By VIC SPROUSE
CHARLESTON -- I've been plowing through the Left Behind series in the last month or two (great books, Christian or not) and seeing the newly minted House of Delegates chairmen brought this line from the books into my head ...
"The Red Horse of the Apocalypse was upon them."
That has to be how the business and pro-life communities are feeling right now.
Let's be honest. I found it utterly hysterical when I heard Rick Thompson, during his campaign for Speaker, touting how he planned to govern from the "middle."
But, even I thought Thompson would at least put up some facade of being moderate in his committee appointments.
Well, golly, if THIS is the middle, who in the world is on the left?
In Thompson's eyes, Stalin, Lenin and Kruschev were only a little slightly left of center.
Wow. What a set of stunning appointments and a punch in the gut to the business community and its future in our state.
So, what are the moderate, middle of the road choices for committees under the new Thompson regime?
* Labor-loved Joe Delong as Majority Leader
* Let's-close-down-every-non-union-mine-and-burn-their-operators-at-the-stake Mike Caputo as Majority Whip
* WVEA lobbyist, err, wait, WVEA legislator, err, wait again, Barbour county Delegate Mary Poling as Education Chairwoman
These are "moderate" appointments? Phewww…
But, the best of all? The I've-never-seen-a-lawsuit-I-didn't-think-had-merit-or-I've-never-heard-of-an-abortion-that-should-have-a-restriction Carrie Webster as Judiciary Chairwoman.
Kapow! to the business community.
Kapow! to West Virginians for Life.
Kapow! to Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.
Talk about a little taste of Democratic medicine for the business and pro-life communities?
I wonder how many of them now want to run around the state with MoJo touting just how wonderful he is and how great the Democrats are, pouring money into Democrat coffers and doing just as Joe (Gov. Manchin) directed them -- back Democrats under any circumstance.
The only possible worse scenario for the business and pro-life communities may be having their car break down outside the home of Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Other than that improbable scenario, I'm not sure if it could get any worse for the groups who rallied around the so-called "business" Democrats only to see all their efforts now resulting in what will be the most liberal House of Delegates in decades.
This House leadership will rival the days of Warren McGraw as Senate President.
AND, all the committee chairmen haven't yet been picked. I can't wait to see the "middle"-of-the-road goverance plan in store for the minor committees in the House.
The first order of business for the new Democratic House Leadership? Virgin sacrifices of coal operators. Well, just in case there are no virgin coal operators, non-union ones will do.
In a TV interview, Webster explained that governing from the middle wasn't a "philosophy" per se, just that they were going to bring more people in to help make decisions.
If there is a really tough lawsuit issue before the Judiciary Committee, they not only will bring in Rudy DiTrapano, but they'll also invite Scott Segal and Bob Fitzsimmons. They may even go as far as inviting a few out-of-state trial lawyer big-wigs in to make the really tough decisions.
As smiley a face as Joe can put on this can't mask the black eye Thompson laid on him with these appointments.
In some ways, you have to respect Thompson.
He knew these appointments would throw everyone, including Joe, over the edge. He knew the howling from the business community. He knew the fainting of the pro-life members of the House, with the MOST outspoken pro-choice Delegate now as Judiciary Chairmwoman.
And, he knew, deep down even as they put on the happy face, even the administration's jaw would clang off the table at these appointments.
How does Joe go out now and slap his business buddies on the back and say, "hey buddy, yeah, thanks for helping us work against Blankenship and elect more Democrats in the House, because now with Carrie Webster as Judiciary Chair, we're really going to get things done.
The only bright spot?
At least now we can take down those damn idiotic "Open For Business" signs. Maybe we can combine our former slogan with our new House leadership structure… "Wild, Wonderful Webster-ginia. Open for Plaintiff's Attornies, Labor Leaders, and Planned Parenthood."
God save the Queen.
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.