This post has been updated. 9/22/16
The joke that’s been going around for a while is that our politicians should have to sport logos like Nascar vehicles, showing who owns them.
It’s not really a new idea. Above is a political cartoon from the run of Grover Cleveland for president, depicting his opponent Senator Blaine, as the prostitute Phryne, disrobed before the tribunal. Blaine is tattooed with the many scandals that plagued him. Cleveland ran as an anti-corruption candidate.
In WV, I expect most politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, would be tattooed by coal interests, oil/gas, big pharma and the like. What a coincidence that these interests are so related to some of the biggest problems regular people face in this state!
So which is the party of dirty tricks here in WV? Both, sadly. But the latest example comes from my own party, the democrats. I told you I would call them out. I was not lying.
Belinda Biafore, state democratic party chair, sent out a fundraising email filled with lies, claiming that Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt was being funded by the Republicans. Shameful behavior on Biafore’s part.
At the Upshur County women’s democratic meeting last night, Biafore’s response when challenged about the lies was reportedly, “I hate dirty tricks, but they work.”
“I hate dirty tricks, but they work.”
It’s hard to understand how that’s a defense as much as an admission that she’s an “ends justify the means” person. Screw morality. Anything to win.
I was contacted by two other people who attended that meeting, and who remember the quote differently. Their report is that Biafore said, “I hate negative campaigning, but it works.” However, the initial source stands by the quote as originally reported.
Regardless, is someone who would send such an email, an email suggesting despite evidence to the contrary that Pritt is being funded by the GOP, is that someone we want in charge of the Democratic party–in charge of ANY party–in this state?
A wise person once said, in encouragement of the politics of hope over the politics of fear:
When we choose our words, let us choose wisely. In this world, it should always be people before politics.
Ironically enough, that person was Belinda Biafore.
But her email of lies and insinuation stands. If you’re a democrat, do you want to be tricked or scared into donating money to the party, or voting for someone who doesn’t represent your interests? Do you want your party chair to regard you simply as a mark to be fleeced? Because the result of that is that our state government will be run by people who are essentially horse thieves at heart.
Especially here in Ritchie County, the democratic party has been abandoned in droves. I strongly suspect this is because the democratic party establishment has abandoned the people here, rather than that we have values that are so different from neighboring areas. However, opposing the fracking devastation would be politically inconvenient for the party. Better to let Republicans win here than risk alienating all the gas and oil money going to democrats in other state races.
Ritchie is what was referred to as an “orphan county” at the state convention. The County Democratic Committee is not active here, and held no County Convention to elect delegates. I was appointed by default, as the only one who volunteered my time to go. (Biafore probably sorely regrets approving my request.)
Regardless, Biafore’s job is to promote the party’s platform, and to promote candidates that support that platform. It is not her job to take sides, for example, in the gubernatorial primary, to provide mailing lists to some candidates and not others, or to Wasserman-Schultz democratic candidates for any office.
Yet she has called the platform she is meant to be championing a “slap in the face.”
She is evidently confused about what her job calls her to do. She thinks she’s in charge of helping to get people elected who claim to be democrats, but who share no values with rank-and-file dems… and who care mostly for increasing their own wealth and power. That’s different than supporting candidates with genuine democratic values. I recognize that puts her in a difficult position with the Justice campaign.
Because this email full of lies was sent out to try to help a former Republican, climate-change denying, deadbeat coal baron Jim Justice. What puzzles me more is that the party hasn’t bothered to issue any in support of actual democrats… not even Mike Manypenny, running for House of Representatives against Coal Ash McKinley.
Manypenny, a farmer and former member of the House of Delegates, has a stellar record in support of labor, seniors, veterans, job creation, animal welfare issues and so on. Why no help from his own state party, one wonders? Is it because “democrat” Justice can funnel money to elites, while actual democrat Manypenny has promised the unthinkable… to use part of his congressional salary, if elected, to provide scholarships for students?
“What would I do with all of that money?” was Manypenny’s response.
What a breath of fresh air. That’s something we need here in WV.
In the meantime, I call on all democrats who want to actually stand up for regular people, to disavow Biafore’s email, meant to win votes with fear. If she won’t retract her lies, she needs to be unseated for the good of the party, the good of the people, and the good of the state.
Chris Regan pointed out the absurdity: “To me, it doesn’t look like a vote-acquisition strategy. It’s more of a blame-shifting strategy. You are losing the most conservative Democrats to the Republican party. So you respond to it by chasing progressive Democrats out the other side.”
Call me naive, I guess, but I believe we can hold both parties to account for corruption and dirty tricks… and I believe that nothing will change until Democrats are willing to call out Democrats, until Republicans are willing to call out Republicans… and until we get the money out of politics.