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Brad McElhinny: United we stand - even if it's yucky

WHEN I was a kid (last year), some of my favorite comic book adventures were called "The Brave and the Bold."

Two costumed heroes would unite against a common foe. The best stories were ones with unlikely allies - Batman and the Swamp Thing fighting the Sun Eater.

How glorious then to live in West Virginia, where the theme of the year is "Strange Bedfellows," although it's best not to take that term too literally (or dare to visualize).

Here in Charleston, you've got "Three's Company" - Earl Ray Tomblin, Jeff Kessler and Rick Thompson.

And up in Morgantown, you've got "The Odd Couple" - Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen.

I do not believe any of these gentlemen love each other.

Tomblin, Kessler and Thompson are united by their desire to be West Virginia's governor. Unfortunately, they have to prove they can run the government before anyone trusts them to be our elected governor.

So, umm. . . . where was I going with that? Oh, that's right - I'm not sure.

And nobody else is sure where this is going either.

Right now, everybody is "acting" something.

Tomblin is acting governor, except he wants to be called the actual governor with the possible exception of when he strolls down the hall to visit the Senate, where he might or might not still be actual Senate president.

That's because Kessler is acting Senate president, and he has a team of acting committee chairmen, bangs an acting gavel and passes acting bills.

Thompson is the actual House Speaker and is acting like he's getting impatient with the entire situation.

It's all extremely entertaining, except for how it can keep you up at night worrying whether we have a legitimate government.

Thank goodness we have distractions - like sports!

At West Virginia University, Bill Stewart is the "acting" head football coach. Can you imagine Bob Huggins in this situation? He'd shove "acting" right down your "actual" throat.

Nevertheless, Stew - "King of the Nonsensical Colloquialism" - is now partnered with a guy named Dana Holgorsen, the "Norse God of Offense."

They're buddies for a year, and then Stew gets pushed into an office with a desk and some very nice pencils and Holgorsen gets crowned king.

If Mountaineer fans are lucky, there will not have to be Supreme Court action followed by constitutional revision to sort out who's the boss.

These guys are Mayberry and Miami.

Stew goes on recruiting trips on a horse and buggy. Holgorsen has racked up frequent flyer miles jetting from coaching job to coaching job. 

Post-game press conferences should be a stark contrast.

Stewart: "Gol'dang!"

Holgorsen: "Well done, men! We have vanquished Pitt, and now I'm off to load up on 5-star recruits! Tally-ho!"

Try to be entertained, gentle readers. Because no one really knows who's in charge of the state government or the most popular sports team in the state.

This could be an era of re-definition - or disaster. To get through the coming months we'll need to be both brave AND bold.

McElhinny is managing editor of the Daily Mail. He may be reached at 304-348-1703 or


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