It took a while. For the longest time, the true appeal of Donald Trump escaped me. Where others saw a challenge to the status quo, I saw a fundamental lack of qualification. Where others saw business savvy, I saw a basketful of bovine excrement. Where others saw celebrity status, I saw a narcissist on steroids. Where others saw a conservative firebrand, I saw a former liberal Democrat, one that defended the principle of eminent domain, was pro-abortion and anti-gun.
Look, there’s no doubt that President Donald Trump brings out the best and the worst in each of us, depending on one’s ideology.
It’s almost as if the best description of our local political scene is the Mos Eisley bar scene in the first Star Wars movie. An odd and slightly scary collection of characters, many new to the scene, some funny, some familiar, some appealing and some off-putting.
So far, we’ve examined the races for Maryland governor, as well as that for Frederick county executive. Now for a look at the more local, rubber-meets-the-road offices at Winchester Hall.
The wrap-up to this series on the June 26 primary election focuses on the race for Frederick County Executive, in what will no doubt be the highest profile local race this year.
Call it a sabbatical, or maybe just a chance to let things shake out a bit. Honestly, our national, state and local political scene has been so confounding of late, the smarter play was to observe and process more, and to – therefore – write less.
Natural disasters are reasonably predictable, or at least our 24/7 news cycle presents us with sufficient notice to be at least partially prepared for the worst aspects. Two recent examples, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, offer both proof and consequences.
Everywhere you look, everything you read, and almost everything you hear these days regards either the existence or the removal of iconic historical monuments to those who fought for the losing side in our “long national struggle.”
140 characters. Social media platform Twitter created the infamous text limit in order to allow messages to be sent by the Short Message Service, or SMS. Anyone wishing to express a thought on Twitter must cull it down to the essentials, and say whatever needs saying with only 140 characters.
C-Span is like crack cocaine for a political junkie. Once you turn it on, even just the audio stream, morbid curiosity keeps you tuned to the unfolding train wreck. Add in the Trump Administration’s responses, and it’s truly one of the world’s most compelling forms of entertainment.
As a Founding Father, John Adams said: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”
They told us it was collusion. Whispered conversations between Trump campaign officials and Russian government officials, in the dark hallways of power in Washington, in secret meetings in Trump Tower, or in tightly access-controlled government buildings in the former Soviet Union.
In yesterday’s column, the removal of the Roger Brooke Taney bust from in front of Frederick City Hall was the basis of an examination of the role of monuments to remind us from where we’ve come.
It starts with a perceived wrong. It ends with the pretense that by altering a physical representation, we can remove a blight from our nation’s history.
Recently, Frederick County celebrated the first two years of the Charter form of government. Okay, maybe celebrate isn’t the right word, at least not for everyone.
Take a trip to Monticello, the home and final resting place of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America. Really, if you haven’t already, take the trip!
Dopey instincts. We’ve all got them. What distinguishes the real dopes from the rest of us occasional dopes is that most of us skillfully manage the tendency to think and act like a real dope.
The funny thing about national elections is that they often don’t end up as envisioned by political pundits. On rare occasions, the outcome rattles the political establish to its core, and the repercussions are felt long afterward.
Last week, the National Republican Convention drew party faithful to Cleveland, Ohio, like moths to a flame. Luckily, the only one who got burned was anarchists, whose flame jumped to their own clothing from the American flag they were trying to burn, and to their fellow protestors.
On some inexplicable level, the idea of the Donald Trump candidacy is truly appealing. Is it the whole outsider thing? Is it the aspirational interest in the rogue billionaire who largely self-funded the primary campaign? Is it the thumb in the eye to the political and media establishment?
In the last few weeks, Frederick’s local news has been replete with non-political stories about political personalities, both those who serve in office currently and those who used to. Much of that news has been less than flattering.
It sounded like the salve to our political wounds, a form of government that promised focused vision, cooperation and responsibility. For decades, the process of running a large and complex county by committee, with five people who shared executive and legislative duties, was clunky, confusing and often led to crazy ideological swings every four years (Growth vs. No Growth).
One would be within reason to expect that two decades of active, involved political experience at the local, county and state level might increase the value of political wisdom to the person who acquired that experience.
President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address last Tuesday night was much anticipated. Democrats (and major media outlets except Fox News) all waited with breathless anticipation for what they hoped would be a historic rallying cry for liberal principles. They were disappointed.
In less than two months, registered voters in Iowa will brave the Midwest cold to gather in community rooms, church social halls and gymnasiums to cast what are loosely defined as the nation’s first votes for president.
The national news media claims to be under assault by the Republican candidates for the presidency. There’s no question that GOP candidates like Donald Trump, Ben Carson and others see benefit in forwarding a dialogue about the lack of fairness in how Republican candidates are covered versus the more favorable reporting on Democrats.
Last Thursday’s Frederick News-Post featured an above the fold, front page news story entitled “Saving lives, raffling guns: Firehouses raise funds with firearms.”
Another group of students doing nothing more than attending class at their local community college lay dead and wounded at the hands of a sick and twisted loner. They went there to learn, they left there in body bags and on gurneys, victims of an angry and confused young adult.
First it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He was the guy who told us all that he would be a much better candidate. His past experience (in 2012) had taught him the importance of being healthy, focused and prepared for the grueling slog that is the presidential primary process.
In a move right out of the film Wag the Dog, President Barack Obama flew to Alaska to spend a few late summer days away from DC. Not sure if he was looking for warmer weather, or maybe safer surroundings, but he and his multi-million dollar retinue loaded up the jumbo jets and flew north.
In a recent national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, Donald Trump leads the second place candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, by eleven (11) points.
The Trump candidacy just keeps redefining traditional presidential politics. The most recent example tells us more about the “Trump for President” movement than anything that has happened to date, and considering how much has happened since Donald J. Trump announced, that’s saying something.
The last few columns have analyzed the outsider phenomenon in the Republican presidential primary. Time to look at the insiders.
Last week’s column explored the Trump candidacy, trying to examine the motivation of voters to a candidate unlike any campaign in recent memory.
The consequence of having a legitimate celebrity in a contested political race is that our attention is drawn to the process like a moth to a floodlight. Donald Trump is the light, and the media, GOP voters and pretty much everyone else are the moths.
At first, it felt like a joke. It had to be, right? Real estate mogul, business tycoon, entrepreneur, TV celebrity, beauty pageant producer and bad hairdo owner Donald J. Trump announcing his candidacy for President of The United States? Really?
Maybe you saw his commercial? There he was, looking very fatherly, sitting sideways with his hands in lap, gazing at us – full of sincerity and seriousness – in his open-collared shirt and blue blazer.
He strode into the press conference reeking of a mixture of confidence and control, exactly the characteristics that had been missing from previous media opportunities. Following a night of rioting, looting, arson and angry confrontations between protesters and law enforcement, the Governor of Maryland simply and clearly described his objectives.
It’s a potentially toxic mix. A local elected body, a controversial religious organization, competent staff and a small group of vocal civic activists.
Let’s play the analogy game. This will require an active imagination, but let’s pretend that the Obama Administration is a charter bus. All of the president’s policies, cabinet officers and Executive Branch employees are stuffed inside. His bus is roaring down the proverbial road, the ultimate destination is the end of his term, his legacy, if you will.
There is no doubt that those of us who strongly supported charter government were employing a measure of hope in our strategy for the new government.
We’re returning to familiar ground, this time the stage at Frederick Community College’s Jack Kussmaul Theater. This column, if you bother to go back through the decades-long history, occasionally touches upon the theme of community theater in Frederick.
Recently, 27 state delegates and senators, all Democrats, submitted an open letter to MarylandReporter.com. The letter is intended to serve as advice to newly elected Gov. Larry Hogan as he prepares to take the oath of office on Wednesday.
The Christmas cookies have been consumed, the jolly old man is comfortably back at his workshop at the North Pole, and the world braces for the unknown – both good and bad – that awaits us in the New Year.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, led until January by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D., CA) issued a majority report on a two-year staff investigation of enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the War on Terror.
The only thing obvious about the evening of November 24 in Ferguson, Missouri, was the utter predictability of the outcome. A several-month long grand jury deliberation, the inevitable leaking and speculating about the sealed testimony, and the 24-hour cable news cycle’s thirst for relevant (or even irrelevant) information set the tone.
A recent column discussing the local general election results consumed more space than the esteemed publisher prefers, so musings about the gubernatorial outcome just didn't fit.
It seems as though everyone is writing about last Tuesday. The results were so mind-altering, so earth-shattering that you can't really blame the keyboard commandos for being drawn to this story like so many moths to a flame.
Really, we shouldn't even be having a conversation about the race for governor. In Maryland, the election of the Democratic Party candidate should be a virtual given. With a greater than 2-1 voter registration advantage statewide, there should be no mystery here.
In my column last week, Blaine Young responded to questions about the important personal and professional influences that have informed his view of the world, and the work that he tries to do. It should come as no surprise that some prominent old-school political types fall into that category, but he is far from myopic about what really matters in life.
The headline above this column is designed to elicit an immediate response. This is not rhetorical, as almost every person of voting age in Frederick County has an answer. That was the motivation for this two-part piece.
Back in the Navy, the passage of time was tied to the number of months, weeks, days and hours until some momentous event, such as returning home from a patrol.
Once again, it seems as though we’re learning to hate our own creation. This time, our collective outrage is focused on the world of professional sports. We love them on the playing field, but we cringe at the headlines reporting their human frailties.
So, this is my not-so-triumphant return. I've been in exile, the victim of a combination of poor judgment on my part and intolerant elected officials who take offense to opinions that differ with their own.
Consider this a call to arms for registered voters in the City of Frederick. You are one week and a wakeup call away from the Primary Election Day for mayor and the Board of Aldermen.
So, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (R., GA) is undergoing his next political reinvention.
So, the winds of change will blow across Frederick County in 2014. The big question is: Will we see new faces and hear new voices?
It seems as if our whole political world is changing. The 2014 election heralds the beginning of a new phase, a new form of government for our county.
Once again, the always questionably credible League of Conservation Voters is out wi