Odds and ends number 49

Let me just say up top that this occasional look at items which can be covered in a paragraph or three will also serve to clean up some of the loose ends remaining after our Spring Convention over the weekend.

In my first installment on the proceedings, I mentioned that the group Change Maryland has 12,000 members – although their cake maker wanted to grow them tenfold. But something I didn’t realize is that the number of those liking the group on Facebook is larger than those who like the state Democratic and Republican parties combined, and also more than those who like Anthony Brown, Peter Franchot, or Doug Gansler. Coincidentally, these are three of the top contenders for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

And Larry Hogan told me the group appeals to a broad cross-section of voters, drawing interest from Democrats and unaffiliated voters as well as Republicans. I was hoping to get a more formalized sit-down with him before the Executive Committee meeting, but we will have to do it another time.

Another happening at the convention was that Andy Harris formally endorsed Mitt Romney as part of his remarks at the convention. You may recall he was a state co-chairman for Newt Gingrich but with Newt exiting the race the time was right for Andy to get on board. As Harris said:

Mitt Romney has proven he is a great leader and a man of integrity during this primary election season.   I know Mitt Romney will direct this country back on the right path to economic prosperity.  I am proud to stand with Mitt Romney and ask Marylanders to stand with Mitt too.

But something Andy mentioned before the convention also deserves attention. When the Medicare Trustees released a report last week projecting Medicare would be bankrupt by 2024, Harris made the following statement:

The current Medicare system is not “stable” as the Administration claims; this report shows Medicare is going bankrupt.  Unless action is taken to save Medicare, beneficiaries will see dramatic cuts in benefits.  Instead of the Obama Administration’s plan to impose draconian cost-cutting measures which will lead to rationing of care for beneficiaries, we need comprehensive reform to the system to ensure the federal government keeps its promise of Medicare  to current beneficiaries and to future generations.  I am ready to work across the aisle to preserve the Medicare program through physician-patient centered reforms.

Yet I’m afraid Harris still misses the point. When you get numbers like this, it’s clear that Medicare needs a mercy killing:

On average, a two earner household pays $119,000 in Medicare taxes in their lifetime, but gets $357,000 in benefits out of the system.

Let’s review that. If I were to invest in something which would triple my money, it would be a tremendous opportunity. The problem is that, just like any other Ponzi scheme, those who arrive last are holding the bag. And since I would turn 60 in 2024 guess who’s the loser?

Speaking of Harris, his Republican Study Committee amplified recent stories with a thoughtful brief analysis of the job situation for college graduates. In the category of “duh,” they summarized:

You cannot impose ObamaCare, borrow $1 trillion every year, restrict energy production, constantly threaten higher taxes, and still expect entrepreneurs and small businesses to take the same risks and hire the same numbers that they otherwise would.

Another nugget that landed in my mailbox (through a friend) reminds me of the recent financial questions posed about a certain candidate in a very recent election. While the Democratic Governor’s Association claims to have raised $8 million in the first quarter of 2012, their FEC paperwork only shows $6.6 million. As it was explained to me:

The DGA is purportedly claiming that their fundraising totals include a 501c4 and a Super PAC, but the DGA’s new accounting methods raise a number of concerns:

  1. RGA and DGA have long had 501c4’s, which are legally separate entities with different TAX ID numbers and thus in the past have not been used when tallying either organizations’ fundraising totals. The RGA has not and did not count any 501c4 money when announcing our fundraising totals.
  2. There are many more restrictions on how c4 money can be spent. Consequently, it makes sense that 501c4 and 527 money be reported separately by both RGA and DGA.
  3. 501c4’s report annually, so there is no way to verify a 501c4’s fundraising on a quarterly basis.
  4. There is also no way to know if some of the money is double counted. If you look at the attached report of the DGA’s Super PAC, DGA Action, you will see that the bulk of its fundraising was the result of in-kind contributions from the DGA. DGA also contributed $48,340 to its Super PAC in the first quarter.
  5. The 501c4’s 2012 fundraising totals are not due to be reported publicly until May 2013.

The only way to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the RGA’s first quarter fundraising and the DGA’s is to look at the money received by the 527’s on our 8872’s. Doing so will show that the RGA raised more than $12.2 million while the DGA raised just over $6.6 million.

Definitely worth mentioning is the fact the head of the DGA is none other than our own, not-so-illustrious Governor Martin O’Malley. I guess overstating financial figures seems to be in vogue recently.

Meanwhile, perhaps some convention fallout has begun. Matt Teffeau, who was an officer in the Mid-Shore Young Republicans, left this as part of a Facebook post announcing his MSYR resignation:

(W)ith the recent events at this past MDGOP Convention, I believe our party is moving in the wrong direction and will focus my time to my (Central Committee) position… As we look forward as a party in the State I believe we should unite to defeat Democrats instead of fighting between ourselves and putting our trust in others outside the party (such) as bloggers, tea party movement, etc..

Previously Matt had written about “(s)o many bad choices by our party (Saturday). And you wonder why dems out raise and get out the vote more. Self interest shouldn’t come first before values,” as well as “Murphyites will destroy this state party.”

I have to strongly disagree with Matt on those assertions. If you are to state the case – as the party establishment often  likes to do – that we are a “big tent”, then it seems to me that we who are TEA Party members should be embraced. Of course I happen to be a blogger and someone who supported Brian Murphy in 2010, so I’m quite aware that not everyone in the Solomons Island convention hall was a fan of mine, and I can accept that as the price I pay for being politically incorrect to the state GOP but true to my beliefs.

But the fact is the party made a decision based on the evidence presented to it by both sides. I can tell you Matt’s home county was unanimous in its support of both Audrey Scott and Louis Pope, and they have every right to believe what they will. Yet after the several conventions in a row I lost on something I held near and dear to my heart I didn’t threaten to take my ball and go home – I chose to stay and fight for what I believe is right. Above all I believe in certain principles and that everyone should have a fair opportunity in the political arena. The party should encourage all comers and let the voters decide.

Furthermore, I believe in the truth, and in seeking answers when I see something worth questioning. It just so happened that these answers didn’t reflect well on one candidate Matt backed.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention several other bloggers’ takes on the convention. While Joe Steffen allowed himself to gloat a little bit, Richard Cross more soberly dissected Audrey Scott’s failed effort and Julie Brewington – who happened to be a member of my county delegation via proxy – reflected on a “schizophrenic” MDGOP. Standing back at a larger overview were Richard Falknor and Ann Corcoran, although Falknor has a useful vote chart on the race that Larry Helminiak provided. And the guys from Red Maryland discussed it on one of their broadcasts. I don’t know if my name came up in vain there, but perhaps it did.

After the weekend I had I would expect no less.