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As Long as We Remember...

October 5, 2010

Considering Your Governor Choice

Farrell Keough

When we were last together, we discussed some musings on the attempts to bring the various candidates under the Republican rubric together in unity. We noted a mechanism which could be used to make a clear statement to those in our party who do not follow a course of decency and integrity – the under-vote. Low and behold, this precise mechanism was used in this last primary.


As noted by Sherry Greenfield in the Gazette newspaper:


And the fact that 2,028 Republicans out of 7,850 who went to the polls on Sept. 14, left their ballot blank and declined to vote for Mooney, who ran uncontested, makes some ponder the Nov. 2 outcome.


So far, a clear message has been sent. We will now see what transpires during the General Election. There are times in life when the difficult and painful task of making a hard change is the best course of action. As noted on many occasions, ‘we needed Carter to get Reagan.’


Consider the election for governor. We had a false contested primary – one in which the Robert Ehrlich campaign was financed in contradiction to the state GOP’s bylaws. Brian Murphy received approximately 25% of the state-wide vote – 35% in Frederick County.


Upon receipt of the election results, Mr. Murphy graciously extended his endorsement to Mr. Ehrlich. In response, Mr. Ehrlich not only belittled Mr. Murphy, and the Tea Party movement behind him, but would not take the sage advice of the interviewer – the audio can be heard here.


This interview took place on WBAL’s (1090 AM) “Ron Smith Show” with Blair Lee leading the interview. It seems Mr. Ehrlich is more concerned with his own personal issues than those of the larger constituency he will be courting and potentially representing if elected governor. Mr. Ehrlich initially commented on the difficulty of this campaign: “…after a Spring, Summer, and early Fall attacks by O’Malley and Brian…”


Following this criticism of Mr. Murphy, Mr. Lee suggested to former Governor Ehrlich that "you need to publicly embrace this guy, you need to call him a rising star in the party, you need to borrow his rolodex, and you need to get all of his voters to vote for you."


In response, Mr. Ehrlich stated: "Well, Blair, I respect him, but, quite frankly, we have a lot of rising stars in our party, including people who have won races."


Mr. Lee continued: "Brian Murphy's followers are now looking for a signal from you, a very clear signal, and you need to give that signal… You are getting free political advice…"


In his final retort to this proposition, Mr. Ehrlich stated: "We didn't criticize Brian Murphy one time during the campaign, and I haven't criticized him yet, anywhere, and we talked last night. So, all is fine. Don't be creating needless controversy here. That’s all."


Consider this conversation, if you were or are a member of the Tea Party, would you embrace this reaction and jump at the chance to endorse the Ehrlich Team for governor? I think not! It is a shame when such a psychological need for personal redemption trumps the needs of the constituency and the importance of the service to the office.


But, there are a couple of very important factors to consider when making your selection for governor of the State of Maryland – redistricting and appointments to various boards and commissions. These two factors influence the running of the state much more than many of us realize.


Jennifer Bennett wrote an excellent piece on the issue of redistricting in the Frederick News Post Online Exclusives. In short, after the 2010 Census, new ‘political’ districts can be determined from the governor down throughout the state. In short, every 10 years, our ability to elect representatives can be altered dramatically making some few areas strongly Republican, while much of the rest of the state will be dominated by Democrat districts. To turn the tide of predetermined elections by party, these districts must be altered to even the playing field as best of possible. A Democrat governor has no incentive to alter the status quo and every incentive to strengthen his/her political power.


The other issue is the appointment of individuals to organizations like the boards overseeing our community colleges or various transportation agencies. These boards or committees can have a profound effect on the direction our state proceeds for the next decades.


These two aspects of determining who should be the governor are inherently political. In other words, appointments favoring one party over another can also be viewed as advancing one ideology over another.


The records of Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. O’Malley are available and their differences, (albeit, rather slight) will be presented myriad times on TV, radio, and in various written forms. Deciding based upon these properties may well yield little. But, noting these two important factors of redistricting and appointments can produce a different mechanism to make your determination.


As with all things political, change can take place during a single election cycle. That change can be a continued slide toward a more liberal ideology or one which attempts to turn the ship 180 degrees – generally in smaller steps. As noted earlier, ‘we needed Carter to get Reagan’, keeping in mind, we needed the votes to get Reagan. This conundrum makes this race even more difficult than a simple view of Principle over Party. But, one will never walk alone when one bases their decisions on principle.

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