WCRC meeting – March 2016

It was double-barreled action at last night’s Wicomico County Republican Club meeting, perhaps appropriate because one of the speakers was Second Amendment advocate and Congressional hopeful Mike Smigiel. He was joined by a fellow challenger seeking the open United States Senate seat from Maryland, Dave Wallace.

Because we had out-of-town speakers, we quickly went through the usual business of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and introducing the elected officials and distinguished guests among us. I noted the February minutes were online, and treasurer-elect Muir Boda gave us a financial update.

Because Wallace was the first to arrive, he spoke first.

As an opening statement, Wallace vowed to represent all of Maryland “for the first time in 30 years.” He pointed out that “we’ve been going (in) the wrong direction,” so it was time to “alter our course until you get it just right.” Instead of the government’s favored cure of increasing taxes and regulations, Wallace advocated for what he termed a “maximum wage” that government can’t supply.

Wallace spoke at length about the Reagan years in his remarks, adding that he knew a number of his associates and opining in response to a question that we “needed a Jack Kemp model” for a Senator. He contrasted himself with prospective opponent Chris Van Hollen, who Wallace challenged for Congress in 2014, calling Van Hollen the “superfailure” of the supercommittee that, among other things, cut the defense budget. Echoing Reagan on the topic, Dave noted he believed in peace through strength.

Yet one topic Wallace expounded more at length on was a subject where I think Reagan erred, immigration. Dave stated his belief that the situation at the border now contributed to the drug problem; moreover, Wallace stated that up to 15% of the Syrian refugees were embedded by ISIS, and added that on his website was a petition calling on Congress to confront the refugee problem. If immigration wasn’t dealt with, said Wallace, we’ll end up with an America where we won’t want to raise our kids – this was a problem of culture and values.

On topics brought up by the audience, Wallace established his limited-government argument with a call to reduce the federal involvement in education, vowing to eliminate the Department of Education and saying “Common Core has got to go.” He thought that it’s not the role of the federal government to enforce the rules of education, but rightfully was that of the states. Additionally, rather than the “apple” that represents the preferred politicians of the teachers’ unions, Wallace believed candidates on the conservative side should use a school bus as their logo.

Shifting gears to the oversight responsibility of Congress, Wallace chided the body for not doing that job. He called for the heads of all 180 welfare programs to be brought before Congress to justify their programs’ existence.

Wallace concluded that Maryland needs someone in the Senate who will partner with Larry Hogan, and rather than the supply-side economics associated with Reagan conservatism Wallace envisioned a model based on production and ability to work that would lift our economy.

Later, when the conversation turned to a bill regarding forced unionization in Maryland, Dave added that he supported a federal right-to-work bill and would sponsor it in the next Congress. Dave believed that in right-to-work states, “unions were more concerned and responsive.”

The winner of an award for “upholding the Constitution,” Mike Smigiel spent 12 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, including the creation of the TEA Party Caucus. In his last four, Smigiel remarked, he shared office space and a desk in the chamber with local Delegate Mike McDermott, with whom he made “a pretty strong team.”

Yet the reason Smigiel sought the Congressional seat was his disgust with the voting record of the incumbent. Calling it a vote for funding Obamacare, executive amnesty, and abortion, Mike blasted the Republican leadership and Andy Harris for supporting the CRomnibus bill in 2014. He remarked that Democrats don’t settle or think they can’t accomplish their goals, but Republicans in Congress give up their principles far too easily.

Other bills that Smigiel hammered Harris about were an in-state tuition for illegal immigrants bill both voted on in the Maryland General Assembly as well as a bill regarding country of origin labeling – Harris backed a bill that allowed companies to not label for country of origin, about which Smigiel asked if you wouldn’t like to know if your chicken you thought was locally produced was instead imported from China.

(While the bill seems to be anti-consumer, it is worth noting that it is a response to a WTO complaint from Canada.)

Other Harris measures that angered Smigiel was a bill which he alleged became part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and Harris’s support of a bill opposed by state regulators who want Exelon Energy to meet certain conditions before their permit to operate the Conowingo Dam is renewed for over 40 years.

On the other hand, during the eight years of the O’Malley administration Mike sued them three times for actions he considered unconstitutional. In one case regarding a $1.5 billion budget item, the state court ruled against him quickly but took five years to render their formal opinion because the “question is too political.” When it comes to matters such as these, “you stand on principle and you fight,” said Smigiel.

Those principles are embodied in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, copies of which Smigiel passed out before he began speaking. But Congress was seeing its authority usurped by “a potentate President,” added Mike, who said he would be the guy to shout out “you lie!” His principle was that of “the Constitution first, always.” We needed to have the government run in accordance with the Constitution; to that end, Smigiel advocated for single-subject bills that would make legislating easier to understand.

I asked him a question which addressed a tactic the presumptive Democratic nominee for the seat, Jim Ireton, was using of painting Harris as a do-nothing Congressman. Smigiel reminded us that he had worked across the aisle with Heather Mizeur on a pre-natal care bill that got mothers care they needed while saving thousands of abortions, as well as decriminalization of marijuana legislation.

That ended the speaking portion of the program, although both Wallace and Smigiel stuck around to talk with the voters once we finished our business.

In his Central Committee report, Mark McIver announced we were still seeking applicants for the Board of Education seats opening up later this summer. He also distributed a proof copy of a mailing to be sent out to unaffiliated and certain Democrat voters reminding them that they can still change their voter registration until April 5th. The mailing is a joint effort between the Central Committee and Republican Club.

Updating us on the Ted Cruz campaign, Julie Brewington assessed that “things are going pretty well.” They are looking for volunteers to make phone calls as well as some local sign locations. Dave Wallace chimed in to say he was also looking for the same thing locally. He had brought a few yard signs and shirts as well.

(Unfortunately, the ones on the bottom left didn’t end up in the garbage. #NeverTrump.)

Shelli Neal, who was speaking for Jackie Wellfonder on behalf of Senate candidate Kathy Szeliga, announced they would be knocking on doors soon.

In club news, Woody Willing announced our scholarship winners had been selected and would be introduced next month. Jim Jester told us that he would be coordinating this year’s Crab Feast, for which we needed to nail down the date and location.

Finally. John Palmer from the Board of Education revealed that Dr. Donna Hanlon would be the new Wicomico County superintendent of schools. and one of her first challenges would be redistricting.

So the candidates said their piece, the audience got their questions in, and we will roll along up to next month’s meeting on April 25 with a speaker to be determined. Chances are this will be our legislative wrapup meeting.

Rage against the machine

May 8, 2012 · Posted in DC Examiner · Comments Off on Rage against the machine 

As I wrote Sunday, the Maryland General Assembly holds a Special Session beginning next Monday to address what Martin O’Malley and majority Democrats consider a revenue shortfall in the FY2013 budget. Despite the fact a budget was passed during the regular session, the $700 million increase wasn’t to the liking of educators, unions, and others who were expecting another $500 million or so in the budget to address their wish list.

While Republicans won’t have the votes needed to stop any tax proposal put forth by O’Malley and his Democratic allies, they can use the occasion as a cudgel to spread their message of fiscal responsibility. On Monday evening a planned rally will give voice to the opposition message that increasing taxes is the wrong solution to a budgetary problem that doesn’t even exist.

(continued at Examiner.com…)

Odds and ends number 33

Hey, a Thursday night without some sort of Shorebirds update – whatever shall I do?

You know the drill: ‘odds and ends’ are those items I can’t justify a full post for, but are important enough for a paragraph or three.

Didn’t we already go through this whole government shutdown thing not that long ago? Well, here we go again.

Democrats in the Senate want to spend $6.9 billion on disaster relief, simply adding to the deficit. Meanwhile, the House rejected a plan which would have allocated $3.6 billion to disaster relief, part of which would be offset by cutting federal subsidies for electric cars. (This is the version Andy Harris voted for, although 48 conservative Republicans did not.)

I can understand where Harris is coming from, since some portion of that aid would likely come back to the northern reaches of our Congressional district. But I think the more conservative members who are holding out for more cuts are right, and Harris is wrong in this instance. I’m curious to know – how many of my readers are looking for a federal handout to assist them through cleaning up from Irene and Lee? Anyone? Bueller?

Let’s work our way back to the state level with a story told before – former beauty queen decides to get involved in politics decades after her days as a pageant contestant are over. If you answered “Sarah Palin” you would be correct but she’s not the subject of this brief portion of my post. Instead, this young lady was once Miss Delaware and was a semi-finalist for the Miss America crown in 1976. She now is Associate Director of the National Pro-Life Action Center in Washington, D.C.

Did I mention she is black? Or a Republican running for a vacated County Council seat in Prince George’s County?

Her name is Day Gardner, and she indeed fits all these categories. One thing I didn’t realize is that I have heard her speak at this rally, as she was also a Brian Murphy supporter. I remember she was a quite eloquent speaker, which makes sense if she was a pageant contestant in the old, pre-politically correct days. She’s even run for office before in 2002, finishing fourth of four in a House of Delegates race for District 23A.

Needless to say, when she gets 97 Republican votes in a primary that sees the Democratic winner pick up 3,570 – and he’s the near-namesake of a current member of the House of Delegates (Derrick Leon Davis as opposed to Delegate Dereck E. Davis)  – Day Gardner has an uphill battle. But stranger things have happened, and it’s good to see Republicans competing in PG County. I admire her tenacity and willingness to avoid political platitudes to get elected; she can plant the seed for future GOP success there.

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West tells CBC “condemn these…hate-filled comments” from Reps. Carson and Waters

September 1, 2011 · Posted in Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on West tells CBC “condemn these…hate-filled comments” from Reps. Carson and Waters 

We’ve heard the taunts:

“(S)ome of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.” – Congressman Andre Carson, D-Indiana, quoted in Politico.

“(A)s far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell.” Congressman Maxine Waters, D-California, quoted in The Daily Caller.

Fellow Congressman Allen West, who is the lone Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus, today released a letter which called on CBC leadership to condemn these remarks, or else West will “seriously reconsider” his membership in the organization. Somehow I don’t think CBC head Emanuel Cleaver is going to be in any hurry to tell Carson and Waters to hush.

It makes West’s freshman cohort Republican Congressman Tim Scott look wiser every day. Back in December Scott, who is black, announced he was declining the CBC’s invitation because “my campaign was never about race.” Needless to say, Scott is a TEA Party supporter who understands the movement is not about race and is more or less colorblind.

I know it’s a rhetorical question to ask, but imagine what would have happened to a Republican who substituted the phrase “NAACP” for “TEA Party” in these statements. To Congressmen like Carson and Waters that would have been a worse offense than the underage sexting of Rep. Anthony Weiner and the underage “unwanted sexual encounter” of Rep. David Wu, combined, times ten. Resignation wouldn’t have been good enough for that mythical scoundrel; they would have wanted him banned from the planet.

And for the record, Congressman Carson, I am a proud member of the TEA Party movement yet I have no desire to see you swinging from a tree. Booted out of office at the next opportunity? You betcha. But that’s the extent of the harm I wish to see upon you.

As for Congressman Waters, I’m not going to hell (and I don’t think a collective movement which has as many committed Christians as the TEA Party does can either) so you can scratch that demand off your bucket list. Like Carson, I wish upon you the purgatory of being disowned by your electorate although the ethics investigators might just get to you first.

And they say the TEA Party is the home of extremist and dangerous rhetoric? Riiiiiiiight. As I said earlier, I don’t believe Congressman West is going to get the satisfaction of having the Congressional Black Caucus condemn two of their own loyal liberal members. But I’ll bet the TEA Party Caucus (of which both West and Scott are members) has their backs.

By the way, when I looked up the TEA Party Caucus to see if either Scott or West were members, I noted a curious omission: where’s Andy Harris? I’m disappointed, to say the least, that he’s not part of that group although he is on the Republican Study Committee.

TEA Party Caucus: Maryland Democrats need not apply

I’ll state the news item first: a day after it was announced he had become vice-chairman of the nascent Maryland TEA Party Caucus in the House of Delegates, Baltimore City Delegate Curt Anderson withdrew from the group at the request of fellow Democrats.

Yeah, I bet it wasn’t fifteen minutes from the time the news hit the wire to Anderson being called on the carpet by his fellow Democrats. Perhaps Anderson forgot that bipartisanship only works one way in Annapolis.

Honestly, I was surprised Curt would be the one to cross the aisle considering he never scored well on the monoblogue Accountability Project – I would have picked a Delegate like Kevin Kelly or John F. Wood, Jr. as they were the top two most conservative Democrats during the last term. (Wood is a cosponsor of the sales tax relief bill, HB465, introduced by Delegate Justin Ready earlier this week.)

But the venom from his city cohorts, as noted in this Maryland Politics blog posting, is scathing. The TEA Party is the Anti-Christ to the Democratic party? Get a grip, Delegate Glenn. What a poor choice of words! Let me tell the Democrats I know who participate in the TEA Parties that they’re quite at home in your version of the party. </sarc>

This just goes further to show the arrogance and disrespect elected Maryland Democrats have for the common working person. But it also shows the character of Delegate Anderson that he returned to the plantation so soon – why stop now, when they’re still threatening to take away your delegation chairmanship despite the fact you stepped aside from the TEA Party Caucus? To me, principles matter.

And despite the best efforts to marginalize the TEA Party Caucus, they’ve scored a victory by attracting the attention of liberal Democrats. Delegate Maggie McIntosh is quoted in the Sun as saying, “(The caucus is) highly organized. We should take them seriously.”

Damn right you should take us seriously because now we have a full four-year cycle to recruit candidates and build a war chest to defeat the liberals who have taken Maryland a long way down a dead-end street of debt and overbearing government. We didn’t do too badly in basically one year of preparation and not a lot of help from the state Republican Party since we picked off six Democrats from the House and it took a ton of special interest money to eke out two of OUR Senate seats that are now simply on loan to their Democratic occupants. (Yes, that means you, Jim Mathias.)

Go ahead and try to redistrict us out of existence – it won’t work because there’s too many of us now. If they want war because they consider us in the TEA Party the Anti-Christ, well, I say give it to them.

But Delegate Curt Anderson’s not a victim of that war, nor is he even a casualty. He may be put in his place for a short while, but eventually he’ll be back in the fold because they’ll need his vote and all will be forgiven when he delivers. Most likely it won’t serve the rest of us well, but that’s how the game is played in Annapolis and that’s why it needs to change four years hence.

Bachmann drops leadership bid

November 10, 2010 · Posted in National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Bachmann drops leadership bid 

Her remark on Facebook was short, sweet, and to the point:

It is with confidence in Jeb Hensarling’s leadership that I bring my candidacy for Republican Conference Chair to a close and proudly support him.

So Michele Bachmann won’t create the tempest in the teapot some feared in her bid for a leadership post, but those who followed her rise in prominence with the advent of the TEA Party may be disappointed. However, Jeb Hensarling of Texas (who will become Conference Chair) had a 100 ACU rating in 2009 and was formerly Chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the primary outlet for conservative Republicans in Congress. So it’s not like the position is going to a squishy moderate.

[By the way, when I spoke to Andy Harris about the subject two years ago he indicated he would be part of the Republican Study Committee if elected so I presume he’ll become a member of that august body come January. Conversely, Wayne Gilchrest (and Bob Ehrlich when he was in office) were both members of the Republican Main Street Partnership – their membership roll reflects the moderate wing of the party.]

Most of the remaining drama for the House now shifts to the Energy and Commerce Committee, where Fred Upton of Michigan is in line to become Chairman. Unfortunately, this member of the RMSP draws a lot of concern about his record on energy-related issues (see pages 10-13 here, although the rest is troubling too) so his effort has drawn opposition. In this case Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking member, is term-limited (by agreement) but would be a better choice. He introduced legislation to kill the very regulations Upton championed.

Meanwhile, Bachmann still has a pretty good consolation prize: she still heads the 52-member strong House TEA Party Caucus. Its membership roster is sure to grow given the election results; hopefully Andy Harris will join that group too.

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