Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Complain Less, Get Involved"

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, Maryland 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.”

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 Maryland 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?

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 Baltimore County – an area unwinnable for Ehrlich?

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 Maryland’s one party system of political dominance.

“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.


  1. Wow. Just wow. Why in the world did Bob Ehrlich even bother to run? If what his craker jack field director, Chris Cavey says is true, the ract was over before it began.

    Furthermore, he is saying that everyone in the state received the same message. That is a horrible strategy. The RNC has worked very hard at "micro targeting". The idea is that people receive messages that are tailored to them. If you are an NRA member and your neighbor is a member of the Sierra Club, each of you would recieve specialized mailings, followed up with specialized phone calls.

    I think it is sad that Cavey thinks the Ehrlich campaign staff was top notch. Perhaps they should have hired a campaign manager. That's right, they didnt' have one. Schurick took on that role, but we all know that he is far from a campaign manager. Cavey may be a hard worker, but he if far from an effective party builder. By the way Chris, you sound like you picked up a good dose of arrogance from Ehrlich and Co. over the past few months. How dare you tell us to stop complaining and do something. Ehrlich's shop is notorious for not returning phone calls. I am sure that no staffer heard from outsiders becasue THEY NEVER RETURN PHONE CALLS OR FOLLOW UP! Think I am making this up? Just ask any GOP activist worth their salt. There were so many former Ehrlich Admin. folks on the sideline in 2010, that it is no wonder he lost.

    Time to find a real job Chris. Maybe Womble will take you on too?

  2. There's something pretty rich about a campaign whose main argument in the primary boiled down to "I can win and the other guy can't" turning around and saying it ain't their fault they lost the general because the race was unwinable.

    Chris says: I also take issue with the statement "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."

    Give me a break Chris-- you talked to candidates, central committee members, and grassroots activists around the state. If we had an idea that cost any money at all, you said it was a good idea, but you couldn't pay for it. If we had an idea that required you to change anything the campaign was doing, you said you couldn't change it. Since you usually copied Bernie on the emails when you said it was impossible, I'm guessing you didn't have much authority, but don't go around saying no one had any suggestions.

  3. “They need to complain less and get into the real game.”

    I agree. Complaining is a waste of time. I intend to "get into the real game" by ensuring no one associated with this sorry enterprise ever gets a leadership position in our party again.

  4. Cavey. Fist you throw stones now you try to make up with the Ehrlich team? It's too late. You will never head the MD GOP.. Ehrlich did make mistakes. He was done wrong by backstabers like you. We don't forgot so easily. GO ahead and run for the GOP We will be there watching when you fall.

  5. Nothing is ever their fault, is it?

  6. Anybody who just got whomped by 14 points, who lost their home county, and whose campaign made voter suppression robo calls who says they wouldn't change a thing, just isn't very smart.

  7. The MD GOP is in the same shape as Massachusetts and they won a sen. seat. I believe that Bob lost bc when he was Gov. he did not appt any Republicans (300 out of ? 3000?) I worked at the Dept of Transportation...he were snowballed every which way. Many die hard, committed, WELL QUALIFIED Republicans were ignored and the appointees that were living of the State dole for 3 decades were kept and mocked us. Trying to appease the Dems in this State never works. Change parties if you want to work with them other than work in your own party. Thanks for always keeping us informed RC. Very cool blog L

  8. You know who needs to "get a life" (no, not Chris Elliot)? Paul, Henry, Greg and Chris. Unless they are content going through life as Ehrlich's personal butt wipers.

  9. Very happy I am so well read. Thanks to all!

    Always glad to rebuild the party anytime with anyone. I stand by my opinions it is my perspective - not yours nor do I expect you to have the same. I have no problems with the opinions of others.

    Can't wait until all the anonymous posts take leadership roles and we can work together. Please email me directly if you would like real and direct involvement - I will try to help you with placement.

  10. Chris Carvey you and everyone else connected to the loser Bob Ehrlich should resign from the MDGOP before you all destroy it entirely.

  11. Hey Cavey...

    Speaking of "placement," are you going to help your buddies Shurick, Massoni, and Flintstone find jobs? Looks like they may have some huge legal bills in their respective futures.

  12. Chris writes:

    "Can't wait until all the anonymous posts take leadership roles and we can work together. Please email me directly if you would like real and direct involvement - I will try to help you with placement."

    The arrogance of this statement is unbelievable, and is one of the reasons why you have problems working with people. Seeing as how at the moment you hold no positions whatsoever in our party, and I hold several, maybe you should contact me about "placement"

  13. Cavey. You need medical help. First you insult the good people ofTeam Ehrlich then you try to make up and now you are pretending you are head of the MD GOP and can place people? Ehrlich campaign over. You lost to Mr. Republicans for Obama. You will never ever head the MD GOP. You need help.

  14. Chris:

    "Nothing special was targeted toward or away from an ethnic group, income group or gender.”

    You can argue either way about whether to target or not. But, if you aren't going to target, and you are going to put a picture on your palmcard of a group photo of people wearing Ehrlich shirts and waving Ehrlich signs, you probably don't want everybody in that picture to look alike. It isn't simply that it is a problem to hand a card like that to a black voter. The problem is that white voters who live in racially diverse communities, work in racially diverse offices, and have racially diverse circles of friends, are going to subconsciously absorb the idea that the candidate lives in a different universe than the one they live in, and that is never a good idea.

  15. "Nothing special was targeted..."?

    Not even robo calls?

    Not even "Tyrone" commercials?

    It really is astounding how out of touch the Ehrlich campaign is/was.

  16. but Bob has "been to the barbershops"