Due to a prior commitment, I missed the April edition of Third Friday – which marked its return outdoors, where it thrives by being able to use the whole downtown plaza – but Friday evening turned out to be a winner weather-wise and because of that hundreds came out for this month’s edition of the event.
I had seen the crowd was a good one on approaching the event, but arriving on the Plaza it looked quite healthy.
It didn’t hurt that my friends from Semiblind were playing down there.
In and of itself, that’s not unheard of as they’ve played Third Friday before. But they seemed to lend a different flavor to the event you may not get with an acoustic act.
One big difference I noticed this year, though, is that the scope of the event seems a little smaller. If you look at that link, you’ll notice there were bands all the way down Main Street, but now the event seems to be concentrated just on the Plaza and the unit block of North Division Street.
In fact, there was a second band at the courthouse called the Edge-ucators but I didn’t make it over in time to catch them. There were other activities over there, though, which seemed to cater to kids and support the overall theme for the month of flight and things which go up in the air. As they said, “If it flings, flies, or floats… we are all about it!”
The open space of the courthouse yard lent itself to activities like disc golf as well.
And the kids had their own little space.
For the little ones, it was perfect: a bounce house, nearby snow cones, and plenty of sidewalk chalk. What else could a child want?
The local artistic community has also taken the event to heart, with Salisbury University getting in on the act by using a nearby building as exhibition space. Two new exhibits opened yesterday.
If you didn’t see “Immortals” and “Young Philly” yesterday, you have a little more time to check them out.
Let me just say I’m not an art critic and this question didn’t dawn on me until I went through my pictures this morning. But who actually sits at the exhibit during the time it is open? The artists? Seems like a lot of time out of a week to man an exhibit for 24 hours (Wednesday to Saturday 12-6, according to the flyer.)
Maybe if I went to this party I could find out. This is to benefit the fine folks at SWAC.
But accompanying the 3F theme of flight were several other exhibits. Posters similar to this were spread around the Plaza.
You could try your hand at making a paper airplane and seeing how far you could make it sail.
Even human-powered flight was encouraged.
Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton was contemplating this one.
I can tell you he made it just shy of 9 feet. My bad knee and extra ballast left me a little short of 8.
But these guys were a draw without leaving their feet.
Why were they so successful? Well, there was the element of danger.
In all, the crowds seemed to hang around for the evening, making the Plaza a busy place. This picture was sort of random – I found the walking bush taking a rest!
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Shortly before Third Friday got underway, these two businesses had a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Both have been open for some time, but the local Chamber of Commerce wanted to give them an official sendoff.
As the evening progressed, the action began to shift to other places.
One eatery taking advantage of the weather and adjacent crowd was Roadie Joe’s, with a nice group of alfresco diners.
As it turned out, Kim and I enjoyed our late dinner outside at Roadie Joe’s as well, where Paul Brion was playing his final set of the evening.
The food was great, although the service was a little bit slow. But if the idea was to allow us to enjoy our evening without leaving downtown Salisbury, mission accomplished.
There were a couple times I overheard people say something along the lines of “I wish they did this more often.” I understand that part of the attraction of Third Friday is its uniqueness on the calendar, since it’s a single day each month where people can plan on enjoying downtown Salisbury. But in order to maintain a vibrant, thriving downtown that seems to be what’s envisioned by the city fathers, this needs to be a seven-night a week affair with several hotspots at once.
There’s also the argument that the Plaza should be permanently closed to traffic as it was for several years decades ago. For an event like Third Friday, which is kid-friendly, this makes perfect sense. It might not be a bad idea to close off North Division Street as well in order to better integrate the open space in front of the Government Office Building. Again, though, it depends on the vision for the Plaza – if it’s to be retail-focused then parking near the stores would be desirable, but something which is more of an entertainment district where nightspots may locate themselves up and down the block probably is best served with a pedestrian-only Plaza, with a taxi stand on the short street which runs off the Plaza toward Business Route 50.
Any such effort, though, is probably several Third Fridays away so enjoy the art-focused events and the nice weather while you can.
Once upon a time, the massive, weekend-long food orgy we locally call Pork in the Park got its start, and I imagine it went something along the lines of what was held yesterday down in Snow Hill, Maryland. Then again, our county doesn’t have a large defunct auto dealership turned into a body shop to hold an event at. This used to be Sho-Wil Chevy-Oldsmobile, or so the large tent said.
At least these guys went out and hired an expert, as Sandy Fulton (right) has been involved with Pork in the Park since the beginning.
Certainly the Snow Hill Middle School PTA may have hit upon a winner of an event. For those of you expecting thousands of people, a throng of vendors, and dozens of competitors, though, you would be a little disappointed with this modest beginning.
A total of eight amateur teams vied for the $100 top prize in chicken and pork, along with $200 for the overall winner. I’m not sure how the vendors did, but there were a few there.
There was also a somewhat limited selection of food at this gathering, including ribs for sale from Famous Dave’s and Phat Boyz BBQ. Hey, it’s a start.
By the way, the best chicken prize was won by Broke Bob’s BBQ (obviously Bob is a little less broke) while Spicy Guys BBQ (who sent their lone girl up to claim the prize) won the best pork. But the overall champion was Tribal Smokers, which finished second in both categories.
Lest you think there wasn’t much going on there, well, there was a variety of activities. We missed the cornhole tournament, but could have sharpened our horseshoe skills.
Now a number of people left after the awards, since they had likely arrived very early to the site for their chance at the cash. But quite a few hung around in the chill to listen to one of the five bands featured. (Spoiler alert: there is also the return of Weekend of Local Rock for a post next weekend.)
This couple made themselves at home in the hay, much to the delight of onlookers.
Others in the even younger set found the bales fun to horse around in.
I imagine the young teenage boy, unseen under the lump of straw on the right side of the photo, is still scrubbing it out of his clothes, hair, etc. He had a lot of fun with it.
Another entertainer not on the bill was this talented young man.
I suggested he should try his luck on the Boardwalk because he could probably pay for a semester or two every summer, with a little more practice.
But as the sun set over the horizon, the vendors had packed up and the food court was doing the same. I think Phat Boyz was the only one left selling as we left. Well, that and the beer tent.
Yet aside from the food, which was a little on the pricey side – not that it’s an uncommon thing at these types of events – this was a relatively cheap way to spend the afternoon. With a little better weather and a year’s experience under their belt, I see no reason why they can’t draw a couple thousand next year.
Their main goal is to become a KCBS-sanctioned event next year, which will certainly make the stakes a lot higher for the teams. If they can get to a point where they’re drawing 30 or 40 teams, perhaps 20 to 30 vendors, and maybe a dozen different restaurants (not all of them sell ribs) that would be a superb one-day event for the Snow Hill area to bookend their season (Blessing of the Combines is their prime tourism draw, and they also have the annual Worcester County Fair, both in August.)
So congratulations on a job well done to Pig and a Jig. I look forward to bigger and better things next year. And also, as I said above, look for the Weekend of Local Rock post on the event this coming weekend.
Normally I have gone to Pork in the Park on a Saturday, but circumstances this year dictated I go on Sunday this year. It’s definitely a different vibe from going on a Saturday – the barbecue competitors are gone and the crowds are smaller.
But the ribs are still popular, and those who supply them seem to come back year after year.
This was the place I got them from this time; alas, the people I liked from last year opted not to return.
Instead of professional barbecue teams, the Sunday barbecue competition is strictly amateur. But I believe the overall winner here gets to compete against the big boys in 2014.
Some of these amateurs still have the great professional signage.
Because the professional pig roasters were gone, there were other competitions going on in their place. Anyone for cornhole?
The competition was a little more friendly on the drink end, and I’m glad many of our local establishments represented themselves. With pork, is it beer or wine?
The entertainment was more subdued as well, with just a couple bands there for Sunday. Pictured below the overall entertainment schedule were the Crawdaddies, who as you may expect from the name played with a zydeco flavor.
Now Pork in the Park has held events like car shows and such to bring people out on Sunday, but this year they stumbled upon something which may be a winner. The real entertainment this day was provided by gluttony. First came a raft of amateurs who tried their luck at eating vast amounts of chicken wings – 12 pounds in six minutes.
But they paled in comparison to how the professionals took care of business. In 12 minutes their task was to eat 24 pounds of wings.
Now these were people on the Major League Eating circuit who had ingested large quantities of items like chili spaghetti, cranberry sauce, asparagus, and so forth. But the most famous competitor, Joey Chestnut, was the reigning Nathan’s hot dog eating champion, a fact gleefully played up by the Major League Eating announcer who breathlessly described the events in detail to a crowd of several hundred.
I found out later that Chestnut was the winner, having consumed over 200 chicken wings in the 12 minutes allowed.
The real winner, though, was event sponsor Wicomico County Recreation and Tourism. Yes, they lost a number of competitors and vendors from last year’s rain and the anger about the poor setup – this year the rides were shunted over to the stone parking lot last year’s food vendors hated and competitors placed where the rides were previously so there would be more room in front of the stage. It didn’t seem like the increased admission cost of $5 (when it was previously $2) did much to dampen turnout, since people probably perceived more value with the entertainment upgrade to a national act.
But it will be interesting to see whether they can top this year’s slate, particularly as a similar event (assisted in part by the former head of Wicomico Recreation and Tourism) makes its debut in a couple weeks down near Snow Hill. That one-day event, called Pig and a Jig, may seem like the “old” Pork in the Park before it became so popular.
Whether that event is rare or well-done remains to be seen.
In case you missed part 1, it covered Friday night’s events. I noted in that post that I didn’t get to bed until after 1 a.m. – this after working, driving nearly three hours, not eating right, and so forth – so I missed the breakfast speaker. Sorry.
I didn’t get downstairs until after 10:00 so my first photo of the day was noticing this addition to the lobby space.
Nice table, but no one sitting there, at least at the time. So as I (and many others) were waiting for lunch, I spied some nourishment with a curious label. Unity cookies?
Now I don’t know who arranged for these, whether it was Collins Bailey’s idea or not, or whether Greg Kline was asked. I didn’t find it out of character for Collins but wasn’t sure why Greg was excluded.
Anyway, we had our lunch, and while the food was rather disappointing, it was exciting to hear our party awards and a guy who turned out to be a fine speaker. Presenting the awards was Diana Waterman.
The formal awards presented for 2013:
- Aris T. Allen Award (voter registration): St. Mary’s County. Cecil County received an honorable mention.
- Samuel Chase Award (outstanding county): Montgomery County
- William Paca Award (outstanding Young Republican): Dave Meyers
- Belva Lockwood Award (outstanding woman): Mary-Beth Russell
- Charles Carroll Award (outstanding man): Chris Cavey
As I mentioned above, Anirban Basu turned out to be a surprisingly good speaker – after all, he toils in the dismal science of economics so I wasn’t sure just what to expect.
The head of the Sage Policy Group noted he made many of his remarks just a few weeks ago in front of a seminar put on by Change Maryland. But he noted that the business climate in Maryland “further deteriorated” as a result of the General Assembly session; as a result it would take a crisis which is not here yet to get the state to change direction.
Despite the fact the state ranks 40th in business climate according to CEO Magazine and 41st in the nation in tax structure according to the Tax Foundation, the state gained 4,700 jobs in March – a full 5.3% of nationwide job gain from about 2% of the population, explained Basu.
Yet while both Maryland and Virginia share in the benefit of being adjacent to the seat of federal government, it’s Virginia which has the “lion’s share” of large corporations. Meanwhile, Maryland is “overdependent” on the federal government to drive its economy, and while the “token gesture” of sequestration hasn’t affected the state just yet, the next quarter will be a “real stress test” for Maryland’s economy, one which Basu termed “not diversified.”
Moreover, the state continues to drive businesses and high earners away. “When people are leaving your state for Delaware, you have a problem,” said Basu. Maryland businesses are in “the awkward position of waiting for the bad news to come.”
So what solutions did Anirban have? Our side needs to be constructive, tell the truth about the situation, but not come across as rooting for bad outcomes. Two things he would propose would be to completely eliminate the corporate tax rate – a move which would change corporate behavior and create the narrative that Maryland was finally open for business – and allow “right-to-work zones” to be created at the county level.
He also stated the case that taxes are okay, but it matters how the money is spent – some investment and infrastructure is better than others. “(The O’Malley administration) shows a disrespect for the market,” said Basu, pointing to offshore wind and mass transit as two prime examples. Politically, getting the message out means “you have to win one household at a time.” But he also chided the Maryland GOP, even though he was a registered Republican he noted “this room doesn’t look like Maryland.”
This was the best part of lunch, yet I didn’t take one.
With that excellent address, I didn’t mind the so-so lunch fare so much. It was time for the convention to begin.
(Sorry about the blurry photo. As usual, Wicomico was seated near the back.)
And the fireworks only took about ten minutes to begin, as a motion was made to amend the agenda and push the Chair elections to the front. This would have gone more smoothly if we had a quicker Credentials Committee report, although those of us sitting in the back were befuddled at what was going on because the sound system was absolutely brutal. This had to be pushed off because a voice vote was not clear as to who was in the majority.
So there was a little bit of business transpired on the original agenda before it was determined how many voters were in the room. Once we got to that point, the agenda change passed with a larger than 3/5 majority.
Because of that, the votes were moved ahead of the reports from the Maryland Senate and House leaders as well as Congressman Andy Harris.
As expected, three names were placed into nomination: Collins Bailey, Greg Kline, and Diana Waterman. It’s fair to say that we expected a multiple-ballot situation and it indeed came to pass.
On the first ballot, the weighted totals were Waterman 264, Bailey 207, and Kline 75. In terms of actual bodies, Waterman had 131 votes, Bailey 104, and Kline 33. Diana drew votes from 22 of the 23 counties and Baltimore City, carrying 12 outright and three – Allegany, Caroline, and Howard – unanimously. Bailey drew votes from all but four counties – the three where Diana was unanimous as well as Garrett County – carried seven counties, and took all nine Washington County votes. Kline carried only Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties and only received votes in 13 of 24 jurisdictions.
Three counties – Dorchester, Harford, and Wicomico – ended up in a tie between Bailey and Waterman.
It was figured by most that, facing the reality of the situation, Greg Kline would drop out before the second round – but he pressed on. So the second ballot remained the same and the votes were unchanged in 13 of 24 counties, but the ones which did were enough to propel Waterman to victory. In weighted votes it finished Waterman 284, Bailey 225, and Kline 37 – the actual tally in voters was Waterman 139, Bailey 117, and Kline 11.
Would Kline dropping out and endorsing Bailey have helped? We will never know, but those who split away from Kline gave just enough support to Diana for her to win.
In a gesture of unity, the two runners-up were invited to speak a few words.
For his part, Collins Bailey said we should “do everything we can to make sure (Diana) is successful…we are what Maryland needs.”
Because Diana won the Chair position outright, we had to have an election for First Vice-Chair after she took care of the formality of immediately resigning the First Vice-Chair position as well as her spot on the Queen Anne’s County Central Committee.
I was a little surprised Collins threw his hat in the ring for First Vice-Chair, particularly when Dwight Patel had campaigned for the job. Patel was also nominated along with three others: Scott Shaffer, Mary Burke-Russell, and Mary Rolle.
We were beginning to think we’d be there all night, facing the prospect of sorting through five hopefuls for the First Vice-Chair position. Instead, Bailey won the job easily, garnering a majority of the vote in both weighted totals and actual members. That balloting was Bailey 135, Patel 36, Russell 33, Rolle 30, and Shaffer 29. Each of the also-rans managed to carry at least one county – Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, and Caroline for Shaffer, Charles, St. Mary’s, and Talbot for Russell, Frederick and Washington for Rolle, and Montgomery for Patel – but aside from a tie between Bailey and Rolle in Allegany, Collins got the rest.
So the Chair question was finally settled, but there was still more controversy as some wanted to move the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee reports up so those votes could be held. Instead, we heard briefly from Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin and House Minority Leader Delegate Tony O’Donnell. (Andy Harris had already left, so we got no Congressional report.)
Pipkin was succinct: “There is no doubt that the state of Maryland has been hijacked and held hostage by the Democratic Party.” He predicted “the gun bill passed in Annapolis will not save one life” and blasted Martin O’Malley’s offshore wind scheme as “the dumbest idea ever.”
Next, O’Donnell made the case that “we had a tough, tough session…for taxpayers.” But he called on us to not repeat the mistakes of 2010 in 2014 and field a full slate of Delegate candidates instead of spotting Democrats 30 seats. And O’Donnell noted the gas tax lockbox “is really a virtual paper bag.”
As it turned out, the final piece of business accomplished this day was the Bylaws Committee report. The three items which were deemed most non-controversial were disposed of rather quickly in a unanimous voice vote. But another item dealing with what were perceived as simple housekeeping changes endured lengthy debate and a few failed motions for amendment before finally passing. (At least I think they did, as the general hubbub in the back of the room made it difficult to hear.)
Lastly came an amendment to give the College Republicans and Young Republicans a vote on the Executive Committee. What was a fairly non-controversial idea – although I had heard some logical “devil’s advocate” arguments against the proposal – suddenly became a hot-button issue when an amendment was proposed to give the Secretary and Treasurer of the Executive Committee a vote, too.
Of course, another fly in the ointment was having to do a second quorum check because a number of participants had departed. But we still had a quorum, and the amendment to the amendment allowing the Secretary and Treasurer a vote passed narrowly.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, an alarmed Diana Waterman came to the microphone and said we needed to be out of this room three minutes ago. But the College Republicans and Young Republicans went home happy because that amendment passed on a voice vote, probably about 3/4 yes. We had to hurriedly adjourn, thus sparing ourselves the National Committeewoman’s Report, National Committeeman’s Report, College Republicans Report, Young Republicans Report, and Resolutions Report. That could have created another controversy because the Tari Moore resolution may have come off the table.
I realize I’m supposed to be in the spirit of party unity now, but having a convention cut short because of time constraints for the second time in three years is pretty much inexcusable. It was bad enough the hotel seemed ill-prepared for an event such as ours, but this meeting was never really kept under parliamentary control as it should have.
Perhaps the return to the more familiar environment of Annapolis this fall will assist in having a more enjoyable convention, and Lord knows we need one after this bruise-fest.
I’d almost like to thank the Maryland Republican Party for handing me a subject I can write on while the state convention is going on, but perhaps this may instead thankfully be the final foot in the mouth for the Waterman regime.
On Thursday we learned that the Maryland Republican Party views bloggers as a cash cow and not a legitimate source of news and information. (Really, I should say independent bloggers since those associated with a mainstream news outlet are okay to them.) Needless to say, a lot of my peers are up in arms about this one.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret – I’ve been covering the convention for years. Media credential? I don’t need no stinkin’ media credential! Granted, I have a job to do for those who elected me as well, but the MDGOP should be well aware by now I put up a summary post or two afterward. So do most of the other blogs in the state.
But do they really think people aren’t going to Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise share what goes on at the convention? The first people who will know who the new state party Chair is will be in the room, but within five minutes the rest of the world will know.
The MDGOP should be honored that someone like William Jacobson (of Legal Insurrection) wants to have the opportunity to cover the event. Perhaps the coverage won’t be as glowing as the party would like, but do they honestly think the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, et. al. will focus on the message we are trying to send out or the agenda they want to hear? Obviously we’ve had a contentious race for Chair and they smell blood – I never see them at an uncontroversial state party convention.
So provided I don’t get rousted out of the event for protesting – I’m planning on wearing my CPAC credentials as a show of support for the Maryland blogging community – look for full coverage tomorrow. I will also be Tweeting as news breaks (@ttownjotes).
In February, Alex Mooney confirmed what some had suspected all along: he would be leaving the Chair position of the Maryland Republican Party to pursue other political opportunities. As the party bylaws state, the First Vice-Chair took over the duties of running the state party and that First Vice-Chair was Diana Waterman.
I have been directly involved in the state party since 2006, and this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this rodeo. In 2009 embattled Chair Jim Pelura resigned – however, just before the Fall Convention that year First Vice-Chair Chris Cavey announced he would not seek the job full-time for the remaining year on Pelura’s term and the MDGOP instead overwhelmingly elected Audrey Scott.
(The original version of this post incorrectly stated Chris Cavey served on an interim basis as Chair; he reminded me – see comment – that was not so. Unlike this year with Alex Mooney, Jim Pelura served the entire sixty days between the announcement of his resignation and the selection of Audrey Scott at the Fall 2009 convention. Error on the blogger, if you’re scoring at home.)
And in looking at this more recent race, we’re actually dealing with many of the same issues we dealt with back in 2009. In reading through what each of the three candidates has to say about the race, it seemed like three main themes came up: fundraising, communication, and goals for the 2014 election. Specific to each candidate, this is what I took away from their ideas.
Diana Waterman looks to mine some of the former donors who may have stopped or just donated to national candidates. She also promises personal meetings with donors and wants to assist counties in developing their own fundraising strategies for 2014. It’s a sound conservative approach but doesn’t really depart from the plan we have now or the top-down thinking. I know in our county we have ideas for fundraising but we’re never sure what sort of follow-through or assistance we can expect from the state party, if any. At times, it may not even be needed.
On the other hand, while Greg Kline hasn’t yet firmed up his specific plan, his overall goal is to set electoral goals as a product to sell while expanding the pie of potential donors. I like the concept of “1914″ but because this plan is still in the process of creation, we lose more valuable time getting it together.
The things which appeal to me with Collins Bailey regarding fundraising are the specificity of his goals – $800,000 by the 2014 election is actually rather attainable – and the idea of expanding the pool of donors through online fundraising. I was actually considering the next point as a separate post, but I think I’ll bring this example into my writing here.
The other day I got one of my frequent e-mails from Organizing
Against America For Action, which detailed that they had raised money from 109,582 supporters with an average donation of $44 apiece. While $5 million is modest for a national organization with millions of e-mail addresses on file, imagine how many people it would take to raise, say, $240,000 for the party at $40 apiece over the internet. We would be 30% of the way toward our November 2014 goal with a minimum of effort and the assistance of just 6,000 Republicans.
Do you know what the total internet fundraising was for the party from January 2011 to September 2012? $31,352. That’s it. We can do a LOT better – in my estimation we are vastly underutilizing the internet. Advantage Bailey.
Second is communication, which is a hot topic of mine. Needless to say, with the decision already made by Diana Waterman regarding the RNC Rules Committee controversy, I don’t have a lot of confidence she will work to improve communication. Note that I’m not talking about the means of communication but the content of communication. Just like in the arena of fundraising, the MDGOP hasn’t taken advantage of social media and new technology and Diana is part of the team which seemingly sat on its hands.
Meanwhile, Greg Kline gets it partially right in terms of utilizing the new media – and why not? He’s a member of it, as am I. The party should be keeping us in the loop because Lord knows they’re not getting a fair shake from the Baltimore Sun or Washington Post anytime soon; meanwhile, Martin O’Malley and Democrats have their narratives set for them.
But Collins Bailey goes a little beyond that to embrace what he calls an “integrated web presence,” utilizing the social media side of the equation for messaging, fundraising, and outreach. And I believe Collins would also be amenable to following the best aspects of the Kline plan, as Greg would probably lean on advice from Collins. To me, this second area is a wash between Kline and Bailey, as both of them seem to “get it” moreso than Diana does based on her brief track record.
Finally, we have the 2014 goals. Diana Waterman’s goals are relatively modest, though, as she’s looking toward 2020 to achieve her plan. There are two basic problems I see with that deadline: one is that 2020 is not a state election year (and would feature an incumbent President running for re-election as we had in 2012) and the second is that we will have missed the opportunity to reset Congressional and legislative districts for more fairness in the next decade. The time to set that up will be 2018, yet she’s happy to have just a filibuster-proof Senate majority.
Kline’s “1914 Plan” is simple: get that 19-seat minority next year to stop bad legislation or sustain vetoes if we should elect a Republican governor. Greg also preaches the importance of filling out the ballot, wishing to recruit a Republican candidate for every contest on the ballot. Yet what are the long-term goals?
Again, Bailey goes a lot further. And damn it, we should have no less of a goal than turning this state Republican as soon as possible. Did the Democrats sulk and moan that all was lost when they lost Government House in 2002 and saw George W. Bush win nationally in 2004? No – they obfuscated, attacked, and played to win, which is what they indeed accomplished in 2006 and 2008. While we as a state and nation are the worse for it, just remember the stated goal of Maryland Democrats was to “bury (Republicans) upside-down, and it will be ten years before they crawl out again.” Well, I’d like to advance that timetable by a couple years and chuck some of the most useless politicians the nation has ever seen – those Democrats who rule our state with an iron fist – down into a hole of their own making. They’ve taxed us, regulated us, worked to take away our guns, gave us the gateway drug to societal breakdown with same-sex marriage, and made the state a magnet for illegal immigrants. That’s a pretty deep hole they’ve dug and we need to give them a push and grab the shovel to fill it in.
What’s quite funny, though, is that Collins is probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If he doesn’t win, Bailey is happy to work with whoever does. So allow me to share something with you.
Last Wednesday, our four Lower Shore counties held a quad-county meeting as we always do prior to a convention. Collins spoke first, presented his ideas and answered a few questions; meanwhile, Joe Crawford was passing out his literature to those attending. Fairly typical.
Next up was Brian Griffiths, representing Greg Kline, who came by himself. As he began to speak, he started passing around Greg’s literature when Collins interrupted him. Brian gave him a piece when Collins said, “no, give me half,” and proceeded to pass it around the opposite table. To me, that’s the difference between a leader and a statesman, and it’s little gestures like that which convey to me the intent of Collins Bailey to be a rock-solid steward of the Maryland GOP.
That’s not to take anything away from Greg Kline, for whom I have deep respect as someone who has helped blaze a trail for Maryland’s new media. The one key concern I had on his behalf may not come to pass; if it does now I think we know how to deal with it. If Greg’s fortunate enough to win, I’m happy to work with him in carrying out the “1914″ Plan, particularly since I have a sneaking hunch I live in one of those targeted districts.
If Diana Waterman wins, I hope she can work with whoever is elected as the new First Vice-Chair and – once those of us who care get her aligned in the right direction insofar as listening to the grassroots rather than those who seem to treat the MDGOP as a place to wield their microscopic bit of power – work with her on improving our chances in 2014 and not some far-off election cycle.
Originally I was planning on listening to the Dorchester County candidate forum tonight before I made up my mind. But with the voluminous information made available through the internet and social media on the candidates, it occurred to me that there’s already the tools out there for most to do their homework.
But it was that gesture in Fruitland, reinforced by the candid assessment and glowing endorsement of Gary Rumsey of St. Mary’s County, which tipped the scales. I decided that, even though I now have a stake in the race, those who know me also probably believe I’ll still be a fair arbiter of what’s said later tonight in Cambridge. That post will probably be the last thing I write before heading off to Timonium since I’m sure I will pre-write something unrelated to the convention for Saturday.
You know, it’s sort of funny. Originally I thought Collins was some sort of stalking horse for Diana Waterman but now chances are better and better he may walk off with the whole shooting match.
It’s time to put the bickering and acrimony behind us, and I think the best healer will be Collins Bailey. He doesn’t care about credit, just that the job is done right – and we have a LOT of work to do. He deserves your vote Saturday.
Perhaps April Fool’s Day is the perfect day to put this up.
But this was a spot I did as I was getting ready to leave CPAC, having made the the acquaintance of one Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi. He calls it his “field guide to bloggers,” I call it a nice little video calling card of my thoughts about CPAC.
I’ve not been one who has done a lot of video, but I thought that turned out relatively all right.
You might be interested to know that my friend Jackie Wellfonder has her own segment as well, with the whole field guide linked here. I think I was either the last or second-to-last one done, but Pete was apparently all over that place doing his field guide and radio show – a really nice guy.
It’s just another example of how the new media is working (and trust me, Pete is really working it because he has mouths to feed) to supplant the tired old rhetoric of what passes for journalism in the mainstream. He is an example of one who dabbles in a number of different areas to make his living, but this will also serve as a foreshadow to something discussed in Ten Question Tuesday tomorrow. Look for it at noon.
Oh, one postscript: this date has significance to me because, eight years ago tonight, I decided to embark on this whole blogging adventure with a Blogspot site called “ttown’s right-wing conspiracy.” It’s still there, linked to the right-hand side of my site under “bloglist.”
When I last left you at CPAC, I was ready to return upstairs to see Sarah Palin (and ran into Dan Bongino in the process.)
But I wanted to digress beforehand and explain a little bit about my vantage point for the event.
When I walked in early on and finally found the media check-in, they gave me this.
Obviously that gave me floor access, but for most of my time there (except when I walked up to take pictures) I was back in this area.
By the way, the woman sitting in front of me in the multi-colored shirt was my friend Jackie Wellfonder, who was covering CPAC for Viral Read. Nice work for her!
We were segregated into the area – which had some perks, like free coffee and pop – with the one problem being the obstructed view. But we had a good place to work and power to plug in our laptops.
The only complaint I would have was the internet access. It was provided by the TEA Party News Network, which I appreciate. But it was overwhelmed, with the best analogy I could give being that of sending a Yugo to run a NASCAR race.
I would have liked to do more Tweeting from the event, but it simply wasn’t possible.
Since I knew Sarah Palin was slated to speak at noon, I was upstairs a little early. I came back just in time to see a former Democrat speak.
Artur Davis is a former Congressman (and onetime Obama supporter) who has come around to the conservative side. Davis pointed out that the 43 million conservative voters in America are the country’s largest voting bloc. “This is our America too and we are not going anywhere!,” he exclaimed.
At last, Sarah Palin was introduced.
No, that’s not Sarah nor is that a mistakenly-placed picture. “As all of you know, I’m not remotely cool enough to be Sarah Palin,” opened Senator Ted Cruz. “She drives the media batcrap crazy.”
But he stepped out to proclaim that Sarah Palin was among the biggest reasons he was in the Senate. “She picks winners,” said Cruz, citing as examples Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Pat Toomey, and Nikki Haley in 2010, along with Deb Fischer, Jeff Flake, and Cruz last year.
“I would not be in the Senate today if it weren’t for Governor Sarah Palin,” concluded Cruz. “She is principled, she is courageous, and she is a mama grizzly.”
Palin’s speech has been reviewed as one chock full of one-limers and quips, and it was.
However, she made time for chastising the Senate for not passing a budget. She also pointed out that leaders take risks while campaigners make promises and made the case that “we’ll never win a contest of identity politics.” Sarah also warned us to not let the media intimidate us and had the prescience to quip “the last thing we need is Washington, D.C. vetting our candidates.” She advised the inside-the-Beltway crowd to “get over yourself.”
But Sarah Palin’s seminal moment was the Super Big Gulp. I think the Southland Corporation owes SarahPAC a pretty hefty contribution for the free advertising they received from this one gesture – somewhere around National Harbor a 7-11 should be advertising that they sold Sarah’s Big Gulp. I wondered why the lights were dimmed before Sarah’s performance – the three roadies were delivering her prop.
(The picture is actually a photo of the monitor in front of me at the time.) But my burning question: was it Coke or Pepsi?
After Sarah finished, I decided to do a little more exploring. Going upstairs I saw the screening room for a number of movies sponsored by Citizens United.
There were also breakout sessions going on, like this one wrapping up from TEA Party Patriots.
But the real reason I went there was that a flyer had advised me of a Breitbart News-sponsored event dubbed “The Uninvited.”
I got a picture of Steve King which turned out this time, as he introduced the event by speaking about Andrew Breitbart, a man whose “integrity was essential.” Breitbart’s CEO Larry Silov added that “we mjust be willing to discuss issues.”
This was an event was intended to address some items which weren’t featured prominently enough on the main CPAC stage: global jihad, persecution of Christians, gutting the military, and immigration were cited. Among the “uninvited” speakers was Pamela Geller, who was also featured at Turning the Tides. They had a packed house.
I didn’t stay for the event, which is the thing about CPAC: it’s way more than one person can see. (The same goes for several of the films screened there as well as the breakout sessions, which occur at the same time as speakers and panels downstairs.) The Uninvited event is covered well on Breitbart’s site, though.
Instead, I had a meeting of sorts to attend. Some of you who have seen my Facebook page have already seen this shot.
When I had stopped by the PJ Media booth earlier, I was told Lt. Col. West would be there at 1:30 and I arrived just in time to be behind Jackie Wellfonder in line. So I took advantage.
By this time, I decided to head back up so I could see Mia Love, a rising star in the conservative movement. But because they were running somewhat behind, I caught some of the stories of the “Conservatives Under 40″ featured as a panel.
Next up was a panel headed by former Senate candidate and Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who believed “this is the century of brain power and innovation.” She was joined by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, who cited the “U-Haul test” and quipped “California is Washington, D.C. is waiting,” and New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce, who asserted that our business is what separates us from South Sudan – they have no “kinetic energy.” The panel eventually suggested that perhaps a million small-business march on Washington may be needed to build awareness of their issues.
Brent Bozell spoke next, pleading his case that we need to stop listening to professional politicians and consultants who are most responsible for our “trainwreck.” He also ticked off a list of things which “aren’t conservative” like the new Ryan budget, House leadership, Jeb Bush, Bob McDonnell (who can “forget his national aspirations”, according to Bozell), and Karl Rove. The mention of Rove drew a chorus of boos from the audience.
We would work with these guys, said Brent, but it would have to be on our terms: “our days of playing second fiddle to moderates are over,” concluded Bozell.
We finally got to listen to Mia Love, who was introduced by comedian Stephen Crowder as a woman “liberals check under their bed for.” Somehow I had a lot of good pictures of her, this was the best.
“The pundits of doom and gloom would have you believe all is lost,” said Mia. But her upbeat message was of great cause of confidence: we can restore our confidence in this country and stand out as examples of what is good and right.
Next up was the final panel of the day. a confab called the CPAC All-Star panel.
I’ll admit that I spent the better part of my time this panel was speaking in writing the first portion of Part 1 of this series, but my ears perked up when Larry O’Connor of Breitbart News mentioned Andy Harris’s evisceration of CDC director Tom Frieden over the effects of the sequester.
After the All-Star Panel concluded its work, Dinesh d’Souza spoke on the upcoming film “America,” which as he stated, highlights the idea of the self-made man. This “couldn’t be more different than Obama’s idea,” which to d’Souza seemed to be one that the free market is a form of theft.
The film will ponder the question “what if America didn’t exist?”
RNC Chair Reince Priebus noted that the “House Republican budget is right for America” while the Democratic budget never balances. He also believed we need to introduce the government to the Tenth Amendment.
“Conservatives have to hold the government accountable,” Priebus concluded. “I applaud the new generation of liberty-minded Republicans.”
NRA head David Keene embraced Priebus after being introduced to speak, saying “he is a guy who gets it.” He also recounted a long history of conservative vs. establishment Republican battles dating back over a half-century and reminded us that 50% of voters under 30 voted for Ron Paul – but party leaders don’t really want voters in their clique, Keene said.
Political movements have two choices, said Keene: they can grow, or they can die. It was interesting to hear a member of the old guard speak to a crowd mainly comprised of those two generations younger, as we shall soon see.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers was another warmup act, one who cautioned us that “for too long we’ve been talking like bookkeepers rather than leaders.” She added, “we need to be the party of the 100 percent.”
After giving out the video of the year award to the University of Georgia College Republicans and the Blogger of the Year award to Katie Pavlich, who accepted the award and told us bloggers “we have the world in front of us to conquer, so let’s do it,” we finally got to one of the last featured speakers.
Ann Coulter was her usual snarky self, particularly snapping at onetime Coulter favorite Chris Christie: “Even CPAC had to cut back on its speakers this year, by about 300 pounds.” Later, when answering an audience question about whether Christie should have been invited to CPAC, Coulter said “I’m now a single-issue voter (on immigration), so Christie is off my list.”
She also made the point of tax hikes, rhetorically asking the question sure to come from the media: Are you saying that you wouldn’t even take $1 in tax increases for every $10 in spending cuts? “See, the problem is, we’re the Indians and the Democrats are Andrew Jackson,” replied Coulter. “We’ve been through this before.”
But she got serious during her remarks, telling the audience “the reason we don’t have the Senate is because Republicans keep screwing up. I can think of about ten Senate seats in the last three election cycles that we’ve pissed away through narcissism, greed, or stupidity.”
“Passion is great, but scoring is all that counts,” said Coulter. “On the basis of this one boneheaded statement by Todd Akin out in Missouri, Democrats finally had their talking point: the Republican were waging a ‘war on women.’”
But, countered Ann, “your average Democrat actually believes things much crazier than Todd Akin – but the Democrats don’t let their candidates open their mouths and say stupid stuff.”
Philosophy is not the Republicans’ problem, though. “Conservatism is about the only thing Republicans have going for them.”
She was also harsh on the pro-amnesty wing of the Republican Party, saying “if amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will win another national election.” Instead, Republicans shouldn’t be desperate and adopt amnesty because Democrats want it. “People always announce their complete triumph a moment before their crushing defeat,” concluded Ann. “Our job, Republicans, is to insure Democrats have that crushing defeat.”
After Coulter finished, the CPAC straw poll results were announced. What blew me away was the percentage of under-25 people who participated, although it should have been apparent in the crowd. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio paced the field. Coming in a distant third was the top 2012 candidate on the ballot, Rick Santorum. (My vote was among the ‘other’ category, since I preferred Indiana governor Mike Pence.)
Finally, we reached the penultimate speaker, newly elected Senator from Texas Ted Cruz.
In his remarks, it’s noteworthy that Cruz spoke in front of the podium, which to me suggests either he memorized his remarks or spoke completely off the cuff, or both.
He opened up by commenting on being called a ‘wacko bird’ by John McCain: “If standing for liberty makes me a ‘wacko bird’ then count me as a proud ‘wacko bird.’”
Cruz revealed one of the biggest surprises he received upon entering the Senate was their defeatist attitude, as he countered that “for the last three weeks, conservatives have been winning.”
On the Rand Paul filibuster, Ted pointed out that the filibuster drew more support as the night went on. “Each of you engaged,” said Cruz. It was something not seen in a long time – “standing on principle.” Ted also revealed the filibuster was the very first time he had spoken on the Senate floor.
Cruz also believed we were winning on sequestration, based on the lack of reaction to Barack Obama’s “scare America tour.” The sequester was a “small step” in reining in the debt.
As part of that, another victory in Cruz’s book was the vote on an amendment her offered to repeal funding for Obamacare. “Now I’ll confess: a couple weeks ago when I said initially I was going to offer that amendment, more than a few of my colleagues were not thrilled. And yet we saw every single Republican in the Senate vote unanimously to defund Obamacare,” said Cruz. On the other hand, all the Democrats voted to keep Obamacare, “even if it pushes us into a recession,” as Cruz charged.
But the key to continue winning is twofold, to defend the Constitution and champion growth and opportunity. “Defend the Constitution: liberty is under assault from every direction,” stated Ted. He cited threats to several parts of the Bill of Rights, particularly the Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment. “We need to repeal the NDAA ,” said Cruz to thunderous applause.
He also mentioned threats to our sovereignty. “We (the state of Texas) stood up to the President of the United States – who happened to be a Republican – and I went before the Supreme Court of the United States and said no President, Republican or Democrat, has the Constitutional authority to give away U.S. sovereignty.” Adding that Republicans stand up to Republican presidents, Cruz continued “where were the Democrats when Rand and the rest of us were standing on the floor on drones?”
On growth and opportunity, Cruz charged “we are in the midst of what I call ‘the Great Stagnation.’” Only twice in the postwar era have we seen less than 1 percent growth – from 1979-83 and over the last four years. “Obama didn’t learn the lesson from Reagan,” said Cruz. Instead, we need to embrace “opportunity conservatism,” a philosophy to ease the means of ascent up the economic ladder. To do this, we need to do a laundry list of things: repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, eliminate corporate welfare, build the Keystone pipeline, rein in the EPA, audit the Fed, stop QE infinity, abolish the Department of Education, champion school choice, stand with Israel, and stop sending foreign aid to nations that hate us.
Speaking to the audience, Cruz told us it was up to us to spread the message. “There are no longer gatekeepers that can decide what the American people hear and what they don’t get to hear.” He named his site as one means of doing so, but concluded by saying “we’re here because we’re not willing to give up on America.”
Okay, I’m out of pictures, but I’m not quite finished yet.
One goal of mine was to meet fellow bloggers and promote my site. I handed out a few dozen business cards, found a couple promising leads for freelance work, and did what networking I could. But perhaps the best part was getting to meet a few of the bloggers I’d read from afar as well as make a couple new acquaintances, such as Bill Hughes, who, like me, drove down to CPAC for the day from New Jersey and was my next-door neighbor for part of the day at the media table, or Deb from Kansas (bloggers would know her as Nice Deb.) That introduction was made as I was talking with Cynthia Yockey, who I met for the first time after being linked to her for quite awhile.
And I’ll be interested to see how I turned out on DaTechGuy‘s video, since I was among the last to be featured. Maybe next year I’ll get some cannoli. I also got to meet a woman whose link from my site, if I’m not mistaken, was her first: Becca Lower from my native state of Ohio. If I heard correctly, she was a CPAC volunteer, which is really cool and commendable.
Nor can I forget some of my biggest fans, who saw me as I walked in the door: Larry and Rosemarie Helminiak spotted me and said hello, which made me feel a little more at home.
So that’s how my day went. Last year I stated making it to CPAC was one of my goals for 2013, and I accomplished it despite the limitations placed on me by my other jobs and funding. Next year, though, I’d like to experience the whole event, an endeavor which could run into the four-figure range depending chiefly on accommodations. 2 1/2 hours each way is a bitch of a commute, as I found.
I don’t normally ask this, but if you liked my coverage of CPAC and want to see more, the best way to insure that is rattling the tip jar early and often. People want to know how the mainstream media can be countered, well, here’s an opportunity to get the straight story if you care to support it.
If the Good’s Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, by the time you read this I will be at CPAC. It’s been a goal of mine to go, and even though I’m not getting the full three-day experience (in part due to my outside job) there will be plenty enough to do in one day. Among the bright conservative lights I’ll be sharing my Saturday with are Governor Scott Walker, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Governor Sarah Palin, Mayor Mia Love, and Senator Ted Cruz. Not too shabby, huh?
I’ll have my laptop with me, so hopefully I will be able to provide coverage while I’m there. You may also want to follow me on Twitter as I update. My job will be to give you a taste of my experiences, since I really don’t know what to expect. It may be overwhelming but it surely should be exciting. I’m also hoping to meet a lot of my blogging cohorts there.
Tomorrow I will see what my notes and pictures look like and give you my impressions in pictures and text.
As a blogger who toils in relative obscurity (well, so far anyway), I can understand the thought process some might have when faced with a big payday. Such was apparently the case in a scandal that Robert Stacy McCain has written about frequently of late called MalaysiaGate, where a number of bloggers bagged nearly $400,000 from the Malaysian government to sugarcoat their stories. As he notes on the subject:
If powerful Malaysian interests had been willing to pay $400,000 to obtain the services of a natural-born smartass, how quickly would I have cashed that check? Immediately.
Let’s not kid anybody. Honesty is a virtue, and it would be dishonest to present myself as morally superior to Josh Treviño, Ben Domenech and their friends, simply because I have never sought the kind of reputation that would make my services valuable to the ruling regimes of foreign nations.
When I read about this, I was like “damn! Someone actually values the blogosphere enough to drop 400 grand on it?!?” Hell, I’d be happy to get a half-dozen advertisers at my going rate and a gig that pays me a few hundred dollars a week. Obviously I can’t speak for other bloggers – although I tend to agree with McCain’s take on the subject, which is well worth reading; I’ll wait for you - but there is a growing community of citizen journalists who could be harnessed in the right direction if the finances were there from a conservative benefactor.
The point is that we all have our own reasons for doing what we do. McCain makes a reasonable enough living at it, but he’s the exception to the rule. Most other bloggers have other outside jobs, whether they’re in the world of words or completely outside of it as one of mine is. (I also have freelance clients so I run in both circles.)
But we toil in order to make a difference in some way, and that includes bloggers on the other side of the political aisle as well. (They just happen to be wrong.) I know a few of them personally but most of them, particularly from outside Maryland, I’ve never met aside from on Facebook. It’s a reason I’m looking forward to CPAC, even if I’m only there for a limited time, because of the potential of meeting a few of them and others worth knowing in this extended family of ours.
And we do help each other out. I’m pretty careful about giving hat tips or credit where due, as I would hope that others are about my original material. Nor do I mind helping out other bloggers, with Jackie Wellfonder being one example.
Most bloggers would end with the pitch to hit their tip jar, but I’m going to be a little different. I have a long list of blogs I link to, some national and some local. One thing I try to do is keep the list stocked with blogs which are local or national in scope and are frequently updated, because a blog which doesn’t change often isn’t one which holds my interest (and probably not yours either.) So go check them out and support their fine establishments as well.
Normally around this time in this space I would place my Ten Question Tuesday interview, but I’ve noticed that some of the people who state they are open for interviews don’t seem to return my inquiries. It’s very frustrating because I don’t like to have too many interviews in the can (I like to work one week ahead) but when you ask a couple people who don’t get back to you that throws off the schedule. Listen, I’ll cheerfully admit I don’t have the highest number of readers but I’m working on building it up with the help of those folks I interview – the idea is to help out the pro-liberty movement overall and build something where the momentum can’t be stopped.
So I suppose I need to work on next week and see if I can get back to doing these interviews. In the couple months I’ve done TQT I’ve begun to marvel how radio hosts can get weekly guests because it’s tough to drag some into commitments – perhaps this is the best time to thank Dan Bongino, Jonathan Byrdak, Diana West, Patrick McGrady, Sara Marie Brenner, Tom Fitton, and Jake Day for their TQT participation. Really, that’s not a bad seven people to be in the company of, so I’ll see what I can get for the next few weeks. It’s quite a bit of work to put these together – particularly because I’d like to look outside the echo chamber of Maryland politics as well as find some people you may not hear as much from – but I enjoy the interaction.
Hopefully you’ll forgive the unscheduled TQT hiatus, but now I’d like to talk about something else.
If you haven’t noticed, I like to create content and the reason this site is called monoblogue is that, on all but perhaps two occasions where I’ve had guest posts, I’ve been the sole writer. But there was something I noticed of late about the way I did it and how it affected readership.
Late last month I put up a poll for a few days asking readers how often they visit the site, and the answer sort of went along the line with my suspicions that I could improve readership simply by posting more. It actually coincided with my desire to spend more time on other avenues of writing, such as the Watchdog Wire; simply put, spending three hours compiling posts like ‘odds and ends’ by making them sound coherent with transitions which satisfied my perfectionist streak left me less time to do other writing. My time is limited by my other, currently more lucrative outside jobs so I need to make my monoblogue posts count.
So instead of writing one 1000-2500 word post a day – although there have been days of late when I’ve dragged myself in the door after a hard day of toil outside the home and scratched out a quick and dirty 300-word post simply to place fresh content – I thought it would be better to try for a couple 600- to 800-word posts. Certainly I will keep my reporter’s hat on where needed, but the goal is to accelerate the post tempo up to around 50 to 60 a month. By spreading them out, it gives readers a reason to visit daily or even more frequently.
And if I can show readers visit more often, I can get more advertisers and more writing opportunities. I have a couple irons in the fire which might pan out as I try to expand my reach and get back to a format I enjoy writing – the 600 word op-ed, suitable for publication at a website or news outlet near you. (Being paid to do it would be nice, too.)
People tell me I’m a pretty good writer, so now it’s time to expand the audience and reach. If you’d like to be interviewed here, need a good op-ed (or even press release or persuasive e-mail, I’ve done those too), or even just show your support in a manner besides buying my book or rattling the tip jar, just let me know. I believe next Tuesday I should be able to resume the Ten Questions.
I suppose I got that out of the way.
Not sure if it was the format, the way my morning was going, or perhaps I just got out of the wrong side of the bed (which would really be sad because I get out of the same side every day) but I really feel like I let the Wicomico GOP down today.
Have you ever had one of those times where you have six thoughts running through your head and none of them want to come out in any order? That was me this morning. And I sure wasn’t going to get any help from the peanut gallery since the other two on the panel were way out there on the left side of the political spectrum. It was as if I was a duck hunter and I was surprised so badly that so many ducks were sitting there that I forgot to grab my shotgun.
And what really makes me mad is that once we got out of the more formal setting I could talk like a normal human being. Aaaarrrrgggh!
It was just something about being out of the comfort zone of sitting here in my sweats and having time to think about what I want to say and how to best present it that makes it hard for me to adjust to doing broadcast interviews. Some people who do these on a regular basis get more accustomed to it, and I used to be a lot better at these when I was a regular guest on local radio – the first fourteen of this series where I write about my radio appearances were written in a time span between March of 2007 and June of 2008. So I was appearing about once a month back then, but since I have only done radio once in 2009, once in 2011, and once in 2012.
Anyway, I was the first one to appear for today. I assumed it would be just Don Rush, Mike Pretl and I but the second arrival was Michael O’Loughlin, a Salisbury University political science professor who was added to the bill as another “progressive” voice. So in essence it was three against one.
We were supposed to talk about the State of the Union addresses and various reactions, but there was an added subject thrown in as it was learned yesterday that the university’s NPR affiliates would both be relocating and one may undergo significant changes. That took the first few minutes.
So I received the first question and started to respond, and I think I did okay. But it was when Mike Pretl said something which planted about six thoughts in my mind and those trains of thought went right off the tracks. And it’s really, really frustrating because I know in my heart and mind we are on the right side of practically every issue. Obamacare is going to be a trainwreck, the economy isn’t going to get better soon, and instead of focusing on jobs, President Obama is talking about “green energy” and gun control. I know you know that all the gun laws in the world weren’t going to stop Newtown.
And then we had the Hoover reference, which I parlayed into a return to Coolidge-era policies. Hoover really was a big-government Republican like George W. Bush, but I made the mistake of throwing the name out there without historical context. “Silent Cal” was President during the Roaring Twenties, when government was trimmed to size after the excesses of Woodrow Wilson and World War I.
Overall, I know I can do better – perhaps I’m my own worst critic, but I have performed well on that stage in the past. Now I may be back on that show, or I may not, But if you’d like to help me out with a little practice and you’re in the media, let me know. I like doing radio, but opportunities seem to be few and far between.