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2010 Election Richard Falknor on 03 Nov 2010

Maryland: the Land the GOP Tsunami Rolled Past?

Well, no, not quite.

Dr. Andy Harris‘ victory in winning election to the US House of Representatives in Maryland One might not have been possible without the grass-roots pushback against the Obama Administration.

Equally important, however, was Andy’s grit in knocking incumbent representative Wayne Gilchrest out in the February 2008 primary, and persevering through what must have been a heartbreaking defeat in the general election that year.

Faithful readers will recall that former House speaker Newt Gingrich and sometime Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele publicly endorsed Gilchrest in the 2008 primary.  Said Gingrich and Steele that year  (scroll down in foregoing link) the latter now the Republican National Committee chairman – –

Mr. Gingrich told a Gilchrest gathering on January 11 [2008] that “it was Gilchrest’s leadership that led [Gingrich] to endorse the moderate congressman.” On January 12, former Maryland lieutenant-governor Michael Steele said . . . “‘litmus tests’ on such issues as abortion, immigration and tax cuts are wrong.”

Congratulations to Harris, a time-tested fiscal and values conservative.  We expect outstanding work as a new member of the Republican Study Committee!

Ron George Tops the Speaker?

We don’t know whether the likely (absentees are not yet counted) victory of two of the three members of the Ron George team (the three District 30 Republican candidates) arose directly from the roar of the Tsunami as it passed Maryland shores, but the national outrage over the Obama Administration’s schemes probably helped:

House of Delegates

Legislative District 30
(Vote for No More Than Three)

Party Total Votes %

Michael E. Busch Democratic 22450 17.94%
Virginia P. Clagett Democratic 19677 15.72%
Judd Legum Democratic 18385 14.69%
Ron George Republican 24259 19.39%
Seth Howard Republican 18983 15.17%
Herb McMillan Republican 21298 17.02%
Other Write-Ins 83 0.0

Ron George began organizing early and seriously for the election, particularly in view of the appearance of opponent Judd Legum who had substantial experience on the national Left.  According to Mr. Legum’s biography, he “served as the Research Director at the Center for American Progress.” DiscoverTheNetworks tells us about the Center.

Ron, on the other hand, is a savvy independent business owner with a wide portfolio of conservative accomplishments.

Herb McMillan, former delegate, and Maryland expert on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was the other Republican winner in District 30.

If we had to name the relative handful of Republican members of the Maryland House of Delegates whose commitment to fiscal and values conservatism was both informed and steady, Ron George and Herb McMillan would head the list.

2010 Election Richard Falknor on 01 Nov 2010

What Will Speech-Suppressing MD Politicians Do Next?

Did public employees, at the order of the O’Malley Administration, take candidate signs off private property over the weekend?

Yes, says veteran Maryland investigator and author Ken Timmerman this afternoon who disclosed in his “Sign of Dirty Tricks Times: Md. State Workers Remove GOP Posters” that – –

“Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley ordered state highway workers to remove political campaign signs for Republican candidates during the weekend, according to GOP candidates and homeowners.

The leader of the state with the slogan of ‘Seize the Day Off’ apparently told state employees to work on their days off, at overtime rates, according to candidates and residents along major thoroughfares in the Democratic stronghold of Montgomery County, in the Washington suburbs. Those residents told Newsmax they were surprised on Saturday when highway workers removed signs from their front yards and tossed them into a state dump truck.

‘This is an absolute outrage,’ said Rob Vricella, a Republican candidate for county council who confronted the workers. ‘I jumped up into the truck and retrieved my own signs and saw a pile of what looked like all Republican signs.'”

Read the entire post.

Here is the central question:  if the O’Malley Administration seized candidate signs on private property this last weekend, what will they do tomorrow at the polls?

2010 Election &First things . . . Richard Falknor on 27 Oct 2010

Let’s Use Christian Adams’ Primer To Spot Voter Fraud

Everyone on the center-right should print out — and keep with them when they go to vote — election lawyer J. Christian Adams’  invaluable guide —

Voter Fraud Watch: A Primer on What to Watch For

Former Department of Justice official Adams counsels —

“This year has seen an amazing amount of citizen interest in standing watch against voter fraud. Even if you don’t see it, remember, those who stand watch also serve. Go volunteer with your local political party. Ask a candidate if you can serve as a poll watcher. Make Election Day the active, participatory, national event it was meant to be.

A final note. Too often political parties cobble together a poll watching operation at the last second. And the training is weak, with folks being thrust into the field with no wisdom or experience. This is changing. Groups are establishing systemic training well before the election.  The old way of a political party doing things is fading. A New Model Army of poll watchers is taking the field this election, totally separate from political parties, with an eye toward deploying thousands of highly trained watchers in 2012. Next Tuesday is just the beginning.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

During these historic times, readers should also check in regularly with Adams’ website!

2010 Election &Illegal Immigration Richard Falknor on 16 Oct 2010

Maryland, Virginia House Candidate Immigration Ratings

NumbersUSA has an illuminating “Candidate Immigration Comparisons: Congressional” national chart on their website.  Below are their ratings for incumbents and challengers in what we see as the most heavily-contested House races in Maryland and Virginia.


See the ratings for Andy Harris and Frank Kratovil in Maryland’s First District, and Charles Lollar and Steny Hoyer in Maryland’s Fifth District. Both Harris and Lollar received a NumbersUSA “True Reformer” rating.  Dr. Harris’ strong immigration-reduction stand may be partly why the pro-amnesty US Chamber of Commerce endorsed Mr. Kratovil.

(Just for the record, in considering the candidate ratings in the Maryland U. S. Senate race between long-time incumbent Barbara Mikulski and GOP challenger Eric Wargotz, we note that Mr. Wargotz has apparently not responded to any of the questions on the NumbersUSA “immigration survey.” Yet in the primary Mr. Wargotz defeated Jim Rutledge who had a very strong immigration-reduction position.)


In Virginia’s Fifth District, GOP challenger Robert Hurt clearly has a stronger immigration-reduction policy than Tom Perriello who receives a “D+” rating from NumbersUSA.

In Virginia’s Second District, GOP challenger Scott Rigell gets a “True Reformer” rating. Not surprisingly, the pro-amnesty US Chamber of Commerce endorsed incumbent Democrat Glenn Nye.

In Virginia’s 11th District, GOP challenger Keith Fimian’s positions puzzle us.  Mr. Fimian opposes amnesty, he favors “attrition through enforcement,” but apparently has no stated position on “mandat[ing] e-verify.” Incumbent Gerry Connolly, however, with a “C” rating is listed as supporting “mandat[ing] e-verify.”

Will Mr. Fimian revisit his agnostic stance on e-verify?

In Virginia’s 9th District, GOP challenger
Morgan Griffith has apparently not responded to any of the questions on the NumbersUSA “immigration survey.” Incumbent Rick Boucher, however, has a questionable overall posture on immigration reduction.

As NumbersUSA suggests – –

“Have your candidates filled out the immigration survey? If, not download the PDF yourself and give it to them.

2010 Election Richard Falknor on 09 Oct 2010

Is Anyone Really Surprised? U.S. Chamber Endorses Kratovil

UPDATE OCTOBER 14! Timothy Carney reveals yesterday in his Washington Examiner post “Chamber-backed Dems tagged as pro-Big Business” – – “Trouble is,the chamber doesn’t just support Republicans. It has endorsed several House Democrats, vulnerable freshmen who have been buoyed by the chamber’s six-figure ad buys. Across the Chesapeake Bay, on the Eastern Shore, these chamber ads are hard to miss, celebrating Maryland’s Frank Kratovil and Virginia’s Glenn Nye — both Democrats elected in 2008 — for advancing a ‘pro-business’ agenda. These endorsements undermine the Democrats’ ‘Big Business loves Republicans’ message, and they also highlight the tension between the business community and an electorate desperate for economic growth but also distrustful of bailout barons and K Street lobbyists.” (Emphasis Forum’s.)   Read the whole story about incumbents Kratovil’s and Nye’s support for “budget busters.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

“Philosophically, the US Chamber is very much in tune with Frank Kratovil’s political ideology.  Contrary to what most folks believe, the US Chamber does not support free markets.  They claim to support ‘free enterprise’, but only so far as “free enterprise” continues to allow their core constituencies to feed at the public trough.  In other words, the US Chamber is corporatist, not conservative.” (Underscoring Forum’s.) – – Cato at Delmarva Dealings

Yesterday Paul West in the Baltimore Sun reported in his “Chamber of Commerce promoting Kratovil” – –

“The big business lobby dropped $168,841, according to Federal Election Commission records, on its buy on behalf of Kratovil in Maryland’s First District, which spans the Chesapeake Bay to take in portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, plus the entire Eastern Shore.”

Delmarva Dealings addresses the question “Why Did The US Chamber Endorse Frank Kratovil?” – –

“I received an email today.  It read, in part,: . . . . ‘If the US Chamber of Commerce is running ads to promote a candidate who voted lock-step with Pelosi/Reid/Obama on virtually every issue except Obamacare, we have a real problem with ESTABLISHMENT Washington.'”

Maybe revisiting some earlier Chamber missteps will reveal even more – – let’s review, for example, our April 8, 2009 – Big Business, Free Enterprise, Romancing the “Moderates.”

There we cited – –

“Timothy Carney in his [then] recent DC Examiner post “New Chamber index shows conservatives aren’t corporate pawns” here declare[d] that – –

‘Liberal Democrats often accuse conservative Republicans of being pawns for Big Business, but the 2008 scorecard for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—the largest lobbying organization in the country and the official Washington voice of business—provides convincing evidence to the contrary. In fact, the policy agenda of big business can be very different from that of limited-government conservatives and libertarians.

Four Republican senators failed to earn the Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise Award” (earned for scoring 70% or above): DeMint, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

These are among the most fiscally conservative, pro-limited government members of the upper chamber—which is precisely their error, in the eyes of the Chamber. The heroes of the small government cause are the goats of the big business cause. ‘ ” (Emphasis Forum’s.)

Read the entire Carney piece to see what public policies the U.S. Chamber finds really tasty.  Some examples – –

“These four [senators DeMint, Inhofe, Kyl, and Sessions] also voted against the Chamber’s position by opposing President George W. Bush’s February 2008 stimulus bill that sent checks to taxpayers. The ‘rebates’ were one-time tax credits that excluded higher-income earners but included some people with no income tax liability.

Conservatives instead proposed long-term, broad-based tax cuts—for example, making permanent the 2001 tax cuts set to expire in 2011—as opposed to one-time stunts turning the IRS into a welfare agency.

And, of course, DeMint, Inhofe, and Sessions upset the Chamber by voting against the massive $700 billion Wall Street bailout—which has since grown into a Detroit bailout, and a tool which the Obama administration is using to tell banks and carmakers how to run their businesses.” (Emphasis Forum’s.)

By way of background, Robert Costa at National Review on Line reported last February that “Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), Skeptic Man, tops National Journal’s annual congressional vote ratings as the most conservative member of the Senate. According to NJ, Inhofe was the only senator with a perfect conservative score in 2009.”

But not even close to perfect among  the crony capitalists at the Chamber.

The Chamber and Immigration

And, as we wrote in 2009, readers might also be interested in viewing some of the U.S. Chamber’s spending on immigration lobbying (go to page 6 of this linked report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform) – –

“What we do know through its public statements is that the U.S. Chamber has expressed its firm opposition to E-Verify and pledged its resources
to ‘push for comprehensive immigration reform’ and a ‘pathway to legitimation for undocumented workers.’ . . . It has also advocated increasing visas to allow more skilled and unskilled workers to come to the U.S.”

Whoever accepts the Chamber’s support at a critical pre-election juncture can be assured that the Chamber will return after November to make their case for amnesty and related matters. (As likely would any other interest group in behalf of their particular concerns.)

In his first term, Mr. Kratovil received a “B” rating from NumbersUSA. Prudent voters, however,  will now wish to ask Mr. Kratovil for his specific positions on immigration: amnesty, e-verify, the Arizona bill, and all the other hot points.

GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidate Mary Kane and the Chamber Endorsement of Frank Kratovil

Mary Kane’s Maryland biography (as former secretary of state) lists her position with the U.S. Chamber – –

“Director of Special Projects, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2007-

Her campaign biography declares – –

“As Special Projects Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mary helps lead the Campaign for Free Enterprise, a multi-year project that inspires Americans to pursue their dreams through individual initiative, and the Chamber’s Military and Veteran’s Initiative, which encourages companies to employ U.S. veterans and their families as they transition back into the workforce.  She also works on the Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center, which is designed to establish and maintain a positive role for businesses in society.”

So where does Mrs. Kane stand on the Chamber’s endorsement of Representative Kratovil? 

Maybe she should do an ad for Andy Harris along these lines: “My name is Mary Kane, and even though I have worked with the US Chamber of Commerce, I am here to tell you that Dr Harris is the real voice of free markets and low taxes in the First Congressional District.”

2010 Election &Conservatives Richard Falknor on 04 Oct 2010

Rush: “GOP wins not enough” — even in MD and VA?

Last Friday, pre-eminent conservative voice Rush Limbaugh warned (subscription only) —

“I guess what I assumed people would understand was that the only way to defeat this guy is not with Republican Party wins and Republican Party triumphs, but with conservatism.  The man’s ideas must be stopped.  Now, I can understand if you get panicked when I say Obama’s going to relish his ideas being brought to a screeching halt because he’ll blame us for them.  My point here was he’s gotta be stopped politically.  The victory in November’s gotta stand for something, it has gotta mean something issue-wise.  After we win this, the people who do win are going to have to stand against this guy and buck up against the criticism that’s coming.  I was just warning of the kind of criticism that’s coming.  You know,our people tend to cave in at the first sign of criticism, the notion of bipartisanship, walking across the aisle, get along with everybody.  Obama is counting on the Republicans caving to the criticism against them, mounted by himself and the media.(Underscoring Forum’s.)

From our conservative perspective, Limbaugh is right on target.

Maryland and Virginia

Do Rush’s insights also apply to Maryland and Virginia? Is the Republican establishment in each state eager just for GOP wins but indifferent to defeating the ideas and programs behind the Obama Administration? The Administration’s schemes are, after all, inextricably tied into the well-disciplined Democratic Party at all levels from local to national.

In Maryland, of course, we must first get to “win.”

How many of the conservative voters who supported losing Republican primary candidate Brian Murphy now feel orphaned?  Stripped of enthusiasm for the governor’s race and uncertain whether to vote in that contest at all?

Former governor Bob Ehrlich can still shape a favorable answer to that question in the next few weeks by finding common ground with Maryland GOP conservatives – – and publicly getting behind some conservative priorities.

Mr. Ehrlich could start tomorrow by emphasizing a few planks in the House of Delegates  Republican “Prosperity Pledge” like e-verify for state contractors, photo-identification for voting, and spelling out how a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (presumably on the Colorado model) would benefit ordinary citizens and bring more employers to Maryland — or keep the ones already here from leaving.

He might then get behind the abolition of the entire Maryland corporate tax (scroll down on the foregoing link to “Maryland‘s Corporate Income Tax System”) with a one-to-two-year waiting period (as one expert suggested for Virginia) between enactment and implementation.

As things stand today, however, conservatives might find the former governor’s “issues” panel of his website a little anemic when it comes to shrinking state and local government, taking on the public-employee-pension gorilla, and putting forth some specific proposals to lighten the state and local regulatory burden, too much of which is simply an anti-competitive “stealth tax.”

Mr. Ehrlich needs to overcome a lingering image of being just another big-government Republican.  That perception, unfortunately, began to take root early in his administration. After Ehrlich had proposed an increase in the state property tax in 2003, Vaishali Honawar wrote in the Washington Times of March 23, 2003 —

“The governor, who met with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Thursday, said he was confident fellow Republicans in the legislature would support him in the end on the property-tax increase. ‘One point I have made to Republicans from Day One is being in the minority is the easiest thing. … Now Republicans are part of the government and you have to deal with reality,’ Mr. Ehrlich said.

The former governor would do well to repudiate this kind of cynical apologia for “going along” with big government, and thereby build confidence among conservatives that he has come to a better mind. 

He might  follow the tone of House Republican leader John Boehner’s talk “Congressional Reform and ‘The People’s House'” to the American Enterprise Institute last Thursday, where the likely Republican speaker in the next Congress acknowledges that the GOP, too, has strayed from sound principles–

“The mission of the United States Congress is to serve the American people — and today, due in part to institutional barriers that have been in place for decades, that mission goes unfulfilled. These wounds have been self-inflicted by both parties, and if we do not fix them, it’s possible no one will.” * * * * “The dysfunction in Congress is not new; both parties bear the blame for it.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

In Virginia, the fight to advance conservative (as opposed to big-government) principles has fallen largely to attorney general Ken Cuccinelli and delegate Bob Marshall

As Norman Leahy, in the respected Virgina blog Tertium Quids, last Thursday explained in his post, “Marshall disrupts the ‘no tax hike’ narrative”–

“Delegate Bob Marshall pokes holes in the long-running narrative that the state managed to balance its books, and even roll back spending levels, without soaking taxpayers in the process:

‘On the next to last day of our 2010 session, some of our Republican and Democratic colleagues slipped into the budget bill $100 million in new fees and gutted $30 million in tax credits to Virginia manufacturers. Members were faced with a threat to shut the government down or accept the increases. This extortion tactic succeeded. I voted no to the budget.

The Virginia Manufacturers Association asked how Virginia can keep our No. 1 ranking as a business friendly state if the General Assembly ‘imbeds an income tax increase in a budget bill where little debate or sunshine will ever reach the issue.’ “

Read the entire post on this taxing Virginia matter.

Marshall has long been a preeminent values and a fiscal conservative, a too rare combination in itself. 

Over two years ago, we wrote about his successful anti-tax work in our post Marshall v. NVTA — a growing estrangement between Virginia Republicans and Virginia Conservatives?

Here is Marshall’s statement on abortion-clinic regulations, and an extract from his letter to Virginia governor Bob McDonnell–

“I would like to request that you implement the abortion clinic regulations available to the Commonwealth under the Attorney General’s [Ken Cuccinelli] opinion issued August 20, 2010 which I requested which states in part, ‘the Commonwealth has the authority to promulgate regulations for facilities in which first trimester abortions are performed, as well as for providers of first trimester abortions, so long as the regulations adhere to constitutional limitations.'”

Conservatives may not agree with “Delegate Bob” on every one of his legislative initiatives or policy statements, but they likely agree with his fundamental principles.

Robert Marshall stands as a national conservative model for what one smart, disciplined state legislator, who does not “cave in at the first sign of criticism,” can accomplish. And, in Marshall’s case, he stands up to his own Republican leadership when the occasion demands it.

Yes, Rush is right that more than GOP wins are necessary — and, we would emphasize, even on the state and local level!

2010 Election &Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 28 Sep 2010

November 3: Will the GOP Respect Us in the Morning?

“’For the Conservative, the challenge is daunting and the road will be long and hard,’ Levin sums up. ‘But it took the Statist nearly eighty years to get here, and it will take the Conservative at least as long to change the nation’s direction. Still, there is no time to waste. The Conservative must act now.’” (Underscoring Forum’s.)Mark Levin

“GOP to Tea Party — Your Votes, Not Your Ideas”David Frum via Hogan.

Addressed to likely voters in the November 2 election, the House GOP Pledge to America blends a mix of an immediate agenda and a longer-term vision.

But Andy McCarthy objects (“Empty Promises”) to this Pledge to America approach —

“But none of the pledge’s agenda items is actually going to be enacted. Even if we are fortunate enough to see Republicans elected in numbers large enough to take one or both chambers, pledge initiatives will be bottled up by congressional Democrats or vetoed by President Obama. The pledge should not be about success in the here and now. It should be about a vision for the future. It should tee up 2012 and the difference between the America the president sees and the America Republicans see.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

RedState’s Hogan weighs in (“The Pledge to Nowhere”) on the Pledge to America. Here are two of his suggestions we believe bear careful consideration:

“How about picking 100 burdensome regulations to end within the first 100 days rather than some nebulous, difficult-to-carry-out promise to stop future regulation? Congress has given the Executive branch the power to carry out most regulations – TAKE IT AWAY, and be specific.” . . . . “A Plan to Keep Our Nation Secure [Abroad] and at Home. But where is any mention of reviving our dwindling defense spending? I am not talking about war spending, I am talking about the future of our military. We were spending almost 1/3 of our GDP on defense at the end of World War II. Today, we still spend less than 5%. We are weakening our military in the long run. FIX IT. I also notice there is no mention of immigration – only the border. Most of the other stuff is fine — but the reality is that promises are no good when it comes to these issues. Americans want to see action – a strong military, a secure border (actually secure – not “operational control,” whatever that means) and dead terrorists – not terrorists in our back yard.” 

The Long March to Smaller Government

Will Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor, the presumptive GOP leadership team should Republicans take back the House, seriously begin the long march to rein in the size and scope of the Federal government?  Or will they be just “in office, but not in power,” to quote Mark Steyn?

What we are talking about in the longer term is reining in the administrative state and getting control of the regulatory budget.

There is, however, one possibly winnable 2011 fight — principally withholding money needed to implement Obamacare  — in any GOP-led House.

Representative Steve King reportedly declared this month —

“Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the most outspoken conservatives in the House, said last week that he wants Boehner and other House leaders to sign a ‘blood oath’ that they will include a repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if President Barack Obama vetoes the bills and a government shutdown occurs.”

Will a Confrontation with the White House on Obamacare
Have a Better Outcome than Gingrich’s 1995-96 Face Off?

Michael Barone yesterday spelled out some differences in his Townhall post “GOP Battle Cry: Repeal Obamacare, Cut Spending” —

“And despite the widespread consensus that Gingrich’s Republicans lost the 1995-96 budget fight with Bill Clinton, they went on to win more popular votes and more House seats than Democrats in the next five House elections.” . . . . “As for Obamacare, a few months ago Republican leaders were reluctant to call for repeal. They may have feared that Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton were right when they predicted the legislation would become more popular when passed. Or they may have been wary of sounding extreme. But now they’re squarely for repeal. It turns out to be a stand most Republican primary voters demand and most general election voters support.” . . . .  “Can Republicans really repeal Obamacare and roll back spending to 2008 levels? Probably not. But by taking clear stands, they raise their chances of getting part way there by 2012. And maybe farther later. ” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Obviously the GOP taking the House back is the first priority or we won’t be able to have any meaningful discussion of getting the GOP leadership on the right track because there won’t be any Republicans in a leadership role.

But personnel is policy.  Messrs. McCarthy and Hogan and Erick Erickson are right to have concerns about the direction of the current House GOP leadership.  We wrote on June 13, 2009

“And what about a possible electoral turn-around in 2010? Consider this scenario.  An outraged electorate hands control of the House of Representatives back to the Republicans in November 2010.  How well do you think the current House leadership will handle that possibly-last-chance-for-America opportunity?  Recall that Republican Leader John Boehner and Republican Whip Eric Cantor both voted for the bailout twice last fall — as well as supported the former president’s big-government expansion consistently.  Both voted for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Prescription Drug Entitlement, against free political speech in a 2006 Republican vote which George Will called ‘traducing the Constitution and disgracing conservatism.’ As we said, both voted twice for the TARP bill last fall although one wouldn’t know it from their current ‘free enterprise’ rhetoric. At least Mr. Boehner did not join Mr. Cantor in voting this year [2009] for a punitive 90-percent tax.” 

Presumably Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor have come to better minds since these questionable votes we listed.  Nonetheless vigilance is indicated:  Mark Krikorian reports that “Boehner personally vetoed a proposal to include an E-Verify mandate.” Perhaps Mr. Boehner has forgotten the enormous fiscal costs of low-education-level immigrants.

CNN Politics discloses that- –

“Several GOP sources had told CNN there were no plans to say much at all about social issues, since the electorate is so heavily focused on jobs and spending. GOP leaders settled on a line that states: ‘We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.’ This language was a late addition, according to a GOP source, after Rep Mike Pence argued that social issues should be included in this document representing the House GOP agenda.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

In our judgment, Andy McCarthy is right on point in summing up our current situation:

“These are not ordinary times. The nation is in the grip of post-sovereign leftists who reject the premise that the country is essentially good — that’s why, they say, it needs ‘fundamental change.’ They are locking in their redistributionist vision by borrowing the terrifying trillions they spend. They are not worried about governing against the opposition of a lopsided majority of Americans. Unpopular is one thing; transformational is something else.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

This is why the Tea Partiers and the grass-roots conservatives will face one of their biggest tasks should a GOP majority take over in the House next January.  It is not just that the House GOP Leadership may not eagerly take a longer view to downsizing government.  It is that they will need the prodding (and support) of the Tea Partiers to face the fact that the Obama Administration reflects a revolutionary movement and cannot be expected to respond predictably to normal popular pressures.  In short, the old politics of a “Denny Hastert” House in which the current GOP leadership labored is largely irrelevant to both conservative demands today, and to coping with revolutionary challenges.

To be effective on the national and state levels, moreover, Maryland and Virginia Tea Partiers will have to identify and strengthen those local organizations that are truly independent of the GOP Establishment. As Virginia Tea Partiers are learning, identifying such independent Tea Parties is not always a slam dunk.

2010 Election Richard Falknor on 25 Sep 2010

MD “Prosperity Pledge”: Transparency Begins Yesterday


* * * * *

“Lawyers and other staff within the Voting Section also refused to work on the Brown case, Coates testified, because they did not believe the Justice Department should prosecute blacks or other racial minorities — no matter what law they violated. Coates testified [yesterday] that he had complained about this attitude and unwritten policy to Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, a political appointee. When Perez testified before the Civil Rights Commission, he said no such policy or problem existed.” (Underscoring Forum’s.) – – Hans A. von Spakovsky  in “Time for Change: Gov’t Must Address Lawlessness Uncovered by Christopher Coates

“As Minority [Republican] Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates, I am pleased to support the nomination of Thomas Perez for the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.” – – Anthony O’Donnell

Last Thursday, 13 House of Delegates GOP incumbents (out of 37 House of Delegates GOP incumbents), and 36 other GOP House of Delegates candidates signed a “Prosperity Pledge” for Maryland. This apparently Tony O’Donnell-inspired document declared – –

“We believe a government of the people, by the people, and for the people should operate in the full light of day, and be accessible and accountable to the people.”

Fine.  Admirable sentiments.

But Will  Mr. O’Donnell Reveal Why He Supported Tom Perez?

Will Republican leader O’Donnell bring into the “full  light of day” his purpose in sending a letter on House of Delegates letterhead (and thus implying that he was speaking for the House of Delegates Republican Caucus) to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the confirmation of Mr. Tom Perez. Mr. O’Donnell submitted this confirmation support in the face of opposition to Mr. Perez from Republican U.S. senators and Judiciary Committee members Jeff Sessions and Tom Coburn.

After all, Mr. O’Donnell’s communication was not a personal letter to, say, the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking Republican endorsing for confirmation a long-time friend from childhood for some plain-vanilla position like, maybe, an assistant agriculture secretary for county extension work and practical research. 

Mr. O’Donnell endorsed a major Obama Administration player.

Coincidentally or not, former Maryland state chairman (and husband of Mary Kane, GOP lieutenant-governor nominee) John Kane wrote an effusive letter around the same time to the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking Republican member urging the confirmation of Mr. Perez. Both Kane and O’Donnell were prominent members of governor Bob Ehrlich’s team when he was in office (2003-2007): O’Donnell was House of Delegates Republican Whip (Republican leader since 2007); John Kane was Maryland GOP chairman.

Real transparency, in this case, would seem to indicate that the public learn:

  • Did Mr. O’Donnell coordinate his letter with Mr. Kane, or vice versa? If so, what were the details?

  • Did Mr. O’Donnell discuss his letter with former governor Ehrlich?

  • Did Mr. O’Donnell tell the House of Delegates GOP Caucus what he was going to do? If so, what did they say?

We have been posting about these two letters, Mr. O’Donnell’s and Mr. Kane’s, in support of Mr. Perez since October 7, 2009:

September 7,2010| Christian Adams Moves to Clean Up State Election Rolls

August 6, 2010| More Today on Tom Perez, and His Two Maryland GOP Fans

Yet we have heard nothing from any GOP member in the House of Delegates.  Must we then presume Mr. O’Donnell’s 2009 support of the confirmation of Mr. Perez expressed the position of the Maryland House of Delegates GOP Caucus as well?

We keep returning to the subject of Mr. Perez as more abuses in the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice come to light. Marylander Perez is among those at the center of a national political storm.

For the record, we would like to hear from any House of Delegates Republicans who were not in agreement with Republican leader Tony O’Donnell’s support for the confirmation of Tom Perez.

Quick Review of the House of Delegates “Prosperity Pledge”

More coming on the “Prosperity Pledge for Maryland” and the several conservative watchdog(s) that weren’t allowed to bark, and the Pledge signers’ view that Democratic tax hikes are toxic (they are) but that it is best for GOP leaders to leave Republican tax hikes unrepealed and to leave regulatory tax hikes supported by many GOP lawmakers unmentioned. 

On the positive side, the Pledge is certainly an improvement on the policy-starved Ehrlich Road Map.

Most important the document says: “We categorically reject any new taxes or tax increases and will vigorously fight them if introduced.”

The Pledge moves timidly to address Maryland’s “sanctuary state for illegals” problem proposing very limited e-verify.

On the debit side, the word “pension” does not appear in the Pledge which means discussions of the state budget crisis and its connection with public-employee pensions are so much professor Luftmensch. 

At least the subject of pork is raised, but more is needed in the way of specific fixes.

Lip service is given to a Taxpayer Bill of Rights without specifying the elements of such a proposal.  As we have written many times, a quick alternative to a such an unlikely constitutional amendment is for the House Republican caucus simply to agree not to vote for any operating budget in excess of population growth and inflation. 

And let’s not overlook the Pledge’s other important “sleeper” – – “Maryland’s elections must be transparent and secure. We must ensure that those who vote in Maryland’s elections are legally authorized to do so by requiring voters to show valid photo identification in order to vote. Photo identification is required for so many mundane day-to-day activities, it is not unreasonable to require it to protect the security of our elections.”

Stay tuned on the Pledge.

ADD-ON September 26 via Election Law CenterFrom Washington Times last Friday “EDITORIAL: Black Panther case: Red hot Witness cites Obama team’s ‘hostility’ to the law”: Mr. Coates now has confirmed sworn testimony from other witnesses that Mr. Perez‘s team did and continues to act in a race-biased manner. Mr. Coates swore that he told the same thing to Mr. Perez before Mr. Perez testified in May. Even before that, multiple press reports dating back to last September indicated this allegation of racialist nonenforcement of voting rights laws was a serious concern. Yet Mr. Perez seems to have questioned nobody about it, disciplined nobody over it or raised a finger to address the problem.

2010 Election &Conservatives Richard Falknor on 15 Sep 2010

Brian Murphy’s Legacy to Maryland Conservatives

There are many measures of victory.

In Maryland yesterday, Republican primary candidate Brian Murphy did not realize his hope for victory in the contest for the Republican nomination for governor of the Old Line State. Not unexpectedly, former governor Bob Ehrlich won that primary race.

But Mr. Murphy, with some help from governor Sarah Palin, left a valuable legacy for Maryland’s conservatives.

In fact, the hitherto ignored Maryland center-right voices for low-tax free-market policies (not “Annapolis crony capitalism”), the culture of life, and family defense (read Second Amendment) seemed joyfully to adopt Mr. Murphy and his articulate energy as his campaign took real shape last April.

These Murphy supporters discovered first-hand the crudities of the “party over principle” Purple Ehrlich Machine as that crowd stretched GOP rules and, at party events, treated Mr. Murphy as invisible.

Today these Murphy supporters know each other across Maryland, have been “blooded” as comrades in political combat, and have faced down party sachems. Not only have they realized that the party chieftains are not ten feet tall, but they even sent around a video of an encounter with the GOP party chair.

After the Sarah Palin endorsement of Mr. Murphy, even the metropolitan-area dead-tree media conceded that today’s GOP gubernatorial nominee is indeed more “center” than anything else. That media promptly warned Mr. Ehrlich not to stray from the path they had already prescribed for him. 

Mr. Murphy played “guts ball” in his first (and statewide) political campaign, and he got the issues right.  Whatever his future choices, we wish him well and were honored to stand by him in his steep uphill struggle.

The Murphy supporters, however, do not need politician leaders to move forward.  They know each other, they know how to organize, and they can promptly get together on common issues. They can start to exert their strength reflected by over 50,000 Murphy Republican votes yesterday to influence November’s general election, and to bring their force to bear on the deliberations of the next session of the General Assembly.

2010 Election &Fiscal Policy Richard Falknor on 10 Sep 2010

Democrat or GOP Tax Hikes:Pledge Signers Must Vote “No”

Before Tuesday’s Maryland Primary:  Revisiting the No-New-Taxes Pledge

Many Maryland incumbents and challengers are signers of the Americans For Tax Reform (ATR) no-new-taxes pledges for state lawmakers.

Understandably, these politicians often make sure their no-new-taxes pledges are prominently displayed on their websites and campaign literature.

What the Tax Pledge is — and What It Means

ATR’s pledges are foundational fiscal documents:

“In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge. (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.”

Here and here are ATR’s lists of Maryland incumbents — and 2010 challengers — who have signed the Maryland state legislator or gubernatorial no-new-taxes pledge.

In 2010, only one Maryland gubernatorial candidate has signed the no-new-taxes pledge, Brian Murphy.  Neither governor Martin O’Malley nor former governor Robert Ehrlich signed.  Nor did Mr. Ehrlich sign the gubernatorial no-new-taxes pledge in 2006 nor in 2002.  Mr. Ehrlich did, however, sign the national no-new-taxes pledge (scroll down to p. 14) when he was in the Congress.  Apparently Mr. Ehrlich’s reported disdain for pledges is situational.

Readers should visit the challenger list up to the last minute on Monday evening before Tuesday’s primary election to be sure they are aware of all Maryland signers. Some may not get posted until the last minute.

What Should Conservatives Ask All Pledge Signers?

First, some background: The 2004 session of the Maryland General Assembly is instructive.  During 2004, then-governor Ehrlich signed or allowed to become law four major tax bills  – – the BRFA, the car tax, the flush tax,  and the corporate (holding company) tax – – amounting to nearly $ 2 billion in tax increases (totaled over over several fiscal years).

During Bob Ehrlich’s tenure as governor, many Republican pledge signers had apparently viewed their no-new-taxes pledge as a means of distinguishing themselves from the wicked Other Team during a long period of Democratic ascendancy in Annapolis. In the minds of some of these signers, however, they were not going to let a campaign slogan designed by outsiders seriously upset the plans of the first Republican governor in decades. After all, it was their Annapolis now!

Only two General Assembly pledge signers — state senators Alex Mooney and Andy Harrishonored their pledge by voting against all four major 2004 tax-hike bills then-governor Ehrlich signed or allowed to become law.

Democratic vs. GOP Tax Hikes

In the 2011 session, at least two scenarios directly affecting elected pledge-signers may take place.

  • Scenario 1. A Republican governor wrestling with an overwhelmingly Democratic General Assembly comes up with an “Annapolis compromise” on the budget including tax hikes, possibly disguised as fees.
  • Scenario 2. The Republican leadership of one or both chambers of the General Assembly working with a Democratic governor comes up with an “Annapolis compromise” including tax hikes, possibly disguised as fees.

These compromises will doubtless be sold as the best that can be done in liberal Democratic Maryland: “If  the pledge-signers stir up real trouble and undermine our compromise in the General Assembly, everyone will get even higher taxes!”

Don’t believe it: the pledge signer is obligated to give the next  governor or the signer’s party leadership or both, an answer of “No — go back and stop spending so much, so we don’t have to raise taxes.”

Conservatives should make certain that their favorite candidates who are pledge signers fully understand that. The pledge is not just a no-commitment way for a candidate to say “I sure like lower taxes, don’t you? ”

If the next governor or the Republican party leadership of each chamber, or both, understand that this time, in 2011 all pledge signers will stand firm, the burden of any  “Annapolis compromises” will be far less taxing.

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