The state formerly known as West Virginia
News Service Sep. 14, 2012, 5:00am
DARRELLVILLE -- Have you heard the news? West Virginia may have a new name. Starting soon, our state could be known as McGrawsylvania. Our capital, Charleston, renamed Darrellville.
You'll never guess who wouldn't mind seeing the name changes. Believe it or not, our illustrious, altruistic state attorney general, Darrell McGraw, would be pleased. It would be just like him, too: freely offering his proud patronym for the good of all citizens, with absolutely no thought of personal advantage.
Sharing the same name as the state would redound to his benefit in some small way when McGrawsylvanians go to the polls in November – what with road signs, state buildings and vehicles, and public documents all reminding voters of the eponymous incumbent -- but McGraw would insist that such a self-serving stratagem would be the furthest thing from his mind were he to propose such a name change.
No, the renaming hasn't happened, but if it did, supporters would insist that McGraw only wanted to end the confusion created by the present name, which has led the unlearned to wonder if West Virginia was a distinct state or just a subdivision of its eastern neighbor.
Critics point to McGraw's longstanding reputation for seizing every opportunity to employ public funds to advertise state services and programs in such a way as to advance his candidacies. Billboards erected at taxpayer expense to promote his latest pet program, Project Save Our Homes, are the critics most recent prime example.
The billboards appeared in mid-August, three months before the upcoming election, and prominently feature the words "Attorney General Darrell McGraw."
McGraw's faithful assistant, Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes, assured skeptics that the billboards represent a legitimate use of public funds to promote a public program. So, any residual benefit accruing to the McGraw campaign is strictly coincidental.
Thanks, Fran! That clears things up. Whenever McGraw's expenditures of public funds appear to subsidize his personal electioneering, it's just a coincidence.
Welcome to McGrawsylvania!