1st CD debate at Salisbury University

Tonight our part of the district was able to listen to a “dialogue about the pressing issues of our time” courtesy of Salisbury University and their PACE (Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement) group. Three of the contestants on the ballot were there:

The three Congressional candidates debating at Salisbury University gather their thoughts before the event. From left to right, Democrat Frank Kratovil, Republican Dr. Andy Harris, and Libertarian Dr. Richard Davis.

The debate, which was moderated by Don Rush of Delmarva Public Radio, consisted of four parts: an opening statement, questions which were presumably written by the moderator, questions selected from student submissions, and a closing statement. In all there were nine questions, with each candidate getting time for both a response and a rebuttal to each question. The event was also taped for later broadcast on PAC14, the local community affairs cable channel.

What I’ve decided to do is devote a paragraph or two to each question, along with the opening and closing statements. At the end I’ll add my thoughts on how the debate went overall.

Opening statement:

Rather than a true opening statement to introduce himself, Richard Davis instead went over some of the basics of what his Libertarian Party stands for – less government and more personal freedom, along with stressing a non-interventionist foreign policy. Andy Harris decided on a more traditional opening, bringing up a quick bio before terming himself the only candidate with a record of change, who “took on the Republican establishment” not just in this year’s primary but in winning his State Senate seat back in 1998 as well. Frank Kratovil also brought up his family and avocation before announcing that he was “tired of politics as usual” and that to him, principle was more important than party.


After that few minutes of introduction, it was time for questioning. The first question was whether the candidates would have voted for yesterday’s failed bailout.

Davis led off by pleading a slight bit of ignorance, having not seen the bill in question, but based on the reports he’s seen he would have voted no. He wasn’t sure the bailout would help but expressed confidence in the American economy to get through this crisis.

Asking “how do we move forward”, Kratovil also would have voted no and noted that even this was an issue where both sides couldn’t come together, blaming “corporate greed” and a “lack of oversight” for the troubled financial situation. What he did want in a bailout package was one where taxpayers would accrue benefits in the long run, but “hold companies accountable” as well.

Harris also chastised the “fat cats of Wall Street” who didn’t play by the rules, but drew derisive laughter from some in the auditorium when he blamed the “failed liberal policies of the past.” The “inconvenient truth” was that the problem was the result of “liberal Democrats” and their policies.

On rebuttal, Davis argued that the system couldn’t be supported and that it was time to rein in government. Meanwhile, Kratovil opined that the audience should “count how many times Andy Harris says liberal” during the evening and hammered on the familiar mantra of Harris being supported by the Club For Growth with $1 million of bundled contributions while also stating again about not wanting “tax breaks for CEO’s.” Harris shot back that Kratovil had not signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against raising taxes and had ironically taken thousands in contributions from defense attorneys. He also spoke about not being a blanket deregulator, pointing to an effort to reregulate utilities in Maryland.

Citing a poll that showed Americans felt the Iraqi invasion was “not worth it”, moderator Rush asked the trio if going into Iraq was the right thing and whether we should withdraw.

Kratovil said in no uncertain terms that going to Iraq as “occupiers” was a “mistake” and that we “went in alone” to boot. However, he did not favor a specific timetable after looking at “neutral” information. When we do withdraw it should be in a “responsible” way and we should not forget the care of the veterans returning, particularly in mental health issues. In the future he called for “aggressive diplomacy” in foreign affairs.

While Harris sort of sidestepped a bit about the going into Iraq part, he stressed that this was part of a greater War on Terror and that the “experts in the field” should decide when the time is right for withdrawal. He also was critical of Kratovil’s use of the term “occupiers” because to him we were liberators, freeing Iraq from a theocracy.

Davis stated that there was no declaration of war against Iraq so we were wrong to go in there. Perhaps we freed them from a dictator but other countries have dictators too. He thought that one possible solution was to figure out how quickly we could withdraw and then let the Iraqi people decide whether we should stay or leave.

To rebut, Kratovil asked if we were “moving in the right direction” with our policies and that we “failed in promoting foreign policy with aggressive diplomacy.” Harris replied that as a veteran he knew that the goal of a military commander was to stay no longer than necessary and that we should be proud of our Iraqi work, which was now “on the right course.” Davis chided our having troops in Iraq – but also being in Bosnia and other places on the globe in conflicts started under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The next question dealt with balancing environmental concerns with agricultural and economic ones.

Harris told the audience that it was Federal action which was needed for Chesapeake Bay to “reverse its course” of being more polluted. It was one problem that couldn’t be attacked on a state level but needed regional cooperation. He talked about his help in ending the practice of dumping dredge spoils into the Bay early on in his first Senate term and that the federal government was a main source of the Chesapeake’s problems, asserting that the largest point source polluter is the sewage treatment plant for Washington, D.C.

Davis figuratively shrugged his shoulders and wistfully said, “I wish I had an answer for the Bay.” He did point out that Lake Erie could be an example to follow and one other tactic would be for individuals to take polluters to court.

Telling his supporters that Andy Harris “doesn’t get it”, Kratovil blasted a number of votes Harris had made in the State Senate, finishing with a claim that Harris has the “sixth worst” environmental record in the General Assembly. He also tied protecting the environment with economic viability for the region.

For his rebuttal, Harris directed Frank Kratovil to “stop listening to the lobbying groups” and claimed Frank was “misrepresenting” his record. Davis correctly noted that every year brought more bills intended to clean up the Bay, but there was little improvement to show for all that government. And while Kratovil tossed out the notion that “reasonable people could disagree”, Andy Harris was “not reasonable” in balancing business against the environment.

Next up was a question on gasoline prices and energy independence.

According to Davis, he was “not sure there’s a solution based on the price” in part because of inflated dollars and global competition. There were a lot of solutions that were out there for alternatives, but he decried how the government sometimes played favorites and we were losing out on possible options because of this.

Domestic drilling was “part of the answer” according to Kratovil, but we needed to have both short- and long-term goals and “stop depending on oil.” He compared the effort necessary to that of our moon launch, and ticked down a list of solutions which included ending “tax breaks” for the oil industry, closing the “loophole” of speculation, increasing automotive efficiency (CAFE standards), and investing in renewable energy.

Harris spoke about his support for biodiesel and ethanol, but said America had turned from “energy leader” to “energy follower” over the past few decades. Sure, conservation and alternative energy have their place but we “can’t take oil and gas off the table” either. He charged that Kratovil has “changed his tune” about drilling and that he “likes taxes” too.

In rebutting the other two speakers, Davis talked about changes already occurring in the market like windmills being allowed in more places, driving less, and solar panels. Kratovil charged that Andy Harris didn’t believe in a government role for the energy situation and that incentives were needed to change behavior and add supplies. Curiously, Harris went off the page here and criticized Kratovil’s record as a prosecutor, partially in response to Frank Kratovil’s attacks on Harris and his ideas for health care based on his experience as a physician.

As it turned out, the next question was on the very subject of health insurance and support for universal health care.

Kratovil told the group that “we need to make progress” on the 47 million he claimed were uninsured after reacting to Andy Harris’s claims, purporting that “I hit with facts” when attacked. He also stated we have a “right to health coverage” and that “everyone must be insured.” He also vowed to cut costs by increasing the pool of insured and cutting the bureaucracy.

As one in the field, Harris understood where health care is failing; however, his idea to cut a significant portion of their costs was embodied in tort reform. In short, health insurance needed to be “personal, portable, accessible, and affordable” – besides, there was “nothing that government runs better than the private sector.”

We all want to live forever, said Davis, but we don’t want to pay for it. His idea for insurance was to focus it on the areas needed. You don’t have auto insurance to pay for an oil change but in case of an accident; hence the idea of just having catastrophic medical insurance.

In his response, Kratovil cited a number of votes where he percieved Andy Harris was working against expanding health care and wanted to bring all the parties together to find a solution. Harris countered that you “don’t pass bills (simply) because they sound good” and stated that many of the programs he voted against would have duplicated other state services. “Bureaucracy never treated a patient,” he said. Davis decided to pass on a rebuttal.

At this point, we got a break as moderator Don Rush had finished his line of questions. It was noteworthy to me that Harris and Davis stayed on stage while Kratovil went offstage to talk with some of his staffers.

It was time for student questions, with the first asking about whether the federal government should have records of who owns guns, support for the Second Amendment and being allowed to carry guns on campus.

Harris put his answer relatively simply, as he understood the importance of the Bill of Rights allowing lawabiding citizens to keep and bear arms, period, end of sentence. He also stated support for an expanded concealed carry law in Maryland and sponsored legislation to that effect.

Davis also was an “absolute believer” in the Second Amendment, and that his right was “infringed by the state of Maryland.”

Not surprisingly, Kratovil joined the pro-Second Amendment chorus, but added we should focus on lawbreakers and enforce the laws on the books, some of which weren’t being enforced.

Harris began the rebuttal by restating his support from the NRA and inviting Frank Kratovil to become a member too. Davis related the story of his son, who was fortunate enough to be away for the semester when the shootings occurred at Virginia Tech. Had someone else with a gun been there, the loss of life may not have been so great, he noted. Kratovil thought the issue was best left to the states and their respective institutions.

Next up was a question about undocumented workers.

Since the previous question concerned hunting to a small extent, Davis quipped that you couldn’t hunt undocumented workers, but those who broke the law should be deported. The illegal immigration conflict made it harder to bring in legal workers as well, he opined.

“One reason” Kratovil ran, he said, was the influx of illegal immigrants. More money was needed at the local level for the problem. But he also told the gathering that one of our greatest strengths was our diversity, but another was being a nation of laws. He also mentioned working in Annapolis to make driving without a license a jailable offense.

After reminding Frank Kratovil that the Bill of Rights outlined items pertaining to the federal government, Harris said that the Eastern Shore needed legal immigrants and they should be given more opportunities to come here legally. He also reminded the people watching that Frank Kratovil expressed support for the amnesty bill that was halted in Congress last year and would have voted in its favor.

Because Davis again skipped a chance for rebuttal, Kratovil immediately could counter that it was not Andy Harris’s task to define terms like “liberal” or “amnesty”; instead he favored streamlining the legal immigration process and consequences for employers who hire undocumented workers. But Harris again stated there was a clear difference between the two on that amnesty bill issue, and asked where Frank Kratovil was when he fought against the state of Maryland continuing to give drivers’ licenses to illegals.

Another student question asked how the three would appeal to voters who previously supported Wayne Gilchrest (who lost in the GOP primary) for 18 years.

Kratovil hoped to “carry on Gilchrest’s environmental tradition” if elected and that constituent services were an “important responsibility.” He added that Andy Harris was running against him, not Governor O’Malley or Washington liberals.

Harris pointed out the bipartisan support he received from his district as proof of constituent service and remarked that he defeated Gilchrest in the primary because Wayne had become “out of touch” with the district, adding that Gilchrest had endorsed Barack Obama in the Presidential race and questioning the type of Commander-in-Chief Barack would be.

Davis simply made the statement that his job would be to “defend my constituents from the federal government.”

None of the candidates took the time for rebuttal to this question so we reached the final question of the evening. It asked about the effect of the bailout on college students.

Harris talked initially about legislation he sponsored to prevent tuition increases from exceeding the rate of inflation, but also noted that the effect on student loans would be to make them less forgiving and that the market needed to have some liquidity restored.

Davis was bluntly honest and told those present that “we have no clue” about the effects of the bailout.

For his part, Kratovil warned of “dire consequences” if no solution was reached and that it was “time to put an end to extreme partisanship.” We needed to focus on policies to help families and not Wall Street.

In the final rebuttal period of the evening, Davis put it simply – we’ve spent ourselves to bankruptcy and it was time to make cuts in the federal government. Harris did Richard one better, saying it was time to eliminate the federal Department of Education. On the other hand, Kratovil chided Harris for voting against educational proposals like reducing class sizes at the 1st and 2nd grade level, then spoke about the need for “incentives to hard-working families.”

Closing statement:

Richard Davis made his case for office by telling us that the two major parties had “run us into the ground for fifty years” and that perhaps it was time to consider a minor party guy.

Andy Harris pointed out a number of differences between himself and Frank Kratovil – positions on taxation, spending, an “all of the above” energy policy, and amnesty to name a few which were discussed. He also mentioned that Kratovil was against school choice. One other anecdote Andy shared was being told by a fellow legislator to “stop reading the bills” and just vote – but that wasn’t his style.

The last word was from Frank Kratovil. There was “enough blame to go around” for our situation and we “need change.” Harris was supported by Wall Street interests while Frank favored financial responsibility through eliminating the “breaks” Exxon/Mobil and Wall Street executives were getting. We “need bipartisanship,” he concluded.

And that’s where I about threw up. I was already pretty pissed sitting there because all Frank had to talk about was a number of class envy issues. It’s not Wall Street that’s the problem because those executives make their money by bringing a lot of the rest of us the ability to retire at an early age or enjoy our prosperity in whatever ways we desire. I think Frank tends to forget the solid economy we’ve enjoyed for most of the period since Ronald Reagan became President – remember those consecutive years of growth? I think some of these executives may have had a little to do with that.

I will tip my hat to Frank for one thing – he had a pretty good ground game at the event. Here’s another picture to illustrate.

The young lady on the left was passing out the little Kratovil lapel stickers while the table on the right was brimming with Kratovil literature and stickers. I politely passed on the former and think I have most of the latter literature for reference already.

The young lady was trying to back out of the picture but I wanted her in the shot! It’s a case study for future reference. One thing I didn’t take a picture of was the busload of supporters Kratovil’s campaign brought, which made the crowd probably more pro-Kratovil than the public at large would be. (But it will sound good on television.) I did notice some Harris items afterward, but I don’t know when they arrived.

I’ll make no bones about it, I’m a Harris supporter. The drop that Kratovil’s people got on Andy’s was a little worrisome but this can be corrected. I was a little more perturbed about Harris going sideways into the prosecutorial job Frank Kratovil is doing; allegedly Frank and his staff are not pushing all that hard to convict some of those who he’s paid to. Perhaps that charge has its place in a closing statement, but bringing that up when he did made him look a little bit desperate and Andy’s so correct on the issues there should be no need. Others thought Harris came across as arrogant but having spoken to him on several occasions I can vouch for the fact it’s not the case.

One shame of the format tonight was that I had already written questions I’d like answered and they didn’t take audience questions. So I have three queries here that I don’t want to go to waste; maybe the next forum can use them and let me know how they were answered.

  1. Where candidates receive their financial support has been an issue in this campaign. My question is why is it so terrible to take contributions from individuals acting in concert who support lower taxes for all, modernizing Social Security, enacting tort reform, school choice, and free trade while thinking it’s perfectly okay to accept money from entities who wish to deny those who are considering whether to join or not the right to a secret ballot?
  2. All three candidates are running to one extent or another on the mantra of “change” yet you’ll only be one of 435 Congressmen and also lowest on the seniority totem pole. With that said, what change is your highest priority and how can you make that happen?
  3. While growth is a local issue, your position at the federal table can help make or break our regional efforts at improving the Eastern Shore. What steps would you advocate to assist our efforts in economic improvement?

There is one final item I’ll touch on, and that happened about 11 hours before the debate began. This morning Frank Kratovil appeared on the AM Salisbury radio program, and host Bill Reddish questioned him on several issues:

On the bailout: In the interview, Frank admitted to “mixed views” on the bailout, but wanted to focus on how we got here and to him, he was “tired of Wall Street greed.” (See, that class envy bullshit started at 7:40 this morning.) As he would repeat later, there’s enough blame to go around and we “need to move forward” while we “really look at” what Wall Street executives are making. Still, this was “not a party issue.” And just to hammer the class envy point home, Frank opined that “greed is what’s killing the country.”

On oil prices: Here Frank changed his tune somewhat from earlier interviews, now claiming we “need to increase our domestic supply” but also as he said tonight curb the speculators and invest in alternative fuels.

He also claimed in the ten-minute interview that illegal immigration was a “pet peeve” of his.

So that brings an end to a day of First District politics. With all this writing, I’m going to skip the usual afternoon post and return this evening with my thoughts on the bailout.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

29 thoughts on “1st CD debate at Salisbury University”

  1. I’m glad to see you call Harris out on his bizarre attack on Kratovil for allegedly taking it easy on murderers and rapists–in a question about oil! That’s when the crowd went nuts and all control was lost. Harris came across as arrogant, mean-spirited, and sarcastic the whole time. You might also mention Harris’ bizarre claim that Iraq was a theocracy before the U.S invaded! Iraq was not even close to a theocracy, and Saddam Hussein was a bad man but not a theocrat. I’m obviously a Kratovil supporter, but I did try to go in with at least something of an open mind and with respect for any candidate willing to go in front of an audience and debate the issues. When Harris said the nonsense about murderers and rapists, he lost my respect and the respect of most of the people in the audience. He would not be a good representative of District 1, he will alienate himself in Congress. I urge people to watch that debate when it is replayed and think about whether that is the kind of representation we want.

  2. Thanks for the great write-up. I wish I was there, but unfortunately, school obligations kept me here in NJ.

    Any word on when and how the video footage will be released. I’d like to see it and am sure others would as well.

  3. For 18 years we have been deprived of a representative that would actually stand up and work for our district. After yesterday, I know we finally have chance with Andy Harris.

  4. One more thing–why is it “class envy” when Kratovil criticizes corporate greed, but cool when Harris criticizes the “fat cats on Wall Street?”

  5. Another comment on the good doctor–his M.O. is slash & burn, just like he does in Annapolis. He would be a disaster in DC under a Dem. ruled Congress (regardless of which party is in the White House). Even E. J. Pipken would be preferable because he is a pleasant person, albeit a blowhard.

    This is the time to elect Kratovil — a moderate — not a right wing-nut.

  6. Honestaby,
    Just curious–were you at the debate? I think everyone who was there, even Michael, would have to agree that Kratovil came off as the better candidate that night.

  7. Thank you for the fair summary of the event. I am a Kratovil supporter, and could not be there, but you outline sounds fair, and that makes for constructive discourse.

    I must say that I think you unfairly mock Frank on illegal immigration. Can you not accept that perhaps both candidates view something similarly? I have heard Frank speak for a long time in many different venues, and I believe, without any doubt, that his experiences as a prosecutor, and his frustration with the lack of enforcement of immigration laws on the federal level, is one of reasons he was motivitated to run for Congress. You may think he just wants power or political advancement (or whatever you believe about him that somehow makes you doubt his sincerety on this point), but you are painting too simplistic of a picture.

  8. I don’t doubt Frank’s sincerity on the illegal immigration issue, but I wonder if he has the stones to go against the majority of his party on it. In fact, much of what I see in Kratovil is based on what happened two years ago in several Congressional races – Democrat candidates ran as more conservative than their GOP opponents and won, then promptly went into the mode of voting mostly along a liberal party line (with some exceptions.)

    The First District is a conservative district, and I question the voters whether they want someone with a voting pattern which reflects a conservative, common sense approach or a Johnny-come-lately who worked to get Martin O’Malley (no conservative he) elected?

    In this case, a simplistic picture should do fine.

  9. Absolutely Harris came across as arrogant, and he has many times before even at the previous forum which was billed as a debate he managed to sneak in a glib comment about his personal accomplishment of getting a masters, just watch the replay to see it.

    The fact that the Kratovil campaign’s ground game is so organized must scare Meekins and Harris, they should be worried as this debate is only one piece. The Kratovil movement is in full swing and there really isn’t any Harris movement at all. They are out there knocking on doors and shaking hands while the Harris people are putting up signs and waving more. Which is the correct strategy?

    This should tell the electorate something, Harris had said in the primaries “the first district will elect a conservative every day of the week and twice on sunday.” If this debate tells us anything it’s that the support for Kratovil is building and it just might be a Democrat representing the First District next year. But one thing is clear, if that happens it will be a moderate unlike Senator Harris.

    It’s ashame that the reasonable Republicans didn’t turn out in the primary and now are stuck with an ultra conservative that many of them can’t stomach supporting. Politics is all about timing and with events transpiring as they have it is pointing more and more toward a Frank Kratovil victory. If Harris continues as he has in the past few weeks, it might not even be close….

    It just goes to show you that the First District isn’t blindly in the Republican column and the electorate is much more moderate than anyone previously thought. But what everyone forgets is that there are more registered Democrats 30% of which normally voted Gilchrest that won’t vote Harris this time; in addition, many moderate Republicans that supported Gilchrest won’t support Harris either.

    I’m happy about this, as it would be embarrasing if we sent a man like Harris to the US Congress. His record is his record and it is not something to be proud of.

    I hope that Harris continues his strategy of misrepresenting Kratovil’s record as State’s Attorney… PLEASE RUN A TV AD ANDY! This way people will see what a crazy you are. In addition, as an actual veteran and member of my local VFW I was offended when Harris said he “Fought in the first Gulf War” as this is remarkably untrue. Where did you fight Andy? Bethesda Naval Hospital doesn’t count, and those of us who have been involved in combat operations whether it be land or sea won’t forget that ridiculous claim. I respect your service, I respect anyone who serves thier country but I don’t respect anyone who misrepresents thier military record. What do we think of all the sailors and soldiers that have worn medals they didn’t earn? You didn’t go that far, but you were damn close Harris.

  10. Did Harris not actually go to Iraq? Could someone please clarify this, becuase if that is true is says a lot about his character. He definitely said he “fought” in the Gulf War.

  11. Harris undoubtedly served honorably as a Commander in the Navy Reserves. He took care of our wounded and injured national heroes both in the Bethesda Medical Center, and aboard a Navy vessel in the Persian Gulf during the first, but unfortunately not last, Iraq war.

    Now, treating wounded service men and women is undeniably an honorable accomplishment, and shows a sincere dedication to our country.

    BUT, why wouldn’t Andy Harris simply be honest about his service, rather than embellishing and insinuating that he ‘fought’ in the war. He intentionally chose language that conjured imagery of him holding a weapon, shooting at bad people. Sure, that’d be awesome Andy, but why not talk about what you ACTUALLY did, which is JUST AS HONORABLE?

    Why? I’ll give you my opinion. Andy Harris will do anything to win. He will stop at nothing. And this mentality has clearly clouded his judgment, because in this particular instance he opened himself up to criticism for invoking a politically advantageous embellishment – despite the fact he had no necessity to do so.

    It just goes to show that Andy Harris is reading from the Karl Rove playbook. Embellish your own military accomplishments and diminish your opponent’s because we love our service men. Blame the lawyers. Call them liberals. Accuse prosecutors of making our communities unsafe by failing to prosecute rapists, child molesters, and murderers. Fear. The War on Terror. God Bless America.

    Frank ly Kratovil gets it. He speaks from the heart, then the mind. Harris has neither a warm-heart, nor a sound mind.

  12. Wow, so he didn’t go to Iraq? Michael, I know you are a big supporter, but you’ve got to admit that this is pretty low. He said, very specifically, that he FOUGHT in Iraq, not that he was a part of the Gulf War effort. That reflects very poorly on Harris’ character.

  13. I suppose I can go through these talking points that the Kratovil folks have kindly provided.

    Was it a stretch for Andy to say he “fought” in Desert Storm? Perhaps, but the truth is he did serve and he was placed where assigned by the Navy. I’d liken that to a person who was president of the Young Democrats of Maryland, been endorsed by most of his party brass, and accepted $1.6 million from his party claiming to be “independent” – particularly when his campaign has attempted to paint Harris as bought and paid for by the Club For Growth.

    Next, trust me I winced when Andy talked about the “fat cats on Wall Street”. Yeah, he was pandering there but both he and Frank are guilty – anytime one talks about “working families” I consider it pandering because policies should be what’s best for as many people as possible. (That’s why I’m conservative and capitalist because as many nations have proven, socialism and tyranny benefit the few at the expense of the many.)

    I also take issue with this district being “moderate”. Is Frank right on some issues? Yes, his illegal immigration stance is quite good and he has a fairly sound view on the Second Amendment. (Although, when he talked about “enforcing the existing gun laws” I’m more inclined to think many of them should be repealed so as to align more closely with the Second Amendment.) But as we saw with Wayne Gilchrest, Washington has a way of making moderates more left-wing and what I question is whether Frank Kratovil, a guy who could have just as easily worked in the State’s Attorney office closer to where he grew up in the D.C. suburbs, isn’t just being an opportunist once again and saying whatever it takes to get elected.

    The problem for Harris is that, unlike Wayne Gilchrest, Frank Kratovil has no legislative record to go by. I can look up what Andy Harris has voted for and against and find that I agree with him probably 90 percent of the time. You folks have read this blog for awhile and you know I come down strongly on the conservative side with a dose of libertarianism thrown in for good measure. It’s my belief that what is best for the First District (and for Congress in general) is to elect a person who would at least make the effort to reduce the role of the federal government, not create a new and larger set of entitlements like universal health care.

    By all accounts, neither candidate is telling the full truth. It’s going to come down to whether you think we need more government, more expensive energy, and less money in your wallet with Frank Kratovil or less government, less expensive energy, and more money in your wallet with Andy Harris.

  14. First, I know that young lady in your picture. She is a 100% service disabled veteran, who like Sen. Harris served in the Naval Medical Corps during the 1st Gulf War (she was an active duty corpsman). She was part of the Haitian rescue operation.

    Second, I am a supporter of Frank Kratovil and have known him for some time. He is one the most honest and straight-forward individuals I know. I disagree with your statement, “By all accounts, neither candidate is telling the truth.” We know Sen. Harris is not telling the truth, but I have not seen or heard anything dishonest from Mr. Kratovil.

    Third, your final pronouncements are not rooted in anything other than Party pablum. History has demonstrated that the GOP is the party of big government, big debt, and unfettered capitalism — no regulation, no oversight. Over $7.5T of the nearly $10T debt was created on the GOP watch. Energy prices are not going down no matter who gets elected. The price of oil has dropped by more than a third (nearly $50) in the last month and just how much have the prices dropped? Maybe 12%. Drive out to Texas or Oklahoma (I was just there in July) and take a look at all the capped wells and shutdown refineries. The energy industry is an oligopoly, controlling the supply to maximize profit. With worldwide demand growing, do you think they have the US interests at heart? Like all companies, they are in it to maximize profit. The last energy crisis led to a reorganization of the industry that consolidated control within a small number of very large companies. (Watch the banking industry do the same.) And how exactly will you have more money in your wallet when the price of basics (food, energy, healthcare, which are conveniently excluded from calculating core inflation to provide an illusion of growth in GDP) are skyrocketing by continuing the “government is bad, markets are good” policies of the last 2 decades?

    Finally, we need serious people addressing the serious problems we are facing. People that are willing to analyze situations and make decisions based on what is best for the area and the country. Nothing I have seen or heard from Sen. Harris has demonstrated that he has that type of judgement. In fact, his ease in embracing unfettered capitalism tells me he honestly believes the failed policies that have driven us to the brink of bankruptcy are the right policies. So for me it comes down to who is more likely to support policy that will move the Shore forward and represent our best interests, not the sound bites you present.

  15. Michael,
    you blow past Andy’s outright lie with a “perhaps” and continue to smear Kratovil. I dont get how you can be so darn obstinate when it comes to Andy. You dont know Kratovil, you make assumptions about him. You know Andy and you overlook his blatant lies. It is not as simple as you summarize in the end. Andy will keep money in the Fat Cats wallets and let the working man pay to keep it there. Frank is a man of integrity and innovative thinking. Maybe we should give that a try in this country, instead of the obstinate, partisan way of thinking Andy has demonstrated over the past 10 years in the State Senate.

  16. Austin, I’ll admit I don’t know Frank Kratovil and haven’t spoken to him at length. But I’ve been in the political world long enough to know that, indeed people say whatever they think is necessary to get elected. You might want to look at a series of posts I’ve done before when Frank was seeking the nomination and see how his positions have changed as he moved from a strictly Democrat electorate to the general election – meanwhile Harris has stayed relatively the same between the two periods.

    Personally I like the way of thinking Andy’s demonstrated over at least the last two years, and I just don’t have confidence that Frank Kratovil won’t be just another big-government type once he arrives in Washington.

    Now to vmi98mom. If you know the young lady, I thank her for her service.

    So you think the GOP is the party of big government, big debt, and unfettered capitalism? Are you from Maryland? Have you seen what Martin O’Malley and Democrats have done with our taxes and budget? While you throw a number at me that might be true, it would be helpful to know who was controlling Congress at the time – remember they actually approve the budgets and the President has no line-item veto. Philosophically the GOP is for less government so, trust me, I’ve been disappointed with some of our representatives in Congress regarding their propensity for spending.

    You also seem to have a problem with energy companies (which are indeed for-profit corporations) having to gauge the replacement cost of their product. You may be correct about wells being capped and refineries shut down, but obviously it’s not profitable for the companies to keep them operating. And with the number of people who are invested in energy companies as stockholders (like me and my 9 shares of XOM) I’d personally prefer that they have their share of profit rather than have the federal government subsidize some unproven technology, like Kratovil supports.

    I guess what it comes down to is that I trust the hundreds of people who send money to the Club For Growth in order to have them bundle the contributions and support Andy Harris than I do the Beltway insiders like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank (whose campaign committees both gave Frank Kratovil money, you can look it up). If Frank Kratovil becomes our Congressman, the Eastern Shore will be just as if not more unhappy with their representation as they were with Wayne Gilchrest. That’s my prediction.

  17. Micheal,
    What do you think about Harris’ statement about his service? It is an outright lie and a disgrace to all of the men and women who have fought and died for this country, doesn’t that say something about his character?

  18. I should have included this in the previous post, as for your statement of unproven technology, the idea of sending a man to the moon in ten years was a little far fetched at the time, I think we need someone with big ideas and the drive to create an American solution to the energy problem just like JFK did with the space race. Andy Harris is not that guy, Frank Kratovil is.

  19. I think sending a man to the moon and energy policy are an apples and oranges comparison, in particular because we saw the Soviet Union get into space first and we were in the midst of the Cold War, so part of JFK’s idea was a military one.

    I’m taking Andy’s statement as a slip of the tongue because it’s the first time I heard it said. Yes, believe it or not. I knew he’d served stateside so it didn’t really register with me.

  20. We need Frank Kratovil in Washington. We need Barack Obama in Washington. Without Kratovil-Obama we will not be able to advance our progressive agenda. We need universal healthcare. We need rights for all; regardless of sexual orientation. We need more pay for teachers.

    Vote Obama/Kratovil in 08!

  21. We need Frank Kratovil to keep his job as State’s Attorney and Barack Obama to maintain his task as United States Senator.

    If by progressive you mean progressing toward a more Constitutional form of government, I’m right there with you. However, health care is NOT a right and I stand for the idea that we should not discriminate for or against any group based on race, religion, gender, or orientation.

    Pay for teachers should be a local issue, not one decreed inside the Beltway.

    Needless to say, I think you’re completely wrong in advocating the Obama/Biden/Kratovil ticket.

  22. The numbers come from the historical data at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget (OMB). I agree that Presidents present their budget and then it is modified/approved by Congress and sent back for signature. The Presidnet does not have line item veto, which, according to the Supreme Court, is unconsitutional, since the framers gave the “power of the purse” to the people’s body. You’ll recall that the current President did not veto a single budget. The government’s budget has grown from FY2002/2.1T to FY2009(est)/3.1T. In constant dollars that is a swing from a surplus of 1.3% of GDP to a deficit next year projected at 2.7% of GDP (before the bailout). The result has been an increase in the federal debt from $5.7T to $10.1T (1/20/2001 — 4/10/2008), that’s $4.4T swing, almost as much as we have borrowed in over 200 years. The point was that Republicans talking about smaller government is crap. Politicians like to spend our money and it applies to both parties. The difference is that small government is the mantra of the Republican Party. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

    I don’t resent the oil companies doing what they do. That’s what companies do. I resent someone making a statement that more drilling and more refineries will “fix” the problem. The point was, they can drill now and they can build refineries now (or open the ones they’ve closed). They choose not to. The “drill baby drill” chant is just more bumper sticker politics. It gets people riled up, but does nothing to address the problem. In fact, it does worse than nothing, because it plays on voters’ trust. It is cynical and dishonest.

    I’m glad you trust the hundreds who send money to Club for Growth. Many of them are the very people we are bailing out — hedgefund managers, investment bankers, etc. And I don’t need to look up who has given to the Kratovil campaign. Like Sen. Harris, Mr. Kratovil has gotten monies from other politican’s campaign funds. That’s how the game is played. Just like I don’t resent Sen. Harris getting contributions from other doctor’s groups and Mr. Kraatovil getting contributions from other lawyers. These are their peers. I do resent any implication that Mr. Kratovil would do anything in return for that money or the point Sen. Harris was going to try to make at the debate about Mr. Kratovil’s prosecutorial record and your own statement “allegedly Frank and his staff are not pushing all that hard to convict some of those who he’s paid to” with zero evidence. Uncorroborated “allegations” are beyond the pale.

    BTW, Sen. Harris’ comment about his service may not have registered with you, but it did with others … like his statement about being in command of troops. Another “slip of the tongue?” It is so reminiscent of those who served in the Guard during Viet Nam claiming service when back then (unlike today), the Guard was used as a way to avoid going to combat. As someone who has had family members serving in combat in every war since the Revolutionary War, I found the remarks dishonest and a reflection on the lack of integrity of the man speaking them.

  23. Well said vmi98mom.

    I want to address something I have seen a number of times: You say “what I question is whether Frank Kratovil, a guy who could have just as easily worked in the State’s Attorney office closer to where he grew up in the D.C. suburbs, isn’t just being an opportunist once again and saying whatever it takes to get elected.”

    May I suggest that many factors affect a young couples’ decision about where to live. Frank moved to the shore shortly after he got married. Thirty years ago, Prince Georges County was mostly rural with tobacco markets, lots of open land and inexpensive housing. It is no longer like that. Perhaps he and his wife – as most couples make such decisions together – were looking for a nice place to raise a family, where housing prices were affordable. I don’t know, but it sounds like a reasonable explanation. There may have been an element of politics to it, but I think it is rather simplistic to say that is the only reason. Why is it so evil for a young man in his 20s to consider his career, what he wants, and where he wants to live, and make a decisions in light of his goals. Why didn’t Harris move back to Brooklyn and practice medicine? I don’t actually care why he moved here and/or didn’t move back to New York. I’m just making the point you could argue that he decided to locate to Maryland to advance his medical career by being at a prestigious hospital – Hopkins. So what? I know that there are slight differences, but I don’t think that there are elected offices in government where one has to be a doctor, whereas one clearly must be an attorney to be elected the States Attorney for a County. Does that mean that every doctor who runs for office is not an opportunist but every attorney is? That is silly. I just don’t get your logic on that point.

    I know Frank and I do not believe he is just saying whatever it takes to get elected. I probably won’t agree with every vote he castes, but I think he will various views, and the desires and needs of his constituents, before he votes. I don’t think Mr. Harris will.

    By the way, all politicians target to their audience – during the primary Harris proudly proclaimed his no-abortions-for-any-reason stance on the issues portion of his website, yet now, when he has to appeal to a broader audience, that position is nowhere to be found among his “prescriptions”. (I guess he could chose to have a “prescription for unintended pregnancy” but he doesn’t.)

  24. I’d like to point out the thing about elections for the House of Congress is they happen every 2 years. If Frank Kratovil goes against a lot of the moderate things he has said just “to get elected”, the 1st district will vote him out in 2010. He knows that too, so I think he’ll be careful to keep his moderate constituency’s wishes in mind.

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