EDITORIAL: Republicans Can't Be Bought With Slick TV Ads Alone This Year

HNN Staff
550 Mercedes Benz
550 Mercedes Benz

Republican voters across West Virginia have a history of independence, especially from those candidates who try to win their support with excess campaign spending.  This might be traced back to the early days of the West Virginia GOP having to fend off Jay Rockefeller's obscene spending.

Think about it.  Who slapped the bumperstickers on their cars that said, "Make him spend it all, Arch!"  Republican voters, that's who.  And who lifted John Raese, a political unknown, to superstar status in 1984, despite Rockefeller's millions?   Again, Republicans.

So when the occasional Bill Maloney supporter makes their candidate's case based on the fact that he is well-heeled, they clearly don't understand the Republican psyche.  Is it good to have adequate funding for a statewide race?  Sure, but to be called the "Republican version of Gaston Caperton?" That's not a wise thing to say in a GOP Primary.

For all the jokes thrown at former GOP Chairman John Raese over the years about his wealth, Raese never bragged about his good fortune.  He knew better.  He knew that people wanted to know what a candidate was made of--and not that a candidate was just made of money.

So what in the world was Maloney's wife thinking when she arrived at the Barbour County GOP event to speak on behalf of her husband?  Mrs. Maloney arrived in great style in former State Senator Sarah Minear's $100,000 black 550 Mercedes Benz. One of the people present at that event last weekend noted that this model of Mercedes is the most expensive one available in the U.S.  Can the Maloneys possibly think that making this kind of grand entrance is something the average Barbour County Republican can relate to easily?

Bill Maloney seems like a nice fellow, if a little out of touch with political realities.  He has been bested at recent Republican events by better speakers like Betty Ireland, Clark Barnes, and Larry Faircloth.  But that is something Republican voters can overlook, given Maloney's status as a novice politician.

But the trappings of wealth from an unknown newcomer may not be the best way to make a good first impression in a Republican primary.  Maybe next time the campaign can provide a more common American car.

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