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Advertise on the Tentacle

March 5, 2014

Private Parties: A Question of Value

Patrick W. Allen

A political party cannot strengthen itself if it exists by perpetuating its own weaknesses. Frederick County, Maryland is a peculiar political enclave situated due north of liberal Montgomery County and west of the democratically controlled I-95 corridor…situated at the eastern boundary of a mostly conservative western Maryland.


It’s difficult at times to discern the difference between a Republican and Democrat in Frederick, given that each political party at times mimics the other. They each:

·       Conduct outreach activities, such as Autumn picnics. The Democrats charge a fee to attend…not the best example of inclusion and outreach.

·       Hold fancy fundraising dinners with notable political speakers that only the well-heeled can afford to attend.

·       Erect a political party tent at the Great Frederick Fair and pass out candidate stickers.


Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it...a catered dinner, a picnic and a few hotdogs at the fair.


To be clear, for both political parties, there seems to be a serious disconnect between rank-n-file members and the establishment, elected central committee members. In Frederick County, there is far more “politics” within each political party than there is between them.


This is clearly evident during this election season as pointed out in a column published on March 3rd …Takeover Move Portents Disaster … in which the author presents the case of local Republican in-fighting regarding Alec X. Mooney supported Del. Michael Hough’s attempt to unseat long time Republican State Sen. David Brinkley.


The wacky far right-wing of the Frederick Republican party is attempting to drive the local Republicans further into the ditch and farther away from relevance.


Previous election cycles have shown how each Frederick County based political party eats its own, and 2014 is shaping up for a repeat performance.


Republicans and Democrats in the county have political party clubs, which offer a social gathering place for rank-n-file members and tend to connect with their members through party-centric issue advocacy presentations and discussions. This is a good thing, all around.


However, the central committees for both political parties seem to function in a manner which isolates them from the rank-n-file, with little-to-no attendance at their meetings…and they seem to like it that way.


If you’re thinking this opinion piece is headed toward taking the Frederick County central committees to task…you are correct.


In Virginia, as in many other states, they have political party county committees, which are equivalent to Frederick’s Republican and Democratic Central Committees. The big difference is that in Virginia, the monthly county committee meetings attract a room full, if not overcrowded, of rank-n-file attendance.


Why? Because, in Virginia, the rank-n-file looks to each political party county committee to:


·       Present and implement strategy(ies) to elect candidates to office and defeat the opposition.

·       Present and implement strategy(ies) to publicly and vocally support or oppose social and/or policy issues of importance and consequence to county constituents.


Not so much in Frederick County, Maryland, where elected central committee members, of both established political parties, appear to sip on mint juleps and pretend they are making political headway.


Central committee members in Frederick County would not make good first responders. Instead of running toward the problem and finding a solution, they tend to run away from simple-to-controversial issues and like any good ostrich, stick their heads in the dirt…relying on Facebook to provide their bases with re-cycled news feeds and meme posters.


It would benefit all if someone would come up with an original thought and take the lead. On a regular basis, private citizens write Letters to the Editor, either supporting or opposing a local cause and/or issue, while the leadership of each political party remains mute or when asked, provides the local press with a generic response.


There have been plenty of issues for the Central Committees to sink their teeth into, such as:

·       Privatization of county operations.

·       The sale of Montevue/Citizens

·       RALE and the

Monrovia Town Center

·       The languishing WTE / Incinerator debacle

·       The over-reach of Board of County Commissioners members (i.e., Demanding attendance at FCTA contract negotiations)

…and more.


It’s difficult to decide where to focus contempt. Should it be toward the alleged corruption of Frederick County’s elected politicians or those who have a responsibility to speak up and do something about it, but don’t?


It’s not that rank-n-file Republicans and Democrats don’t care about their central committees…it’s rather that the central committees have not given the Republican and Democratic rank-n-file a reason to care.


Rank-n-file members of both established political parties want real leadership. They want work horses, not show horses. Otherwise, the ranks of the unaffiliated will continue to grow.


Note to Republican and Democratic Central Committees: Come down off your self-constructed platforms of self-importance and get your hands dirty doing the business that best demonstrates true leadership of your political party. Give the rank-n-file a reason to see you as something other than private.


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