Socialism or free enterprise?
In a nutshell, that is the choice American voters face this fall between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, says Kris Warner.
Clearly, Warner suggested Tuesday at the GOP national convention in Tampa, there is no echo between the two.
Like his fellow West Virginia delegates, all of them donning black hard hats representing coal miners, Warner says the evidence in Obama's socialistic mindset is found in his "war on coal," an attempt to shift money earned by the industry into so-called clean energy.
"The Obama 'war on coal' has been devastating to our state," the state GOP chairman said.
" And I don't use 'war' lightly, because we have family members right now overseas in Afghanistan, and they are in a real war, these people like to use war terminology, I think, sometimes in politics, too freely."
Obama has come under fire across West Virginia over his Environmental Protection Agency's rigid enforcement of clean air and water standards.
"It's the whole thing on redistribution of wealth," Warner charged.
"We all heard the speech where he said he would put an end to coal-fired power plants. If his supporters are not coal miners and operators of coal companies, I think that he can benefit his friends and his contributors that are pushing windmills and solar power. That's part of his redistribution of wealth."
That smacks of socialism.
"It is," Warner said, quickly responding to a question. "It is socialism.
"And I'm not the first one to jump on the bandwagon about him being a socialist because I thought it was thrown around too freely and too lightly. You're not very hard pressed now to tie his name when you weigh the pros and cons about what he stands for and what he tells us is important to him and his administration."
Come election day, he said, "a large number" of West Virginians will agree with that assessment.
In the moral-social issues arena, Warner said the Republican platform resonates will with West Virginians, particularly with its support of traditional marriage, individual firearms rights and the right-to-life.
"Whether people have a label at the county courthouse of being a Democrat or Independent, if you laid out that this is what the Republicans stand for, it's almost like the blind taste test," the Morgantown businessman said.
"I think people in an overwhelming fashion would more closely align with the values and quite frankly the morals of the Republicans in our state versus the Democrats."
In this realm of politics, Warner said he views abortion, the 2nd Amendment and recognition of traditional marriage as key issues.
As for gun ownership, Warner found a campaign ad two years ago by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., firing a rifle at a tree with a disputed bill tacked to it, amusing.
"It's amazing how these guys play both sides of the fence," he said of West Virginia Democrats.
"They know what West Virginians believe and what we think but it's a complete opposite of what their national Democrat Party stands for. So, they have to bob, and weave, and dance and duck."
Ditto for the Democrats' support of same-sex marriages, he said, because state Democrats say one thing, but their leaders another.
"That speaks for itself -- when you look across the state of West Virginia and the importance we have for all generations placed on families with one man and one wife," he said.
"Some of your statewide Democratic officeholders, if you pinned them down, would tell you the same thing, but that's not what the national Democratic Party stands for."
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