Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Vichy Wings Rides Again

Once again, it looks like the problem of the Vichy Republicans has reared its head up in Frederick County, in two different major races:

By all appearances, goodwill was in the air at a Saturday unity rally that included Jan Gardner, David Gray and Mark Sweadner. 
More than 200 people gathered in front of Winchester Hall to thank Republicans Gray and Sweadner for their campaigns for county executive, Gardner said. The rally also gave Gray and Sweadner, who were defeated in the GOP primary, a chance to underscore their support for Gardner, the Democratic candidate for county executive....  
...A defeated Republican county executive candidate has announced his support for Dan Rupli, a Democratic contender for the Maryland Senate. 
Mark Sweadner, who lost the GOP nomination to Young, said he has long admired Rupli. 
"Dan is a person that represents all classes of citizens, and I hope you will consider voting for him to become our State Senator in District 4," Sweadner said in a statement. 
Rupli, who is going up against Hough, said he appreciates the endorsement, especially since his campaign focuses on bringing together people of different political viewpoints. 
Rupli also noted that he has gotten an endorsement from Gray, another Republican executive candidate knocked out in the primary.
This of course is not the first time that a defeated Republican candidate has switched sides up in Frederick County. In 2010 Liberal Republican Charles Jenkins took his ball and endorsed the Democrat after his primary election defeat to Michael Hough, and Jenkins was at the vanguard of party switching endorsements for 2014 when he declared Jan Gardner as shoo-in to be County Executive last December.

Strangely, this seems to be behavior that we only see in Frederick County. Sure, you have occasional individuals from time-to-time break party ranks, but only in Frederick County do we see wide-spread dissension in the ranks between winning candidates and losing candidates so frequently. This is a problem that goes far beyond competitive primary elections. While the primary race between the Red Maryland backed winner Michael Hough and Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley was hostile and a lot of feathers were ruffled, few activists involved in the race have openly switched sides.

One of the questions that was asked frequently during the gubernatorial debate was about whether or not the three defeated candidates would endorse the winner. In the end, Messrs. Craig, George, and Lollar all came to the Unity Rally to pledge their support to Larry Hogan. There, it was clear that the issues that divided the candidates were at the margins, with most supporting a mainstream conservative philosophy. The problem with this kind of nonsense out in Frederick is that it asks the question not about party unity, but about ideological consistency. In Frederick County, there is a clear choice and a clear ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats. If Mark Sweadner and David Gray were so comfortable crossing party lines to endorse mainstream, out of touch Democrats like Gardner and Rupli, why were they seeking office as Republicans in the first place?

I mean seriously, two guys who ran as Republicans endorse the guy who said this:
The rights of middle-class families are evaporating in the face of exploding wealth and income inequity between the upper 1 percent and everyone else and fast-growing corporate political power. The release of vast amounts of unaccounted money by corporations and billionaires into our elections is threatening democracy itself by turning leadership selection into a bidding process. I completely reject the idea that “corporations are people” or that “money is speech.” 
This is not the kind of idea that actual Republicans buy into....

The problems in the Republican Party are not new. Hopefully, the newly elected officials and elected Central Committee leadership will be able to straighten all of this out. But the only thing that we know to be true with these endorsements is that David Gray and Mark Sweadner have joined Charles Jenkins as defeated candidates whose petulant, post-primary endorsements have ended their careers in Republican politics.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Conservative Refuge Radio 7-28-2014

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The Red Maryland Network presents another installment of Conservative Refuge Radio.

On tonight's show: 

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Another Word (or Several) About Michael Peroutka

Six months ago we warned you about the theocratic, reactionary views of Institute on the Constitution founder Michael Anthony Peroutka and his spokesman John Lofton.

At the time he was considering and Maryland Republican officials were talking to Peroutka about running for Attorney General.  Now Peroutka is the Republican nominee for the Anne Arundel County Council in District 5, and the Anthony Brown campaign, for lack of any real arguments, is trying to make Peroutka an issue in the gubernatorial race.  Larry Hogan did the right thing and quickly disavowed Peroutka.  The Brown campaign deceitfully used the word "disassociate," which connotes a previous association where none existed.

Unfortunately, some passive aggressive pundits, with a bowl of sour grapes from the primary still sitting on their table, are buying the bag of magic beans hawked by the IOTC and embracing Peroutka to take a swipe at Hogan. They are either ignorant of the full measure of Peroutka's views or deliberately omitting it.

Peroutka states he holds a traditional "American View" of government "that there is a God, the God of the Bible, and that our Rights come from Him, and that the purpose of civil government is to secure our rights." Fine nothing wrong with that. It's somewhat straight out of the Declaration of Independence where Jefferson laid out the natural law theory of rights where we are all "endowed by our Creator" with inalienable rights life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and that governments are instituted among men to secure those rights.

HOWEVER, an analysis of Peroutka's "American View" cannot end there, because there is much more to the story. 

From our original warning:

Here is video of Peroutka speaking at the League of the South’s annual convention, thanking its president Michael Hill and board members for his appointment/election and pledging the resources of the IOTC and the Peroutka family to the League of the South.

On its FAQ page The League of the South says in part that its mission is “to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honourable means,” through legal secession.   The League also seeks to protect the “Anglo-Celtic core population and culture of the South”

Should that not be enough to convince you of what the League of the South stands for, here is League president Michael Hill in his own words:

The survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people. And by “the Southern people,” we mean White Southerners who are not afraid to stand for the people of their race and region. In other words, we understand what it is to be an historic “nation”–a specific people with a unique culture living on a particular piece of land. And, God willing, we shall one day have a name and place among the nations of the earth.”

Here’s Peroutka speaking about his IOTC course to the League of the South:

Here's the kicker
We have a basic Constitution course, now again I don’t disagree with Dr. Hill at all, that this regime is beyond reform. I think that’s an obvious fact and I agree with him. However, I do agree that when you secede, or however the destruction and the rubble of this regime takes place and how it plays out, you’re going to need to take a biblical worldview and apply it to civil law and government. That’s what you’re still going to need to do. Whether we’re going to have to have this foundational information in the hearts and minds of the people, or else liberty won’t survive the secession either. You see what I’m saying? So this view, I saying that because I don’t want the League of the South, for one minute to think that I am about reforming the current regime, and that studying the Constitution is about reforming the regime. I like many of you, and like Patrick Henry, probably have come to the conclusion that we smelled a rat, smelled a rat from the beginning. However, we believe that it is essential to take a biblical view of law and government and then make those applications so we publish actually three courses of instruction. 

Sounds like Peroutka is four square behind secession. Smelled a rat? Like Patrick Henry? Is Peroutka interested in upholding our current constitutional order, or does he as the League of the South does, want a new order based on his biblical beliefs?
Of course, that's just Peroutka's view on civil government.

Peroutka and his spokesman John Lofton's theological mentor is the late Rousas Rushdoony, is the founder of Christian Reconstructionism.  Lofton’s Facebook profile picture is a photo of Rushdoony, and his writings and views are plastered all over the IOTC website. 

The IOTC website directs readers to this 1988 interview Rushdoony did with Bill Moyers.  


Moyers: You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty, and I’m just running down a variety of things as you can see. You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty of some 15 crimes: rape, sodomy, adultery.
Rushdoony: Adultery because in the Bible the basic institution is the family. There’s no law of treason against the state. The Bible doesn’t even imagine anything remotely like that. But the basic institution is the family. And so, several of the death penalties are associated with the family and its life.
Moyers: So adultery was considered a theft of the family.
Rushdoony: It was, yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Homosexuality.
Rushdoony: Yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: What?
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes.
Moyers: Deserving of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes, that’s what Paul says.

… Moyers: But you would re-instate the death penalty for some of these or all of these Biblical crimes?
Rushdoony: I wouldn’t—
Moyers: But the reconstructive society–
Rushdoony: I’m saying that this is what God requires. I’m not saying that everything in the Bible, I like. Some of it rubs me the wrong way. But I’m simply saying, this is what God requires. This is what God says is justice. Therefore, I don’t feel I have a choice.
Moyers: And the agents of God would carry out the laws.
Rushdoony: The civil government would, on these things.
Moyers: So you would have a civil government, based upon–
Rushdoony: Oh yes. I’m not an anarchist. I’m close to being a libertarian. But–
Moyers: But the civil law would be based on the biblical law. And so you’d have a civil government carrying out a religious mandate.
Rushdoony: Oh yes.

The father of Lofton and Peroutka’s core philosophy believes in a civil government who’s first duty is to carry out a religious mandate to do what God requires as written in the Old Testament, including executions for adulterers and homosexuals.   

I contend that Rushdoony's views of civil government are just as statist as any progressive. Lofton claims that his biblical or "American View" of government would mean a smaller government. Maybe, but that doesn't mean its scope would be smaller or that it would infringe upon the God-given rights of those citizens whom it agents deem have violated biblical law. Who wants to live under a government that has the authority to execute adulterers?

Simply put a biblical view of civil government does not immunize its self-appointed mandarins from the statist temptation. 

Much like the progressives who envision a technocratic utopia run by enlightened government bureaucrats, Peroutka and Lofton, as their theological mentor Rushdoony did, envision a society with a civil government executing Biblical mandates—as interpreted and determined by men like them.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The O'Malley Song

Another one from Ron Tankersley.  If you loved The Hangover, you'll love this parody.

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Guns Guns Guns

Our friend Ron Tankersley is at it again. His take on Beretta fleeing Maryland for Tennessee.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The SUN: Ethical Negative Campaigning -- The Sine Qua Non of Winning Elections


The positives of negative ads [Commentary]

When it comes to political campaigns, playing nice is a good way to lose

By Richard E. Vatz and Lee S. Weinberg
11:45 AM EDT, July 24, 2014
There may be no more enigmatic concept in politics than negative campaigning. Virtually no one publicly supports it, almost every non-shoe-in political principal uses it, and almost no two people mean the same thing when they refer to it.

Periodic hostile and ugly political campaigning goes back centuries in America. In the beginning of the 19th century, there was hatchet man James Thomson Callender's attacks on Thomas Jefferson, claiming the new president fathered children with slaves. Decades later, there were Republican taunts of "Ma, Ma, where's my pa?" toward Democrat Grover Cleveland, implying he had fathered a child out of wedlock.

And so it ebbed and flowed until the 1980s when there was a journalistic consensus that campaigning had reached a new low of irrelevance, nastiness and fraud, according to journalists ranging from conservative George F. Will to liberal Tom Wicker.

In 2012 T. W. Farnam of The Washington Post argued that negative campaign advertising had become the norm, with roughly half being not just negative but accompanied by vitriol.

In Maryland and Washington D.C. there has been an ever-increasing general abhorrence of negative campaigning by many politicians and journalists. Del. Heather Mizeur, for example, won plaudits from almost all pundits (not here) for her proclaimed aversion to negative political persuasion in her attempt to become Democratic nominee for governor:

"What I hear in living rooms and community centers across the state are people ready for politicians to remain positive," she told a Baltimore crowd.

In The Washington Post of July 13, 2014, political veteran reporter Dan Balz wrote a piece praising Colorado's John Hickenlooper as "the man who hates negative ads."

The hostility toward negative ads and negative campaigning is generally unjustified both practically and as a principle of right vs. wrong in campaigning, however. Avoiding negative campaigning eliminates criticism of your opponent, and if he/she is the frontrunner, it may guarantee victory. Ms. Mizeur finished third of three in the governor's race. Moreover, her condemnation of negativity in the gubernatorial campaigns hurt mostly Attorney General Doug Gansler, rather than frontrunner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. The electoral outcome was this: Together, Del. Mizeur and Mr. Gansler did not equal Mr. Brown's vote. Mr. Brown, the incumbent governor's choice, suffered no negative challenge from Ms. Mizeur, who also dismissed the challenge from Mr. Gansler to his and her detriment. Would those who oppose negative campaigning say that Sen. Brian E. Frosh should not have argued that Del. Jon Cardin's missing 75 percent of his committee votes disqualified him from being the Democratic nominee for Attorney General? That fact, first revealed by The Baltimore Sun's reporting, indisputably lost that primary race for Mr. Cardin.

Negative campaigning can be very effective, especially when your opponent is unknown or the public opinion regarding him or her is unstable. It wins and loses primary and general elections. How is a politically uneducated electorate to know of a primary candidate's weaknesses or shortcomings if there is no negative campaigning? Especially now that media is increasingly stretched thin and unable to cover many races. Opposing negativity in political campaigns is like opposing someone's criticizing your relative: it should depend on what they are criticizing and how they criticize it. All negative campaigning is not the same. Several years ago we wrote of the "FIT" test for evaluating the acceptability of negativity in political races. Unacceptable negative political persuasion is that which is 1. false; 2. irrelevant; or 3. tasteless. The rest is fair game.

Acceptable examples include President Barack Obama's alleged foreign policy inconsistencies or Ronald Reagan's age in his second presidential campaign. Unacceptable negative attacks include the 2012 claim that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney backed a bill outlawing abortion even in the case of incest or rape (false); where specifically President Obama was during the Benghazi Attack (irrelevant) or sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, such as Mike Barnicle's once-famous 2008 claim that as far as likability, when confronting opponents, Mrs. Clinton looks "like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court" (tasteless).

Criticism is essential in campaigns to argue why one's election is not just a good thing, but also necessary to reverse or change the direction of the city, state or country.
Those who oppose all negativism in political campaigning either yearn for insipidity or advantage, but not the rightfully vaunted marketplace of ideas to determine the best candidates.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of "The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion" (Kendall Hunt, 2013); his email is rvatz@towson.edu. Lee S. Weinberg is an associate professor within the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. His email is Weinberg@pitt.edu.

To respond to this commentary, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red Maryland Radio 7-24-2014

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It's an all new edition of Red Maryland Radio on the Red Maryland Network.

On this week's show:

This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio on its regular night, each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

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