Well, for one, my page looks a lot emptier. No need for the election links anymore and I took my monoblogue Accountability Project page private. It will return for the 2011-14 session at the appropriate time, although I have some ideas now on how to improve it and make it more user-friendly.
Obviously some people voted against their best interests. For example, how could the voters in Frederick County dump a former Legislative All-Star in Alex Mooney for a guy whose score will likely be less than half of his?
Locally, we replaced a retiring state Senator with a nice MAP rating in the 70’s with a guy who will likely be in the teens or twenties – is that very smart? Hard to believe the same voters who elected two conservatives in Mike McDermott and Charles Otto would fall for the absolute “I’m just as conservative as you” b.s. Jim Mathias spouted in all those mailings, brought to you courtesy of the Baltimore boys and special interests.
Instead of gaining State Senators, the GOP lost two so now they have an even dozen. At least we may have gotten the Democrats under 100 seats in the General Assembly, but 43-98 is little better than 37-104.
So I guess we regroup and look at victories. We did contribute our little bit to the 60-plus seat sea change in the House by electing Andy Harris. It will be interesting to see what Frank Kratovil does in the lame-duck session and how he votes. Think his staff will be courteous if you call to complain?
Perhaps this is a Pyrrhic victory, but the Maryland GOP can finally move out from under the shadow of Bob Ehrlich now. We have candidates who ran statewide and may have bright futures as conservative lights in Jim Rutledge and Brian Murphy – we can build from their experiences. (I’m not sure Eric Wargotz quite fits in the “conservative” mold so I didn’t include him.) Nor should I exclude Charles Lollar, who did plenty to piss off Steny Hoyer – and that’s a good thing. We actually may be seeing the beginnings of a statewide bench, even in defeat.
What needs to happen in the next four years, though, is for the Maryland GOP to take a conservative stand on fiscal issues and appeal to the pocketbook. (Yes, we all have social concerns but we need to get into a position of influence first.) Look at what other successful states like Texas do and bring those ideas to the hopper here in Maryland. Sure, they will be shot down and locked in the committee chair’s drawer at first but activism can make them prevail.
Simply put, the time is not now to be silenced but instead to become the squeaky wheels.
I wrote a few days ago about the situation in 2014. With Martin O’Malley out due to term limits, there’s going to be a number of statewide candidates itching to move into Government House and abandoning their previous posts. It’s going to be difficult for Democrats to enforce discipline and tell certain politicians who have spun their wheels for two terms in statewide office or served awhile in the General Assembly or Congress to wait their turn.
And we all know nature abhors a vacuum. Guess which party can position itself as the fiscally conservative alternative?
Of course, we have a number of traps set for us. Redistricting, since it will be controlled by Democrats, will place us at the hugest of disadvantages. Look for heretofore “safe” Republican districts to become as large as the law allows and attempts made to spread out the small pockets of Democrat voters (like in towns such as Salisbury) among more than one district to negate the GOP advantage. Conversely, areas like Montgomery County will have small districts and try to isolate GOP-leaning areas within a sea of Democratic voters.
We also aren’t going to see a friendly press anytime soon. How much of an effect do you think the phony polls which had Bob Ehrlich down 14 points had on GOP turnout across the bay?
It seems to me that the great GOP turnout locally was somewhat negated by Democrats “staying home” – in other words they started with O’Malley and kept pushing the “D” button down the ticket. The only exception seemed to be Matt Maciarello. I thought Bob Ehrlich would need 25% of Democrats to win, but when his number is only in the 50’s in Wicomico County it’s apparent that he only scored a few points among Democrats. While O’Malley won the same five counties as he did last time, Ehrlich’s percentage went down in 18 of 24 counties. I wonder if a more conservative candidate (who presented a clearer choice and didn’t have a previous record) would have done better.
In the meantime, we have work to do. The next opportunity to make a difference could be as soon as tomorrow.
Oh, one other observation while I have your attention.
I read a criticism on The Salisbury Grinch about the candidate videos other local sites did and how poorly they were seen. In truth, many had under 50 views – by comparison, the AFP protest video I did had over 1,200 because it was picked up nationally. If you totaled up the viewership of the 20 videos he cites, it still doesn’t match the number which saw mine because it was exposed to a wider national audience through Pajamas Media.
It seems to me that for all the heat not a lot of light was shed. One cannot win an election by internet alone and perhaps these candidates would have been much better off spending the time recording an interview making phone calls or knocking on doors. Obviously they didn’t realize it at the time and perhaps wanted to make sure they got on that newfangled internet bandwagon.
We as bloggers often think that we have the eyes and ears of the community, but in many cases these interviews were more to show how important we were as opposed to focusing on the candidate. When I used a series of candidate interviews over the summer from the Right Coast blog, the reason I liked them was because it wasn’t about personality. Joe Ollinger’s video was similar because he narrated it himself. (His channel got over 1,300 views but the video is no longer available.) Since my specialty isn’t sitting in front of a video camera sharing my thoughts, I chose not to create any videos.
So we bring down the curtain on Election 2010, with the next up being Salisbury’s local municipal election next spring. After the holidays we’ll know how that race will shake out as three City Council seats (Cohen, Comegys, Smith) become available. I’ll surely devote some coverage to it but there will be other important things going on as well, so don’t stray far now that the election is over.