Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail, uh, I mean the coal mine disaster circuit, recently. Think about it; why do government officials such as Manchin (and a couple of years back) PA Lt. Governor Schweiker feel the need to camp out at coal mine disaster sites? They don't do this for any other disaster. Have a flood? The Gov flies over the area, proclaims it a disaster, asks for Federal aid, does a standup with the local media, then heads home.

But with a coal mine disaster, they stay in town. They pray with the miner's families. They hug. They show concern. In other words, they troll for votes.

And most of all, they wait for their closeup -- at the moment of truth. Of course, Manchin had a chance to experience both during the botched Sago Mine communications "problem," so he should be pretty well set to go, no matter how the latest crisis resolves itself.

One other note; why is it that coal mining disasters demand this level of media coverage? As I'm writing, two of the miners may or may not be dead. The others are out and fine. This means that we face the possibility that two men died in a mine fire. It's unfortunate and sad and certainly tragic to the families of men and their community, but I don't no why the other 300-million people in the US should be glued to their TVs to watch the latest update. To me, it's just a video fetish.