|THE EPISTLES |
By Bob Weaver
Former West Virginia Attorney General Chauncey H. Browning Jr. of Charleston has died at the age of 75.
Browning was the state's first four-term attorney general, serving from 1969 to 1985.
He learned politics in southern West Virginia with the hardliners - the win at any cost bunch.
Browning, in the late 1960s, was forthright in giving me insight on how West Virginia politicians keep control of the state.
I have his comments posted on the wall above the computer, refreshing my thoughts when trying to understand politics.
I have cleaned the language.
(1) "Make noise, confusion, conflict and chaos, so the voters think you really care."
(2) "Make them believe there is a great battle between the political parties, so you can put it to them."
(3) "Furthermore, make'em really p_ _ _ _ _ o _ _, divide'em and keep'em away from the polls, so that those of us who desire divine power can always have our way."
Washington has mastered Browning's Epistles.
On the same posted sheet are two other terms for inquiring minds to bring insight into the torturous means used by politicos to get their way.
One is Tom Miller's "Shiny Object," which politicians and political parties use to divert attention while they can deviously work on their real agenda.
The other is the Watergate-Nixon era phrase "Follow the Money," when used, generally brings a clear understanding of many things politicians do.
But it is Browning's Epistles that seem to bring insight.
Despite his ties to southern political culture, he had a flair for honesty and populist efforts.
During his tenure, Browning sued the Pittston Co. for $100 million for damage caused by the 1972 Buffalo Creek mining disaster.
Gov. Arch Moore, a master of the "shiny object", agreed the tragedy was "an act of God" and settled the suit for $1 million.
Of course the taxpayers paid through the nose.