Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is "The Dialin' Doc" Back on the Campaign Trail?

Two tidbits just came across my desk, both involving former bosses of mine.

The first involves Dr. Eric Wargotz, the GOP’s 2010 nominee against Senator Barbara Mikulski. Last year the man I have affectionately come to call “The Dialin’ Doc” said that he was passing on a possible race against Senator Ben Cardin. Well, today he told the Baltimore Sun that he is taking a “second look” at the race because Senator Cardin has since picked up a primary challenge from State Senator Anthony Muse.

The Doc must think that Muse’s challenge may bring to the surface intramural tensions within the Democratic party - tensions which could tamp down enthusiasm for the eventual Democratic nominee. These would be geographic tensions (Muse is from Prince George’s County, Cardin is from Baltimore) as well as demographic tensions (Muse is African American, Cardin is Jewish).

I still think a Cardin primary victory is likely and a Democratic victory in the general election is all but certain. Still, I give The Dialin’ Doc credit for his moxie.

The second item is a blog entry from The Weekly Standard which lampooned former Governor Bob Ehrlich for awkwardly conceding in an interview that Mitt Romney, whose campaign Ehrlich chairs in Maryland, probably won’t carry the state against Barack Obama next November.

On the one hand, I think the Standard is being a little unfair for calling out Ehrlich for simply stating the truth. Of course Obama will carry Maryland in 2012. The Democratic advantage in Maryland makes any statewide victory by a Republican virtually impossible. No one understands that better than Ehrlich.

Still, I think Ehrlich could have handled his answer a little better.

He could also have noted that Maryland may play an important role in the primary process this year than is usually the case given the way the race seems to be unfolding. Or, that delivering electoral votes is only one way a state can contribute to a winning presidential campaign. Fundraising counts, too. Wealthy Maryland donors can deliver for Romney the way they did for George W. Bush.

As gaffes go, it was a clumsy moment for the former governor, an alleged master communicator who insists he has always written all his own speeches.

While I take issue with that statement, I'm happy to say I had nothing to do with these particular remarks.

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