EDITORIAL: Either Tennant or the Public Has a Bad Memory--and It's Not the Public

Updated 6 years ago HNN Staff
Natalie Tennant
Natalie Tennant

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Senator Rockefeller on Tuesday.  Certainly, this was the worst kept secret in WV politics this year.  Tennant had been considering a run for quite awhile.

But with no heavy hitters like Gaston Caperton opting to run for this plum position in 2014, Tennant was the last shot the Democrats had at putting forward a former or present statewide elected official.

Tennant's brand used to have a certain appeal:  a youngish mother and friendly face from television newscasts, Tennant has been blessed with the one great asset needed in politics aside from money:  a personable disposition.

But that's where Tennant's assets dry up.  She is the only Secretary of State in memory who had the state taxpayers pay a hefty bill for a redo of a ballot.  Secretaries of State don't have too many "clutch moments" before the public eye; in short, we don't expect that much of them. 

Tennant's competence is a serious issue to be addressed in the upcoming race for U.S. Senate.  As a result, she should not be surprised when not only her Republican opponent but newspaper editorial boards and voters ask her whether she is ready for a promotion.  If she can't handle her present duties, how can she represent us well in Washington, D.C.?

Secondly, Tennant and her fans must expect West Virginia voters to have a collective case of amnesia on another matter:  her passionate support for Barack Obama.  In 2012, some statewide Democratic elected officials stayed in tune with the voting public here by actually staying away from the Democratic National Convention. 

They knew that this convention would be essentially a huge Celebrate Barack festival.  They stayed away because President Obama was seriously unpopular with West Virginians over his War on Coal and Obamacare.

Tennant, on the other hand, was not only a loyal Democrat who attended the convention.  She went out of her way to chastise those West Virginia Democratic leaders who stayed away.  She blithely said then of Obama's energy policies that she didn't see them as anti-coal in nature but just expanding our alternative energy options.

Just one problem with that:  Obama's energy policies have decidedly not just included investing in alternative options like solar and wind energy. If that was all the Obama Administration did, few West Virginians would be in a lather. 

No, Obama has made it virtually impossible for coal companies, large or small, to obtain a coal mining permit.  Even if their environmental record is spotless.  In short, the President took sides--and we have borne the brunt of his decision to do so.

Tennant finally learned this after five years of Barack Obama's EPA, just in time for her speech Tuesday, announcing her candidacy for U.S. Senate.  With grim determination, Tennant struck a different note a mere two years after her rah-rah days for Obama.  She vowed to fight anybody, including Obama, who dared to pick on our energy industries in West Virginia.

This is precisely why so many voters detest politics these days.  They don't expect or demand perfection from a candidate.  However, when a statewide candidate, let alone an elected official, thinks of the public as dumb enough to not discern a candidate's 180 degree turn on something as important as the state's job situation, it's a real downer.

So it is that a nice young lady from Marion County, blessed with a pleasant disposition, can still be such a disappointment.  She really thinks we're that dumb. 

We're not.

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