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Hey, you - yes, the one shaking the sand from Ocean City off your flip-flops. Did you know there's a primary election in less than three weeks? Hmmm, I thought so. Yes, I know you're bummed about summer going by so fast although, if you ask me, I won't miss those 54 days of 90-plus degrees. Speaking of hot air, did I mention there's a primary election in less than three weeks?
Well, you're lucky to have me here to help you out! I've been on all sides of a political campaign - candidate, paid staffer, volunteer, and interested citizen. While I'm pretty much immersed in politics year-round, I understand that people who aren't weird like me don't start focusing on the races until just about now.
As I mentioned last week, you've probably noticed the signs springing up like weeds that you'd just like to go and uproot - I wouldn't recommend it, however. Candidates have trained watchers posted to protect their signs, and it could get ugly.
By the way, after I told everyone in southern Maryland that I'd only seen picture signs for one candidate, I got in my car and drove by three signs with pictures of three different candidates here in Calvert County. In my defense, I had a birthday this month, so my eyesight isn't what it used to be!
The most common question I get from folks about this time is, "Who should I vote for?" I wish people wouldn't ask me that, because I'm going to advise them to vote for my choices and, unless they agree with me on everything - and even my wife doesn't do that - they might be voting for someone who supports something that really ticks them off.
The first thing I'd do is go to the candidates' web sites. The Internet has really made candidate research a breeze - you can sit in your home office in your skivvies and read up on what the candidates say about themselves. Please don't share that image with me.
Of course, each one is going to tell you they love their moms, apple pie and puppies, and they drive pickup trucks just like regular folks. That's when YouTube comes in handy.
On August 11, 2006 while on the campaign trail, Senator George Allen (R-VA) calls campaign volunteer S.R. Sidarth, an Indian-American, "macaca." In many romance languages, the word literally means monkey, but is often used as a racial slur.
The proliferation of cell phone cameras and digital video recorders means that if a candidate says or does something stupid, it's virtually guaranteed to be captured for posterity on video. Just ask former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator George Allen. A word of advice, however- don't say "macaca" in his presence. It tends to get him a little agitated.
Gov. Martin O'Malley at the National Governors Association annual meeting being asked about whether or not he borrowed from designated funds or used other accounting gimmicks to balance the budget.
In fact, one of my favorite videos shows our governor, Martin O'Malley, at the National Governors Association annual meeting being asked about whether or not he borrowed from designated funds or used other accounting gimmicks to balance the budget. The Washington Post had already accused him earlier in the year of just that, saying "the governor has resorted to more than $1 billion of one-time accounting gimmicks and quick fixes, as well as some wishful thinking."
It's apparent he's caught in a lie as he hesitates and stumbles his way through his explanation, and sitting next to him is the no-nonsense, tax-cutting, cost-cutting "rock star" governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who's staring at him as if he's lost his mind. I'd have been looking for lightning bolts from on high after such a bald-faced lie.
Maryland's Steny Hoyer takes flack from angry voters in Utica, N.Y. in 2009. He essentially tells them that they do not know what they are talking about -- an approach he has used with his own constituents in southern Maryland.
My other favorite is the one where a group of irate New Yorkers take exception to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's attempts to talk over, past and down to them, as he is wont to do. It wasn't long after that episode that he labeled as "un-American" the everyday citizens who are angry at the direction our nation is taking.
Seriously, the next few weeks offer you plenty of opportunities to do your homework. In addition to all the resources available to you over the Web, candidates will be appearing at town hall meetings and public forums across southern Maryland. Check your local paper to find out where these events are being held, and go.
Not only will you hear from the candidates directly, you can go up to them and ask them just about anything you want. I encourage you to exercise due diligence in your candidate research - we're seeing in our state and our nation what happens when we elect style over substance.
If they start doing the O'Malley shuffle, however, I'd suggest you run for cover. The heavens might open up and smite the candidate where they stand, and you don't want to be collateral damage.
You know, I sometimes wish something like that would really happen - politics would either get a lot more honest or a lot more entertaining. Steny might have to wear a fire proximity suit just to survive until the primary.
Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tomís Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.