Over the last several days, it’s become clear that Democrats believe they own this state lock, stock, and barrel. Why else would they raise a stink about an otherwise obscure local county council race?
On June 24, Michael Peroutka won the Anne Arundel County District 5 County Council primary on the Republican side by just 38 votes out of 7,181 cast in a five-way race – meanwhile, the Democratic candidate won with a majority out of the 4,062 votes Democrats in the district tallied. Presumably, then, this is a majority-Republican district; however, Peroutka won with just 32.5% of the vote but defeated incumbent Council member Dick Ladd in the process. Ladd’s downfall, according to Peroutka, was his vote in favor of Anne Arundel County’s “rain tax.” Peroutka also noted his belief that the rain tax was “an end run around the (county’s) tax cap.”
This is the platform Peroutka ran on:
I have an American View of government. I believe, like many others across America and my home state of Maryland believe, that there is a God, the God of the Bible, and that our Rights come from Him, and that the purpose of civil government is to secure our rights. I am the only candidate who pledges:
- To NEVER increase taxes for any reason, period!
- To work for the repeal of the rain tax which Dick Ladd voted for “with pleasure.”
- To be guided in all things by the original, true view of American law and government which is: There is a God; our rights come from Him; and it is the purpose of government to protect God-given rights.
- To work tirelessly to make government smaller with less debt.
- To courteously pay attention to what our citizens say when they come before the County Council.
I am strongly for:
- Traditional, man-woman only marriage;
- 2nd Amendment right to self-defense;
- Legal protection for innocent, unborn human life.
And strongly against:
- Common Core;
- And any programs or proposals not authorized by the US Constitution or the County Charter.
I will admit that few of these are applicable to the Anne Arundel County Council but the idea of smaller, more limited government is appealing – or at least it was to the plurality of voters. So what was the issue?
Peroutka is “affiliated” with the League of the South, a group which claims to stand for “Servant Leadership, State Sovereignty, and Southern Independence.” In addition, their statement of purpose is to:
“We seek to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honourable means.”
Regardless, the group has attracted the attention of the left-wingers of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which classified the League of the South as a “neo-Confederate” group:
The League of the South is a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “European Americans.” The league believes the “godly” nation it wants to form should be run by an “Anglo-Celtic” (read: white) elite.
The SPLC also considers the American Family Association, Family Research Council, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and WorldNetDaily among its targeted “extremist” groups, although it also considers the Nation of Islam and New Black Panther Party in that vein as well. Perhaps there are some groups too far to the left for them.
It was the SPLC involvement which got a couple prominent Republicans to run for the tall grass. Larry Hogan quickly disavowed the “secessionist” Peroutka, while Anne Arundel County Executive hopeful Steve Schuh called on Peroutka to resign from that group. Others took a wait-and-see approach.
While most people reading this have probably never heard of the League of the South, I actually wrote about one of their Eastern Shore events in 2012. The “Take Back Maryland Rally” featured onetime Congressional candidate Robert Broadus, State Senator Richard Colburn (speaking on Eastern Shore secession) and David Whitney of the Institute on the Constitution, which Michael Peroutka co-founded. I did not attend the event, but noted at the time that a number of their ideas (short of secession, since we already had that war) were worthy of discussion in a cultural and societal context.
Democrats have become good at painting Republicans in a negative light for casual encounters with unpopular causes – for example, in 2010, an Ohio Congressional candidate was targeted by liberal media because he played a Nazi soldier in various World War II re-enactments as a hobby. (Never mind that Rich Iott was a successful businessman and film producer.)
To me, the proper response would have been along these lines:
While I don’t personally agree with the League of the South’s views on secession, the fact that Democrats are using this national issue in a local race speaks volumes about what they’re worried about come November. As a local Council member, Peroutka will have little influence on broad cultural and spiritual context nationally, although one has to ask why our opponents would disagree about reminding our people that we were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
Rather, the focus should be on the important issues where the opposition regularly falls short: addressing a “rain tax” which is unfairly penalizing certain counties of the one state which has rolled over to federal demands rather than standing up and asserting a shared solution proportionate to the cause of the problem, rightsizing a local government which can be more efficient in its services while minimizing its reach into people’s pockets, and, above all, listening to the people and not the siren song of a state government too powerful for its own good, one where the opposition has fiddled while this great state burned under a stalled economy and terrible business climate.
As long as Peroutka can be a trusted public servant who devotes his time and effort to the people of his district while advocating for the causes he’s placed on his platform, his affiliations are his business. It is a local matter and I trust the voters of his district will judge the candidates accordingly.
At the same time, perhaps we need to look a little bit closer into who the other side affiliates with. Chances are there are skeletons in their closets which really will negatively influence how they operate.