Multiple reports today revealed that our Congressman, Andy Harris, became the first member of Congress to endorse Dr. Ben Carson for President, taking time to join Carson on the campaign trail in South Carolina today. Said Harris, in part:
(Carson) will restore America to greatness – not as a punch line in a campaign, but as a belief in returning America to its Constitutional roots. What we saw in the debate last Saturday reminds us just how much we need someone thoughtful like Dr. Carson in the White House.
Given the position in the polls the good doctor (Carson, not Harris) has fallen to in the Presidential race, one has to wonder if this will stop the bleeding in Ben’s foundering campaign. Despite protestations to the contrary from Carson loyalists, there’s no question that he has lost his luster since being one of the frontrunners last fall. Currently on a national level Carson polls fifth with 6% of the vote, according to the RCP average. (To be fair, the most recent poll cited has Carson at a much more healthy 10 percent.) In the Palmetto State, Carson is also right around 6 percent, but that put him (on average) in last place among the six remaining GOP contenders, with one poll placing him in fifth.
So to say Carson has an uphill battle is to put it mildly. On a national political basis, one has to wonder if an endorsement by a Congressman, regardless of how well-known he is around the country, would have made more impact back in November when Carson was near the top.
But if you take this to a more local scale and consider the race Harris has at home, an endorsement of Carson could make more sense. If you polled the First Congressional District, I suspect Carson would at least double his national total and 10 percent is a significant chunk in the Congressional primary. If Carson is still in the race come April, there’s a pretty good chance he would do some campaigning in the region because it would be one of his stronger areas. (Maryland shares an April 26 date with four other states: Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.) A stop or two in the First District with the popular Carson could drive the pro-life constituency over to Harris, since his opponent Mike Smigiel has made hay over remarks Harris made at a Planned Parenthood protest in August.
And even if Carson is out of the running, I would say the chances are pretty good he’ll be assisting the Harris re-election bid to some extent, particularly in the primary. (I would think that prohibitive Democratic nomination favorite Jim Ireton will have a contrasting position to Harris’s on the subject, so there’s no real need for Carson to buttress Harris on social issues in the general election.) If you want a popular draw locally, you probably can’t go wrong with Carson.
So I’m going to count this as an endorsement more for the sake of the Congressman than the Presidential candidate. After all, besides being the leading voice against decriminalizing marijuana in Washington, D.C. there isn’t a whole lot Andy Harris is known for on a national scale. In certain areas of the GOP, this is an endorsement well worth making.
I ran across an interesting piece of polling thanks to the Energy Tomorrow blog. Their American Petroleum Institute parent group commissioned a Harris Poll of likely voters in four states – Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia – and asked them a series of questions to gauge their support for offshore drilling. As I would expect, the topline numbers showing support for the practice are quite solid, ranging from 64% in Florida to 77% in South Carolina. (Virginia weighed in at 67% and North Carolina at 65%, so it worked out to roughly 2/3 overall.)
But before you assume this is going to be another shill for offshore drilling (which I indeed support) I wanted to point out a glaring flaw in the poll methodology. For example, read through the Virginia polling data and see if you can figure out what’s missing. I’ll give you a second.
The first piece of the puzzle I would have liked to see would be a breakdown of support in coastal areas vs. inland. Using Virginia as an example, it would be nice to know how the question did in the 757 area code, which covers the Norfolk area and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I would bet that support in that particular area was closer to 50-50, if not slightly negative.
But the key omission was the question: “Would you support offshore drilling off the coastline of your state?” The API’s point is that much of our coastline is off-limits to drilling because of shortsighted policies which ignore the overall safety record of the industry as well as the “peak oil” hysteria helped along by those same environmentalists who wouldn’t mind putting aquatic birds at risk with offshore wind turbines. But their point would have been buttressed even better if they had a clear majority of Virginians (or any other affected state) indicate that drilling off their coastline was an acceptable practice.
While these particular states were probably selected due to the length of their coastline, I wonder how Maryland and Delaware would feel with the same question posed to them. Granted, between the two there’s just 59 miles of Atlantic coastline but they indeed have oceanfront within both states so they could be hosting oil exploration and extraction in their waters someday. My guess is that they would still fall in the 60 percent range as far as drilling support, but only run 30-35% for drilling off their coastline. (A large part of that might be because so much of it is state- or federally-controlled parkland.)
Certainly it’s reassuring that offshore drilling still enjoys support after all its bad press over the last half-decade, but I’m not convinced the impetus is there yet for much motion on the issue. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the question is pretty much moot until 2017 at the earliest so we have time to create the necessary shift in public perception.
Originally my plans for this Saturday were pretty much set: get up early (by my standards) and go to the Pathfinders seminar here in Salisbury, then scoot on over to Salisbury University for the Wicomico County Lincoln Day Dinner. Both of these have changed over the last few days, though.
I was surprised to find out last Wednesday that the Pathfinders seminar in Salisbury had been postponed to April 6, with the Maryland GOP not giving us a specific reason for the postponement. I understand things happen and plans can change, but the reason for the delay that I’m hearing now has me scratching my head. This is from Brian Griffiths at Red Maryland:
I had to do a doubletake when I read about this totally insane plan coming from the Maryland Republican Party today:
David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, vowed Tuesday that he or someone else affiliated with the state GOP will show up each time O’Malley attends an out-of-state event, starting this weekend in South Carolina.
O’Malley, frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, is planning to make an appearance Saturday at an “issues conference” in Charleston at the invitation of South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D), a 2014 gubernatorial hopeful.
Ferguson said he will counter with a press conference with GOP leaders in Columbia on Friday and be at the event site Saturday in Charleston.
“Anytime O’Malley goes and makes a stop on his presidential parade, we’re going to follow him and let people know who the real Martin O’Malley is,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson said the effort — dubbed the “No Left Turn Tour” — is an outgrowth of previous work to arm Republicans in other states with background material on O’Malley, the former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, when he visits.
This is really nothing new; in fact the lunch speaker at our Fall Convention last year was Brent Littlefield, who helped to orchestrate a Twitter takeover of a Maine Democratic Party event O’Malley was attending. But that was done by local people who didn’t follow Martin O’Malley wherever he went, and the reason Wicomico’s Pathfinders session was bumped is because O’Malley’s trip is on Saturday.
Griffiths makes a good argument: instead of building up the state party, we’re chasing Martin O’Malley around. He can’t run for office in Maryland anymore anyway and if South Carolina has a conservative new media worth its salt they will take care of making sure the right people get access to a video of Martin O’Malley’s appearance there.
In turn, this brings up another sound point, one which was brought up during a conference call I participated in tonight featuring MDGOP Chair hopeful Greg Kline. In that call, Kline stressed that there’s been no systemic effort to coordinate with the new media in Maryland. He sensed a “lack of trust” from the state party toward an outlet which is growing in both reach and influence.
Blogger Hillary Pennington brought up the South Carolina affair, and Kline agreed with Griffiths’ assessment in Red Maryland that the excursion to track O’Malley was “disappointing” and “sends the wrong message.”
Obviously one can take this whole line of inquiry as a campaign stunt by Kline and his allies at Red Maryland; Griffiths concludes in his piece that:
At the end of the day, this is Diana Waterman’s plan. She gave the go to execute it, and I believe Republicans across Maryland are owed an explanation as to why money is being spent on a plan that won’t help elect a single Republican next year.
Personally I’m not so sure Diana had all that much to do with it aside from saying yes; it’s unclear who came up with the idea in the first place. In my dealings with Diana, she impresses me as a leader only in the sense of doing things within a certain comfort zone and this would be a little bit outside of that range. To put it in another way, I see her as closer to a Bob Michel than a Newt Gingrich – that may be fine for some, but I’m not sure this situation dictates that laid-back style of leadership.
I noted at the top there was a change in both March 23 events. While our Lincoln Day Dinner goes on, we learned a few days ago that Dan Bongino regretfully had to withdraw. In his place we’d like to welcome another dynamic speaker in former Congressional candidate, possible 2014 gubernatorial hopeful, and AFP Maryland head Charles Lollar. He may not be as well known locally as Bongino is, but I can assure you he will be a fine Lincoln Day speaker when combined with Sheriff Mike Lewis.
Our focus will remain squarely on the Second Amendment issue, and there’s still a short window to secure reservations by contacting Bob Laun at (410) 543-2116. We’d like to have a count for the venue as soon as possible, so time is of the essence.
Update: Maybe Legal Insurrection is subconsciously in the Kline camp after blasting the RNC 2012 postmortem. There’s something missing there…
I found this to be interesting; unfortunately the omission is not surprising. Last week on the Energy Tomorrow blog, a map showing all the areas placed off-limits to oil and natural gas exploration was posted; meanwhile, as the piece by Mark Green points out, the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina called on the federal government to allow drilling off their coastlines. Needless to say, I didn’t see Martin O’Malley’s name on that letter because he’d rather waste time and money tilting at windmills, and “can’t imagine” anyone would want to drill for oil off the coast of Virginia. Better think a little harder there, governor.
The naysayers also would tell you there’s only a limited supply of oil off our coast, anyway. But who really knows? The estimates of Outer Continental Shelf energy resources are over 30 years old, created at a time when people believed in “peak oil” and that energy resources in this part of the country were pretty much played out. Hundreds of massive deepwater oil finds and millions of cubic feet of natural gas unlocked through fracking later, we know better.
Yet our governor swears up and down the market is there for offshore wind, and insists it would cost us no more than a couple bucks a month. But why can’t we have both?
It seems to me there are vast swaths of ocean area being debated about here, hundreds of square miles. How much space (and height) does a deepwater drilling platform really take up? Wouldn’t it be possible for the oil platforms and the windmills to coexist? I honestly don’t see how one would affect the other, with the possible exception of being careful to drill away from the underground infrastructure needed to transmit the electricity produced to shore. Aside from that, there’s a lot of ocean out there. Certainly the purists who like to look out over the ocean and gaze at the stars at night would object to the lights of oil platforms within their line of sight, but the same can be said for wind turbine towers (they have to be lit as well, so planes and boats don’t run into them.)
You know where I stand. But if we can have both and the market will support them, I say go for it. Bet I know which would be built first.
Yes, it’s another edition of those items which deserve a paragraph or three but maybe not a full post.
Let’s begin with a rescheduled event. Originally scheduled for last month, Andy Harris will hold his “healthcare discussion” fundraiser on Wednesday, August 24 at 6 p.m. at the original location. It’s still $50 and you can still contact Cathy Keim at (443) 880-5912 for details.
That may be the last time you have a spare $50 in your pocket, though, since the Maryland General Assembly is spending their summer trying to figure out just how they can squeeze more revenue out of the citizenry. Take this report done by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.
There’s a couple not-so-obvious things which jumped out at me and were buried in the report. One is the idea of considering those who are online affiliates to a company such as Amazon.com as a presence in the state, necessitating the collection of sales tax. As a website owner who indeed acts as an Amazon.com affiliate (and makes a few pennies off the website in that manner) the last thing I really want to do is collect sales tax. Amazon doesn’t have affiliates in states with such laws, and for good reason.
But notice what South Carolina did – in order to create jobs they waived their requirement, and Tennessee is considering the same. Yes, they would lose sales tax revenue but would presumably make that up and more with increased economic activity. Maryland? Well, I guess they seem to believe that making more taxes will make the state more attractive. Not.
In fact, the Republican Caucus in the House of Delegates continues to point out this fatal flaw:
For years, the House Republican Caucus has offered plan after plan to bring Maryland’s spending in line with revenues and ultimately lower taxes; knowing that real spending cuts, not fantastical numbers games, would ultimately protect the taxpayers of Maryland from another mugging by their government. We have warned repeatedly against the reliance on federal funds. Real, meaningful spending reductions have not occurred; in fact the budget has grown year after year. Rather than listening to sound fiscal advice, the Democratic monopoly has chosen instead to demonize anyone who suggests true spending reductions and terrorize the public with tales of apocalyptic calamity should true reductions in government spending happen.
The only “apocalyptic calamity” seems to be the job creation numbers in Maryland, which are dismal to say the least.
But there’s no calamity in the ozone layer, as the EPA fortunately has held off on new, tougher job-killing ozone standards so stringent that even Yellowstone National Park couldn’t qualify. Perhaps a reason why is that Fedzilla couldn’t hide their cooking of the books nor justify the benefits versus the costs.
It’s foolish, though, to believe that this was ever about costs or even public health. It’s about control, and something tells me that well-connected companies could make sweetheart deals with regulators to carve out an exemption or two. In Washington these days you have to pay to play, and the sale of regulations favoring the highest political contributor seems to be in vogue more than ever.
Then again, drug cartels have a lot of money. And in the wake of a deepening protection scandal involving the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, maybe Gary Johnson and his libertarian ilk is right on this one:
While I certainly disagree with several parts of Gary’s platform, I do believe perhaps it’s time we considered the legalization option. Granted, the cartels may still operate because there are a lot of other illegal substances out there but I’m not so sure the benefits of the War on Drugs outweigh the costs. It’s a little surprising that Barack Obama hasn’t pushed for this himself given past history – in theory, the act of drug possession could have landed him in jail in some jurisdictions.
Imagine how things may have turned out had that happened. (Oh wait, I’m undercutting my own argument!)
I must say, though, that Gary is perhaps the most blogger-friendly candidate out there. If only Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann were as accomodating… *sigh*
By the way, I didn’t forget that I’m still in the midst of grading candidates. I’ve just been a little busy lately and now I have an issue with the laptop where all those text files are, so it’s temporarily out of commission.
And now for something completely different.
I was asked by a nice lady to include her website as one of my links.
Now this sort of thing happens on occasion as spam e-mail and this particular message was in that folder as well. A lot of the time it’s one of those “we should trade links” sort of things to cover as an advertisement for a poker or porn website. But I checked out the site in question and it’s definitely legit – and it’s striking in the amount of photography used, along with the fact that Kathy covers an area that I don’t often get to for this gig – up around St. Michaels (also known as “the town that fooled the British.”) So dig in and enjoy.