Ask the Voters? Non, Y'all!

| April 28, 2005 | Reply

Best of the Web has something that honestly made me laugh, from an editorial in the Charleston (WVa) Gazette.

Several times, we have posed this question for political experts: Why did West Virginia — long a Roosevelt-and-Kennedy Democratic “blue state” — become a Republican “red state” in the past two presidential elections, despite 2-to-1 Democratic registration?

Why did this low-income state vote for the party of the rich — a party openly slashing help for common Americans and giving huge rewards to the wealthy?

We never received an explanation from any of the state’s political professors or other societal analysts. But an answer was offered by one of the world’s premier journals, Le Monde of Paris.

In a long report titled “What’s the matter with West Virginia?” the French newspaper said the Mountain State has been pulled to the right by exaggerated patriotism, love of guns, Bible Belt fundamentalism, resentment of liberal intellectuals, and defense of the coal industry against environmentalism.

As James Taranto puts it in his post: “Maybe the reason West Virginia turned red is that its liberal elites, such as the editorialists at the Gazette, are so out of touch that they have to rely on Le Monde to explain the state’s politics.”

Well, exactly.

The Gazette could have gone out and asked voters itself. It could have used the knowledge it has gained by being a local newspaper, full of reporters from the area, to write an insightful column. Instead it relies on a French Newspaper to do that for them. Surely, the French have a piercing insight into the minds of West Virginian voters. That’s not just partisan frippery. It’s laziness and it’s inexcuseable in any media outlet.

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