EDITORIAL: Could New Maloney Gun Ad Backfire?

HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  Could New Maloney Gun Ad Backfire?

The Bill Maloney for Governor campaign seems to be trying to find any TV ad that will work for them these days.  The campaign has now had three separate ads up in the past week, and frankly, it all looks a little desperate.  Apparently, nothing seems to be working for Maloney, a newcomer to West Virginia politics.  The man and the message just aren't "sticking."

For example, take the latest ad, one that attempts to stress that Maloney, a native of New York, has the right kind of West Virginia values.  In this ad, a blue collar worker says of Maloney, "He believes in God, he believes in America, and he believes in the great state of West Virginia."

Well, who doesn't?  But what does it say, with just over a week to go in this primary contest, about Maloney's connection with the Republican voters when he has to assure them that he believes in such commonplaces in Appalachian life?  Shades of Jay Rockefeller....

But there is one rather jarring note in this ad, which you can view here.  Halfway through this 30 second ad, Maloney and his team have decided to juxtapose an image of Maloney cautiously stalking some prey in the woods with a voiceover by the narrator.  As Maloney walks with his rifle, the narrator intones that Maloney will "stand up to Obama and protect our 2nd Amendment rights."

Now, again, all the other Republican candidates in this race support the 2nd Amendment, as well, so this hardly distinguishes Maloney from the pack.  But for just a moment, the ad seems to be suggesting that Maloney is hunting for Obama, given the narration and words put up on the screen like "Fight Obama."

West Virginia Republicans certainly don't care for President Obama's policies and have voted against him in large numbers in the 2008 election.  But this kind of campaign ad imagery is a bit much, even for those in both parties who find Obama's policies distasteful.

What is the real message Bill Maloney is sending here as he traipses in the woods, loaded for bear?  We're not sure even he knows.  Some aide probably just told him to put on the blaze orange and tote a rifle--they'd take care of the rest.

That's what's really disturbing about Maloney: in his speeches and in his ads, he appears to be so manipulated by his handlers that we don't really know who the real Bill Maloney is.