If Gov. Jim Justice were as excited about science, democracy and the truth as he is about the prospects of two vaccines to turn the coronavirus pandemic on its ear, he might then have an easier time convincing citizens to line up and take a couple shots for the greater good so that we might all return to lives a little closer to normal.

If it were only that simple.

The governor, like his buddy in the White House and other Republicans near and far, has a distant and conflicted relationship with the unvarnished truth and, as such, a credibility problem. Now, when the governor needs us to take him at his word, he has left us wondering if he can be trusted. With Gov. Justice, we know, the story may and probably will change – and not necessarily for the better.

You reap what you sow, governor.

The Pew Research Center makes our point for us, in part. In recent polling, it found that 60 percent of Americans say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine for the coronavirus. Republicans and Republican leaners were at 50 percent who say they would get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Democrats had percentages that were much higher.

Equally interesting and relevant, with about 185,000 new Covid cases a day across the country, with close to 3,000 deaths per day, just 43 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners think the disease is a major public health threat.

It’s a hoax, right? That’s the presidential propaganda that has been prepared for the daily news diet over at Fox News. One day, the virus is just going to magically disappear, right?

And if that is so, why would we ever need a vaccine?

And on the election, the biggest fraud of all time, right? Rigged and stolen.

The Washington Post has found that just 27 congressional Republicans acknowledge Joe Biden’s win over President Trump – a full one month after the former vice president’s win that created a margin of more than 7 million votes nationally and an electoral-vote separation that matched Trump’s 2016 surprising tally.

Further off the deep end, two Republican members of Congress consider Trump the winner despite all evidence to the contrary, the Post reports. Another 220 GOP members of the House and Senate – about 88 percent of all Republicans serving in Congress – will simply not say who won the election.

Because they are afraid of a guy who lost the popular vote – twice?

And this is the group that wants us to get inoculated? With a new vaccine?

In his own manner and on a much smaller scale, Big Jim, who can be a little man wrapped in big and tall suit coats of bluster and hyperbole, has called much into question during his time in office and led us to believe narratives that have turned out to be, well, just not so.

He has been dismissive of climate science, has cast aspersions about fraudulent mail-in balloting, has boasted about an $84 billion Chinese investment in the state and – for as long as he has been in the political arena – has promised jobs, jobs, jobs.

None of that, of course, encourages us to put much stock in the guy.

We think it is fascinating that while big-shot Republican senators and U.S. representatives are afraid to ruffle the president’s feathers, other rank-and-file Republicans, further down the food chain, are speaking out.

Just this past week, Gabriel Sterling, a Republican voting system official in Georgia, criticized the president for failing to condemn threats of violence against people overseeing the election in his state.

“It has to stop,” Sterling said at a news conference, his voice shaking with emotion. “Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language.

“This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much.”

Meanwhile, back in Charleston, our governor can hardly bring himself to use the title “President-Elect” in front of the name “Joe Biden.”

And this is the guy whose word we are supposed to take to the bank when addressing the safety and efficacy of a vaccine? This is the guy who would promote courage?

Now, the governor is telling us that everyone in the state will be vaccinated by mid-March.

Not on 21,000 shots per week, governor, in a state of 1.8 million people, each of whom will need two shots.

Do the simple math and it just doesn’t add up. Part and parcel, with this guy.

Of course we want everyone to be vaccinated. We just doubt that this governor, given his aversion to the truth, can make the case.

Who will believe him?

— The Register-Herald

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