For over 90 years, the Bladensburg Peace Cross has stood on property which is now public land. Two years ago, the American Humanist Association asked the memorial to World War 1 veterans be removed from its site, saying it “sends a message that Christianity is preferred by the government.” Since it’s still there, the AHA has filed a lawsuit against the Maryland – National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which controls the plot of land near a heavily traveled intersection. The suit cites a “violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as applied to Maryland by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Yes, it’s the old saw that the sign of the cross is the establishment of religion. I find it interesting that thousands of crosses and other religious symbols have been erected as tombstones or prominently featured on them in public and private cemeteries around the country, yet because of the location and visibility of the Bladensburg Cross, the AHA has chosen to sue about this one.
But the reason I heard about this was a voice of resistance:
Given the wave of revisionist lawsuits intended to dismantle battle monuments and other sites important to ordinary Americans since the 1960s I suppose it was only a matter of time until the Bladensburg Cross came under attack. But perhaps the attackers have bitten off more than they can chew.
I attach the complaint, and want to organize resistance. I think ”Task One” will be to make sure the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (the named defendant) does not roll over and decide to default.
If you are concerned about this assault on historical memory, kindly consider pushing this news out to your networks and contacting your representatives in the Maryland General Assembly.
I will go to the Courthouse today to see about getting more info. I realize that not everyone reading this note will agree with me on this. I respect your opinion, so please let me know if you would like to be removed from further mailings.
These are the words of former U.S. Senate candidate Richard Douglas, who passed on a run for Attorney General here in Maryland but may be interested in this case.
Yet this somewhat local push to eradicate a so-called religious symbol from the landscape comes at a time when the faithful in and around the country are under assault from all directions – witness the firestorm of protest, including a threat to relocate Super Bowl XLIX from the state, which surrounded an Arizona bill which would have allowed business owners to follow their conscience when it came to service gay or lesbian couples. The measure was vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who called it “broadly worded.” Other states, such as Texas, Utah, and Virginia, have seen their gay marriage bans thrown out by activist federal judges.
In Maryland the judiciary seems to be a little more conservative than the general population, but this is going before a federal court so all bets are off.
Finally we have arrived at the end – well, sort of, as I’ll explain.
Basically what this part is about are those other issues which don’t rise to the level of a full portion of this vetting, but I think are worth mentioning. Unique among the sub-portions of my evaluation is that I can add or subtract up to three points in this section, so it makes a pretty good difference. Another difference is in format, as I will respond to each point in turn.
David Craig: I will fully fund Program Open Space, stop raiding the funds and stop spending the money on pork barrel projects like artificial turf fields for high school sports stadiums. (campaign website)
Sorry, David, I can’t support this. Program Open Space is a great way for the state to take up more land it doesn’t need at a loss to both the local entity the parcel is part of (via lowered taxable area) and remaining taxpayers who take up the slack. If anything, Program Open Space should be defunded and excess state property returned to the private sector. Bob Ehrlich tried this and was pilloried, but the concept was sound.
When queried about social issues, particularly being pro-life, Craig related that he didn’t push the issue with his children, but was pleased that they turned out as pro-life as they did. David also pointed out that he voted in a pro-life fashion during his time in the General Assembly. But he would rather have 5 million Marylanders decide than 188 in the General Assembly. Jeannie echoed the overall stance, adding for her part she was “conservative, Christian, pro-life.” (WCRC meeting, July 22, 2013)
Being pro-life isn’t as much of a litmus test for me as it is some others, but I brought it up because I thought it was important.
While on Steiner’s show, Craig sidestepped a question about whether he would have vetoed a bill passed last year legalizing same-sex marriage.
He noted that as county executive, he has rarely used his veto powers and said that he thought it was good for Marylanders to have a chance to vote on the measure.
The marriage law was petitioned to the ballot by opponents after O’Malley signed it last year.
“I think it’s important that the people of Maryland spoke on that,” Craig said.
He also took issue with the state’s repeal of the death penalty, which he said prosecutors see as important tool. (Washington Post, May 31, 2013)
Here is a place where I disagree with the philosophy of Craig.
If you’re going to make a stand on an issue, it’s entirely appropriate to use the veto pen. If he wouldn’t have vetoed the bill, I’m led to assume he supports it. By the same token, where was he in supporting the death penalty when something could have been done? This could have gone to referendum but the effort died.
I’m fine with civil unions, but not gay marriage. Yes, it’s more or less a question of semantics but to me marriage between opposite genders is an apple and a union between those of the same gender is an orange. They shouldn’t share the same term. Just because the slim majority of voters supported it on a day when disillusioned conservatives stayed home because they didn’t care for their presidential nominee doesn’t mean it’s really settled. What if there had been a special election on the matter – would conservatives have been the ones to show up and vote it down?
Furthermore. I pointed out when the bill passed committee that legislators may not have wanted it on the ballot with them in 2014.
There’s a reason we have 188 legislators to represent 5 (actually 6) million Marylanders. If they do their job wrong, it’s up to you to correct it, not leaving it to the whims of 5 million Marylanders. That referendum backstop is for the times when the General Assembly gets it egregiously wrong with the governor’s approval, such as gay marriage.
Ron George: Demanding the highest standards of ethics and conduct creating a government that is more responsive to individuals regardless of income or party affiliation.
Require the automatic forfeiture of retirement benefits for any elected official that is convicted of abusing their office for political gain.
Reforming our prisons to make them true rehabilitation facilities with drug and alcohol rehab, education and financial literacy courses.
Create and enforce drug free zones around community recreation centers, schools and public housing with stiffer penalties. (campaign site)
I can live with points one and two, but the third and fourth points seem to work at cross purposes with each other. Not only will it cost a lot more to run our prison system if the additional features are included, the additional drug penalties will create more inmates. The more I see the effect of the so-called War on Drugs, the more I tend to favor decriminalization, if not legalization.
“Don’t believe a Republican can’t get anything done,” George said. “People think the enemy is the Democratic Party. It’s not. It’s apathy.”
He added that in a legislature controlled by Democrats, it is important for Republicans to not be ambitious. George said Democratic lawmakers will kill Republican legislation that they like, only to then introduce and pass a near-identical version with their own names on it. He added that it’s happened to him several times, and said he still would testify in favor of the bills if he supported them.
“It doesn’t matter if your name is on the bill or not. I don’t care,” George said. (SoMdNews, June 26, 2013)
To me, that doesn’t exactly scream Reaganesque leadership. If something is a good idea, we should be ambitious about it; after all – to use a recent news headline – if a small fraction of the population can get a television show cancelled, a tireless minority can turn this state around as well with the proper inspired leadership.
“I bristle at how much partisanship gets in the way of getting things done,” George said. “I have no problem working with people.” (Washington Post, June 5, 2013)
Then you should be ambitious about attaining your goals. Seize the bully pulpit and make the public demand the opposition fall in behind you.
“I never ran to the middle,” Ron reminded us, “I spoke to the middle.” (WCRC meeting, September 23, 2013)
In other words, you brought the other side to you. Now I definitely disagree with some of the ways you accomplished this – particularly the “Green Elephant” phase of your first term – but at least you have some street cred to use for better purposes.
And the outcry for Dwyer’s resignation is strong – particularly from fellow Anne Arundel County Delegate and gubernatorial candidate Ron George, who advised, “out of concern for others who could be harmed and for Don Dwyer himself, I call on him to resign and get help. His constituents deserve good representation.” (monoblogue, August 21, 2013)
Since Dwyer wasn’t convicted of a crime which requires his dismissal from the General Assembly, I have to disagree. The voters of his district will probably speak just as loudly and have a more final decision.
Charles Lollar: Charles Lollar believes in human dignity and recognizes the importance of religious freedom to the people of Maryland. The State of Maryland was founded to enable its settlers to practice their religion free of government interference. It is our heritage and Maryland’s gift to the nation. (campaign website)
I have a little trouble reconciling that statement with the one in the second part below about not running to be a priest.
“It’s a tragedy what partisan politics is doing to this country.” (appearance at Mike Blizzard fundraiser, September 16, 2013)
This is a favorite straw man to burn. There’s a distinction between partisan politics based on principles and partisanship based on power. The debates of old between Republicans and Democrats centered on the former, but Maryland as a one-party state for so many decades is an example of the latter, where politicians join the Democratic machime to help themselves and not their fellow man.
“I’m not running to be your priest. I’m running to be your governor.”
“I think that every Marylander should have the right to be with whomever they want to be with….I don’t think government should be involved in marriage at all – that’s not government’s business.”
“I’m not going to propose any legislation centered around marriage; that’s not my job…nor would I lead a charge to change what the people have already done.”
“The people of the state have already voted to pass the law.”
“I am an advocate of helping organizations that help women sustain their lives…What I would not fund is money to provide an abortion.” (blogger interview, June 24, 2013)
I guess I have a problem with this picking and choosing which laws to advocate, unless the idea is to disengage entirely from all these personal decisions, which is a very libertarian approach. If government shouldn’t be in the arena of marriage, then I suppose we can bring back common law marriage. Moreover, there is also the aspect of taxation based in large part on deductions married couples are allowed to take, child custody, and many other issues where government has involvement in marriage. Do those go away as well?
I also have an issue with the lame excuse “the people of the state have already voted to pass the law.” That doesn’t stop activist courts from overturning a vote, which was done in California. Nor did it stop Obamacare, which the people didn’t want but Congress passed anyway. If you want the people to pass laws, then there should be a push to have citizen initiatives like other states do. Unfortunately, the masses aren’t always proven to be correct and we may rue the votes we took in 2012 a decade or two down the line.
“It’s very important that I’m non-partisan. We’re not going to win with Republican bully politics in this state. You’ve got some folks that want to win that way. We can’t win that way, we won’t win that way.” (interview, Raging Against the Rhetoric, July 2013)
He said he is frustrated with “the Republican brand,” but chose to run as a Republican because his character and ideals most align with that party, he said. (SoMdNews, November 1, 2013)
These two actually go well together, so I will comment on both at the same time.
The first step in winning any election in Maryland is to win your party’s nomination, and in Lollar’s case that is the GOP. We saw what happened the last time an unaffiliated candidate tried to win statewide – he spent a lot of money to get 15% of the vote, and 15 percent isn’t going to cut it.
So maybe this is reality according to Charles Lollar, but that’s not the way to get party activists on your side. Granted, there are many who are fed up with the GOP brand but that’s because they look for conservative principles while many among the party regulars believe the MDGOP should be a pale pink pastel in a deep blue state, so as not to offend anyone in the middle. All that does is disillusion the base, which is why we don’t always get better turnout than Democrats – something which we must have to succeed.
I don’t think Republican principles equate to “bully politics.”
In looking at these various factors, I end up deducting a little bit of score from two of the three candidates. Ron George is pretty much a wash as far as I’m concerned.
David Craig ends up losing one point because he’s just not willing to lead on social issues, even a little. They’re not the most important issues, but damn it, take a stand.
I deducted the full three points from Charles Lollar; not only for the unwillingness to run as a Republican and falling into the “non-partisan politics” trap, but also for running an abysmal campaign which has squandered the good will of a lot of potential activists, made a lot of unforced errors (the lack of a website for over a week was fairly glaring), and exhibited a terrible lack of discipline among staffers and supporters. Some of these have been straightened out, but tremendous damage is done. It’s a shame because the presentation by the candidate is generally good, which is why I initially supported him.
But when I added up all of the totals, even without the three-point deduction, Lollar was trailing badly. At this point, the totals are as follows:
- Ron George, 61.5 points
- David Craig, 58 points
- Charles Lollar, 49.5 points
- Larry Hogan, 0 points
Frankly, none of these totals are all that great. I realize I’m a difficult taskmaster, but I would have hoped for at least a couple scores in the 70s. But as more and more is learned about the candidates and their positions – particularly on some of the more esoteric issues I used, like the impact of Obamacare – perhaps one or more will reach the 70 to 80 point range and I can get behind him. At this time, I can’t be like the folks at Red Maryland and do the Larry Hogan pig in a poke. I tried that once already and was disappointed.
What I think I will do instead is make this an ongoing process. I really didn’t mean for this to be a one-shot deal as I have done before because I suspect the race will be in flux for awhile yet. Moreover, I’m not convinced I’ll see four main contenders on the June ballot, just like Blaine Young’s exit from the race after Charles Lollar got in. Sooner or later, once Larry Hogan gets in someone probably has to get out because there’s only so much money out there.
So I want to revisit the process around the first of February, the first of April, and the beginning of June. This way I can review what the candidates have said over the preceding 60 days or so and adjust accordingly. I might like a lot of what Larry Hogan says and it may vault him into the lead, or Lollar could stage a comeback with some subtle policy changes. It seems fair to all, and there’s no real rush for a monoblogue endorsement.
Put me down as still undecided.
For a television show which drew 11.8 million viewers for its season four premiere over the summer, ‘Duck Dynasty’ has become the topic du jour on everyone’s lips. (Just as a comparison, the broadcast network show ‘NCIS’ drew about 19 million viewers the week of December 9.)
Before I continue, let me say I am not a regular viewer of the show; however, I have seen enough bits and pieces from having a 13-year-old devout follower of the series in the household to be familiar with the premise of the show, not to mention the four guys who look like stand-ins for a ZZ Top video. (Which makes sense, since the ZZ Top song ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ is the show’s theme song.) Moreover, doing my outside job has made me aware that anything with the ‘Duck Dynasty” logo and/or the Robertson family – and I mean anything – is available at most local stores, particularly Walmarts. There’s no need to discount it like you might the remnants of a failed blockbuster movie or television series because the stuff has been flying off the shelves. (By the way, it should be pointed out this accrues to the benefit of the A&E Network.)
So what’s amazing to me about this story is the reaction from a small portion of the interview, taken out of the context of the whole. But then again, in reading the piece, you feel like writer Drew Magary is holding himself one step away from openly laughing about how much of a bunch of Bible-thumping hicks this whole Robertson clan is, like Drew’s really the smartest guy in the room and how did he ever get stuck with this assignment? I’ll put up with them for now, the attitude screams, but wait until I get back to New York or Washington (or wherever Drew’s from) and start writing this one, complete with plenty of NSFW language! The target audience of GQ - which is pehaps the older brothers of the now-infamous “pajama boy” – will simply see this as yet another reinforcement of how life in flyover country is something to be ignored, not emulated.
Honestly, I think people were caught off guard by the swift reaction from the LGBT community to the money quote from the story. There’s no doubt in my mind the most radical among them were already bothered by the show’s popularity because of its message of morality and lack of so-called “diversity” – it doesn’t fit in with the usual politically correct pap which most network shows have become as they preach tolerance of all but a Biblical worldview. Come on, these guys say grace before they eat. Fearing this prospect of a boycott by a small but vocal minority, the A&E network suspended Phil from the show.
Yet if you read farther into the interview, you’ll find this fate wasn’t totally unexpected:
“Let’s face it,” (Phil Robertson) says. “Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.”
At this point, they are three months away from the 2-year mark (the show premiered in March 2012) but the overnight success of the show is probably at the crest of its wave – before too long, some other pop culture phenomenon will take over the public consciousness and ‘Duck Dynasty’ will be a footnote. An extremely well-marketed footnote, but a footnote nonetheless. It will certainly eliminate the talk about Phil’s son Willie Robertson running for Congress.
Still, there is the question of how much backlash the radical LGBT crowd will receive from all this. Regardless of how crassly Phil Robertson put it, the truth is for most men women are far more desirable as partners. That’s the reality. Try as the LGBT radicals might to redefine marriage and family, there’s no substitute for biology and if guys want to carry on the family name, so to speak, they need a woman to help them out somehow. One might consider that God’s plan. Certainly it would be preferred that the guys hang on to their desire until they find the right woman, get married, and settle down, but that’s really going to take a sea change in societal mores on the order of a Great Awakening to occur – so start small like the Robertsons seem to be doing. Every little bit helps.
Those who complain about lack of tolerance might want to consider they’re traveling on a two-way street. Erick Erickson wrote a good piece on RedState yesterday about the tendency of those offended to wish to “punish and destroy” opponents rather than exhibit the tolerance they demand.
For those who were determined to drive ‘Duck Dynasty’ off the air, it’s obvious the idea of ‘live and let live’ is beyond their limited worldview.
In 52 weeks from Tuesday, Marylanders will go to the polls to decide the fate of their state government for the next four years. How long that four years will seem to Maryland Republicans will hinge on the results.
But there are a lot of people already pondering the message the party should put across, or even whether they can. Take Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum for example, who wrote today:
Our take: there is a broad culturally conservative base in the Old Line State, as well as a deep reservoir of those who quite rightly believe they are vastly overtaxed and overregulated. Understandably, many of these citizens have found the state Republican Party ineffective. How congenial is the G.O.P. to Blue Collar Maryland of all ethnicities when its chair here and the sole Republican U.S. Representative here flirt with amnesty? And why run the business risks of joining the opposition party in a one-dominant-party state if that opposition party has few fixed principles and won’t make serious trouble for the dominant party anyway?
The Maryland GOP and its politicians fell far short last year on two unusual outreach opportunities: they failed to put full energy and resources behind the referenda against gay marriage and against in-state tuition for illegals. Both these referenda did better here than governor Mitt Romney in 2012 in Maryland.
The state needs an energetic, organized conservative-grass-roots organization drawn from all parties. But the problem is like the one school reformers face: deciding whether to shut down a failing high school and start a new one with a new team, or to try to rehabilitate the failing school.
Whether to rebuild or replace the Beltway-Establishment-linked Maryland GOP is an open question.
Unfortunately, the question is already answered by the rules written for electioneering, as the two principal parties have distinct advantages over attempting to get on the ballot via a third party or as an independent. Few independents make it to the ballot in a statewide race, with failed onetime Republican Rob Sobhani the most recent example.
So the Maryland GOP it is. But which one?
Is it the group which seems content to be the perpetual opposition party, playing the game as best they can hoping for approval from the dominant side so that the state can move forward in a bipartisan manner? Damn, I hope not.
No, I’m more into the bomb throwers; the type who assumes that in order to make an omelet you have to scramble some eggs. Once the TEA Party came into being I hoped it was the impetus which would shake up a moribund state party which saw its lone Republican incumbent governor in two generations shellacked at the polls, losing one of its two Congressional seats two years later when the national elections gave the other party a stranglehold on the federal government. That was the situation we encountered at the dawn of 2009.
Once the TEA Party got rolling, I was hoping the Maryland Republican Party would embrace it. Instead, they decided the retread who had been pounded four years before was good enough to run again. But the upstart campaign of Brian Murphy brought a new element into the MDGOP - particularly once Sarah Palin endorsed him – and the 2010 primary results showed just how significant a portion it was. To get 1/4 of the vote against a candidate the state party all but endorsed was an accomplishment.
But the race for party Chair that fall still showed we had a long way to go, with the most overt TEA Party participant receiving only a smattering of votes. It’s funny, though, how turnover in the state party erodes that which most people thought was conventional wisdom because the TEA Party favorite just missed winning the special election for Chair this spring and ended up as First Vice-Chair. Still, observers like Falknor saw it as a Pyrrhic victory at best, choosing to advocate for a different path.
I bring all that history to the fore because 2014 will be the first state election where the TEA Party is more integrated into the political process. We gained experience with the 2010 campaign, but now the hard work begins. And the question we must answer: how can we make sure those in the political middle receive the conservative message? We know the other side tries to smear and obfuscate it as much as possible.
A lot of people say the way to accomplish this is to focus strictly on pocketbook issues. But to me that misses the point – if we’re going to be painted as extremists, why not explain why we feel the way we do instead of being defensive? For example, I’m pro-life and believe life begins at conception because how else would you define when life begins? How is it logical that a child one centimeter away from exiting the birth canal can be murder but once outside is considered human?
On the other hand, though, I feel that those who commit premeditated murder forfeit the right to life through their action, and in so doing deserve the ultimate punishment of the death penalty.
Life is about far more than money and the size of government. It is also up to us to construct the guard rails for our progeny so they stay on a relatively straight and narrow path. Yes, they will have their period of rumspringa but the idea is not to allow them enough rope to hang themselves with.
Liberals will tell us that delving into social issues will keep us from winning elections, but since when do we solicit counsel from an enemy? It would be like John Harbaugh taking play-calling advice from Troy Polamalu. You know, for as far-left a state as Maryland supposedly is, it took a Presidential election against a weak Republican candidate to get more than 50% of the voters to support gay marriage. As I said at the time, that was their best chance because no one wanted it on the 2014 ballot with them,
So I don’t think all discussion of social issues should be off-limits if we use them as a teachable moment. In order to change Maryland to a “purple” state we need to educate the public on the benefits of conservative thought.
Sitting here and catching up from what was an extremely busy week (with next week promising more of the same) I had something of an “aha!” moment – not to be confused with the ’80s pop band by the way – where two seemingly disparate pieces of information just clicked together.
Let’s examine piece number one, shall we? For days (or is it months, or years? I sense a continuing theme here) Maryland Republicans have been divided into a number of camps, tribes which rarely come together except on a small handful of issues. In the last year, I think resistance to Martin O’Malley’s draconian Second Amendment upheaval (legally and laughingly officially known as the Firearm Safety Act of 2013) was about the only issue drawing universal resistance from Republicans, and even then they parted on how best to fight its enactment, whether through the court system of via referendum. In the end, the court system won out but, as it stands, in a month the law will take effect.
In the meantime, we couldn’t even get the GOP to vote as a group against Martin O’Malley’s bloated budget – yet we call ourselves the party of fiscal responsibility? I understand our alternative budget is DOA in the General Assembly, but at least put up a united front against O’Malley’s principles.
The long introduction I just completed leads me into an Examiner post by J. Doug Gill, where he takes a long look at how the party has been divided since the Ehrlich era of 2003-07. This “bare knuckle brawl for irrelevancy” makes a number of valid points, although I don’t agree with its somewhat pessimistic outlook for the future. As Gill notes:
Any citizen of Maryland who has had it up to their well-spelunked pockets wants a strong, vibrant and relevant opposition party – and there are untold numbers who don’t care if it’s the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Tupperware Party.
The sooner some entity – any entity – sorts itself out and provides a credible opposition to the Democrats the better for all of us – including our friends on the left whose bank accounts are just as empty as ours – well, save for the union leaders and cronies and appointees, and, well, you get the picture…
But right now, and in its current incarnation, the only thing the Maryland Republican Party has learned from history is that they never learn anything from history.
Yet it’s not just about credible opposition – it’s also about creating a choice. This is something the majority party won’t do.
There was something about this Ballotpedia report which caught my eye. See if you can spot it, too – I’ll give you a moment and even put in a page break for the fun of it.
In what turns out to be the second of three consecutive club meetings featuring a gubernatorial candidate, a packed room enjoyed the presentation from Charles Lollar. While Lollar hasn’t formally announced – one item he mentioned was that this area will be part of his bus tour on September 5 – it’s clear he’s intending to run for the GOP nomination.
So, as is our usual custom with visiting dignitaries who travel from afar, once we got through the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and introduced our other distinguished guests we turned the meeting over to Charles, who brought his wife Rosha along.
Lollar started right out by telling those gathered it was “awesome” we began with the Lord’s Prayer. (It’s actually something I believe our late former president George Ossman started. We later paid tribute to George, who passed away last week and was remembered as “a great Republican and club member,” with a moment of silence.) Charles continued on that point, saying that religion was the fabric of our nation, He also contended that the political process of late was one of deciding between whether our rights derived from God or were passed along by mankind, “If you think our rights are from men, don’t vote for me,” said Lollar. “Rights and liberties…come from the Creator of our universe.”
Charles pondered what could happen next year given three items: the new majority of local elected officials statewide who belong to the Republican Party, the impact of fights over state Constitutional amendments such as the one permitting gay marriage, and the influence of conservative Democrats in rural areas upset about the current administration’s efforts to instill draconian gun control measures.
But Lollar urged those attending to gather as much information as they could before making a decision on the gubernatorial race. For his part, Charles claimed “we will represent you well…when you run your campaign from here,” pointing to his heart.
In going over some of his qualifications, LtCol Select Lollar pointed to his service in the Marines as a leader of men as well as the turnaround he worked at Cintas, taking a division lagging in the bottom 15% of the company and transforming it into a top five percent outfit. “I’m a completely boring person (in my personal life)…but I understand money (and) leadership,” Lollar said. He repeated the case later: “I have more leadership experience than all of them.” referring to all those running for the state’s top office.
Regarding social issues, Charles made the point that he would be “elected as governor, not priest.” That’s not to say he’s not a social conservative, but his focus would be on the fiscal side. “We’re in it until the budget is balanced,” promised Lollar.
Charles brought up a fantastic point, stating that a significant portion of the state’s budget came from the federal government and because of that Washington controls much of what our state government does. He gave the example of a western state which enacted an 80 MPH speed limit until they were threatened with the loss of federal highway funds, at which time they reverted back to the standard 65 MPH. (Pity.) The states lose their ability to govern themselves when federal funding becomes a significant part of their budget, he added.
One solution he advocated was a taxpayer’s bill of rights (or TABOR law) like Colorado adopted some years ago. Simply put, a TABOR law means annual spending can only be increased by the sum of percentage of population growth plus the rate of inflation. For example, in FY2012 Maryland’s population grew by 0.8% while inflation was measured in 2012 at 1.7 percent. Thus, the maximum budget increase allowed by law would be 2.5 percent. (In reality, Maryland’s budget grew just over 4 percent. Had the TABOR been in effect, Maryland taxpayers would have saved roughly $650 million this year.)
In answering questions, Charles explained how he could run despite the Hatch Act (he is now a reservist, not on active duty), deferred on a lieutenant governor choice by stating “we are strongly considering and praying” about who the person would be, but wishing to get the campaign off the ground first, and noted his “concern” about cancelling out loyal Republican votes in an open primary.
But one questioner seemed to catch Charles off guard a little bit, if only because he may not be familiar with Mark Levin’s recent book. Once explained briefly, Lollar opined it “sounds like something I would agree with.”
And there was the obvious ask: how do you win in minority areas? Charles noted he didn’t need to win outright, and victory was possible with just 35% in those areas (knowing he’ll roll up sizable majorities in places like Wicomico County.) But he’s been active there, and while there are some who he knows won’t be receptive to his message, he’s going at these communities with the statement that “the best entitlement program is a job.”
Finally, it was noted that with the recent endorsement from Blaine Young, the Frederick County Commission president would be an honorary chairman of Lollar’s campaign.
With that, we returned to the usual order of business, with the minutes being read, treasurer’s report given, and Jackie Wellfonder introducing another former WCRC leader who would promote her event later.
Giving his Central Committee report, county chair Dave Parker conceded, “it’s been a hard week.” Parker pointed out the “assault” on State Senator Rich Colburn by the Daily Times - an article which aroused one supporter to warn “we can’t let them get away with this” and call on the group to burn up the editor’s phone lines starting at 8:30 the next morning – and the circus surrounding the District 36 seat. He said he had personally spoken to Diana Waterman, who denied any allegations of impropriety, but still believed the “state level was doing its best to self-destruct.”
And after bringing up the upcoming events of the WCRC Crab Feast on September 7 (contact me for tickets, by the way – I still have a few left to sell) and our next Central Committee meeting on September 9th, he urged those in attendance to consider joining the Central Committee next year. There will likely be turnover, and “we need some troublemakers” on the Central Committee, said Dave.
The aforementioned WCRC president, E. Dee Monnen (who I referred to last week) was promoting the upcoming First District Bull Roast on September 21 in Queen Anne’s County. Unfortunately, she could not secure a local bus for the event but still urged us to attend and show support for our GOP candidates, including Andy Harris.
Also speaking on behalf of Harris, Shawn Jester added that he was pleased with the Fruitland town hall turnout of over 100 people.
We also heard from District 38C candidate Mary Beth Carozza, who gave kudos to those running the Wicomico Farm and Home Show. (I credited my volunteers; they did most of the hard work. All I did was badger them a few times and bring the big red bin of Central Committee stuff I now need to go through.) She was planning to attend a now-scrubbed legislative hearing on onerous state regulations on the poultry industry as well as visit with the Rural Maryland Council.
And while the Colburn supporter was stating her case against the Daily Times, one observer believed the Senator indeed exhibited “poor judgment” with these expenditures. Personally, I’m hoping they check into the campaign finances of some on the other side of the aisle just as closely.
Our next meeting will be September 23, and as I noted at the top we complete our gubernatorial trifecta with Delegate Ron George introducing himself to the club.
I would like to make one final comment. In many instances, we allow the visiting speakers to speak early figuring they have a long drive back home or to where they are staying. Few stay for the whole meeting, but Charles indeed stuck it out and spoke to several members afterward individually. That sort of gesture is not forgotten.
There was a lot of excitement in the gubernatorial race on the Republican side yesterday – David Craig formally announced Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio as his running mate and Ron George selected an up-and-coming Republican group for fundraising.
But the potential for a race to out-liberal one another is gaining ground on the Democratic side. We know that Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman have joined forces as one team, but two others threaten to drag that race far to the left. Aside from a formal announcement that’s promised for September, Doug Gansler has made all the moves one would expect from a candidate in the race (and has $5 million or so in the bank); meanwhile, this Tweet came yesterday from MetroWeekly‘s Justin Snow:
.@heathermizeur to announce candidacy for Maryland governor tomorrow. She faces an uphill battle, but could become nation’s first gay gov
— Justin Snow (@JustinCSnow) July 17, 2013
In particular, the gay aspect of the race is intriguing: the guy who had articles of impeachment brought against him for unilaterally declaring Maryland would recognize gay marriages in other states (despite clear language in the Maryland Constitution defining it as between a man and a woman) and is rumored to be considering an openly gay running mate takes on a woman who’s been electorally unaffected by her sexual preference, at least in her legislative district.
Yet while these two are trying to outdo each other with a famously liberal special interest group, what will they do to cater to the rest of the Democratic party, let alone independents? Gay marriage may be a settled issue electorally, but what other ideas would these two have to draw voters to the polls? Say what you will about Anthony Brown and the long shadow of Martin O’Malley, but there is a segment of voters who believe our governor has done a good job which makes up a large segment of would-be primary voters.
Is it possible the Democrats could select someone too far to the left, even for Maryland? Only time will tell, and the bloodier the primary fight the better.
The race for Maryland GOP Chair came into a little sharper focus last night as the three candidates stated their case for the last time before they appear at Saturday’s MDGOP Spring Convention.
Collins Bailey, Greg Kline, and Diana Waterman were mainly cordial toward each other but recorded differing priorities for the party in front of a audience of about 30 in the room and untold others online as the event was streamed over the internet. Questions for the trio dealt with a number of issues: Second Amendment, fundraising experience, the role of Central Committee and Executive Committee members, maintaining principles in the face of bad legislation, the independent blogger issue which came up yesterday, Tampa rules changes, gay marriage and the LGBT vote, and whether to compromise principles for unity.
I want to begin with the opening statements. I found it interesting that Greg Kline read most of his from a prepared statement, but departed on one key point: mentioning that the Red Maryland blog came because “good conservative folks…didn’t know what was going on.” Otherwise Kline stuck fiercely to his thoughts that “part of (our) resistance needs to be a functional Maryland Republican Party” but now it has a “leadership culture (which) has become far too insular.”
Diana Waterman, on the other hand, seemed relieved that this was almost over – running this race has been “exhausting.” Her single goal was to “bring balance to the state of Maryland” and “begin to approach a two-party system.” While she had “two worthy opponents,” her key points were the experience she brings and the fact much of her plan is already in place.
Collins Bailey seemed to chafe at the word “opponent.” “We’ll pick a captain on Saturday,” said Bailey. Describing the 2014 election as a “window of opportunity” Collins tried to look at the bright side of what we’ve done in the last two years but found himself wanting. Registering just 39,000 new Republicans out of a quarter-million voters isn’t success, nor is leaving over fifty General Assembly seats uncontested as we did in 2010. We need “measurable, meaningful, and doable” goals for 2014, with the object being to “make it freer and fairer for every Marylander.”
Since no one disagreed that the idea of restricting automatic weapons – a stance held by former RNC Chair Michael Steele – was a bad one, I’m going to skip to the question about fundraising experience.
Greg Kline liked it to having a product to sell, with specific electoral goals he promised to create within 60 days of his election.
Diana Waterman, though, decided to take us back in time and note that she’s fundraised all the way back to when she was a Girl Scout selling cookies, continuing through the parochial school her children attended and up to the United Way. In the here and now, she wanted to get back with former donors.
Fundraising was “a team effort,” said Collins Bailey, and he would approach the problem by finding our party’s most gifted fundraisers and letting them take to the goal of expanding our donor base tenfold. He also made an interesting claim that 80% of what is donated to the MDGOP goes to “overhead.” I suppose that means salaries, rent, and the like – it’s worth making the point on my end that this would automatically go down as a percentage with increased donations.
“If you want a dictator for Chair, don’t vote for me,” explained Collins in his answer to the question on the role of Central Committee and Executive Committee members. Above the others, Bailey saw his role as Chair as a “facilitator.” He would canvass the membership in order to establish a platform and goals for the next election.
Diana Waterman seemed to agree. “There is no successful 2014 without Central Committee members,” she said, hastening to add that, “communications works in both directions.” She wanted to begin a monthly conference call for Executive Committee members to supplement their quarterly meetings, although it might be difficult to schedule.
Greg Kline advocated for an “interactivity leadership,” featuring regular communication between both sides. He also repeated his call for an informal group of advisers, a body he’s previously called a “kitchen cabinet.”
I had written a question regarding the idea of reining in bad legislation as well as keeping our legislators in line with party principles, but the idea was sort of lost in translation in the way it was asked.
So after Collins Bailey answered that “I don’t think that’s an either-or proposition,” Diana Waterman agreed and added that “the state party doesn’t set policy.” (Why not?) Waterman also advocated for a good working relationship with the General Assembly.
Kline took the question to make a point that we should “show our value” to legislators and voters as well as take advantage of the new media.
Just so you know, I think the party should have more in a hand in policy and should use its influence to keep wayward legislators in line.
That answer by Kline, though, seemed to foreshadow the next question, which dealt with the latest MDGOP misplay. I was hoping someone would bring up the fact CPAC screens bloggers for their media credentials, and Greg Kline did when the question was presented to him.
But first we had to listen to Diana Waterman stumble her way through a defense of the decision, which she conceded left “a lot of room for improvement.” She didn’t want to have a subjective judgement or make anyone feel left out, so they decided on the “harsh” standard. In the future she promised to work with the blogging community for improvements.
Collins Bailey didn’t support the decision, but took the question in a different direction. He envisioned conventions being much larger, with up to 10,000 people. He wanted to open conventions up, which would create a “ripple effect” of excitement.
It seems to me from my recollection Virginia has these mass gatherings, and if you have the right speakers it could happen.
Obviously the question seemed tailor-made for Kline, and he didn’t miss the softball. Chiding the “open hostility” of a state party which doesn’t work with new media, Kline pointed out that CPAC and the RNC national convention welcome bloggers and it’s “an embarrassment we haven’t.” His response drew perhaps the largest applause of any of the evening’s answers from those in the room.
The next question was also harshly critical of the interim Chair, for it dealt with the Tampa RNC rules.
Collins Bailey got first crack and assessed that “2012 was a really unfortunate year.” Making the case that under these rules Ronald Reagan would have never been elected, Bailey revealed he felt the election was lost in August once these changes were made over vehement objections. “We’re better than that,” he stated, “Let’s make it right and move on.”
Again, Diana Waterman was thrust into the position of having to defend the unpopular. She launched into a technical explanation of what was changed, mentioning that a couple of the more egregious changes were dispensed with last week in California. These changes, though, were “not taken lightly.”
Waterman also defended Louis Pope, stating she felt his letter didn’t accuse Virginia RNC National Committeeman Morton Blackwell of a “crooked deal” or quid pro quo.
Greg Kline told those gathered they could make up their own minds on Blackwell since he had appeared on Red Maryland Radio. But he also called Tampa “an unprecedented effort to change the rules” and spoke about the Nicolee Ambrose vs. Louis Pope Rules Committee controversy and its role. (Both Kline and Bailey are on record as supporting Nicolee Ambrose for the RNC Rules Committee; Waterman would retain Louis Pope.)
On the question dealing with gay marriage, Waterman leaned on her assessment that the GOP can be an 80/20 party, where people can agree with most ideas and choose to disagree on items like same-sex nuptials. It’s a “polarizing issue,” said Diana. She also bemoaned the fact that resolutions condemning same-sex marriage were included as part of a package at the recent RNC meeting, included with others like the one thanking Ron Paul for his service and supporting other key issues. She also took advantage of the RNC reference to note most of the Ginsburg Tampa rules were defeated.
Greg Kline also stated his support for traditional marriage, but noted “it’s okay to disagree…we have a common purpose.” There’s even a difference of opinion among those at Red Maryland, he continued. Just base our appeals on other issues, he concluded.
Repeating his assessment of the Chair as facilitator, Bailey derided those who would make the party “Democrat-lite.”
“We need to define who we are as people,” added Collins.
Speaking of unity, I thought the last question was excellent. Would you compromise your principles for unity?
None of the Chair candidates took that bait, with Greg Kline opening up by saying “we shouldn’t compromise who we are.” Abandoning our principles won’t help us with voters, Kline argued, and because our principles haven’t been clear, we have a branding problem.
Diana Waterman agreed, adding that we don’t have to bend for unity. We can all still work together.
But the most firm answer came from Collins Bailey. “I don’t believe in compromise,” said Bailey, but he would take incremental success. “Compromise means to give up who you are,” he said. “Are we a social club or a political party?”
Collins asserted the question could be asked in another way: are you willing to destroy who we are for the sake of unity? I know I’m not.
In their closing statements, the trio laid out the final elements of their case.
Greg Kline believed the questions were “really good,” and assessed that “the state party has tremendous opportunities in 2014.” But it also has a lot of problems, he continued, and his goals were to transform the way the party does business and change the leadership culture. He concluded that he saw criticism from places like the new media as opportunities for change, making that case that new media would “spread the message” unlike the Washington Post or Baltimore Sun.
Diana Waterman conceded there’s “definite room for improvement for the party” and that the Tampa rules are “definitely not perfect.” But she agreed with Kline that we have “great opportunities” next year and “fundraising will be the most important thing.”
As he has throughout the campaign, Collins Bailey was complementary to his opponents, saying “I’ve seen growth in all three of us.” The selection, he believed, was a choice in management style and vision.
And since Collins originally thought he only had two minutes, he added a couple anecdotal examples to his remarks about sharing the credit with others but taking the blame for himself. But he also revealed a good friend of his, a Democrat no less, was hoping he’d win. We needed a viable second party, the unnamed Democrat elected official argued, because “the Democrats (in Annapolis) don’t think, they just do what they’re told.”
So until Saturday afternoon, when the candidates make their remarks as their pitch to the convention, this will be the last time the members of the state GOP will get to hear them address questions. Dorchester County Chair Dale Coldren ran a fairly tight ship, which maximized the number of questions heard in a little over two hours.
I leave this for you to judge, but to me it’s worth pointing out that Greg Kline was the first to leave, with Diana Waterman next and Collins Bailey leaving sometime after I did. I happened to come in at the same time Bailey did, so I think he was the first to arrive followed by Kline and Waterman. (Admittedly, that order could be reversed.)
So who do I think won? Well, I would say both Kline and Bailey made the best statements, with each showing strength in various categories. Conversely, Diana Waterman always seemed to be on the defensive and certainly the race and interim Chair job has taken a toll on her. Bailey also mentioned the long hours and time away from family involved.
I’m sure some on the Red Maryland side of things would score this another runaway win for Kline, but I’m inclined to think it’s no better than a draw for him because he got off to a bit of a slow start. But he didn’t hurt his cause, and I think Collins might have helped his own a little bit.
Still, the race would appear to be Waterman’s to lose, and there were some of her supporters crowing yesterday the race was over because Andy Harris endorsed her. But if she can’t otherwise make traction in that district – which includes her home turf – I’m not sure what chance she has if she doesn’t score the first-round knockout.
As I predicted last week given the high probability that Delegate Justin Ready would be unavailable on date number 2, the Wicomico County Pathfinders gathering was rescheduled once again, for Saturday, April 13. It will be held at the original intended location, the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce building (where Wicomico County Republican Club and Republican Central Committee meetings are generally located) from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Most importantly, lunch will be provided.
Something we have harped on is finding good candidates who will fill up the ballot in 2014 – no exceptions. Okay, perhaps one exception as Republicans can’t run for the Democratic Central Committee. (But conservatives certainly can, and I encourage those who just can’t shake the concept of abandoning their daddy’s party but nevertheless agree with our pro-liberty principles to give that a shot.)
In Wicomico County there are a total of 22 elected positions available – 15 for the county and 7 for the state, although 6 of those are shared to various extents with other counties. Obviously some of these offices are already held by Republicans so we don’t necessarily need a challenger for those positions, but there are a number of Democrats who have been in their respective offices far too long and need to be replaced with people bringing fresh blood and new, conservative ideas. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Norm “Five Dollar” Conway.)
But with as much bashing of the state GOP as I’ve done over the last months and years, I have to credit them for doing something right. Two copies of this appeared in my mailbox today.
I am sure some are going to make an issue of the second bullet point about redefining marriage, saying it’s an issue we shouldn’t discuss in a city election. Indeed, though, Ireton has publicly expressed his support for same-sex nuptials. Nor would it surprise me to find out that a large proportion of Ireton’s out-of-town contributors – a subset which accounts for more than half of his individual donations – are active in the gay community. A cursory look at two of his more prominent contributors, Victor Shargai and Duane Rollins, led me to believe that a significant backing comes from that political arena. (Rollins is alleged to have a shady political past, too.) Four of Maryland’s complement of openly gay legislators (Delegates Luke Clippinger, Anne Kaiser, and Maggie McIntosh, along with Senator Richard Madaleno) have also chipped in to Ireton’s cause.
One has to ask, then: is their support more about the job Jim’s doing or promoting the rainbow banner he’s holding up? Is Jim Ireton one of the quota of gay mayors we must have to be an “inclusive” society? Personally, I’d rather have someone who does a good job in getting the local economy going again – too bad I don’t have full faith in either candidate to do so.
The party had talked about getting more active in local elections this year, and with the investment of a few hundred dollars have done just that. Kudos to them – and guess what? It spawned some new media involvement, too.
I probably gave Jackie Wellfonder short shrift late last night in updating my post on the Wicomico County Republican Club meeting. She did her own take on what was said by MDGOP First Vice-Chair Diana Waterman at the meeting, to which I responded with a lengthy comment I’m going to repost here, along with some other thoughts.
I read your message and mostly agree, particularly as it relates to the 2012 campaign. But my hope is that the MDGOP has learned from its mistakes because we left a LOT of cards on the table: not just Dan’s campaign, but the ballot issues as well.
Woody Willing of the Wicomico Board of Elections said last night we Republicans had 81% turnout and the Democrats had 75%. In rough numbers that means locally we turned out about 16,000 voters but the Democrats turned out 19,000. What we need to figure out by 2014 is how to get that turnout number up to 90% or 95% on our side in order to overcome a numerical disadvantage – statewide we need to get 100% just to be even with 50% of the Democrats. That’s the reality in Maryland in 2013.
I think the ballot issues are going to be key. Let’s look at the potential ballot issues for 2014 just from what’s been introduced in the General Assembly so far: onerous gun control measures and a tightening of the very petition process for starters. If we couch the gun control issue properly and don’t allow the other side the chance to seize the narrative (as they did on the illegal alien issue) we have a chance to turn out a high percentage of voters in an election where turnout is historically lower (I think it’s on the order of 15-20% less for a gubernatorial election than a Presidential.)
But the Republican Party in Maryland needs to be taken over further by those who love liberty. There’s still plenty of deadwood which needs to go.
As for Julie’s comment, I would like to point out that Nicolee Ambrose worked to scrap the terrible rules put in place at the national convention (she couldn’t vote there because she didn’t take office until the close of the proceedings.) I don’t think Audrey Scott would have taken that sort of leadership role since I perceive her as part of the problem. I appreciate the fact Audrey’s done a lot for the MDGOP but I think we made the better choice. If Audrey had been more honest in her campaign, she still may have prevailed.
We knew that change wouldn’t happen overnight, but the more quickly we can push the MDGOP in the RIGHT direction the better.
As it turned out my public school, quick and dirty math was pretty good since I didn’t have the actual totals in front of me – in accessing those numbers I found there were 19,359 Democrats and 16,798 Republicans who voted in Wicomico County (along with 6,291 who are unaffiliated or belong to minor parties.)
Yet there were other numbers of interest to me. Based on that number of Democrats voting:
- Barack Obama received just 276 more votes than the total number of Democrats who voted. Presumably he got some percentage of the unaffiliated vote, so my bet is that at least 10 percent of the Democrats voted for Mitt Romney.
- Ben Cardin’s percentage as relates to Democrats (87.7%) was less than the number of Republicans who voted for Dan Bongino (89.7%) – using my theory of 3/5 of the Sobhani vote being taken from Bongino, a two-person race would been practically a draw here. That’s somewhat disappointing, but name recognition being what it is maybe not a complete shock.
- Combining the total of Wendy Rosen and write-in votes (which were almost exclusively for Democrat John LaFerla) would still leave the Democrats over 3,000 short of matching their voting total. Obviously plenty of Democrats and unaffiliated voters like the conservative Andy Harris, despite the constant barrage of criticism he gets from the Daily Times.
In short, the 2010 and 2012 election results belie the voter registration totals which would suggest that Wicomico County is, if not a Democratic stronghold, at least a place where they should hold a majority of the offices. But they don’t. We have attracted enough Democrats with a message of fiscal conservatism and sound government that either the Republicans win, or Democrats who manage to succeed have to do so by presenting themselves as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. (cough*Jim Mathias*cough) They have to hope people don’t look behind the curtain at their voting records and lists of special interest contributors from across the Bay.
So let’s talk about this “circular firing squad.” We really have three groups of Republicans in the state of Maryland:
- Those who believe that, in order to be “electable,” we have to appeal to soccer moms, metrosexuals, and other centrist or left-of-center groups. They pine for the days of a Connie Morella, Wayne Gilchrest, or “Mac” Mathias – Republicans who reached across the aisle. Well, guess what? These groups are voting Democrat now and that’s not going to change unless we give them a better option. All reaching across the aisle seems to accomplish nowadays is collecting bite marks from the attack dog across the way. Democrats take what little credit there may be for stealing GOP ideas, but when things go wrong – as they always seem to with these schemes – they figure out ways to blame the Republicans.
- There’s a group, perhaps the smallest of the three, which preaches fiscal conservatism but would dearly loves us to quit focusing on social issues. Who cares, they say, about how easy it is to get an abortion or whether two gay people get married. And why have this crackdown on illegal aliens – they have Republican values and just don’t know it. (If that were so, California would be a solidly Republican state. It’s not.)
- Finally, there is the group in which I count myself, one which realizes that fiscal conservatism isn’t truly possible without social conservatism. We would like to see the return to traditional marriage and a reverence for life and the law, free from onerous government interference in our lives. We would like to see counties be restored to their rightful primacy in the role of government rather than become meaningless lines on a map; moreover, that government should respect our inalienable rights, including the right to defend ourselves from threats ranging anywhere from a home intruder to a tyrannical government.
I daresay group #3 are the leaders, and we take the fire from both sides – at least Democrats are facing us, though. The bullets we get in the back are from those groups behind us, the ones who belong to GOP groups #1 and #2.
I’m going to paraphrase something Rush Limbaugh is noted for saying, which goes along the lines of those who the Democrats talk most about are the ones they’re most afraid of. Notice they really didn’t badmouth Mitt Romney too much until he secured the nomination, and they were in love with John McCain almost as much as they were Barack Obama – until Sarah Palin became McCain’s running mate. They’re still hounding Palin one whole election cycle later, in a race she didn’t run or compete in. (They were considerably more kind to Paul Ryan, although we heard a lot about how awful the Ryan budget plan would be. Obviously that was a move in the right direction, though.)
Without conceding the vote entirely, I will say that there’s perhaps 1/3 of the Maryland electorate which is so far left that they would literally vote for Lucifer himself if he had a “D” beside his name and promised to keep the spigot of government goodies intact regardless of cost. (Just raise taxes on the rich, he’ll say.) Perhaps they’re not Left politically, but if they work for Uncle Sam in that cesspool on the Potomac they may as well be. Still, that leaves about 35 percent of Maryland voters in play and we only need to capture half of that group while maximizing our loyalty and turnout.
But going back to my previous paragraph where I alluded to Rush, one has to ask: how often do you hear the Democrats talking about Republicans in this state? I don’t really hear them talking about us too much, which seems to indicate to me they’re not really scared of us.
And when they do talk about us, they generally say that we shouldn’t be as strident on social issues. How often would you take advice from someone who wants to beat your brains in? Sounds to me like they have no answers for the logical arguments we give for these issues, so they’re just going to tell us we shouldn’t bring it up.
Well, I want to start being a topic of conversation among them, and the milquetoast Maryland GOP better start holding their fire until they see the whites of the Democrats’ eyes, not the backs of those who would like to lead them in the RIGHT direction.
He caused a sensation when he appeared the first time, but “Smoking Man” is back.
Actually, the message is one which makes sense given the theme. But my thoughts on this aren’t about the theme, but why the smoker as a messenger is such a big deal. It also relates to another issue I think is important.
Think about it: smokers comprise a minority of the population – about 1 in 5 according to most generally accepted estimates. Yet their behavior is discouraged in nearly all public places and their right to conduct this activity in their own private space is coming more and more into question. Last year, for the second time in two years, Maryland legislators introduced a bill to ban smoking in private automobiles if children are present.
But smokers grin and bear the consequences of their actions as they huddle outside public places to get their fix, put their health at risk from a wide variety of diseases – at least according to medical research – and pay steep taxes of several dollars per pack in order to satisfy their nicotine craving. Moreover, thousands of state tax dollars are spent in an effort to shame smokers into giving up their habit, which is hypocritical at best when the state makes millions of dollars from smokers alone. (No one pays a specific tax on sugary pop, Big Macs or Cheetos – well, at least not yet.)
On the other hand, look at what we are doing to cater to an even tinier minority of the population – studies like this recent one have established this segment as somewhere between 3% and 5%. Among this minority, there are a subset who partake in much riskier behavior which can lead to health problems down the road as well.
Yet many of their activists are claiming this as a civil rights issue comparable to the struggles the black population went through a half-century ago. Of course, it was obvious in most cases who was being discriminated against, just as it is fairly obvious who among us smokes. (Many just have that tobacco smell which hangs on their clothes and belongings.) It’s not always as obvious who’s in this other tiny minority, but they seem to have an oversized voice when it comes to the cultural and political arenas. And while the percentage of smokers long-term is declining, the percentage of those who self-identify as LGBT is increasing as we teach their certain brand of “tolerance” and “acceptance” in schools and media.
Most of us don’t hound the LGBT population back into the closet, and I’m not advocating such an action. But there is something wrong with this overall picture. Just look at the history of smoking bans: first we banned smoking on airplanes, then we segregated smokers into smaller and smaller areas in other public venues (“smoking or non-smoking?”) before eliminating most entirely, and now we’re trying to encroach these prohibitions into private spaces. It’s been a breakdown in the right of someone to enjoy a substance which is still legal.
Similarly, the legalization of same-sex marriage begins a further breakdown of the family unit. Since biologically speaking it takes a male and female to create offspring, there is no way a committed same-sex couple can have children naturally. There either has to be a surrogate mother or a sperm donor involved, and that person shouldn’t forfeit their rights just for the convenience of a same-sex couple.
And then there is the probable next step: plural marriage and polyamory. A Brazilian trio (one man, two women) recently made headlines when their civil union was announced. At this point it remains a civil union but Brazilian law allows for the conversion of a civil union to a marriage with a judge’s approval, according to the Telegraph article. At some point we here in America will further break down the traditional family and remove those guideposts which have served us well for centuries.
As we have seen with the jihad against smokers, the assault against tradition and values may accelerate once the step is taken and voters in some state approve same-sex marriage. When we give an inch, the next mile is placed in jeopardy.
On Sunday I happened to have a conversation with a man who took exception to the Question 6 sign we had in our Republican tent at the Good Beer Festival. He pleaded a case which was somewhat emotionally-based but also pointed out whether the government should be in the business of marriage and asked why we should care what two people do.
Now I normally fall on the libertarian side of things and I really don’t care who sleeps with who. But there’s just this gut instinct of mine that, once we cross that line, within a generation we will be having the same argument over plural marriage and perhaps even marrying children. This gentleman thought I was missing the point and argued that we felt the same way about interracial marriage and that turned out to not harm society. In that he is correct, but as usual gay-rights activists borrow from a struggle which was based on unfairness regarding something one cannot change (the amount of pigment they were given) into trying to reward a particular behavior some still find deviant (a sexual attraction to one of the same gender.)
I really wish I had known about this video before I talked to this man.
Of course “dislikes” are running 2 to 1 over “likes” but the gay lobby is a noisy and tenacious one – most people would get the hint after going 0-for-30 or so at the ballot box but they keep trying. This even extends to the YouTube video; unfortunately comments aren’t allowed there but maybe they think an overly high number of “dislikes” will get YouTube to pull it. I would bet dozens have complained to the Google subsidiary about the video, so far to no avail.
Unfortunately, it’s also my gut feeling that one of the four states considering gay marriage this fall will vote in its favor, sowing the whirlwind we’re sure to reap because of it. Given that a large portion of this young man’s generation has been taught moral relativity in schools where all cultures and cultural activities are considered valid, at some point enough of them will be fooled into believing the idea that gay marriage promotes equality when it will lead to a perverse sort of reverse discrimination against those who believe in a Judeo-Christian worldview.
And once that Pandora’s box is opened, we can never go back. I’d rather keep it locked.