West Virginia has lost a governor but gained a senator. We're hopeful that Sen. Joe Manchin will represent us in Washington as Gov. Joe Manchin did here.
"We made tremendous strides in the state," the victorious senator-elect said of his gubernatorial tenure. "And the reason we did that is because we trusted one another. We worked together."
Politicians say things like that all the time. They like to talk "together," to sing sunshine about their goal of seeking cooperation among those who disagree. Too often, such a riff is just a rhetorical elevator music.
Too often the political philosophy here seems to be if you cannot get your opponent to follow you, just accuse them of being too acrimonious. It's an aggressive, offensive attack disguised as an innocuous defensive backpedal.
But this hasn't been Manchin's way. Agree or disagree with his principles or policies, he's been a governor willing to reach out to Republican-leaning West Virginia business in a way Democrats rarely do.
Though Manchin's occasional support for some of the anti-business elements of President Obama's unpopular agenda remains worrisome to us, it was clear during the campaign that he had recognized growing popular resistance to it. If he keeps public opinion in mind, Manchin will serve us well in the Senate.
"Gov. Manchin has served West Virginia for the past six years as a strong and visionary leader and he takes with him to his new post the same high standards that he brought to the governorship," said State Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, the man who will succeed Manchin as governor until an election can be held to choose a permanent replacement.
Acting Gov. Tomblin should follow in his predecessor's footsteps, as should the victor of the upcoming special election. Whoever leads our state in the years ahead must be committed to making West Virginia a business-friendly environment again, so that our citizens can be assured of good jobs and a thriving economy.
For too long, West Virginia has been dominated by a clique of predatory trial attorneys whose self-serving, anti-capitalist antics have driven successful enterprises out of business or out of the state while running our economy almost into the ground. If our next governor continues Manchin's effort to diminish the influence of this destructive element, the future will be bright for West Virginia.