Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do the Martin Mash... if a Martin O'Malley wasn't scary enough, here's another reason to be frightened on Halloween, thanks to the Sean and Frank Morning Show Band.

More below the fold.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

U.S. District Court Slaps Board of Elections on Military Ballots

In an development not reported on by either the Baltimore Sun or Washington Post--natch--a U.S. District court granted a petition by the Military Voter Protection Project and ordered the Maryland State Board of Elections to count military ballots after the November 12 deadline.

The U.S. District Court issued a ruling Thursday saying that the "manner in which Maryland is conducting absentee voting for state offices in the Nov. 2, 2010, election deprives absent uniformed services and overseas voters of their fundamental right to vote."

It added that the plaintiffs, which included a military service member still in Iraq, had shown that Maryland's current deadline would "severely burden" the ability of military and overseas citizens to vote. It said "the state's asserted interest in enforcing the present deadline do not justify such a burden."

As a result, overseas and military voters will be given an extra 10 days to get their votes counted. Instead of having to be received by the state Board of Elections on Nov. 12, they must return their ballots by Nov. 22.

"The federal district court judge found that Maryland's process of sending out a full ballot on Oct. 8 violated the Constitution," Eric Eversole, the attorney who filed the case, told on Friday.

The lawsuit was a reaction to Maryland's enforcement of the MOVE Act, which required states to provide absentee and military voters with ballots at least 45 days before the general election. At first, the state had sought a waiver to comply with the law, but it then withdrew the waiver and decided it could mail out federal race ballots on time.

Because Maryland held its primary on Sept. 14, local results were not certified until after the Sept.18 deadline to meet the 45-day standard. Local boards did not mail out ballots for state races until Oct. 8. The MVPP sued the next day.

How sad is it that a federal court has to force Maryland to ensure it counts the votes of it's service members. Even worse the board is consulting with Attorney General Gansler's office to weigh an appeal.

More below the fold.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Listen In

As mentioned earlier this week, the appearance of Mark, Greg, and I on WFSI are now all available online here for your listening enjoyment.

Thanks to Duane Keenan for putting these recordings online.

More below the fold.

The O'Malley Family Loves YOUR Money

Martin O’Malley likes to bash Bob Ehrlich for the success he’s had in the private sector. However, let’s look at how much personal income the O’Malley family has raked in from taxpayers.

You just have to love the O’Malley logic of turning success in the private sector into a vice, while transmogrifying into virtue the taking of millions in personal income from taxpayers--all while furloughing state employees.

Thanks to a loyal reader for the video.

More below the fold.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Time to Throw it in Reverse

If you haven't seen this video yet, it will make you feel empowered by your vote for Bob Ehrlich:

More below the fold.

Illegal Mailer in First District

Yesterday our erstwhile colleague Michael Swartz noted a deceptive Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee mailer hitting mailboxes in Maryland’s First Congressional District featuring Libertarian candidate Dr. Richard Davis. The mailer is a naked attempt by the Democrats to fool Tea Party voters to peel off enough votes from Andy Harris and drag Frank Kratovil over the finish line. Kratovil beat Harris in 2008 by less than 3,000 votes.

Today I received a mailer attacking Andy Harris featuring Davis. This one as you can see below contains no authority line as required by law.

As Michael noted, Davis and the Libertarian Party have made no campaign expenditures on mailers.

So we are left to speculate as to who is responsible this mailer. I’d lay money that it’s the same people who sent out the first one.

More below the fold.

Defending One of Our Own

Delegate Warren Miller (District 9A Howard County) is a conservative’s conservative. He goes to Annapolis not only to kill bad bills, but push for good legislation as well. In it’s endorsement of Miller the Baltimore Sun—let me repeat that the Baltimore Sun—called him, “the kind of representative all voters deserve.” Whether it is protecting small business from the ravages of burdensome regulation or dragging state government into the light of transparency Warren Miller is the kind of man we need in Annapolis.

That is why his Democratic opponents’ hit pieces, Mary Ann Maher in particular, are so troubling. It is quite cheeky for Maher to attack Warren when she has never answered the troubling questions about her campaign accepting contributions over the legal limit from foreign donors.

I don’t expect Maher to address the campaign finance issue, she’s a progressive and by definition absolved from following the rules like the rest of us, because she is on the side of the angels.

However, let’s address one of her charges. She claims Warren is “too extreme” for Howard County because in 2008 he voted against HB 62 a bill that bans the sale of children’s products containing lead. The implication being that Warren is a shill for big business interests.

However, if you understand the fundamental truth that big business loves regulation because it eliminates competition you can see why someone would vote against such a regulation. Indeed, as the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney has shown with lead regulations in the federal Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, the big toy makers Hasbro and Mattel heavily lobbied for the bill. While those big corporations can absorb the added regulatory burden by passing the costs on to consumers, smaller toy makers and individual artisans cannot, and are now in danger of going out of business.

We’d like to see Maher defend why she favors a law that benefits big corporations while putting small businesses out of business.
Warren Miller for Delegate.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why Not Don?

One of the more under the radar issues here in Anne Arundel County is which party will be in control of the House Delegation come January. This is a little trickier than you might expect considering the makeup of the Delegation.

In 2002 Republicans won one seat in Districts 30 and 32, two seats in District 31, and swept all three seats in District 33. That gave Republicans a majority of the seats in our four legislative districts in our county.

Of course, that didn't sit well with the Democrats. So before the end of their General Assembly terms the Democrats, who held a majority of seats from the 1998 districts and elections, voted to allow the three delegates representing District 21, and new district that included a small slice of Anne Arundel County, full seats on the Delegation. That turned a 7-5 Republican majority into a 8-7 Democrat majority.

Needless to say it was a controversial decision that led to a controversial lawsuit by Delegate Don Dwyer, who took the case all of the way to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The Court ruled in favor of the Democrats and the Republican voters of this county have been suffering ever since.

This year could be different though. Republicans have a good chance to knock off an incumbent in District 30 or 32. Which means Republicans would assume leadership of the Delegation.

Which brings me to the central point of this piece. After all of the shenanigans pulled by the Democrats, why not elect Don Dwyer to lead the delegation for a year? After all, Don was the one who fought the action in court and tried to ensure that the will of the people is heard. So why not Don?

True, the County Legislative agenda would suffer if Dwyer were to remain at the post for the entire four year term. But just for a year, it is a great idea for Democrats to be reminded of the wrong their party did so many years ago.

More below the fold.

The Myth of the Informed Electorate

--Richard E. Vatz

(Perhaps) said by Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

(Certainly) said by Vatz: “Perhaps, but you can fool enough of the people enough of the time."

Most people at one time or another iterate the phrase or a variation of the phrase, “You cannot fool the voters.” Voters, as anyone who has stood in line at the polls to vote knows, are composed largely, but not entirely, of completely uninformed people. This is not a criticism of voters, because most of them have full lives and do not have the time to engage in researching the large number of candidates among whom they must choose for public office.

Some election ballots include policy questions. These are proposals about which I propose that if you combine (1.) the percentage of people who are considering the question for the first time in the booth with (2.) the percentage of people who are befuddled by the propositions’ impenetrable prose, you will approach around 75%.

Evidence abounds that large numbers of informed voters don’t exist. The evidence is almost inexhaustible, but read this analysis by pollster John Zogby (no conservative he), referencing in 2008 two items in the public domain of which I suspect all pundits thought liberals and conservatives alike were aware: “Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated international crisis during his first six months as President,” [“Zogby Poll: Almost No Obama Voters Ace Election Test,” November 18, 2008]

Did Obama supporters do any better on irrelevant information? Zogby reports, “Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party, and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could ‘see Russia from their house,’ 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign.”

Economist Bryan Caplan wrote a book titled The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies in which he claims there is profound economic ignorance of voters and counters the arguments that people vote in their self-interest by definition or that ignorance from different sides cancels each other out.

Lack of knowledge of the electorate is often fostered by news organs. I assume by now everyone knows – oops, there I go too – that is, probably only a tiny percentage of voters knows that during the Ehrlich Administration House Speaker Michael E. Busch’s control of the House Ways and Means Committee prevented the full House from even voting on the slots bill. According to The Washington Post at that time, a primary factor in Busch’s disapproval of slots is the “alcohol and gambling problems which devastated [his] family.”

In today’s Sun there is an endorsement of Speaker Busch as a great compromiser who “did not use his position to stand in the way if a majority of Marylanders disagreed.”

No problem if history is incompatible with a newspaper’s political preferences; just change the history.

One Democratic advertisement blames Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich for permitting the 72% BGE rate hike; there is no reference to the 1999 Democratic-majority General Assembly’s deregulation plan which created the eventual rate hikes which would years later yield a 72 percent rise in electric bills. There is no Washington Post or Baltimore Sun Ad Watch critiquing such selective and/or false information.

I once started a ruckus on Maryland Public Television when I said that many Democrats vote on a lark. I don’t think I said “most,” but that would probably be not far from the truth.

With apologies to H. L. Mencken, “no one ever went broke underestimating the political knowledge of the American people.”

Particularly the political knowledge of liberals.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

O'Malley Did NOT Pass Jessica's Law

Martin O’Malley YOU are a disgrace.

YOUR latest ad taking credit for passing Jessica’s Law is complete and utter bull$sh!t.

In 2007, when a group of activists composed mostly of people YOU Governor O’Malley labeled “the aberrant strain” were fighting YOUR party in the legislature to pass Jessica’s Law, YOU did nothing. YOU merely signed the bill when it crossed YOUR desk.

Where were YOU Governor O’Malley when House Judiciary Chair Joe Vallario rudely treated those who testified for the bill? Where YOU Governor O’Malley when Senate Judicial Proceedings chair Brian Frosh made supporters, including advocate Marc Klaas who traveled from California, wait five hours to testify then leave the room?

Where were YOU Governor?

Governor where were YOU when Frosh and Vallario were conspiring to kill the Jessica’s Law enhancement this past legislative session?

Only after a groundswell of public outrage against Frosh and Vallario did YOU issue perfunctory letter expressing support for the Jessica’s Law enhancement

YOU, Governor O’Malley did absolutely nothing to help pass the enhancement.

Also, Governor O’Malley how can YOU feature Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown in the ad when it was Brown, as majority whip of YOUR party, sided with trial lawyers by twisting arms on the floor of the house to get enough votes for a procedural execution of Jessica’s Law in 2006?

Governor O’Malley, I sincerely believe YOU to be an honorable man, and reasonable people can have fundamental philosophical differences without questioning their integrity.

However Governor, YOUR claim to have “passed Jessica’s Law” now leads me to question YOUR integrity.
Your ad is slap in the face to the grassroots advocates, who with No help from YOU, fought tooth and nail for Jessica’s Law against a recalcitrant majority of YOUR party to pass Jessica’s Law.

More below the fold.

PG School Teacher Uses County Email to Electioneer for O'Malley

Using the official county school email system, a Prince George’s County Public School teacher urged her colleagues to work the polls for Governor Martin O’Malley.

In an email time stamped 12:42 PM October 18, Catherine Kenny as PGPS delegate to the Maryland State Education Association convention told hundreds of county school employees that “the union stated at the meeting the National Board Teacher Alliance had in early Oct that they need to see at least *50 of us* at the Polls on Election Day.”

Kenny goes on to write “Please note that I was a delegate at the Conference in Ocean City and we really need to push voters to vote O'Malley if we want to keep our retirement plan.”
Using government email for political purposes is a huge no no. Section 16-234 of the Prince George’s County personnel manual states “Employees shall not engage in partisan political activity during their hours of employment.”

The county school calendar does not list October 18 as an off day and Kenny asking hundreds of her co-workers to electioneer for O’Malley counts a partisan political activity.

Kenny even provided an online spreadsheet for her colleagues to sign up, netting a whopping four volunteers.

Perhaps Kenny’s intended audience knew what she did not, as two of her co-workers did question the propriety of her solicitation. One recipient responded asking Kenny to remove her from the email list. The recipient said she did “not agree with the agenda that is being supported,” and did not want to “be told who to vote for through my county email.” The recipient alluded that the email “may even be illegal per the memo that [county school superintendent] Dr. Hite sent out through the legal office.”

Maryland’s teachers unions are a thoroughly reliable Democratic special interest so it isn’t a big surprise a union connected teacher would feel no compunction about violating personnel rules. They churn out campaign volunteers, and Democrats reward them with favors in Annapolis. As Democratic state Senator Mac Middleton once said “It's labor unions and trial lawyers that get Democrats in office. And you don't bite off the hand that feeds you.”

Indeed, just this past legislative session O’Malley handed the unions a lavish gift in the form of the deceptively titled “Fairness in Negotiations Act.” The law strips the state board of education’s power to resolve labor disputes and puts unprecedented power in the hands of a Public School Labor Relations Board. The Washington Post warned that the new board could award the unions with contracts local school boards can’t afford.

It’s not only Kenny and her union comrades who need to worry about their “retirement plans.” State taxpayers who foot the bill do as well. Maryland faces a tsunami of pension and retiree health care benefit obligations. Teachers are part of Maryland’s pension system, and right now Maryland faces $32 billion in unfunded liabilities over the next 25 years and the system is only 65% funded, well below actuarial standards. During the gubernatorial debates O’Malley ducked and dodged questions about how he would address the pension problem. If past behavior is any indication O’Malley won’t bite the union hand that feeds him. He’ll kick the can down the road leaving tax payers with the bill.


More below the fold.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Taking advantage of the third party

Richard Davis only wishes he had this kind of exposure, but it comes from an unconventional source.

Alert reader Jackie Gregory of the Cecil County Patriots, a well-established TEA Party group, sent me a note about a full-color mailing she'd received.

On the front it reads, "Richard Davis may be an outsider, but his ideas for big cuts to government spending fit right in with the Tea Party."

The back continues in a similar message, concluding with the question, "Richard Davis: Is he too conservative?"

In fact, Richard Davis is the Libertarian candidate for the First District seat, and it can be argued that it was his presence on the ballot in 2008 that may have tipped the scale to Frank Kratovil - Davis took 8,873 votes in a contest where Kratovil prevailed by only 2,852. We'll never know if most of them would have voted for Harris had Davis not been on the ballot, but chances are good Andy may have won. As you may recall Andy didn't officially concede until the absentee count showed he was too far behind.

So who is the new-found benefactor of the local Libertarian? None other than Chris Van Hollen and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They paid for this mailing and perhaps another - as Gregory points out:

The purpose of these ads is to confuse voters who are sympathetic to the TEA party, thereby boosting Kratovil's chances at re-election.

Just look at how cleverly worded this example is. The mailer isn't going to appeal to someone close to the middle of the political spectrum, but Democrats know as well as the rest of us that there's a percentage of us who would look at this mailer and perhaps agree that Davis isn't too conservative without knowing the entirety of his platform. All Kratovil needs to do is peel that small percentage of the vote away to win again.

However, the Maryland Libertarian Party rightfully called Kratovil and his inside-the-Beltway handlers out too:

Recently, a targeted mailing was sent out with a comparison between Dr. (Richard) Davis and one of his opponents, Dr. Andy Harris the Republican Candidate for Congress in the First District. The flyer does not endorse or call for one to vote either way, it just states the positions of the two candidates on a few issues.

However, neither the Maryland Libertarian Party nor Dr. Davis' campaign had any involvement or prior knowledge of this mailing and both entities do not support, encourage or endorse this type of activity.

The only items that Dr. Davis has incurred for his campaign have come out of his own "pocket" for gas and a few brochures. He has accepted two in-kind contributions, one for the purchase of the domain for his website, and another for video production for the internet on some key issues, both from Muir Boda.

The only expenditure that The Libertarian Party of Maryland has put towards his campaign is that of a radio ad that has included all 7 Libertarian Congressional Candidates in Maryland. This was paid out our FEC account, approved by the Executive Board and the Central Committee of the Maryland Libertarian Party and has the proper authority line in the message.

The Maryland Libertarian Party is proud of the campaign that Dr. Davis has run in this election and we will not stand idly by when his integrity is questioned.

To answer the question, Muir Boda handles media for the MLP.

Jackie also adds anecdotal evidence why this tactic may be employed by Kratovil and his special interest buddies:

This is being done all across the country in an attempt to take votes away from conservative candidates who are in close competition with their Democratic counterparts. Recently, a poll in our district was conducted which showed high favorability ratings of the TEA party among likely voters. When I was doorknocking a couple of weeks ago, one thing that struck me was the overwhelmingly positive response I received when we mentioned the TEA party. For every one of us that actually stays directly involved or connected to the TEA party, there are several others who sympathize with the movement and watch from a distance. This mailer is directed at those people and it's goal is to siphon votes away from Andy Harris and give them to the Libertarian candidate; if successful, we will end up with 2 more years of Frank Kratovil.

Obviously there are a certain number of people who agree with what Richard Davis has to say, and others may have voted for him last time around as a protest to the supposedly abrasive campaign Andy Harris ran in the 2008 primary.

This is an example of the conundrum which has faced TEA Party activists across the country when the idea of a third party is discussed - in this case a legitimate third party spoiler could help keep a liberal in Congress. Elsewhere Democrats have run shadow candidates under the TEA Party banner in hopes of eroding support of true conservative candidates and maintaining their hold on power. Even a liberal bastion like the New York Times admits this.

But a vote for Davis is a vote for Kratovil. I have all the respect in the world for the Libertarian Party and agree with them on a number of issues; however, that is the political reality we live with here.

I'm sure the statist status quo in Washington sent this out to the Shore figuring us uneducated hicks in the sticks would fall for the ruse. In fact, I found the wording of the piece rather condescending and at best a backhanded complement to the candidate it's supposed to help.

Frank Kratovil fooled us once in 2008 by protraying himself as an "independent", shame on him. If he fools us again in 2010, it's shame on us.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

(Note: the .pdf files of the piece are linked there too. Blogger doesn't seem to like file names with spaces.)

More below the fold.

The Band is Back Together on the Radio

You'll have a few chances to hear me, Greg, and Mark talk about the election in the next few days:

  • Annapolis/DC/Eastern Shore: Listen to 50,000 watt 107.9 FM WFSI for segments of our taping running today through Election Day
  • Baltimore: Listen to 860AM WBGR and 750 AM WBMD on Saturday for segments running throughout the day.

More below the fold.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Final Numbers on Judd Legum

Judd Legum has filed his final campaign finance report before the election. So how did the Man who sold the world do?

Of his total contributions......597 came from residents of Maryland. 555 came from outside of Maryland. That's not exactly a great ratio.

Of his total cash raised, Judd Legum raised $73,551.84 from out of state interests. He raised $59, 510.51 from in the state of Maryland. So still, even after four years to raise money, over 55% of Judd Legum's money was raised from out of state.

What does that mean to you and me? It means Judd Legum is still the candidate bought and paid for by out of state interests. Judd Legum is beholden more to special interests from Washington than he ever will be to the residents of District 30.

Ron George. Herb McMillan. Seth Howard.

More below the fold.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why you should vote for State Question 1

Sure there are a few places that have been talking about Question 1 for a few years now, but only recently has Question 1 been getting even a moderate amount of press, and most voters probably have no idea that it is even on the ballot.

What is Question 1? It's a Constitutional required provision that requires every twenty years that we be asked if we want to hold a Constitutional Convention:

Question 1
Constitutional Question
(Senate Bill 26, Chapter 9 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Maryland Constitutional Convention

Should a constitutional convention be called for the purpose of changing the Maryland Constitution?

Under Article XIV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution the General Assembly is required to ask the voters every 20 years whether a constitutional convention should be called for the purpose of altering the Maryland Constitution.

If a majority of voters support a Constitutional Convention, we will go to the polls and elect 188 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in a non-partisan election. Those Delegates will go to Annapolis and literally have the opportunity to write a new constitution to put before the people of Maryland.

Now there are a lot of people who don't necessarily think this is such a great idea. Kevin Dayhoff is concerned, for example, that this would turn into a liberal field day. However, I tend to disagree with that assessment. A Constitutional Convention would elect Delegates, as I previously mentioned, would elect Delegates in a non-partisan manner. In the last Constitutional Convention in 1967, fewer than a quarter of the elected Delegates were in fact elected officials. That means instead of getting entrenched liberal politicians with an ax to grind, we are going to get more real people than we would otherwise. That means something.

The second reason to hold such a convention is the opportunity that conservatives would have to publicly discuss and debate conservative ideas. As it stands, a lot of conservative ideas don't get fair hearings in the State Senate and the House of Delegates due to the leadership structure and the fact that Mike Miller and Mike Busch make sure that those ideas get put in a drawer somewhere. Miller and Busch would not be the controlling legal authority of such a Constitutional Convention. That means Delegates can have real discussions about real issues. Things like term limits, nonpartisan redistricting commissions and a score of other issues can be get a fair public hearing. That's important in a state like ours.

Even if the Constitutional Convention produces a document, there's a good chance that the voters will reject it; the last Constitutional Convention produced a document that was rejected by a two-to-one margin. But as it stands, Marylanders have few ways to directly impact the way we are governed. The lack of influence with entrenched legislators and the lack of the initiative process means that we can only do so much. A Constitutional Convention is something that we can do in order to try and give Maryland the government structure we need to prosper.

I voted early yesterday, and I voted for Question 1. I hope you do to.

More below the fold.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


That really is the only word to describe the Baltimore Sun poll released today that claims Martin O'Malley has a 14-point lead over Governor Ehrlich. This is possibly the only poll that actually could make the much-discredited Washington Post poll seem like good data, and re-solidifies that Sun's reputation as a mouthpiece for Martin O'Malley and the Maryland Democratic Party.

One of the biggest problems with the poll is the source of the polling data. The Sun poll was conducted by Annapolis pollster OpinonWorks. That's bad enough considering that firm principal Steven Raabe is a long-timer liberal operative and a former Field Director for the MSTA, who has endorsed O'Malley. What's worse than that is the relationship that OpinionWorks has with Center Maryland, the "down the middle" organization that consistently discredited due to the sheer and simple fact that the organization was founded by former members of the O'Malley Administration. So the Sun, a theoretically "non-biased" news organization is using a partisan pollster to provide ostensibly objective polling data for its newspapers. Bad form.

Beyond that though, of course, is the fact that the Sun did not release the raw data from the poll. Here is what the story has to say about the poll's methodology:

The Baltimore Sun telephone survey of 798 likely voters was conducted Oct. 15-20. The Sun's pollster, OpinionWorks of Annapolis, used a Maryland Board of Elections database to identify registered voters with a history of voting in gubernatorial elections or who had registered to vote since the last election, and obtained survey results from those who ranked themselves seven or higher on 1 to 10 scale of their likelihood to vote. The Sun's sample was designed to approximate the racial, gender, geographic, partisan and age breakdown of the state's voting population as a whole, based on turnout patterns averaged over the last four Maryland general elections. Results were weighted to reflect a higher-than-average Republican turnout this year, and slightly lower African American participation than in recent elections.
That of course leaves a lot to be desired information wise and leaves us with one major question: what were the demographics of the poll? Anybody can say that the poll was designed to "approximate" the breakdown of the population, but were they? We don't know. The story says that turnout patterns were "averaged over the last four Maryland general elections." Well, which general elections? The last four in total (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) or the last four statewide off-year elections? (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006)? And yes, there is a major difference between the turnout patters in the two races considering that turnout is always higher in Presidential years than non-Presidential years. And what defines a "higher-than-average Republican turnout this year?" What were the determining factors in determining that "estimated" higher Republican turnout, and did the pollster take into account the lower Democratic and higher Republican primary turnouts last month?

To be blunt, there is nothing contained in this poll that provides it one iota of credibility, especially when compared to the more recent Rasmussen and Gonzales polls. This poll is utter bull$#!t and since this election is going to be unlike any election that we have ever seen I wouldn't trust any polling model that you see or hear about from here until Election Day.

More below the fold.

Friday, October 22, 2010

National Public Radio to Juan Williams: Moderates Who Consort with Conservatives Need Not Apply for Full-Time Employment

--Richard E. Vatz

Before I support the arguments condemning National Public Radio's (now NPR) firing of Juan Williams as ideologically biased, let me stipulate that in most real-life dramas involving sophisticated players, there are contradictions and nuances that get overlooked when one generally characterizes the political biases of media. NPR is funded heavily by the government and liberal donors, but not exclusively.

My own personal experience with NPR and government-sponsored media has often been fair, with even-handed coverage, for example, of conservative political events with which I have been involved, and my experiences on Maryland Public Television have been 100% fair and balanced.

That said, the general left-leaning nature of NPR is really indisputable. Their choices of topics to cover, news personnel and their disposition on news matters do not provide a close call on this claim. There is too much evidence to specify, but just listen or watch them.

On the current matter, Juan Williams, as everyone by now outside of Iranian prisons knows, said on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" in a discussion of Bill O'Reilly's comments on "The View" regarding Muslims and 9/11, "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot, [and] you know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous...but I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all -- as President Bush did after 9/11 -- it's not a war against Islam."

That seems a not-unreasonable reaction to seeing people in Muslim garb at an airport, the site of planes being commandeered by Muslim radicals and the passengers' being killed.

NPR, however, was scandalized. According to Mr. Williams, he was asked accusatorily by the very liberal Ellen Weiss, Senior Vice President for News at NPR, "What did you mean to say," and he responded that it was an "honest statement" of his psychological reaction - psychiatrists call it "stimulus generalization" - to seeing Muslims who are similar to his memory of the Muslims who perpetrated 9/11.

Her response, as quoted by Williams, was "That crosses the line," and "she suggested that I made a bigoted statement." Told that the irreversible decision was already made to fire him, he inquired why such a decision was made regarding an employee in good standing who had worked for a decade at NPR: "I don't even get the have a conversation?"

But the outcome should leave no one incredulous. NPR resented Juan Williams' time spent at Fox and resented his sometimes centrist points of view.

The cashiering of Williams was made pursuant to a complaint issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In an interview on Fox news, the spokesperson for the Muslim advocacy group, Ibrahim Hooper, in an interview with Megyn Kelly may have inadvertently revealed that the Emperor's clothes are blue: "Well, he (Williams) was increasingly leaning towards the right and NPR obviously has a more liberal viewpoint, and there wasn't a good fit there, so perhaps this was the breaking point.

The most disingenuous defense of NPR's termination of Juan Williams is one widely dispersed: that, as described in The New York Times, "Like many other news organizations, NPR expects its journalists to avoid situations that might call its impartiality into question - an expectation written into the organization's ethics code."

This from a news organization that has suborned Nina Totenberg and employed a phalanx of liberal reporters, talk show hosts and subjects, with a sprinkling of moderate conservatives?

If anyone doubts the ubiquity of reporters, right and left, serving ideological masters on the media, just watch Reliable Sources, the generally excellent CNN show on media criticism. Week after week liberal reporters defend their liberal biases, while a decidedly smaller population of conservative scribes defends their conservative biases. On just one week's show last year when the topic of media bias against Sarah Palin was considered, the show sported three -- count 'em, three - liberal reporters, Anne Kornblut (The Washington Post), Julie Mason (The Houston Chronicle) and Frank Sesno (CNN), who sniggered their way through their denigration of any notion so laughable as the proposition that Sarah Palin was not treated fairly by the press.

Juan Williams' making nice on-air with conservative Fox regulars was sufficient reason to NPR for getting rid of him. In an essay he wrote yesterday, he said flat-out that his firing offense was that he "[told] the truth."

The Times quotes his essay as saying further that "This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one-sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought."

It's hard to improve on that interpretation.

No surprise - Juan Williams is a superb newsman.

--Professor Vatz teaches Media Criticism at Towson University

More below the fold.

Democratic Governor's Association: Sales Tax Hike Hurts Poor

Looks like Rick Abbruzzese needs to get on the horn to the DGA, they are off the O'Malley message reservation.

The DGA just told us a one percent sales tax increase hurts the poor. O'Malley hiked the sales tax 20%.

More below the fold.

Let's Talk about.......the Register of Wills office

Most people don't even realize that the Register of Wills is an elected position in Maryland or what the heck the position does. Republican Nominee Lindsey Thomas in Baltimore County tries to help with that:

I'm sure Lindsey would love it if you could support her campaign by checking out her website.

(Disclaimer: I encouraged Lindsey to run for Register of Wills because I thought she would do a great job and I'm a donor to her campaign)

More below the fold.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Franchot's Bad Form

I attended the Pasadena Business Association candidates forum tonight at the Earleigh Heights Fire Hall and the night was slightly marred by the unfortunate antics of Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Franchot arrived at the Fire Hall shortly after the event started, and the first words out of his mouth were "That's it?" when looking at the number of people in attendance. Not a great start with a number of folks still milling around the door.

Franchot then proceeded to give his remarks, however two minutes into them the timer went off. You see, all candidates who were giving remarks had a two minute opening statement. Franchot was no exception. However when the buzzer went off, Franchot began to complain that he was "promised three to five minutes" and that "he came all the way out here" and did not want to give only two minute remarks. He continued his remarks, however, still smarting about the original cutoff. He concluded his remarks, said goodbye to a few Democratic politicos, and just left before the representative from the Bill Campbell campaign even started his remarks.

Franchot's behavior was so bad that even the moderator for the debate commented about it and asked if anybody else had any problems with the pre-printed agenda, though they were certainly not going to change it for anyone. Needless to say, there were a lot of small business owners and local community residents who were extremely put off by Franchot's attitude problem.

Franchot's antics were said. But it is very indicative of the Democratic sense of entitlement and privilege here in Maryland. Remember that when you go to the polls....

More below the fold.

O'Malley's $900 Million Boondoggle

The Baltimore Hilton, Martin O’Malley’s $300 million tax payer financed boondoggle, is coming back to bite him. According to Investigative Voice the hotel has racked up $30 million in losses and failed to boost the city’s convention center business—the ostensible goal for which it was built.

The city’s total debt burden for the hotel is $900 million.

While the hotel currently generates enough to pay the interest on it’s debt, it must however, by 2014 start paying down the interest, a much harder prospect as Investigative Voice notes.

It appears that the only people to profit from O’Malley’s boondoggle were the developers, including one Ronald Lipscomb—if only for a short time before the law caught up with him.

Lipscomb you may remember is the developer and donor—who heaped gobs of campaign cash on O'Malley and other Democrats—at the center of disgraced former Baltimore mayor, Sheila Dixon's corruption saga.

O'Malley you may remember called Lipscomb "a man of vision, talent, and commitment to the greater good." Of course, by “greater good” O’Malley means padding his campaign account and enriching other connected Maryland Democratic cronies.

Enriching connected Democrat donors and cronies while sticking tax payers with the bill, now that’s moving Maryland forward.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nuance is not Leadership

Judd Legum sure does love to tell tall tales about his fundraising prowess.

Legum has repeatedly stated that he is not taking money from state lobbyists and state political action committees. Never mind the fact that it is well documented that he is being funded by inside the Beltway politicos and Washington lobbyists. But he has steadfastly maintained that he isn't benefiting from these state PAC dollars, which is a nuanced answer to deflect the fact that he is taking all of that other money.

Legum continued the charade tonight. Herb McMillan is one of the Republican candidates running in this district called out Legum for being a member of Speaker Mike Busch's slate committee. Of course that means that Legum is in fact a beneficiary of Busch's special interest largesse. McMillan helpfully pointed out that Legum's promise on even not accepting state PAC money was just not correct.

Legum handled it much like any Washington liberal would; deny deny deny. I was amazed that I was watching it with my own eyes.

Judd Legum's hypocrisy on fundraising and special interests is never ending and amazing. Even when caught in an outright fabrication that he ia not benefiting from special interests dollars, he continues to refuse to accept the reality. Sure, Legum's claims to not be influenced by special interests were ludicrous from the get go due to the fact that Legum was influential in creating the Center for American Progress, which means Legum was influential in creating an inside the Beltway special interest. But it is amazing to what lengths Legum will go to to deceive the residents of District 30.

PS: Ron George; Seth Howard; Herb McMillan

More below the fold.

Lollar Calls Out Hoyer

Talk about laying down a marker.

We know Steny's new title is going to be former majority leader Hoyer, but Charles Lollar just may be responsible for us calling him former congressman Hoyer.

More below the fold.

O'Malley Stacks the Deck for Tax Increases in 2011

As my esteemed colleague pointed out yesterday, Martin O’Malley’s tax commission is set to recommend a slew of new taxes after the November election. Now some of our critics and supporters of Governor O’Malley would take issue with Brian’s assessment that the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission barely met. They actually convened 11 meetings over the last three years. Quibbling over the number of meetings however, muddies the fact that the commission was stacked with tax raisers and soaked-to-the-bone Keynesians.

Take a look at the membership of the commission.

Of the six legislators appointed to the body, senators Verna Jones, Nancy King, Rich Madaleno, and delegates Kumar Barve and Sheila Hixson (all Democrats) gladly voted for O’Malley’s 2007 special session tax increases, the largest in Maryland history. The other legislator is Republican delegate, Paige Elmore, who is now deceased.

There are two public members of the commission Michael Ettlinger and Martin Lobel.

Michael Ettlinger is Vice President for Economic Policy at the… wait for it…Center for American Progress, John Podesta’s progressive think tank funded largely by George Soros. Ettlinger is not a proponent of spending cuts to balance budgets and favors repealing the Bush tax cuts.

Martin Lobel is a partner in a Washington DC public interest law firm, who advocates Keynesian stimulus and higher taxes on the rich.

However, it’s not just the ideological bent of the commissioners that is important here, but that of the experts they brought in to testify.

For example:

Michael Mazerov of the left leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Mazerov, a former policy analyst for AFSMCE, favors combined reporting and opposes cutting state corporate income taxes. CBPP receives funding from the ultra left wing foundations like the Democracy Alliance, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Jeff McLynch, who at the time of his testimony was State Policy Director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. ITEP’s Board of Directors includes former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, Robert Kuttner editor of The American Prospect the flagship magazine of the Center for American Progress, and SEIU official Dean Tipps. ITEP gets it’s funding from the usual suspects: Soros, Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation among others.

Washington College economics professor Robert Lynch. Lynch is also a research economist for the Economic Policy Institute. Lynch favors higher taxes and increased government spending as a means to spur economic growth. EPI’s board of directors reads like a who’s who of labor union leaders. Andrew Stern and Ana Burger of SEIU, Ron Gettelfinger president of the UAW, Richard Trumka head of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME chief Gerald McEntee etc…

So here we have Chef O’Malley’s recipe for solving his second structural deficit: sprinkle some tax and spend Democrat lawmakers—with a dash of progressive policy wonks—on top of failed Keynesian theory and voila you’ve got a gourmet meal of tax increases for the 2011 legislative session.

Of course, this isn’t the first stacked deck commission O’Malley set up to return pre-ordained conclusions. O’Malley contracted out with the Center for Climate Strategies, a global warming alarmist group, to manage the proceedings of The Maryland Commission on Climate Change. CCS, along with state environmental special interests paid for and wrote the report that provides O’Malley with a menu of climate change taxes and regulations.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Introduction of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich at Towson University’s Persuasion Class, October 19, 2010

--Richard E Vatz

But for 4-5 words of improvement of clarity, here is the verbatim introduction of Gov. Ehrlich I gave today at Towson University:

I first want to say, as I have for the 18 years or so that Gov. Robert Ehrlich has accepted 2 invitations a year to speak to my advanced Persuasion class, what a pleasure and honor it is to have him grace with his presence Towson University, the finest public university in Maryland, and I am obviously proud and complimented that he has chosen to speak to my class just 2 weeks before his upcoming re-election – I’m sorry – two weeks before the voters choose whether to re-elect him as governor.

I also want to assure the Governor that his audience today is composed of Towson’s finest students, including my advanced classes in Media Criticism and Persuasion, two classes which have distinguished themselves with excellent performances so far this term. I made my perennial effort to not reveal that you would be the “special guest” today, Governor, but students kept saying under their breath, “Does Vatz think we’re idiots?” and then out loud, “So will Gov. Ehrlich be here for the whole class?”

What they didn't know is that your candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Mary Kane, is here, and you know that she and Michael Steele were and are, in the opinion of at least this one professor, exquisite choices for that position. Mrs. Kane served as the Secretary of State in Maryland, and I can tell you that she was the best Secretary of State Maryland has had. Her articulation of the issues facing Maryland and what an Ehrlich administration can do to benefit Maryland is non pareil.

Before I go into my brief introductory remarks, let me welcome some local celebrities who have joined us, and I shall go through the list quickly, because I don’t know for certain who actually made it – please forgive me if I have missed you, for every term I leave out great people who have come: Chancellor Brit Kirwan and President Bob Caret send their regrets that they couldn't make it...before I welcome a few luminaries who are here, let me send forth a warm hello from the best provost this university has had since the late Dan Jones, Jim Clements, who currently is president at West Virginia University. President Clements said to tell you he would be here if he could to see you, and he wishes he could have attended; I must also tell you, Governor, that he said I should tell you that you’re “the guest of the best Professor at Towson.” As I say, great man; great judgment.

Back to the welcomes: they include from Gov. Ehrlich’s campaign Greg Massoni, communication consultant , and Press Secretary and one of my heroes from the local electronic press, Andy Barth. I do not believe the Governor’s sons, Drew and Joshua, are here, but neither of them sent me an e-mail, so I cannot be sure.

My former great chair Ron Matlon is here, as is John Kastner, the chair of our department’s Board of Advisors.

We have a great former regent, David Nevins, Maryland Representatives Bill Frank and Susan Aumann, and Mark Newgent, my great colleague from Red Maryland. There’s a lot of greatness here.

We have also a variety of excellent Electronic and Print Journalists from around the State and District of Columbia. I invited various top reporters and other media representatives, and there are too many to mention, but I did want to cite my two favorite columnists: Gregory Kane from the Washington Examiner is here, and so is Marta Mossburg from the Sun.

In addition, some of my other colleagues from this great university are here as well, including faculty, administration and staff.

From time to time my Persuasion class is a mite prescient regarding the Governor’s race: I predicted to my class that to you the sales tax increase would be characterized as a 20% increase while to Gov. O’Malley it would be minimized as simply a one-penny increase.

That is exactly what has happened, and we’re hoping you’ll tell my class who is more correct.

While we’re on the subject of rhetoric, which includes the interpretation of facts that are made prominent by the press, today the Gonzales polling group published their latest poll which shows the gap between you and Gov. O’Malley to be 5 points. How do we interpret that five points? Well, The Washington Post had this headline on its blog today, “Another poll shows momentum for O'Malley.” The Baltimore Sun has a much more neutral headline, “New poll: O'Malley five points ahead of Ehrlich,” and for those in my persuasion class, rhetorically you may say that in 3 weeks time from The Washington Post poll to this one, Gov. Ehrlich has cut Gov. O’Malley’s lead by almost 55%.

Governor Ehrlich, we are hoping that you will tell us – or persuade us – regarding why an Ehrlich Administration brings would make a difference on the issues of unemployment and the job market for my students and taxes and, of course, other issues that affect them.

I am now going to present you with the candidate for Governor whom I first invited to be a guest speaker in my class 18 years ago when I noted that, as a conservative, all of then-State Representative Ehrlich’s positions were similar to my own. As I mentioned, he has been a guest every year, twice a year since, including his years as Governor. He served in Towson; he loves Towson; he donated his public congressional and gubernatorial papers to Towson; and most years Towson has returned that appreciation. He is the most regular and decent guy running for public office I have ever known. I now present you, my Persuasion and Media Criticism classes, and ask for a Towson University warm welcome for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.

Professor Vatz teaches the upper-level course Persuasion at Towson University

More below the fold.

The Case Against Brian Frosh

It is almost become cliché that the Democratic majority in Annapolis is beholden to the interests of trial lawyers and labor unions.

Yet as we know clichés are based on the received wisdom of lived experience. Indeed, one Democrat senator admitted as much, saying “It's labor and trial lawyers that get Democrats in office. And you don't bite off the hand that feeds you.”

When it comes to protecting the interests of trial lawyers Senator Brian Frosh--the Montgomery County Democrat from District 16 in Bethesda--personifies this cliché.

One need look no further than Frosh’s boorish obstructionism against Jessica’s Law the landmark legislation that mandates long mandatory minimum sentences—without parole—for child sex offenders.

Fortunately Frosh has a credible challenger in November, Jerry Cave. Jerry is a former radio executive and owner of Washington Home and Garden Magazine, and his own communications company.

Instead of the usual campaign mailers, Jerry put together a 36-page magazine outlining the case against Brian Frosh, not just his intransigence on Jessica’s Law, but why he is better suited to represent the voters of his district.

Cave Mag
Full Disclosure: I was a paid contributor to the magazine’s section on Jessica’s Law.

More below the fold.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here Comes the Pain

Martin O'Malley is telling pretty much anybody who will listen that he is not going to raise taxes. Well of course he's saying that now. It is very easy to deflect the tax issue before the election. Especially when the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission has barely met since O'Malley created it during his term. Which of course makes the following announcement a little curious:

The Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission yesterday announced that it will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, November 9th at 6:30 p.m. in Annapolis (location TBA) to take public testimony on the options it is considering for changing (increasing) business taxes in Maryland. Attached is a full list of the issues they are considering, which include:

- Combined reporting for corporate income taxes

- Other corporate income tax changes such as tax rates and single sales factor apportionment

- Alternatives to the corporate income tax, including alternative minimum tax, gross receipts tax, and value added tax

- Broadening the sales tax base

- Requiring additional information from businesses receiving tax incentives

The Business Tax Reform Commission has been meeting for two years on these issues, and we are now at the end game. Note that all substantive decisions and votes will be made after the election. Here is their remaining schedule:

- November 9th – Public Hearing

- November 16th – Voting Session

- December 7th – Review Draft Report

- December 13th – Approve Final Report

See the Commission’s website for background info.

Isn't it amazing that O'Malley Tax Commission meets infrequently prior the election, and then has a number of rapid fire meetings immediately after the election so that the commission can recommend a series of tax increases to O'Malley and to legislative leadership. Would somebody be so cynical as to say that O'Malley and Company planned for the Commission to meet this way so that O'Malley could cynically say that he had "no plans" to raise taxes, and then immediately adopt the Commission's proposals for higher taxes? Wouldn't that just be nutty?

Of course, it probably isn't that far from the truth when even the Commission's message notes that "all substantive decisions and votes will be made after the election." Why else would the Commission go out of its way to point that out if the Commission was predetermined to recommend higher taxes in the same manner that O'Malley's Death Penalty commission had a predestined outcome.

Don 't believe me? Take a look at this document under consideration by the Commission:
BTRC Issues

All of this of course makes you wonder this: what is the Commission going to propose that they can't talk about right now?

The moral of the story is this. If re-elected, Martin O'Malley is going to raise your taxes. The machinery has already been put into place. The plan is already in motion. It will happen. Sadly, Martin O'Malley just does not have the political courage to tell the voters the truth....

More below the fold.

More Egg on Their Face

Remember when the Maryland Democratic Party tried that snarky--and dishonest--shot at Mary Kane for wishing Maryland were more like Texas in regards to business and tax policy?

Well here's more egg on their face.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period. If every state in the country had performed as well, we’d have created about 1.5 million jobs nationally during the past year, and maybe “stimulus” wouldn’t be such a dirty word.

What does Austin know that Washington doesn’t? At its simplest: Don’t overtax and -spend, keep regulations to a minimum, avoid letting unions and trial lawyers run riot, and display an enormous neon sign saying, “Open for Business.”

Add Martin O'Malley and his merry band of technocrats in Annapolis to that list of what Washington doesn't know.

More below the fold.

Love In the Age of Technocracy

A few thing's I'd like to add to Brian's evisceration of the logic of the Washington Post's logic in endorsement of Martin O'Malley.

Is the Post so oblivious to the hypocrisy of praising O'Malley for naming "top flight" technocrats to his cabinet in one breath, than in the next showing concern for one-party rule.

For what is a technocracy but the symptom one-party rule.

Do the Post editors wish Maryland could be China for Day?

In many respects O'Malley's technocrats have already done this.

As Brian already alluded O'Malley farmed out state climate policy to a group of technocrats managed by a radical environmental advocacy group. The final report paid for and written by environmental special interests calls for a host of taxes, fees, and burdensome regulations.

Don't bother asking the technocrats at the Maryland Department of the Environment which of those environmental special interests are writing the regulations for Maryland's greenhouse gas reduction law. They don't want you to know.

Do the Post editors think Donald Devore, head of Department of Juvenile Services is a "top flight" technocrat? Under Devore's watch DJS has seen deaths at it's facilities and a legislative audit found the department lost hundreds of millions of dollars, lacked sound internal accounting and personnel polices, and overpaid contractors.

Lest we not forget top flight technocrat DLLR secretary, Alexander Sanchez who oversaw the cover up of that July jobs report, including ordering his press officer to communicate with him in a way not traceable by public records requests.

The fact of the matter is that the Post's labeling of O'Malley as "a good government Democrat" is a euphemism for big government Democrat--the very type of politician they adore.

To understand this one need only read O'Malley's own words on the concept of citizenship. O'Malley's "One Maryland" is 21st century recycling of Mussolini's holistic totalitarian vision, "everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." For O'Malley citizens are merely cogs in the machinery of government moving it's way toward the sunny uplands of history.

This is what O'Malley means when he tells us "progress" i.e., his political goals, requires embracing the “power of citizenship” and a “unity of spirit and matter” to “advance the common good.”

This destroys the Post's assertion that this is no real difference between O'Malley and Bob Ehrlich.

On this fundamental issue the two candidates could not be more at odds. One candidate--Martin O'Malley--recognizes few lines of demarcation between government and private life. The other candidate--Bob Ehrlich--does, especially as it relates to small business, economic growth and job creation.

Bob Ehrlich offers a clear choice not an echo.

More below the fold.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Disingenousness of the Washington Post Endorsement

The Washington Post has been suffering from a tremendous credibility gap in their coverage of the 2010 Maryland gubernatorial election, from the content of their stories to a completely bogus poll concocted by the Post staff. So the closer we got to endorsement time, the less credibility and balance I expected from the Post and their writers.

So from that perspective, today's Washington Post endorsement of Martin O'Malley for a second term as Governor was incredibly unsurprising. But the endorsement does bring up a few curious questions about the Post and their endorsement process.

First and foremost is the fact that the debate sponsored by the Washington Post seemed to have exactly zero impact on the endorsement delivered by the editorial board of the aforementioned Washington Post. The Post story on the debate highlighted many differences between Bob Ehrlich and Martin O'Malley, and generally pointed out that Bob Ehrlich had more concrete and relatable policy solutions to Maryland's problems than O'Malley has. So question number one to the Post editorial board is this: why sponsor a debate when you are going to ignore its results?

The second main issue I have with the Post endorsement is the focus that is spent on the reduction of the sales tax increase. Here is what the editorial says about that:

And despite the applause-inducing nature of Mr. Ehrlich's main fiscal proposal in this campaign -- to roll back the 20 percent sales tax increase at the heart of Mr. O'Malley's 2007 tax package -- he has refused to say how he would absorb the resulting loss of $600 million in state revenue.

By pretending that he can painlessly starve state government of income, Mr. Ehrlich has failed to level with Maryland voters. He has also undercut his own campaign's main thrust, which is that he would reinvigorate the state's business climate and create jobs. If he balances his budget by hacking away at the budgets for schools or public safety, how credible is his assertion that he would be more successful in attracting new companies?

Of course the Post editorial seems to leave off a few key and basic facts. Mainly, they completely ignore Governor Ehrlich's confidence that a sales tax decrease will result in increased tax revenues. It should be reasonable common sense. After all, many folks (myself included) reminded Democrats time and time again that increasing taxes would lead to a decrease in revenues. Don't believe me? Comptroller Peter Franchot (hardly the mouthpiece of fiscal conservatism) pointed out nearly three years ago that the state's tax hikes would likely lead to a long-term decrease in revenues and a bleaker fiscal picture. We know that a reduction in tax rates will lead to a healthier long-term fiscal outlook., and Bob Ehrlich helpfully pointed that out. When the Post's moderator didn't like the answer that she got to the question, Ehrlich merely reiterated the point. And the point is not only factually accurate given past performances, but also something the Post should have been reasonable able to crosscheck with on of their financial writers on staff.

The Post even managed to get a laugh line in their editorial:
And Mr. O'Malley's four years in office have been scandal-free, a refreshing departure from recent history in Annapolis.
That cracks me up only because of the shear number of coverups the O'Malley Administration has engaged in, ranging the gamut of issues from the environment to the jobs report scandal. There may have been few scandals coming out of the O'Malley Administration, but the secrecy engaged by this Administration really makes one wonder.

The Post editorial was something that we saw coming. Nearly two years ago the Post pretended like it wouldn't be a contest at all and we had already lost. But it seems awfully curious to me that the Post and its editorial board would sponsor a debate, see the candidates perform, see that fact that one candidate clearly had a better grasp of the facts and the future than the other one, and the endorse the failed incumbent anyway. And while I did not expect a repeat of the Post endorsement of Governor Ehrlich from four years ago, it is still a sad and disappointing exercise

More below the fold.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Personal Note on the Immigration Issue and the Maryland Tea Party in the 2010 Maryland Gubernatorial Campaign

Richard E. Vatz

In the 2010 Maryland political campaign, I believe I have made two predictive errors: I predicted with regret that Patricia Jessamy would defeat Gregg Bernstein for City State’s Attorney, and I predicted that immigration would have no traction as an issue in the Maryland governor’s race.

I unambiguously admitted the error in the Bernstein race (before the election), and I have admitted my perceptual error regarding the immigration issue implicitly in a Red Maryland blog and explicitly on several radio appearances, including C-4 and Kendel Ehrlich’s shows on WBAL Radio.

Despite my retraction of my errancy, I continue getting public and private communications asking how I could believe that the proactive tolerance of illegal immigrants in Maryland could not be a significant issue in view of its apparently gaining hold onto many conservatives’ positions on the race.

I don’t know how to say this more clearly: I believe that, contrary to my earlier skepticism, the issue of illegal immigration and the ongoing Democratic support of illegal immigrant-friendly CASA of Maryland (and, relatedly, the issue of Maryland Senate President Mike Miller’s promise at the recent Obama rally to rid Maryland of Tea Partiers) has potential to significantly affect the governor’s race. I share conservatives’ incredulity at the current governor’s praising illegal immigrants as “New Americans,” and in fact on Kendel’s show this a.m., I indicated that such a quote serves as a marker of a legitimate, significant difference between Gov. O’Malley and Gov. Ehrlich.

Finally, one more personal note to end this overly self-indulgent blog: there has been some resentment I have received from Tea Party members who infer hostility from me. This enmity simply does not exist. There are indeed issues on which we do not agree, but if you have read articles I have written over the years, plus my book on Thomas Szasz, you will know that we have a lot in common ideologically.

It’s time to get rid of unnecessary misperception and friction among kindred spirits.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some Questions for MaryPIRG

Johann Neumann of the fringe Maryland Public Interest Research Group waxes poetic about in the Sun this morning about how Maryland doesn't need actual solutions to our energy needs. Neumann is steadfastly against the construction of a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant in Southern Maryland. Her group has been leading a No New Nukes campaign to derail this third reactor for some time (a fact that was conveniently overlooked by the Sun).

So needless to say I've got a few questions for Ms. Neumann and for MaryPIRG as to why they are so hellbent on keeping a third reactor off line:

  1. MaryPIRG is an advocate for energy efficiency mainly through more efficient homes and businesses. Why does MaryPIRG oppose more efficient electricity generation?
  2. The majority of Marlyand's power is now generated by fossil fuel burning electric plants. Why does MaryPIRG oppose cleaner nuclear replacements for dirty, fossil fuel burning plants?
  3. Nations such as France generate nearly three-quarters of their power through nuclear reactors, making a France a leader in cheap, clean electricity. Why does MaryPIRG oppose cheaper and greener electricity?
  4. Sixteen nations, including France, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic generate a higher percentage of their power through nuclear power than the United States. Why does MaryPIRG want the United States to lag behind on cheaper, greener electricity generation?
  5. Construction of a third reactor could create up to 400 permanent jobs and provide work for 4,000 construction workers in Southern Maryland, to say nothing of a larger customer base for existing suppliers and businesses in the region. Why does MaryPIRG oppose new jobs and new economic opportunity for middle and working class Marylanders?
  6. MaryPIRG supports the redirection of money slated for construction of the third reactor towards wind and solar projects. Why does MaryPIRG support investing in unproven alternative energy projects instead of proven nuclear technology?
It's funny that MaryPIRG takes such positions, because if you believe what they say in their mission statement they are all about baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet:
Maryland PIRG is an advocate for the public interest. When consumers are cheated, or our natural environment is threatened, or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, Maryland PIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. Maryland PIRG's mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government.
The problem here is multifold. MaryPIRG, in opposing nuclear power, is not advocating for the public interest. The public interest in construction of the new reactor would be job creation and cleaner, cheaper electricity. MaryPIRG, instead is doing what so many groups do; advocate for the interests of their continuance, and advocate for the policies supporter by the Democratic Party. They are the special interest lobbyists that are drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens who want more jobs for and cheaper power. The irony isn't lost on me. I just wish that Ms. Neumann and her cohorts at MaryPIRG did not engage in such crass hypocrisy to try and make their points.

More below the fold.

Appointment Listening for Saturday

I'll be a in studio tomorrow morning on The Kendel Ehrlich Show.

Listen live at or at 1090 on your AM dial...

More below the fold.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The O'Malley Insult

I understand that Martin O'Malley is a panderer. Everybody knows that. I understand that Martin O'Malley wants to make sure that he appears as somebody who "understands" the immigration issue. Somebody who wants to look like he cares. I understand that Martin O'Malley was buying Delegates off on promises of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants in order to get his Constitutional Amendment on slots passed.

But Martin O'Malley's using the term "New Americans" as a term to describe illegal aliens is a gigantic insult to a pretty large swath of Maryland's population.

So many Marylanders are descended from recent immigrants, families who came to the United States in droves from Ireland, and Italy, and other far flung locations. Many of them just in the last century. It is in no way hyperbolic to say that we are indeed a national of immigrants, those who have come to the promised land in search of the best of all possible lives.

But most of those folks came here legally.

What Martin O'Malley does by calling illegal immigrants "New Americans" is to attempt to legitimatize illegitimate and illegal behavior. There is nothing American about one's first act in the United States to be breaking the law. Nor is then anything legitimate and proper about our state's Governor trying to turn a blind eye to such behaviors.

But this goes far, far beyond Martin O'Malley turning a blind eye to and helping to fund illegal behavior. What O'Malley said was thoroughly insulting. It is insulting to the families who came here through legal means so many years ago. It is doubly insulting to those immigrants who are living and working with us right now who are applying for citizenship through legal means. Those are the folks who we should be encouraging. Those are the folks who are truly inspired to become "New Americans" in the tradition of the millions who have come before them.

Martin O'Malley was trying to score a cheap political point with the members of his base who support such illegal behaviors. What he really did was stick a thumb in the eye of millions of Marylanders who see through the cheap political stunt it truly was...

More below the fold.