Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For My Fans at the Maryland Democratic Party

So, when I started this blog in August, I did so for reasons of catharsis more than anything else. I had strong opinions about some of the things happening across Maryland’s political landscape, and I needed the cyber equivalent of a soapbox so I could vent and move on. The outlet, as opposed to the audience, was my prime motivation.

I never imagined that, two months later, I’d have acquired something of a readership – and that I’d have the good folks at the Maryland Democratic Party to thank for it.

This week, I have gotten a few press calls about my blog posting on the recent debate between Ehrlich and O’Malley.  I never gave the posting that much thought. All I did was watch the debate, jot down my impressions, post them, and move on. I didn’t think it was as funny or well written as some of my other blog entries. So, I was taken aback by the fact it had created something of a buzz.

Apparently, the genesis of this attention was the fact that Maryland Democratic Party (MDP) workers sent a link out to the press along with a message apparently approving of the fact that I was critical of Bob Ehrlich’s performance.

As someone used to writing speeches for other people, it still mystifies me that people are interested in my own thoughts or opinions. So, on that level, I was inherently surprised by the shout out.

On the other hand, I respect the fact that the professional partisans at the MDP are pretty aggressive, and generally good at what they do. The rationale behind their pre-candidacy attacks on Bob Ehrlich, and their fixation on his Saturday morning radio show mystified me at the time, but that’s neither here nor there. For them, I’m guessing the spectacle of a former longtime Ehrlich staffer pointedly criticizing his ex-boss’s debate performance was too tempting a morsel to pass up.

Hey, this is politics. My blog postings are fair game. No harm, no foul as far as I’m concerned.

I just wanted to reassure people that I have not switched teams, politically speaking. I’m as Republican as I ever was. After 25 years of being involved in and around politics, however, I just believe I have earned the right to say what I want to say.

And, as I stated in my very first blog posting, I still retain a sense of gratitude towards Bob Ehrlich for the positive role he played in my life and career.

Admittedly, I find the occasional strategic missteps of some of Ehrlich’s aides exasperating both as a GOP voter and a political observer. Also disappointing is the fact that some Ehrlich aides and their family members have treated the former governor’s largesse with the coarse subtlety of grave robbers breaking into pharaoh’s tomb.

Still, in case anyone was wondering, I plan to vote for Ehrlich on November 2nd. It’s just that the days of me saying what I am expected to say to make others happy, simply because it is for the good of the team, are over.

As for the folks at the Maryland Democratic Party…thanks, guys, for showing me so much love. After the election, let me know if you want to grab a beer or something. That could be a fun conversation.


  1. What you have to say is getting attention because it is thoughtful. Unfortunately, this year thoughtful analysis from our side of the aisle is in short supply-- probably because anyone who isn't reading from Bob's prepared script earns the ire of team Ehrlich. Please, keep it up-- Ehrlich desperately needs advice from people who aren't Kool-aid drinking yes men.

    -- a frustrated Republican Central Committee member

  2. RJC,

    As one who will cancel out your vote, or vice versa if you don't vote early, I am very impressed with the unvarnished take you provide.

    Some insight from the other side. The strength of the O'Malley campaign is that while they have a close tight knit circle, the campaign is always adding new staff. Addtionally, the very different professional and education backgrounds of that camp ensure that no idea remains unvetted. Not that mistakes aren't made, ie the BP oil ad, but many more mistakes are left on the drawing board. O'Malley has a
    seasoned, confident, very committed and talented campaign core. In '99, O'Malley was a councilman, in 2006 Governor, that is a remarkable feat.

    The Ehrlich group runs a strong campaign and may pull this out in this very odd year but having Steffans or Cross types in exile seems to point to some significant internal strife. The key members of O'Malley's earliest campaigns are still active and participating, albeit their roles may be less formal and different.

    Keep up the good blog work, look forward to your review of Ehrlich O'Malley Great Debate II. I'm sure Ehrlich will be less Nixonian this time out.

  3. Thanks, both anons, for your thoughtful comments.

    In my view, Bob Ehrlich's biggest flaw is this: He mistakes friendship for competence, and self-interest for loyalty. The people guiding his campaign do not want dissenting voices or a diversity of ideas because it is a threat to the monopoly of influence they hold, not to mention the gigantic salaries they are drawing. They're holding on for dear life because, if Ehrlich loses, some of these people will have real trouble finding jobs, at least at the income level they now enjoy.

    It's a shame because I really still do believe Bob Ehrlich is a good man. Unfortunately, he has a tin ear when it comes to personnel matters.

  4. Good men don't bus in homeless people to handy out phony fliers and then have the gall to call themselves truthful four years later.

  5. Ready for that beer?