Politics the profession requires audacity.
Like a state's top legal official moaning out of one side of his mouth that he doesn't have enough staff -- it conveniently justified his hiring chummy private plaintiff's firms to do the state's consumer policing -- while begging legislators out of the other for more money so he can splurge on ... office space.
That's audacity, like an attorney general who bypasses the Legislature and unilaterally spends $500,000 in state lawsuit settlement proceeds to gin up an honorary plaque and some goodwill for himself at a Charleston pharmacy school, before asking those same lawmakers for $500,000 more to establish himself a de facto Sales and Marketing Division in state's fastest-growing region, not coincidentally, on the eve of the 2008 campaign season.
Call it the secret to Darrell McGraw's success. When it comes to helping himself, he sure isn't afraid to ask. And why not? Our state lawmakers -- the same ones he routinely emasculates -- seem committed to never disappointing him.
In the case of his new office, McGraw insists he did the research, and the people of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle feel neglected. They need attention -- his attention -- and they need it right now.
Decades in high-powered public life, surrounded by sycophantic staff terrified of falling out of the King's favor, drives delusion in men. Like the illusion that your average consumer Joe in Martinsburg exists abused, yearning for Mr. McGraw's aid and assistance.
That reality is rougher on His Highness' ego. Berkeley County is loaded with Maryland and D.C. expats completely oblivious to his two-decade reign over West Virginians. They don't know McGraw, and they don't realize they're supposed to vote for him in '08 just because.
Which explains the office, which has no practical purpose, save as a publicity-generator for our AG, sure to earn his mug more regular appearances on the local evening news. In our Internet Age, the last thing our state needs is to pay for bureaucrats to sit around and wait for angry consumer walk-ins. Even the most tech-challenged, home-bound senior can manage to call in their complaints by telephone.
If lawmakers were ever poised to stand up to the man who thinks them irrelevant, the time would be now. If he needs more resources to do his job, he should by all means make the case. But West Virginia taxpayers shouldn't fund McGraw's campaign for re-election.