I want to get a couple important items out of the way first.
There has been additional information provided by the Howard County Police Department about the recently-reported CVS incident. Since I originally referenced Sparty in my prior post, it is my choice to reference Sparty for the updated information.
Also, with respect to the future of Baltimore, what's better? A plan which may be imperfect, or none at all? That's the question I ask in Forward Maryland's second episode.
Back to Howard County for the rest of this post. Over the past few months, but especially last week, I have read with great interest discussion threads about County Executive Allan Kittleman. The specific subject matter being a discussion (oftimes, argument) as to whether Kittleman is a moderate or conservative Republican. And also oftimes, these arguments revolve around Kittleman's silence to decry some damn fool thing the President has done, and whether or not Kittleman should disavow 45.
Here's what I think. Allan Kittleman is a conservative Republican. He will not disavow Donald Trump for the same reason he never, ever disavowed Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, Phil Gramm, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Bob Ehrlich, or Ellen Sauerbrey, which covers the litany of Presidential and Gubernatorial candidates I can recall seeing Allan wave signs and wear stickers for over the years.
Let's not forget that the genesis of what is currently the Maryland Republican Party is located within Howard County. In started with Allan's father, former State Delegate and Senator Bob Kittleman, Delegate Bob Flanagan, Councilmember Charles Feaga, and several others across the state.
Now, back in that time, the 80s and early 90s, one could actually be a moderate, even liberal, Republican. I hold as exhibits A and B, Senator Charles "Mac" Mathis and Congresswoman Connie Morella; the latter represented, of all places, Montgomery County! Yet, on the statewide level, this brand of Republicanism failed to take hold, as the Governor's Mansion from the 70s through to 1990 went from Marvin Mandel to Harry Hughes to William Donald Schaefer. The lesson that Maryland Republicans learned during those wilderness decades was that behaving more like Democrats who just wanted government to be more efficient, maybe less deferent to labor unions and less of a welfare state-- that that philosophy stunk. And it wasn't going to put a Republican in Government House.
So during the 80s, local Republicans started to put an organization together. A tight, conservative, unified one. And in 1990, it won the County Executive's position in a massive upset. Four years later, it also won the County Council. Although in 1998 the local electoral map went back to the Democrats, by 2002, Republicans made the choice to scale what worked in Howard County to the state level, and in large measure, what elected Chuck Ecker to County Executive in 1990-- a personable, folksy candidate; unification of all the interests who were angry at Democrats; outreach to Marylanders who felt disaffected, especially on the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland; national sentiment; and a poorly-run, ineffective campaign on the Democratic side, put Bob Ehrlich into office. And front and center in Maryland Republican politics this entire time? Delegate and then Senator Robert Kittleman.
Oh, and during this time, who served two terms (I believe) on the Howard County Republican Central Committee from 1990 to 1998 before winning election to the County Council in 1998? Bob's son Allan, that's who. And what does the Central Committee do, folks? Sure, it does lots of stuff. But at its core, it gets Republicans elected. I think I can safely say that there probably is no single Republican alive in the state who knows more about how to get Republicans elected to office in Maryland than our current County Executive.
Conspiracy theory? Don't make me laugh. These are the facts. You can have your Andy Harris or your Steve Schuh, friends elsewhere in Maryland. But Republican traditions flow deep -- I believe deepest-- in Allan Kittleman's system. How can they not?
Now, some may say that as an executive officeholder, Kittleman should be more aware of being the executive of ALL Howard Countians. There's a lot to that argument. But, understanding his political traditions, think about this? Did Reagan ever capitulate to Democrats? I didn't say "work with". Did Reagan ever give in to them? He did not. Despite all his dealing with his friend Tip O'Neil he took every chance he could to insult Democrats, even taking shots at Bill Clinton during his 1992 speech to the Republican National Convention.
On the other hand, did Bush 41 ever give in to Democrats? Oh yes, he did. And what happened? In 21 months he went from 91% approval to losing his re-election. Albeit a 30-year old political lesson, I'm guessing that a young Allan Kittleman paid attention to it.
And so, I see Allan Kittleman's failure and refusal to disavow anything the current President does, and by extension, to disavow any other Republican of whom I am aware, as not the action of a "Principled, Independent Leader". Instead, it's simply the 2018 version of Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republican." Twenty years into his public career, Kittleman sees no reason to change. Whether his decision to stay the course is correct will be revealed in three and a half months.
Let's be careful out there.
#hocopolitics #mdpolitics #hocodems #hocogop #mddems #mdgop