Walker 'in talks' with pizza delivery guy

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 27, 2008

By VIC SPROUSE

CHARLESTON -- As shocking as it may sound, Supreme Court candidate Beth Walker is "in talks" with her Pizza Hut delivery driver about supporting her campaign.

What does it mean to be "in talks?" Well, it means that she talked to him when he delivered her pizza and asked him for his support.

Of course, the pizza hut delivery driver isn't quite sure yet exactly how involved, if at all, he is going to be in the Supreme Court race this year.

Maybe that's next week Sheperdstown Observer article?

Many of you may be wondering what I'm talking about ... some background.

Walker gave an interview to the Sheperdstown Observer ... wait even MORE background. If you have never been to Sheperdstown or follow their politics, they are the San Francisco of West Virginia and are no doubt the most liberal town in all of West Virginia. Think mini-Berkeley.

Needless to say, Walker walked into a trap in her discussions with them.

When the publisher and author of the article asked her if she had spoken with Massey CEO Don Blankenship, she said she had talked to him.

And, kaplowee!

The screaming headline the next day was that Walker was "in talks" with Don Blankenship about her Supreme Court campaign.

In talks?

In talks?

Come on.

Of course, Walker asked for a retraction, the paper refused, but plans to put the whole transcript of the interview in the paper.

Now, I'm not one to give advice to candidates, and it's REALLY hard not to overreact when someone basically lies about you…. but DON'T overreact to someone lying about you.

Although for Beth, it would have to shock her that someone would basically make up a story that somehow, because she had spoken with Blankenship (and probably another 200 other major donors) that they were working being closed doors in deep, detailed negotations about how Blankenship would help her.

But, the campaign's reaction actually caused the story to stick around for multiple days. Even the Walker-friendly Daily Mail, in an effort to clarify the story (and Justin Anderson did a good job on the article) ... the headline?

'Walker tries to explain ties to Don Blankenship in Supreme Court race.'

Geez, Louise.

And, the second line of the article?

"But Walker is currently denying a report that she's been "in talks" with Blankenship about his support of her campaign.'

Goodness.

So, a liberal paper in the furthest reaches of the state says something you don't like and now the major newspapers in the state are writing stories about how you are "DENYING" what they said you did ...

Again, lesson to all candidates, don't make a story three days when it should only be one. Or in this case, one day in a town where you'll be lucky to pull 100 votes.

And, I'm not hitting the Walker campaign, it's REALLY hard not to jump out there to defend yourself when you feel someone has lied about you.

But, the sad truth is ... well ... get used to it.

And, don't overreact to it and give it MUCH more credence than it would have ever received.

So, now the Sheperdstown Observer and it's 12 readers, 11 of whom would never even think of voting for a Republican has jumped into relevancy in one of the biggest races in our state.

Of course, two Democrats also went to see Blankenship. My guess is that the Observer didn't report that they were also "in talks" with Blankenship, just the bad Republican who would dare sit down with a major donor. Silly Beth.

Now, Beth seems to be running for cover from Don.

Please, please. Stop this sillyness and this fear that… GASP… Don is involved in the race. If you are a candidate, you should welcome his contribution.

Let's face it, anyone who would go out and vote against you because you were supported by Don would have never have voted for you in the first place. Period.

For instance, I thought it was absolutely kooky for Spike to recuse himself from the Massey cases.

Did he actually think that once he recused himself from the case, the other Democrats were going to pat him on the back and say good job?

Of course, not, when he did, they screamed to the highest heaven, SEE - HE ADMITTED HE WAS IN CAHOOTS WITH BLANKENSHIP!

Maybe I'm the only one, but I thought the move was silly. But, I'm sorry, whoever gave him that advice wasn't thinking through the implications of recusing himself. So, now, EVERY time anything Massey comes up, you have blaring headlines across the state that Spike recused himself.

They are asking Brent Benjamin to recuse himself too because Blankenship supported him with campaign cash used to beat up his opponent.

Huh? If every legislator (or judge for that matter) recused themselves from voting for or against interests that supported their campaign, well, there would never be any votes.

If Walker is asked about it she should say, OF COURSE I want Blankenship's support in the race. I want every major donor to support me. I want every citizen to support me. I would never turn away support from a West Virginian who wants to better the state.

Spike - are you friends with Don Blankenship? No, we're not friends, we're good friends.

Spike - are you good friends with Don Blankenship? No, we're not good friends, we're lifelong friends.

Well, how are you going to be fair with a Massey case if you are lifelong friends? Well, the same way I am with every other case. In West Virginia, everyone knows everyone. If every justice were to recuse themselves from any case where a friend is on one side or the other or both, well, no one on the court would be able to hear a case.

Kaboom! Case closed. Photos? Well, of course, we met. We were both vacationing in the same area, we're friends, why in the world wouldn't we meet? The minute you hit the panic button, it's over and you've been punked.

I'm sorry, but maybe I'm wrong. But, I've obviously been through the press ringer more so than most politicians.

And, this I've learned.

Despite how angry I may be, I don't respond unless a response is warranted. And, ONLY, if I assure myself my response isn't going to cause an already negative story to go on for days and days.

If I'm asked about a tie to an individual or a donor, my response is never to run away from that donor or contributor. And, really, my response is the opposite. Well, OF COURSE, they are a donor, along with hundreds of other West Virginians.

Sorry for the rambling, I was incensed by the Sheperdstown mischaracterization too. And, I know Beth REALLY wanted to respond. But, solid advice in this case would have been to let it go.

And, this story would have ended at the city limits of Sheperdstown.

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