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As Long as We Remember...

November 9, 2010

Last Katzenjammer Kid

Roy Meachum

Alex Mooney’s first jaunt in Annapolis was signally disturbing. The state senator’s cavorting with Del. Joe Bartlett earned from my columnist’s view the label of Katzenjammer Kids.


While gentle Joe drifted out of my sight, pausing for marriage, State Sen. Alex Mooney went on to earn the regard of my littlest Fascist. When he protested, he didn’t like it, I said: “Then, Alex, stop being so Fascist.”


Everybody knew the younger Bartlett was not seriously interested in a political career; we all understood he was under pressure to position himself to succeed his father, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. His marriage itself was at least partially founded into a political ambition he didn’t share.


In any event, he egregiously stabbed in the heart others’ dynastic hopes by leaving his chosen wife and taking up with a lady labeled as “lobbyist,” which, in my view, is taking up with someone non-elected he encountered in the pursuit of his officially designated chores.


Joe Bartlett’s staying with this unexpected choice led to having the state pay her for his stay during sessions; they were healthily, as my Army days characterized, shacking up. I never read or heard why the delegate broke a law; he didn’t.


Members of the General Assembly are perfectly free to settle on the lodgings while they are about Maryland business, debating, mulling and passing legislation.


Anyway, after what we know as sit-downs with the congressman and his wife, their son removed himself from public life. I did not hear his mighty sigh of relief; I knew it was there. Exit the first Katzenjammer Kid.


Funded well by sources out of the state, therefore certainly out of Frederick County, Alex Mooney continued to bash any and all opponents. Incumbent Republican Sen. Jack Derr was easy ‘pickens’ back in 1998.


Political Democratic powerhouse Sue Hecht committed the fatal electoral mistake of promoting her closeness with Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, as a sign of feminist solidarity. One of the smartest political operatives I’ve ever known, Sue did herself in.


Extremely nice Candy Greenway was little more than bread crumbs to Alex Mooney’s machine; his puppet-masters, largely out of Florida’s Cuban community and very right-wing, smacked their lips when the desperate Democrats nominated Ms. Greenway as their choice for 2006 campaign. Alex’s well-funded campaign chewed Candy up and spit her forth.


Former Frederick Mayor Ron Young was totally something else. His winning of the Democratic primary in September was greeted with alarm and alacrity in the Mooney camp, with very good reason.


His wife, Karen Lewis Young’s triumph in the city polls forcefully demonstrated the name had a ring that resonated with Frederick voters. The ex-mayor was not as much as thrown out of office but done in by human frailties, which my columns pointed out.


On the other hand, as a resident along North Market Street, I exultantly acknowledge what the former mayor accomplished for my chosen hometown; by choice, I embrace my over 200-year-old log house as the place I want to die, Pushkin by my side.


I’ve never been in the presence of any politician who delivered on so many promises; the reason why I stayed here 27 years has very much to do with Ron Young. He goofed. I reacted. He’s still the best politician I’ve known in my long life.


As I explained, baby-faced Alex Mooney was never my political beau-ideal. But I never had the enthusiasm that gripped me this autumn, particularly because there was a promise of a Young revolution, in the community. I know the political brothers.


Brad Young is the least in his family for opportunism; he is solid, believable and altogether the antitheist of a politician. His tangle with the Frederick County Board of Education over other people bringing beer to a party he held for the girls’ softball team he coaches proves the point I tried to make.


Gloriously on the other hand, Blaine Young typifies and characterizes a demagogue in the early 21st century. He really exemplifies the prototype captured by 19th century cartoonist Thomas Nash. Blaine is an exultant descendent of the tradition of Tammany Hall. He’s not nearly so malicious as his political godfather, James E. “Doc’ McClellan: His elder son is called J.R., a combination of James (for McClellan) and Ron (his father.)


Alex Mooney faced the Young juggernaut. The celebrated Republican wave that flooded the entire nation last Tuesday floundered at Mr. Mooney’s feet. His explanation made absolutely no sense: “My district has gone from Republican to Democratic,” as quoted in The Frederick News-Post.


Simply his logic is quashed by the reality that his district (3-A) last represented in Maryland’s General Assembly by two Democrats, Galen Clagett and Sue Hecht, was replaced by Republican Patrick Hogan.


I must apologize to patient readers that my post county election column lingered so long, as many of my pieces do. I feel imperative that you know exactly what happened on Elections Night 2010, in the case of my littlest fascist, Alex Mooney, the last of the Katzenjammer Twins.


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