Howard Swint: W.Va. should not fall for Mooney
When blind ambition is combined with Washington politics a candidate’s true character starts to show, especially the closer they come to grasping the brass ring.
In the case of Alex Mooney, the Republican nominee for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District race, his unbridled ambition turned to treachery and betrayal just two short years ago in Maryland and every voter should be well aware of what he did.
And that was the backstabbing of an esteemed West Virginia property owner who gave Mooney his start in politics with a plumb position on Capitol Hill after graduation from college in the 1990s.
And who was that?
It was none other than the venerable Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Maryland, who now lives in West Virginia full-time on his secluded mountaintop compound that he purchased in 1980.
The grandfatherly Bartlett, second oldest in the House of Representatives, was widely considered not only one of the most intelligent members of Congress but also impeccably honest; a man of faith and a distinguished United States veteran.
In 2012, Mooney returned Bartlett’s kindness by blindsiding him with a primary election challenge complete with an exploratory committee and tea party backing, but then announced he was not running.
Limping into the general election, Bartlett was defeated by a Democrat after 20 years of outstanding service to our country.
The fact that Roscoe Bartlett was defeated in part by Mooney and his tea party fanatics should not be lost on West Virginia voters, for Bartlett was not only a tenured conservative on the House Committee on Armed Services but member of the House Tea Party Caucus.
The betrayal of Bartlett by Mooney, whose very political career was launched with his help, illustrates the terrible lengths that someone will go when ambition for power and wealth meets the corrupting influence of special interest funding within the Beltway.
That it was just two years ago is also telling, for after having poisoned the waters with the Republican Party with his challenge to Bartlett in Maryland, Mooney decided to register in West Virginia and buy an election using those same ties to tainted Washington money.
In fact, this summer he can be found not campaigning in the Mountain State, but making fundraising calls from the Capitol Hill Club, once a stately Washington, D.C., property that is now more akin to a political brothel.
It’s also ironic to reflect on Roscoe Bartlett’s pride of ownership of a home in West Virginia.
His off-grid farming operations are that of a genius, easily compared to that of a modern-day Thomas Jefferson, not to mention his many technical patents and legacy work conducted through America’s space program.
That he promoted his renewable energy work in West Virginia from the floor of the House of Representatives as a member of Congress from Maryland demonstrates political courage and personal conviction.
It also serves to illustrate the contradictory and opportunistic nature of Mooney who refuses to tell the people of West Virginia that he doesn’t even own a home here.
Alex Mooney was a disgrace to Maryland’s 6th Congressional District and is now a disgrace to West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Swint is a commercial property broker in Charleston.