Former Ehrlich Field Director Chris Cavey published an op-ed piece, “Complain Less, Get Involved,” in the online Tentacle newspaper.
At first blush, this op-ed seems to be a direct rebuttal of the one I had in the Baltimore Sun on November 3rd analyzing the reasons for the loss. The Patch's Bryan Sears in fact asked Chris Cavey if that was the case. Cavey, for whom I have great respect as a party builder, said it was not.
Still, given the fact that Cavey makes points contrary to my own arguments, I felt obligated to respond.
For example, Cavey writes: “Prior to the 2008 Presidential Election,
Democrats increased their registration numbers by 256,000 new voters. The GOP didn’t even come close with less than 79,000. Democrats out register Republicans in urban centers at a rate of 10 to 1; Bob Ehrlich lost these urban centers at the same rate. Urban centers have more total voters, voting at higher overall percentages for statewide Democrats.” Maryland
For Team Ehrlich to declare the race to have been fundamentally unwinnable from the beginning only after losing it strikes me as being somewhat self-serving.
The daunting (and growing) advantage in voter registration Democrats have in
is something that I have written about on this blog. It is also something that Team Ehrlich was well aware of when it climbed back into the arena. Still, Team Ehrlich was not deterred from running, so it must have believed that the numerical disparity did not preclude a victory. Otherwise, why run? And, how else would you explain the polls at the outset of the race which showed the race as a dead heat? Maryland
The campaign’s penchant for wasting time and resources by courting unwinnable constituencies is another criticism I made in my op-ed. Cavey addresses it when he states: "The campaign message sent through the air by TV and radio was also the same, there for all who would look or listen. Nothing special was targeted toward or away from an ethnic group, income group or gender.”
How about some of the controversial, Henson-crafted ads which ran on black radio (e. g. “Tyrone,” which one black Democratic friend of me likened to “Amos n’ Andy”), or even the “message” employed in a certain infamous campaign robocall? What about the campaign’s decision to host a rally in the predominantly Jewish community of Pikesville in
– an area unwinnable for Ehrlich? Baltimore County
Cavey writes: “I wouldn’t redo a single day. Every decision was made correctly at the time and with the information at hand.”
I don’t think any objective person can look back at the campaign Team Ehrlich waged and say that no mistakes were made. In fact, Cavey himself recently posted 16 campaign critiques of his own on his Facebook page.
Cavey concludes by writing: “It is easy for the Monday morning quarterbacks to proffer criticism now that the election is final. I was there – inside – and none sent or called into the campaign their pearls of wisdom in the heat of battle – thus I pay no heed to their whining or ponderings now. They need to get a life and move on in a positive direction if they want to make changes in
’s one party system of political dominance. Maryland
“They need to complain less and get into the real game.”
Speaking out publicly and offering a rival viewpoint, which I did before, during, and after the campaign, IS getting in the game. Articulating the reasons behind a loss in order to promote growth and healing is a constructive activity. Blaming the loss solely on some unstoppable external force – in Team Ehrlich’s case, that would be George W. Bush in 2006, and Barack Obama’s relatively popularity in Maryland as well as the numerical disparity favoring Democrats in 2010 – in order to spare a few reputations or mask bad decisions is not constructive.
I’m ready to step up, leave the past and the same old players behind, and start working to rebuild the party based on new ideas, faces, energy, and expectations. I hope conscientious party builders like Cavey will join me.