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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Reply to Ron Miller - was Del. Davis criticism of Diane C. Russell

On Dec 8, 2007 10:59 AM, Ronald E. Miller <ron@5millers.us.fm> wrote:

This is a fascinating exchange and it reveals a lot about the individuals involved. I guess I'm naïve but I never realized that "Diane C. Russell" was a pseudonym (grin)! As an aside to Del. Davis, who I met briefly during the last campaign and immediately liked because of his pragmatism, Diane brings the heat on Republicans, too. I've read it and the local GOP chairman has been compelled to respond to it as well. She's an equal opportunity critic!

Response: My use of a pseudonym has never been a secret. It is stated explicitly at the beginning of the "About Me" section on both of my blogs and has been included in numerous e-mails I have sent to journalists, candidates for public office, and others over the past several years.

My "About Me" section also includes a succinct, but accurate summary, of my political philosophy, age, and length of residence in the county. I am neither a newcomer nor a resident of the relatively well-to-do and safer outer suburbs.

My identity does not seem to be a significant issue for most people, but it does make it easier for some--
Mark Anderson, Jr., and to a lesser extent, Del. Davis--to attack the messenger and thus avoid dealing with my actual message, especially with respect to accountability for poor results.

and Ronald E. Miller <ron@5millers.us.fm> wrote:

With all of this in mind, my question to Diane is:

"Does this explain to you why it's so hard to recruit Republicans to run for office in Prince George's County? If this explanation isn't justifiable to you, what do you recommend we do?"

Response: Yes, I've had the difficulty explained to me a few times. And on one level I understand it. But no such explanation has ever been accompanied by any strategy or plan for dealing with it.

I suspect it would be easier to recruit candidates if they had some expectation of party support. There are now quite a number of Republicans running for the two Congressional seats that include Prince George's County. What kind of party support are they receiving? Not much. Only one is mentioned, but only by last name with no contact information, on the state GOP web site. Most are now listed on the county GOP site, but only since I complained recently.

I am unaware of any GOP events or debates planned to highlight these Congressional candidates. I may be missing something, but I do try to keep informed and if I don't know about an event, it is very likely that most other people don't either.

I have long tried to get on mailing lists of political organizations and candidates from both parties. If you followed my postings during the primary season last year you would have seen that I was closely following and publicizing
school board candidates as well as candidates of both parties in selected legislative and council races. I received and used lots of information from both Democratic candidates and Democratic organizations. What little I received from Republicans was from candidates themselves, nothing useful from Republican organizations.

Leading up to the February primary, while Republican "leaders" have been ignoring their candidates, Democratic groups have been organizing publicizing debates among their candidates for several weeks. Guess which party is getting ALL the publicity and name recognition?

I'm not convinced that the inability to recruit candidates is the Republican Party's only or most important problem.

Do the state and county Republicans have a platform or program--alternatives for solving the problems our current Democratic officials seem unable to to handle, like high murder rates and lousy schools?

If they do have a plan, what are they doing to communicate? Almost every day I see the press quoting some Democratic official or other on some issue. But I never see a Republican response.

Are there Republican spokespersons who are responding, but not getting published, or is the problem more that there is simply no Republican response at all?

According to Rosalind Helderman, writing in the November 22 Post, "Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's) also pleaded for party unity, noting that Republicans have said they will try to convince voters in three years that Democrats are "tax-and-spend liberals" because the General Assembly decided this month to raise taxes."

Why was there no aggressive representative of the Republican Party saying something like "D*** right, we're going to make sure the voters don't forget tax and spend Democrats like Davis."

The state and county Republican Parties ought to have one or more spokespersons who speak up and demand coverage when the media quotes or writes about Democrats. Whether it is to say the Democrats are wrong, or here is the Republican alternative, or the Republican candidate, the Republican Party should speak up and expect to be heard. And if it is not heard, the party should be writing letters to the editor, complaining to the editors who supervise reporters who don't seek out balance, or using alternative means of communicating with the public at large. That's what the Democrats do on the national level.

The apparent current practice of writing only to the party faithful may help raise some money, but it does nothing to build public support where it is needed.

Finally, the party will never rebuild itself without candidates, even ones who know they will losing. Running candidates against incumbents may well be the very most effective method of communicating with the voters and telling them there are alternatives. It may take several election cycles to build viable candidacies, but the effort will never get off the ground as long as Democrats are allowed to run unopposed and without having to defend their records.

I realize that the party is penniless and can't provide substantial support to lots of candidates. But it should be able to provide some level of identification, publicity, debate planning, and moral support to people willing to make the sacrifice, not just leave them swinging in the wind.

And I hope this answers the question you asked of me.

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