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As Long as We Remember...

September 28, 2006

Winds of Change Getting Stronger

Chris Cavey

Starting in November 2002, with the election of Maryland's first Republican governor in decades, the thought patterns of the voting population in Maryland has shifted slightly to the center - for both parties. Previously unheard of events have unfolded and continue as Marylanders are rejecting the extreme ends of the political spectrum, in both parties.

On Monday former First Lady and now Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., NY) was the headliner at a well-promoted fundraiser in Prince George's County, a Democrat strong hold. Unofficial totals indicate there were 250 persons in attendance and $75,000 dollars raised by the lovely lady of the left wing. The following night Republicans met in Baltimore - with 1,000 in the room - and raised over $750,000. The headliners for the evening were Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

Unbelievable! A former First Lady, who is touted as the front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2008, comes into a Democrat dominated state and only 250 people show? Interesting also was the media. They expected an event of Clintonesque proportions and ended up with 60 seconds on the 11 o'clock news.

Later this week Sen. Barack Obama, a dynamic young black senator, will visit Maryland to explain to the African-American community why an older white Jewish man is his choice to be Maryland's next senator. It will be interesting to see how the junior senator from Illinois portrays Lieutenant Governor Steele, Maryland's version of a young dynamic black politician.

Rumor has it that the grand finale will be former President Bill Clinton. Certainly he will be in typical form speaking at an African-American church winding up the troops to march to the polls to fight the evil Republicans. However, this time the Democrat theme can't be one of diversity after they shut out all but white males; but Mr. Clinton will don his sly smile and tell everyone in his Arkansas draw "it's alright."

The Republicans touted their diverse statewide ticket Monday night in Baltimore. Mr. Steele started as a warm-up act and charged up the crowd. He spoke of opportunity and diversity. When Governor Ehrlich took to the podium, the room became almost electric. This was the last big statewide event before the General Election and everyone was aware.

Governor Ehrlich spoke about his administration's accomplishments, bragged about his team and his cabinet - their qualifications and the good works they done for Maryland's citizens. He then introduced his statewide Republican team. They took the stage and suddenly it was apparent that the Republican electorate had chosen a broad and diverse ticket.

John Kane, Republican Party chairman, made the final announcement and introduction when he introduced State Sen. John Giannetti of Anne Arundel County. Senator Giannetti has switched parties to become a Republican and has accepted the nomination to run against a Democrat nominee. He stated in his brief speech that his former party had left him along with other reasonable and conservative Democrats.

Six years ago the tide of politics was reversed. A Republican state senator abandoned the Republicans and joined the Democrat majority. Republicans couldn't muster 300 people in a room with barely $80,000 of dinner revenue. There was little-to-no diversity. What has changed? Perspective and opportunity, that's what!

Since Governor Ehrlich was elected, the public has realized that the Republican Party is not the party of "no" as the press has painted it. Republicans are diverse and have governed wisely with people and communities in mind. They see that there is opportunity and the party is making strides toward inclusion and is doing well. Republican primary voters noted this fact with their choices.

The radical side of the Republican Party basically is quiet. Hardcore right-wingers realize that the center is growing, and perhaps they are not happy; but they are taking a wait-and-see attitude, not the desperate outlook that their Democrat counterparts have taken.

Mainline Democrats are also noticing what is happening. The Democrat voter sees the left side of their party taking over and realizes that they are philosophically closer to the growing Republican-leaning middle. Most realize that they are only registered Democrats by family tradition and not in practice or philosophy. Only the African-American community remains solid and unwavering with the party who will send Bill Clinton to fool them once again.

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