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As Long as We Remember...

December 12, 2006

That Wasn't A Car That Backfired

Edward Lulie III

The voters have spoken and a new board of Frederick County Commissioners has been sworn in. The developer's "Dream Team" of pro-growth candidates was resoundingly defeated. All of the cash and influence that the Good Old Boys (GOBs) spent to win the election was just not enough.

The newly elected board is almost entirely "developer free." The scorched earth tactics employed by the GOBs in the campaign has ensured they will have little if any influence with the new board. The old board of commissioners' 24/7 open door policy for developers is now gone, instead a sign reading "Under New Management" is in place.

"Stop the sprawl" was unmistakably the loud and bipartisan message that the voters sent; yet this continues to be ignored by the GOBs. They well understand the words "show me the money" but the words "save Frederick County" they simply cannot comprehend.

It may be entirely because the GOBs truly believe that they are Frederick County. So, therefore, covering Frederick County farms with condos was good for them and their friends and where there was a problem? They simply can not understand why voters objected so much and voted against them at the polls.

Instead of regrouping and moving on, the GOBs sit around together and rail against the fates, the new board and their perceived enemies. Old Roy Meachum, always quick to echo the sentiment of the ruling elite, resumes his old vendetta by attacking Lenny Thompson yet again.

Mr. Thompson's offense is two fold. First is that he helped to ruin the GOBs dream of cementing the future of Frederick County. Secondly he is an outspoken foe of the GOBs and his very existence continues to be an affront to the Good Old Boys Ruling Class and Country Club and Mr. Meachum continues his personal crusade to destroy him.

The tide that washed out the solemn John Lovell and Sock Puppet King Mike Cady has left the GOBs high and dry on a lonely beach of powerlessness; yet even there they still get great cocktail service.

Between drinks and ranting, the GOBs still stubbornly refuse to look at reality. They are all emboldened by a breathtaking arrogance coming from their deep conviction and the belief that they alone are the anointed. They believe that they are the landed gentry, the aristocracy of Frederick County, an elite group born to rule over the stupid peasants. This was clearly visible last year whenever the old commissioners held hearings; they treated citizens who didn't share their love of concrete with unveiled and open contempt.

The election campaign pushing the developers' "Dream Team" had a simple underlying theme which was that "voters are all morons." The campaign was based firmly on the concept you actually can "fool all of the people all of the time." They ran disingenuous ads declaring GOB candidates were for "measured" or "reasonable" growth. It claimed that only the GOBs chosen candidates were "Real Republicans."

This failed miserably because this time voters were not fooled. As a result voters became angry and motivated. Despite all of the money spent on ads, signs, radio spots and all the friends they could buy, their campaign failed miserably. It was thwarted by non-partisan coalitions of grass roots activists, who angrily rose up and rebelled; they kicked the developers' Dream Team out the door with bipartisan enthusiasm.

Now the Good Old Boys are reduced to endless sessions of whining in the media and screaming outrage from the sidelines. Oh, the evils of Dave Gray, who, as a moderate, listens long to all sides of an argument. Oh, the calumny of Lenny Thompson, who dared (and dares) to diss the Good Old Boys as they endlessly attack him, mostly complaining that he stands in the way of progress, or is that really "profits?"

Oh, the agony of watching Jan Gardner, a woman, who isn't ashamed to show her emotions in public and who whipped every GOB candidate hands down by winning the most votes. Stupid peasant voters.

Oh, the insolence of Kai Hagen, who dared attack them in every speech and who still refuses to acknowledge their superiority and divine right to rule.

Oh, the perfidy of Charles Jenkins, the lone candidate of the developers "Dream Team" to win, who quickly resolved that he wouldn't spend his term as the lone hold out vote. Instead he wisely tacked to the prevailing winds and joined the revolution. Was there a single 4-1 vote at that first commissioners' meeting? Hmmmm?

It is true that the new Board of County Commissioners' love fest can not last forever. The now unanimous board will eventually have disagreements and their unanimity will be tested as GOBs and friends will pour salt on each and every open wound in an effort to divide and conquer.

Expect to see an expensive set of lawyers arrive and begin a lengthy campaign to win in the courtroom what could not be won at the polls. Yet, the vitriol that continues to be heaped upon the new commissioners has a very beneficial effect; it continues to unite the recipients against the GOBs.

The GOBs can not change their "persona non grata" status at Winchester Hall as long as they keep attacking, and thereby digging the hole deeper. Apparently only we peasants know that old adage; "the first thing you do to get out of a hole is to stop digging."

Those deep pockets that funded the Good Old Boys and their bungled campaign would be wise to consider a careful reappraisal to see what they actually got for their money. All that money spent on PACs, donations, ads and signs and what did they actually end up with?


Actually it's even worse than that. The scorched earth tactics used in the campaign burned a lot of bridges and has left a legacy of anger against developers, the GOBs and the horses they rode in on. Instead of a hard reappraisal of their campaign tactics and strategy the current "leaders" of the GOBs are reflexively clenching their drinks and screaming defiance at the bartender. Clearly, for the GOBs, sock puppet cynicism still rules the day.

Even the easy going David Gray knows who was trying so hard to do him in politically. He might even choose to forgive them, but forget? I think not.

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