Richard E. Vatz Introduction of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich to Vatz’s Persuasion Class, April 19, 2011

–Richard E. Vatz

Greetings, Persuasion class…I want to tell you that you are part of one of the longest traditions at Towson University: Governor Robert L. Ehrlich’s lecturing to and interacting with my class in Persuasion. This is now an 18 and ½ year tradition – twice-a-year — and when it started, many of you were just learning to talk. I might say that had your parents brought you for that first encounter, you might have started talking earlier.

I first want to say, what a pleasure and honor it is to have the former Governor grace with his presence Towson University, the finest public university in Maryland, and one which, if the Chancellor pays attention to my op-ed in the Sun three weeks ago, will have another excellent president who, along with its excellent new athletic director and coaches will make Towson, again, the finest university of its kind in Maryland.

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I want to send out a special welcome to those accompanying the Governor: Greg Massoni, communication consultant and Elaine Pevenstein, former special assistant and adviser to the Governor; Patrick Mulford, a personal aide/researcher for Gov. Ehrlich and Owen McEvoy who handled all of Gov. Ehrlich’s social media during the campaign.

We have some faculty and administrators and staff here…we have the excellent president of the Senate, Tim Sullivan here…some great quality.

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 have always made a strong effort not to let my class know if or when you are visiting, Governor, but this year for the first time ever, I let it slip, and I heard several students say to their fellow classmates, “I already knew he was coming,” and “Vatz shouldn’t be told any military secrets.”
Last time you brought your exquisite Lieutenant Governor candidate, Mary Kane [deleted predicate, per advice of progressive bud].

I shall not dwell on the 2010 Gubernatorial election, except to point out one issue that I thought was hitting below the belt: Gov. Ehrlich had raised a few fees during his administration that were tethered to benefit those for whom the fees were raised; as the current governor said in one of their debates, Gov. Ehrlich has a “fantasy world that he never raised taxes — even though he raised fees…”

I should mention that a little over 4 months following the recent election that The Maryland General Assembly passed millions of dollars of fees, associated with the Democratic consensus take by House Speaker Mike Busch, “I think it is a very conservative budget. It does not raise taxes.” Also there is a 50% — 50% — rise in alcohol taxes that will go into effect immediately (?). Ah, well, campaigns and governing often have not much to do with one another.

I shall merely say that I think that Gov. Ehrlich was the best governor we have had in the many decades I have been a Marylander.

I also want to make a point about the death of former Governor and Mayor William Donald Schaefer. You won’t hear this from the Democratic controlled press, but the person to whom Gov. Schaefer was most politically aligned in his last decade of life and politics was Gov. Ehrlich. There was a genuine affinity there, and perhaps typifying Gov. Schaefer’s relationship with then-ungrateful Maryland Democrats (but now lionizing Democrats) was his statement that he hated Gov. Paris Glendening who cruelly tried to punish Gov. Schaefer for his lack of political support by cutting off a beloved fountain of his companion, Hilda Mae Snoops under the guise of conservation.

As I mentioned, Gov. Ehrlich 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 candidate for public office I have met or 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 at Towson University

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