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As Long as We Remember...

January 25, 2011

The Two Faces of Alex Mooney

Farrell Keough

Our local ex-Senator Alex Mooney is at it again! He is injecting himself where he does not belong and is playing his same dirty politics, (to his benefit) after being in office as chairman of the state GOP for only one month!


Having been at the state Republican convention, it was very obvious why he received the chairmanship. It was a simple juxtaposition between the moderate camp, (Mary Kane who was Robert Ehrlich’s choice for lieutenant. governor) versus the new wave of a strong conservative push. On paper, Mr. Mooney looked like the strong conservative candidate and many throughout the state bought into this sales pitch.


Frederick County was one of the few areas which had a huge Republican win in November. But, even with such a wide spread push, Alex Mooney was not re-elected. That is very telling! Let’s remember some of the figures, shall we?


Without a contender, Mr. Mooney still received a significant under-vote in his primary. As the Gazette noted: “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.” Republicans saw a tsunami of candidates voted into office in Frederick County – yet Alex Mooney was voted out!


In fact, Sen. Ron Young was the antithesis of Alex Mooney – a man who spoke to his many liberal-leaning perspectives. In a county where conservative Republicans carried the day, one must question why a sitting senator, who presented himself as the ultra-conservative, could possibly have lost. Truth be told, his constituents have had their fill of his dirty politics.


Alright, so he lost. He then won the state GOP chairmanship. It was time to be quiet, move on, and see what would come of this entirely different position. Now, within one month, the same actions are showing their ugly head and it is time to speak up!


Two more facts bear repeating.


During his nomination speech, Mr. Mooney spoke to ‘supporting all types of candidates.’ Upon his acceptance speech, Mr. Mooney spoke to ‘not attacking other Republicans, don’t attack him personally, and speak in one voice.’


Mr. Mooney also made a very quick showing at the Maryland Conservative Action Network meeting in early January. He was given an opportunity to address the crowd. He noted that he’s been criticized for being conservative, but that no one has been able to tell him where he should be moderate.


Are you seeing a pattern here? Alex Mooney has been speaking about – and running on – being a conservative and changing the state GOP to a Conservative Party. Is this truly what he believes or salesmanship?


As some of you may know, Sen. Allan Kittleman stepped down from the Senate minority leadership position last week. In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, “State Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney said he hoped that [Senator] Kittleman would change his mind. ‘We are in a more difficult position if it seems like we don't support moderates,’ Mooney said.”


Now, as Republicans we should support all colors and stripes of Republicans – or, as Ronald Reagan put it, “somebody who agrees with you 80% of the time is an 80% friend not a 20% enemy.” So, which is Mr. Mooney? Is he our 80% friend or 20% our enemy?


There is a simple reason for this question – Mr. Mooney interjected himself into the decision for the new Senate minority leader position. As a general rule, this is not the activity of the state GOP chair, so one has to wonder why Mr. Mooney would do such a thing. Let’s begin by seeing just what Mr. Mooney did.


In an email directed to “Fellow Republican Elected Official, Supporter and Activist,” Mr. Mooney laid out the need for Republican candidates to raise money, (even if they don’t need it) so they can share it with other Republicans. Wait a minute. Isn’t that the job of the state GOP chairman? And yet, this is now put at the feet of the candidates.


Along with this impassioned plea for candidates to raise money for the state GOP, Mr. Mooney attached a spreadsheet to influence the vote. Interestingly, Senator Kittleman gave the largest percentage of money to other candidates – approximately 20%. The newly elected Senate minority leader gave about 5% to other candidates. Now, the interesting part, Sen. David Brinkley gave about 2%, while ex-Sen. Alex Mooney gave about 1.5% to other candidates. What makes this interesting is, Senator Mooney raised approximately four times the amount of money as Senator Brinkley – yet he gave a much smaller amount.


The question is: why would Mr. Mooney interject himself into this situation? It has always been speculation that Mr. Mooney was interested in running for higher office – in a word, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s position. As noted by the Washington Post, Mr. Mooney has had this reputation for many years and it is not ruled out. Pushing out his perceived competition, Sen. David Brinkley, seems to be the only real motivation for this action – especially when one considers that Mr. Mooney has publically noted that we need to support moderates.


So, what is the bottom-line? Mr. Mooney has promoted himself as someone who can turn the state GOP around, but his first action was to interject himself into a decision by the elected leadership and push his ‘potential’ competition out of the running.


Like a tiger who cannot change his stripes, it seems Mr. Mooney is the same individual who could not get elected in his own county – a county which shifted almost completely Republican. Like a tiger who is interested in his next dinner only, the actions of Mr. Mooney indicate he is only interested in his next steps and career moves – not necessarily the Republican Party.


The moral of the story, unless you are part of Mr. Mooney’s “in” group, you will likely not be heard.


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