That would be the curious decision by MDGOP Executive Director David Ferguson to go on a national walkabout to spread the word about why Governor Martin O’Malley should not be president.
A lot of the decisions made by the MDGOP and its leaders puzzle me, and my reaction when I saw John Wagner’s story in the Washington Post was no exception. People tend to regard Ferguson’s travel plans as stuck somewhere on the highway between silly and stupid. Fellow blogger Anthropocon’s assessment is a good representation of where the consensus seems to be.
The thought of Ferguson waging a national one-man assault against the O’Malley machine reminds me of this scene from The Pink Panther Strikes Again in which Inspector Clouseau attempts to break into a castle, with hapless yet hilarious results.
So why is Ferguson doing it?
Maybe he sees this as a way to broaden his profile and, in the process, land a better gig in a state with a functioning Republican party or at one of the national party organizations.
Or, maybe, he sincerely believes his personal presence in states like South Carolina is the only thing that can dash O’Malley’s national ambitions. Clearly the state that gave us Strom Thurmond is, ideologically speaking, fertile ground for someone with Martin O’Malley's passion for higher taxes and spending. It’s the domino theory used to justify the Vietnam War all over again. Without David Ferguson's man against the tank heroics, O’Malley may get a foothold in South Carolina, causing states like Idaho, Utah, and Alaska to tumble to him as well.
Behind the scenes, Ferguson and his allies have started to backpedal, questioning the accuracy of Wagner’s reporting and claiming that the South Carolina trip is a one-off event.
Still, the damage is done.
In order to make the South Carolina jaunt, Ferguson cancelled the Pathfinders candidate training session which he and Delegate Justin Ready have cohosted in the recent past. Delegate Ready can’t participate this year because his presence is required in Annapolis. Ferguson had promised activists that he would soldier on without Ready, then abruptly cancelled Pathfinders anyway because the citizens of the Palmetto State apparently need his leadership and wisdom more.
Simply put, scheduling the trip was silly, but cancelling Pathfinders has, in my opinion, left Ferguson and his political mentor, MDGOP Chairman wannabe Diana Waterman, damaged. With municipal elections coming up in Annapolis and Frederick, 2013 is an election year in Maryland, as is 2014. This national tour idea speaks loudly to the fact that the priorities of the MDGOP establishment are misguided.
As for me, I really don’t mind if Ferguson goes on tour. My only question: If he leaves, does he have to come back?