2014 Maryland dossier: part 8 (role of government)

This portion of my dossier will focus on what I call the role of government: simply put, does the candidate seem to believe in the concept of limited government? More importantly, can I be confident they will show leadership in putting government in its place?

People may mistakenly believe the pro-liberty movement wants no government, but few would consider unfettered anarchy their true objective. Yet government should have limits, and those prescribed in our Constitution would serve as a good guide for restoration of its proper role. After all, Article 6 of the Maryland Constitution Declaration of Rights spells this concept out:

That all persons invested with the Legislative or Executive powers of Government are the Trustees of the Public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct: Wherefore, whenever the ends of Government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the People may, and of right ought, to reform the old, or establish a new Government; the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

In my opinion, we definitely need to “reform the old” and establish a new pattern of leadership which will rightsize the state’s government to an appropriate level.

So here are some of the things each of the current candidates had to say about this.

David Craig: As Governor, I will focus on fixing the systemic breakdown in Maryland’s criminal justice system. Department of Corrections management will be held accountable if any cell phones are allowed in prison.

At the very least, crimes committed with guns should be tried in federal court so offenders are not eligible for parole. (E)arly release schemes must be reviewed on the basis of the impact on crime, not what’s best for the criminal.

I will appoint judges who end the revolving door on crime.

Feel-good legislation will be replaced with vigorous enforcement and prosecution of gun crimes.

Speed camera contracts, enabled by state law, will be terminated.

I will work to re-align Maryland’s spending on welfare programs with other states in the region including unemployment compensation, food stamps, Medicaid, home energy assistance and other programs.

To increase transparency, state government will be required to use social media and other web-based platforms to disseminate information on their actions to the public.  (campaign website)


Craig said Maryland Governors need to engage the U.S. EPA on mandates like the one on which the state rain tax law is premised.

“There is no reason the Governor of Maryland should assume a subservient status when it comes to conforming with federal government wishes,” said Craig.  “Maryland is not leading, we’re following, which is a shame because we have more at stake in protecting the Bay than any other state.” (press release, July 1, 2013)


An interesting question was how he would deal with the federal government. Craig would lean on the Republican Governor’s Association which, as he noted, had grown from 13 states when he was first elected in 1979 to 30 now. (WCRC meeting, July 22, 2013)


Craig referred to his experience of reaching out to those on both sides of the aisle and that the way that he approaches people helps him have a better chance at a successful legislative agenda. (Raging Against the Rhetoric, June 2013)

Ron George: Requiring independent audits of all departments and agencies, including our Medicaid, Welfare, and state health insurance. Cutting any waste found within these audits.  Improve needed efficiency and effectiveness. Flow money more directly to its intended target, cutting out government “middlemen”. Eliminate duplicative services across state agencies. Level funding whenever the economy slows.

Implementing the state’s transparency software that the O’Malley/ Brown administration cut funding to.

Removing the pressure of one-size fits all state mandates on local governments because the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.

Allowing and encouraging the enforcement all existing laws. Remove ineffective and over-reaching laws.

Better defining roles, for Sheriffs, state and local police in ways that allow each to better do their work.

Making sure (Constitutional rights) will not be infringed upon. Ron George believes the strength of our state lies with the individual and each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored. (campaign site)


Bringing in professional, independent auditors to review every department and agency will allow us to root out the waste and redirect funds to programs where they will do the most good. Independent audits work. (Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2013)


“My plan for governor is one that’s very regional. I believe that you have to have a different solution for what’s going to work in Baltimore, what’s going to work in Prince George’s County, you have to find ways to make things work. I believe in building an economic base, a tax base, a strong one, in Baltimore City.” (interview with Kenn Blanchard, September 9, 2013)

He said a state grant with a payback provision makes sense, because if it spurs a local economy, it increases the tax base. If private firms aren’t stepping up, “you need a grant to close that hole,” he said. The state “awards a lot of grants we never see a payback on. The money is gone.” (Kent County News, August 22, 2013)


Explaining that he suggested a state health care insurance exchange be created in 2007, George said problems with the Obama Administration’s health care fix are that, “It centralizes control and it’s one size fits all.” (Dorchester Star, August 25, 2013)

Charles Lollar: “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.” (WCRC meeting, August 26, 2013)


Charles believes in the dignity of the individual.  We are a free people able and chartered by our Constitution to self-govern.  The role of government is to provide avenues, not to be the yoke. (campaign website, “Platform”)


Reform sloppy and incompetent government practices that dispense discrimination and pick winners.

Manage departments so they are more responsive, efficient, accountable and transparent. Require independent audits of government departments and agencies.

Reduce the cost of operating state government by streamlining the bureaucracy; managing the size of government, not by cutting government jobs, but through attrition and eliminating waste. (campaign website, “Accountability”)


“Our Founding Fathers never wanted this country to have full-time politicians. Ever…I’m proud of the fact I have very little political experience.” (blogger interview, June 24, 2013)


Responding to concerns that many foreclosures don’t meet long-standing legal criteria dictated by Federal or State law, the NAACP recently asked Governor O’Malley to sign an executive order to halt foreclosures until the claims of illegal practices can be investigated.

“I am supporting the NAACP in the fight for a moratorium on foreclosures and to stop the flood of people losing their homes illegally,” Lollar said. (press release, November 18, 2013)


In looking at the body of work David Craig brings to the table, I can find a lot to like about his record as a tax reducer. He also hits the correct notes on fighting crime (which is a legitimate function of government) but I’d be curious to know where he stands on the failed War on Drugs, which needlessly drives up the prison population.

He gets points for being willing to dump the speed camera program (better known in these parts as “scameras”) as perhaps he understands that the idea of these isn’t really safety, but a feelgood way of passing yet another “sin tax.” But why stop at bringing entitlements down to the level of surrounding states? Why not provide leadership by putting into motion the idea of sunsetting them entirely? That would certainly show he’s not subservient to the federal government, even at the risk of losing federal money.

I also don’t get the idea of reaching across the aisle – aren’t they the ones who messed things up in the first place? I want conservative, pro-liberty proposals and a leader who can make the opposition vote the correct way by using the people as his lobbyists, sort of like this guy named Reagan did. Out of 13 points, I think I will give David 8.

In looking at what Ron George had to say, it’s obvious he wants a leaner, more efficient government. But the question is whether he wants a smaller government, since these concepts aren’t necessarily mutual. Having 10 people enforce an unnecessary mandate is not much better than having 20 people enforce it.

Moreover, the idea about “a grant with a payback provision” – isn’t that a loan? I’ve never liked the idea of a governmental entity being a pass-through for anything.

On the other hand, if he goes the step beyond eliminating waste and begins eliminating mandates and laws, then we may be getting somewhere. Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous section, George was partially responsible for allowing them to happen because he voted for the bills. Admittedly he may be moving farther to the right as his political career continues, bucking the common trend, but until I see specifics I can only guess he will be the type of governor who will streamline things but keep them in place for some future Democratic governor to abuse. This is why I added the last bullet point about the exchanges, because he’s backed away a little bit from them of late now that Obamacare has been shown to be a failure (note the quote is from August, before Obamacare took effect.) So I will give him 6 of 13 points.

Similarly, Charles Lollar borrows Ron George’s idea for independent audits, but only wants to make cuts through attrition. I have news for you, Charles: in order to rightsize government, some of those excess workers will have to be forced to join the private sector, otherwise we will be right back in the same boat once your term is up and some Democrat comes in again.

But there is one thing I’m beginning to notice in the statements Charles is making: a distinct strain of populism. Most conservatives would agree with the assertion that rights and liberties come from the Creator of our universe, but would those who prefer limited government want to have the state come in and stop foreclosures (by executive order, no less) because one advocacy group says so? By the same token, I used the example in an earlier piece about denying Pepco a rate increase, a stance which stemmed from a meeting where Pepco wasn’t represented to give its side.

It seems like Charles is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. Granted, this tends to be the time where policy specifics are in short supply but Charles has fewer than his competitors. I’m having a hard time reconciling the varied messages with the underlying principles he’s seemed to espouse over the last few years, particularly on the Second Amendment – a stance which endeared him to many and gave him the impetus to run for governor. So I can only give him the same 6 points that Ron George received.

I’m actually close to the end for these three candidates, with a look at Larry Hogan to follow once he establishes his platform in the coming months. The next part will focus on Joe Biden’s three-letter word: j-o-b-s.

By the way, I omitted the Democrats from this part entirely because their idea of the role of government seems to be that of overlord. I’m not into that.

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