Lurking in Shadows

Many of you have probably seen Jeff Quinton’s piece regarding the Attorney General’s race, in which Red Maryland plays a prominent role. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds about that piece (though I’m sure there will be plenty to say about it later) but one of the things that truly got stuck in my craw was some of the comments made by a shadowy unnamed “GOP Insider”:

There is a lot of frustration when people like Mark Newgent and Greg Kline snipe from the sidelines at the people in party leadership who are actually doing the work of recruiting candidates. What have Newgent and Kline done to help recruit candidates for attorney general? Kline is eligible to run himself, why hasn’t he considered running to help the party field a strong candidate?

Now if this so-called “insider” had been paying any attention at all, they would know the answer to these questions. Greg Kline had a long and detailed post regarding candidate recruitment and how we can best work on that. But the idea that myself, Greg, and Mark haven’t worked to recruit a candidate is completely asinine. I have talked with no less than a dozen attorneys myself trying to recruit a candidate to run. I know that Mark and Greg have also reached out to other attorneys as well. It seems that the “Insider” is interested in trying to deflect attention away from the fact that Peroutka seems to be the only candidate interested, and instead take a cheap shot at Red Mayland for whatever reason.

Moving on….

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The party chairman and her executive director have been working to find an attorney general candidate for months. Was Michael Peroutka the best possible candidate? No. However, he was a candidate who was willing to run and willing to spend a substantial amount of his own money on his campaign. Now we have no candidate and may end up without one again this cycle all because a few loudmouths made the perfect the enemy of the good. Michael Peroutka would have been a Republican name on the ballot in November and would have made the Democrat nominee spend money against him. That money will now help whoever that Democrat is in the next election unless a candidate can be found at the last minute.

The “a few loudmouths” is a nice touch, but I strongly suspect that if Mr. Peroutka chooses not to run and does so because Mark Newgent and Walter Olson raised some issues tells me that he probably wasn’t exactly somebody who was going to stand up well against the Democrats. Regardless, the fact that some on own team have serious misgivings should be clue to folks that we may in fact have a problem.

Here’s my favorite.

It’s nice that people who sit on their asses and write blog posts can help attack what would have been a Republican candidate. It would be nicer if they got off their asses and helped with candidate recruitment and actually attacking Democrats.

And here, the “Insider” begins the process of trying to deflect the blame to Red Maryland if, for whatever reason, the party doesn’t field a candidate. Which is ironic since the “Insider” attacks us instead of helping with candidate recruitment and actually attacking Democrats.

This cockamamie idea, that somehow we just “write blog posts” and aren’t actively engaged in fighting the Democrats, has become a common theme among Red Maryland detractors. Of course, only somebody woefully ignorant of reality and the seven year history of Red Maryland would say something so mind-numbingly stupid either in print or out loud, and it’s even more hilarious on a day when my op-ed about Baltimore’s Mayors is in the A section of the Baltimore Sun and the week we talk about O’Malley’s hilarious Presidential chances.

This “GOP Insider” should probably disengage from their rectal self-examination to ask how “people who sit on their assess and write blog posts” would be the same people who walked doors for our candidates in Frederick, walked doors for Mayor Pantelides in Annapolis, recruit candidates, sponsor and attend Lincoln Dinners, train and be panelists for conservative candidates, provide strategic and communications guidance to candidates, and in my case sit as an active member of the State Party Executive Committee.

Was this critic there? Who knows, because they didn’t have the stones to attach their name to the criticicsm. I wonder if the nameless “Insider” is as involved in our party and its future as we are….

Red Maryland’s record on taking on Democrats and being activists for the Party is, frankly, beyond question. But people do question it all the time because we believe that we should hold our own side up to a standard and not just give people a free pass because they have an R next to their name.

People accuse us of being bomb-throwers when we don’t toe the party line and question the conservative credentials of Republican candidates and Republicans in office. At the same time, people accuse us of being establishment because we don’t believe that certain politicans don’t walk on water.

I’m ok with that because people have the right in this country to be wrong. But when you get folks like the nameless insider who don’t have the testicular fortitude to put their names behind their statements, that speaks volumes about the credibility of their concerns and the credibility of their comments. We at Red Maryland are proud that we put our names to what we write, and you know that if we’ve got beef with a candidate or a plan, the criticism of it will be under our banner. People can like that, they can not like it, they can accuse us of tearing down the party, whatever, but you know that we’ll put our names to it.

But let me tell you this; the nameless insiders who gossip under a cloak of anonymity, probably to deflect attention from their own shortcomings, do a hell of a lot more damage to our party and our brand than we could ever dream.

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