CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Elections often involve false charges thrown out in an effort to confuse voters and prevent them from focusing on what the issue is.
Democrats -- by and large career politicians -- have engaged in a record amount of mud-slinging, fear-mongering and character assassination this time around.
Republicans -- by and large creatures of the private sector rather than experienced politicians -- have come in for all kinds of abuse they lack the political slickness to counter.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a square, religious man with a long record as an excellent manager, is painted as a ruthless capitalist.
The GOP's senatorial candidate, John Raese, is a blustery believer in a strong economy, a strong national defense and individual liberty and has been fighting for them for 30 years. He has been portrayed as nothing more than a fat cat.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney is an industrial engineer and 30-year West Virginian. He built a multimillion-dollar business here only to see the new owners move some of it to Pennsylvania. Maloney wants businesses and families to be able to grow here. He is smeared as a New Yorker out only for himself.
A word on Republicans' behalf: Nationally, the Democratic Party has lurched to the far left, a sad development. Its leaders are about growing government, creating dependence upon themselves, and controlling every aspect of life.
The Republican Party consists of people who think Americans deserve policies that let the economy grow, keep America strong, and leave people free.
One pitch would buck a $16 trillion bill for shameless overspending to the next generation.
The other would empower coming generations to pay the bills of today's welfare state without falling into poverty themselves.
No contest, slime notwithstanding.