So Andy Harris supports wine and cheese along with face time with him for Szeliga donors but no water or electricity for Puerto Rico. Maybe they sent the leftovers to PR? That chardonnary and brie could save lives!
This past weekend, 7S spent much time chronicling the reactions of Maryland Republicans to Tapegate. I summarize here in case you sensibly had better things to do this weekend. They run the gamut to everything except a willingness to repudiate Trump:
Full Ostrich: Gov. Larry Hogan continued his perfect record of never criticizing his party’s nominee and disclaiming interest in presidential politics after racing around the country to support Trump lickspittle Chris Christie.
The Szeliga: Kathy Szeliga was “appalled” but Trump still gets her vote. A common approach.
Szeliga Plus: Amie Hoeber upped the weird by utilizing her personal experience of being subjected to sexism to justify her continued support for the sexist candidate. And Hillary bad.
No Apology Necessary: A model for all wingnuts, Sen. Gail Bates excused Trump as she linked to conspiracy theory rants. She holds Allan Kittleman’s former seat in the General Assembly, which shows just how deep the rot has got in the GOP.
Full Trump: Rep. Andy Harris previewed Trump’s tawdry pre-debate presser and invoked Benghazi like the Expelliarmus charm in Harry Potter.
Remember that all of these people opposed marriage equality but there is seemingly no behavior by Trump that cannot be ignored or excused. This is now the Maryland Republican Party.
Kathy Szeliga is “appalled” by the Trump video but has confirmed that she still will vote for Trump. Interesting that this statement appeared on the Washington Post site but that Szeliga has kept it off her own Facebook, twitter, and web page–places where core Republicans might see it.
It’s getting on 24 hours since the unveiling of the Trump tape, which has apparently allowed some Republicans to connect the dots and abandon their horrible nominee. But the overwhelming reaction among Maryland Republicans is to go full ostrich and pretend that this event and Trump are going away.
Based on a quick examination of her web page, twitter feed, and Facebook page, Kathy Szeliga has neither condemned the latest evidence of Trump’s horrible behavior nor withdrawn her endorsement of the Republican nominee.
As the Baltimore Sun has pointed out, this is part of a long pattern for Szeliga:
With a record like that, it’s no surprise Ms. Szeliga supports Mr. Trump. When he attacked a Gold Star family, she was silent. When he suggested that “Second Amendment people” could take action against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again, deafening silence. When Mr. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama is the founder of ISIS, she didn’t condemn his words.
So there is nothing Trump can do that would cause Gov. Larry Hogan’s chosen Senate candidate to dump Trump. Nothing from Larry Hogan about Szeliga’s judgment either even though Szeliga advertises Hogan’s support of her candidacy at every turn. Szeliga’s inevitable hard defeat will be a major blow for Hogan, as evidence that his personal support counts little.
Nothing on the web page, twitter or Facebook of the sole elected Maryland Republican at the federal level, Rep. Andy Harris, either. Like Szeliga, Harris has endorsed Trump:
I’m going to work for him. I’m going to help him try to win the electoral votes in the state of Maryland because in the presidential election, it’s always a selection between two individuals. No one is going to be perfect, any individual. But Mr. Trump will be a far better choice for this country than Mrs. (Hillary) Clinton.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has been basking in the plaudits and polls for not supporting Trump. However, Hogan has not criticized Trump at all. He just said that he won’t vote for the guy and made this incredible statement:
“I’ve always been a blunt, straightforward guy, and whether you agree with me or not, you always know where I stand,” he said. “I’m not trying to convince anybody how to vote, anyway.”
But that’s simply untrue. Hogan had time to trot around the country to say nice things about Chris Christie, a bully who has now cozied up to Trump, and is a vociferous backer of Trump supporter Kathy Szeliga. In contrast, this self-proclaimed “blunt, straightforward guy” has nothing to say about any of his party’s standard bearer’s bad behavior. Not exactly #HoganStrong.
Unlike Trump enablers Senate Candidate Kathy Szeliga or Rep. Andy Harris (R-1), former Rep. Connie Morella (R-8) prefers to support the presidential candidate who isn’t a raging racist narcissist willing to say anything to attract higher ratings. In short, Connie Morella (R-08) has endorsed Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton has the knowledge, the experience, and the commitment to lead our country as president and Commander in Chief. She will reach out to every segment of our society to move our country forward. I have seen her work across the aisle to get things done and I know her lifelong commitment to families and children. Unlike her opponent, she will not divide, bully, or dismiss us. She is the right choice in this election and I wholeheartedly support her – and urge my fellow Republicans to look at the choice before them and do the same.
Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore) condemns Gov. Larry Hogan’s attack on the General Assembly. Source: Bryan P. Sears.
Josh Kurtz deserves the prescient pundit award for the week for his column in Center Maryland:
On the day state Senate Democrats voted to override his veto of legislation restoring voting rights to 44,000 parolees and probationers, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) . . . was quick to condemn the vote and suggested that there could be political consequences for the senators who went against his wishes. Some, he predicted, “won’t survive the vote.”
Minutes later, like clockwork, Change Maryland, Hogan’s political organization, listed the 29 Democrats who had voted to override the veto, accusing them of “ignoring an overwhelming majority of Marylanders” and suggesting that they be targeted for their votes. In the days that followed, angry Marylanders let these lawmakers know how they felt – sometimes in intemperate, threatening ways.
Can we please, please discard the notion . . . that Hogan is a bipartisan governor?
Yesterday, Hogan confirmed his new, ahem, approach by doing a canonball right into the middle of the General Assembly:
Two-thirds of people approve of the job I’m doing and the legislature has decided to focus on the one third, and I’m not sure how any of them can get reelected by doing that. They come down to Annapolis like its spring break, breaking furniture, throwing beer bottles off balconies, and thankfully they’re going to go home in a few weeks and we can get back to running the State.
Bragging about how popular you are is much more Donald Trump than bipartisan leader. Popularity also often proves ephemeral, while the Governor will have to work with the General Assembly every year that he is in office.
Hogan’s comments may prove less than helpful to some of his friends. I can already hear the voice over in attack ads of Hogan telling Sen. Kathy Szeliga to stop acting like it’s Spring Break and then the narrator suggesting she do her job in Annapolis before running for U.S. Senate.
The Governor has huge advantages in commanding the attention of the press and the people. So it’s an impressive day when the Governor manages unaided to look like the kid in the sandbox who needs to be placed in time out.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga (R-7) laments that the legislators in the General Assembly legislate:
So far, there have been 1159 bills introduced in the House of Delegates and 821 in the Senate. Some of these are duplicate bills filed in each chamber – called cross filed bills.
Remember, every bill has the potential of becoming a law. Do you think we need an additional 2,000 laws every year?
Consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds, naturally the next thing she writes her constituents is:
I am the primary sponsor of 6 bills.
Later, she writes proudly:
I have cosponsored many other bills. If you’d like to see the whole list of bills I’ve sponsored and cosponsored CLICK HERE.
Wasting Taxes Doing Something about Nothing
Unintended irony appears to be Del. Szeliga’s strong suit because at least one of these bills is a complete make work project for the General Assembly:
HB 454 – will prohibit the State of Maryland from charging drivers a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax. This is a concept that has been considered in the past. It’s a terrible idea for lots of reasons.
Cutting through the anti-tax rhetoric, Del. Szeliga wants to ban a tax that we don’t have through a law that could be overturned by the General Assembly as easily as it is passed in the first place.
But having wasted taxpayers funds and the General Assembly’s time, she can engage in the time-honored Republican tradition of going home and talking about how she fought the good fight on taxes, even though she will have done nothing even if her bill passes.
So, as it turns out, Del. Szeliga is right. Legislators are sponsoring unneeded legislation. She just didn’t realize that she met the enemy when she looked in the mirror.
Gun-ho–But Only for Non-Marylanders
Unfortunately, some of her legislation that would actually have an impact is even worse:
HB 735 – will allow people traveling through our state to transport legally owned firearms via vehicle or boat. The unintended consequences of the restrictive gun bill that passed a couple of years ago is that it prohibits lawful firearm owners from driving or boating through our state with certain firearms that are now illegal to own in Maryland.
In other words, despite her claims to the contrary, the law is working as intended. Bizarrely, Del. Szeliga’s bill would give non-state residents a free pass to carry weapons that we don’t allow our own residents to possess.
Earmarks are A-OK
Other Szeliga bills look more promising–such as the one to raise penalties for human trafficking. Strikingly though, the Republican opposition to earmarks and to spending flies right out of Del. Szeliga’s window when it involves her own constituents:
HB 1147 – is a matching grant request for $200,000 for Angel Park in Perry Hall. This new park will be located on Honeygo Blvd and will be similar to Annie’s Playground in Harford County – a playground fully accessible to handicapped children. Angel Park has already raised about $1 million in private contributions and this will help with the playground equipment purchase. There are usually $7 million in grants for community projects approved by the House and $7 million by the Senate.
Don’t get me wrong; this sounds like a great idea. I worked with my colleagues on the Town Council and in the County to improve playgrounds in my own Town. It’s even better that the playground will be fully accessible. I like Del. Szeliga’s earmark so much that surely some must suspect that she is part of the liberal problem rather than the conservative solution.
Indeed, a true spendthrift conservative Republican should perceive this as an earmark by the State in an area of local responsibility that just makes it harder for Gov. Hogan to keep his tax cutting promises. Especially amusing is her not-so-subtle mention of this being part of $7 million in state grants. Read: it’s OK; all the kids are doing it.
The House Republicans are going after the fracking report (a.k.a. the Maryland Department of the Environment’s “Assessment of Risks from Unconventional Gas Well Development in the Marcellus Shale of Western Maryland”) in a big way. Here is House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga’s latest email:
They’ve even got a video from the hearing:
It’s good to see that House Republicans watched Battlestar Galactica too: