EDITORIAL: What If They Threw An Election But Nobody Showed Up?

HNN Staff
EDITORIAL: What If They Threw An Election But Nobody Showed Up?

During the Vietnam War, the first line from a poem by German writer Bertholt Brecht gained new currency.  "What if they threw a war but nobody showed up?" the poem began. During the 1960s, this was an ironic way of stating that few people were really interested in continuing the war in Vietnam, that it was an invention of the political leaders but little else.  

The same apathy seems to be true this year in the Governor's race, which is, believe it or not, heading into the final six-week stretch.  Did you even know it was going on?

We can't blame you if you didn't.  Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, the Democratic nominee from Logan County, hasn't been seen much on the campaign trail lately or on TV or radio.  His polling would seem to indicate that he doesn't need to sweat much to earn the balance of former Governor Joe Manchin's term through 2012.  By virtue of being the incumbent in the Governor's Mansion, he gets a goodly amount of free publicity in the state and local press.  So we guess we'll consider this Earl Ray's version of a "Rose Garden campaign."

When one team leaves the field wide open by their absence, the other team, even a weaker one, can storm the field and command it, scoring many points with those fans in the bleachers.  But even if Republican nominee Bill Maloney did exactly that, how many fans are up in the stands watching?

That is the great chicken-and-egg question of this campaign for Maloney.  Which comes first?  Maloney doing something exciting on the field to make people want to come to the stadium to watch--or Maloney waiting to see where the people are and then head straight for them?

Both, of course.  But aside from small gatherings of donors to help pay for an expensive campaign, Maloney doesn't seem to have a rally in him. Shy, retiring types don't usually strike a heroic pose in front of a large crowd, especially if their talks sound more like grandpa telling a familiar story, over and over again to his grandchildren.

We aren't quite sure how Maloney can spark an interest in his candidacy at this late stage of the game.  But the Morgantown businessman has a few weeks to go.  The odd thing is that Acting Governor Tomblin is also known for his preference for quiet, behind-the-scenes encounters. The 2011 contest for Governor may go down as the Battle of the Bashfuls--with a ten percent voter turnout.



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