“Frexit” Is a Silly Concept
There’s never a dull moment in Frederick County.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, there’s a movement for “Frexit” in 2020. The idea, ostensibly, is to return Frederick County from charter government, which was instituted in 2014, back to commission government.
The ringleader is, unsurprisingly, 2017 Red Maryland Least Valuable Conservative Kirby Delauter, who seems like he is on his way to competing for a second LVC award.
Delauter lays out the “case’, so much as it is, for “Frexit” in an emailed obtained by the Frederick Local Yokel:
Delauter makes nothing resembling a case for a return to commission government. But this idea is silly for a whole host of reasons:
1. “Frexit” is a Stupid Name
The obvious name of “Frexit” comes from the British “Brexit”, itself a portmanteau of “British Exit.” The problem is that in the case of Brexit, the British were actually trying to leave something. They were trying to regain the independence of Britain from the European Union. Delauter and company want Frederick to exit……what exactly? Maryland? Itself? The name itself is confusing. I’ve already seen individuals on Facebook think that “Frexit” means that the City of Frederick wants to leave Frederick County and become its own county. It’s clear nobody thought the name through, probably the brainchild of somebody who watches too much Fox News or is a serious Nigel Farage fanboi.
If the name “Frexit” is supposed to appeal to Americans, who does it appeal to? The average American probably has no idea what “Brexit” is, much less why they should care about it or its cousin “Frexit.”
“Citizens for Commission Government” certainly is a lot more descriptive than “Frexit”, which was clearly the brainchild of somebody who thought they were really smart.
2. Charter Government is Not Inherently Liberal
If one were to take Delauter’s poorly written screed to heart, one would think that the nature of charter government was inherently liberal because of “writs” and “edicts” and that charter government “easily detaches itself from the community at-large.”
Well, the reason all this is happening has nothing to do with the form of government and everything to do with who is in that government. There are a two reasons why this is happening: because Frederick County is seeing an increase in Democratic voter registration and because the people elected in charter government are left-wing Democrats. It’s not because of the form of government; it’s because too many Democrats are getting elected.
For example; for years in Anne Arundel County we enjoyed limited government under a charter. That’s because Republicans kept winning elections and stayed in control of the County Executive seat and the County Council. While wealthy horseman Steuart Pittman may be letting county government run amok now, that’s a function of the person Pittman is and not because of the form of government.
What “Frexit” supporters fail to acknowledge is the fact that under commission government they would likely still see a Democratic majority with the same players in the same positions they are now. The same nonsense would be getting passed, just with a different form of government.
One could actually argue that charter government makes government more accountable because it makes one person, the county executive, accountable for the executive branch of government as opposed to investing that power in the committee of the whole or in a commission president who is not elected by the county at-large.
3. A Charter Petition Won’t Elect Conservatives
Yes, it all comes back to this. While “Frexit” supporters are all gung-ho to get signatures for a petition drive, how is this going to elect a single conservative in Frederick County? Instead of drumming up support for President Trump, instead of working to elect a Republican member of Congress, instead of registering voters or recruiting candidates for the 2021 Frederick city elections or 2022 state elections, the “Frexit” crew are doing…..this. Even if they are able to get signatures to put the issue on the ballot (doubtful), their continued effort will drain a certain amount of volunteers and resources away from the 2020 election directly, and from the 2021 and 2022 elections indirectly. The irony of this is that this crew could be recruiting candidates and organizing to elect conservatives to charter government in the next election. But instead, this is happening.
None of this is a surprise considering that some of the “Overpass Project” enthusiasts are part of this effort.
4. It Appears That This is a Kirby Delauter Vanity Project
At the end of the day, it seems obvious why Kirby Delauter really wants to return to the commission government. Delauter ran for County Executive in 2018 (guess he supported charter government back then) and lost. Badly. Delauter had the support of fewer than a third of Frederick County Republicans in the primary. It’s clear that Delauter is unelectable as a County Executive candidate. But if Delauter can restore commission government, he has a new path to power. Delauter is an electable candidate as a County Councilman or a County Commissioner running at the district level or even at-large. And Kirby Delauter on a county commission would be in a position to be elected as County Commission President, thus giving him the de facto authority of a county executive without having to be electable.
So is this a selfish vanity project by Delauter and Company? It’s hard to say. But it certainly is the most logical explanation.
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At the end of the day, this entire operation seems like the last vestiges of Frederick County’s good-ol-boy network trying to hang on for dear life in a county that has left it behind and a Republican electorate that has tired of its nonsense. Conservatives would be well suited to ignore this vanity project and focus on the task at hand: registering voters and winning elections.