Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pants on Fire?

Interim MDGOP Chair Diana Waterman issued a statement addressing the two recent controversies which have raised questions about her leadership abilities. (Michael Swartz reprints the message in its entirety on Monoblogue and provides  his own analysis as well).

Here I’m going to focus on Waterman’s explanation of controversy #1: MDGOP Executive Director David Ferguson decision to cancel the Pathfinders candidate training session in favor of a quixotic trip to South Carolina for the purpose of spreading the news about Governor Martin O’Malley’s failings.

Unfortunately, Waterman’s late-breaking account does not align with previously established facts.

Diana Waterman says…
“On Friday, our Executive Director, David Ferguson, participated in a joint Press Conference with the South Carolina GOP concerning Gov. O’Malley’s appearance at a South Carolina Democrat Issues Conference. This was a joint effort between the Republican Governor’s Association, the RNC, the SCGOP, and the MDGOP. It has received widespread press coverage, and showed Maryland Democrats that the MDGOP is on the offensive now.”

My Take…
On Friday, while Ferguson was engaging in his walkabout tour of South Carolina, the Maryland House of Delegates voted to hike the state’s gas tax by an estimated 87 percent. Neither Ferguson nor interim chairman Waterman issued any sort of statement. So, if the MDGOP is on the offensive, it’s certainly not in Maryland.

Diana Waterman says…
“While in South Carolina, David met with staff members of the State’s leading political leaders to invite them to Maryland for future MDGOP events and for Lincoln Day Dinners.”

My Take…
With which staffers did Ferguson meet? Which Lincoln Day dinners will benefit from this cavalcade of South Carolinians expected to come rolling into our state?

Diana Waterman says…
“For the past year or so, we have been providing opposition research, media briefing kits, and support to Republican State Parties across the United States wherever MOM has travelled (sic).”

My Take…
What sets South Carolina apart to the extent that this same approach would not have worked there?  During the height of a legislative session in which the Democrats who rule Annapolis are ramming through a gas tax, $1 billion in new spending, Second Amendment limitations, a repeal of the death penalty, subsidies for windmills, and other policies anathema to state Republicans, why would David Ferguson believe his time was best spent outside of Maryland?

Clearly the purpose of Ferguson’s folly was to raise his profile in the hopes of securing a better gig in a state with a more functional state party organization, or at one of the national party entities in DC. And Diana Waterman, his friend and ally, is giving him cover.

Diana Waterman says…
“Note – we are not planning to follow O’Malley across the United States in person, however, we will make sure that everywhere he goes, his record of failed leadership will precede him so that GOP Leaders can point it out while he is there!”

My Take…
On March 19th, John Wagner of the Washington Post reported:
“As he moves around the country in coming months, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) could have an uninvited traveling companion. 
“David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, vowed Tuesday that he or someone else affiliated with the state GOP will show up each time O’Malley attends an out-of-state event, starting this weekend in South Carolina. 
“O’Malley, frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, is planning to make an appearance Saturday at an 'issues conference' in Charleston at the invitation of South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D), a 2014 gubernatorial hopeful. 
“Ferguson said he will counter with a press conference with GOP leaders in Columbia on Friday and be at the event site Saturday in Charleston. ‘Anytime O’Malley goes and makes a stop on his presidential parade, we’re going to follow him and let people know who the real Martin O’Malley is,’ said Ferguson. 
“Ferguson said the effort — dubbed the ‘No Left Turn Tour’ — is an outgrowth of previous work to arm Republicans in other states with background material on O’Malley, the former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, when he visits.”

As Ferguson himself told Wagner, this was conceived as a national “tour” consisting of either himself or someone from the MDGOP “show(ing) up each time O’Malley attends an out-of-state event.” Waterman and Ferguson began backpedaling as to the specifics of the tour only after it drew an adverse reaction from activists.

Diana Waterman says…
Also, there was some concern that we rescheduled the Pathfinders Training scheduled for March 23rd so that David could go to South Carolina. This is incorrect. The training was rescheduled because Del. Ready could not be there.

My Take…
This is perhaps the biggest whopper of all.  Central Committee member Hillary Pennington reports a very different experience (this was originally posted on her Purple Elephant Politics Facebook page):
 “For what it's worth: I (Hillary) called to register 7 people for the March 23 Training in Wicomico County. When I heard it was rescheduled, I reached out to Del Ready thinking maybe they thought there just wasn't enough people. Del Ready told me flat out that he had told David weeks prior to Mar 23 that he would not be able to do the training because he had to be on the floor of the House. David then told him that he would still do it and find someone else to help out. Justin was the one who told me about David's opportunity to go to SC and the decision to reschedule. This was before everything blew up. I trust Del Ready's word and know he has no reason to lie.

Clearly Diana Waterman is feeling the heat as a result of her recent missteps. Are her pants on fire as well?

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the State party paid for this trip.