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Advertise on the Tentacle

October 6, 2008

From the Desk of The Publisher:

John W. Ashbury

Over the weekend Frederick City Alderman C. Paul Smith submitted an emailed letter to the chairman of the Republican State Central Committee regarding the decision by Delegate Rick Weldon to change his voting registration from Republican to “Unaffiliated.” Alderman Smith suggests that the Central Committee take a strong stand to have Delegate Weldon removed as chairman of the Frederick County Delegation to the General Assembly. We reprint Alderman Smith’s letter in its entirety.




103 Fairview Avenue

Frederick, Maryland 21701

(301) 748-2929


October 3, 2008


via email only


Mr. Michael J. Hough, Chairman

Frederick County Republican Central Committee


                  Re:  Delegation Chairman


Dear Michael:


This week’s announcement by Delegate Rick Weldon that he has disaffiliated himself from the Republican Party has created considerable stir throughout the county.  Rick has a fine reputation as being an outspoken and effective delegate in the House, and his separating from the ranks of the Republican Party appears to be perfectly acceptable to many of his supporters and is especially pleasing to the County Democrats, who understandably are quick to applaud him for this action.  (See, e.g., today’s editorial piece by Katherine Heerbrandt in The Frederick News Post.)  And while I continue to have admiration and respect for Rick, for the reasons I will state below, I have a totally different perspective on Rick’s action to disaffiliate himself from the Republican Party.  This action is in fact a repudiation of the Republican Party, and thus it would be a colossal act of self-destruction for the Republican Party if the County’s delegation were to retain Rick as its chairman in the future.


No elected official is expected to merely toe the party line on every issue in the course of his/her office.  If the pressures of toeing the party line become too burdensome for someone in a party leadership position, then it may be appropriate to resign the leadership post.  However, the act of disaffiliation from one’s party signals a major philosophical rift between the individual and the party.  Rick stated that this was the case with him; he said that the party had left him.  This is a point with which I take issue with Rick.  Despite intense pressure to give the government ever-increasing control on our lives, the Republican Party continues to be the party for limited government, lower taxes, and individual accountability.  The Republican Party has not repudiated these principles.   It is Rick that has left the party, and not the other way around.


For the reasons Rick himself has stated, his differences with the Republican Party are based upon his own philosophies that favor greater government control in areas that under our Constitution have previously been the responsibility of individuals.  For example, with respect to one major political issue, Rick supports an increased role of government in providing health care for individuals.  The party has not left Rick on this issue; Rick has left the party.


It is not my intention here to critique all of Rick’s positions on issues.  Rather the point is that Rick has incorrectly stated that the Party has left him.  That assertion therefore  challenges me and every other Republican official by his implicit point that if we do not likewise leave the party, then we either agree with him that the party has changed or that we don’t care. 

Neither of these is true.  While it is true that there will always be shifts in the philosophy of the collection of people that constitute a party, for the most part the Republican Party continues to be




Mr. Michael J. Hough, Chairman

Page Two

October 3, 2008



the one party that stands up for limited government, lower taxes, individual accountability and the free market/capitalism system that is the foundation of our nation’s economic strength.


The Democrat Party stands in stark contrast with the Republican Party on these issues.  Despite the GOP’s imperfections, it continues to be the best party in the nation and in the county for the advancement of these philosophies that are the foundation of our freedoms and our prosperity in America.  The Republican Party has not abandoned these core principles, and affiliation with the Republican Party continues to be the best practice for those who are committed to protect and advance them.


There are clearly many problems associated with a two-party system of government. The Constitution does not provide that we must have two parties.  And occasionally a third party will surface for a short period of time.  But by providing for majority rule in our democratic-republic, the Constitution effectively did set up a two-party system.  The need to obtain the consensus of a majority will always tend to drive legislators into two competing positions.  Independents and disaffiliated legislators will inevitably choose to support one major party or the other, but they lose the power within a party to influence the direction and content of legislation. 



For these reasons, while the Republican Party now has and will always have flaws and will always support some issues with which one party member disagrees, I would not leave the party unless the party abandons the core conservative principles of limited government, lower taxes, individual accountability and support of free market principles.  The Republican Party has not abandoned these core principles.  



The Party occasionally weighs in on issues such as gambling and stem cell research, which are important, but which are not part of the core philosophical principles that define a conservative.   I have observed how the debate over slots has led people to change positions based upon whether it was a Republican proposal or a Democratic proposal.  I don’t suppose we will ever totally get away from such a shallow-minded approach to law-making.  But both the party and the people expect our elected officials to stand for something; they expect us to be who we say we are.  In my case, I am opposed to gambling, including slots.    I think gambling promotes economic ills and is destructive to the development of individual strength and accountability, which in turn weakens society.   Some of my good friends disagree with me on this issue.  But at the same time we agree on the core conservative principles.  And we recognize that if we ever reach the point where people do not have disagreements it will be because some people stop thinking for themselves.  There will necessarily always be considerable give and take, and regular compromise on tangential points in the legislative process.  But the legislator who leaves his party gives up the power to have an influence on his party. 


The Republican Party in Frederick County has not abandoned the core conservative principles of liberty and economic strength.  Therefore, I continue to give my wholehearted support to the Party, and I will continue to work to help the party understand and adhere to these core conservative principles.  The Republican Party did not leave Rick Weldon, but he has now left the party.  Therefore, if the party were to advocate for Rick to be the chairman of our local delegation, we would be saying that someone who has abandoned our joint efforts to promote the core conservative principles should be our leader.  This would be ludicrous.




Mr. Michael J. Hough, Chairman

Page Three

October 3, 2008



I am a Republican because the party stands for certain principles of liberty and governance.  Only when and if the party really does abandon the core principles will I leave the party.  But this has not happened yet.  In my opinion, Rick is mistaken in his assessment of who has left whom.


Therefore, as a party, it is critical for the Central Committee to take a strong stand on this issue.  The focus should not be on criticizing Rick, who is our friend.  But the focus should be on addressing the challenge that his disaffiliation has implicitly made to us.  Rick has forced us to address this issue, and let it be known that the Republican Party has not left Rick, but that he has chosen to leave the Republican Party.  Therefore the Central Committee must make a strong statement that our local delegation select a committed Republican to serve as chairman of the delegation this coming year.


                                                                  Very truly yours,



                                                                  /s/  C. Paul Smith


                                                                  C. Paul Smith


cc:  Republican Central Committee




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