Rage against ‘The Machine’

Oh, I’m sure I torqued those communists with the title of this piece, but it lends itself to a delicious irony. Just watch the video.

Perhaps a little overblown on the scale of quirkiness, the video still is rather effective in getting across its main points. (As I saw it, though, a little judicious pruning and it could have easily made it into a two-minute window.)

To me, the irony is that the band RATM and the CVPAC video are fighting against the same thing. The big difference is how we address the problem and what we see as a solution to it. Obviously we’re not leftists, and where the idea of collectivism generally fails is that it runs counter to human nature because people don’t seek equality, they seek to be more equal than others. Our side would prefer to limit the influence of government and enhance the opportunities for individuals to improve their lives as they see fit, in particular allowing them to keep more of the fruit of their labors.

Ordinarily I would be disappointed in such a modest goal as securing 19 Maryland Senate seats if it were the sole aim of, say, the Maryland Republican Party. But as a small political action committee, the Conservative Victory PAC seems to have set an agenda which is realistic for the scope of their work.

Just as an example, I’m sure CVPAC would be gunning for the seat of District 38 Senator Jim Mathias, in whose district I reside and for whom I’ve not voted because I studied his record and believed we could do far better. According to Jim’s 2013 campaign finance statement, he had about $105,000 on hand when the report was due in January and I’m sure that figure will probably be several thousand dollars greater after his annual fundraiser next month. My educated guess would be he’ll be closer to $150,000 – by comparison, the two most likely Republican challengers (Delegates Mike McDermott and Charles Otto) have less than $10,000 apiece as of the January reporting date. So having CVPAC on their side would be some help, although it’s likely Republicans will be outspent here anyway. (Off topic, but I hope that the popular former District 38 Senator Lowell Stoltzfus takes a key role in the GOP campaign as well.)

This is an example of where grassroots can come in handy and political neophytes can get their feet wet. 2014 will have a multitude of opportunities for learning how to reverse the curse of Democratic mismanagement which has plagued this state for decades. It may not be the most slickly produced video out there, but for the people who put it together it’s a chance to see how that particular rendition of the message plays out – it can be tweaked, amplified, or buried as necessary.

A Hall of Fame fundraiser

Being in the political world, I know a normal political fundraiser provides the opportunity to meet, for a price, at least one candidate for office (like this example from 2010 or this one from last year.) Sometimes the candidate in question will have another more prominent speaker to draw more interest.

Bur it’s not that often that political fundraisers use music as a draw. Certainly I’ve attended my share of benefit concerts over the years but they are normally put together for a cause like the misfortune of someone close to the sponsor’s heart, our veterans, or fighting against breast cancer. While it could be argued the beneficiary of an upcoming fundraiser has her own misfortune of needing to make up a deficit of over 500 votes in a city election, she’s obviously going to pull out all the stops to win.

I’ll talk about the musician first; this comes from the release put out by the campaign:

Jimmy Merchant of the ‘50s doo-wop group Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers will headline a fundraiser for Debbie Campbell for City Council. For a suggested contribution of $20, community members can enjoy a live performance by a music legend, best known for the hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”

The release goes on to reveal the date, time, and location: Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at Chesapeake East, 501 West Main Street in Salisbury. (This is an art gallery and cafe owned by local artist Dana Simson.) Debbie attempts to tie this into Third Friday fairly well, although the location is a little bit remote from the main Third Friday festivities being held this month in the Powell Building.

And indeed, thanks to his participation in the group, Merchant is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But in writing this piece I found he doesn’t play all that often anymore, living in semi-retirement down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. (I say semi-retirement as the website hasn’t been updated in over five years.)

With just 2 1/2 weeks remaining in the campaign as of Friday, I would presume anything made on this fundraiser will be plowed right back into a media blitz; a desperate effort for Debbie to keep her job against a candidate who’s not made any major errors so far and has no record to pick apart, let alone a reputation as the queen of “no.”  Campbell’s fundraiser appeal ticks off a number of accomplishments: improving safety at the Onley-Bateman intersection near Salisbury University, contributing to the development of the Safe Streets Initiative, backing salary increases for local police officers, and improvements to the River’s Edge project.

But Debbie carries the burden – fairly or not – of being the poster child for a dysfunctional City Council, a reputation made that way by an occasionally petulant mayor who generally can only count on the backing of two of Council’s five members. If Campbell loses to Jake Day, that balance of power would shift in Jim Ireton’s favor, assuming, of course, that he wins re-election.

So it will be interesting to see how her fundraiser goes, since it will also be a barometer for how people perceive her odds of victory. If it’s one where only a handful show up, the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that people are looking to be on the winning side and it’s not hers.

Crying poverty

I just had to laugh when I read this from our President. I think I should pick it apart a sentence or two at a time.

When I’m out there talking to voters, we talk about what we’ve done, what we plan to do over the next four years, and why the other guys have dangerous plans to go back to the policies that failed America for almost a decade.

What you have done is wasted trillions of dollars, maintained a horrible economy and high unemployment rate, and pandered to every Democratic constituency at the expense of average working people. Given that the last time Republicans were fully in charge (including Congress) we had a good economy and low unemployment, I wouldn’t say these were “policies that failed” if I were you, Barack.

But there is another question that keeps coming up, and you need to know about it: “Why do I see so many more ads for the other guys?”

Because you were so confident you would raise a billion dollars in this campaign that you didn’t begin your own SuperPACs until late in the game. And no one likes a loser.

You don’t need me to tell you that the Romney campaign is outraising us — that billionaire ideologues and corporate interests are piling on tens of millions more in negative ads trashing us, and that all of it means that undecided voters in battleground states like Iowa could be seeing false, misleading, negative attacks at a rate almost twice as often as they hear from us.

Oh, so blaming Mitt Romney for a steelworker’s wife’s death at a company he had nothing to do with several years after the fact isn’t false, misleading, or negative? Spare me. If you want to run on your record, be my guest. But you can’t and you know it.

Last week, when I was in Iowa, voters told me they were feeling it. The numbers back it up: Our side is getting outspent 2-to-1 on the air there.

Does that count the fawning press coverage and the softball radio interviews you’re arranging? I’d say your side is only having the playing field leveled. Long live the Citizens United decision.

But the folks asking me about this don’t want an explanation — they want to know what I’m going to do about it.

Looks like the old pout-whine sequence to me. Just go out and hold another high-dollar fundraiser with the self-loathing of the so-called 1 percent like you always do.

And the fact is that solving this problem is up to you.

Personally I don’t consider this a problem.


You’re getting this email because you know what the stakes are in this election. You know the facts about what we’ve done to prevent a deeper crisis and to start building an economy that works for the middle class.

Wouldn’t that be what you called “digging our way out of the hole?” Last time I checked, the best way to get out of a hole is to climb, not dig. If you want to build an economy that works for the middle class, let them get paychecks and not government checks. Stand aside – and quit spending so much money! Get a clue.

But for someone who’s not as engaged, these ads may be an important and possibly even primary source of information about the choice in this election.

Sadly, that’s true. But there are more and more informed people because they’ve finally seen through the miasma of “hope” and “change” through outlets like mine (if I may be so presumptuous.)

So it’s a bad situation if 90 percent of them are false, negative attacks on us.

Questioning his record = “false, negative attack” – and raaaaaacist to boot!

We’re losing this air war right now.

I’d like you and your socialist Democrat buddies like those who “represent” Maryland in Congress to lose the election as well as the air war.

I don’t have as much time to campaign this time as I did in 2008, so this whole thing is riding on you making it happen.

I know, you can’t miss that tee time or fundraiser, can you? George W. Bush gave up golf because he was hounded about playing in a time of war, but chasing a little white ball around and the need to stay in office for you and your cronies by trying to raise millions trumps actual governing, doesn’t it? Just keep a few White House lawyers busy writing Executive Orders to usurp the power of Congress.

Honestly, is it a surprise that Barack Obama spends campaign money as he does taxpayer money – a lot of spending with little to show for it? I guess he thought the GOP would run another John McCain who crippled himself with campaign finance regulations. No such luck.

So just keep sending me your whiny e-mails, Mr. Obama. Although it may be a mite uncomfortable, I hear tee times are easy to get around Chicago after January 21.

Harris fundraiser postponed

I figure he has something better to do, like work on the debt limit issue.

The Andy Harris fundraiser I mentioned the other day? Scrubbed, at least until further notice. Pity.

Most likely it will be held in August or later this fall, with the Keims being gracious hosts and the subject matter likely staying the same. I’ll stay on top of the story.

Harris slates OC fundraiser

And well-timed it is, to coincide with the state GOP convention to be held in Ocean City over the weekend.

[gview file=”http://www.monoblogue.us/files/2011May7OCEANCITYHarris.pdf” width=480 height=606]

So if you have an extra $100 laying around and wish to support a Congressman who’s doing the work of the Eastern Shore, feel free to attend.

Dinner fundraiser for the troops slated

They always say ‘freedom isn’t free’ but sometimes a good cause needs a helping hand.

That will be the case tomorrow evening as the Salisbury University Military Student and Veterans Club hosts a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the Salisbury VFW, 821 East William Street in Salisbury. It will run from 5:30 t0 8:00.

A $6 donation is requested, with $5 going to defray the cost of care packages for deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The organizers also ask that if you have a family member serving in those areas to contact them about arranging for the delivery of a care package.)

To attend or make a donation otherwise contact Jason Hillestad: jh80596 (at) gulls.salisbury.edu. Jason is a returning veteran who came to SU after multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan so he’s trying to help his buddies out. He reminded me that anyone is welcome and they are only about halfway to their goal of 100 or more tickets sold.

While I can’t be there because of a family commitment, I encourage anyone else reading this to take the time and help a good cause. There’s always room on my site for pro-troop causes.

Is a money source important?

Quarterly financial reports are often scoured and picked through again with a fine-tooth comb by researchers from all sides for any sort of irregularity. Obviously this week will bring a fresh look at the data provided by candidates to the Federal Election Commission for the most recent quarter which ended June 30.

For example, a nagging perception regarding Republicans in Maryland is that they won’t have enough money to compete. So when Senate candidate Eric Wargotz says he had, “fundraising numbers (which) show we have the resources we need to win the Republican Primary, and to then take on Senator Mikulski in November,” one may be inclined to look at his $600,000 cash on hand and agree.

(continued on my Examiner.com page…)

You know, a funny thing happened on the way to writing the article. I meant for this to be on my Political Buzz Examiner page but realized when I hit ‘publish’ that I was working on my Wicomico County one. Oh well.

Kratovil pitch sullies Harris in Big Oil

Obviously the dirty tactics used by Martin O’Malley to smear Bob Ehrlich as a friend of Big Oil have a fan in Congressman Frank Kratovil. I recently received a fundraising pitch from the Democrat called “Apologize to BP?”

The e-mail screams that “Harris’s friends in Congress have gone so far as to apologize to BP for our efforts to hold the company accountable,” referring to Congressman Joe Barton of Texas – who later rescinded his “shakedown” remarks. Obviously we have no idea whether Harris considers Barton a friend, let alone whether they have even met.

(continued on my Examiner.com page…)

Wicomico Rutledge fundraiser a success

Once you found the road, the event was tough to miss. Just to make sure this display was left out by the road.

On Saturday I went to a secluded farm hard by the Worcester County line in order to attend a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge. Looked pretty well packed from here.

A panoramic shot taken during the Jim Rutledge fundraiser outside Salisbury on May 22, 2010. About 70 people attended.

I think the Daily Times did a decent piece on the event but underestimated the crowd a little bit. Perhaps one can count the number of people in the picture.

Rutledge gave about thirty minutes’ worth of remarks.

Candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Rutledge spoke for about thirty minutes before supporters.

Jim pounded on a number of his campaign points, including:

  • Lowering taxes – “at heart, I’m still a Ronald Reagan conservative.” Jim vowed to repeal the tax code in its entirety if elected and replace it with a flat tax with few deductions. To spur investment Jim would also dump the capital gains tax.
  • Limited government – “the (federal government) beast is out of its cage.” On the other hand, “the Constitution is a forgotten document” and “the family is the fundamental unit of government.” One thing he could do to limit government would be to defund Obamacare – “we still have the purse strings in Congress” – since the political reality is that Obama is President until at least 2013.
  • National security – this includes border security. Jim excoriated Barbara Mikulski for applauding Mexican President Felipe Calderon for trashing our laws before Congress but otherwise being “missing in inaction” on the full scope of national security.

After he gave his remarks, Rutledge invited those attending to ask their own questions. Among them were some which touched on other issues he didn’t bring up during his remarks.

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge answers a question posed by an observer at his fundraiser held outside Salisbury May 22, 2010.

  • On how to attract conservative Democrats: he’s launched campaign operations in Democratic strongholds already. Among issues, illegal immigration is a “huge issue” in the black community and school vouchers are also a winning issue. “Bold talk will bring across independents.”
  • I asked about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Why not convene the best and brightest to attack the problem, asked Jim back. He attacked the federal government, saying their bungling made them co-responsible. Turning to energy in general, Jim criticized the “unreasonable fear” of nuclear energy but still supports additional oil and natural gas exploration, calling it “a matter of national security…life and death.”
  • Regarding immigration, Jim opined the Arizona SB1070 bill is “constitutional” and noted that blanket amnesty would be a reward for breaking the law. One idea he floated seemed acceptable to those attending – “when folks want to come (to America) they need to post bond.” If they overstayed their visas, there could be a process of finding scofflaws for a reward just like those who skip bond in criminal cases.
  • Why not the FairTax (a consumption-based tax)? The flat tax needs to come first because it can be adopted faster, said Rutledge. We only need “a revenue source for necessary services” but if the Sixteenth Amendment isn’t repealed as a consumption tax is adopted we’ll be stuck with both.
  • Government cuts Jim would make: stopping overseas commitments like what we’re pledging to help out Greece, abolishing Congressional pensions, and “we have to get out of the grant business.”
  • Regarding the Middle East and Afghanistan, Jim struck a bit of an isolationist tone. Because the mission isn’t well-defined, “we’re in a world of hurt” in Afghanistan. It is our job to defend our own sovereign state.
  • Jim predicted parts of the Obamacare bill will be struck down in court. It’s not among those items authorized for Congress to do in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
  • Someone asked how illegal immigrants have court standing. They have due process, stated Jim, but the immigration courts are “broken” and the message from our government is “a green light” to illegal immigration.
  • How do we fight teachers’ unions? Jim believes in “strong” schools but the unions “serve themselves.” He pointed out that he’s been endorsed by the National Right-To-Work organization.

Yet we didn’t just stand around and listen to Rutledge speak. There was good food, too.

Yes, the organizers let us eat cake. But there was seriously good pulled pork as well as other culinary delights, too.

We also had the chance to arrange for ourselves a mini-vacation as well as other silent auction items.

You could buy everything from the potted plant to a week in Florida. Yes, the potted plant was a bit cheaper.

Participants also had the chance to take a hayride, ride around the farm on all-terrain vehicles, pitch horseshoes, or just gab among themselves regarding the events of the day. This wasn’t one of those stuffy fundraisers where the candidate zips in and zips out, or you had to buy access by being a VIP – Jim was accessible to all comers and many took the opportunity. Plus they got to meet a number of other local candidates who attended.

Jim took the time to speak to a lot of folks at this event. I think people came away impressed with his openness to discuss ideas with them.

Now I like Jim, but perhaps the best thing he’s done in this campaign is make my heretofore apolitical significant other believe in a candidate. If he can inspire more like her Jim has a great chance of making it through the primary and knocking off a Senator who’s been there too long to stay in touch with her state.

Rutledge holds local fundraiser

On Wednesday those who are interested can meet U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge as he holds a coffee fundraiser in Berlin.

Billing his candidacy as a chance to “Restore, Cherish, and Defend our Constitutional Rights,” Jim will hold court at the Ocean City Golf Club at 11401 Country Club Drive in Berlin beginning this Wednesday (the 24th) at 6:30 p.m. The RSVP can be directed to Kimberly Fernley at (443) 513-6542.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that there’s no suggested amount. Obviously the campaign is looking for funds but there’s nothing which prohibits you from paying a dollar (or any amount up to $4,800 per Federal campaign guidelines – $2,400 for the primary election and $2,400 for the general.) Maybe that’s an omission on the part of whoever put together the flyer but it is curious.

They didn’t forget to say that checks should be made payable to “Rutledge for U.S. Senate” though.

Unfortunately, I can’t make it since I have another commitment (next week is really busy for me!) But those who would like to hear what one of the leading GOP contenders has to say about his views and goals for Congress should attend.