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Monday, January 19, 2004

Outside the Beltway

The Post illustrated the leader of Prince George’s high wire act on one of the biggest issues in Maryland today in startling detail with a single quote:

“Caught between the sentiments of his political base and the aspirations of his principal patron, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson has offered a dizzying array of answers to the question of whether to legalize slot machine gambling.”

The Post is referring to Rep. Al Wynn’s support for legalizing gambling in Maryland in an apparent effort to improve his chances at a rumored Senate bid if Sen. Paul Sarbanes retires, and opposition of many PG residents and community leaders to an increase in what they consider regressive taxation with deleterious effects on the most vulnerable.

And in the internecine warfare that seems to characterize all too much of the politics in the area, Montgomery County Young Democrats’ (MCYD) leader Adam Luecking apparently got burned recently when the MCYD distributed a Progressive Maryland (PM) email call for volunteers (that MCYD put out on its listserv) to canvass state Sen. Rona Kramer’s (D-Montgomery) district on behalf of working families. Luecking apparently got spanked, and issued the following in response:

“The Montgomery County Young Democrats do not intentionally take any public positions in conjunction with any advocacy group which may unduly criticize any of our Democratic elected officials in Montgomery County.”

Luecking’s initial post included PM’s characterization of Kramer’s votes: “Senator Rona Kramer cut funding for our schools, but she refuses to close the tax loopholes by which big corporate campaign donors cheat on their Maryland taxes,” and the encouragement that it (and a labor-related volunteer opportunity), were “great opportunities for you to get involved in the local political process.” Given how quickly and fully they backed down from their earlier support, one wonders how Young Dems feel about getting involved now.

It reminds one of the recent flap when the Maryland Republican Party’s (MRP) top ranking Latino party activist criticized Gov. Ehrlich for not putting enough Latinos in his Administration. Soon thereafter the head of the MRP cut ties with that leader and his group, and started a new, presumably more obedient group in its stead. Dissent is not tolerated in Maryland...