Don’t let feud harm our state

A dislike that has been simmering for many months between some state senators and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has come to a boil. Now, a high-ranking lawmaker is calling for Justice to resign.

That will not happen. Justice is not the type of man to walk away from a political fight.

During the weekend, state Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, called for the governor to step down. He did so in an advertisement placed in The Journal of Martinsburg. He repeated his criticisms Monday.

Blair referred to Justice as “an embarrassment to our state,” a “deadbeat billionaire” and a “narcissistic opportunist.”

A spokesman for the governor responded that, “It’s no surprise that career politicians are upset that the governor is trying to drain the Charleston swamp.”

Name-calling is nothing new in Charleston. Justice himself is a polished master of the practice. Recall that in April 2017, he held a press conference at which he referred to a budget proposal by legislators as “nothing more than a bunch of political bull you-know-what.” He did so while lifting the cover of a silver-colored platter to reveal a pile of — well, you-know-what.

It is never good news when a chief executive and lawmakers — at any level — devote energy to trading insults. Even more distressing is the fact that this is not a feud between Justice and Blair alone. The governor has crossed swords with numerous legislators. Just about a week ago, in inviting top Republicans to a fundraising event, Justice snubbed Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, by leaving him off the guest list.

In case you’re wondering, the governor’s relations with Democrats are not the best, either. That goes back to 2016-17, when he was elected as a Democrat, then promptly switched his registration to Republican after taking office.

If there is any good news in all this, it is that the current flap is only a public manifestation of political — and yes, personal — dislikes that have been in play for some time.

But when chief executives and legislators are at each other’s throats, the public’s business suffers. Politics really is the art of compromise — and in some ways, we need more, not less of it, in West Virginia. All involved should not allow personal differences to do harm to our state.


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