Brickbats and bouquets for Maryland’s gubernatorial election



Brickbats and bouquets for Maryland’s gubernatorial election


Trending: Candidate Survey: Chris Chaffee for US Senate

By Richard E. Vatz


I have followed the 2014 gubernatorial election in Maryland with a pretty close eye, and I recall no election that had so many responsible and irresponsible components.


Therefore, here are my awards of Bouquets and Brickbats for the most strikingly ethical/unethical and effective/ineffective persuasive efforts of the campaign for Governor. You may add your own, but, fortunately or unfortunately, not in this article. [Comments are permitted at the bottom]




1.To Del. Heather Mizeur for unambiguously opposing gerrymandering, the undemocratic Democratic strategy for rewarding political friends and punishing political enemies. Guess it didn’t work to punish Jim Brochin; he was too good a candidate.


2.Speaking of Jim Brochin: To Sen. Brochin for his most brilliant ad, courtesy of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), a parody of “Green Eggs and Ham” in which he tastefully and without mentioning his opponent depicted himself as an independent who stands against his own party’s governor’s serial taxing practices.  I personally, if not politically, like the current governor, but this ad was delicious.


3.To Larry Hogan for abjuring negative ads after his first one very early in his campaign which called Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, “The Most Incompetent Man in Maryland.”


4.To the Maryland electorate, who were unpersuaded by visiting political star endorsers and in effect, in Walter Mondale’s phrase, demanded to know of Mr. Brown, Where’s the beef?”




1.To Del. Mizeur, who made no distinction between personal and irrelevant negative campaigning on one hand, and legitimate issue-centered negative campaigning on the other. In criticizing Attorney General Doug Gansler’s attempts to question Anthony Brown about his tax-and-spending policies during the Democratic primary debate, Ms. Mizeur’s irritation at such “negativity” made any inroads impossible.  A person very close to the Gansler campaign tells me he (Gansler) was furious.  I saw no such fury publicly.  After communicating her dissatisfaction to the Brown campaign for his tasteless and false campaigning, she was given a version of “We’re going in a different direction”  (i.e., “go pound sand”), and she showed that she would not take such insolence and endorsed Mr. Brown, saying she “still embrace[s] the man that is Anthony Brown.”


2.To Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for his classic malicious negative campaigning, replete with falsehoods, irrelevancies and tasteless attacks (the “FIT Test” of negative campaigning), including: 1) Claiming Mr. Hogan opposed abortion in cases of incest and rape, and 2)  Claiming  Mr. Hogan was “a dangerous man” and “radical” and, added a Democratic Party flier, one who was implicitly racist and sexist.  Complementing this campaigning was Mr. Brown’s consistent refusal to substantively address the issues of his responsibility for the healthcare mess and the taxing and the spending policies of the administration of which he was a major member.


Congratulations to the Maryland electorate for their seeing through the obfuscatory strategies in this campaign, and I should like to award one final brickbat, #3 to the author of this piece who predicted that they would not do so.


Professor Richard Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: the Agenda/Spin Model (Kendall Hunt, 2013


Send this to a friend