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January 17, 2012

Afzali Crashes Congressional Primary

Roy Meachum

Never in my over 28 years writing about Frederick politics can I remember when an elected freshman official has been so unrelenting and noisy – some say obnoxious – as Kathy Afzali.


Her announcement as a candidate for the Sixth Congressional District seat caught me totally by surprise, but not shock! Indeed it was characteristic for the self-described “Broadway dancer.” Ms. Afzali might have performed choreography in some part of Manhattan, I don’t know – nor does my namesake. readers were introduced to Roy Neal Meachum III some time ago; my son opened “Annie” on the Great White Way and took the final curtain nearly seven years later – as a production stage manager. As you read this, he plies the same trade on a Norwegian Cruise liner. Back home on Washington’s Connecticut Avenue, Roy keeps up with his father’s community and local politics. At no point has he tweaked my beard to say that he knows Kathy Afzali, and they’re about the same age.


Still the Republican member of Maryland’s House of Delegates might have had a “quickie” fling at Show Biz somewhere in the vicinity of the Great White Way.


What I know for certain is my erstwhile News-Post colleague parlayed name recognition as a columnist and participant on the cable program, “Pressing Issues,” into an Annapolis office, in 2010. Her anger as a TV panelist caused me to look elsewhere. For the same reason I rarely read her published words. It was not her political slant that turned me off. After all, I backed Republicans Roscoe Bartlett, David Brinkley, Blaine Young, Ellen Sauerbrey and Bill Brock strongly; in addition to mayoral GOP candidates Paul Gordon, Jim Grimes and Jeff Holtzinger. I have friends who are as radical right-wing as the delegate.


About Ms. Afzali there hangs a veil of egocentricity; the willingness to convert situations to personal and career enrichment attaches to most politicians. However, around her, there is always a self-centered mist that threatens to choke anyone in range, especially of ideas and innovations. Seldom have I encountered to such a high degree: Her way or the highway.


When we were News-Post columnists together, she invited me to a Sunday afternoon “do” at which I met her husband. The Iranian-American seemed overawed that she married him. This was when Kathy Afzali gave no indication that elected office was her goal. State Sen. Brinkley and I barely acknowledged our separate presences. He was a hard-working politician and I was curious.


In declaring her candidacy last week, the most tasteless segment of the announcement fell when Ms. Afzali proclaimed she alone could represent the GOP in November’s race. The slimiest part of any campaign that I’m aware of arrived when she pointed out both the incumbent Bartlett and favorite Brinkley could never be elected to Capitol Hill. The delegate enumerated her already-declared competitors’ “crimes” in the eyes of the electorate, while holding herself up as the Great Republican Hope for the Sixth Congressional District – and beyond. I’m sure she has already tried on “President Afzali. Her husband, not she, is foreign-born.


The 2010 elections were a GOP shootout, especially in Frederick. As you assume I am not a Kathy Afzali fan, she deserves the same lack of respect that she gives anyone who disagrees with her. What I foresee, while I’m told she already filed for another office in addition to Roscoe Bartlett’s, she will go to the back of the congressional line in early April when Maryland primary is held.


The Yiddish word for brassy behavior, Chutzpah, has gotten her this far. In the same language: schon genug – enough already.


Kathy Afzali is a political abomination.


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