EDITORIAL: GOP's Maloney Seems a Little Lost

HNN Staff

A couple of months ago, nobody had heard of Bill Maloney, "Conservative Republican Candidate for Governor."   Now, probably a few hundred thousand dollars later, still only a few have heard of him and even fewer have met him in person.

On the stump, Maloney looks a little lost and considerably scripted, even unreal.  He only says what a typical Republican candidate for Governor should say.  This is what oftentimes happens when a new face shows up on the political scene in West Virginia, especially one that has no experience in politics in his or her background.  They become easily persuaded by their supporters to spend lots of money instead of listening to their own gut and getting their sea legs.  

Let's face it:  throwing oneself into the deep end of state politics can be an unnerving experience for someone unaccustomed to crowds or the different shades to an issue.   So it's easy to start relying on your staff, even when you have more life experience than they do put together.

This is Bill Maloney's problem in a nutshell.  He's appears out of his depths when it comes to politics, and so he's naturally going to be listening to those who know the game better than he does.  A candidate like this becomes the host for a teaming bunch of folks who want to spend his money, or those who want influence with him, or old war horses who want to show the world that they still matter by siding up to him at every opportunity.

Because Maloney so rarely departs from his agreed upon script and allows us to see the inner Bill for a moment, there's a certain plastic quality to all that he does out on the campaign trail these days.  He finds it hard to smile, even in his TV ads, and who can blame him?  Some wonder if he really is even into this race anymore when they see him out on the trail.

If indeed Maloney has some second thoughts, he should evaluate this fishbowl experience he's living right now as a candidate. Because as Governor, it would only intensify tenfold.   Some people love the limelight--Arch Moore and Charlotte Pritt come to mind.  Those two were energized by their public encounters. But drained Bill Maloney is about as far removed from that kind of personality as one can get. 

That's not a bad thing at all. But being energized, rather than depleted, by campaigning certainly helps a candidate to push forward and to convince others to support them.  Moreover,  it's just difficult to be so intensely private, not talk much, and to keep your head down when you're running for a public position--with all the transparency it requires.

Perhaps someone talked Maloney into running for Governor, or else he didn't know what he was getting into.  Because one thing's for sure:  many observers claim that they've never seen a less happy warrior in West Virginia politics, in either party.

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