The bloom is off the rose. The critics of Alex Mooney barely let the confetti hit the floor before beginning their bleating.
Saturday evening Alex Mooney won a decisive victory in the race for Maryland GOP chairman. As RedMaryland supported Senator Mooney we are naturally happy with his victory and we are convinced he brings to the table something the MDGOP has lacked for ages: energy, focus, fund raising ability, and the desire to be something other than a pinata for the Maryland Democrat party.
Rather than concentrate on the positives and support a former Senate colleague, for reasons known best to himself, Senator David Brinkley, ostensibly someone who is on our side, exercised his talent for going straight for the capillaries:
Sen. David Brinkley, a republican who represents Carroll and Frederick counties, shares the concern and predicted that the new party chairman would want "to keep his name out in front of everybody." He complimented Mooney's organizational skills, but questioned whether Mooney's brand of conservatism would broaden the party's appeal.
"The party has to attract all types of voters as an alternative to the single-party politics in Maryland," said Brinkley, who will be the Senate's new minority whip.
There are two points of criticism here which merit addressing.
First, it isn't a bad thing if the MDGOP chairman is known. That can be good. Admittedly a bad chair who is known is worse that a bad chair who is anonymous but it you approach every situation from trying to minimize exposure rather than maximize advantage you might as well just tattoo the "L" on your forehead and be done with it. Of course what Brinkley is hinting at but won't say is that he's afraid that Senator Mooney will use the MDGOP chair position to set himself up to succeed Roscoe Bartlett when the MD-06 seat eventually becomes vacant.
That, of course, is a concern if you also desire to succeed Mr. Bartlett. If you are the average GOPer, having a GOP Chair who operated like the job was actually important to him would be huge step up from what we've been used to seeing.
Secondly, Senator Mooney does not mark and end to a big tent party in Maryland to the extent that such a party exists. What he does represent is an end to the rudderless way that the MDGOP has operated. I don't necessarily agree that conservatism, properly articulated, is a winning strategy but I believe it is a better operating philosophy than running as a more efficient Democrat.
So long as senior members of our caucus can't refrain from pretty and public backbiting for no more substantive reason than to make themselves seem important the MDGOP will be the ineffectual party it is today.