No surprise: the draft bears fruit

The official announcement will come in September via a bus tour – much like one conducted by opponent David Craig – but an article by Jeff Newman in yesterday’s SoMd News let the cat out of a bag which had been pretty much ripped open months ago: Charles Lollar will be a gubernatorial candidate.

Because the move is just making formal something political insiders had already figured on, it’s probably not going to change a lot of hearts and minds among insiders and activists. Put another way, a Lollar candidacy has already been priced into the market.

But there is one piece of the puzzle which seems to be escaping the commentators, with the exception of St. Mary’s College political science professor Todd Eberly, who was quoted in the Newman story. Perhaps it’s the evidence of a colorblind society in Maryland or the fact that Michael Steele already blazed this trail with his 2006 statewide U.S. Senate run, but there’s a good chance we could have a black vs. black governor’s race in 2014. So the question is whether blacks will feel more free to vote for a Republican because he would be black, or stay on the Democratic plantation?

I presume that Lollar’s campaign would be, at a minimum, based on the Red Print plan he has at his New Day MD website, to wit:

  • Reducing energy costs in an effort to become a net energy producer. Presumably alternative energy sources like wind and solar would be allowed to compete with coal, nuclear, and natural gas but it would be on their merits.
  • Borrowing from fellow black conservative Herman Cain, the “5-5-5” plan: reducing the corporate tax rate to 5%, the sales tax rate to 5%, and the top income tax rate to 5%, all of which are presumed to allow the revenue to be replaced through increased economic activity and job creation.
  • What Lollar calls “zero-based regulation,” which as he explains, “will require all departments and agencies to justify their existence and the existence of their management priorities annually.”

Admittedly, I’m a policy wonk of sorts who studies this stuff and it all sounds like an admirable first-term goal to me. But what about the voter Republicans have always wanted to attract but could never persuade: to continue a race-based example, I’ll use the single black mom towing two kids around.

She’s probably not going to care a whole lot about what energy costs because she’s on a subsidy for the payment, and regulation is all Greek to her. That message will go straight over her head.

More importantly, she has been told by her Democratic leaders that taxes should be progressive, and the rich never pay their fair share. It’s going to take a good bit of explaining why two of the three “fives” are important to her, meanwhile, the third five of the sales tax rarely comes into play because she doesn’t spend a lot of money.

Where Charles may need to devote some thought and campaigning is in the realm of educational opportunity. It’s all but guaranteed that Anthony Brown would come around with all his supportive Democratic plantation masters, er, elected officials surrounding him and harp on the statistic that Maryland has the best schools in the nation. That may be true, but schools don’t do much good for dropouts, and therein lies much of the black community’s problem. The schools in affluent areas are masking the real issues their underperforming inner-city peers face, although there’s a cultural divide as well. It also needs to be addressed but that’s not the role of government.

If there are two people whom I would suggest Charles Lollar make use of frequently, they are Dr. Ben Carson (who is already in his corner and would be an intriguing LG choice) and Star Parker, a nationally-known conservative columnist who was once in the shoes of many government-dependent Marylanders. Negating Anthony Brown’s built-in advantage among the minority community is essential for victory in this state.

And I don’t think social issues can be ignored, either. But it’s a matter of targeting the audience for that one.

At any rate, it looks like our August Wicomico County Republican Club meeting will be akin to an exhibition game before the season opener for Lollar, as he’s scheduled to appear here on the 26th. So let’s see what this draft choice can do.

Who can deliver a message?

November 26, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Who can deliver a message? 

Now that I’ve posed the question about whether a pro-liberty message can play in Maryland, the logical follow-up is who will be able to deliver it?

Of course, the most obvious answer is the Maryland Republican Party. Many activists question its ability to pack a political punch given their lack of success over the last hundred years, yet on the other hand there is no paucity of groups out there trying to wield influence within the party.

At the risk of creating a long and boring list, here are just some of the groups and individuals trying to become players within and surrounding the MDGOP:

  • Obviously, the current party leadership.
  • Elected officials who carry the GOP banner at the state level.
  • Various county Central Committees, some more than others.
  • The Maryland Young Republicans.
  • Hundreds of sub-groups which fall under the category of local Republican clubs, such as the Wicomico County Republican Club.
  • Americans for Prosperity – Maryland.
  • Campaign for Liberty and its various local branches.
  • Change Maryland.
  • Conservative Victory PAC.
  • Constitutional Conservatives for Maryland.
  • Help Save Maryland.
  • Maryland Center-Right Coalition.
  • Maryland Conservative Action Network.
  • Maryland Liberty PAC.
  • Maryland Right to Life.
  • Maryland Society of Patriots (plus its local chapters).
  • New Day Maryland.
  • Protect Marriage Maryland.

And that’s just a small sampling of groups I’m aware of. Some exert more toward their goals than others, and obviously some work exclusively on their pet issues. At times these groups manage to row in opposite directions, leaving a void the other side exploits.

It’s interesting that the port side has its coalitions which don’t always get along well – for example, the argument over the Keystone XL pipeline pitted Radical Green against Big Labor. In the end, though, both of those groups pretty much stayed with the leftist side even as Big Labor didn’t get what it wanted. (There were other areas in which they did, which makes a difference.) Yet they didn’t take their ball and go home when the chips were down, unlike, say, those who supported a certain Republican candidate in the primary.

Of course, conservatism can’t make the same guarantees liberals do because to the Left keeping a promise is as easy as slicing off a little piece of the government pie for those groups which clamor the loudest at the particular time. Even though the conservative aim is generally one of smaller, more limited government, there are some groups within the list I described above which would like more government in certain areas. These most generally are the advocates for social issues, such as abortion foes who want a Right to Life Amendment in the Constitution.

Those who push for social conservatism, though, are usually the targets of the circular firing squad for which Republicans are famous. “If it weren’t for those hayseed Bible-thumpers who want to end abortion we would win elections,” cry those in the Republican establishment; meanwhile, they forget that those voters provided a huge portion of the overall vote. That perception is amplified in the mainstream media which tarred and feathered Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock over comments they made about rape, as if this duo actually supported the raping of women. But it sure played well into the whole false “War on Women” narrative the other side got away with, didn’t it?

If we want to deliver the true narrative that enhanced freedom leads to greater personal and societal prosperity, we have to find messengers to do so. That leads to a conundrum because, remember, the Republican Party is chock full of disparate groups and many of them like the Bush 43 idea of “compassionate” big-government conservatism. But the record of third parties is less than abysmal and once the GOP became entrenched in the two-party system they, along with the Democrats, rewrote the rules in order to keep the spoils for themselves. Generally it’s that factor, not necessarily the lack of popularity of their respective platforms, which keeps groups like the Constitution, Libertarian, or even Green parties from ever getting more than a tiny percentage of the vote. Naturally it’s also the job of those in the major parties to state the case that a third-party vote is a wasted one. On that point I reluctantly have to agree.

While I have friends and relatives who are dyed-in-the-wool Libertarians, the political reality we face is that we exist in a two-party system. My goal in both joining the GOP as an activist member and (later) writing this website was, as I’ve said before, pushing this country in the RIGHT direction. I may not like every candidate we nominate, and there have been a few occasions where I felt I had to skip the office on the ballot or vote for someone like Ross Perot (which I did.) But the vast majority of the time I figure that advancing the ball, even a little, is better than losing more ground. Sometimes I’m disappointed because there’s not even the smallest smidgen of progress in the next term but generally I can comfort myself with knowing at least the trend isn’t going the other way. I may not have liked Bob Ehrlich or Mitt Romney much, but they were certainly better than Martin O’Malley or Barack Obama.

But that still doesn’t solve the problem of finding a good group of messengers to spread the gospel of how limited government benefits us all in Maryland – in that respect we have a whole lot of work to do. Hopefully in the next few months the conservative movement will get a chance to do some vetting of the leaders who will bring us success in future elections. I look forward to the challenge.

Lollar’s second draft

November 24, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Lollar’s second draft 

Those of you who have been following Maryland politics for awhile may recall that in 2010, before Bob Ehrlich finally made up his mind whether to give it another go and even prior to the upstart Brian Murphy upsetting the state GOP apple cart, there was another likable, passionate young politician who was being drafted to run for governor.

Former Charles County Republican head Charles Lollar was tripped up by a residency issue, falling just short of the five-year timeline decreed by state law based on his voter registration date. But prior to that he had made the rounds, attracting notice on RedState and appearing at the summertime Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield. Lollar also gained fame when former GOP chair Jim Pelura asked him to head a “Maryland GOP Anti-Tax Plan Commission” in 2008.

But after Lollar withdrew from the governor’s race, he turned his sights on the difficult task of unseating entrenched Fifth District Congressman Steny Hoyer. He got 35% of the vote, but a few months later landed on his feet by being named head of the Maryland chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

It was on the “New Day Maryland” advocacy group’s website, though, that Lollar wrote he would make a decision soon:

As some of you may know by I now I have been asked to consider a run for governor in 2014. In fact, there has been a “Draft” campaign started along with a FACEBOOK site advertising such. May I say that this has humbled me to say the least and I am honored to have such friends and patriots that think so highly of me and my family.

In the upcoming months, I will be spending a tremendous amount of time considering this endeavor as I want to ensure this the right direction for me and my family. Additionally, I am meeting with business leaders throughout the state of Maryland discussing my solutions for the economic struggles of our great state to include our rising unemployment as I outlined in the “RedPrint” for Maryland that can be found on my site www.newdaymd.com.

I humbly ask each and every one of you to pray with me considering this all impressing matter. Whether you are within or without the borders of Maryland, I will need your support and prayers if in fact my family and I continue down this road. Please feel free to go on the “Draft Charles Lollar for Governor” Face Book and leave a message, I guarantee you it will encourage those who have authored this Draft as well as myself.

You all have my commitment that after considerable contemplation and prayer I will let you all know of my decision by the first of the New Year.

So what would a Lollar candidacy bring to the table?

Obviously, he’s a minority Republican, but any advantage from that with those voters would be negated if one leaked Garin-Hart-Yang internal Democratic poll from September is correct and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is the Democrats’ frontrunner. Furthermore, Michael Steele (among many others) proved that blacks vote for ideology before race. Yet Lollar has a compelling message which still needs to be put out in the hopes of changing hearts and minds in both that specific community and (more importantly) the state at large. Truly, prosperity and freedom aren’t (and shouldn’t be) limited by the color of one’s skin – those of us on our side take that to heart.

A second effect, though, is one of splitting the TEA Party vote a little further. Certainly the tough-talking fiscal conservative Blaine Young is a leading candidate among conservatives, but TEA Parties will have another choice if Lollar jumps in. Of course, the “establishment” Republicans also have a conundrum when they consider the choice of David Craig vs. Larry Hogan, both of whom are more known quantities in GOP circles. Hogan may also negate what advantage Lollar has in southern Maryland based on the fact his father represented the area in Congress for a few years back in the 1970s.

Lollar would also have to play catch-up in fundraising, but Lollar’s media-friendly approach could catch on nationally like Dan Bongino’s did. (Of course, if Rob Sobhani decides to run for governor all bets are off.)

Depending on the audience he seeks, though, Lollar may want to embrace (or have to live down) a statement he made in this BET profile on minority convention delegates. Of course, context is key and it’s doubtful the “not overly impressed with either party” part of the interview came without plenty of context, knowing Charles.

If I were a betting man, I’d place my money on Charles getting into the race – it’s not like he wasn’t interested before. The only thing which may hold him back would be lack of support from his family and I’m certainly not in the position to speculate on how they would feel about such a decision. From what Lollar says, we’ll know soon enough anyway.

Odds and ends number 41

Not that I necessarily keep track of these things, but this is my first look in 2012 at those items which are worth a paragraph or three, but not a full post. It helps me clean out my e-mail inbox.

I couldn’t figure out how to embed this “Made in America” video, but I found it interesting when I watched it. I’m generally in favor of free trade and against strict protectionism, but if the difference is as small as they claim then buying American is worth it. Perhaps the claim of using 5% more American products would create 220,000 jobs is a bit dubious, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.

Our nation needs to take steps in regaining its onetime prominence as a leading manufacturer. But it’s interesting to note several of the companies prominently mentioned have at least one plant in a right-to-work state. I can’t ascertain whether these are all non-union shops, but chances are fairly good – given that only about 1/10 of the private-sector workforce is unionized – that these good, honest American jobs don’t come with the union label.

Not that Maryland is making any quick moves to join the ranks of Virginia and other right-to-work states – this year, HB91 hasn’t progressed beyond first reading. But the group New Day Maryland pointed out to me a couple other bills of interest in the General Assembly this term to keep an eye on, and I thought I’d pass along the word.

House Bill 23, the Dedicated State Funds Protection Act, would prohibit the fund-raiding Governor O’Malley is almost as well known for as his constant zeal to raise taxes. And House Bill 43 would allow appropriations bills to be subjected to the same referendum process as those bills not dealing with appropriations. (The last remaining legal straw opponents of the in-state tuition for illegal aliens referendum are grasping for is that the bill is an appropriations bill, although it’s not.)

Both these bills have a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. on January 31. I presume written testimony is acceptable, too.

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The Maryland Model (part two)

January 4, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The Maryland Model (part two) 

In part one I related the Maryland Model in its current state to the 2012 campaign, particularly when considering the battle to repeal the in-state tuition for illegal aliens passed last year by the General Assembly. The bill was petitioned to referendum as opponents turned the trick for the first time in over twenty years in Maryland.

As you should recall, I distilled the idea behind the Colorado Model liberal Democrats used to take over that state into four simpler M words: money, message, media, and mobilization. In this part I assess the overall shape conservatives here in Maryland exist in regarding these four issues – and we definitely need to do some work!

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