If you want to succeed in politics as a Democrat, especially in West Virginia, you've got to learn the lingo. Otherwise, you won't understand the talking points that party leadership hands out to you or the titles of the bills you're told to support.
You see, the thing is, if you actually told your constituents the truth about your party's agenda, they wouldn't elect you the first time, much less over and over again.
Take the war on coal, for instance. It's not that you can't wage a war on coal in our state, it's just that you can't be open about it, because so many people's lives and livelihoods depend on coal, and so you're obliged by your Machiavellian instinct for self-preservation to call your war on coal something else – like The Campaign for Coal, or The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act.
Then, if anyone has the audacity to suggest that your proposed legislation may have an adverse impact on the coal industry, you can simply point out that the bill, as its title suggests, represents a campaign for coal, not against it.
Or, given the other false title, you can ask with mock consternation, how anyone could object to alternative and renewable energy, much less a portfolio – which is an impressive sounding word that hints of wise investment.
Former House Speaker and now Minority Leader, Democrat Tim Miley knows how to play these games as well as anyone. Having secured passage of The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act in 2010, he recently has been fighting to prevent its repeal.
Only he can't say he was trying to prevent its repeal, so he insisted that all he wanted was an economic impact statement to be produced before a vote on its repeal.
The repeal easily passed the House and the state Senate, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin soon will have a final copy of the bill on his desk to sign.
Miley can claim sincerity, but the impact statement was a not-so-cleverly disguised wrecking ball. In this matter it is hard to take Miley serious.