Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bob Ehrlich and WBAL: What's The Point?

Since the election, I have made a concerted effort to blog about topics other than the 2010 gubernatorial election. I mean, what's the point? But, upon seeing David Zurawik's blog piece about Bob Ehrlich's surprise appearance on the WBAL radio show now hosted by his wife, I felt compelled to comment.

Governor Ehrlich appeared on the program as a "mystery guest," refusing to answer questions posed by WBAL's Robert Lang about the only election-related topic anyone still wants to talk about: Julius Henson's infamous "Relax" campaign robocalls. After brushing off the question, a frustrated Ehrlich engaged in an emotional exchange with a caller named "Hannah" who tried to explain the reasons why she didn't vote for him.

The Henson robocall matter is now the subject of both federal and state investigations, so I can understand why Ehrlich - a lawyer - wouldn't want to comment on it. That said, why put yourself in a situation where the media is going to ask you a question you cannot or will not answer? Did he not think that he would get the question because he has favorite son status at WBAL? And, why bother even appearing on his wife's show under these circumstances?

Again, I ask: What's the point?

Bob Ehrlich is a proud, competitive man who believes he earned reelection in 2006, and victory in 2010. There is a side of him that wants to show the public he is unbowed by the defeat. That's a very understandable, and human, response to disappointment. So, I don't question his desire to emerge in some capacity. But I do not get his insistence that it happen now, while a question he doesn't want to answer is dangling in his face.

Do I think Ehrlich knew about the robocalls? Knowing how Ehrlich world operated, I can say with authority that he absolutely did not. Whether or not his senior campaign aides participated in the decision-making process which culminated in the robocall is a question which federal or state investigators will likely answer. Ehrlich should step back until that process plays itself out. Speaking out now but ignoring the only question people want answered seems a pointless and uncomfortable exercise for all concerned.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written piece -- I have to agree that it seems likely that Ehrlich did not know about the Robocalls but that someone on his team did. Big mistake on their part, and one that both Ehrlich and the Republican party in MD will suffer from.

    I agree with what you say about how it is curious that Ehrlich would wish to put himself out there at a time when everyone will want to ask him about an issue he doesn't wish to discuss. He says that he is finished with politics. Maybe it's time to be finished with radio appearances as well, at least for a while. It only serves to make him look more guilty.