A Comedy of Errors
As one of those in attendance last night for the Anne Arundel Republican Central Committee meeting, I wanted to relate a few thoughts. I know many of my fellow bloggers were there and will have their own takes and I hope a number of us, with differing viewpoints, will also have a great discussion for the next podcast.
Then I will be content to never speak of this unpleasantness again.
To his credit, my friend (and I get no end of grief for that I can tell you) Brian Griffiths, has been among the first to give his account of last night’s events. Reading his entry, however, I began to wonder if we were at the same meeting.
Good stuff below the fold.
The factual events are fairly portrayed but I walked away with a very different feeling. Mike Collins did try to ignore members of the committee who wanted to move his removal to the top of the agenda. It was silly and unnecessary and a terrible way to start the meeting.Ms. Belcher did try to limit debate.
The committee spent nearly half an hour deciding to only slightly limit debate which Mike as chair would be tracking. This also seemed unnecessary as those who spoke did so only briefly and only a few people who did not contact the committee beforehand had any comment. Most, like me, came to listen.
There was a statement that everyone who spoke from the audience was against what the committee was doing but this was not the case. Mike had a number of supporters who did speak on his behalf and who came to support him but many of the speakers simply lamented that this issue had gotten out of hand because it was not conducted internally and because when it became public those who supported removal stayed silent. The statement “there is plenty of blame to go around” was oft repeated and for good reason.
Alan Rzepkowski and Erik Robey may particularly good explanations of why the committee was doing what they did. There were many legitimate reasons why the committee wanted someone else to lead them and all the wild speculation that this was ideological or some backdoor plotting by certain politicians, which I always doubted on this blog and in our podcast, was rightly put to bed. The committee just did not like the way Mike was running things. They did not like his public criticism of the state party, whether real or percieved. They did not feel the transistion to his leadership was as quick or as efficient as it should have been.
In fact, Collins began his remarks by stating that he originally intended to resign in September but changed his mind to stay on only until January. The committee members met to convince him to step aside and to work out their issues but Mike, for reasons which are disputed, did not attend the meeting.(This is the infamous Kaufmann’s encouter).
In other words, this was much ado about nothing.
It was tragic that this had to play out in the public. It was a crying shame that the members of the committee, for sincere albeit mistaken reasons, chose not to address this when it did become public. This fueled the rank speculation and allowed Mike to get his view of the story out, that this was a right wing coup, without any question. The members acknowledged the whole thing got out of hand. It did and “there is plenty of blame to go around” that it happened.
What many people missed, because they left after the removal vote, is that the committee finished their agenda with surprising collegiality and aplomb. They got back to the work of the committee, namely organizing events for the upcoming county fair and voted to make a significant contribution to the state GOP. The little debate on these points was vigorous but polite.
So it seems that we will look back at this and wonder what all the fuss was about.
Truly it was a comedy of errors.