For Maryland Republicans, the 2010 election was a shock, especially compared to national results. Despite victories here and there, we now know our state government will lurch on to follow economic basket cases like California or New York, where free-spending Democrats believe taxpayers comprise a never-ending gravy train.
The title of this piece refers to Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” A book which doubles as a parable, its theme is how society reacts when the producers withdraw from an intrusive, overbearing government. In Maryland, this scenario played out on a small scale via the so-called “millionaire tax” in 2008 — instead of creating the extra revenue predicted, overall tax receipts fell well short of projections. Those who could afford to do so voted with their feet and left Maryland for other states that encouraged their presence by featuring low tax rates and a regulatory environment more conducive to business.
For those departing, it was their manner of “going Galt,” a phrase inspired by the character in “Atlas Shrugged” who led the exodus of those tired of the overtaxation, overregulation and general disgust from those in government toward citizens successful in the private sector.
With this backdrop, Free State Republicans are in the process of choosing a leader for the next four years. Given the hand with which they have to play, the next state government term will need to be spent both fighting a rear-guard action to slow down Annapolis’s march toward oblivion and educating the public as to why it’s necessary — needless to say, voters missed the GOP message prior to the election. Or did they?
Maryland Republicans put up candidates who, for the most part, were tacitly endorsed by party brass. Many among them were willing accomplices to the Democrats on their destructive course over the last four years — although some would argue that ship began sailing decades ago. In either case, no course correction was made with this election. Republicans need to work on making sure voters are aware of the fix surely required four years hence.
And while it may not be popular with Democrats or the media, Republicans in Maryland indeed can’t just be the party of “no” — we must be the party of “hell no.” Sometimes there can’t be a compromise made; as Rand herself pondered, what is the compromise between food and poison? We must refuse the siren song of budget “fixes” involving new and expanded taxes, and fight tooth and nail against additional regulations and misguided ideas like the “green jobs” boondoggle.
Our best new chairman will be one who realizes there can be no compromise in our principles; instead, he or she will intuitively know Maryland Republicans need to present a bold palette of ideas and candidates in 2014. Our new leadership must convince our state’s producers help will eventually arrive. Give us anything less and Atlas will fail.
Michael Swartz, a Wicomico Republican Central Committee member, covered Maryland’s 2010 election for Pajamas Media. Visit http://www.monoblogue.us
One of the most often repeated arguments against free market capitalism is that is makes selfish, greedy monsters out of all of us. That a system based on one’s self-interest instead of the interests of the “collective” is evil on its very face. It is almost accepted as a fact that if it wasn’t for government enforcing our charity through the social safety net, poor people would starve, old people would die penniless in the streets, the infirm would be on the street corners begging for spare change and children wouldn’t be educated while a few rich individuals would spend their time rolling around in their money like Scrooge McDuck.
In fact, history has demonstrated the exact opposite. The more the government exercises control over the economy and the people that make it up, the less freedom the people have and the poorer they are. In the 1920’s millions of people were dying of starvation in Communist Russia while America, experiencing a resurgence of freedom after the tyranny of Woodrow Wilson, was prospering like no other place on earth. Before we allowed the government to control the economy through the Federal Reserve and New Deal programs, we never had a recession that lasted more than a few years. Up until the Roosevelt era, the history of the United States was one of prosperity, innovation and upward mobility. Only in America could a bobbin changer or desk clerk amass some of the largest fortunes on earth within their lifetimes. It was these men, acting in their self-interest, attempting to satisfy the self-interest of consumers free from government direction, regulation, taxes and control that created the standard of living we enjoy, a standard of living that is still the envy of the world.
That being the case, why is socialism selfish while a system based in individual self interest is not? The reason is that a system of socialism removes all meaningful interaction and responsibility among individuals within the society. The primary relationship in an individual’s life is with the state, not his or her neighbor or even his or her family. The government takes care of our children. With pre-K and Head Start, we place them in the care of unionized government employees from the time they are three until they are eighteen. The government is now also responsible for their higher education as well. If they choose not to try to make anything of themselves, we are not responsible for them then either. The government confiscates our money through taxes to pay for the basic sustenance of those who are either too lazy to work or have made bad choices that have placed them in poverty. When our neighbor or family member gets sick, the government will now determine their care. Once our parents get old, the government takes care of their needs and medical care until they die. Then the government confiscates their remaining wealth and sticks us with the bill for burying them.
Before government stepped in, people relied on their families and neighbors for all these things. If the government is going to take care of us, what do we need family for? We have seen this play out in Europe. The socialist countries of Europe have extremely low birth rates. Why? Who needs children? They are a pain when they are young and they don’t need them when they are old so why not just remain an eternal adolescent, enjoying whatever the government lets them keep on their extended vacations and abundant weekly leisure time. Not considering the next generation, getting the goodies even at the expense of the future, living only for yourself with no regard for the needs of others is the most selfish lifestyle possible.
Pure capitalism, on the other hand, encourages us to be considerate of others. In a truly free, capitalist society where government stays completely out of the economic and social spheres, confining itself to the role of protector of rights, selfishness results is very negative consequences. If one tried to live as an ‘island’, giving no thought for the needs or wishes of others, you would quickly be reduced to living in a hovel as a hunter gatherer. Why? Because you would not be able to get a job. Employment in such a society requires that your labor meet the needs of an employer who is, in turn, trying to meet the needs of his customers. If you did not care about the needs of the employer you would not have a job very long. Compare the products of communist countries with those of free ones. Workers under communism cannot be fired for lack of efficiency or quality, in free countries they can be. Continuing, if you didn’t care about your neighbors and you fell on hard times, charity would be hard to come by. If you don’t make yourself valuable to others, they find it hard to put any value on you. Consider the value free counties place on individual life as opposed to counties based on the “collective”. In a free country, any life lost is a tragedy. In a communist country, twenty million lives lost is a footnote. In a “collective”, it is the group that matters and those at the top decide what is best for the group, the individual life is only worth something if it serves the needs of the collective. In a free county, every individual is valued as an individual, every individual has rights simply because they exist as a man or woman and government’s only role is to ensure that each individual’s rights are respected by all the other individuals in a society. Finally, if you do not have children or choose to be a bad parent, there will be no one to take care of you when you’re old. The point of all these examples is to show that in a free, capitalist society it is in everyone’s self interest to be considerate of the self interest of everyone else. In a socialist society, the opposite is true. As long as the individual maintains good relations with the state, other relationships are superfluous and have little value. This does not apply simply to economics but to our societal relationships as well.
For the last hundred years America has been turning its back on all the things that made us great, embracing the very philosophies that have not only demonstrated their utter failure everywhere they are tried but are the complete antithesis of the system we were founded upon. Today, with our government taking a greater role in controlling our lives and the economic and social systems we inhabit, the family is disintegrating, we have created a permanent and growing underclass, we have seen the devaluation of individual life at both ends, and a stifled economy and for all our efforts we have stuck our great-grandchildren with a bill even they will not be able to pay. So who’s selfish now?
Candidate for Wicomico County Council
Crofton, Maryland – Brian Murphy, Republican Candidate for Governor of Maryland, today released polling data which confirmed the possibility of an upset victory in November. The poll, conducted by the polling companyTM, inc., whose CEO is nationally- regarded political analyst Kellyanne Conway, shows Maryland voters prefer not to settle for an Ehrlich-O’Malley rematch. The survey also found that voters would be very or somewhat likely to support a businessman over either Ehrlich or O’Malley, and that they would support a candidate who would pledge to not raise taxes. Both factors play well for Murphy’s candidacy, as Murphy is a businessman, and is the only candidate who has committed to balance the budget without raising taxes.
Given his recent entrance into statewide politics, Murphy’s name identification unsurprisingly lagged behind Ehrlich’s and O’Malley’s (27% vs. 92% vs. 96% respectively). All three candidates enjoyed net positive favorable-to-unfavorable ratings, but Ehrlich and O’Malley under-performed their favorability ratings in their ballot tests while Murphy over-performed his.
In 2006, Martin O’Malley defeated Bob Ehrlich by approximately 7 percentage points (53% to 46%), and four years earlier, Ehrlich became governor with 52% of the vote. Yet, neither O’Malley nor Ehrlich performs at or above (or within the margin of error) their past levels of victory in hypothetical ballot tests. They are both under 50%, with a comparable number of voters open to another option.
In the latest poll, O’Malley and Ehrlich were in a statistical dead-heat: 44% to 43%. However, only 28% definitely will vote for incumbent Governor O’Malley and 31% were firmly committed to former Governor, an “incumbent” once removed, Ehrlich.
In a match-up against Martin O’Malley, Brian Murphy trailed 44% to 25%, with 31% of voters undecided. The outcome is not surprising considering Murphy’s low name recognition. But the data show Murphy’s signed pledge to not raise taxes resonates with likely voters, a fact that would allow him to show vivid contrast in a general election against the fiscally unrestrained O’Malley.
The poll also showed that 46% of likely voters “wish there was someone else running to support,” and that 50% would be very or somewhat likely “to support someone for Governor of Maryland who has never held political office, but has a strong business background, over Bob Ehrlich and Martin O’Malley.”
When given blind ballot tests (without the names attached), 51% of voters favored a candidate who pledges not to raise taxes over one who grew the government by 40% (19%) or who raised taxes to record levels (12%).
In response to this poll, Mr. Murphy made the following statement:
“We started this campaign because we knew Maryland could do better. The Ehrlich-O’Malley question was settled in 2006. As a voter, I wanted a new choice. I wanted someone who would balance our budget, without raising taxes. I wanted someone who would bring sound business principles to Annapolis to help grow our economy. And this poll shows the majority of Marylanders feel the same way.”
“Yes, our campaign must overcome low name recognition. We knew that from the beginning. But Maryland voters are hungry for leaders with vision and conviction. And if given the choice, I’d prefer having to overcome low name recognition than having to overcome Bob Ehrlich’s or Martin O’Malley’s poor record. Name recognition can be addressed. A poor record cannot.”
Brian Murphy and Robert Ehrlich are running in the Republican Primary on September 14. Governor Martin O’Malley is running in the Democratic Party Primary on September 14. The winners of the respective parties’ elections will square off against each other in the November 2 General Election.
Brian Murphy is a successful Maryland businessman with a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is founder of the Plimhimmon Group, whose first investment, the Smith Island Baking Company, has been featured in The Washington Post, the Wharton Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, Businessweek and other publications for its principled approach to job creation in Maryland.
The live telephone poll of 508 likely voters was conducted June 8-10, 2010. Respondents were selected randomly from a list of registered voters in Maryland, and were screened to ensure registration to vote in Maryland and likeliness to participate in the upcoming general election. Sampling controls were employed to ensure proportional numbers of respondents were interviewed by demographic characteristics such as race, age, gender, party registration, and geographic region, as those characteristics are reported by the latest publicly available statistics from the State of Maryland and the United States Census data.
SALISBURY — Mike Calpino, a Nanticoke resident who says government needs a philosophical makeover, will run against Stevie Prettyman for her Wicomico County Council seat.
“We need to change the way we do government. Trying to be all things for all people is too expensive,” Calpino says.
The 42-year-old has filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections as a Libertarian candidate. Calpino said the county government has grown too large under the executive form of leadership and supports keeping the revenue cap in place, switching to elected school boards and holding evening council meetings.
“If we were still spending what we were in 2006, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Calpino said of Wicomico’s spending habits.
Prettyman, a Republican, has held the District 2 seat since December 1998. Calpino said the tea party movement over the past year has energized him to run for the council. It also motivated him to dress up in Colonial costume and speak at tea party events.
The Pennsylvania native is an amateur boat builder. He constructs small sail and power boats, and has built a 60-foot barque — a type of boat with at least three masts. Calpino home-schools his three children with his wife, Kelly, and he is also the author of the 2008 book, “Memoirs of a Former American,” a fictionalized account of what America will look like 60 years from now if the U.S. doesn’t change its course. The book was written under his pen name, Patrick Samuels.
Calpino said employee pensions represent a growing cost for the county. He also suggests lowering the county’s tax rate — which he said is among the highest on the Eastern Shore for income tax, admissions and amusements, hotel and motel, impact fees and levies on manufacturing.
“The more you tax people, the less economic action you’ll get,” he said.
As members of Congress across the country try to distance themselves from Washington by burnishing their “outsider” credentials, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing just the opposite — he’s embracing his incumbency as he seeks re-election in Nevada.
After Republicans selected Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle last week to run against Reid, the Senate’s No. 1 Democrat is trying to make the case back home that experience is good, and that his clout in the nation’s capital is what brings jobs and funding to Nevada.
“No one can do more,” is Reid’s new campaign slogan, unveiled in a pair of ads that tout his record securing funding for alternative energy sector jobs.
The strategy is undoubtedly risky in an election year when upstart candidates like Angle are surging on the crest of the Tea Party movement and incumbents are generally trying to downplay their establishment ties.
While Reid, who has served in Congress since 1983, has decided to play to his decades of experience, all Republicans see is a bigger target.
“It’s an interesting strategy to brag about bringing jobs to your state when you have 13.7 percent unemployment,” said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The nationwide unemployment rate is 9.7 percent.
Walsh said he wouldn’t argue with the new slogan.
“No one has done more to increase the role of the federal government or raise taxes on Nevada families,” he said.
The NRSC released a web ad focused on Reid’s experience, only from a different perspective. The ad is called “Harry Reid: Decades of Epic Fail.”
A group called American Crossroads also just released an ad billed as a response to Reid’s “no one can do more” message.
“Harry Reid’s work is paying off all right — paying off for his friends in Washington but leaving Nevada with what?” the narrator says, citing the state’s high unemployment rate.
The narratives are being set as the general election gets under way following a close Republican primary. Angle, a former state assemblywoman, came away the winner in that race on Tuesday after trailing her opponents for months.
Reid and Democratic strategists immediately set about to casting Angle as a “wacky” fringe candidate.
A Reid ad slams Angle for supporting a phasing-out of Medicare and Social Security and for pushing a drug treatment program for inmates based on Scientology.
“It’s this season’s hottest new trend: Republicans nominating candidates so far to the right, they’re practically falling off the map,” Reid’s campaign said on its blog after Angle won.
Reid’s campaign on Monday dismissed the GOP criticism aimed at the “no one can do more” message. Spokesman Kelly Steele said Reid has created thousands of jobs by bringing clean-energy firms to the state and secured millions of dollars to help residents stay in their homes, suggesting that’s more than Angle can say.
“This is nothing more than Republicans attempting to change the subject from the dangerous, extreme agenda of their accidental candidate, Sharron Angle — who wants to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, pull the U.S. out of the U.N., give massages to prisoners, and deregulate Wall Street and the big oil companies responsible for the crisis in the Gulf. By contrast, Sen. Reid delivers meaningful results for Nevada families every day,” he said in a statement.
Though Democrats claimed to be delighted at Angle’s win, a Rasmussen survey taken one day after the primary showed her leading Reid 50-39 percent.
Angle, in an interview Monday with Fox News, said “mainstream Americans” are questioning Reid, and she used harsh words to assail the very record Reid is touting.
“The problem is Harry Reid. He’s had 24 years to do something for Americans, and he hasn’t done it,” she said. “In fact he has pretty much waterboarded our economy for the last year and a half.”
She said the state’s high rate of unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy stand as a testament to Reid’s ineffectiveness.
“Harry Reid has truly failed and we’re saying, ‘Harry Reid, you’re fired,'” she said. Angle disputed the claim that she wants to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, saying she wants to “personalize” them.
Reid, his $9 million campaign war chest and his high-profile supporters see things differently. A stump speech last week by former President Bill Clinton showed that Reid’s campaign would be rejecting the argument that years in Washington make politicians go stale.
“Why would you give away the Senate majority leader who has delivered time and time again?” Clinton said at the rally Thursday night.
Sounding reflective as he heads into a bruising electoral season, President Barack Obama told POLITICO columnist Roger Simon that the Gulf disaster “echoes 9/11” because it will change the nation’s psyche for years to come.
Obama — facing mounting criticism of his handling of the BP gusher, even from longtime allies — vowed to make a “bold” push for a new energy law even as the calamity continues to unfold. And he said he will use the rest of his presidency to try to put the United States on a course toward a “new way of doing business when it comes to energy.”
“In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president said in an Oval Office interview on Friday, “I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”
Previewing his message for the midterm congressional elections in November, the president said: “[T]he Democrats in Congress have taken tougher votes, have worked harder under more stressful circumstances, than just about any Congress in our memory. And they’ve done a great job and deserve reelection.”
“So I’m going to be fighting on their behalf and doing everything I can and using my bully pulpit to communicate that fact to the American people,” he said. “I know there’s an anti-incumbent mood out there right now because … people are frustrated about the hit that the economy has taken. … But what I’m going to remind people of is we didn’t create this mess. And this Congress responded forcefully at a time when this economy really could have fallen off a cliff.”
Historic patterns and the current political climate all but guarantee that both the House and Senate will lose Democrats in the election, and administration officials concede the Republicans have a chance of winning control of the House.
Obama acknowledged that the results will help determine the course of his term’s second half. “I am spending some time thinking about 2010 because, obviously, my ability to get things done on behalf of the American people depends on a Congress that is willing to cooperate,” he said.
In his firmest declaration yet that he views the calamity as an impetus to push Congress afresh to pass a major energy and climate bill, Obama vowed to “move forward in a bold way in a direction that finally gives us the kind of future-oriented, … visionary energy policy that we so vitally need and has been absent for so long..”
“One of the biggest leadership challenges for me going forward is going to be to make sure that we draw the right lessons from this disaster,” he said.
Hardening one of his persistent complaints throughout his presidency, Obama expressed frustration with press coverage of his administration’s response, declaring that “the media specifically is demanding things that the public aren’t demanding.” He contended that “the overwhelming majority of the American people” have reasonable expectations.
“What they hope and expect is for the president to do everything that’s within his power,” he said. “They don’t expect us to be magicians.”
The interview was a rare chance to get a glimpse of how the most-written-about man in the world sees himself. He acknowledged the power of symbolism in his office, but reiterated his distaste for what he has referred to as “method-acting.”
When Simon asked about appealing to public emotion, Obama replied that “part of leadership always involves being able to capture people’s imaginations, their sense of hope, their sense of possibility, being able to move people to do things they didn’t think they could do.”
“The irony of course is, is that the rap on me before I got to office was that that’s all I could do — right?” he said with a chuckle. “[Y]ou know, ‘The guy gives a great speech, he inspires people, gets them all excited but we don’t know if he can manage and govern.’ So it’s not that I don’t think these issues are important. It’s that there’s a time and a place for these issues. …
“What the public wants to see is us solving this problem. And that may not make for good TV. Me sitting in a meeting with [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu and [Gulf national incident commander] Thad Allen and looking over maps and figuring out how boom gets someplace, that’s not something that is high theater. But ultimately that’s going to make the biggest difference in terms of whether or not the Gulf recovers.”
Obama said he couldn’t predict whether the nation would transition completely from an oil-based economy within his lifetime but added that “now is the time for us to start making that transition and investing in a new way of doing business when it comes to energy.”
“I have no idea what new energy sources are going to be available, what technologies might drive down the price of renewable energies,” he said. “What we can predict is that the availability of fossil fuel is going to be diminishing; that it’s going to get more expensive to recover; that there are going to be environmental costs that our children, … our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren are going to have to bear.”
On the mixed to negative polling about the historic health-reform law he signed in March, Obama said: “I strongly believe that the health care bill was the right thing to do … I think that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, people are going to say this was a big achievement. I think it’s going to help us bend the cost curve in ways that will actually help us deal with the deficit, not add to it.”
Turning to the issue that’s likely to dominate midterm campaigns, Obama said the economy “is still fragile, and not all those 8 million jobs have been brought back.”
“[T]he good news is that we have pulled ourselves out of what could have been a Great Depression,” he said. “The trajectory of the economy is moving in the right direction. We’ve had job growth for five consecutive months. GDP estimates have gotten better. We’ve got some headwinds because there continue to be problems in Europe that have an indirect impact on us.”
Pressed on the inevitability that the elections will be cast as a report-card on him, Obama replied: “I’m less concerned about the report card on me. I’m more concerned about really fine public servants who’ve been in the line of fire, done really good work — I want to see if we can get them back here.”
Bob Ehrlich’s first priority is to strengthen Maryland’s economy and help the private sector create jobs. To reach that goal, he will treat small business owners as a source of new jobs – not a source of new tax revenue like the O’Malley Administration has the past four years.
Roughly 230,000 Marylanders are currently unable to find work, and the unemployment rate in Maryland has doubled since the O’Malley Administration took office. Approximately 3,000 small businesses have closed in Maryland in the last year alone. Maryland ranks 45th out of 50 states in CNBC’s 2009 “Cost of Doing Business” ranking of the states. Bob Ehrlich believes this status quo in unacceptable.
To help create jobs, he will lower the tax burden in Maryland and cut bureaucratic red tape that discourages entrepreneurs from starting new companies and hiring new employees. He believes we must get government off the backs of job-creating small business owners so they can flourish and invest in people, technology, and Maryland’s future.
When Bob Ehrlich served as governor from 2003 to 2007, more than 100,000 private sector jobs were created in Maryland. Unemployment consistently remained around 4 percent, and business confidence in Maryland reached an all-time high, according to surveys.
Bob Ehrlich will cut taxes in Maryland in order increase prosperity for everyday Marylanders and entrepreneurs. As governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich defeated for vetoed $7.5 billion in tax hikes proposed by the Maryland General Assembly.
Bob Ehrlich opposed the O’Malley’s Administration’s enactment of the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2007. He believes it had a crippling effect on Maryland families and small business owners who were already struggling under the weight of a national recession. The O’Malley Administration enacted a record $1.4 billion tax increase, including a 20% increase in the sales tax, which disproportionately punishes low and middle income Marylanders. The O’Malley Administration also raised the corporate income tax, making it harder for small businesses to grow and create jobs. Maryland has the 4th highest combined personal income tax in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.
Bob Ehrlich firmly believes in lowering the tax burden to help Marylanders get back to work. As governor, he will repeal the O’Malley Administration’s 20 percent increase in Maryland’s sales tax, which disproportionately hurts small businesses and low and middle-income Marylanders.
Bob Ehrlich believes Maryland must begin spending within its means. In the last three years, the O’Malley Administration has plunged Maryland into its largest budget deficits in history without offering any plan to balance the budget. In addition to this deficit, total state spending today is nearly $2 billion higher than it was when the O’Malley Administration took office. When the O’Malley Administration called a special legislative session in Annapolis to “reduce spending,” it actually approved $600 million in new spending just as the state was entering a recession.
As governor, Bob Ehrlich will immediately cut wasteful spending and make government more responsive to the taxpayers. When he served as governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich turned $4 billion in inherited budget deficits into a budget surplus and nearly tripled the State’s Rainy Day Fund. He did so without increasing sales or income taxes. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of just six states with a coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major rating agencies.
Bob Ehrlich believes the environmental, cultural, and economic benefits of the Chesapeake Bay are priceless. He wants his two sons to inherit a Bay that is cleaner and healthier than the one his generation inherited, but the task will require uncommon political leadership.
He is proud to have authored the landmark Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act as governor in 2004. This innovative plan financed upgrades to faulty wastewater treatment plants that emitted millions of pounds of pollution into the Bay and its tributaries every year, harming wildlife and Maryland’s watermen community. As a result of his leadership, the Bay Restoration Act is currently preventing one million pounds of pollution from entering Maryland’s waterways every year.
As governor, Bob Ehrlich will continue to pursue innovative and nonpartisan solutions to restore the Bay and the wildlife that depends on it, and he has a record of delivering once-in-a-generation results for this great national treasure.
Maryland is blessed to have many school districts that have performed at consistently high levels for decades. Unfortunately, those blessings are not extended to tens of thousands of students trapped in failing schools across Maryland.
Bob Ehrlich believes every child in Maryland has a civil and constitutional right to a quality education. As governor, he will dramatically expand charter schools in Maryland to give children and parents stuck in failing schools a choice to move to a better and safer learning environment. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate with greater freedom to help students reach their full potential.
As governor in 2003, Bob Ehrlich authored Maryland’s first-ever charter schools law. As a result, more than 12,000 students in Maryland are currently learning and growing in 42 charter schools across the state. He also strengthened Maryland’s needs-based college scholarship program, helping 37,000 students go to college who could not otherwise afford it.
AUTHORITY: BOB EHRLICH FOR MARYLAND COMMITTEE, TREASURER: H. TERRY HANCOCK
More than 50 days after the explosion, fire and sinking of the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon the oil is still flowing out of the ground, more that 5,000 feet below the sea. The finger pointing continues, as does the political posturing.
Some are using this accident as an excuse to end not just drilling in deep water, but to put an end to all offshore oil and natural gas exploration for good. Curiously, there seems to be no realization of some very basic facts:
1. The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day and many who advocate ending offshore drilling also are opposed to drilling on the land.
2. Drilling in shallower water has much less risk and if there is an accident it’s much easier to turn the flow off.
3. The technology to drill in shallow water and on land has been tested over decades and has only improved.
4. If the United States does not drill for its own resources, other nations like Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela will drill for the same oil and natural gas from just outside our territorial waters without regard for safety or our environmental concerns.
5. As matter of national security we need to stop buying oil from nations that do not like us and/or support terrorism.
6. Thousands of Americans are employed by the oil industry and the industries that support it. At a time when millions are unemployed we can ill afford to put the oil industry out of business in the U.S. and send those jobs overseas.
Even the fisherman of Louisiana who have been hit hard by the consequences of this oil spill still want drilling and exploration to continue. They recognize that the economy of the Gulf and the entire nation depend on the oil industry. All that they ask is that the drilling is done in an environmentally responsible and safe manner.
There is blame enough to go around for the accident and its aftermath. The fact that the MMS apparently failed to do proper inspections and failed to ensure that an appropriate emergency action plan was in place seems to put blame on both the Bush and Obama administrations. BP has the lion’s share of the blame as it was their rig. But it’s important to note that it was environmentalists and their Democrat allies in Congress that pushed oil and natural gas exploration into the deep water where techonology is at its limits and the risk of disaster is far greater.
As for the failure to prevent the oil from reaching shore and to contain and clean up the spill, the blame is equally on BP and the Obama administration. Many companies have offered viable plans and technologies to contain and remove the oil from the water- they have been ignored. Several foreign nations that have experience and success with cleaning up large spills have offered help and they too have not been allowed to assist.
There are ships that could have been skimming the oil from the Gulf, almost from the beginning of this disaster, that have not been allowed to and still can’t do so until President Obama temporarily suspends the Jones Act, a law that prevents ships that are not built and crewed by Americans from operating in Amercian waters. This protectionist law which dates back to 1920 was temporarily suspended by President Bush after Hurricane Katrina, but Obama has not seen fit to do the same.
There are American companies that have boom that could have protected the Louisiana marsh lands that have not been allowed to provide their products because BP has not approved it. There are other companies that have simple but effective products like hay and synthetic polymers that could remove the oil from the surface of the Gulf that likewise have not been taken up on their offers to help. These products and solutions would eliminate the use of chemical dispersants that may harm the environment.
What is the motivation of either BP or the Obama administration not to take advantage of all this help? For BP, it would seem there is no good reason not to utilize whatever it can get its hands on. For the administration it would seem they are either incompetent or are following their mantra of “never let a good crisis go to waste”. It’s no secret that the far-left is unhappy with Obama for not putting an end to offshore oil drilling. If the administration lets this disaster go far enough they may feel they’ll have the political cover they need to cater to their base. But even this doesn’t make sense, as polls show that the public is dissatisfied with Obama’s handling of this crisis and blames him almost as much as BP.
We obviously need to find alternatives to oil, such as biofuels made from crops and plants that we don’t use as food for ourselves or our livestock- such as sawgrass. We also should be building nuclear powerplants and finding ways to utilize wind, solar, tidal and ocean current generation for electricity. But you can’t drive your car on these energy sources and like it or not, for the moment our economy is dependent on petroleum.
It’s time to get cut the red tape, clean up the water and the land affected by the spill and find a way to cap the gusher. Meanwhile, we have to move our oil exploration into shallower waters and on to the land in places like Alaska. We need the oil, we have the technology and to do otherwise would only hurt Americans and put our national security in jeopardy.
Brian intends to run an honest, transparent, and principled campaign. In the coming months, he looks forward to making the case with voters across Maryland that his approach to governance will provide the most opportunity to the most Marylanders.
Jobs are job one: Brian’s primary concern is the economy. Maryland’s high taxes, deficit spending, and anti-business environment have already destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Maryland is a great place to live, but we need to start making it a great place to do business. Every point in Maryland is 50 miles from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC, Delaware, or West Virginia. We must not take Maryland jobs for granted. Our tax policies must compete with those of our neighbors. If we don’t compete, Maryland jobs will continue to leave. And Maryland must rebuild its reputation with the business community. Maryland has the most talented labor pool in the nation. We deserve a Governor who will work with companies and encourage them to bring their operations here.
Leadership in Balancing the Budget
A top priority for Brian is balancing the budget without raising taxes. This will take leadership and it will take discipline. To that end, Brian will take a 25% pay cut for his first year in office, and ask his Lieutenant Governor, and all Senior Leadership to do the same. It is irresponsible for Brian to ask anyone in Maryland to do something he would not first do himself.
Brian is committed to ensuring every Marylander has access to safe, affordable healthcare. The first step is to grow Maryland’s economy, so every Marylander has more income. The second step is to address rising healthcare costs.
Our current model is like an “all you can eat” bonanza, where you never see the bill and have no incentive to spend less. This is foolish and unsustainable. Brian wants every Marylander to have more control over their healthcare, not less. When Brian lost his job at Constellation, he didn’t lose his car insurance, his life insurance, or his home insurance. So why did he and his family lose their health insurance? If healthcare is tied to employment, Marylanders feel less free.
To lower costs, every policy will be explored. Health Savings Accounts, wellness incentives, and tort reform are just the beginning to meaningful healthcare reform in Maryland. Costs can, and will, come down. Marylanders demand meaningful reform, and Brian is committed to implementing policies that provide it.
Brian is the son of an English teacher, and he and his siblings are products of Maryland’s public schools. Brian has an unwavering commitment to the education of every child in Maryland, especially those who live in lower income school districts and the urban areas of Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. While our public schools are among the best in the nation, a great deal of work remains to be done. Every dollar the government spends must be reviewed and accounted for. Brian wants to review the quality of dollars spent, not just the quantity of dollars. Successful programs must be supported and fully funded, and wasteful programs must end. Our children deserve nothing less.
Brian is committed to protecting our shared green spaces, our mountains, our farmland, our coasts and wetlands, and our spectacular Chesapeake Bay. He has heard innovative proposals from entrepreneurs on how to address the Bay’s dead zones, where oxygen levels are too low to sustain life. He wants to work with local farmers on ways to address run-off levels, without making farming even more expensive. He wants to address transportation issues, to find scalable, affordable, environmentally sensitive long-term solutions. By working with the private sector to craft solutions to these problems, Maryland will solve its own problems, and develop an expertise from which other states can learn.
One easy way to address our transportation issues is to make Baltimore City safer and more affordable. Hundreds of thousands of people commute into and out of the city every day. Just imagine the economic impact, and the environmental impact, if they actually lived in Baltimore.
Like all of America, Maryland has an unhealthy addiction to foreign oil. We send billions of dollars to countries that don’t like us very much, and that’s a problem. We have been saying this for 30 years, but are more dependent today than ever.
Brian has spent the majority of his career in the energy business. He supports bringing energy production closer to home and exploring alternative sources of energy. Brian supports Constellation Energy’s proposed expansion of their award winning Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Facility. This would create thousands of jobs, grow our economy, and build our tax base. Brian is disappointed in the current administration’s delaying of the Calvert Cliffs project for political reasons. Our energy needs, just like our economic needs, should not be politicized.
2nd Amendment Issues
Brian has the same view on the 2nd Amendment as the founding fathers: the right to bear arms was preceded only by freedom of speech. Brian is committed to protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of Maryland residents.
Brian understands that immigration is what defines America (after all, his last name is Murphy). But becoming an American citizen is a process, and no one is above the law. Our Federal Government refuses to secure our borders, so all Americans are less safe. Illegal immigration is against the law, it cheapens American citizenship, and it makes police officers’ jobs more difficult. Maryland must enforce our laws, we must protect our citizens, and we must do all we can to ensure the safety of our law enforcement officers.
Brian is Pro-Life, and is committed to standing firm for the sanctity of life. Brian opposes embryonic stem cell research, and he supports legislation which gives pregnant Marylanders the best possible information about abortion. Along with his wife, Joy, Brian intends to establish a program called “Joy’s House”, in which pregnant girls and women can gain the support they need should they decide to carry their pregnancy to term. Joy’s Houses will be established across the state, and will be funded exclusively with private money.
Here is the full text of John L. Perry’s column on Newsmax which suggests that a military coup to “resolve the Obama problem” is becoming more possible and is not “unrealistic.” Perry also writes that a coup, while not “ideal,” may be preferable to “Obama’s radical ideal” — and would “restore and defend the Constitution.” Newsmax has since removed the column from its website.
Obama Risks a Domestic Military Intervention
By: John L. Perry
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.
America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:
# Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”
# Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
# They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.
# They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
# They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
# They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.
# They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
# They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.
So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?
Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?
Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?
What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, “I’m not interested in victory”) that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?
Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?
Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool’s fog.
Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?
Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.
Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.
Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”
In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.