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July 27, 2012

Facing Reality

Roy Meachum

Many in Frederick County now face the reality I bowed to months ago. Mostly Republicans, they signed petitions to cancel the congressional re-districting. They have their last opportunity on November 6.


Without me.


A colleague received my John Henry on the line, as I wrote before. He was very angry; thought his citizen’s rights were being taken away. But as far as I knew, he’s in the Western Maryland state-of-mind. Readers know the paths that landed me up behind the North Market Street yellow doors. From my years as a Washington journalist, I learned that politics boils down to accepting what you cannot change – despite all your energies and struggles.


This column fought hard to deny the Democratic Sixth District nomination to State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, for whose personal benefit the lines were drawn. He was regarded as simply a stand-in for State Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller. On his own, I mistrusted him. There was no sorrow behind the yellow door when John Delaney emerged as the winner.


After supporting him for 18 years, current Rep. Roscoe Bartlett succumbed to fatigue in the office, yielding power to Chief of Staff Bud Otis and his fellow aides who were not elected. State Sen. David Brinkley this column favorably looked on. Raising a bunch more money, Mr. Bartlett beat him by better than two-to-one – marking the last time that the Sixth can be considered a GOP “safe seat.”


Simultaneously, the Eighth District was loaded up with Democrats from Montgomery County, proving liberal leavening to the northern and eastern parts of Frederick County – making it arduous, if not impossible, for GOP candidate Ken Timmerman, whose name and face are scarcely recognized. The Frederick News-Post published that many Republicans still look to Congressman Bartlett, who represents them no longer, according to Steve Gottlieb; he is the party’s chairman for the county.


In other words, the coming election is a mish-mash and a roller match.


The result leaves Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen skating along. In a telephone interview he told News-Post reporter Bethany Rodgers his intentions of learning the county. But he’s taking his sweet time. Refused to being pinned down, the incumbent talked vaguely. The best guess? Sometime after Labor Day, the traditional season for political campaigns. No hurry.


Virginia Republicans deal with same lack of urgency. Their control of the legislature brought them domination of the redistricting. The Constitution is hazy on many points, leaving the courts to decide on many points, including the congressional domains within each state. One valid interpretation of the document points out: “The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, but each state shall have at least one representative.”


So, the 2010 census is woe to the competing political parties in Maryland and Virginia – posing worries for many voters in Frederick County. Seemingly their sole choice, come November 6, is to relax and let Democrats have their way on Capitol Hill.


The referendum is going nowhere, despite my signature in Barbara Fritchie’s at breakfast on one Saturday morning in May.


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