Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

MD Democrats Running Scared?

Posted by Ed C on Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are Maryland Democrats running scared?  The latest Gonzales poll (08/29 – 09/05) had Obama/Biden up by +14, but this poll completed just as Republican convention in St. Paul finished and McCain/Palin started surging in national polls.

On Sunday we installed a few 4’x8′ signs around Howard County.  One of the signs was located at Montgomery Rd (103) and New Cut Rd in Ellicott City.  Here’s how the sign looked as we finished:

And I say was because as of Monday morning, this is what was left.

As we were installing the sign we received a lot of support from passing motorists and even had people stop to ask where they could get individual yard signs (Contact the Howard County Republican Party)

Are Obama supporters running scared?  Or, is their idea of political discourse limited to law-breaking instead of competing in an open and honest manner?


23 Responses to “MD Democrats Running Scared?”

  1. Kem White said

    There’s no defending vandalism. But to suggest Obama supporters are nothing more than lawbreakers is, at best, unbecoming. Why don’t you just go put your sign back up? Save your slurs for the Republican Club happy hour.

  2. cindy vaillancourt said

    Unfortunately sign vandalism is bipartisan…though making ugly and unsupportable accusations about the perpetrators is not.

    cindy v

  3. PZGURU said

    It is simply true that republican candidate’s signs have a higher frequency of being vandalized in this area, especially in Howard County. I know firsthand at having had to replace a number of signs, more than once, during the last election cycle. And, some of the signs being vandalized were located right next to various democractic candidate signs.

    Maybe Cindy and Kem don’t remember the incident a few years back where a homeowner almost had his house burned down because people vandlized a repulbican campaign sign he had on his fence.

    I know, I know, you both will cite a handful of incidences where a democratic candidate sign “disappeared” or something, but the fact is that there is a lot more vandalism against republican signs.

  4. Dave W said

    Unfortunately the Democrats in Howard County have been doing this for numerous election cycles. A few of them were caught and prosecuted in 2004 for vandalizing Bush/Cheney signs after they were caught in the act by the Howard County Police and were forced to pay restitution to teh Howard County Republican Party for their damages.

  5. cynthia vaillancourt said

    while neither “side” has really reliable statistics (yes, i’ve had signs disappear from my yard…though i’m not sure my candidates would choose a side), those in the minority are often targeted more rabidly….. and not just with sign vandalism.

    too bad the experience of being the persecuted minority doesn’t seem to sensitize folks to broader instances of persecution. maybe use the feelings of frustration, indignation and disgust to try to see how others feel in similar circumstances when their points of view are trampled by the “to the victors go the spoils” heavy handed governing that we have seen too much of…. but that’s another conversation.

    i have heard from democrats in predominantly republican areas that they too have more significant sign loss than their republican friends.

    all sign vandals should be very proud of their patriotic activism, not.

    cindy v

  6. General Zod said

    This happens every election cycle. Nothing new here. Remember back in 06′ when a couple members of Sheriff Caves’ staff stole Fitzgerald signs. I find it rather entertaining.

  7. It is unfortunate that both sides across the US play these games. I remember seeing O’Malley signs changed to NO’Malley.

    Two McCain yard signs disappeared in my neighborhood. No Obama signs have appeared yet.

    I plan on putting up a McCain and an Obama sign (for my daughter to encourage her interest in politics). I will let you know if either disappear.

  8. cynthia vaillancourt said

    I understand those arrested for this kind of thing have generally been young people with fairly limited organized political ties. who do you all think does this kind of thing and why? Do we really think it is some kind of organized party edict based on desperation?

    I’ll go first… I think it is random individuals with an opinion (possibly not even a strong opinion) who see these temporary (and they think cheap) signs as relatively safe targets for some kind of experiment in how it might feel to indulge a curiosity in vandalism. The Leopold and Loeb of political sins;)

    cindy v

  9. cynthia vaillancourt said

    sotty – i meant to say the leopold and loeb of political SIGNS….but i think sins works too.


  10. PZGURU said

    “Sins” – was that a subconscious slip up (LOL)? You’re right on either count, Cindy.

    I also think you (Cindy) are correct that the incidence of vandalism is related to whether that candidate is the in the majority or minority party for that geographic area. For instance, a McCain sign in staunchly democratic Montgomery County is more likely to disappear or be vandalized than an Obama sign in Montgomery County.

    Howard County has been shifting back and forth between leaning “R” or leaning “D” for the last few years. So the vandalism is probably spread out for candidates on both sides of the aisle.

    I would hate to think that the vandalism is part of an organized strategy by any candidates’ campaign office, but you never know. It’s probably more likely to be younger folks with a slight delinquent side to them, except for the fence buring incident – that was out of hand.

    Personally, the signs don’t change my vote one way or the other, so to me they are a visual annoyance, especially the sites that have like 200 signs all next to each other. Overkill.

  11. Dave W said

    Since I was somewhat familar with the incidents where the people got caught in the act of vandalizing the Bush/Cheney signs, I believe all three people prosectued and convicted in 2004 were in their 30’s, but I could be wrong about that. I’ll have to see if I can find old news article about it to confirm.

  12. observer said

    In recent howard county history the acts of vandalism have been overwhelmingly committed by the dems. In fact there are several instances of dems being prosecuted successfully for this crime. Never has a republican been arrested for any similar crime. of course there is always a few yard signs missing here and there, but the overt destruction of these billboard signs, is very troubling. I look forward to more arrests although I am sure Ken Ulman will stifle any attempts to start an investigation. At least Robey had the decency to put public safety first in the case where these signs were actually being set on fire, which is a felony. Happy hunting, McCain supporters, I hope you catch a few more of the rats!

  13. cynthia vaillancourt said

    you’re “sure” ken ulman will stifle any attempts to start an investigation…?

    damaging campaign signs is a misdemeanor. i have to think there are better uses of police resources than investigating sign damage.

    However, if arson becomes an issue (again) I feel very confident in saying that I am “sure” Mr. Ulman would not interfere in efforts to investigate.


  14. Arnhead said


    It’s a waste of time for the police to investigate matters of free speech, because that’s what this is about.

    Oh, and here’s the link about a few who where investigated and WHY they were investigated:

  15. cindy vaillancourt said

    i thought i was clear that i thought police investigating sign vandalism was a waste of resources.

    but i would disagree with the assertion that sign vandalism is an issue of free speech

    (unless what you were trying to say is that the vandals are interfering with the sign owners’ freedom of speech …. and that infringements on freedom of speech would be a reasonable use of police investigative resources)

    to be clear — the idiots vandalizing signs are not practicing their protected rights of freedom of speech… and the ones’ who set them on fire are not practicing some kind of constitutional right to commit arson. they are committing crimes against property and the rights of the people who put up the signs on private property.

    though i generally see lots of shades of gray in most issues—this one is black and white.

    cindy v

    possible shade of gray….any signs that are illegally planted on public property deserve to be destroyed…. and in that case the destruction or removal is not a crime, it is a public service.

  16. cynthia vaillancourt said

    this is a little off topic, but…. my daughter has a latex Obama mask in her dorm room— and her McCain supporting roommate threw it in the trash when my daughter was out. a little repub on dem property violation?


  17. observer said

    I’m looking forward to the press conference where Ken announces that he is going to commit the necessary resources to stop the crimes that are being committed in this county regarding the signs. Why wait for it to become an arson case. For those enlightened intellectuals that prefer to decide which crimes the police should pursue or not, I have to laugh at you. Is our police force to busy signing red light camera tickets to arrest a few losers for the crime of malicious destruction of property? Wait until someone destroys something you own and then think about how you would feel about it. Whether it is just a sign or your car, the crime is the same. By the way, aside from the cost and hard work these sign volunteers put into their effort, I wonder when these vandals are confronted and attempt to injure or assault those who may have exposed them, you will feel differenetly about the nature of these crimes.

  18. observer said

    After reading Washington Post story again, I feel compelled to correct the mis-statements by the author. Not a single Democratic billboard sign was damaged in Howard County during the Bush/Kerry campaign, the gunshot claim was never proven and probably completely unrelated to any political activity whatosoever, a baseless claim entirely, and the signs removed along that particular street were removed by county personnel becuase they were ALL illegally placed in the county right of way. I now the guy that called in the complaint. Not only does Wendy put a great spin on a bad story for the Dems, but the Post did a great job of making it sound good. It made me realize again how newspapers like the post are totally in the tank.

  19. cynthia vaillancourt said

    What, exactly, are the “necessary resources” to investigate political sign vandalism?

    Should resources be redirected from investigating violent crimes or other property crimes in order to put our “best men” on the case? Or should we just dip into the tremendous reserves of excess resources we budget for to handle this rampant threat to community safety?

    There is a big difference between vandalism of a sign and vandalism of, say, a car. The law makes distinctions about the severity of property crimes based on value. The police make decisions about the expenditure of resources based on relative value assessments and public safety.

    “Enlightened intellectuals” decide which crimes to pursue?

    The police regularly “decide which crimes to pursue”. I think it is terribly insulting to the police to suggest that they do this lightly, or as a result of political leanings, or out of laziness.

    Sure, when it is your property that is damaged it is more upsetting than when it belongs to someone else. But even when it is my property, I try to keep some perspective and acknowledge that I prefer the police spend out community resources on more significant crimes.

    Of course, I would not expect the police to ignore an act of vandalism if they happen upon it… but I don’t expect the CSI team to be called out for missing political signs, dinged car doors in parking lots, or empty beer bottles in my yard.

    Now, if in the course of any of these nuisance crimes being committed someone also commits an assault and/or a battery….well, then we have moved beyond vandalism – haven’t we?

    Credibility is lost by trying to trump up the cases of vandalism. They are offensive enough without trying to make them into more than they are.

    Cindy V

  20. jim adams said

    i think it is a Republican Club stunt to drawn attention to themselves.

  21. Ellicott Citizen said

    IMHO, it always seems to be the Democrats that steal/vandalize the signs. I caught a group of early twenty somethings stealing my yard signs in the last election. When I used my truck to block their exit they opened the trunk to return my signs and the trunk was full. Full of all Republican signs! I took possession of all signs and returned them to the HoCoHdqtrs.
    Pretty sure that its the lax structure that they are used to in their homes that lead them to their deprivity. I can see the dinner table discussions now about the parent’s years of civil discourse, their fights against “THE MAN”, the blaming of the dog’s fleas on Bush, etc.

  22. cynthia vaillancourt said

    what a sad and hateful thing to say.


  23. Laurel Vincenty said

    It’s regrettable that folks sometimes resort to using a paint brush to label an entire group for actions taken by others. Just because one person made a bad choice doesn’t mean others who share a group identity with that person will also carry out similar, poor choices.

    Getting along with each other and trying to help those who feel the need to harm other’s property would go a long way toward achieving peace and showing respect for others in this troubled world.

    Thanks for your time.

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