Let me begin by saying that I’m quite aware Audrey Scott, as MDGOP Chair, is paid to elect Republicans. But is this the right message to put out?
Sometimes you have to stand for something besides not being the other guys. Oftentimes we make our decisions based on the letter after the name, not realizing that there’s supposed to be underlying principles inherent within.
I think Brian Murphy understands this too. He criticized Scott in a blistering radio interview message:
For the last 100 years, the Maryland Republican Party has been irrelevant, and so they’ve just said, ‘Well, the only way to win is to look like Democrats.’ No, the way to win is what Ronald Reagan did: to stand on principle.
[The GOP] is really having an identity crisis. Over the weekend, there was a telling video, and it was really pretty disgusting, quite frankly. The reason I’m running is because we’ve lost sight of our principles in our party. If the Republican Party is one thing, it is a party of principles. It is a party of conviction and passion. Our Founders were all men and women of principle and passion.
There was this Rule 11 thing, where the Republican Party, most folks don’t know about it, they don’t really care. It’s this little group that decided to endorse Ehrlich, even before he filed. It was basically a vote against me. But that was a symptom. And this video, this weekend, was the real disease. It was the Chairman of the Republican Party… she said, ‘Party first. Party over principle.’ Which shows she doesn’t understand the Republican Party is the party of principle. That’s why we’re losers in Maryland.
Now, I already have heard the argument about Brian being a Democrat for awhile, yadda yadda yadda. Perhaps what attracted him to switch was the fact our party has good conservative principles and he felt he was the best person to lead us in that direction? To dismiss him is to dismiss a number of other leaders on a more local scale who simply were fed up with politics as usual. A church wouldn’t turn away someone who wants to convert, so why should we?
Unfortunately for establishment Republicans, I give a damn about principles too. One thing I demand is a fair shake for all candidates and let them stand or fall on their own merits, not being Obamalike and clearing the playing field for a chosen candidate. Yes, I’m proud to be a Republican but the “R” next to the name doesn’t guarantee a vote when I think they fall short on principles. That’s why I am unabashedly a Murphy supporter – on the other hand, Wayne Gilchrest was one of those types who wasn’t what I considered a good Republican to be. Fortunately Bob Ehrlich has just enough good points that I can support him in the general election if he doesn’t lose the primary. Chances are he won’t.
That being said, though, in the next term the GOP is going to need to have the whip handy in order to corral Ehrlich in the right direction and make sure he follows through on those areas conservatives supported him for. That means crossing the aisle to accomodate Democrats is verboten – let them come to us. If Ehrlich wins he makes the budget and that’s part of the political Golden Rule – he who has the gold, rules. So screw the Democrats – they’re more than happy to do it to us when they’re in power. It’s our contention as conservatives that following our philosophy of limiting government will lead to more prosperity and freedom for all, not just chosen special interests.
More than likely it’s too late for Murphy’s words to make much of an impact for this election – votes are already being cast and, with our party (led by Ehrlich) now hypocritically embracing the early voting we fought against, Brian Murphy has fewer minds to change. But there is still hope for the next cycle, and if Bob Ehrlich wins and becomes the titular leader of the Maryland GOP he shouldn’t be allowed to just expect the party to back his every move or become a vehicle for his re-election. We already tried that once and we see where we were led.
(On a side note, perhaps it’s time to consider something our neighbor to the south does and limit governors to one four-year term. While we’re at it, 12 years in the General Assembly is more than enough.)
It’s what makes your local Central Committee elections almost as important as choosing the best Republican candidates to follow the party’s conservative, limited-government philosophy through to a seat in the General Assembly. I happen to be running for one of those seats, and I’ll be thankful and humbled if Wicomico County voters place their trust in me for another term.
But it’s more important that our party conveys a message that principles matter and the people should have their say in electing a candidate. This Rule 11 fiasco wasn’t quite as covert as my birth state’s practice of regularly trying to avoid contested primaries in statewide races by cajolery but it still has the stench of a backroom deal written all over it. In an era where more people than ever are fed up with ‘politics as usual’ and don’t think there’s a significant difference between the two parties, there’s no need to make my job as a Republican harder by providing more evidence those perceptions are correct.