There is always a back story.
It is weird being a part of Red Maryland sometimes. When you have been involved in electoral politics and the internet as long as we have strange things sometimes happen. Sometimes you meet interesting people. Sometimes people who only know us via the internet or social media or only by reputation often make associations and assumptions about us that have no relationship to reality.
Case in point. Brian and I had the honor of visiting with the East County Republican Club (ECRC) last week as part of their monthly meeting. The folks there were extremely gracious and invited us to tell them a bit more about Red Maryland and what we are doing. We had a great time and particularly want to thank Steve Dishon and Carlton Clendaniel for reaching out to us and inviting us to speak. Brian and I both began our time as political activists being regulars and leaders in such groups and we relish the opportunity to meet with committed conservatives who, to our chagrin, in many cases have little idea who we are or what Red Maryland has been doing the last ten years.
But that isn’t the weird part.
A new member of the group, a gentleman who stated that he only became a Republican in the week prior to the meeting, raised an issue of particular local concern. It involved the effort to pass HB 172 (its companion in the State Senate is SB728) titled the “Home Act of 2017.” The bill would expand the mandatory acceptance of Section 8 housing vouchers throughout the state among other changes. (You can read the full Fiscal and Policy impact here.) As of the writing of this post, the bill passed the House of Delegates but is languishing in a Senate committee (the Senate version is also stuck in committee).
As Brian and I learned, folks in eastern Baltimore County are particularly concerned about this issue as there is a high concentration of section 8 housing in their area and residents, understandably, are unhappy about dealing with the negative consequences of such housing. Local legislators all seem to oppose the measure and the members of the club, particularly the newly minted member we met, felt this was a critical issue for the club to oppose.
Ok so far.
It was at this point that Brian and I get pulled into some internal club dispute about this issue. Referring to a post on another blog, the accusation was made that a member of the ECRC board was an officer in a local organization pushing this legislation and the claim was made that the group’s leaders were “Republicans In Name Only”. The author of this blog post, who was not apparently at the meeting we attended, claimed he was banned from club meetings because of his criticism of a prior month’s speaker, a Baltimore County councilman.
Now Brian and I, of course, had no idea about any of this. We have not covered this issue specifically and certainly not from the local Baltimore County perspective. We also did not have the slightest clue about the internal drama of the ECRC. Nevertheless, we were drawn into this controversy by this absentee blogger and our new freshly-minted Republican friend.
For the record, Brian and I are not members of the ECRC (that seemed to be a question raised by the blogger). We were invited to speak and have no idea who was or wasn’t invited to the ECRC meeting in which we spoke. We have no involvement in nor, frankly, could care less about, the internal disagreements of the members of the ECRC. We would oppose the purpose of HB 172 and support those elected officials who did so but it is, as mentioned, not an issue were have addressed nor were asked by anyone to address.
Now here is the real weird part.
This blogger, at the end of his piece trying to drag Brian and I into this ECRC drama, took umbrage with a response he received to a phone call to our Red Maryland talkback line. Claiming he was working on a “very sensitive article”, which he never identifies, the blogger stated that he called us “late Sunday night” to “leave a message for someone on staff to retrieve and reply the next morning.” His message, which you can listen to below in its entirety, was made at 12:19 am and sought contact information for Jeffrey Peters, a former contributor to Red Maryland. I did return the call the next day to inform the caller that Mr. Peters has no association with Red Maryland and had not had any for nearly a year.
This caller includes a heavily edited version of my voicemail to in him his piece about the ECRC (a piece which had nothing remotely to do with Mr. Peters or the purpose of his call). Edited out was any reference to Mr. Peters which was the purpose of the midnight call in the first place.
This blogger took umbrage that I did not recognize his site, which largely appears to be some aggregator, as a serious blog while ignoring my comment that I did not care about his blog and that he needn’t call Red Maryland in the middle of the night to find information about someone who hasn’t written for us in over a year. (And, by the way, I returned his call during normal business hours.)
Did I mention it got weird?
So, a visit to a local Republican club to talk with some great folks about what we do at Red Maryland turns into an ambush trying to draw us into a local political club’s internal drama.
And all this mishigas prompted by another blogger’s ax to grind with Red Maryland because he thought we were rude in returning his midnight call to us.
You can’t make this stuff up.