Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Invalid and Likely Incorrect Washington Post Poll on the Maryland Race for Governor

--Richard E. Vatz

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich is quoted in The Washington Post as calling the stunning Postian Maryland gubernatorial poll which showed him down 11 points “out of whack” with any other poll he has seen during the campaign, and it is indisputably an outlier. Just one week earlier, a Rasmussen poll found a 3-point difference between Gov. Martin O’Malley and Gov. Ehrlich. Moreover, all of the recent polls have found the race to be within the margin of error.

Again, this poll finds Gov. O’Malley has an 11-point lead.

How does the Post cover the poll and how should the Post cover it?

It is covered as if it were gospel.

The Post analysis optimally would have at least some – some – skepticism. In its piece on the poll (updated today, September 30) reporters Aaron C. Davis, John Wagner and Jon Cohen report the polling results as if they are immutable facts.

Typical of their certitude is this section: “Instead [Gov. Ehrlich's attempt to gain cross-party appeal], despite widespread concern among Marylanders about the economy and direction of the state, Democrats have moved solidly behind O'Malley. And he is more popular now than at any time a Post poll has been taken since 2004.“

There is in this major, front-page lead article no hedging about the interpretation of this poll and no mention of its incongruity with other polls.

The poll should be covered with some self-awareness of the imprecision of polls in general and this one in particular.

Mention the atypicality of the poll. Mention the possible instability of the responses and the design irregularities of the poll

Public opinion polls of an election during a recession, which often depresses turnout and maximizes difficulty in determining who are likely voters, are notoriously imprecise, especially if they are at major variance with other polls taken at similar times by reputable pollsters.

This poll offers a mishmash of likely and registered voters, without saying precisely what, beyond the claims of the voters themselves, makes them likely to vote.

Davis, who has generally written fairly on the race, at least has a blog following this uncritical account of the poll and its implications in which he asks and then answers a question that attenuates the certainty of the poll's implications: “Does that mean the race is over? No - far from it.”

It is important to remember that polls are more often than realized incorrect, despite what their purported accuracy and claimed margins of error would lead you to believe.

For just one example, Hillary Clinton’s support was polled at 9% below Barack Obama’s in polls immediately preceding the 2008 Democratic New Hampshire primary, but she won by 3%. Neil Newhouse of NBC-Wall Street Journal polling said, “With Hillary Clinton’s victory last night, any shred of reputation that pollsters have for being accurate barometers of public opinion goes out the window.”

Pollsters and their journalistic enablers were embarrassed – for about a day.

Again, since there is no way to prove polls’ inaccuracy -- since elections do not occur simultaneously – they enjoy a believability they do not deserve.

The danger is that such errancy can affect voting patterns and financial support for those not polling well in an election.

With the Post’s general negative disposition toward Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, they should be more sophisticated when reporting an unusually negative poll at odds with other polls about the former governor’s support.

Professor Vatz teaches Media Criticism and Political Rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Math, Morality and Martin O'Malley

In defending his underlings jobs report cover up Martin O’Malley said “"One month does not a trend make."

Let’s do a little math exercise for the governor, who is obviously perturbed at the fact he should be held accountable for anything.

From last month’s Baltimore Sun editorial when the July jobs report first went missing:

For another, how exactly could anyone look at the job growth numbers and not come to the same conclusion as this poor, anonymous analyst? In March, Maryland added about 29,000 jobs. In April, 8,200. In May, 11,200. In June, 1,600. In July, 500. It doesn't take a trained economist to see a trend here.

If Governor O’Malley is so confident in his administration then he should order the release of ALL documents related to this matter.

More below the fold.

O'Malley In Trouble in Baltimore County

Before professional Democrats go stroking each other over the latest Washington Post poll to create an image of enthusiasm that just isn’t there, they should take a look at the primary election results from Baltimore County a bell weather county in this election.

30 percent of DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS in the county looked at Martin O’Malley and said no or refused to vote at all for governor. Meaning they couldn’t bring themselves to chose him over two no name candidates who raised no money and mounted no campaign to speak of.

Remember it was the margins of victory in Baltimore County that held the key to Ehrlich’s success in 2002 and failure in 2006. Ehrlich is poised to do well in Baltimore County again. That’s why the O’Malley campaign put out those door hangars featuring Jim Smith.

Also, the Washington Post poll was conducted BEFORE voters found out O’Malley’s administration lied to them about the true state of Maryland’s economy, and then sought to cover it up.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

O'Malley's Jobs Report Cover Up Part 2

“drive to her house if you have to this is way overdue.”
Shaun Adamec, Press Secretary to Governor O’Malley

In Part 1, we saw the evolution of a crisis in the O’Malley administration, now we will see how DLLR with an assist from the governor’s press office worked to cover their tracks.

August 20, 5:13 PM Kohn emails Sanchez informing him that, DLLR Information Technology Director, Richard Pragel assures him that “Michele’s action earlier eliminates all ability to find the posting through search engines.”

5:20 Adamec emails Kohn requesting he follow up with Washington Post reporter Aaron Davis’ inquiry about the missing report.

5:23 PM Kohn forwards an email from Baltimore Sun reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins asking if there was a different press release on the site than the one he received at 10 AM. Smith’s email contains the MDGOP’s press release an hour earlier exposing the missing report. Kohn writes to Sanchez “Oh my.”

6:05 PM Adamec asks Kohn “What media are you hearing from? Do we know how/why it was posted? What’s the analyst’s explanation? How did the Ehrlich camp get it? Were they the first to broadcast it or had you heard from press first? [Emphasis mine]

6:20 PM Williams forwards to Kohn, Yeisley’s confirmation that the original July Employment Situation report is “checked and good.”

6:33 PM Kohn emails Adamec detailing how the report was posted. Kohn writes that he cannot tell Adamec how Yeisley “believed that these discussion points were fit for dissemination given the tone of our discussion, which made clear that we would emphasize private sector job growth with some cautionary notes about slowing in the pace of growth. I cannot say how the Ehrlich camp got it, the first I heard of the posting was when Secretary Sanchez emailed me at about 3 p.m. after it was pointed out to him and Jackie Lichter by Secretary Johansson. The Ehrlich campaign’s release to the media on this issue came about two hours later.”

This is the second email Kohn refers to the “discussion” about vetting the raw data and talking points. There is no way of verifying Kohn’s depiction of the “tone” of the discussion because we don’t have any corroborating documents. The PIA response letter from Assistant Attorney General Trimble describes any such documents as “pre-decisional” and release of any such documents would “inhibit debate and discussion within the agency and would this impair thus impair the integrity of the agency’s decision making process.” However, the documents that were released already question the integrity of the agency’s decision making process, and it is very much in the public interest to have the documents her office withheld released.

6:44 PM Kohn orders Williams to post a new report on the DLLR website. “Thanks—Next Step please post the TABLES ONLY from that file, no prose at all.

6:53 PM Kohn emails Williams writing “Disregard last… new instructions.” Immediately after that Kohn asks her to call him.

6:57 PM Kohn emails Sanchez and Eric Seleznow, Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board with the new information to be posted to the DLLR website.

7:08 PM Kohn is still looking to contact Williams. Under the subject line “we need to post revised version of Employment Situation now!” Kohn writes “PLEASE call me…Secretary is on standby waiting for confirmation that this is being done.”

7:13 PM Kohn emails Williams with the revised versions including edited bullet points different from the original report posted earlier that morning.

7:29 PM Sanchez emails Williams and Pragel “I need to speak to you immediately please call my cell…”

7:42 PM Adamec emails Kohn with two personal cell phone numbers for “Frank.”

There are no other mentions of “Frank” in the released documents. Perhaps Adamec is referring to the Governor’s Press Office, Creative Director Frank Perrelli?

7:45 PM Kohn emails Adamec and Sanchez informing them he reached Pragel and that Williams went home for the evening and that only she can repost the file.

7:46 PM Pragel informs Sanchez that Kohn has reached Williams and that she can “put up the corrected web page from home. It should be up shortly.”

7:48 PM Adamec tells Kohn and Sanchez to “drive to her [Williams] house if you have to this is way overdue.” [Emphasis mine]

7:51 PM Kohn informs Adamec and Sanchez that Williams is working on posting the corrected web page and that it would be on all DLLR servers in 45 minutes.

8:44 PM Kohn informs Sanchez the revised post is posted to the website.

8:49 PM Pragel notifies Sanchez and Kohn that “All of the DLLR sites contain the corrected information.”

8:56 PM Kohn issues press release explaining that the original posting to the DLLR website was “made in error.”

9:03 PM Kohn emails Williams and Pragel thanking them for their “scramble… to put up the desired version of the July Employment Situation. Your work helped minimize the impact of a very difficult situation.

9:06 PM Kohn emails Adaemc notifying him that he sent a statement to the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun reporters who inquired about the missing report. Kohn also thanked Adamec for his “guidance in helping limit the damage.” [Emphasis mine]

The next day August 21 at 11: 01 AM Kohn informs Adamec that Sanchez talked to Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz, who had inquired to Kohn if he could “directly respond to the GOP accusation that the governor was involved in the removal of the report.” Adamec wrote back to Kohn “clearly that wasn’t the case so just tell her what happened.”

These documents alone reveal the involvement of the governor’s office and other high ranking executives in the O’Malley administration. They reveal a worried press secretary, Shaun Adamec, tracking DLLR officials making sure the report was removed from the agency website and a new more politically correct version posted in it’s place.

Political factors—the gubernatorial campaign—clearly weighed on the those involved as evidenced by Adamec’s inquiry as to how the Ehrlich campaign obtained the scrubbed employment report, and Jaclyn Lichter’s forwarding the Ehrlich press release to DLLR communications director, Bernie Kohn.

While there are many questions left to be answered one thing is for sure. The O’Malley administration was less than truthful with us about the employment situation in Maryland, and they spent a great deal of time and effort to cover it up.

Perhaps the principals involved in this matter should have read the email signature of DLLR Office of Workforce Information and Performance Director, Carolyn Mitchell:

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.”

You can read all the documents here.

More below the fold.

Monday, September 27, 2010

O'Malley Administration Covers its Tracks Over Scrubbed July Employment Report

Whatever we can do to make it disappear, we need to do it. That’s coming straight from the top.
--DLLR Communications Director, Bernie Kohn

I received the documents I requested through the Public Information Act from the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, regarding the gloomy July Employment Situation report scrubbed from DLLR’s website on August 20.

Despite the Attorney General’s office withholding some documents from my request, the documents are quite revealing.

Here is Part 1 of a two part series on the documents.

The documents are mostly email communications between officials inside DLLR, The Department of Business and Economic Development, and the governor’s press secretary Shaun Adamec. They reveal a worried O’Malley administration scrambling to remove a factually accurate report, which did not fit the spin the governor’s office wanted to convey to the public about the true state of unemployment in Maryland.

I have constructed a timeline of events based on email communications between those involved in producing the original report, removing it and replacing it with one more in line with the governor’s spin machine. When necessary I have added my analysis to give context to what the emails mean.

On August 10 Adamec emailed DLLR communications director, Bernie Kohn asking “When do we see the July Jobs Numbers?” Kohn conferred with LMI supervisor Mary Jo Yeisley about when the data would be ready and set a conference call for Wednesday August 18 to discuss the press release.

On Tuesday August 17, Yeisley sent Kohn her draft release for the July report—the report that would be scrubbed from the DLLR website three days later. In a follow-up email to Kohn, Yeisley writes “Really wasn’t a whole lot to say I hate to project but I’m afraid what we’ll see next month…” Kohn replies back “I have cautioned the 2nd floor not to make much hay of this lest we get burned by a revision into negative territory later.” Yeisley replies back “Good call.” The “2nd floor” refers to the governor’s press office.

On Wednesday August 18, the governor’s office contacts Kohn again about the July jobs numbers. Sameer Sidh an analyst in O’Malley’s State Stat office asks DLLR official Dan Savery when the July jobs numbers will be ready and adds that “Press is already getting antsy.” Sidh then emails Kohn stating “Press is interested in having the numbers in prep for a speech on Saturday at MACO. Let me know when you can have something.” In this case “Press” means the governor’s press office i.e., Adamec.

At 10:01 AM on Friday August 20, Kohn sends out the official press DLLR press release, and report, which will eventually be removed goes up on DLLR website.

Martin O’Malley issues rosy press release, which runs counter to the pessimistic DLLR report.

Just before 3:00 on August 20 things begin to hit the fan.

2:56 PM DEBED Secretary Christian Johansson forwards an email thread—between DBED’s media relations coordinator Karen Glenn Hood, communications specialist Maureen Kilcullen, and DEBED economist Nancy McRea—to DLLR Secretary Alex Sanchez. Hood reposts the original scrubbed DLLR report with the following request, “Can U all send me talking points on the numbers as soon as you have them? Haven’t gotten the ask from CJ [Johansson] yet but I am sure it’s coming from either him or the Gov’s office.”

3:00 PM Kohn emails Sanchez under subject line “document being taken down now,” writing “Am trying to reach [Office of Workforce Information and Performance Director] Carolyn Mitchell.

3:01 PM Sanchez emails Kohn “Is it down? Call me as soon as we know who posted outrageous info on the site. And send me your Blackberry PIN.”

3:07 PM Kohn emails Sanchez to confirm report is down and provides PIN number.
3:08 PM DLLR webmaster, Michelle Williams emails Kohn informing him that she “took the link to the employment situation off the press release…restored June Employment Situation…and removed link to the Employment Situation from LMAI homepage.”

3:25 PM Williams responds to Kohn’s inquiry about who told her to post the report. Williams states that Yeisley “checked the information on the Development server yesterday and said it was good to go. As requested the Employment Situation is posted at 10 AM on the release date.”
4:05 PM DLLR Legislative Director and former SEIU political director Jaclyn Lichter forwards to Kohn—from her personal email account—the Ehrlich campaign’s press release highlighting the now removed report from the DLLR website.

4:21 PM Kohn emails Williams trying to cover their tracks. “Are we sure that removing that post removed all traces of it and that anyone could pull up on a search engine? Whatever we can do to make it disappear, we need to do it. That’s coming straight from the top. Thanks for your instant response earlier…damage done anyway but it would have been much worse.” [Emphasis mine]

5:02 PM Kohn emails Mitchell updating her on the situation. Kohn writes that under agency protocol, Yeisley creates talking points as a basis for internal discussions between himself, Yeisley, Savery, and other DBED officials. He then writes the press release based on that discussion and sends it out “with approval from the Governor’s office.” Kohn continues, “Some of the material on the update was diametrically opposed to the discussed and eventually approved messaging…Secretaries Johansson and Sanchez as well as the Governor’s senior staff were very upset to see this posted on our Web site and at Secretary Sanchez’s direction I instructed Michele to take it down. She did so.”

This email is crucial because it reveals the DLLR communications chief all but admitting to playing a little fast and loose with the facts of Maryland’s unemployment situation as presented by the analyst Yeisley. Remember that Yeisley told Kohn in their August 17 emails that there “really wasn’t a whole lot to say I hate to project but I’m afraid what we’ll see next month,” and Kohn’s reply that he would try to curb the enthusiasm in the governor’s press office.

We pick up with the rest of the story in tomorrow in Part 2.

More below the fold.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Purple Shirted Punks attack Bob Ehrlich

You've probably already seen this ad right?

Well, you will notice that the authority line says that the ad was paid for by "Citizens for Strength and Security", a seemingly benign organization that supports all-American sounding things.

Of course, take a look at who has been funding the Citizens for Strength and Security and you will notice that the main funding source is the Service Employees International Union, or good old friends at the SEIU. You know, the Purple Shirted Punks who use violence and intimidation as a means of trying to secure their outdated world view.

The other high-dollar funding sources of this 527 include the Communication Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and the Democratic Governors Association.

So as usual, take the claims with a grain of salt as the Democrats and the union leaders they are beholden do will say anything to slander Bob Ehrlich...

More below the fold.

Vinny DeMarco's Beer Goggles

The well must be running dry from Vinny DeMarco's tobacco funding, so now he once again is going to trot out the so called "dime-a-drink" alcohol tax that DeMarco is absolutely convinced that the General Assembly will pass this tax hike next year notwithstanding the opposition of both Bob Ehrlich and Martin O'Malley*.

There are two reasons why this issue is even in play. The first of course is Maryland's bizarre and draconian policy as it relates to the regulation of alcohol; we are already familiar with Maryland state law as it relates to the direct shipment of wine and the inability of the General Assembly to change the law despite broad support from both sides of the aisle over the course of several years.

The other known known is that Vinny DeMarco is fundamentally ignorant on the interconnection of taxes, health issues, and actions taken by Maryland's middle and working class families, as we have seen with some of his statements and positions as it relates to Maryland's cigarette taxes.

But DeMarco and his neoprohibitionists went and got themselves a study from Johns Hopkins which indicates all sorts of curious things:

A December 2009 Johns Hopkins University study reported that in addition to raising an estimated $214.4 million in revenue, the tax would save the state $249 million in alcohol consumption related costs.

According to the study, the tax would reduce drinking by 4.8 percent, which would "annually prevent 14,987 cases of alcohol dependence, 37 deaths, 13 forcible rapes, 316 assaults, 21 robberies, 67 incidents of severe violence against children, and 19 cases of fetal alcohol syndrome."

The study of course suffers from the usual fundamental flaws of studies conducted to benefit certain public policy outcomes:
  1. Changes in behavior will make it impossible to estimate additional revenue from a dime a drink tax. While a dime a drink tax will likely be paid and noticed by out of town visitors who don't know any better, the dime a drink tax may alter the fundamental behavior of social drinkers. Regardless of the estimated increase in tax revenues we do know one thing; that when taxes are raised, estimated increases in revenue invariably fail to meet expectations.
  2. It is impossible to estimate a reduction in the costs related to alcohol consumption because the people most likely to need those costs are not going to reduce their drinking.
  3. The crime and socail statistics seems to be laughably fabricate, particularly as it relates to alcohol dependency, fetal alcohol syndrome and violent crime. The study assumes that all of those crimes are related to drinkers who are solely consuming their beverages in a bar setting at which the dime a drink tax will apply and assumes that they will not be purchasing it at a retail store for home consumption.
Even looking at that two paragraph excerpt from the news story it shows statistical conclusions from two completely different outcomes. It projecting reductions in the cost of costs related to an assumption that the consumption of alcohol will decrease while at the same time projecting an increase in taxable revenues by assuming that the consumption of alcohol will remain at pretax levels.

If Vinny DeMarco thinks that any of these statistics are accurate, he should take some of his dirty tobacco money and buy a clue. Higher taxes are bad policy and exceptionally bad politics in 2010, and if he thinks that the votes will be there in the 2011 General Assembly session to pass this bid than he is more out of touch with political reality than even I thought he was....

* Though Rick Abruzzese's statement about Martin O'Malley's position on taxes (O'Malley "is not inclined to support any tax increase") is laughable....

More below the fold.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

AFP Mailer Hits Kratovil on Spending

Why the glum look Frank?

More below the fold.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Market House, Still Empty Dreams?

When doing some housekeeping on my blog (consolidating Vox and Blogger versions to Wordpress), I noticed something.

Over 5 years ago, my second post ever was about the empty dreams of the Annapolis Market House.

How sad that all these years later, the historical site still is being debated. After all this time, it's future is still unclear. Is there any excuse for that?

Who was one of the go-to guys in deciding the fate of the Market House? Oh, yeah, Judd Legum. As my blogging colleague Brian Griffiths noted, his philosophy of what the Market House should be leaves much to be desired. Another reason not to let him get anywhere near the State House this November.

Oh, it gets worse.

Now the "Powers That Be" want to mess-up the rest of the City Dock area. It is not enough to have evicted private businesses from the Market House , then installed inadequate air conditioning to hurt the new tenants. It is not enough to compete with City Dock area businesses in a building where they do not intend to make a profit. Now they have to choke-off existing Dock-area businesses from their customers.

In an ill-advised attempt to make the area more people-friendly, they propose cutting the parking in the area, making more areas for walking, and for more businesses. What is the matter, is there an over-abundance of parking spaces? Are all the downtown storefronts rented out, with people clamoring to move their businesses there? I didn't realize the economy was so thriving, but the feds do claim the recession is over. I know many businesses didn't get the memo.

While a park-like atmosphere may be nice to have, isn't that what Susan Campell Park did years ago, when we lost that parking area? I remember when you could drive up to the end of the Dock. Now, oh wise ones, where are the people going to park who you want to partake of your new businesses, of your Sailing Hall of Fame, etc. While it is nice to have residents partake of discussions about the future of the area, I doubt there are enough residents to make the existing businesses, let alone the new ones you want to bring in, profitable.

That means that out-of-towners, tourists and workers, need to park before they can walk the area. There are plenty of places to walk and enjoy the City Dock, and the boat traffic in Ego Alley isn't the only traffic worth watching. It can be interesting to watch the car & motorcycle traffic around City Dock while you munch on that Storm Brothers ice cream cone. Boaters aren't the only ones who like people to see their vehicles. You can't see them in a parking garage blocks away, and you can't get there to see any of this if you have to park far either.

What do these people not understand about business (everything?)? Businesses need customers & employees, and they in-turn need convenient places to park! What they don't need is the Annapolis government getting in the way of this thing called "profit". Sorry, Judd, but that is not a dirty word!

Please don't let me have to blog in 2015 about the Market House still being a bust, and the failure of the whole City Dock area.

More below the fold.

More Questions Than Answers

The Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation--through the Attorney General’s office-- responded to my Public Information Act request regarding the dreary July jobs report it pulled from it’s website last month and replaced with a more upbeat report matching the rosy spin the O’Malley campaign had put on the data.

The original report stated that “Maryland’s economic recovery faltered in July.”

DLLR Internal July Jobs Report

While the original report reveals that the O’Malley administration and reelection campaign have been less than truthful, the response from the AG raises even more questions about why the original report was removed from the DLLR website.

My request asked for “all communications (internal and external) and documents regarding the removal of the July 2010 Employment Situation report from the DLLR website on August 20, 2010…”

In response, the Assistant Attorney General, Elizabeth Trimble told me some of the specific information in the emails would be redacted because they contain “personal medical information,” “personal telephone numbers,” “a personal email address,” and a “personal electronic communication number.”

What is this kind of information doing in official government communications?

Trimble’s response also states that several interagency and intra-agency emails have been withheld because they “contain deliberations, advice, or recommendations from one government official to another for the purpose of assisting in the decision-making function, as well as certain confidential executive communications of an advisory or deliberative nature.”

Trimble writes that release of these “pre-decisional documents” would “inhibit debate and discussion within the agency and would thus impair the integrity of the agency’s decision-making process.” She cites SG §10-618(b) and SG §10-615(1) as reasons for withholding the documents.

The Maryland Public Information Act Manual states that a custodian of public record may deny the right of inspection under SG §10-618(b) if the documents "would be privileged in litigation.” However denial is allowed only if “disclosure would be contrary to the ‘public interest.’”

How is disclosure of the reasons behind the removal of the July jobs report in the midst of a gubernatorial election focused on jobs not in the public interest?

The PIA manual states that SG §10-615(1) allows denial if disclosure would violate attorney-client privilege or grand jury secrecy, none of which are at issue here. Interestingly though the manual does note:

The Court of Appeals has stated that the executive privilege encompassed within SG §10-615(1) shields records made in connection with the deliberative decision-making process used by high executive officials such as the Governor and the Governor’s immediate advisors.

Emphasis mine.

Martin O’Malley and his administration have some explaining to do.

Here is the full text of Trimble's response


More below the fold.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Graph of the Day

If Martin O'Malley wants to talk about jobs....let's talk about jobs. Our friends at NetRightDaily give this about Maryland's employment rate over the last eighteen or so months:So if Martin O'Malley wants to talk about job creation.....where are the new jobs? There was a slight uptick in March of 2010, the overall trend are fewer jobs available for Maryland's middle and working class families. How are we supposed to have a world class economy when Martin O'Malley and the Democrats insist on policies that are unfriendly to businesses?

Let's put it this way: to fix unemployment in Maryland, we have to make Martin O'Malley one of the unemployed...

More below the fold.

Media Watch VI-A on the Race for Maryland’s Governorship: Addendum Regarding the Sun Editorial Page

--Richard E. Vatz

Red Maryland has provided six “Media Watch” articles (actually seven; one was not so labeled and predated the betterment to which the following six attested) on the general improvement and fairness of liberal-conservative political coverage throughout The Baltimore Sun, and I should like to add a clarification.

As I indicated in this series, it genuinely appears that the Dianne Donovan-Ann Lolordo era of The Baltimore Sun yellow editorialists is over.

What does this mean for the editorial page and what does it not mean?

The Sun editorial board no doubt roots as hard for Gov. O’Malley over ex-Governor Robert L. Ehrlich in 2010 as it did in the 2006 governor's contest. A perusal of the members of the editorial staff reveals die-hard liberals and no die-hard conservatives; in fact, there appears to be no conservatives whatsoever.

What the Sun has shed is its outright dishonesty in covering the issues of the race. Thus, while for several years there was virtually no mention of the O’Malley failed promise to reverse the 72% price increase of BG&E, no mention of the 2003-2006 Democratic slots political rigmarole designed to hurt a Republican governor and the state-be-damned, no mention even of the claims of wealthy Marylanders moving out of the state and little mention of the rise in sales taxes or corporate taxes, that situation is no longer the case.

Sun editorials no longer simply ignore Democratic political irresponsibility.

But let’s not let “very good” be inferred from “significantly better.”

Let’s look at today’s top Sun editorial, “Gubernatorial adwatch [sic],” as a representative example of the Sun’s changes on that page, but not evidence of a transformation for the better.

The editorial argues that “Despite the negative tone of the advertising war between Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich, they’re mostly sticking to the truth.”

This is a false equivocation of slights.

But whatever else one says about that sub-head, it is more evenhanded than any sentiment expressed in 2002 or 2006 or through 2008 regarding the Maryland gubernatorial elections.

The article says that “negative spots” have hit both O’Malley and Ehrlich, but that the criticism has “generally been accurate and above the belt.”

The article references the use in an O’Malley ad of the truly fair and excellent Maryland Public Television host of “State Circle,” Jeff Salkin, asking Gov. Ehrlich about the difference between fees and taxes. The editorial points out that its editing by the O’Malley camp “to make his question seem more accusatory than it was” “was unfair to Mr. Salkin,” but “not unfair to Mr. Ehrlich.”


The unfairness of distorting editing of a recipient of state funding, MPT’s Salkin, is not over the top? It is “not unfair” to Gov. Ehrlich, and the first O’Malley ads which quoted Gov. Ehrlich out of context reflecting on his earnings were “generally...accurate?”

The claim that “Gov. Ehrlich” raised college tuition that was “technically not true” is “close enough,” according to the editorial, and it’s okay that the Sun never investigated how Maryland universities have been devastated by the tuition freeze of four years?

The rhetorical expropriation by Gov. O’Malley of Gov. Ehrlich’s “signature achievement” in allowing charter schools is “accurate and above the belt?”

And where is there any real equivalent negativism thus far in the Ehrlich ads?

The Sun editorial page 2002-2008 versus today: vive la change, but let’s not expect any semblance of serious even-handedness.

It just seems that way because the Sun editorial page was so horrible during most of the 2000’s.

--Professor Vatz is professor of political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

$6.3 Billion Reasons to send O'Malley Packing

More below the fold.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


From Todd Eberly, professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland writing at Maryland Reporter.

On a night when conservative insurgents scored dramatic victories in Delaware and New York and battled to a near tie in New Hampshire, Bob Ehrlich defeated Brian Murphy 76% to 24%. Given Murphy's finances, organization, and recent media exposure, 25% should have been his vote floor and not his ceiling.

On the other side of the ballot, Democrat Martin O'Malley has to deal with the unexpected surprise of losing 14% of the vote to two unknown candidates, with 10% going to J.P. Cusick, a candidate whose entire campaign was based on reforming child support and custody laws. This is like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend losing 20% of the vote to grocery store clerk Robert Fustero in 2002.

Winning 76% to 24% against a known and financed candidate in a year of upsets is a more impressive victory than winning 86% to 14% over
two unknowns with no campaign organizations of which to speak.

Worse, the ratio of Democratic turnout compared to Republican turnout is lower than in any recent primary election. With all but the provisional and overseas absentee ballots counted, O'Malley is on track to underperform his own vote total of 524,000 votes in 2006 and to finish only slightly ahead of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's 400,000 votes in 2002. Though Ehrlich received only 76% of the GOP vote, he is on track to receive only a few thousand less votes than he did unopposed in 2006. (Editor’s note: Ten percent more Republicans voted for governor in this year’s primary than in 2002, another banner year for the GOP. Ten percent fewer Democrats voted in the governor’s race this year than in 2006.)

All of this indicates an energized Republican electorate and a less than enthusiastic Democratic electorate. I have argued for weeks that this race will be decided by about 25,000 votes. After last week’s primary, I still think that the race will be close, but I now give a slight advantage to Ehrlich.

Emphasis mine.

Remember what Brian wrote about the only numbers that matter from last week’s primary?

Martin O’Malley is in trouble what’s more he knows it, hence the attack ads from his campaign and the tweens running the Maryland Democratic Party.

Republicans are energized for Bob Ehrlich and Democrats that aren’t his bootlicks are treating him like a warm up act no one wants to see.

More below the fold.

Martin O'Malley The $6.3 Billion (Tax) Man

O'Malley's taxes march all over Maryland's working families and job creators

More below the fold.

Where is the July Jobs Report?

The Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation’s August jobs report shows the state’s unemployment rate rose to 7.3%.

However do you remember that pessimistic July jobs report the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation the O’Malley administration tried to flush down the memory hole? You know the one that didn’t jibe with the O’Malley campaign’s rose colored glasses view of the economy.
Three separate Public Information Act requests were filed with DLLR to obtain the report and information pertaining to it’s removal. I filed one on August 23, as did the Maryland Public Policy Institute, along with one filed by the Maryland Republican Party on August 24.

DLLR has 30 days to respond to all PIA requests. So far, with two days left to respond we’ve only heard are chirping crickets.

I’m not surprised given the O’Malley administration’s response history to PIA requests that could embarrass them.

Martin O’Malley has a curious take on use of public information and taxpayer funded products. On one hand he thinks it’s perfectly fine to selectively edit a clip from taxpayer funded State Circle for political purposes. Yet on the other, drag his heels on releasing or airbrush out of existence public information, which casts him and his administration in a bad light.

Then again this is Martin O’Malley the man without principles.

More below the fold.

Desperate Dems at it Again

The Democrats were desperate when they portrayed Bobby E. as about to commit fraud. They were pouncing on the fact that he was about to partake of Early Voting, even though the former (and it-is-hoped future) Governor had complained that Early Voting was ripe for fraud. Just because something makes fraud possible does not mean everyone partaking is guilty of fraud. Sane people know this, but it got them a cute news byte, even if it was itself fraudulent.

Now the Donkeys are at it again. I was afraid this would happen. They are using some of the rhetoric of the Brian Murphy campaign to attack Bob. They are complaining that Bob is/was/and will be a big spender & tax/fee raiser. They are using Brian to do their dirty work. Yet they conveniently omit the fact that in Mr. Murphy’s gracious concession statement, he touted Bob’s commitment to raise neither.

Here’s some of the drivel from MD Dem. Issac Salazar…NOTE TO NATIONAL REPUBLICANS:

Annapolis, MD (September 21, 2010) – In response to the Republican Governor’s Association’s false attack ad, Maryland Democratic Party Executive Director Travis Tazelaar released the following statement:

“In their haste to try to prop up Ehrlich’s flagging campaign with false attacks against Governor O’Malley, national Republicans forgot to mention that Bob Ehrlich has zero credibility on taxes and spending. Ehrlich raised taxes and fees by $3 billion and went on the worst spending binge in Maryland history. Ehrlich’s own Republican primary opponent savaged Ehrlich for his fiscal irresponsibility and refusal to sign a no-new-taxes pledge.”

Here’s the quote from Brian that the Dems are leaving out…

“I entered the race because I am a fiscal conservative, and Marylanders cannot afford higher taxes or fees. Bob Ehrlich has pledged not to raise either, and so he has my full support in the General Election against Martin O’Malley”.

Of course, they also leave out the millions in new taxes that came in under Martin’s watch. So even if you buy what they are selling about Bob (and when you buy it remember you will have a 20% increase in the sales tax, thanks to MOM), their guy is certainly no better, and is in fact much worse. It’s really laughable when Dems try to paint Bob as some sort of big taxer, like that is ever a problem when any of their guys are doing it?!

More below the fold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Barbara Mikulski highlights her own failure

Take a look at the first ad from Barbara Mikulski:

What a stupendously fantastic ad. Not because of the fact that Mikulski speaks in platitudes as usual. But because he highlights exactly why she is an ineffective United States Senator.

Barbara Mikulski was first elected to public office in 1971. To put that in parents were 13 at the time. Mikulski has been in elected office for forty years. So what does Mikulski highlight during her ad? She wants to create new economy jobs! She wants new grants for teachers! She wants new investments at NIH! New work at the Allison Transmission plant! Never mind the fact that the resolutions she cited were House resolutions and not original legislation from her. She is fighting for Maryland jobs!

Except she isn't. Barbara Mikulski has consistently voted to support higher taxes on Maryland's families. She has supported without reservation Barack Obama's reckless spending. Barbara Mikulski has been an enthusiastic champion of higher and higher federal deficits that we absolutely cannot afford. Barbara Mikulski has been a champion of further federal regulations that make it harder for businesses to create jobs, and make it harder for Maryland workers to find gainful employment. What possible reason would we want her to continue serving in the United States Senate?

Barbara Mikulski has a consistent forty year record of failure in the United States Senator. Mikulski has a proven track record of putting special interests and party ahead of the needs of Maryland's Middle and Working Class families. We can put a stop to it by sending Eric Wargotz to Washington as our next Senator...

More below the fold.

To Make Benefit Glorious Leader

You've probably heard by now that Maryland Public Television has gone public with it's grievances against the O'Malley Campaign is it relates to its use of footage from MPT's State Circle in its recent campaign ad. The Sun gives a synopsis of the story here. State Circle host Jeff Salkin gave an angry rebuke to the show which I watched on Friday evening, lambasting the O'Malley campaign for it's use of the material and the manner in which Salkin's credibility could be damaged.

While this incident seems to be legal, it smacks of two things. First and foremost it smacks of the O'Malley Campaigns complete indifference towards using the machinery of the state to promote Martin O'Malley and to prop up his political campaign. Sure, it might be legal for the O'Malley campaign to use the footage. But is it morally right to use taxpayer funded footage in a political campaign. Of course it isn't. Especially, when one considers that the Democrats pitched a conniption fit when Governor Ehrlich was featured in television commercials designed to help prop up the state's tourism industry....

....but that's typical Democratic politics for you. Bad to help businesses and communities thrive...but good to prop up their political campaigns.

And that's what gets to the second point. This move smacks of the entitlement culture that Annapolis Democrats have. They believe that they are entitled as your leaders to spend your money as they see fit, and to use your money to help themselves in any way they see fit. You exist to fund the government. Government exists to enrich their coffers, benefit their special interest supporters, and to enrich themselves at the public trough. This is the culture that we have been fighting in Annapolis for years, and that we are continuing to fight for the next six weeks.

The use of the MPT footage by the O'Malley campaign is the typical misuse of taxpayer funds by the O'Malley Administration. But you know what else? It shows how desperate the O'Malley campaign is to stop the bleeding..

More below the fold.

Not Even On Their Side

The O'Malley campaign is going negative again. Just more of the same sacre(d) tactics, which reveal how worried they truly are about November.

And once again O'Malley tries to paint himself as a governor on "our side." Really?

The truth is O'Malley isn't a governor that is on his own Democratic constituencies' side.

Ask Democratic lawmaker and illegal immigrant advocate Ana Sol Gutierrez if O'Malley was on her side when he welched on a deal for two-tiered drivers licences in return for her slots vote in 2007?

Or, ask environmental advocates how they feel about O'Malley transfering hundreds of millions of dollars out of Project Open Space, (see page A-7) thereby breaking his campaign promise not to raid the fund.

And that's just his natural political allies.

Ask your average BG&E customer how they feel about O'Malley's broken promise to roll back rate increases?

How do they feel about O'Malley's policies that only make energy more expensive and hamper economic growth?

Martin O'Malley is on one side alone: his own.

The man with no principles has no qualms deceiving others to think he stands with them only to jump to the other side or abandon promises when it suits his political purpose.

More below the fold.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Election Winner, but Still Clueless

Eric Luedtke is going to be heading to Annapolis as a Delegate in 2011, because apparently the Democrats want another out of touch ivory tower urban liberal in the House of Delegates. But Luedtke showed how completely out of touch with reality he is with his commentary over at MPW today.

You can read the totality of Luedtke's text, which includes the typical Luedtke elements of making stuff up as he goes along (Martin O'Malley was trying to balance the budget, which setting forth a reckless spending agenda?). But here is the synopsis of what Luedtke really believes:

These are tough times, and this is going to be a tough election. Montgomery County needs to see clearly what’s at stake. In Martin O’Malley, we have a leader who stands up for our families and communities. In Bob Ehrlich, we didn’t. Montgomery needs O’Malley, and all of us who care about the quality of life here need to work hard to get him re-elected.
I'm not sure a big load of horse manure has ever been typed on the internet. Because if there is one thing that Martin O'Malley doesn't care about it is families and communities. If Martin O'Malley did, he wouldn't have pushed historical and immoral tax increases on Maryland's middle and working class families. If he cared about our communities, O'Malley wouldn't pursue policies that continue to put businesses out of work and send jobs to our surrounding states.

And talk about communities? Luedtke write this:
In Tanterra and Peachwood, I heard from residents who were tired of having grass growing out of their streets and of swerving to avoid massive potholes. In Spencerville, Olney, and Damascus, I heard from parents who were concerned about cuts at the libraries and the elimination of summer reading programs. In Burtonsville and Silver Spring, residents wanted to know how we were going to bring more bioscience jobs to the east county.
So Luedtke's argument basically in this sentence is that our communities are falling apart, and that Montgomery County voters should re-elect O'Malley, the guy on whose watch all of this stuff has happened and has not been replaced.

I get that Eric Luedtke, as a soon-to-be freshman member of the House of Delegates is carrying the water of the leader of his party here. But Luedtke again shows how disconnected from reality he and the members of his party really are. He insists that voters should return Martin O'Malley to Annapolis because O'Malley "stands up for families and communities." He fails to realize that Martin O'Malley is the very reasons that our families and communities are suffering, because instead of trying to make Maryland a better place for families and communities, he has too busy doing the work of special interests.

Martin O'Malley and Eric Luedtke; two out of touch liberals who want to deepen the suffering of Maryland middle and working class families. They are clueless as to the damage O'Malleynomics has done to the people of our state. Luedtke may be going to Annapolis. But we can still put Martin O'Malley on the unemployment line....

More below the fold.

Jimmy Carter on “60 Minutes:” America’s Presidential and Ex-Presidential Embarrassment

--Richard E. Vatz

When everyone, including ex-president Jimmy Carter, was shouting about George W. Bush's being America’s "worst president," I concurred with historian Thomas Fleming in his February 28, 2009 Wall Street Journal article that, in addition to others, President Carter was worse – far worse. In fact, if the United States had a Dream Team of Embarrassingly Terrible Presidents (DTETP), Jimmy Carter would be the starting quarterback, and “W” would be on the taxi squad.

Liberals – sorry: progressives – have sort of accepted this verdict, perhaps because of President Carter’s 1977-1981 incompetent superintending of the
economy over which he presided with, as respected historian Dr. Thomas Fleming put it, “the most horrible stagflation in our history…[and then] had the temerity to lecture citizens on their ‘crisis of spirit.’“

Or perhaps it was Carter’s fecklessness in foreign policy, as he imprisoned himself in the White House when Americans were taken hostage in Iran, only to claim when he failed to rescue them that the situation had stabilized so he could leave the building and campaign for president against Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1980. The hostages were released on President Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration Day. Wonder why...

On the “60 Minutes” show referenced below, President Carter perversely takes credit for the 52 hostages’ “safe return,” as he publicized his forthcoming White House Diary, revealing and analyzing selected entries made while he was president. Let’s give him some credit for the Camp David Accords and realize that there is precious little else he accomplished as president.

Back to the progressives’ take: Jimmy Carter may have been a not-so-good president, but he has been the crème de la crème of former presidents, a perception fostered by his work on Habitat for Humanity and various negotiations on elections and other trouble-shooting and charity initiatives.

Liberals have clung to this patently absurd, self-aggrandizing mischaracterization for decades. Historian John Whiteclay Chambers II wrote a little over a decade ago that “[...Jimmy] Carter has emerged as perhaps America’s greatest ex-president…” However, many of the ex-president’s rhapsodizers have retracted their opinion pursuant to President Carter’s tilt toward the Palestinians in his 2007 book, Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid, to put a friendly interpretation on that which caused over a dozen members of his Carter Center Advisory Board to resign. Then, additionally, his warm public entreaties toward the terrorist group Hamas were articulated a year later.

Now on "60 Minutes" Sunday night (September 19)comes his cowardly personal attack on Ted Kennedy, the first example he mentions of the "frankness" revealed in his book of which he is so proud, the nature of which had not publicly been made previously.

In one of his increasingly tawdry moments on that show, President Carter, who in the overly kind narrative of Lesley Stahl, is “harsh even now after his death” to Sen. Kennedy. “It was all his fault,” observes Carter plaintively and not-so-courageously, referencing the failure of comprehensive health care to pass decades ago. Observes the self-possessed ex-president of Sen. Kennedy, “He did not want to see me have a major success in that realm of life.”

Ms. Stahl does not ask for evidence of Sen. Kennedy’s personal animus, which allegedly motivated an opposition to Carter’s comprehensive health care plan.

The usually well-prepared Ms. Stahl anachronistically observes without qualification how popular President Carter has been in this country in the years following his presidency. She says "a lot" of his "critics" say he's been "a fantastic ex-president."

Is she unaware of all of the people who have re-evaluated their post-presidential praise of President Carter?

President Carter actually characterizes his administration as "successful," wishing for President Barack Obama that his should be "as successful" as Carter's.

Carter justifies unabashedly on the show one of his most appalling acts of his post-presidency: stealthily asking the U.N. Security Council "to vote against [President George H. W. Bush's] resolution to go to war against Saddam Hussein."

Ms. Stahl pursues the matter no further than to get the former president to say he doesn't regret his action.

President Carter assesses his tenure as president as successful due to the amount of legislation he got passed – more than any president but Lyndon Johnson, he says. Stahl offers no challenge to that non sequitur either.

A virtually uncritical interview by “60 Minutes” of an ex-president who has no insight.

A perfect match.

--Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Eight for Ten

Just wanted to take a second to point out that eight of the ten Red Maryland endorsed candidates were successful in their primaries on Tuesday. We are happy that they are our nominees.

As it turns out, it looks like one of our best choices was in picking Michael Hough in District 3B. Sure he was the better choice, but I think no choice was proven more right than by Charles Jenkins' temper tanturm endorsement of the Democrat to replace him. So guys have no class, and Charles Jenkins outed himself as one of them.

That being said, I would like to reiterate the point; we at Red Maryland urge you to support and vote for ALL Republican candidates from here on out. When it comes to the general election, we support the nominees of our party. And at no point in recent memory has it been so important for us to be on the same page. We have an opportunity. The wind is at our back. Get on board.

More below the fold.


Just a note to let you know that Vox, where my blog is hosted, is closing. I have therefore moved back to Wordpress.

In moving all my posts over, some content like photos, documents, and audio may not have survived the process.

We now rejoin our regularly scheduled political drama.

More below the fold.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On the Kendel Ehrlich Show Saturday

I'll be joining C4 and Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing on the Kendel Ehrlich Show tomorrow morning at 9:30AM. on WBAL AM 1090.

We'll be discussing the recent primary elections.

Listen live or online. Or if you have one I highly recommend WBAL's iPhone app.

More below the fold.

Square Off Show Sunday Night at 6:30 WMAR

Fellow Conservatives, pursuant to Richard Sher's threat on my life (and tasteless detailing of the keelhauling he threatened me with), I want to apprise you of this Red Marylander's appearance with my liberal bud, Marc Steiner, my conservative bud, Trae Lewis, and my new liberal, bright-but-misguided friend, Robyn Murphy.

We discuss the 2010 gubernatorial race, the Bernstein-Jessamy contest and racial conflict in Baltimore City.

More below the fold.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Money Can't Buy Competence

It’s amazing that for all the corporate/lobbyist, and big tobacco money funding the Maryland Democratic Party they can’t hire competent help.

I laughed at the Democrats’ press release about Ehrlich’s response to Brian Murphy’s endorsement. Could Ehrlich have handled the situation better with Ron Smith and Blair Lee? Sure, but that really isn’t the point.

Democrats spent the last 10 months saying Ehrlich is no Tea Party guy, now their making hay over Ehrlich not embracing Murphy?

Let’s face it the Democrats would have responded with a similarly asinine release had a camera caught Ehrlich bear hugging Brian Murphy.

Also, Let’s not forget they were less than charitable to one of their own gubernatorial candidates, George Owings, who dared explore a challenge to Martin O’Malley. Note in the link that party chair Susan Turnbull criticizes Owings’ “conservative record on tobacco,” yet she happily deposited a $2,000 check from Philip Morris.

Now that’s a level of consistency not seen since the Kerry campaign.

However, what this clever little conceit does reveal is that they and O’Malley are scared. They see the November tsunami on the horizon. Lost on the mental giants at MDP is that their too-clever-by-half ploy only reinforces Bob Ehrlich’s point that to win in a general election in the state of Maryland he needs to appeal not just to conservatives, but moderate Democrats and independents.

Money can’t buy you love and apparently all that special interest money can’t buy Maryland Democrats competent help.

To Murphy supporters all I can say is this:

More below the fold.

Nail Biter in District 36

The only Republican primary in District 36 House of Delegates race pits incumbent Dick Sossi, against challenger Steve Hershey, a former DNR official in the Ehrlich administration.

Hershey leads Sossi by 221 votes. Absentee ballots--counted today--will determine the winner.

The race got heated last week after a Hershey sent out a mailer with pictures of Sossi sleeping during session. That same day voters received a mailer from EJ Pipkin stating his support for Hershey.

As you can tell from the comments on Hershey's mailer, the choice has come down to whether District 36 voters think Sossi has been energetic enough for them in Annapolis, or that it's time for new blood.

Full Disclosure: I voted for Hershey.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Attack of the Vichy Republicans

As a conservative and a Republican of long standing I've always been amazed at the duplicity of a large number of moderate Republicans.

When a moderate wins a primary he or she is virtually assured of the votes of the conservative wing of the party. Maybe begrudgingly but the support nonetheless. When moderates lose they are more apt to run as independents or endorse the Democrat than support a conservative nominee.

We're seeing this played out today in District 2 and District 3B.

In District 2, Senator Don Munson was turfed last night by Chris Shank for the Republican nomination. As there is no Democrat in that race, Shank will be heading for Annapolis to begin what we know will be an exemplary career. What does Munson have to say:

However, Munson, 72, of Hagerstown, said in a phone interview shortly before midnight that he is not conceding.

He said he is weighing his options before making a decision about his future. That includes the possibility of waging a write-in campaign in the general election.

Last week, when The Herald-Mail asked Munson if he’d consider a write-in campaign if he lost, he said he would not.

Asked Tuesday night about the change, Munson said, “I just think some very, very bad things are going to happen with Chris Shank as senator.”

Charles Jenkins, who was appointed to the House of Delegates over the objections of the Frederick County GOP by Governor O'Malley to fill the term of another mendacious moderate, was beaten like a rented mule by the a combination of hard work and his own sorry record for the nomination in District 3B. According to the Frederick Gazette:

Jenkins feels so maligned by Hough that he refuses to get behind him in the general election and is asking his supporters to vote for Democrat Paul Gilligan on Nov. 2.

"Michael Hough does not have the ethics or morals I want in my candidate," Jenkins said. "I encourage folks who share my concerns to support Democrat Paul Gilligan."

So we have the sorry spectacle of two sore losers, who, after making their case to the people and being repudiated at the polls, refuse to observe even the barest vestige of civil behavior.

More below the fold.

Chris Shank Ousts Don Munson

Conservative challenger Chris Shank trounced incumbent Vichy Republican Don Munson for the Republican State Senate nomination in District 2.

With all 45 precincts in District 2 reporting, plus early voting results, Shank had 6,478 votes and Munson had 4,798.

Shank is completing his third term as a delegate in Subdistrict 2B and is the minority whip in the House.

The campaign Shank ran against Munson was similar to that Michael Hough ran against Charles Jenkins. It pitted shoe leather and hard work against an overweening sense of entitlement. Both Munson and Jenkins were called to account for their records and found lacking by the voters.

The Republican Senate caucus will be much stronger for the absence of Munson who at times seemed so ashamed of his record that he lied about it.

More below the fold.

Michael Hough Wins In 3B

Michael Hough racked up an impressive win in yesterday's primary against Charles Jenkins for the Republican nomination in District 3B.

Michael Hough defeated Del. Charles A. Jenkins, R-Frederick/Washington, for the Republican nomination in the Subdistrict 3B House of Delegates race in Tuesday’s primary election, according to complete but unofficial returns.

With all 16 precincts reporting, Hough had 2,967 votes and Jenkins had 1,352 votes.

The match up between Hough and Jenkins provided one of the clearest contest for Maryland conservatives. Hough ran on a solid platform of encouraging job creation and reducing the size and scope of government. Jenkins ran on his ability to get along with the Democrat majority in Annapolis and bring home tax dollars to Frederick County. He also ran on having the same name as Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.

Not only was there a clear difference between the policy preferences of the two candidates, there was a difference in style. Hough ran a grassroots campaign that knocked on doors across the district. If there is a yard in 3B without a Hough yard sign it is not the fault of the Hough campaign. Jenkins approached the primary as a coronation, apparently oblivious to the fact that he was not the favored candidate for a replacement for Vichy Republican Rick Weldon. His public appearances were disastrous. The only place where Jenkins seemed truly at home was among the bevy of lefty commenters on the forum page of the Frederick News-Post.

We wish Michael the best in November.

More below the fold.

Creating Unity

Brian and Mark have both written about the need to unify and focus on November's election. Let me add a couple of comments directed especially at those who may have been disappointed by last night's outcome in some particular race.

I ran in a very contested primary in District 33A in 2006 (though perhaps not as close or as nasty as some of the races in 33 this year). It was a tough race and there were plenty of hard feelings and bad blood. It would have been easy to walk away mad or just walk away. But I didn't. I tipped my cap to the primary winners and united with the party to get them and other good Republican candidates elected and then found positive ways to channel the energy I had to push conservatism in my native Maryland.

For those who lost last night and for their supporters let me urge you to do the same. Get behind the party's nominee and if a particular candidate is not to your liking pour all your energies into any of the dozens of good conservative candidates that will need your help in November. If you were motivated by ideology and a desire to change things prove it by continuing to work positively to move our movement and our state forward.

More below the fold.

Know Your Enemy

As Brian said it's time for all of us to unite.

Know your enemy.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unite or Die

The primary election season is now over. And now we move on to what is next.

As everbody expected Bob Ehrlich is the Republican nominee for Governor of Maryland. Vote totals are still outstanding for a number of hotly contested Republican primary races.

But let's face it; that is not what is really important at this point. What is important is that we as a Republican Party have our nominees. They are the standardbearers for our party.

So to everybody......enough is enough. You have had your say in the primary election process. And now the members of your party as spoken.

If we do not unite swiftly as a Republican Party, we will die at the ballot box on November 2nd. We need to place our egos aside. We need to place our concerns aside. Maryland's Democrats are the enemy, not your fellow Republicans!

We must unite to return Bob Ehrlich to the Governor's mansion. If we do not, we as a state and we as a Republican Party will not be able to survive.....

More below the fold.

It Can Be A Burden Being Right

Last November, I wrote a piece pointing out that it might be ironic to use the name "Scott" and party unity in the same sentence. At the time there was an ultimately successful effort to make Audrey Scott the MDGOP chair with other candidates dropping out for the sake of party unity. I was the only one pointing out at the time that

"Because as we have documented ... her son Lawrence Scott is recognized as one of the most divisive forces within Maryland Republican politics. Mr. Scott is well know for his questionable tactics in his work for various Republican primary campaigns. Among these are assertions of false endorsements via robocall and misleading signs at polling places, allegations that he supported multiple candidates in the same primary and his misleading use of a fundraising entity (that ended up spending over eighty cents on every dollar for expenses and self promotion without giving a dime to GOP candidates, its expressed purpose). One senior MDGOP official told me he was a "purveyor of slash and burn politics". Republican primary slash and burn politics by the way

True to form, Mr. Scott had kept up his "slash and burn ways" as documented by the Annapolis Capital's Eric Hartley. Dubbing him a local "Prince of Darkness" Hartley states that:

"Such cookie-cutter negative campaigning works best when not exposed to the light of day, when you can't see the guy pulling the strings. That's why, like most political strategists, Scott prefers to work behind the scenes."

Hartley concludes by saying: "Pulling up the rock and exposing someone like Scott to the sunlight is helpful, but he won't be on the ballot Tuesday or in November. It's his clients, the candidates, who should pay the price."

Of course, Mr. Hartley only scratched the surface of what Mr. Scott and Scott Strategies has done. If he had read my piece in November, he would have been linked many, many more examples of Mr. Scott's chicanery.

More slash and burn internal Republican politics by the son of the state party chair with no criticism from the state party leadership. Just the opposite in fact. As Mr. Hartley points out,

"One opponent of a Scott client expressed fear of being sued or blacklisted by the Republican Party for speaking out. That fear has grown since Lawrence Scott's mother, Audrey Scott, was named state GOP chairwoman last year."

I guess it might be just a tad ironic to use the name Scott and party unity in the same sentence.

More below the fold.

Monday, September 13, 2010

And the Fun Continues...

McCain supports Bobby, but his former running mate supports Brian...

Wet & Mangled Anti-Riley signs crop up like dandelions all over the district, supposedly paid for by taxpayers (but the tiny authority line says they are King's). They are so unreadable that passersby may think they are Pro-Riley.

Dem Judges get a Rep. to sneakedly Robocall Republicans insinuating Allison Asti isn't Republican enough (like they are??)! Audrey Scott has to Robocall to set that record straight.

Mailers get delayed & not delivered. The fun is just getting started!

More below the fold.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Only Number that Matters Tuesday

The most important number coming out of Tuesday's gubernatorial primary is NOT going to what percentage of the vote that Brian Murphy receives in the Republican Primary.

The important number is the combined percentage that J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe receive in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Why is the Cusick/Jaffe number more important than the Murphy number? Well a lot of the media and the Democrats have been wondering whether or not Murphy will cross the "Fustero Line", achieving the same 20% of the primary vote against Bob Ehrlich that grocery clerk Ray Fustero received against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the 2002 Democratic Primary. However, comparing Murphy to Fustero is not an apt comparison.

Whatever you think of Murphy's campaign, he HAS campaigned. He has been touring the state, running TV commercials, distributing signs, etc. One would suspect that a candidate for Governor who puts in at least a modicum of effort should be able to achieve 20% of the vote if they catch some breaks. While I do not believe Murphy will get that far, we should not be surprised if such a candidate does in fact get to 20.

J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe on the other hand have done no campaigning whatsoever. They have raised no money. They are on the ballot for whatever reasons that they have decided to run for Governor. What will be important to observe on primary night will be how close Cusick and Jaffe combined get to the Fustero line.

Many a conservative Democrat are completely disaffected with Martin O'Malley and his lack of leadership during his first term as Governor. We should not be at all surprised then if O'Malley has trouble eclipsing the 80-percent mark, and that is the only challenger to the "Fustero Line" that matters.

More below the fold.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hershey Catches Sossi Napping

I admit I've enjoyed following the slugfest in the District 39 Democratic Senate primary race in Montgomery County. It brought us the great Sleepy Saqib mailers from Nancy King.

Steve Hershey, who is challenging incumbent Dick Sossi in District 36 on the Eastern Shore, is using the same tactic. Hershey's latest mailer feature's several unflattering photos Sossi slumbering during session.

Hershey and Sossi have jabbed one another over who has Bob Ehrlich's support, but Sossi has a massive $28,000 cash advantage over Hershey going into the final weekend of the primary.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Yet Another Reason Not to Vote for Eric Wargotz

Not that you need any more reasons not to vote for Eric Wargotz, but doing research into the Queen Anne's County Commissioner's race I found that Wargotz is intimately tied to the anti-property rights/anti-economic growth crowd that is smothering the county.

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Unjustifiable Use of the Race Card: the Last Refuge of Failed Incumbent Patricia Jessamy

--Richard E. Vatz

I have been following and have written in Red Maryland (and done some “expert” media commentary) on the Patricia Jessamy –Gregg Bernstein contest for City State’s Attorney. Although I have been convinced that on the evidence Gregg Bernstein deserves to win the primary, I never would have expected the nasty racial turn the election has taken.

In a revealing article in today’s Baltimore Sun, reporter Justin Fenton writes of the racial tension created by Mrs. Jessamy’s claim that the election of Mr. Bernstein would “set us back 60 years.”

When I first heard this remark, I was willing to infer that there was no direct racial implication, naïve as that may make me. However, reading through Mr. Fenton’s piece, any disinterested observer would have to conclude that this is a purposeful effort to say, “I am African-American, and my opponent is white. Q.E.D.”

Warren Brown, an African-American supporter of Mr. Bernstein, says the remark is “reprehensible.”

The article quotes Mrs. Jessamy, when she was asked on radio station WOLB whether race was a factor in Mr. Bernstein’s running for this office, as saying, “I’m hopeful that has nothing to do with race. I remain hopeful in that regard, and we’ll see where the votes come out?”

Oh? It is plausible that Mr. Bernstein’s running was motivated by race, and the proof will be “where the votes come out?”

There has not been one credible charge that Mr. Bernstein’s campaign is racial in origin or intent.

How about saying this, Mrs. Jessamy: “The State’s Attorney’s contest is about who can do more to protect the citizens of Baltimore. My record shows that I am that person, and here’s why.”

The most discouraging quote in the Sun article comes from an African-American with whom I have shared a microphone and whom I like. Anthony McCarthy , a radio host and former spokesman for Sheila Dixon, said that “…[Y]ou can see that African-Americans have shifted into ‘Protect Pat Jessamy’ mode…It’s clear to me that Jessamy’s appeal to racial pride is working, and we’ve begun to see more energy generated in the black community on her behalf.”

Reverse the racial roles and imagine how outraged you would be, dear reader, if whites in Baltimore City were described as being energized by a Bernstein “appeal to racial pride.”

Let me add a note of disappointment that Elijah Cummings has made an ad supporting Mrs. Jessamy. I know, but am not a friend of, the impressive and honest Representative, and I am incredulous that he would support such a poor State’s Attorney and candidate. An African-American woman I am very close to in Baltimore City loves Rep. Cummings, and when I asked her about the ad, she said to me, “He knows better.”

If Mrs. Jessamy cannot stick to substantive issues in her campaign against Mr. Bernstein, it is a tacit admission that on the basis of evidence she is not the better candidate.

Let’s hope Baltimore voters vote on evidence, not racial appeals.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

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