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June 4, 2003

What's Good For The Goose....

David 'Kip' Koontz

Recently Governor Robert Ehrlich came to town and blasted Delegate Joe Bartlett for voting against his slots proposal last session.

Bartlett's folks, having heard of the governor's anger at him, had said that it was a "misunderstanding."

In no uncertain terms, Governor Ehrlich made it clear that it was not in anyway a misunderstanding and that he was totally angered with Delegate Bartlett when he was quoted as saying: "No. No misunderstanding. Nothing at all. Zero."

Mr. Bartlett defends himself as saying that the Governor knew of his position prior to his vote as it was clear throughout the campaign.

The governor's folks are angry because Delegate Bartlett voted against the Governor's slots proposal in the House Ways and Means Committee, especially since it was considered a "caucus vote," a vote in which you are expected to vote with your party regardless of your own view, the views of your constituency or your conscience.

Delegate Bartlett and two other Republicans stuck to their principals and are now finding themselves on the proverbial whipping end of the Governor's stick.

Interesting though that Governor Ehrlich can so chastise Delegate Bartlett for voting his conscience while at the same time defending his own support of signing the medical marijuana bill over the protestations of the White House.

Curiously Governor Ehrlich's defense sounds remarkably like that of Delegate Bartlett as he said, while in town on June 2nd, that "his position on medical marijuana was well known while he was in Congress."

Why, then, are Governor Ehrlich's "well-known" positions okay, yet Delegate Bartlett's "well-known" positions are not?

Funny also is that both are using very similar tactics by saying things such as, "I'll be with the governor on other issues - I support Bobby," or "I'll be with the President on other issues - I totally support this administration."

Is there a class given by Republican operatives on how one can cover one's own patoot when one's patoot is in a bit of a jam?

Some are concerned that with Delegate Bartlett garnering the wrath of the governor, anything he wants done while in Annapolis will be negatively impacted.

Well, as he has no bills passed in his five years in Annapolis, is there really a concern about his effectiveness about which we need to worry?

And will we find that Governor Ehrlich, who had a less than stellar first session, put Maryland in the lose-lose category with the White House simply because of one vote?

Maybe! Seems these Republicans are playing this pretty pettily.

In a time when all too often we find our elected officials doing those things that will best benefit only themselves, it is refreshing to see two who stood up for their beliefs - in spite of criticism from higher-ups.

Frankly, they both did the right thing regardless. Too bad Governor Ehrlich doesn't see that if what he believes is good enough for him, it should be good enough for Delegate Bartlett.

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