MD GOP Convention thoughts…

This weekend, the Maryland GOP has it’s fall meeting. Some thoughts…

After the loss of the Governorship, even though Bob Ehrlich had better-than-50% approval ratings, the party changed.

It went from finally having power (after about 40 years in the wilderness), to again being considered not relevant, impotent, and a non-entity. The only way to stave off these considerations from being reality is to come together and work together. We have perfected the art of the circular firing squad, where we kill our own while at the same time take fire from each other. Yes, 5 Republicans voted with the Dems for slots, and if they hadn’t it MIGHT be possible that the tax plan would have failed. However, that is a possible outcome in an alternate universe that did not happen. We will never actually know for sure if it would have made a difference. Hound those 5 if you want, but at least the party did stick together voting against the taxes. But the O’Gov won, as the Dems will always continue to do, at this point, (as former Governor Ehrlich often would say) “because they can”. Only when they can’t anymore, when a true two-party option exists in the state, can we hope to stop them. Oh, we can make a difference here and there, if we can win public opinion and get it angry and riled up- see “Jessica’s Law” as an example. For the most part though, we can only hope, at this point, to be a thorn in the Dems sides. Oh, we can debate amongst ourselves, as we should, and we can tout this “Real Rebublican/Conservative” over that “RINO” or whatever. But the evil, treacherous back-biting has to stop. We are giving the Dems a show rivaling anything striking writers could come up with. They are laughing at us. That is if they consider us at all. Quit it, people! Just Stop, Please!

Are the by-law changes good or bad? Maybe a little of each. Don’t assume they are either. Look at them independently of presumed motives. I may not like the Brian Harlin Rule, but Brian is not a Central Committee member at this point, so it doesn’t even apply to him right now. I hope he can be persuaded to continue to be involved, and that some way can be found for him to not be targeted. He has worked hard for the party, and doesn’t deserve, as far as I know, bad treatment. I hope this can be done in a way that preserves the noble idea of no conflict of interest. Work on it, Central Committee & State Party “Leaders”, prove you are worthy of that term.

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As to the budget. Keeping state party headquarters is important. Yes, it could move to a less visible, cheaper location (aren’t the Dems are in the basement of AL Goodies Mall?). Heck, we could operate out of a car trunk, but is that the message we want to convey, that we are so beaten-up, so inconsequential, that we are nothing? Out of sight-out of mind. The visibility of 15 West Street is an asset we should at least try to keep. The Dems are in power, they don’t need the visibility we do. Besides, their “real’ headquarters might as well be the AFL-CIO building, proudly visible right across State Circle from the legislature.

As to staff… Am I right that there are only 2 paid staff members now? Marsha Jitka is irreplaceable. She should be the last one to go. She has served, and continues to serve, this party more than many know. John Flynn, he has a different reaction from people. Some like him, some do not. My understanding is that he already took a pay cut, maybe trying to raise his pay is an attempt to thank him for staying on, and to encourage him to keep working. Is he worth the money? I frankly do not know. But we need somebody there to implement policy and run things, just as we need Marsha to keep running the office. Remember, the Chairman has a “real job” he has to attend to, Kane did as well. We need at least two people in the office if at all possible.

Now as to Kane… during those days we had tons of money coming in, and an ebb and flow of staff circulating through.
You would just get used to this staff member or that one, and they’d be replaced with another young, new, just-out-of college body. But we had a Republican Governor as well, so the National Party would help pitch in. Admittingly, they also took as well, trying to get Marylanders to give to the national needs. We were a donor state, and probably saw less back than we put in. Those days are over, buddy, the well is a bit drier now. As, again, Bobby E. told us, the big money won’t be there. Ain’t that the truth? Fair-weather friends from outside the party regulars, businesses that gave to us because we were (partially) in power, are back to writing their checks to the Dems once again. This is despite the fact that they are enabling those who would tax and regulate them out of business… they haven’t learned.

But it is not only the Ed Hales that were once supporters, then put O’Malley signs at their business locations. Some of our supposedly loyal Republicans have circled the wagons and are unfortunately just looking out for themselves. I have learned that some formerly high-ranking Republican office holders (who shall remain nameless) have promised to help out financially at fundraisers, only to at the last minute agree to just show up, but not help raise money for the party. They may be raising money for themselves, with no clear statement of what they are going to do with it. Former moneymen back off in helping the party. Look at the budget (thanks to Brian Griffiths). There is only 20 thousand dollars from “Major Donors”. 20K? Isn’t that about what Dick Hug might find in loose change in his pocket?
Everything else must be coming from less well-off people, regular Joes who are scraping together a couple of bucks here and there, and sending it to West Street. You know, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. A growing grassroots support from regular Marylanders fed up with the shenanigans of the Special Session could translate into more votes, and a growing party. Maybe Republicans are not just the party of the “rich”, but of the regular people. Besides, O’Gov has assured us that much of the rich will be moving out of state anyway. We need more regular Joes.

Yes, we need to cut back, and we have cut most of the staff we had when Kane left. However, we need some staff, and a place for them to work. Maybe we need to give Doctor Jim the chance to raise money from these regular folks, since the rich Elvis’s have left the building. It will take a while, and we won’t raise as much, but it could be better for us in the long run. I have heard that the Party was promised that it would have money, only to have it spent and left with very little. That is not Dr. Pelura’s fault. He is doing what he can with what he has.

Who is the head of the Party in Maryland now? Ehrlich? Maybe he was when he was in power, in fact wasn’t he (and Kane) criticized for trying to be a kingmaker? But he isn’t holding office now. Legislative leaders? Which ones? What if they disagree? Who can dictate policy- maybe nobody should? Pelura? Maybe he has his hands busy with trying to keep this ship afloat. Only a crew can mutiny and challenge the Captain’s authority. Those that have already abandoned ship, every man for himself, in the lifeboats do not get a vote. If you are volunteering, giving sacrificially to keep the place ship-shape, bailing out and stopping the flooding, then your arguments carry weight. Otherwise you are a mere landlubber. If it is the little guys who are paying the freight, maybe they have more power than the fly-by-night, fair-weather friends we had before. That seems like a good thing.

Whatever happens at the convention, and whatever happens at the primary, we need to hang together, or we’ll be destined to hang separately. Savvy?

Crossposted on Maryland Chesapeake Blog by Chester Peake

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