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August 10, 2006

The Good Ole Boy Network Revealed

Katie Nash

As more young commuters and their families move to Frederick, the term "Good Ole Boy Network" is increasingly used to describe a faction of Frederick County's local political scene. As Frederick County nears another election, it is thrown around with greater gusto and a variety of meanings.

For example, Blaine Young calls himself the "youngest good ole boy in Frederick" on his weekend WFMD radio show, Frederick's Forum. From the tone of the announcer, one can only assume that being a "Good Ole Boy" is something to which one should aspire.

When the Frederick City mayoral election was looming last year, Republican Central Committee Chairman (and now candidate for sheriff) Chuck Jenkins announced at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner that the "Good Ole Boy Network" was coming back to Frederick City (referring to the defeat of incumbent Mayor Jennifer Dougherty).

Again this attitude would lead a Frederick-newcomer to believe this is a group of folks to join - a network involved in Frederick's local politics.

It remains a mystery, however, exactly what this network stands for or seeks to accomplish. Presumably this group is Republican in principle. Although many believe that former Frederick City Mayor Ron Young was one of Frederick City's most successful Good Ole Boys. He was and is a Democrat.

Provided these examples, one could assume that a woman cannot join and the candidate must be over a certain undisclosed age. These qualifications will immediately bar many of Frederick's newest residents, which may or may not be the point to the network in the first place.

So, to understand, one must delve deeper and turn to academic resources for assistance in understanding Frederick's "Good Ole Boy Network."

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines the phrase "good ole boy" as "a man having qualifies held to be characteristic of certain Southern white males, such as relaxed or informal manner, strong loyalty to family and friends, and often an anti-intellectual bias and intolerant point of view."

Wow! That certainly doesn't convey the positive image the Republican Party has been trying so hard to communicate to voters. Perhaps those who introduce themselves as a Frederick "Good Ole Boy" and tout "Good Ole Boy" stickers on their vehicles do not realize the image this phrase conjures? Is it possible that they don't understand voters view "Good Ole Boys" as intolerant, anti-intellectual, and worst of all - backward?

As visible with former Mayor Ron Young's defeat in 2005, the "Good Ole Boy" platform (whatever it may be) is not a message that is resonating with voters. In 2006, Frederick County will see a repeat of this sentiment.

The question is, however, how does a backward candidate change that platform when he is anti-progress?

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