vote for the party of the rich — a party openly slashing help for common Americans and giving huge rewards to the wealthy?

Last I checked it was the Democrats who were the Party of the rich. The average size of their donations confirms it.

19 posted on 04/28/2005 9:57:59 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are REALLY stupid.)
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To: wvgasman
It looked a bit like they were needling the French until you got to the last sentence: "Since the Democratic Party represents working families, and the Mountain State consists mainly of them, we hope the pendulum swings back, and the state’s electoral votes cease going to the party of the rich."

Basically, the paper doesn't know why things have changed and is too incurious to find out, or to ask whether the Democrats really do represent working families or the Republicans really are the party of the rich. They're just going to assume that they are right, accept the cliches they've believed in all along, and wait until things change back again.

20 posted on 04/28/2005 9:58:08 AM PDT by x
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To: wvgasman; mountaineer; Timesink
Does this explain why West Virginia became a red state in the past two elections? We aren’t sure — but we haven’t heard any different explanations.

Sure. Like they tried.

21 posted on 04/28/2005 9:58:24 AM PDT by martin_fierro (¡Eso es Queso!)
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To: wvgasman

I think it would be pure folly to think that West Virginia's tilt in the most recent elections was temporary. Social conservatism is slaughtering the Dems across the South, and I believe West Virginia is no exception. Oh, and by the way, the French analysis is so typically biased, even though they did actually pick up on a few things.


22 posted on 04/28/2005 9:59:15 AM PDT by No Dems 2004
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To: wvgasman
Since the Democratic Party represents working families, .....

It is this erroneous assumption that is dooming the Democrats at every turn. The liberals take this on faith then move on to their favorite extreme causes and leave the "working familites" in the dust. That slight is then remembered in the voting booth.

But then that's just my theory. I have no earthly idea of a theory that could justify the continued re-election of Senator Byrd.

23 posted on 04/28/2005 9:59:52 AM PDT by ladtx ( "Remember your regiment and follow your officers." Captain Charles May, 2d Dragoons, 9 May 1846)
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To: wvgasman
My bloodlines are Irish Catholic and I grew up in a union household.

Since the Democratic Party represents working families,

NO THEY DON'T.

The democrats are no longer the party of the working man. They have been moving away from that since the 1960's and 1970's starting with McCarthy and McGovern. They took that a step further with Mike Dukakis, and completely left that with Bill Clinton's sellout, and collecting the money from George Soros, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and academia. The democrats are now the party of rich leftists. They abandoned their former bases in rural America.

I hope West Virginia and it's political twin in the UP of Michigan do not switch back to the party that has abandoned them.

24 posted on 04/28/2005 10:00:21 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("This will help you with the pain - POW!!" - Jack Bauer)
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To: wvgasman
"Why did this low-income state vote for the party of the rich — a party openly slashing help for common Americans and giving huge rewards to the wealthy? "

What an idiot. Are Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, etc., also packed with rich elitists?
25 posted on 04/28/2005 10:01:10 AM PDT by Preachin' (Keep the Kerry/Edwards tags on your cars so we can identify the root of your disease.)
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My bloodlines are Irish Catholic and I grew up in a union household. The democrats of today are nothing like my democrat ancestors.

Since the Democratic Party represents working families,

NO THEY DON'T.

The democrats are no longer the party of the working man. They have been moving away from that since the 1960's and 1970's starting with McCarthy and McGovern. They took that a step further with Mike Dukakis, and completely left that with Bill Clinton's sellout, and collecting the money from George Soros, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and academia. The democrats are now the party of rich leftists. They abandoned their former bases in rural America.

I hope West Virginia and it's political twin in the UP of Michigan do not switch back to the party that has abandoned them.

26 posted on 04/28/2005 10:01:15 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("This will help you with the pain - POW!!" - Jack Bauer)
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To: wvgasman

"resentment of liberal intellectuals"

I prefer the term

Sexual Intellectual...

read between the lines on that one :)


27 posted on 04/28/2005 10:01:43 AM PDT by Leatherneck_MT (3-7-77 (No that's not a Date))
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To: wagglebee
>> As long as WV has the Grand Dragon as one of their senators, they will be a blue state. <<

Agreed. West Virgina has a RAT governor, 2 out of 2 RAT Senators, 2 out of 3 RAT Congressman, a RAT state Senate, and a RAT state house, but now they're a "red state" because they voted the "right way" in a handful of Presidential elections?

WV is still overrun with RATs on the state level. They even managed to hold on the governor's mansion AFTER their RAT governor resigned in disgrace and there was no "heir apprent". They'll be changeover in the guard when we start getting some Rs holding MAJOR STATEWIDE OFFICE in WV.

Until then, it's Robert Byrd country.

28 posted on 04/28/2005 10:01:45 AM PDT by BillyBoy (Find out the TRUTH about the Chicago Democrat Machine's "Best Friend" in the GOP - www.NOLaHood.com)
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To: wvgasman
Re: “He said he talked with “a brother and sister in the state capital….”

I very much doubt I am the only one who noticed this line. It’s just too easy, just toooooo convenient.
29 posted on 04/28/2005 10:02:07 AM PDT by Mark in the Old South (Sister Lucia of Fatima pray for us)
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To: RegulatorCountry; SittinYonder
Mountain people are a breed apart, politically. Not just West Virginia, but all of "Appalachia" from PA down to GA and AL.

Scots-Irish independents.

30 posted on 04/28/2005 10:02:14 AM PDT by eyespysomething (hmmm....)
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To: CIDKauf
He was not successful last time. Why do you think he could do it now?

West Virginia succeeded from Virginia when Virginia succeeded from the Union. Until FDR it was a 100% Republican state.
31 posted on 04/28/2005 10:03:31 AM PDT by fireforeffect (A kind word and a 2x4, gets you more than just a kind word.)
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To: CIDKauf
Where is General Lee when you need him?

Not a particularly good analogy. He was not wildly successful in his WV campaigns.

32 posted on 04/28/2005 10:04:40 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: wvgasman

Hmmm...I feel your pain, brother. Ya know, if you do 'due diligence' on your WV political history, you'll find that the Democrats of the late 1800's were very similar in ideology to the Republicans of today in our little, po', back'erd state. And we never did like the French, anyway. All in all, it's not that surprising that the mainstream WV Democrats are splitting with the national party, given the conservative history of the party here.


33 posted on 04/28/2005 10:05:38 AM PDT by wvjim (Montani Semper Libre!)
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To: wvgasman

Filter out the BS and this LeMonde guy is making sense.


34 posted on 04/28/2005 10:07:10 AM PDT by dennisw (2¢ plain)
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To: wvgasman

Could the vote possibly be explained by the disdain for the beliefs and values of West Virginians that drips from almost every paragraph of this screed?

"I have nothing but contempt for everything you hold dear. Given the chance, I'll do my best to destroy those things. Vote for me."


35 posted on 04/28/2005 10:07:38 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: eyespysomething
Scots-Irish independents.

They're the ones.

36 posted on 04/28/2005 10:08:55 AM PDT by SittinYonder (You can't sing country music with a northeastern twang)
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To: wvgasman

Growing up in WV and voting Republican in the Mountain state since 1988, I know the answer. WV is and always has been a very conservative state despite its 2-to-1 advantage to the Dems in registration. WV hasn't changed-the Democratic party has. The Dems were far more conservative in the past than they are now. Besides my immediate family, the entire rest of my family and friends of the family are all registered Democrats, they just hadn't voted for a Dem since JFK (or thereabouts). They didn't leave the Democratic party; it left them.


37 posted on 04/28/2005 10:09:45 AM PDT by Jedi Jake (www.bingewars.com)
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To: wvgasman
The West Virginia "flagship" MSM newspaper sides with that great French bastion of literary purity and objectivity with this editorial ....
Well, what else would you expect from the "depraved journalists"? Verily, they stand condemned from their own mouths.
38 posted on 04/28/2005 10:11:22 AM PDT by GSlob
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To: Dan from Michigan
George Soros, Hollywood, and academia.........add to that gay marriage, abortion and anti-patriotism and that about sums them up..........

It's just not your mommy and daddy's party anymore.

39 posted on 04/28/2005 10:12:21 AM PDT by tioga (Long Live Pope Benedict XVI.)
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To: fireforeffect

Very good. I appreciate the history lesson. Actually it was a smart remark in reference to Northern Virginia as Lee's Army was known as the "Confederate Army of Northern Virginia". I also consider him a great American as he did many things to bring the nation back together after the Civil War, including kneeling with a black man at the alter.


40 posted on 04/28/2005 10:12:49 AM PDT by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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To: KC_Conspirator
First of all, what type of paper is this? Its awfully bigoted and biased.

I have crossed swords with the Gazette's editor, James Haught, on several occasions.

Haught is, without question, the most hateful and elitist snob I've ever exchanged e-mails with. His utter contempt for his readership is astounding.

41 posted on 04/28/2005 10:14:29 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: wvgasman; Congressman Billybob
“several thousand animals are slaughtered in just a few hours.”

If they think that's bad, they should count the deer corpses alongside the highways.

And pay the car repair bills.

My guess is that car insurance companies HATE PETA and anti-hunting environmentalists.

42 posted on 04/28/2005 10:15:53 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan

Ditto!


43 posted on 04/28/2005 10:20:02 AM PDT by BillT
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To: wvgasman
The West Virginia "flagship" MSM newspaper sides with that great French bastion of literary purity and objectivity with this editorial .... (a really big surprise for the 'real people' of the Mountain State!!)

Not a big surprise that the Charleston "putzette" would side with the french.

That's what good liberal papers do, that and side with nonsensical and inchoerant rantings of robert byrd.

44 posted on 04/28/2005 10:20:59 AM PDT by Dane ( anyone who believes hillary would do something to stop illegal immigration is believing gibberish)
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To: wvgasman
we have posed this question for political experts: Why did West Virginia — long a Roosevelt-and-Kennedy Democratic “blue state” — become a Republican “red state” in the past two presidential elections, despite 2-to-1 Democratic registration?

Because the Republicans now talk like Democrats except when it comes money.

45 posted on 04/28/2005 10:25:26 AM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: wvgasman
West Virginia is the only state left whose politics is dominated by the KKK. In fact some of my friends are afraid to travel through WV.
46 posted on 04/28/2005 10:26:02 AM PDT by Bar-Face
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To: LdSentinal
Is it possible that West Virginia remained a low-income state because it followed to policies of the Democratci party for close to 70 years?

West Virginia is a state full of natural resources that are owned and exploited by liberal blue state industrialists. The last thing these blue staters want is a self sufficient Appalachian. It worked for quite consistently from the Great Depression until 1980.

Does the name Rockefeller ring a bell?

47 posted on 04/28/2005 10:26:37 AM PDT by Ghengis (Alexander was a wuss!)
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To: wvgasman
As a part-time West Virginian, I can assure you that the Gazette is well known as "the mountaineer Pravda" around these parts. Still, the article is not totally wrong.

West Virginians in the aggregate are pro-God, pro-guns, pro-military, pro-life, and anti-enviroweenie.

They are also pro-tax, pro-regulation, anti-business, and pro-sucking at the government teat.

So I think this will be a swing state for some time to come.

48 posted on 04/28/2005 10:29:39 AM PDT by Charlotte Corday (Freedom’s like ice-cream—can’t go wrong with it.)
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To: okie01

"Haught is, without question, the most hateful and elitist snob" perfect name to match his description, haughty.

This editorial was so slanted I had to check the source, thinking it was some "alternative" socialist newspaper, not the state's "pre-eminent" rag. Let them question no more why circulation in all MSM is on the decline.


49 posted on 04/28/2005 10:31:40 AM PDT by EDINVA (i)
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To: wvgasman
Le Monde said the GOP, Fox News and other right-wing voices stirred working-class resentment against superior-acting left-wingers — “the liberal elite, a horde of quibbling lawyers, haughty academics, depraved journalists and know-it-all actors.”

Well, he pretty much describes the liberals perfectly. Perhaps instead of being conned, West Virginians are just make simple observations about the world they live in.

50 posted on 04/28/2005 10:33:07 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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