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March 21, 2012

“Don’t Get No Bettah…”

Norman M. Covert

It isn’t nice to leave Lewistown’s Jim Olson and his Maryland Veterans for Romney (VFR) standing outside the door. That’s where they will be this afternoon at 3 P.M., not in Frederick, but the Arbutus American Legion home.


There will be no harsh words from Mr. Olson, who is trying to organize the more than 400,000 veterans living in Maryland to vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the primary election April 3. He will salute and charge on. That’s our Jim.


(Early primary voting in Frederick County will be conducted March 24-29 at the Frederick Senior Citizens Center on Taney Avenue)


A retired U. S. Army colonel, Mr. Olson’s enthusiasm and impeccable reputation established the grass roots Maryland VFR in January and hosted an information rally here February 1. It has met every financial demand of the Romney handlers and toiled with County Commissioner C. Paul Smith and local GOP laborers to put a Frederick event together.


Word of the cancellation came Tuesday night with the notification that today was off at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Hagerstown's The Herald-Mail quoted John Porter of the state GOP as saying the Arbutus rally would be this afternoon with the Frederick event to follow at 6 P.M. Mr. Porter’s report was overtaken by the decision later Monday afternoon.


“I am very frustrated, as I am sure you all are, that our event in Frederick was unable to make the governor’s schedule,” wrote Louis M. Pope, co-chair for Romney in Maryland. “I had multiple conversations on the phone today arguing with Boston on the benefits of Frederick – but unfortunately it was not to be.


“However, I want to personally thank each of you for the excellent effort in logistics and communication over the last four very hectic days since we first set plans in motion last Thursday.”


Mr. Pope then naively rubbed salt in the wound attaching an invitation, emphasizing it is “FREE…attendees (must) RSVP by email…Thanks for your help. Louis.”


“It don’t get no bettah than this…,” country singer Larry Gatlin once crooned. We reach an opposite conclusion: the Maryland GOP has shown it is the poster group for “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”


The state GOP appears locked in a downward spiral in national elections, resolute that it can be creative inflicting personal injury. Progress seems distant. It is no secret that Maryland voters, dominated by its Eastern Elite (Baltimore and Prince George’s counties), will continue to vote the “Old Line…” of the Democratic machine. That’s just the way it is.


It must be a virus, or something, permeating GOP presidential candidates. Observers continue to use the analogy of the GOP training its firing squads – intended to render honors, to stand in a circle and shoot. When Polish jokes were “Kosher,” we would have noted the pistol which fires backward!


Obviously former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, an “Arbutan,” held sway with the Romney bundlers, eschewing the wonderful venue that is Building 9 of the Frederick Fairgrounds. He is state co-chair with Mr. Pope for Governor Romney’s campaign.


One might remind GOP elite that Frederick and Western Maryland voters remain the bedrock of conservatism and deserve some strokes, as it were.


Mr. Olson wrote in January that he and his wife Sarah had “jumped on the Mitt bandwagon many months ago…and can vouch for his character, warmth and passion. He is a natural leader, personable and believes deeply in the American dream…a change agent of the highest order….”


No doubt Mr. Olson will keep the same tune. He knows that in dealing with events of this magnitude, it is the “handler,” the “bundlers,” the “kitchen cabinet” doing the gambling. Even such “a natural leader,” is at the mercy of his “bunglers,” it seems.


“I expect Romney to do well here (in Frederick) – but we should take nothing for granted. Come to the rally (February 1),” Mr. Olson wrote.


Some 400-plus veterans were committed to attend the fairgrounds event from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.


Arbutus is a nice burg surrounded by the Baltimore beltway and U.S. Route 95; its recent claim to fame being hometown of former Governor Ehrlich. It will draw a representative crowd, perhaps a small contingent from Frederick, but what better venue might the fairgrounds have been, viewed through the lenses of the 24-hour television news?


Jim Olson deserves a huge “Thank You” from the Romney people, but he won’t get it, only more emails to raise more money and mobilize Maryland veterans for VFR.


We editorialized a few weeks ago that Mr. Romney may have lost his “Mojo.” Well, it remains “no bettah….”


(Editor’s note: The event will be held at Arbutus American Legion Post 109, 1610 Old Sulphur Springs Road, Arbutus. Contact


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