Odds and ends number 44

Now this is starting to get confusing, since two of my long-running post series are up to the same number. But the way my inbox is presently filling up, I suspect “Odds and ends” will be well ahead of “Weekend of local rock” before too long.

As is always the case, this is the potpourri of items I find interesting, but not worthy enough of a full-blown post. Today I may even simply link to the items without much further comment because I have quite a bit to get to.

For example, Baltimore County Republican Examiner Ann Miller recently penned a post with timeless advice on how conservatives should treat media encounters. While it’s sad that media sometimes seems more interested in presenting a politically correct agenda than getting the truth, these are the rules we’re saddled with for now. It’s worth reading.

Another item worth reading that’s too long for me to excerpt is “A Day in the Life of O’Malley’s Maryland,” written by Senator J.B. Jennings. We can always talk about what tax and fee (but I repeat myself, for “a fee is a tax” according to MOM) increases do in the abstract, but the Jennings piece looks at how all these add up over the course of an average day.

Turning to state political races, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Douglas announced yesterday he was going to pen a series of commentaries on the role of the U.S. Senate:

In the series, Douglas will explain how the U.S. Senate must return to its Consitutional (sic) role. Its four key duties are treaties, nominations, legislation, and constituent service. In his first series, issued today, Douglas explains the legislative role of the Senate. ‘To represent Maryland aggressively and well,’ said Douglas, ‘Maryland’s U.S. Senators must master these core areas.’

‘Congress is one of the few institutions in America where massive failure does not get you fired,’ said Douglas. ‘A competent Senator knows when new law is needed and when new law is potentially harmful. Congress is legislating America to death,’ said Douglas.

Not to pick on Douglas, but oops. Spellcheck is your friend. Anyway, he makes some good points in his first piece on legislation:

An experienced candidate knows when new law is needed and when new law will be unhelpful. Many members of Congress use the legislative process like a bullhorn: they introduce bills which they know will not pass to try to persuade voters that they are ‘fighting’ for them; (Mr. Cardin says this often).

But this creates a problem: using the legislative process for self-promotion (a strong symptom of the incumbency disease) slows work and creates distractions. This is why the Senate can’t finish its work on time. An experienced candidate knows how to stop such practices and force Congress to keep its eye on the ball: the debt crisis and job growth.

Answering the question, ‘Do we need a new law?’ — is a matter of judgment informed by experience.

Of course, Douglas plays up his experience as a staffer for former Senator Jesse Helms as part of his political resume. But the next two sentences are the money sentences to me, and I’m glad Richard has an awareness of this:

An experienced candidate understands that Senators should be known not only for the new bills they introduce, but also for the unhelpful laws which they succeed in repealing or stopping.

An experienced candidate will work hard in the Senate to change a dangerous attitude in Congress:   namely, that it is necessary to fill up every last corner of American life with federal law.

Simply put, we have too many laws on the books now. It’s time to shrink the size of the U.S. Code.

Douglas also made a good statement on religious freedom in an earlier release:

I am pro-life. I support the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits government interference with the free exercise of religion. In contrast, the Administration’s order tells us that in the Oval Office and the Cardin Senate suite, the First Amendment is subordinate to Roe v. Wade.

This episode demonstrates that Mr. Cardin is a docile follower in the U.S. Senate – even at the expense of liberties explicitly enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

I like how he didn’t attack his primary opponents, but went right to the problem. In fact, the GOP Senate primary in Maryland has been a pretty good example of how a campaign on our side should be conducted because they’ve focused more on Ben Cardin, the Democratic opponent, than each other. If all of the SuperPACs which seem to be dictating our Presidential campaign would train their fire on the real problem instead of fellow GOP candidates, maybe Obama wouldn’t seem so invulnerable despite a poor economy.

And since Obama can’t beat the SuperPACs (or the Citizens United decision, which he opposed) he decided to join them. From campaign manager Jim Messina, who, after whining about the SuperPACs supporting Republicans, writes:

With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.

Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support (the SuperPAC) Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PACs. We will do so only in the knowledge and with the expectation that all of its donations will be fully disclosed as required by law to the Federal Election Commission.

What this change means practically: Senior campaign officials as well as some White House and Cabinet officials will attend and speak at Priorities USA fundraising events. While campaign officials may be appearing at events to amplify our message, these folks won’t be soliciting contributions for Priorities USA.

And there won’t be coordination between the two? Yeah, right.

The problem with campaign finance laws is that too many people work harder on trying to get around them than attempt to figure out what’s really best for our country. I say scrap all the laws and limits except for disclosure, make that a continual process where candidates for federal office disclose donations/expenditures within 72 hours, and call it a day. If George Soros or Big Labor wants to give $10 million to Barack Obama, we have a right to know that instead of hiding it through a phony front group (although they likely will still do that.)

Obviously the Obama campaign wants to control the narrative, too – the same people who begat Fight The Smears and AttackWatch are now putting together the Truth Team. “Every time a baseless attack comes to light, we’ll arm you with the truth so you can spread the word,” they say – but what about attacks based in truth? Undoubtedly any attack to them is “baseless,” so it will be fun to watch them spin aimlessly.

Obama may be doing something about the economy (or sufficiently propping up the welfare state) though: according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, the illegal alien population has stopped its decline under Obama’s regime.

There’s also a group who wants Obama to pick a new running mate. What matters is that they tried.

There are a couple upcoming events which I should point out as well. Next Tuesday, February 21, Election Integrity Maryland is holding a poll watcher training session in Salisbury, with the signup form here. There is a $25 charge, but that’s for training materials (which participants will get to keep) and other expenses incurred by the group. I’ve talked about the group before, and their work is already bearing fruit: on Wednesday they announced they’ve found 5,000 irregularities in just one county.

Election Integrity Maryland today is submitting more than 5,000 challenges to the Maryland State Board of Elections over irregularities in the voter rolls, including duplicate registrations, invalid addresses, and deceased voters who remain on the rolls.

Despite assertions by the Maryland Board of Elections that voter registration records are kept up-to-date, the non-partisan watchdog group has uncovered names of deceased voters in the state who remain on the voter rolls either in “active” or “inactive” status, as well as the names of voters who have moved or who have duplicate registrations.

According to Cathy Kelleher, President of Election Integrity Maryland, “Our organization is just beginning to research the Maryland voter rolls, and we’ve already identified over 5,000 names with irregularities  in one county alone. Our team is working diligently to ensure that Maryland’s voter registration records are accurate and in compliance with federal and state regulations.”

Well, I would certainly hope that deceased voters are on the inactive list! And even if we’re talking about having gone through the entirety of Montgomery County’s voter list (over 573,000 are registered there) to get this figure of 5,000 – which I doubt – if you carry out those numbers we’re still looking at 30,000 voters in Maryland. (Unfortunately, I have no context of what’s been done, but I presume we’re not talking about Kent County and its 12,133 voters, either. If we were that would be a REAL problem.)

Also on the docket is a townhall meeting scheduled by Congressman Andy Harris next Thursday, February 23. It will be held in Fruitland at Adam’s Ribs (site of the chicken suit protest) from 2-3 p.m. (Adams Ribs is located at 219 S. Fruitland Boulevard, for those who need to punch it into their GPS.) It’s one of two townhalls he has slated that day, with the other being in Elkton.

On the blog front, there is one new Maryland link called A Republican Out Of The Blue. From what I can gather, the author is a student so it’s good to see another young conservative out there.

I’ll probably have another odds and ends post next week the way things are going.