The dust has settled and the same people who created Montgomery's financial mess are now re-elected - so we can all brace ourselves for the overwhelming tax increases that are surely coming. The election raised a number of questions for the Republican party in Montgomery to ponder, to wit:
o What was the message the party transmitted to the voters?
o if it was a sound message, why did the voters overwhelmingly reject it?
o Why did all the GOP candidates refuse to identify themselves as Republicans in their literature?
The answer to the first question is easy - there was NO coherent message. Not one of reform certainly. There were allusions to fighting "special interests" (the definition of special interests remaining undefined), there was a commitment by one candidate to eliminating speed cameras (as if getting a $40 ticket once or twice a year amounts to a hill of beans), and there were other pledges so unmemorable that I cannot recall even one of them. The overwhelming rejection of the GOP was likely due to the following factors:
o Overwhelming Post support (with a monopoly circulation of one million or more) for the Democrat machine in Maryland and Montgomery. The Post bias was so extreme that the Republican party in Montgomery should seriously consider originating a campaign to urge sensible voters to "boycott the Post." There are times when the best defense is a good offense. The last thing need is a Democrat machine with a monopoly on press coverage.
o Failure of the GOP to fill the news vacuum (created by the Post) concerning the gross mismanagement by the county incumbents - that has led to an ongoing financial crisis that is inexcusable in the light of the county's general prosperity (due to the government payroll and contracts).
o A non-existent county GOP platform - no mention of the need for reform in spending, pay and benefits of county employees and reform of taxation levels.
o No GOP marketing plan - a plan that should be executed continuously year round, not just in election season. One involving speeches, presentations, press releases, blogs, website postings, monitoring of the county government, interviews with the Sun and the Examiner (the Post would never consent to an interview with any Montgomery Republican and would not fairly write it up if it did).
o The likelihood that demographic changes in the county are now so pervasive and overwhelming that it will always and forever be impossible for good government to come about - if too many people benefit from inefficient government and reckless spending there cannot be any victory for the good citizen minority that would like to have good and efficient government. The GOP should do some research to determine why Montgomery voters keep re-electing the Democrat malgovernance machine.
Lethargy is the word that best describes the GOP in Montgomery. Perhaps the party should just give it up and boycott the election on the ground that if the voters are too stupid to vote for good government they deserve the ba government they have.
Richard C. Kreutzberg