HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  Insiders Rule the Roost in Ireland Campaign

If West Virginia Republicans were looking for a Reagan-like outsider for their next nominee for Governor, they may have to bypass the campaign of Betty Ireland. Ireland’s campaign released the names of their top staffers this week, and the list looks like a cavalcade of insider types.

In addition to having a former Republican Governor’s Association staffer as her general consultant, Ireland also has a Charleston-based beer lobbyist helping her raise funds from the Charleston crowd.

Attention Tea Party: are you ready to embrace the Charleston establishment? You know, the ones who sneer at your activism and pursue business-as-usual during every legislative session? That’s the company Ireland has kept for years and obviously whom she is most comfortable with today, as evidenced by the people she has chosen for her campaign staff.

We wonder what an Ireland Administration would look like, given these preliminary staffing hires. Maybe we could look forward to the WVEA President being tapped as the State Superintendant of Schools in an Ireland Administration? And certainly the AFL-CIO will weigh in heavily for any Labor Commissioner appointment by Ireland.

After all, the Statehouse crowd doesn’t bother itself with ideological labels. They don’t care about left and right there, only who knows whom. And after a lifetime in Charleston, Betty Ireland no doubt likes to consider herself well-known in the lobbying ranks who haunt the rotunda during legislative sessions.

Finally, for any social conservatives out there in either party, this word is just in: Betty Ireland has gone out of her way to “clarify” her pro-life position. She wants everyone to know just how pro-life she is now.

Mind you, any pro-life politician we know would not have to “clarify” their position on the abortion issue so late in their political career. Why did the 65 year old Ireland feel that she needed to bring this up now? Maybe it’s because we have never heard Ireland give one quote on the pro-life issue in times past. Every other Republican candidate we know has been on the record on the pro-life cause long before this flailing effort by Ireland to “assure” her base that she really is one of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, if it’s a moderate, establishment, Charleston-based political operative you long for, Betty Ireland is your kind of candidate. Nothing will change,the lobbyists will continue to be well-fed, and West Virginia will continue to be manipulated by those who don’t give a hoot about the real people out here.

The Republican Party can surely give the state something better following this year’s Special Primary Election. At least give us some kind of conservative.