Redefining marriage wasn’t enough. Now some in Maryland want to redefine birth.

By Cathy Keim and Michael Swartz

The twin byline is present because Cathy came to me with her thoughts on these bills, writing up a post quoting Delegate Parrott at some length along with some of her thoughts. I liked the direction of the piece, but thought I could add more and she was amenable to the changes. So here you go.

Recently Delegate Neil Parrott sent out a newsletter that had some information about two “shockingly bad bills” that are about to pass in the General Assembly. We had both heard from Robert Broadus with Protect Marriage Maryland about the first bill, but Delegate Parrott alerted us both to the second bill. Both have more or less passed under the radar in a session which has focused more on the budget, gubernatorial appointments, and environmental regulations.

In his message to constituents and other interested observers, Delegate Parrott stated:

Two shockingly-bad bills…are on their way to passing.

(snip)

HB 838/SB 416 is going to cause your health insurance rates to go up, when Maryland already has some of the highest health insurance premiums in the nation. This bill forces Maryland insurance companies to cover the cost of expensive In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments ($12,500 each time) for same-sex married couples.

Our high insurance costs in Maryland are primarily due to the great number of insurance mandate laws already in effect, and this new bill will simply make the problem worse. Governor Hogan and I both support leading Maryland towards more fiscally-responsible laws and policies, and the voters overwhelmingly agreed in the last election. However, the majority of Delegates and Senators still voted to create more complex and unnecessary insurance mandates in our flawed health system.

(snip)

Under current Maryland law, a husband and wife must donate their own sperm and egg to be eligible to receive insurance benefits for IVF treatments. If the couple requires a donation of an egg or sperm, IVF treatments would not be covered under current Maryland law. Under this new law, a same-sex couple would obviously need to get a sperm donor to have a child. This is a very unequal situation.

Same-sex couples have been allowed to adopt or have children, but many studies have been done that confirm that children born into a family with a mother and a father do the best in all measures – economic, social, educational, and emotional. Not only does this law create an unequal and less-stringent requirement for same-sex couples, but our insurance premiums will also be paying to have a child brought into the world to a situation where they will most likely be statistically worse off than other children. By passing this law, we are intentionally putting a child into a “family” where a father will knowingly be absent.

This sort of social engineering and fiscally-irresponsible law-making, solely for the pleasure of adults without any regard for the children that will grow up in these situations, is reprehensible. What homosexuals cannot do naturally, the General Assembly has now mandated must be provided by all insurance plans, creating a false sense of equality, with little to no regard for the children who will be negatively affected.

This leads to the concern of what could come next if this bill is passed. Will the General Assembly pass a mandate requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of hiring a surrogate to carry the child for male, same-sex marriages? (Emphasis in original.)

As Cathy wrote Sunday, our culture is under attack to redefine and destroy every institution that has sustained us as a nation since our founding. Marriage and our families are worth defending. The progressives only exist to tear down. We are the ones that believe in ideals that are true and good and have stood the test of time. When this country is a faint memory, the family will still exist. They may destroy our culture, but they cannot destroy truth. The family is the basic building block of society. Despite the malice and ridicule heaped upon the traditional family with a father, mother and children living and growing together in love, the family will still survive.

Delegate Parrott has made the case, as Cathy has before, that children do best when raised in a home with a married mother and father. Why should the state pay to circumvent this?

Senator Jim Mathias and Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes both voted for this bill. When somebody says the Eastern Shore is conservative, just remember to check how Senator Mathias and Delegate Sample-Hughes vote.

The second bill that Delegate Parrott wrote about was HB862/SB743, which as Delegate Parrott notes:

…allows people to rewrite history. It would allow someone who gets a note from their doctor saying they are transitioning from male to female or from female to male to literally change the gender on their birth certificate. The new birth certificate would not even indicate that it has been “Amended,” as is the case when an individual decides to legally change their name. The change would not require that the individual has had a sex-change operation, but just relies on hormone therapy and how the person feels at the time. The change caused many of the legislators who work in law enforcement to question how they could even solve crimes given these false records. For example, suppose they are looking for the DNA of a male, but all they have is a female suspect.

Changing factual birth records without leaving a record of the change could have significant and harmful consequences for our society and is simply irresponsible policy.

Senator Mathias also voted for this bill as did Delegates Carl Anderton, Jr. and Sample-Hughes. Needless to say, we’re both disappointed with Delegate Anderton’s vote as he represents us in Annapolis. We would have expected this out of his predecessor, but Carl was supposed to be different.

At this point in time these bills are on their final step to passage, and it seems like the skids are being greased as the House versions of the Senate bills are passing without any amendments – this is important because no conference would be necessary.

Yet besides the many objections Delegate Parrott raised, both bills also raise a number of ethical questions about child rearing. Regardless of who has to pay for in vitro fertilization, there’s also the ongoing concern about the rights of the third party which needs to be involved with any same-sex attempt at creating progeny – either the surrogate mother for a gay couple or the sperm donor for the lesbian pair.

And much like the Hobby Lobby situation with abortifacient drugs, there’s a legitimate question of whether a religiously conscientious business should be forced to cover this procedure since it involves two partners of the same gender. It’s a situation which becomes quite complicated and I feel this is needlessly so.

As for the birth certificate bill, it would be more palatable if there was a notation of amendment. A law such as this may open the door to parents who are trying to raise a child as if it were the opposite gender (such as this recent case) to amend his or her birth certificate as a minor.

We believe that gender is not a mistake, nor was it an error that a person of each gender was required to create a new life. Even with in vitro fertilization, there’s no escaping the need for a male to do his part and a female to be the willing host for the embryo.

While there is an element of humanity in the selection of gender, I think I speak for Cathy when I say we believe that it was our Creator who made the ultimate decision as to whether we were male or female. Taking hormones, undergoing genital mutilation surgery, and identifying as someone of the opposite gender doesn’t change the fact one was born with the chromosomes and genitalia of a particular gender in all but a few extremely rare cases. It’s what the birth certificate should reflect.

However, it’s likely these bills will pass the General Assembly, so we call on Governor Hogan to use his veto pen on these ill-considered measures. And it’s all but certain these votes will be among those I use for the monoblogue Accountability Project later this spring.

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.

Marriage group adds endorsement

I suppose, this being “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” that today is a good day to bring up the topic of Question 6.

One group advocating the defeat of Question 6, Protect Marriage Maryland, made their second candidate endorsement the other day:

Protect Marriage Maryland is happy to announce the we are endorsing Ken Timmerman’s campaign for Congress in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.  All 43 Candidates for federal office were sent a questionnaire asking their positions on issues related to defending marriage, and Mr. Timmerman received the highest score, and his answers showed that he has a great grasp of the issues and will legislate in the Congress in such a way as to preserve marriage between one man and one woman.  We encourage everyone to support Mr. Timmerman’s campaign, which will also serve to support the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing the people of Washington, DC to vote on the definition of marriage for themselves, and reinstating the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in our military, which will preserve religious liberty of our servicemen and women.

Protect Marriage Maryland also endorsed Tony O’Donnell in the Primary, who is running in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District. (Emphasis in original.)

It’s worth mentioning that candidates for Congress are besieged with questionnaires from dozens of different advocacy groups, so PMM may have only received a handful of responses from those who were favorable to their stance on the issue. So being first out of 43 may have only been first of about six or eight. While it may not add a whole lot to Timmerman’s voter base – because PMM is essentially a single-issue advocacy group – it also gives the group a more prominent backer. They will need a lot of help because pro-gay groups are certain to spend thousands of dollars promoting their flawed idea that gay marriage is a harmless civil rights issue.

There was also another part of the PMM release worth mentioning, since it tied back to the most recent Wicomico Society of Patriots meeting I covered.

We would like to personally thank everyone who helped us orchestrate a very successful 5-event tour of Maryland and Virginia with the Sons of Liberty radio hosts from Minnesota! Each event was successful beyond our expectations. They brought the message of Faith and Family values as well as the importance of honoring the sacrifice of our veterans to hundreds of voters across the state. Those in attendance also learned about the various ballot issues that we’ll be voting on November 6th. Thanks as well to all who came out to explain the issues and answer questions voters may have had. I believe everyone who attended was inspired by Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan’s presentation, and we hope you will spread the word to others who may want to see them when they come back to this area.

(snip)

Although Bradlee and Jake will not be coming back before November’s elections, please let us know if you know others who would like to see them, as they have plans to be in the area next spring.

The duo certainly put together an interesting presentation but their true intention is to spread their message in person in schools. It’s one thing to coordinate with schools in a more or less receptive area of the country – their group You Can Run But You Can’t Hide International has done school presentations in 24 states, mostly surrounding their Minnesota base – but good luck getting into public schools in states where their input would be more helpful. Those in the Montgomery County heart of Timmerman’s district would benefit most from a point of view which invokes the Founding Fathers and doesn’t subscribe to the political correctness of the typical educational curriculum today. As the pair states:

Out of 337 schools (they’ve appeared at) nationwide, only 67 students raised their hands when asked if they knew about the U.S. Constitution.

Seems like that’s pretty important information to me; it’s only the very foundation of our republic. But the idea of the Constitution being one of  “negative liberties” seems to be in vogue these days, so rather than learning about the true intent of our founding document kids are told they have “rights” defined by those who are selling the idea of ever-expanding government. They need a contrary view.

Sons of Liberty punctuate Wicomico MSOP meeting

In front of about 50 diehard lovers of freedom who decided the fate of their country was more important than a Ravens game – which meant they had their priorities in order – the Wicomico chapter of the Maryland Society of Patriots met Thursday night at Mister Paul’s Legacy Restaurant.

I’m sort of glad they modified the choices at the end. Anyway, Dr. Greg Belcher, the leader of the WMSOP, opened the meeting by bringing up the subject of an upcoming petition drive which had copies on each table, including mine. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but I’ll bring you up to speed in a moment.

Senate Bill 236, which passed in the 2012 regular session, is thought of as an extension of the PlanMaryland and UN Agenda 21 movement to revoke property rights. In fact, Belcher intoned that “our property rights future is at stake.” All 24 Maryland jurisdictions, including Wicomico County, are supposed to have the prescribed four-tier plan in place by December 31 of this year.

Next with remarks was local activist Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland, who reminded us that there are two more online poll watcher training seminars coming up: October 1-2 and 24-25. While this training isn’t required to be a poll watcher, it’s helpful to know what can and can’t be done, said Cathy.

Keim briefly went over the seven statewide issues on the ballot this November, with a particular emphasis on the latter four. “Martin O’Malley will look pretty silly (running for President in 2016) if we stop him” in 2012, added Keim.

She mostly reserved comment on Question 6, though, to the next speaker: Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland.

Broadus actually began his presentation by speaking briefly about Question 5, the redistricting issue. He quoted former Baltimore County GOP head Tony Campbell, who commented that “all we have to do is show people the map and it’s a winning argument.”

As for the gay marriage issue and other referendum questions, Broadus emphasized the importance of reaching out to the local minority population. For example, in majority-minority Prince George’s County local leaders there support both Question 4 (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) and Question 6 because they are considered civil rights issues, and oppose Question 5 for the same reason. On the other hand, they are against Question 7 (expanding casino gambling) because they see it as benefiting the so-called “1 percent,” said Broadus.

Gay marriage is on the ballot, not just in Maryland, but three other states: Maine, Minnesota, and Washington, Robert reminded us. “The goal (of proponents) is to change our society,” he added.

Broadus also conceded that some were for Question 6 because they had gay friends or family, but asked whether the relationship with these friends or relatives was more important than their relationship with God. And while secularists “are attacking on all fronts,” Broadus called this “our Roe v. Wade moment” and admonished people not to trust the polls on this issue.

In response to a comment about secular rather than faith-based arguments about Question 6, Broadus believed this was an effort to neutralize gender in society, even though God created man and woman differently. “Marriage is not a right,” concluded the longtime marriage protector.

Finally, it was time for our main speakers, the Sons of Liberty. If you can’t read the background slide, here it is below.

It’s sort of a long name for their ministry, but Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan have taken their show on the road to hundreds of high schools throughout the country. What we were presented is only about a quarter of what they do in a normal high school stop, said Dean.

In his presentation, Bradlee Dean bemoaned a nation which had seen a “decline since the Supreme Court said no to God” back in 1962. What we are now seeing is “the fruit of a nation which turns its back on God.”

Bradlee continued by saying the Catholic Church is “right on the money” in fighting President Obama and his contraception regulations. He asked, “Why are (leftists) always attacking God? Because they want to be God.” Dean showed a number of different quotes from the earliest leaders of our country acknowledging the divine Providence shown by our Creator, as opposed to the secular humanist attitude of today’s leaders.

That general attitude was due in no small part from our mainstream media. Just read the quote on the wall behind Dean.

It was determined that controlling 25 newspapers would do the trick, and this was back in 1917! Now we have a cabal of alphabet networks working in conjunction with the largest newspapers to promote a overtly secular agenda. “You’re being lied to. End of story,” said Dean. “The media works for a corrupt administration.” Even Fox News didn’t escape Bradlee’s blunt assessment, since they decide what they want to report to you as well.

At this point Dean stepped aside for a moment, allowing “The Other Guy” Jake McMillan to present a short question-and-answer section admonishing us to think about what we read and say, with a little audience participation.

A sample question: What do they call the raised lettering which enables the deaf to read? Most people would reflexively say “Braille” but if you pay attention you’ll know the true answer is “deaf people can already read, they just can’t hear.” It was part of a broader point that “most of the liberals count on ignorance of the issues,” said Jake.

Returning to the microphone, Bradlee rattled off a number of observations about the media and Hollywood. One slide referred to a warning sign he saw in an AMC theater in Kansas a few years back when the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ” was showing. While the sign correctly noted the movie was in Aramaic and Latin, with English subtitles, and had violent content enough to earn an R rating, curiously there were no other warning signs for the other PG-13 and R rated movies in the theater. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the indoctrination,” said Bradlee. “If I entertain you, I’m controlling you.”

Dean then turned to a distinction not often found in the media, which commonly refers to our nation as a “democracy.” (As have presidents since Ronald Reagan, Bradlee noted wistfully.) Our nation is a republic, continued Bradlee, ruled by law and principle rather than by what the public desires. Dean quoted several early Americans who pointed out that democracies expire from within to become tyrannies. And having visited hundreds of public schools, Dean observed that they commonly are surrounded by fences, covered by security cameras, and patrolled by armed law enforcement officers. “They’re getting kids ready for a police state” in public schools, he warned.

Continuing on to a subject near and dear to several there, Bradlee went on to describe the fight about gay marriage as one “about upending your Constitution.” It’s being used as a “political battering ram” to take us further away from our roots as a nation. “You’re dealing with totalitarianism,” Dean believed.

But it wasn’t all bad news. Bradlee wanted to stress as well his thoughts on those who have perished in defending those rights endowed by our Creator, the over 400,000 who died and the millions who live on while missing their friends and family lost in battle. “Who’s going to stand up for the veterans?” he asked.

Overall, the message was simple yet elegant: “If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any rights.”

Afterward, Bradlee and Jake stuck around for over a half-hour to answer questions, sell their various wares, including CDs, DVDs, and books, and pose for pictures like the one below.

From left to right you have Bradlee Dean of Sons of Liberty, Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland, Jake McMillan of Sons of Liberty, and Dr. Greg Belcher of the Wicomico Maryland Society of Patriots. It’s also worth mentioning that a number of Republican Central Committee members were in attendance, along with the head of the Worcester County TEA Party and MSOP head Sam Hale.

And while there was no media there besides this reporter and Julie Brewington, who’s mostly pulled away from her Right Coast Conservative blog (but was videotaping the proceedings nonetheless), we did have two write-in candidates for office.

On the left is Mike Calpino, who’s running in the First District Congressional race as the write-in not endorsed by either political party, and on the right is Worcester County resident Ed Tinus, who is resurrecting his U.S. Senate campaign after finishing last out of nine Democratic candidates in their primary with 1,064 votes, or 0.3%.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this meeting because I’d not heard of the Sons of Liberty or Bradlee Dean’s Christian rap-rock band Junkyard Prophet before last week when I first promoted this meeting. In doing a little research on the group, the prevailing opinion on them was that they were typical bigoted Christian haters – yet I found nothing overly controversial about their viewpoints. I will grant they did not speak much specifically about gay marriage or Question 6, but their opinions on the subject are likely shared by millions in this state and across the nation. Having seen the trend of a nation falling away from a Christian God, they obviously fret that allowing same-sex marriage may open the door to an even further slouch towards Gomorrah, to borrow a term made famous by Robert Bork. I think it’s a legitimate concern, others may disagree.

And if the idea of public school is to teach children critical thinking then I can’t understand what the big deal is to have them come to a school for a few hours and speak to the kids there. But the impression I get is that Sons of Liberty faces a lot of static in putting together these presentations simply because they don’t have a politically correct viewpoint, even if the opinions they present are based in historical fact.

The duo is in the midst of a four-day swing through Maryland and northern Virginia, with future stops in several other states. Dean admitted it was hard on him to be away from his five children, but the fight to preserve his country and its God-given freedoms was worth it. Having heard the presentation, I tend to agree.

MDGOP 2012 Spring Convention in pictures and text (part 1)

A fountain at the Solomons Island Holiday Inn, where the convention was held.

We descended on the lovely village of Solomons Island this weekend to hold our Spring Convention. Because it was such an action-packed two days I’m breaking this post into two parts: one dealing with the events of Friday night and the other (for tomorrow) describing Saturday’s action. (Always leave them wanting more.)

The Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's County welcoming reception.

First on the agenda was a Welcome Reception sponsored by the three Southern Maryland county Republican parties. In the photo on the right (in the light blue) is retiring National Committeewoman Joyce Lyons Terhes, whose retirement was the impetus in placing the convention there. Although it’s a long haul around the Chesapeake Bay for us on the Lower Shore, I suppose that’s payback for making them come to Ocean City two years in a row.

Larry Hogan with his Change Maryland cake.

Also getting an early start on the proceedings was Larry Hogan, who was celebrating the first year of his group Change Maryland. Funny story: if you look at the cake Larry is pointing at, you’ll notice that there’s a mistake as the cake came with an extra zero. I call it optimism on the part of the baker, and while Change Maryland now has 12,000 members 120,000 is an admirable goal for next year.

David Craig's table.

Hogan has often been mentioned as a 2014 gubernatorial candidate because he made an abortive run in 2010 until Bob Ehrlich made up his mind. But the “unofficially officially in” David Craig had his own table as well, and was also a sponsor of the entire convention. No doubt he’s been laying the groundwork of a run for quite a long time.

Another key element of the convention was the two petition drives, both same-sex marriage and redistricting. I didn’t manage to get a photo of him, but rest assured Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland was among those collecting signatures in favor of that referendum. Yet it seemed there was more of an “official” push to have the redistricting referendum signed. (I will have an interesting backstory on this involving one candidate later on this week.) So I added my name to the redistricting petition.

A map of Maryland gerrymandering.

Of course, there were other vendors as well. The rear guard effort continues.

But it wasn’t apparent in that evening’s Executive Committee meeting. And while party treasurer Chris Rosenthal opened up the meat of the business portion of the meeting by conceding 2011 “wasn’t that great of a year” for fundraising, he brightened up the room by announcing we were “back on the right track” for 2012.

Included in that optimism was a newly created endowment in honor of the retiring Joyce Lyons Terhes, a fund that Audrey Scott announced the creation of and initial funding for during the meeting.

In his report, Party Chair Alex Mooney expressed disappointment in the 2011 financial statement as well, stating “I accept responsibility…we didn’t do as well as I’d like.” But he’s “working hard” on getting the party out of debt and brought up the fiscal importance of this year’s Red, White, and Blue Dinner which will feature GOP political guru Karl Rove. “We need this to be a successful event,” said Mooney.

He also said there’s “no room for dissent” now that the primary is over.

A better financial tale was told by National Committeeman Louis Pope, who said the Republican National Committee is in “great shape” financially for the fall campaign, well on their way to their fundraising goals.

Those of us among the spectators – which included nearly all the Wicomico County delegation, unique among counties – also heard a number of other reports. Perhaps the most important among them was the Maryland GOP Hispanic Coalition report, where Linda Hernandez made the case that the Latino vote is “essential” to turn Maryland around.

Our County Chair, Dave Parker, was also head of the Credentials Committee, and he gave a fairly lengthy and detailed explanation of the balloting which would take place the next day for Delegate and Alternate Delegate candidates for the national convention. With nearly 80 hopefuls vying for the 20 spots, it was a complex process to gather all the information.

The final report was given by MDGOP Executive Director David Ferguson, who said we were “moving in the right direction” and need to “run the party like a business.” Fair enough, but he also had five priorities for the state party: an effective message, recruiting candidates, a permanent professional infrastructure, utilizing the referendum process as a check on Democratic power, and providing good customer service for local party units. He also had unkind words for Martin O’Malley and noted “Maryland is a GOP state at the local level.” (Apparently this is true, as we have a majority of local seats.)

We also learned during the meeting that the next convention will be held in Western Maryland – it would have been their turn this time had Joyce Lyons Terhes not announced her retirement.

But the Executive Committee meeting isn’t what those who come to the event a day early generally seek out. They come to be social, and those who have a political agenda know this. For example, three of the four National Committee candidates had hospitality suites – Committeeman hopeful Scott Shaffer was the exception.

Louis Pope's suite sign.

Audrey Scott's suite sign.

Nice use of a lapel sticker by the Pope campaign, by the way. I did go to his suite but didn’t think I’d be too welcome in Audrey’s so I skipped it.

I made it a point to stop by this young lady’s space, though. Nicolee Ambrose had one of the more exuberant parties I attended.

Nicolee Ambrose talks to a possible supporter.

Inside the suite, of course, you had signage for Nicolee’s bid. But there were a lot of other items there as well, as this table demonstrates.

A table full of items in the Ambrose suite.

And there’s a larger point as well. If you go back to Audrey’s sign two photos above, you’ll notice Nancy Jacobs is among those endorsing Scott. But Ambrose had plenty of space to put her items out in the interest of helping the Jacobs campaign.

I also found this guy there.

U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino.

As I’ll detail tomorrow, Dan Bongino gave a great accounting for himself at our luncheon. But he was holding court in Nicolee’s suite when I arrived.

This was just a great picture someone taped up in Nicolee’s suite bathroom.

Ben Cardin - a closet Bongino supporter?

Next up was one of the more interesting conversations I had, with Eighth District Congressional candidate Ken Timmerman.

Ken Timmerman for Congress sign.

I confessed to him that his was one of the races I predicted incorrectly, believing that having three Montgomery County residents in the primary would split the vote enough to have him finish second. But he advised me to follow the money – since his MoCo opponents had very little – and noted the political geography of his district was more neutral toward opponent Dave Wallace than I thought.

It was a good give-and-take with the accomplished author, who posed with some of the books he was selling. Bet you could have had one autographed!

U.S. Congress candidate Ken Timmerman.

And sometimes it’s not about having the suite, but being seen. Two of these ladies are attempting to build a political name for themselves in the consulting field, so they were circulating among the rooms.

Two of the three behind Purple Elephant Politics - Kristin Shields (center) and Hillary Pennington (right).

With Norma Secoura on the left, Kristin Shields (center) and Hillary Pennington (right) are two of the three behind Purple Elephant Politics, an “exclusive political networking group” which is attempting to stomp its way into the political fray through a number of outlets. They were among Nicolee Ambrose’s biggest backers.

And while I’m not exactly old, I agree that it’s time for a new generation of leaders to begin to emerge so it was good to see their involvement and interest. (They really were doing more than drinking margaritas.) As you’ll see in tomorrow’s installment, though, youth had a tough time being served.

Free (if politically incorrect) speech

April 19, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Free (if politically incorrect) speech 

It’s billed as a non-political event, but something tells me that they’re not going to sit around sipping on Coca-Cola.

I got the invitation from Robert Broadus, who will be a speaker at the Take Back Maryland Rally on Saturday in Federalsburg. It’s organized by a group I was heretofore unfamiliar with called the League of the South, and I’ll get to them in a little bit.

First of all, the topics seem quite interesting: during the three-hour Saturday afternoon event, Broadus will speak on “Defending Marriage in the Old Line State,” State Senator Rich Colburn talks about “A 51st State: Partitioning ‘Red’ Maryland from ‘Blue’ Maryland,” and David Whitney of the Institute of the Constitution pondering “Is the 14th Amendment Legal?” All seem like intriguing topics worth listening to, particularly since they don’t seem to come from an orthodox point of view in Maryland.

The sponsoring organization bills itself as maintaining the spirit of the Confederacy, noting “We seek to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honourable means.” Obviously this brings up the familiar images of the rebel flag, white-hooded Ku Klux Klan members, and separate but equal facilities. And of course we’ve already fought one War Between the States that their side lost.

Still, if you ignore the racial portion of the equation (as Broadus is apparently doing, since he is a black man) there are some aspects of Southern life which could stand a revival. A couple in particular are the restoration of state’s rights and the Southern emphasis on family and community – the definition of which comes from achieving the greater good through local, privately-based efforts rather than a government program. Taken in that context, the selection of speakers makes a lot of sense.

Without question, this will be the kind of event that liberals fall over themselves condemning because they see almost everything through a lens of perceived racism. But the League of the South contends (and I think to a significant extent rightfully so) that southern Maryland, the Eastern Shore, and lower Delaware are bastions of the old South trapped inside northern states; on the other hand portions of Confederate states like Florida and Texas are no longer “southern” as they define it because of Yankee and Latino influences.

And while there isn’t a shooting war going on between the blue and the gray, there’s no denying we have a cultural and social war going on between the principles being stood for by the League of the South and ideologically similar, socially conservative and even libertarian groups versus those promulgated by their perception of government policy and the influence of Hollywood and the mainstream media.

Just witness the GOP Presidential primary schedule – Mitt Romney didn’t win any states in the Deep South except Florida, and Florida was won only because Romney carried the urban areas. The northern tier of the state and panhandle was Gingrich country, as was Newt’s adopted home state of Georgia and South Carolina. Rick Santorum carried Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee during his Presidential bid.

They didn’t call the South the Bible Belt for nothing, and over the last many decades it’s been Hollywood’s task to sell the idea of Southerners as white trash while government enforces policies which many evangelicals in the South disagree with. Yet Southerners are proportionally more likely to fight and die for their country.

But I guarantee that some of those who read this article are going to shake their head and think to themselves that these speakers are making a mistake appearing before such a group, one which believes the South should rise again and eventually secede from the rest of the Union. I have news for them: we already live in a polarized and divided nation, made so because it benefits certain people and groups at the expense of the rest of us. We don’t have to agree with everything the League of the South says, but we should give it the respect due any other group of citizens who have a political or social view to express. A country which allows both the hatred of Fred Phelps and the perversion of the Folsom Street Fair (just Google both, I’m not linking) definitely should make room for a group advocating a return to the better points of tradition.

Tolerance: the Left doesn’t practice what it preaches

An example of sign vandalism provided by Protect Marriage Maryland.

If you thought the debate over same-sex marriage was going to be genteel and conducted by adults, don’t say you weren’t warned of what was to come.

This was sent by Protect Marriage Maryland as an example of some of the sign vandalism and theft which has occurred since churches and supporters of traditional marriage around the state began putting up signs urging people to “protect marriage” over the first few months of the year in response to the bill signed by Governor O’Malley legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013. Of course, PMM is among the groups seeking to place the issue on November’s ballot.

And with a number of events where people are expected to gather before the initial May 31 signature gathering deadline (including next weekend’s Pork in the Park celebration and the Salisbury Festival the following weekend) we could see efforts made at intimidating those who would seek or give their signatures to petition the bill to referendum. The template is already there based on some of the events surrounding last year’s petition drive to put in-state tuition for illegal aliens on the ballot, not to mention the controversy which swirled around California’s gay marriage referendum and its aftermath. The price of deviating from political correctness can be steep.

Yet I’ve often wondered why those who believe gay marriage must become the law of the state are so afraid. They trumpet polls which state their side is winning, and while it takes the signatures of  just 3 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election to place a referendum on the ballot, it was nearly a 20 year hiatus since the last time Maryland had seen a successful push for allowing voters to decide. If they are so right there shouldn’t be a need to deface signs and perhaps intimidate petition signature gatherers and contributors to the pro-marriage effort, should there?

I happen to believe in traditional marriage and I’ve already signed the petition to place the issue on the ballot. Hopefully somewhere around 150,000 to 200,000 Marylanders will do the same, and while they’re at it place our gerrymandered Congressional districts to referendum as well. (Somehow I don’t think anyone will be putting out signs exhorting us to save the Congressional districts, though.) Perhaps I will take a little flak for doing so, but I happen to believe that changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples will eventually lead to it including adult-child weddings and unions between multiple partners of one or both genders. Once one threshold is crossed, those who will take a mile when given an inch won’t be satisfied with the one notch in the bedpost they’ve achieved.

And spare me the equation of the relatively recent legalization of interracial marriage and same-sex marriage. Once civil rights advocates got their desire to eliminate racial barriers to marital bliss, they were completely satisfied. Yet getting all the legal benefits and protections of marriage through the adoption of civil unions isn’t good enough for the radical queer movement – it has to be considered the equal of marriage between one man and one woman, or nothing.

Finally, it’s worth reading this gay man’s theory that being gay is more of a fad than anything, done for shock value. If what he’s saying is true – and admittedly this is very anecdotal, single-source evidence – then perhaps we should rethink the idea of changing a century or more of law (not to mention many generations of custom) for the flavor of the day.

Remember, the maturity level of some gay marriage proponents is measured by the behavior they exhibit. Is defacing a sign an indicator that the merits of same-sex nuptials can be rationally argued? I don’t think so.

MDGOP 2011 Fall Convention in pictures and text

At the risk of a slow-loading post, there are 30 photos on this one. But I took a lot more, and you know every picture tells a story with me. And this is the story of the Maryland GOP Fall Convention, brought to you by…

I’ll begin with Friday night, the usual social time for the convention. Even though I’d never been to the Sheraton in Annapolis, once I saw these I knew I was in the right place.

(Of course, I took that snapshot yesterday morning.)

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A time to protest

In this civil (or perhaps uncivil, for as Axl Rose says, “What’s so civil ’bout war anyway?”) war around our land, the one which has progressed beyond ballots but thankfully not yet to bullets, it seems we’re as divided as we have been in any recent time. Even in Maryland, which is written off as a hopelessly single-party state, there’s a rear-guard action which requires the attention of the status quo in power.

For example, even though the same-sex marriage bill passed a key hurdle in the House of Delegates by narrowly passing the House Judiciary Committee on a 12-10 vote, there’s still hope that the correct course of action will be taken and the House at-large will defeat the bill, since the pro-gay forces have no guarantee they’ll get to the magic number of 71 Delegates needed to pass the bill. To that end, Robert Broadus of Protect Marriage Maryland is seeking a daily protest this week in Annapolis:

We are arranging a PROTEST in front of the Maryland State Capitol Every Day Next Week!! If unions (and) teachers can protest in Wisconsin over union benefits, we can certainly protest in Maryland over marriage!! I am asking ALL of you to please come WHEN you can.

We must now redouble our efforts. Are there enough people who care about this issue in MD to sustain a week long PROTEST here in Annapolis?

Maybe, maybe not. But this fight will drag on for at least the next few months as opponents have vowed to place the bill to referendum. In a Presidential election year, a referendum vote may hinge on black turnout as that community tends to oppose gay marriage and President Obama will presumably be on the ballot for re-election.

And then we have the mother of all protests next Monday, the 14th. Dubbed the “Rally to Keep the Promise” by its organizers, the Maryland State Education Association, it’s certain the usual big-government apologists will be there. And there’s nothing like a little class envy to fire up the troops:

We’re rallying to ask the General Assembly to prevent devastating cuts to public education and the retirement security of educators, police, health care workers, librarians, and many more hard-working Marylanders.

These cuts will threaten the quality of our public school system and the quality of the public services that we depend on everyday.

As Maryland recovers from the recession brought on by the excesses of Wall Street, we urge legislators to keep their promises to Main Street and provide great public schools, great public services, and a great future for Maryland. 

What about their fiduciary promises to taxpayers and the solvency of the state? There is a point where taxation works to negative results like job losses and capital flight. And – how does revamping teacher retirement affect the classroom in the here and now? Their job should be to teach children, not worry about contributing a few more dollars toward their retirement. In that respect, welcome to the world most of the rest of us share.

The principle of bargaining between those who receive taxpayer funds to run operations and who receive taxpayer funds to perform a service leaves one side always a loser – the taxpayer. It’s why those of us who are Taxed Enough Already (a.k.a. the TEA Party) are calling for a stop to the madness. We’ll be represented in Annapolis, too, and although our numbers may be smaller we’re not going to be quiet and allow our representative to be bullied. Governor Walker is on the right track, and although it’s going to be a long 3 1/2 years until we can rectify the problem here we’re setting out to do just that.

Step one is cutting the piggishness of Big Labor down to size.

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