The Frank in question is Democratic Congressional aspirant Frank Kratovil, and this morning he did a short telephone interview with local AM Salisbury host Bill Reddish. This post begins with the notes I took on the interview, with commentary coming afterward.
To open the interview, Reddish remarked about the length of the campaign because of the early primary, and Kratovil noted that the length made it “difficult” to balance family, career (as Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney), and campaign. But he was succeeding.
After briefly bringing up the issue of illegal immigration, the topic was changed over to campaign finance. Kratovil came across as questioning the system, in particular carping about the amount of contributions Republican hopeful State Senator Andy Harris received from out-of-state sources, in particular the Club For Growth. Saying that the Club For Growth was “target(ing) moderate Republicans”, Frank saw this as “a problem in the system” and further rebuffed “ridiculous” accusations by his opponent that he would vote the “straight party line”; meanwhile Kratovil projected Harris to be a “partisan.” On the other hand, Kratovil claimed that he was getting “90 to 92 percent” of his campaign contributions from inside the state, comparing it to a figure he claimed of 35% out-of-state contributions to the Harris campaign.
Frank also had an issue with being dubbed a left-winger, saying “no one calls me liberal.” In fact, he claimed his views on illegal immigration and the War on Terror were “conservative.” But he also chastised Andy Harris for supporting beach replenishment in Ocean City, noting that Harris may support beach replenishment but not the clean water beyond the beach – Kratovil blasted Andy for a “terrible” environmental record, including a vote against the “flush tax.”
Let’s begin with campaign finance. According to FEC records through March 31 (latest available), there were 1,501 individual contributors to Andy Harris’s campaign, about 440 of which were bundled through the Club For Growth. That accounts for the bulk of out-of-state contributions Kratovil was critical of. However, since Kratovil had just over 700 individual contributors, even without the Club For Growth more people have contributed to Harris’s effort than to Kratovil’s. Meanwhile, both candidates accepted a roughly equal proportion of PAC money (Harris about 13%, Kratovil about 17%) and as one may expect much of Harris’s support comes from the medical field while Kratovil has mined the ranks of Maryland’s attorneys.
What hasn’t shown up yet and probably won’t for some time is the huge cash supply that Big Labor will put behind Frank Kratovil – a pool of money that is coerced from the pockets of nameless workers who mainly live outside the district. While Kratovil maligns the Club For Growth as too radically conservative, I’d counter that the agenda of Big Labor is way too far to the left for our nation’s good. Yet I doubt Frank will complain too much when that union PAC money comes in.
Now, about partisanship. Personally I want a partisan legislator who is closely allied with my point of view. And try as he might to deny that he’ll vote straight party line, Frank would certainly be bucking a trend if he didn’t agree with Nancy Pelosi voting-wise at least 70% of the time. And I’m not the one saying this, there was a CQpolitics.com survey done last summer which noted the least loyal Democrat indeed voted about 70% of the time with his or her party position – most were 80% and higher. So yes, I will call you “liberal” Frank because it’s an educated guess based on observations over time that you will be.
I’m going to finish my commentary with some thoughts about environmentalism. First of all, regardless of what Frank may think about Republicans, personally I’m tired of being cast as for “dirty water” if I don’t roll over and allow my freedoms to be violated and my wallet to be vacuumed every time someone has a program or new restriction they think can save Chesapeake Bay or our Atlantic coastline. Somehow we never seem to see the desired results with these programs, but instead of trying a different approach we seem to get even more mandates and restrictions. Also, being against a targeted tax like the “flush tax” to me seems consistent with the wallet-friendly philosophy Harris has shown during his time in the State Senate.
The question then becomes whether, in becoming a “leader on environmental issues” as Kratovil claims in his literature he would if elected, Frank Kratovil would side with radical environmentalists like those who have dictated to Marylanders everything from the amount of phosphates in their detergent to the setback their development must have to a body of water to the amount of permissible emissions the car you purchase can put out – a group that continually puts poultry farmers in their sights; or, will he be more farmer-friendly and alienate those environmental groups who certainly will devote time and a little money to support him come November. We know what talks and what walks in this political day and age, so I think that’s the answer to my question.
If Frank was trying to sell a little snake oil this morning, I’m still not buying it.
Crossposted on Red Maryland.