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November 2010 Aftermath

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, November 4, 2010

Well, it is over – election day. Nationally the GOP did very well. It will be an interesting 2 years. I hope the House, Senate, and White House figure it out.

Locally? Larry Carson put it best “Status Quo”.  Absentee ballots still need to be counted.  There may be a couple changes but it is doubtful. I agree with Larry that it will likely impact the Board of Election candidates more than anyone. 

Will it have an impact on the District 1 race? Probably not but I will watch.

As to the Register of Wills? I think it will go Kay Hartleb’s way. Why? Same situation four years ago. Kay was slightly ahead at the end of the election. When absentee ballots were counted she took a very large lead over her opponent. I don’t see why that would change four years later.

All night long Kay was trailing Byron McFarlane. I didn’t think much of it because the number of polls reporting was very low. I admit that I did worry a little. But when the board of elections posted their update at 11:43PM Kay was leading and the report at 4:48PM yesterday solidified it.

Reports from Democratic Headquarters were that Byron MacFarlane thought he had it in the bag (he may still win) and celebrated a bit too early. Darn modern technology.  (This comes from a conversation between the reporters covering poll watching parties at the democratic and republican spots).

I wanted to address a letter that appeared in the Ho Co Times suggesting that the lawyers who were writing letters or otherwise supporting Kay in this election were doing so to influence the office of the Register of Wills. Really? Really?  Here is what the letter said:

“The incumbent has received 100 percent of her campaign contributions in Maryland from lawyers and law firms. In contrast, Mr. Macfarlane has not taken a single penny from practicing estate lawyers in Howard County… candidates take contributions from the very people who will bring clients before them for supposedly impartial treatment.”

Influence what? What is that office going to do for a lawyer other than be effecient and as perfect in everyway as possible? What was that writer suggesting – that Kay Hartleb was going to triple the size of the clients estate?   The Register of Wills is an administrator.  They don’t rezone property.  Also, the writer states;

“She and her supporters have claimed that her opponent, Democratic attorney Byron Macfarlane, has never practiced estate law, even though a quick look into his record proves otherwise.”

The records states he hasn’t and he admitted it in a public forum.  He said; “I have never been the attorney or record but I helped my family.”  Yeah?

Seriously – does that writer have any idea about the office of the Register of Wills (doesn’t sound like he knows more than Byron MacFarlane).  The simple fact is MacFarlane remains unqualified for the position and the lawyers who support Kay don’t want Howard County’s Register’s office to get sloppy, inefficient, slow, error ridden, etc.  Not that the office under MacFarlane would be like that but during a transition period with staff turn over it would be until he could right that ship.  It is natural and the best manager can’t avoid it.  Those attorneys supporting Kay don’t have time to deal with a freshman Register of Wills and made it clear in their support of Kay.


Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Howard County, Republicans | 4 Comments »

There’s Something Going On

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, September 16, 2010

The past 36 hours or so (i.e., since the night of the primary election) have convinced me that there is a seismic shift going on politically the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

First, an anecdotal observation. This morning I drove from home (in Woodbine) to meet a client at Leisure World (a large age-restricted development in Silver Spring). On the way down Georgia Avenue, and then across Norbeck Road heading back to my office in Columbia, I noticed a handful of Ehrlich signs here and there. But I did not see a single O’Malley sign in my travels to and from Montgomery County, which is one of the bluest counties in this most blue of states. Even driving through the liberal hotbed that is Columbia, I see a roughly even split of O’Malley and Ehrlich signs. This is only anecdotal, but I am convinced that there is practically no enthusiasm this year for O’Malley.

Second, this morning I read that the latest poll done in the Ohio governor’s race has John Kasich (R) up 17 points over Ted Strickland (D). For those of you not familiar with the politics of my home state, the stunning thing about this poll is that Strickland is the INCUMBENT who was leading Kasich by 5 points in the polls in late June. Strickland is not mired in any scandal, and he has not made any significant campaign gaffe. The worst thing that Strickland has done so far in this campaign is a YouTube video clip showing him in a Howard Dean type tirade about how Republicans hate America. But that clip was not major news and the tirade occurred only about 10 days ago, when Strickland was already trailing badly in the polls. Across the Great Lakes states, it looks like governorships of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are going to flip from Democratic to Republican.

Third, Christine O’Donnell defeated ex-Governor and current Congressman Mike Castle in the Delaware primary for the Senate seat previously held by VP Joe Biden. Normally an insurgent can beat a party favorite only when there is an very low turnout in the primary, and the insurgent’s villagers with torches and pitchforks are the only ones who show up at the polls. What was especially interesting about O’Donnell’s victory is that the turnout in Delaware was three times the average primary turnout.

All the pundits immediately said that the Delaware voters were crazy and the Republicans had just lost their chance at picking up that Senate seat, and hurt their chances to gain the majority in the Senate, citing polls showing Democratic nominee (New Castle County executive) Chris Coons with a 16 point lead over O’Donnell. Karl Rove promptly bashed O’Donnell for her past financial problems and quirks. Even before O’Donnell concluded her victory speech Tuesday night, the Republican Senatorial Committee said it would not be supporting her in the general election. Castle, in his concession speech, did not congratulate O’Donnell or even mention her by name (reminiscent of Maryland’s own sore loser Wayne Gilchrest in 2008). Why the outrage at O’Donnell, particularly from Republicans? What happened to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”?

Some Republicans dislike the Tea Party movement for its impact on the Delaware, and Alaska, and Nevada primaries. They like the enthusiasm that the Tea Party has generated for conservative candidates, but resent those same Tea Party-ers for upsetting the apple cart for some party insiders. Those Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t expect a group to be enthusiastic about the political process unless that group can have an impact.

There were online reports that Karl Rove was working behind the scenes for the Castle campaign, so maybe he was just ticked off that his horse got beat. Even so, Rove is a political professional and his blast was a head scratcher. For those fans of conspiracy theories, I read one comment suggesting that Rove had done O’Donnell a huge favor. Now she was the underdog again, berated and dismissed by fellow Republicans. She was immediately transformed from a kooky fringe candidate to a sympathetic rallying point for conservatives across the country. On the day after the primary election, O’Donnell collected $750,000 in donations. By noon Thursday, she was up to $1,000,000. At the very least, she will have enough money to range a credible campaign, and the Democrats will still have to spend a significant amount of money in Delaware that they could have used elsewhere. Two days after the election, Coons’ lead over O’Donnell was down to 11 points. Now Delaware may be a blue state, but Chris Coons is no Joe Biden. He does not engender enthusiastic support. I think the momentum is shifting back to O’Donnell. I fully expect that any poll done the week of 9/19 will have her down by no more than 8 points. At the very least, O’Donnell is still going to make a race of it.

Let me try to connect some dots.
(1) There is no enthusiasm among Democrats.
(2) Republicans and independents are more likely to vote this year and they are angry. Ohio is the ultimate swing state, going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. If an incumbent Ohio governor with no scandal or major gaffe is down 17 points, I’m extrapolating that Republicans have maybe a 12-15 point advantage over their base line of support this year.
(3) Christine O’Donnell is attracting money and support at an unprecedented rate.

Now let me go far out on a limb and make some predictions:
(1) Republicans take the House.
(2) Republicans take the Senate.
(3) Christine O’Donnell wins.

Posted in Democrats, Ehrlich, Jim Walsh, O'Malley, Republicans | 3 Comments »

Howard County Republican Primary Results (Unofficial)

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Senate 13 – Kyle Lorton 2853 / Jody Venkatesan 2010

House 13 (vote for 3) – Ed Priola 3518, Jeff Robinson 2778 and Loretta Gaffney 2509 / J’Neanne Theus 2022

Republican Central Committee (vote for 9)
1. Laura Kittleman 9061
2. David Bates 6944
3. Diane Butler 6424
4. Dave Myers 6144
5. David Wissing 5803
6. Loretta Shields 5646
7. Kathleen Newberry 5316
8. Janet Moye Cornick 4981
9. Karen Winterling 4836
(Only men named “David” are allowed on Central Committee.)
10. Betty Evans 4383
11. Joel Rosenberg 4121
12. Ellen Harrison 4004
13. Christopher Oxenham 3509
14. Edward (?) “Chick” Chickanis 3343

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News, Jim Walsh, Republicans | Leave a Comment »

Who is Jack Dawkins?

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, September 6, 2010

I hope Mr. Dawkins doesn’t mind me using his name or refering readers of this blog to his comments in reference to Mr. MacFarlane’s announcement that Mr. MacFarlane will be running for the Register of Wills.

Mr. Dawkins replied to Mr. MacFarlane’s announcement as follows:

I am an attorney and I practice estates and trusts law. We handle dozens of probate administration cases each year in Howard, Montgomery, and Anne Arundel County, as well as DC and Virginia. I am a life-long indepedent voter, but I almost always vote for a democrat in elections. Howard County has the best Register of Wills office around – PERIOD. I’ll be doing everything I can between now and this election to make sure people know what a great job Kay Hartleb does in this office.

Thank you Mr. Dawkins for such a ringing endorsement. Coming from one who works frequently with Kay Hartleb’s office (and many other Registers at that) this is a most welcome testiment. One may refer to other such testimonials on Kay Hartleb’s web site

Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Howard County, Republicans | 1 Comment »

Great Scott!

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Democrats are reeling from the victory of Scott Brown (R) over heavily-favored Martha Coakley (D) in the special election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Excuse me, I should have said “the people’s seat formerly filled by Ted Kennedy.”

The Democrats are grasping at straws to explain away this defeat. Unlike the GOP gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey that were dismissed as anomalies over local issues and poorly-run campaigns, the Democrats have some real spinning to do to explain how a relatively little-known Republican state senator can overcome a 30 point deficit in a month against the well-known Democratic Attorney General of the bluest of blue states.

I knew that internal polls must have shown Coakley losing when stories were posted Monday about the finger pointing that was already going on among Democrats over the Coakley campaign. Coakley WAS a poor campaigner. Her comment about how she, unlike Brown, was unwilling to greet voters outside Fenway Pary in the cold during the Bruins’ New Year’s Day hockey game reeked of arrogance. Her dismissal of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as just another Yankee fan showed her disconnection from her constituents. Less than two weeks before the election, she took time off from campaigning to hold a fund-raiser among lobbyists in Washington. Brown, by contrast, ran a smart, consistent, near-perfect campaign. That said, in normal circumstances, even with such contrasting campaign styles, there is no way that Brown could have defeated Coakley in Massachusetts. There had to be an underlying anger among voters over what’s going on in Washington.

Some Democratic pundits are spinning Brown’s victory not as the people’s dislike of Obamacare, but as the people’s dislike of the distraction that Obamacare has become at the expense of addressing the issues of the economy and jobs. Let them spin. The fact is Brown explicitly campaigned on the idea that he would be the 41st vote against Obamacare.

It’s too soon to assess how the Democrats will respond. Some are urging full speed ahead on Obamacare. knowing that this may be their only chance to get this monstrosity of a bill passed. But that would be asking dozens of Democrats in Congress to sacrifice their own political careers for Obama. And that violates the first principle of politicians: self-preservation.

While the Massachusetts election results bode well for Republicans, we can’t be too smug just yet. The mid-term elections are over nine months away, and that’s practically a lifetime in politics. Until the last week before the election, the Democrats were caught napping in Massachusetts. I doubt that they will be so complacent in November.

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh, Republicans | 2 Comments »

What McCain Doesn’t Get

Posted by Jim Walsh on Monday, October 27, 2008

As I write this, eight days before the election, I am dismayed about the course of the McCain campaign on several fronts.  It is an understatement to say that the Republican ticket has not caught fire with voters.  There’s still some hope of pulling off a victory, but those chances look slimmer and slimmer every day.  For what it’s worth, here’s my observations about some of the things that have gone wrong.

(1)  Sarah Palin – I love the selection, and I think she’s an intelligent person, but any Republican has to realize that the MSM are not your friends.  They should have prepared her better for what she was to face.  She did well enough in the debate with Joe Biden, but the Couric interview was a disaster.  And when the economy is in a meltdown, is it really necessary to spend $150,000 on clothing for her?

(2)  Spend But Don’t Tax – At the risk of committing Republican heresy, I think it’s a major mistake for McCain’s biggest mantra to be a 2008 version of “Read my lips, no new taxes.”  As recently as 2000, the federal government was running huge surpluses to the point that pundits were speculating on what would happen when the national debt was paid off and there would be no more Treasury bonds issued.  The last 7.75 years have been an irresponsible mess of tax cuts in the face of two wars and burgeoning domestic spending that has led to the debasement of the currency.  While the GOP taxes liked Republicans, they spend like Massachusetts Democrats.  Running up record deficits hardly qualifies the GOP to lay claim to being the Party of Fiscal Responsibility.  People understand that we can’t continue to run the federal government this way.  At least Obama gains some credibility when he says he’s going to raise taxes for some people.  And here’s news for Republicans:  thanks to Ronald Reagan and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there’s a huge segment of the working population that pays little or no taxes already, and their response to Republicans is “But what have you done for me lately?”  Further tax cuts do not appeal to that group AT ALL.

(3)  Welfare in Disguise – Part of Obama’s plan is refundable tax credits for people who already pay no income taxes.  In other words, it’s not a tax break, it’s a massive welfare scheme.  Of course, the MSM won’t point that out, but why doesn’t McCain?  By wrapping up his wealth-transfer giveaway as a negative income tax, it’s going to be that much harder for future administrations to undo the damage:  “Massive tax increases on our most vulnerable,”  the Dems and the New York Times will cry.

(4)  Homeland Security – Possibly McCain’s strongest issue that he could use to his benefit is his advantage over Obama on homeland security.  And yet he’s not using it at all.  Yes, the MSM will probably twist any argument that McCain legitimately makes on this issue as a personal attack on Obama’s semi-Muslim heritage, but I repeat:  the MSM are not your friends.  They loved you when you were the outsider attacking the Republican administration, but they still hate you for being a Republican, especially when you have a chance at heading another Republican administration.  You have to craft your message carefully, and be prepared for the backlash that will follow.  I don’t buy the argument that McCain’s not raising the issue because it’s not on voters’ minds:  he needs to make it an issue and frame the debate to his advantage.  Or he can just write off one of his strong points and lose the election.

Posted in General, Jim Walsh, Republicans | 22 Comments »

The Roots of Sub-Prime

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, October 5, 2008

What are the roots of the sub-prime mortgage mess?  While the democratic party and Barak Obama love to blame the GOP and Bush policies the fact is that the mess is built upon the manipulation of markets in order to promote affordable housing policies.  This was led by a few leading democrats who are today blaming the GOP for political gain.  They are hypocrites.  Create easy credit and easy money to promote an agenda this is what we get.

Affordable housing is a laudible goal.  Getting more families into homes that they own is worthwhile. Creating a market for artificially cheap mortgages for people that can’t afford them, watching them be foreclosed on and then demonizing everyone else for the problem you helped to create.  That is just BS.

Yet when challenged and as the truth emerges about these facts people go nuts (on both sides).

Republicans began warning about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a decade ago.   The Bush administration raised red flags as early as 2001 and even asked for more regulation and oversight in 2003.  Yet Barney and Nancy were raking in cash from Franny and Freddie

John McCain sponsored a bill warning about banking crisis in 2005… and every time the DEMOCRATS said there was no threat and shot down the bill.

Here is actual video footage of Barney Frank and other Dems during those years… showing they are lying now about who is to blame.


Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Republicans | 10 Comments »

New Signs, More Vandalism

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Howard County GOP had a number of volunteers out this weekend installing new signs and repairing damaged ones.  Nice weather, nice workout.

On Sunday we replaced the sign at 103 / New Cut Road that was vandalised last week.

Any bets on how long this one will last?  If the signs that we installed on 103 near Snowden River on Saturday are any indication, not very long.  This is the sign on Saturday.

And by Sunday, someone came by with spray paint and hit three of the signs that we placed in this area.

I prefer to think they were actually showing support and were going to add NO BAMA, but through a lack of planing or intelligence they miss-calculated the size of their letters, or they ran out of paint.  With this round, the signs were easy to replace.   And at least they wasted their paint on this rather than defacing county or CA property as seems to occur all to often in this area.

Posted in Ed C, General, Howard County, Republicans | 4 Comments »

Too short to vote?

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, September 21, 2008

Well, if you need to be “this” tall to vote, the proprietor of the hedgehog report may just be out of luck this November.

Another fine weekend for sign planting.  Now if I could just figure out the key / ignition thingy; that cat will not stand a chance.

Posted in Ed C, General, Howard County, Republicans | 2 Comments »

Sarah Palin’s (and John McCain’s) Grand-Slam Home Run

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, September 4, 2008

All but the most partisan Democrats could not help but be impressed by Sarah Palin’s speech before the Republican National Convention last night (Wednesday, 9/3/08).  Even the talking heads among the MSM (including Keith Olberman) admitted her speech was impressive.  Her speech had the right balance of humor, seriousness, defiance and inclusiveness.

The only person alive who still might not be impressed with her is Susan Reimer of the Baltimore Sun (quoting from her article of 9/1/08):  “You want to look good to the evangelicals? Choose a running mate with a Down syndrome child.”   “I don’t know what I’ll do if she trots out the story of her 5-month-old baby to shore up the Republican base.”  Can you imagine the uproar that would have ensued if a conservative columnist had written something like that about a liberal Democrat with a special needs child?  And liberals wonder why conservatives distrust the mainstream media.

But I digress.   I think more and more that McCain’s selection of Palin was a stroke of genius.  The teapot tempest over her 17-year-old daughter will be a forgotten footnote in this campaign in two weeks.  In the meantime, as Mike Huckabee jokingly but accurately noted, she has managed to unite and energize the Republican Party.

I heard some talk-show Democrats opine that by selecting Palin, McCain has blown his use of the issue of experience over Obama.  I strongly disagree, and here’s where I think the brilliance of her selection comes in.   McCain had repeatedly tried to hammer Obama’s lack of experience, and frankly it didn’t seem that he was getting any traction with it.  If McCain had selected a Washington insider to emphasize his experience even more, I doubt that he would have made any further headway; the McCain-Insider ticket would be dismissed as politics as usual.  But by picking Sarah Palin, the Democrats and the media couldn’t help themselves from attacking her lack of experience.  And what did that do?  It brought the experience issue front and center. And who wins that argument, even now?  The Republicans.  In one of the most memorable lines from her speech, Palin pointed out that her experience as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska was like being a community organizer, except with responsibility.  The Republican vice-presidential candidate still has (at least arguably) better experience than the Democratic presidential candidate.   Brilliant!

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh, Republicans | 23 Comments »