The Baltimore Sun created a bit of a sensation yesterday when it announced that it was giving the late Ron Smith’s column to its longtime nemesis, former Governor Bob Ehrlich.
A lot of people were surprised by this news, including me.
But it seems the person who was surprised most of all was Ron Smith’s widow, June.
(Before I proceed, let me make clear the fact that June gave me her specific permission to blog this information.)
I spoke to June this weekend, and she stated that Ehrlich never once mentioned this prospect to her. In effect, she learned about it when she read the item in the Baltimore Sun.
Quoting Mrs. Reason herself: “(H)e never mentioned it to Ron or me during his visit or phone calls before Ron died or to me in phone calls after that.”
June told me that she spoke to Ehrlich most recently for nearly an hour on the phone on January 13th, presumably at a point when Ehrlich knew a Sun announcement was imminent.
I think it’s fair to say that June is shocked and pretty upset by Ehrlich’s seeming insensitivity, especially given the close friendship that once existed between their two families.
A lot of Ehrlich’s behavior surrounding the passing of Ron Smith – including some of his on-air comments when he dialed into the tribute show, the "French whore" comment he made to June in Ron's presence, and the fact that he left the Goucher ceremony before it ended – defies reasonable explanation.
Yet, this episode strikes me as perhaps the most difficult of all to fathom.
As for Ehrlich’s column, I’m curious to know who will be ghostwriting this one for him, as I did the columns he did for the weekly newspapers that dotted his congressional district, as well as occasional op-eds for the Baltimore Sun and Washington Times when I worked for him on Capitol Hill.
It’s not really a big deal, though. Lots of great politicos have ghostwriters.
JFK had Ted Sorensen. Richard Nixon had Bill Safire. Ronald Reagan had Peggy Noonan.
And Bob Ehrlich has… Greg Massoni??