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Friday, March 7, 2014
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Thursday, March 6, 2014
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It's another big episode of Red Maryland Radio tonight on the Red Maryland Network.
- We talk about some of the goings on you might have read about on the internet;
- Delegate Rick Impallaria has united virtually the entire Republican Party by having a temper tantrum;
- Last week we said we'd have an interview this week with Delegate Don Dwyer. But we don't. Hear why.
- We'll talk about the race for Attorney General, and why it's important to have an AG who is not a partisan hack;
- Charles Lollar finally has a tax plan. It isn't bad. But something else is.
More below the fold.
By now most of you have probably heard about House Bill 1513 which was introduced as emergency legislation this week Delegate Rick Impallaria. As first reported at The Quinton Report, the bill would radically alter the composition of the Harford County Central Committee.
To quote Jeff Quinton's reading of the bill:
- As ex officio members, it would give Republican delegates from Harford County a vote to fill vacancies on the GOP Central Committee or to vote to kick people off the Central Committee. It would prevent them from voting on other matters.
- This bill also would prevent central committee members from holding any other elected office in Harford County, unless that committee member is also a delegate.
The shear smugness of Impallaria's bill is matched only by its deviousness. To drop a bill as "emergency legislation" shortly after the filing deadline for the 2014 elections makes the bill seem less like a "good government" bill and more like a temper tantrum directed at the Harford County Republican Central Committee and a general condemnation of the candidates running for Central Committee than it does anything else.
Thank you for your concern about HB 1513. Unfortunately, someone has misinformed you about the purpose of the bill.
First, the bill does not make the Republican members of the House voting members of the Harford County Central Committee (HCCC). The bill provides that, if there is a vacancy on the HCCC for any reason, the Republican members of the Harford County Delegation will vote along with the HCCC members on the replacement. The last time a replacement was made on the HCCC, that replacement was made not by someone on the CC or the Delegation, but by someone who lived in WEST VIRGINIA. That person was not a resident or a registered voter in Harford County. By making this change, that unacceptable action will never occur again in the HCCC.
Second, in past years there have been attempts to remove members of the HCCC. If the HCCC believes that a member should be removed, they’d better have clear and convincing evidence. By this bill, before removing a member they will have to have a majority vote of the HCCC members and the elected officials.
To speak of “stacking” the Committee is just silly. As it stands right now, if any of the elected officials wanted to run for both offices, they could. But we all believe that the CC should be a building block to allow new people to experience public service as it related to the Republican Party.
Finally, the reason this is an emergency bill is that the election date has been moved back to June, creating a lame-duck CC for as much as 7-8 months. Knowing that, after the primary, many people, feeling that their good work has been completed, will decide to leave the CC, it is vitally important that we fill those positions quickly to support and promote the Republican candidates for office.
Rick ImpallariaChair, Harford County Delegation
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Our friends over at Front Line State have the video of Rep. Elijah Cummings’ meltdown at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the IRS targeting of conservative organizations. Cummings has been chief defender/apologist for the Obama administration during the IRS hearings.
Cummings sent Engelbrecht three threatening letters threatening congressional investigation into her organizations.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Both Anthony Brown and Doug Gansler are launching television ad buys this week according to The Washigton Post. As you'll see below, neither ad is particularly compelling, but is your typical piece used by campaigns to introduce themselves to the electorate and try to define themselves before voters.
Brown and Gansler are getting the opportunity to do what, unfortunately, our Republican candidates are not able to do yet. The huge fundraising totals amassed by Brown and Gansler are allowing them to go on TV this early, far in advance of Democratic rival Heather Mizeur or any of the Republican candidates running. Basically, Brown and Gansler are going to have the entire political advertising marketplace to themselves for a month or two before other statewide and high dollar campaigns get into the mix.
This is going to be one of our key strategic weaknesses as Republicans in the General Election, yet oddly also one of our advantages. Right now none of the Republican candidates, based on the January 2014 fundraising totals, can afford to advertise on broadcast television. A few would struggle to buy a spot on cable. By the time we get to the primary, maybe only one or two candidates on the GOP side will be able to afford to get themselves on television. The lackluster fundraising numbers to date for our Republican candidates is going to make it that much more difficult to stand out among the noise when introducing themselves to voters prio to June 24th.
Yet as I said, this is also going to be a strength. The Brown-Gansler matchup is going to be a heavyweight slugfest like we haven't seen in Maryland in a long time. Both are sufficiently armed with enough cash to stay on the air for the next four months. And while the spots have started out positive, they won't stay that way very long.
Strategically, the Brown and Ganssler camps are smart to be using the advantages they have. I doubt, however, they will start moving the needle immediately.
More below the fold.
As you may know, Red Maryland recently endorsed Mike Hough for State Senate in District 4. At the time, some of our detractors, and even an ill informed friend, claimed that our endorsement was from a bunch of "out of town bloggers" and that folks in Frederick County all support Mike's opponent. Of course, I grew up in District 4 and my family and my wife's family still live there. Our founding editor Streiff also lives in the District. Many of the "local" supporters of Senator Brinkley do not have these same connections with District 4. But I digress.
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Posted by Greg Kline at 3/05/2014 10:44:00 AM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Over a month after proposing to eliminate the income tax, the Charles Lollar campaign finally unveiled details of Lollar's plan to eliminate the income tax in Maryland. All in all, the Lollar Tax Plan is a pretty good one, and if it can be passed through the General Assembly, would be a tremendous boon to taxpayers.
The problem with Lollar's plan is not in its theory or concept, but its execution on the campaign trail. Lolllar announced his intention to eliminate the income tax in late January but did not provide any additonal detail as to how he would eliminate the income tax. Between the time that Lollar announced his basic concept and the release of his plan today, Harford County Executive David Craig released his own plan to eliminate the income tax.
Buried in Lollar's release is this little gem:
Critics initially dismissed the Lollar plan as unrealistic. And yet, one month after Lollar unveiled his zero income tax plan, another GOP candidate appropriated elements of the Lollar plan and passed them off as his own.In other words, the Lollar campaign has accused David Craig of ripping off Lollar's proposal as his own, even though none of the details included in Craig's release. Given that Lollar himself said during remarks broadcast on last Friday's episode of The Red Maryland News Hour that he and his team were going to run a positive and clean campaign.
Lollar's accusation is curious for a variety of reasons. As we mentioned, Lollar first broached the idea of eliminating the income tax, but provided no concrete proposals about how to implement such a cut or how such a cut would be paid for. The Craig campaign beat Lollar to the punch by announcing their own detailed income tax elimination plan with measures for cost savings. Yet, Lollar's plan is far more aggressive then Craig's when it comes to the phase out of the income tax plan, with the Lollar plan set for phasing out by fiscal year 2019 and the Craig plan only putting Maryland on a "glide path" towards gradual elimination, setting only a date of 2016 only for the first phase of the tax reduction.
So to recap:
- Craig Plan
- Tax Cut: Initial cut to 4.25% in 2016; second cut to 3% at a point in the future; elimination of the income tax at an undetermined point in the future
- How to Pay for It: zero-based budgeting, reviewing department and agency operations, eliminating coordinating offices, increases in a tax revenues through lower taxes.
- Lollar Plan
- Tax Cut: Cut to 3% for earners under $100,000, 4% for earners over $100,000 in FY2015. Gradual 1% yearly reduction for both levels until the tax is eliminated for earners under $100.000 in FY2018 and for earners over $100,000 in FY2019
- How to Pay for It: Reorganization of the Executive Branch, Review of all independent agencies; eliminating of waste and duplication; review of all Departments and Agencies with an eye toward eliminating no longer necessary agencies.
More below the fold.
- Studies find raising the minimum wage does not reduce poverty. It is a completely ineffective anti-poverty policy.
- The primary value of minimum-wage jobs is that they are learning jobs. They teach inexperienced employees basic employment skills that make them more productive and enable them to earn raises or move to better jobs.
- Over half of all Americans started their careers making within $1 of the minimum wage. Few stayed there long.
- Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers earn raises within a year—without the government’s help.
- Correctly adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage currently stands above its historical average since 1950.
- The minimum wage hike sponsored by some Members of Congress and supported by President Obama would raise the minimum wage to an unprecedented level—one-seventh above its inflation-adjusted all-time high.
- This would cause employers to reduce hiring, leaving fewer people employed. Macroeconomic modeling shows the proposed minimum wage increase would eliminate 300,000 jobs. That means fewer opportunities for unskilled workers to get started in the labor market and move their way up.
- When businesses have to pay higher wages, businesses hire higher-skill workers, freezing the least productive, most disadvantaged workers out of the job market. Consequently minimum wage hikes harm the very people that proponents of the laws most want to help.
More below the fold.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
This week Maryland Republican Party 1st-Vice Chairman Collins Bailey floated an idea out through email that would severely limit participation in the Republican Primary Process.
In an email to undisclosed recipients, Bailey suggested that the Maryland Republican Party ask for an amendment to state law that would allow parties to choose their candidates in a hybrid Caucus/Primary system like the one used in Utah.
Bailey's email states:
Are you familiar with the way the primary process is done in Utah? Utah has a pre-primary caucus that votes on the candidates for all offices. The candidates that receive the top two votes go on to the primary. If any candidate receives 60% of the vote or more, they go straight to the general election.
The bullets below are some of the reasons why we may want to consider passing a resolution requesting the state legislature to allow the Republican Party more options in how we do our primary process. Currently, Mike Miller and Mike Busch have more say in the tools we can use to promote our candidates than the Republican Central Committees throughout the state.
Every candidate needs a fair hearing. It is harder to recruit candidates today than it should be for many reasons. One challenge is that candidates did not feel they had sufficient opportunity to get their message out. Or that it is too expensive to do so.
While Bailey is correct that Legislative leadership has more of a say in candidate selection processes than party leadership does, the rest of the premse seems questionable. The idea that every candidate needs a "fair" hearing assumes that candidates right now do *not* get a fair hearing.
We need more grass roots supporters and more free media. * Every state seems to have a little different way (or in some cases a very different way) of doing their elections. Utah is a very interesting study. If we were to somewhat modify our primary process, we could experience some major improvements for the citizens and candidates in Maryland.
* States that have caucuses or conventions end up with more conservative representatives in their elected offices. States that have primaries tend to have more liberal representatives.That is simply not the purview of the state party leadership. The state party has a responsibility to ensure that the party fields candidates for every seat, not to pass a litmus test for each the viability of each candidate. While I certainly want to nominate solid conservative Republcans in each seat, those decisions are left with Republican primary voters?
* Citizens can be better informed. In a process where there would be a pre-primary convention, anyone that wanted to be well informed about what the candidates stood for would be able to obtain that information in a very citizen friendly manner.Bailey makes no case as to how changing our candidate selection process to the Utah model is going to bring this about. Candidates currently reach out to voters of all Republican stripes prior to a primary election. Good candidates are often more than willing to talk with voters about their concerns, particularly in smaller districts, well in advance of the primary election. How is a convention process going to make this easier?
* Good candidates would have more opportunities to get their message out. When a candidate has to communicate to all 5.8 million Marylanders in order to get their message out, money often decides who the nominee and/or representative will be. If all candidates had the opportunity to make their case at a convention prior to the primary, like is done in Utah, it would be a great help to their campaigns.Again, how is that different than it is now? Good candidates have a variety of avenues to get their message out. They can rely on grassroots activism, or they can raise money and use paid media to get the message out there. Also, Bailey's argument that "a candidate has to communicate to all 5.8 million Marylanders" is completely unfactual if only because there are only approximately 4.6 million Marylanders of voting age and beyond that there are less than one million registred Republican voters in the state of Maryland. A candidate trying to seek even a statewide nomination who is trying to reach all 5.8 million Marylanders prior to securing a nomination is, to be blunt, doing it wrong.
* Incumbents and candidates that have the respect of the people and/or broad support can save their resources for the general election if they receive 60% of the vote at the pre-primary convention or caucus if a Utah type model were done here in Maryland.Incumbents and candidates "that have the respect of the people", Orwellian langauge aside, should not be scared off by the idea of a primary election. While Bailey saus that such a candidate can "save their resoruces for the general election" he choose to ignore the amount of resources that have to be spent in preparing for a convention in the first place.
* Party nominees would have more time to get ready for the general election. In the past our nominees were not picked until September, leaving only 7 weeks until the general election. If a pre-primary convention or caucus were held months before the primary, candidates would have much more time to get ready for the general, making republican challengers more competitive against incumbent democrats.This point doesn't even make sense. The primary election is scheduled for the first Tuesday in April in Presidential years and the fourth Tuesday in June during non-Presidential years. Bailey's point about the old September primary is a non-sequitur. However, if you really want to be concerned with the calendar, can you imagine our General Assembly members having to spend time preparing for a convention during a General Assembly session?
* This system could produce a ton of party workers. Every successful campaign needs volunteers. A pre-primary convention or caucus like is done in Utah would be a great way to funnel a ton of volunteers toward the party nominees and/or the candidates chosen to participate in the primary.Prove that this has worked in the past. The idea that people who are not already involved in the party would be interested in spending a Saturday at a party convention seems awfully curious.
* This system would go a long way to helping fill all positions so that all general election candidates would have a challenger. In our last election we had 10 persons run for United States Senate. If our election process were like Utah’s, the top two vote getters would have gone on to the primary. Those not receiving the top two votes may consider running for an office that does not have a Republican candidate.One of the few points that isn't totally absurd in this piece is the idea that this helps fill the ballot. However, under Bailey's system, all of the spots on the balot would be filled by the conventions themselves and there would be no place for these failed candidates to be slotted into after they failed to secure the nomiation at the convention.
Bailey is proposing that the Maryland Republican Party at its Spring Convention adopt a resolution proposing to submit to the General Assembly a legislative change proposal that would allow the parties to implement this Utah system in Maryland. I cannot think of an idea more dangerous to participatory primary elections than this one.
Think about this. In the 2010 Maryland Republican Primary Elections 278,792 people cast their vote in the Republican Primary. At the 2013 Virginia Republican Party conventinon, in a state with a larger population and more Republicans then Maryland, only 8,041 Republicans participated at the State Party Convention. That convention ultimately nominated E.W. Jackson for Lt. Governor, who was was a controversial and weak candidate. How weak? When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and Virginia held a primary instead of a convention, Jackson received just 4.7% of the vote.
Tell me how limiting participation in the process is a positive thing.
What Bailey's proposal seeks to do is to take the power away from registered Republcians at the ballot box and instead hand it over to party insiders who have a vested interest in the process. While the primary election system is by far perfect, it does require that candidates interact directly with voters and prove their electoral viability at the ballot box prior to taking on the Democrats in the General Election. Bailey's proposal takes that requirement away.
Bailey's proposal does, however, do a lot of things. Not many of them good:
- It requires campaigns to focus on appeasing party insiders as opposed to spreading their message to the voting public;
- It requires campaigns to spend more money on trying to secure the nomination than they do in spreading that message and doing what can be done with earned and paid media to win elections, both in the primary and the general election.
- It provides greater incentives for intersts groups to coalesce in an effort to take over party machinery to ensure that their candidates get preferenetial treatment during the candidate selection proccess; and, worst of all;
- It takes the power of candidate selection away form the voters and instead hands it over to party cliques.
More below the fold.