EDITORIAL: John Raese Would Have No Divided Loyalties in U.S. Senate

HNN Staff
Greer Industries CEO John Raese
Greer Industries CEO John Raese

As the countdown to filing for next year's political offices begins, we know of one significant improvement in our representation in Washington that could take place.  We refer to the junior U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Joe Manchin.  This year's election for that seat will reward the winner with a full six-year term--that's a long time.  We believe that West Virginians need a U.S. Senator who has no divided loyalties while serving us in D.C.

Dividing one's loyalty is a sometimes subtle phenomenon.  People go into a project, a marriage, a business partnership completely loyal to their partner.  But then, with some people, the love fades. And the more such people protest that this is not the case, their actions show that, yes, they have been untrue to their first love. 

And the first love is not fooled forever.

Joe Manchin has been in Washington, D.C. for less than a year, but it seems like forever.  For starters, he is constantly on the TV, much more than the average freshman U.S. Senator.  While on one hand, he sounds like he's challenging his President and his party on certain matters, the other side of the story is that Manchin realizes he must at least appear independently-minded, since his state's voters registered their dissent against Manchin's party leader, President Obama, not once but twice in 2008.

But the fact that Obama received Manchin's vote on Obamacare in the past year was really all Obama wanted of the junior U.S. Senator from West Virginia.  Obama can take all the razz he gets from Manchin on the administration's treatment of the West Virginia coal industry.  After all, Obama's not changing his mind on extreme environmentalism anytime soon, so let Manchin puff before his constituents a little.

Manchin knows he can only go so far in his complaints with the Obama Administration.  After all, it was Obama's own Justice Department who had the federal investigation going on into Manchin's time as Governor, and that file can always be reopened at anytime. 

So West Virginians don't really have full representation in the U.S. Senate.  We never will as long as Joe Manchin has to do his tap dance for President Obama upon command.  All the more reason to vote them both out next year and start fresh.

What would starting fresh look like for West Virginians voting for their next U.S. Senator with a six-year term?

First, consider the value of the straight shooter, the kind of guy who doesn't surprise you with bobs and weaves but respects your opinion and tells you what he's hearing, too.  Then add to that a person with character and accomplishments from a lifetime in business.  This is important, because such an individual doesn't have an undying selfish ambition, a cult of the self, like so many politicians have.

But John Raese isn't a politician.  He's a West Virginia entrepreneur, and that makes all the difference.

As a result, a man as secure in himself as John Raese would have no divided loyalties. He would serve the state and his own conscience, not also continually trying to please the President.  Manchin's vote for Obamacare the moment he hit Washington is a perfect example of this. Think about the value of a U.S. Senator whose focus is 100% on West Virginia, not climbing his party's ladder.

That is why we hope John Raese will consider running again for U.S. Senate in 2012.  Elections are a great opportunity to take corrective action, and given the runaway federal government under President Obama, the unemployment rate, and the need for Raese's vision for stimulating our state's economy through the private sector, we think Manchin's short tenure as our junior U.S. Senator has been sufficient.


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