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September 4, 2006

Cutting off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

I'm interested in sparking a dialogue, and thought this column might have that effect. I am mystified by a phenomenon I see emerging in the upcoming election.

Christian conservatives and firearms rights advocates are attacking Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's more moderate stance on issues that are important to them. The Christian activists take issue with the governor's stem cell research position, the lack of outright enthusiasm for a constitutional amendment to define marriage, and the decision to replace a member of the Metro Board for comments about gays.

Gun rights activists feel that the governor has not been as aggressive as they'd like on their issues, and are threatening to either support the other party - or more likely - stay home on Election Day.

Obviously, this is joyful noise for the Democrats. First, they have manipulated the electoral process, toyed with the sanctity of the ballot, and tried to eliminate all vestiges of voter fraud protection from the process. Now, traditional conservative (usually Republican) voters may be encouraged to stay home to protest policy positions of the Ehrlich Administration.

Am I the only one who wonders why any advocacy group could actively (or even passively) work so obviously against their own interests?

Isn't it obvious that the only possible outcome of a Democrat victory in the governor's race in November is an even more serious erosion of the supposed agenda these same groups hold so dear?

How in the world does it make sense to take action that will lead to eight, possibly dozens of years of policy decisions from Democrat Administrations that will set the mission of the these advocacy groups back even further?

This feels to me like the worst case of "cut off your nose to spite your face" that I have ever heard. These same groups, absent Bob Ehrlich's re-election, will be decrying the liberals' attack on their agenda for the foreseeable future.

An assault weapons ban, including a number of firearms regularly used for both hunting and target shooting, will pass and be signed into law under a Democrat administration.

That historic WWII M-1 carbine will now be an assault weapon. The Handgun Roster Board will return to a liberal mentality, erasing whatever small gains have been made.

Get used to ballistic fingerprinting and smart gun technology, because they'll be coming to a gun store near you. Wait, you may not have gun store near you.

By the time the liberals get done with their regulations, manufacturers may not sell guns in Maryland anymore. You'll have to buy your guns out of the trunk of a car, since only criminals will have access to them on a retail basis.

On the social front, a parental notification of abortion bill will never pass, and would be vetoed if it did. Abortion on demand, including the use of state funding, will be the order of the day. It won't just be embryonic stem cells from in-vitro procedures that get used for research purposes, either. Egg farming is a real possibility, as scientists make a pressing case to liberal legislators that we need to do more research, and we need more embryonic material to facilitate the research.

The Christian right won't only have to worry only about civil unions, either. A liberal Democrat administration will lobby for and sign a bill that makes gay marriage legal in Maryland.

A group of legislators, both Republican and Democrat, have been able to hold together a tenuous coalition against gay marriage. A Democrat administration will use the power of persuasion to break that fragile coalition, if a lack of social conservative voters at the ballot box doesn't do it first.

A similar broadside is aimed at Republicans who say they cannot support Michael Steele's senatorial candidacy due to his disagreement with President Bush. Since when do we expect our leaders to agree on every single issue?

We don't do this at home with our husbands and wives, so why would we demand blind allegiance in our senators? Could it be that some of those making threats are closet racists, and the idea of voting for a strong, conservative African American is too much to stomach?

So, some of those gun rights folks and Christian fundamentalists are going to have to help me understand why you'd stay away from the polls in November. You're going to have to teach me how settling for a Democrat administration that attacks all of the ideas you hold dear is better than supporting Governor Ehrlich, who may have some minor policy differences with you, but shares considerably more in common on overall philosophy and strategy.

Believe me, if you succeed in your goal of sending Bob Ehrlich or even Michael Steele a message by not voting, the only true message you'll be sending is that you are willing to sacrifice your modest gains, and that you don't mind if the clock gets turned back on any progress you have made to this point.

See, this isn't just about cutting off your nose. This is about pouting your way to the grave, watching the death of an agenda over minor policy disagreements.

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