EDITORIAL: Maloney: The Crushing Dullness of it All

HNN Staff
Wild Bill
Wild Bill

Overheard between two Republicans talking about the GOP Governor's primary race recently:  "You know, I'm voting for Clark Barnes, so that's settled.  But in watching this fight between Maloney and Ireland, I'm going to root for Betty.  At least she's some form of human being.  Can't say the same for Bill Maloney.  He's scripted, distant, and doesn't seem engaged.  Sort of like an alien or something."

Now that assessment may be a little harsh, but it points up what every new political candidate must add into their calculus at all times, namely, how are they coming across to the voters?   A political newcomer like Bill Maloney, more than most candidates, must surround himself with serious people who have permission to tell him the truth--about how he's doing in his speeches, what to put in his TV and radio ads, and how to present himself to others one-on-one.

That kind of assessment seems to be missing from the Maloney campaign--bigtime.  Some examples:

  • At a recent campaign stop, Maloney muttered in his public remarks that he's "spent too much on this campaign."  Hmm....A candidate who wishes he hadn't gotten into a race.  How will that play with the voters?
  • When Maloney rival, State Senator Clark Barnes, received an invitation to a Maloney function in Buckhannon by accident, the Senator's staff informed Maloney's people that Barnes would accept the invitation and come to the event.  Now the Maloney people could have just laughed it off or admitted their error.  After all, they were the ones who sent Barnes the invitation.  Instead, Barnes' aide was told that if the Senator came to the Maloney "meet and greet" he would be greeted by policemen and carted away.  Whoa!   If this is how Maloney reacts to even a little needling by an opponent in a Republican primary, how in the world will he deal with the real pressure cooker of a legislative session?
  • The one decision people can judge any candidate by is his campaign staff selections.  This gives us a window into a candidate's judgment. Maloney has picked an out of state campaign manager and the former communications aide to ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship as his two main campaign staffers.  Both have their strengths, we're sure.  But they have waged a highly negative campaign against a fellow Republican, Betty Ireland, leading many to wonder how the State GOP will easily come together after the primary.

On balance, we can't say that the West Virginia Republican Party has been enriched by the Maloney for Governor effort this spring.  Certainly, many TV and radio stations have.   But the combination of Maloney's chronic dullness, combined with his campaign's two-front war with Betty Ireland and now Clark Barnes makes us wonder how Maloney could ever unify the GOP after the primary.

Besides, poor old Bill says now that he spent too much on this race.  We agree.  But we did tell you, Bill, that West Virginia Republicans can't be bought.

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