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August 6, 2002

Senator Mooney Assimilates Frederick County

Ronald W. Wolf

Why does Alex Mooney want to spend more than $600,000 to keep his $30,000 per year job as a state senator? That's what he states he needs to raise in his latest fundraising letter.

Mr. Mooney has redefined conservatism, according to his actions, as working to promote an ideology, whereas liberalism, according to the way he defines his Democratic opponent for the general election in November, is working for constituents.

Mr. Mooney claims he has had to "weather a storm of vicious personal attacks." What personal attacks? Mr. Mooney has been criticized in the media, and sometimes by the media, for his peculiar brand of conservatism, but he invites the criticism with his actions. Any criticisms of Mr. Mooney are solely of his politics.

Mr. Mooney's tenure in the state Senate is most notable for its nearly total lack of accomplishments. However, accomplishments could be defined by two standards. One is the number of legislative bills introduced and passed.

The second, fitting Mr. Mooney's conservative ethic, is how many times a legislator can attempt to throw a monkey wrench into the works to break - or at least bog down - the process. No legislation introduced by Mr. Mooney has been passed into law. He has attempted filibusters or tried to add pointless amendments to legislation many times. Everyone, according to Mr. Mooney, is "left-wing" or represents "liberal Special Interests." Except him, of course.

Let's review the highlights of Mr. Mooney's past term.

Mr. Mooney voted against two bills to help prevent children from gaining access to tobacco. One bill prohibited the sale of packs of less than 20 cigarettes. The less-than-20 pack is a trick of the tobacco industry to sell a cheaper pack, especially in vending machines, which targets children twice: cheaper cigarettes and the unattended vending machine. The bill passed by a 43 to 3 vote. Mr. Mooney is one of three.

The second attempt of Mr. Mooney to ensure easy access to tobacco by children also failed. This separate bill addressed the ease with which children have access to vending machines with tobacco in them. The bill passed 45 to 1; Mr. Mooney is one of one.

Mr. Mooney showed he is against family values when he voted against a pro-family bill that would allow the state Child Care Administration to fine unregistered day care providers. The vote was 43 to 1. You guessed it. Mr. Mooney is one of one.

Mr. Mooney voted against a bill to require coverage of colorectal screening by health insurers and HMOs. The bill met guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society. The vote was 44 to 2. Mr. Mooney is one of two. Mr. Mooney voted against a bill prohibiting disclosure of MVA records unless the individual agreed to release his or her records. Why would Mr. Mooney not want to protect individual privacy? The vote was 45 to 1. Mr. Mooney is one of one.

Perhaps Mr. Mooney is a Borg, like Seven of Nine. His official designation should be Two of Two. (One of Two lives in the Adamstown area.)

Let's take a closer look at Mr. Mooney's brand of conservatism. Despite his railing against special interests, he voted against legislation that would require checks from political action committees to clearly identify the PAC and make it more difficult to determine where special interest money goes. PACs most surely represent special interests.

So the conservatism of Mr. Mooney - the promotion of an ideology - as measured by how he votes is anti-children, anti-family, pro-special interests, and anti-privacy. He favors the highly profitable tobacco and health care industries over you. So his politics are pro-big money, too.

This doesn't answer the question of why Mr. Mooney wants to raise the $600,000, let alone run at all. He has no support, even among his own party in the State House, for his agenda. The rate on return of the $600,000 is zero - no legislation passed. He has no IOU's he can call up to get legislation passed; his doom - and his financiers - is to accomplish nothing. There can only be one answer. Mr. Mooney's re-election campaign is not about his constituents; it's about him.

Right now, the mission of the Democratic Party is to stop the out-of-control excesses of the Republican Party, and the place to start is with Senator Mooney. But it's not going to be easy. He and his politics are trudging through the county, hunting for votes. They're banging on doors. Be careful what you let into your house, because they may try to assimilate you.

(Editor's Note: Mr. Wolf is a candidate for the Democratic State Central Committee in the September 10 primary election.)

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