By VIC SPROUSE

CHARLESTON -- The business community is maddening.

That's how I felt after reading a Hoppy Kercheval commentary at the end of last week about the Attorney General's race next year.

In Hoppy's column last week, he detailed the full-court press the business community is trying to make to enlist Manchin Administration attorney Carte Goodwin to run against Attorney General Darrell McGraw in the Democratic primary.

Shoot me in the head.

Why, why, why, why, why , why (is that enough whys) in the world does the business community, election year after election year after election year, go this route?

It drives me to near insanity.

They do this every single election. When they want to defeat a trial-lawyer funded, labor-backed incumbent Democrat, what do they do? They go out a recruit a "business conservative" Democrat, i.e. the ones who only genuflect at the Altar of Labor versus fully prostrating themselves before it as most Democrats do.

It's maddening.

So, the latest business Democrat de jour is Carte Goodwin.

Look, let me preface this by saying I think Carte seems like a good guy with a good head on his shoulders and is definitely one of the stars in the Manchin Administration.

But year after year, because of the business communities Siamese twin-like attachment to Joe Manchin and all these supposed "business conservative" Democrats in the Legislature, they once again will get pounded in the primary as they do EVERY single time.

I'd love for them to sight one example of a "business conservative" Democrat who has defeated a labor-backed Democratic incumbent in a one-on-one statewide race. It certainly has not happened during my time in politics and we can recount the corpses of the supposed business Democrats who have tried ... including Judge Jim Rowe in 2004 who was smashed 55-45 by Warren "The Scream at Racine" McGraw.

Heck, you could go all the way back to 1996 when Charlotte Pritt chewed up and spit out "business Democrat" Joe Manchin.

And, let's be honest here, while the business community claims Joe as one of them, the fact is Joe ran straight to the teachers' union and their leader Tom Lange to get union support early. Once the WVEA came on board, the rest of labor jumped in and they all sung "Kumbaya" with the business community.

And, of course, the business community had to simply pull the sheet over their head when they woke up to the news footage of a camoflagued, jackrock-throwing Manchin on the Kroger worker picket line.

I don't know if he really did, but I heard that Joe joined in and chanted those completely imbecilic union slogans, like -- "What do we WANT?, More Money! When do we want it? Now!" -- while carrying a sign saying "No Justice, No Peace" during the picket.

OK, I'm just making that one up, but you get the picture, well, and I don't think he was actually wearing camo, but again, you get the point.

So, now the business community is all a twitter with the possibility of sending another so-called business Democrat to their primary slaughter. Silly business community.

And, of course, what will happen is what always happens.

The business Democrat gets thumped and then the business community has to go to the Secretary of State website to find out who the poor schmo is running on the Republican side and then decide whether or not they can back them, instead of actually helping the Republican defeat the Democrat (GASP! Goodness forbid!) in the general election by providing them funding and support for the FULL election cycle.

In the case of Brent Benjamin's race in 2004 and his defeat of Warren McGraw after Warren obliterated the last business Democrat, I talked to many business community members who were ready to walk and simply give up.

After all, who was Brent Benjamin?

And, in the end, many of them would have, had not Don Blankenship been smart enough to say, look, Brent Benjamin is a high-quality guy, he can probably beat this guy with adequate funding. It was only after the Democrat-loving business community realized that Brent was going to have adequate funding that they decided to jump on board and help.

But, we go down this road again.

And, it frustrates me ... again.

The business community will expend time, money, resources, and all their efforts to help Carte Goodwin get to 46 percent against Darrell McGraw, instead of recruiting and properly funding a young, aggressive, Republican lawyer who can actually win in the fall.

Silly business community.

Sprouse has served in the Legislature since 1995 and resides in Charleston. He graduated from Penn State University with a Chemical Engineering degree and currently owns and operates several fitness centers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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