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Cherry-picking season in West Virginia?

By Staff | Feb 19, 2016

My, it’s already cherry-picking season back in West Virginia! The Pony Express has just arrived here in Idaho with a copy of the slick, new “Wild and Wasteful West Virginia” report by a shadowy, little-known outfit called the Cardinal Institute.

In four-color, glossy splendor it purports to be an expose of waste of vast sums of taxpayer money in West Virginia on frills and follies, like grants to Mountain State potters and dulcimer strummers, and — horror of horrors! — $7,200 to help underwrite the American Conservation Film Festival in Shepherdstown, described in hyperventilating and sinister tones as an “environmental extremist film festival”.

When I lived in Shepherdstown, I actually thought the film festival was one of the better, community-building features that states like West Virginia should encourage.

Whatever the Cardinal Institute may be (it features a D.C. telephone hotline, belying its out-of-state ties), a selective, sophomoric, and politically-targeted “report” like “Wild and Wasteful West Virginia” runs perilously close to jeopardizing the organization’s 501c(3) non-profit, non-partisan, educational status.

Ah, cherry-picking season, when political hit squads savor and selectively pluck the smallest and most targetable of fruits for the greatest of partisan consumption!

It reminds me of the time when Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (supposedly an up-and-comer in Republican presidential candidate ranks) was tapped to deliver his party’s response to one of President Obama’s state-of-the-union budget addresses. Among ripe targets, Jindal maligned “Federal volcano research” as an egregious example of ridiculous and indefensible Federal waste.

Later, it dawned on thinking individuals that scientific investigation into volcanic activity is a pretty legitimate governmental endeavor, especially in behalf of seismic-prone states like Washington (Mount St. Helens), Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Jindal, whose own Louisiana was the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal largesse after Hurricane Katrina, never recovered his reputation and quietly disappeared from the roster of fine candidates we have to select from in 2016.

Yours truly,

David Klinger

Boise, Idaho