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June 27, 2008

Not Fair

Roy Meachum

In the best of all Jennifer worlds, her opponent for the Sixth Congressional District election this fall would be dead. She and her cronies talk of incumbent Roscoe Bartlett as if were long buried. He isn't. To the lady's continuing surprise, the Frederick congressman insists on proving he's alive and well, displaying superb sense.


Staging a surprising upset in this year's Democratic primary Jennifer Dougherty sought to push her gain by "suggesting" Dr. Bartlett face her in debates all over the district. Rightly, he rejected the notion of giving his relatively unknown opponent a free field of fire.


By the way, if you wonder how Ms. Dougherty slipped one over on Democratic primary favorite Andrew Duck, she really didn't. The fault was all his. One week before the February elections, he assured me the ex-mayor remained unknown outside this county. But he reckoned not with the rising feminism, prompted by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.


All it took, I am assured, to dump the much-endorsed Mr. Duck was a single postcard mailing that gave Jennifer Dougherty some recognition; in the total absence of any indication that the Army veteran was alive and well and running again, that was quite enough. She asked for votes. He did not. That's how politics go.


In the current furor over the proposed Jefferson natural gas compressor station, Congressman Bartlett has stepped front and center; the ex-mayor lurks somewhere in the wings. Presumably she endorses the negative position taken by her friends on the Frederick County Commission.


Under the desperate energy crisis the country deals with, it should be noted the gas in question is entirely American. Its wider use would make the nation less dependent on Middle Eastern oil fields. The company has assured residents and officials the installation would be neat and tidy, unable to recognize as anything industrial. It must be further said that the company already owns the land.


In this Winchester Hall, the voice of the people – vox populi – always rules and that makes the commissioners not leaders but followers. I so much more admire the congressman's position that all sides meet together and see if a common position might be reached. 'Tis true the compressor station would service Loudon County, across the Potomac. The next facility easily could serve my house on North Market Street.


Folks, in case nobody has heard, the world is in a huge energy meltdown. People must help each other. That's what Roscoe Bartlett is trying to get across.


"I trust the citizens who live near the pipeline more than bureaucrats or company officials as the best experts to make these important decisions," the congressman said. "I'm happy to facilitate efforts by Frederick County residents to coordinate such an initiative."


Ever so gently, Dr. Bartlett staked out the only sensible approach in the fracas, generally started and spread by elected officials who care more about grabbing votes than true public interest. He posits a genuine dialogue, based on reason, not emotion.


In her 20 year career in Frederick politics, Jennifer Dougherty has always gone the other way. She must think her November opponent is speaking antique Greek. She probably finds Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's proposal to reason together just as incomprehensible.


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