Republicans should have won the presidency handily in November. Given the current fiscal malaise in the United States coupled with high profile incidents within the current administration, this race should have been won easily. It wasn’t, and if current political thought is correct – which it is, it is directly related to a fundamental lack of leadership within the Republican Party. Nowhere is this Republican dysfunction more apparent than in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. Andy Harris won re-election easily. He faced an opponent, Wendy Rosen, who admitted that she had voted in two different states in two different elections. Her name appeared on the ballot only because the deadline for replacing her had expired. Not surprisingly, Congressman Harris easily won re-election with over 63% of the vote.
Given that the Congressman had no real opponent in this election, one would have thought that he could have used his time wisely by addressing national issues like getting the truth about Fast and Furious, Benghazi, or working on proposals to address the fiscal cliff. In lieu of these national issues, the Congressman could have even addressed Maryland ballot initiatives. One would think issues like Congressional Redistricting; the DREAM Act; and Same-sex Marriage would have warranted attention from the man who wants to be the de-facto standard-bearer for Republicans in the State of Maryland. One would be wrong.
Congressman Harris decided to ignore national issues affecting all Americans and State issues affecting Marylanders and instead, chose to wade into Cecil County politics. Instead of championing conservative values as his campaign literature would indicate, the Congressman instead chose to settle scores with rivals in Cecil County. The Congressman endorsed Tari Moore for Cecil County Executive; he generously donated to the MDGOP. The MDGOP sent mailers endorsing Tari Moore for Cecil County Executive. And now, Tari Moore, on the eve of her swearing-in, has officially left the Republican Party so that she will be able hand-pick her successor rather than let the Cecil County Republican Central Committee choose her successor. How did Andy Harris respond? In a November 30, 2012 posting on the The Baltimore Sun’s website Harris effused that Tari Moore was a “good Republican” and that she will eventually come back into the fold. (The Baltimore Sun, 2012. URL: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-cecil-switch-becomes-gop-convention-flashpoint-20121130,0,4445008.story).
Presumably, she will do so after she has subverted the rules sufficiently with the Congressman’s consent. What is most shocking in all of this is not only the fact that the Congressman has failed to issue any sort of condemnation, but that he instead chooses to be the apologist. This is not the hallmark of leadership. The Congressman has allowed his personal rivalries to interfere with sound judgment. The MDGOP should have been out in front of this issue demanding that Tari Moore’s behavior be denounced and demanding re-payment of monies spent on her campaign. Instead, the motion at the convention was tabled. The MDGOP, under Alex Mooney’s dubious leadership, has chosen to be used as a tool to settle personal scores. It’s no wonder why we lost in November.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Queen Anne's County Republican Central Committee and my wife Andi Morony is Chairman of the Queen Anne's County Republican Central Committee and a part-time member of the staff of Delegate Mike Smigiel. These views are my own and have neither been endorsed by, nor reflect the views of my wife, the QARCC, or Delegate Smigiel.