Mooney’s Latest “Dirty” Ploy
Alex Mooney’s victory in Annapolis last week was buried in The Frederick News-Post. His triumphant ploy received further obfuscation by the local editor in charge of headlines: “PIPKIN REPLACES BRINKLEY AS SENATE MINORITY WHIP.”
The “play” of the story, together with the headline, made it appear that FNP Managing Editor Terry Headlee was in league with the ex-state senator. Annapolis Reporter Meg Tully stuck to facts, as usual. But the “real” story all my colleagues, friends and I knew was how generally admired Frederick/Carroll County Sen. David Brinkley was denied the minority leader’s office by Maryland GOP new state Chairman Mooney.
The motive? Alex’s bursting hunger to succeed U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Trekking after that ambition the first-term senator paired up with the congressman’s son, also newly elected to the House of Delegates. The freshman duo played pranks on the more senior members of the General Assembly. For example, they sought to create confusion by wearing each other’s name badges.
At the time, my column belittled their stab at humor’s lack of taste; I dubbed the pair Katzenjammer Kids, taken from a comic strip popular in my childhood. I congratulated myself on my wit. I stopped smiling when I discerned the son of old telephone buddy Vincent Mooney was deadly serious. Simply put, he heartily befriended Joe Bartlett to get closer to his father and mother; Ellen Bartlett has for 18 years been more active in local politics than the busy U.S. representative.
Alex’s consuming passion I didn’t recognize until after his initial four years in the state capital; long after Anita Stup, the former president of the Board of County Commissioners, did. Then-Delegate Stup brought along to my then-annual New Year’s Eve party the then-candidate for Jack Derr’s place in the state Senate.
Largely based on my still-fast friend’s recommendation, I wrote columns glorifying Vince Moody’s male child. Anita’s attitude chilled after the Katzenjammer Kids’ antics. I hung in there for the newly elected legislator; continuing to regard him as very capable to reform his egocentric politics, I dubbed him “my littlest fascist.” He was not amused and told me so; I chided him to stop being so totalitarian.
A heavy cloud arose in the right quadrant of the heavens, which is to say I don’t really know what happened; Anita Stup didn’t tell me. I was slow to admit most of Alex’s funding came from out of the county and even the state. Forced gradually to accept the party’s fresh-faced candidate was nothing more than a tool for right-wing extremists, not limited to his mother’s fellow Cuban exiles, overwhelmingly in Florida.
The Republican state chairman practices allegiance to no political party; he’s in the public life, strictly for himself. When an old Frederick friend filed last year to contest for the Maryland Senate, I didn’t much care that Ron Young was a Democrat; his best qualification was standing up to Alex Mooney. When Ron nosed out the three-term senator, like many others in the county I breathed a sigh of genuine relief. Ding-dong, another execrable public official was electorally dead.
As David Brinkley and all Maryland learned last week, Alex Mooney is still very politically alive. In the first major act since his naming as chairman by the state GOP central committee, he scuttled the opportunity by a much better qualified Republican to lead the members to a more secure route in Democrat-dominated Maryland.
Vince Mooney’s child behavior is another reason why I reject partisan politics.