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July 22, 2010

The Same Old Politics

Patricia A. Kelly

On Tuesday, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins spoke at the Hagerstown TEA Party meeting on "Illegal Immigration in Maryland, a Plan for Action." He, of course, discussed the 287(g) program, active in Maryland only in Frederick County, wherein illegal immigrants who violate the law may be placed in federal custody and deported instead of incarcerated locally. He received a standing ovation.


Chuck also introduced Brian Murphy, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, who is running in the primary against former Governor Bob Ehrlich. Brian supports the 287(g), of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency of the federal government, and would like to see it activated throughout the state. He also expressed an interest in enacting a law in Maryland, perhaps inspired by the recent Arizona law that deals with illegal immigration.


Sheriff Jenkins announced his support for Brian Murphy for governor at that time.


What he didn't announce was the phone calls he has been receiving from politicians supporting Mr. Ehrlich, voicing their displeasure with his position. Surprise, dismay and the opportunity to change his stand have all been offered.


Our local, now candidate for delegate, newly resigned chairman of the Frederick County Republican Central committee, Kelly Schulz, has been working for the Ehrlich campaign. Kelly, in my view, is an extraordinary woman, principled, hard working and an open champion of conservative values. I'm sure she violated no regulations in doing this. I don't think she would. She did tell me she believed Bob Ehrlich was the only candidate who could beat Gov. Martin O'Malley in the general election.


It seems the Maryland GOP agrees, because they waived the neutrality rule that prevents official support of a candidate before the primary, and attempted to donate $1 million to Governor Ehrlich during their April 30 convention. They didn't even consult the State Central Committee. Only the uproar, possibly assisted by Farrell Keough's column in The Gazette, stopped the donation. How surprising that people who need senior Republicans to make their voting decisions for them, could mount such a successful effort.


Interestingly, per The Potomac Tea Party Report, Mr. Ehrlich was offered the opportunity to speak at the convention, too, although he wasn't an official candidate yet, not having filed for the race until July 2. That could be the first and only official $1 million offered to a non-candidate in state history.


Brian Murphy, an official candidate and successful Maryland businessman, was not allowed to speak.


Again, according to The Potomac Tea Party Report, the "big people" involved in the "Support Bob Ehrlich Early" caper were Audrey Scott, Louis M. Pope and Joyce Terhes.


The excuses I've heard are Ms. Schulz's assertion that Bob Ehrlich is the only candidate who can beat Governor O'Malley, and that the campaign is too close to the general election for a candidate to have the time to campaign effectively.


Thanks, just the same, for trying to fix things for me, but I'd rather vote myself.


The GOP behavior, whoever was involved, reflects old school, good old boy, insider network, hidden organizing, in short, the worst of historic Maryland insider politics.


It was both unethical and immoral. We have primaries and elections so the electorate can vote.


Squelching a candidate and favoring another is not the American way.


Amazingly, this behavior also makes it clear that the Maryland Republican "big people" are clueless about what's going on in politics at the moment. People did not turn off their televisions and become politically active because they liked the way things are going, either at the federal level, or at the local, insider level of government. People are looking for honest, transparent, limited government, and the power and freedom to make their own decisions.


If Maryland senior Republicans are this out of touch, then "change we can believe in" might not include them.



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