Two of West Virginia's top Democratic Party figures -- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin -- won't say whether they support Democratic President Barack Obama for re-election this year.
What a pathetic abdication of leadership. Tomblin and Manchin are turning their backs on the party that put them in office -- the party that aids America's average working families instead of the elite 1 percent at the top.
We assume that the governor and senator are pandering to thousands of West Virginia DINOs (Democrats in name only) who voted for the Republican Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000 and 2004, plus the GOP McCain-Palin ticket in 2008.
Although West Virginia has almost two-to-one Democratic registration, this rural, less-educated state slipped into the conservative "red" category in national politics, as Dixie did previously. Many West Virginians are hostile to America's first black president, polls find, indicating that the national Democratic ticket probably will lose West Virginia again for the fourth consecutive time.
Thank heaven that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., both line up strongly with their party and support Obama. They aren't afraid of DINOs.
Manchin and Tomblin say their aversion to Obama stems from the federal administration's effort to reduce coal pollution and damage, which imperils coal industry jobs. But, in reality, out-of-state coal corporation owners care nothing about West Virginia jobs. This state had 125,000 miners just after World War II, but mine owners installed huge machines that eliminated 110,000 miners in this state.
Even if conservatives in Congress halt White House pollution restrictions, it wouldn't guarantee that out-of-state owners would hire more West Virginians. Instead, they'd probably buy bigger machines.
Frankly, we think Obama is a great president. His intellect is awesome, perhaps the finest since President Thomas Jefferson. He has fought for human rights and American betterment. His crusade for universal health insurance fits the great Democratic Party tradition of helping families through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, equality laws and the rest of the progressive agenda.
Obama is strong on national security, having wiped out most of the al-Qaida terror network along with its leader, Osama bin Laden. Obama ended the needless Iraq war launched on bogus premises by the Bush-Cheney administration, and he's winding down the second Bush-Cheney war in Afghanistan.
Even if West Virginia DINOs don't support Obama this year, we hope the rest of America does.