It’s now or never, Maryland

That was the message put forth today by a number of speakers at the Salisbury stop of the “Now or Never Maryland” bus tour.

Well, I use the term ‘bus’ loosely. This looked more like an extended straight truck.

The person posing with the bus is former Senate candidate Jim Rutledge. In part he was responsible for bringing this crowd, but more on him later.

A total of eight speakers orated at the hour-long event, with AFP Maryland head Dave Schwartz acting as master of ceremonies. In his opening remarks, he reminded us that AFP has 26,000 members in Maryland among 17 chapters and stated his reason for doing this as “I want to protect the American Dream.”

Dave rattled off a laundry list of offenses by government, saying that the federal government overreached on doing the stimulus bill and bailing out Wall Street while the state government enacted the largest tax increase and worst deficits in our state’s history, not to mention creating a poor business climate.

As AFP supporters we needed to get involved – two suggestions Schwartz had were to enlist in the group’s “Freedom Phone” project or to walk your neighborhoods with door hangers (provided by AFP) and engage neighbors in political discussion.

Tim Phillips is the head of the national AFP, and here’s what he had to say.

And you thought I skipped Friday Night Videos? Nope, I just cleverly made them the story!

Local AFP head Joe Collins also said his piece, telling us that as a budding activist “I chose AFP for the voters” and that this election was time to “rebalance the scales.”

I stole Andrew Langer’s joke as he came up since there wasn’t a chicken suit in sight. (Maybe they went to the wrong location – I was a bit confused at first too.) He recalled the town hall meeting where Frank Kratovil gave his reasoning for voting for cap-and-trade as keeping the EPA from regulating it. When it was pointed out that Frank was a Congressman and could pass a law, Langer quoted him as asking, “I can do that?”

The head of the Institute for Liberty warned us to be vigilant of what the executive branch will try to do over the next two years as they face the prospect of an unfriendly Congress.

Also speaking to an AFP rally here for the second time in a month was WGMD-FM host Duke Brooks, who remarked that his liberal callers claimed they didn’t hate this country, but…there was always a “but.” They “think the country is flawed.”

It was only up to the government to provide equality of opportunity, continued Brooks, but not equality of outcome. He quoted Tony Blair’s line that the measure of a nation is how many want to get in vs. how many want to leave, and part of the reason for our success was that we had no elite ruling class.

Of the three candidates for the First District Congressional seat who were invited to speak, it’s not surprising only one showed. This is what Andy Harris had to say.

But the person I wanted to hear from came next. I actually recorded this because his biggest fan (Kim) wasn’t there to enjoy it, but it turned out so good I decided to share. Here’s Jim Rutledge.

And you wonder why there’s a push by some to write him in for the Attorney General slot thoughtlessly left unfilled by the Maryland GOP. He’s got my vote.

One elected official who spoke was Joey Gardner, who was elected earlier this year as one of Princess Anne’s Town Commissioners.

His message was simple – when he saw a need “I got involved.” We shouldn’t put any limitations on our involvement when it comes to helping the community.

While Gardner was the last speaker he wasn’t the only candidate for office people could get face time with. The entire statewide ticket of Maryland’s Constitution Party was there.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Knowles is in the dark suit, with his running mate Michael Hargadon giving me the thumbs up next to him and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Shawver in the blue coat on the right.

Also looking on was Republican District 38A hopeful Charles Otto.

The Libertarian candidate for District 2 County Council was there as well. If you don’t know who he is, read the sign.

So it was at least a tri-partisan event, with a touch of good old-fashioned capitalism thrown in.

Something tells me this rig was at all the stops, but it didn’t look like he did a lot of business.

Believe it or not, there is yet another bus rally scheduled that I found out about last night. The RNC’s Fire Pelosi Bus Tour will stop at the Salisbury Victory Center (the old Hollywood Video at 1016 South Salisbury Boulevard) at 9:30 a.m. next Friday – featured speaker is some guy who used to be our Lieutenant Governor, Michael Steele. To RSVP, contact Patrick at (443) 736-8042 or via phefflinger (at) mdgop.org.

NOvember arrived today in Fruitland

…and so did an interesting protest. But more on that later.

And despite having to bring the party indoors due to today’s inclement weather, the nationwide bus tour brought along information and enlisted speakers Andrew Langer from the Institute for Liberty and talk radio host Duke Brooks from WGMD-FM.

The bus had already arrived when I did.

I spoke briefly to the driver and was interested to find out that he’s been all over the country with the bus since mid-July. The tour continues with stops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania tomorrow.

After the brief interruption, Joe Collins noted that it was “sad that people are so misguided and so negative.” He apparently also introduced the first speaker, Duke Brooks. I missed the first few minutes of his speech investigating things outside.

I did video of the latter half of his talk, but Duke noted that “no government can avoid a recession.” However, they always seemed to use economic hard times as an excuse to take more control over people’s lives, and “that’s the problem in the first place.” Brooks also exhorted us to “redouble our efforts” as November approached.

Here’s the video of Duke Brooks.

Andrew Langer came up next and reminded us that “AFP gets it.” While the runup to the election is crucial, “after November is most important” because we had to hold the victors’ feet to the fire, whether Republican or Democrat. While the Blue Dogs won the 2006 and 2008 elections by portraying themselves as conservatives, voting with Nancy Pelosi 85% of the time was “unacceptable.”

“Our focus will be on accountability,” he continued, and described the worst parts of government were coming through the regulatory process. For example, regulations which were costing employers $7,700 per employee in 2005 (according to the Small Business Administration) were now costing $10,600 per employee. All told, the “regulatory state” was costing us $1.7 trillion a year, compared to $1.1 trillion just two short years ago. In short, this was the message of the day.

I like how that sign was autographed, too – the picture doesn’t do it justice.

One thing which surprised me was that so few local conservative officeseekers were there. Now I wouldn’t expect Frank Kratovil to show but I thought we’d have a number of candidates and current politicians in the house. To her credit, District 38B Delegate candidate Marty Pusey was at the event solidifying her support.

Two of those yard signs in the back of her car have been transplanted into my yard, and I encourage those of you who live in District 38B to do the same.

And there was a bit of a hullabaloo early on.

As for the chicken and his flock who came over to roost – see if you can make sense out of what they were trying to say since I took a couple minutes’ worth of video.

As near as I could tell, their babbling was about Andy Harris supporting tax breaks for companies to move offshore. But the irony for me (as I pointed out in the video to Chuck Cook, who is the tall, bearded person taping generally to my right) is that being seen in a chicken suit points up their support of overly punitive environmental measures which are driving the poultry industry away from Delmarva. Talk about offshore birds, that’s where they’re going!

Later I joked with them about their support of offshore drilling – hey, if they want to talk about really offshoring jobs here was their chance. But they turned a deaf ear to the logic.

Now, I suppose in the next day or so I’ll voluntarily lower my IQ about a half-dozen points and check out Progressive Delmarva to see how they crow about this latest stunt of theirs. But¬†once this motley crew¬†slinked out of the affair after being mildly disruptive for the first ten minutes or so they went back across the street to the Food Lion parking lot and piled into their cars, festooned generously with stickers supporting Martin O’Malley, Frank Kratovil, and Rick Pollitt, among other liberals. So much for their feigned support of Andy Harris.

At least they were environmentally conscious enough to carpool, I’ll give them that.

Unfortunately, my video of Andrew Langer’s speech is about 4 minutes too long for YouTube and I made the mistake of taking my camera (which does QuickTime format) rather than Kim’s, so I couldn’t edit the video. If I can figure out a way to boil it down I’ll have it for a future installment of FNV.

In the meantime, you can enjoy desperate liberals making utter fools of themselves. We did.

Oh, and the “Now or Never Maryland” tour will be in Salisbury October 22. Let’s see what these guys have for that.