By Barry Rascovar
Whoever is elected Maryland governor on Nov. 4 will have some s’plain’ to do to the state’s citizens.
Why did you lie to us?
Why did you make wild allegations out of whole cloth?
Why did you deceive us?
Both Democrat Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan Jr. are guilty as charged, though Brown is by far the worse offender.
He not only manufactured false charges against Hogan on abortion, gun control and school construction, his campaign has kept screaming those invalid accusations in a propaganda blitz dominated by “Big Lie” tactics.
Brown continued his campaign of falsehoods at the first TV debate last week.
Out of the blue he accused Hogan of pledging to cut $450 million from school construction funds. That is patently false. Hogan never said any such thing.
Hogan had issued an error-filled list of “examples,” culled from audit reports, of “waste, fraud and abuse” in state government, including school construction, to show how cost-savings could be achieved.
Brown’s advisers turned that into “he’s against education” allegations. Then Brown repeated the bogus charge in the debate. Talk about a leap of logic. . .
The Maryland Democratic Party’s campaign’s motto seems to be “smear Hogan. . . and then smear him again.”
Even more shameful: Brown got both the state teachers’ union and House Speaker Mike Busch to condemn a budget-cut promise by Hogan that he never made.
Busch and the union know better. They are contributing to a dangerous, inflammatory campaign environment in which truth is the casualty.
Instead of setting a positive tone in the debate and detailing his positions, Brown stuck to his advisers’ script: go negative, denounce Hogan, keep him on the defensive — even if the charges aren’t true.
What an appalling way to win an election.
‘Big lie’ precedent
It’s the worst “Big Lie” campaign in Maryland since John Marshall Butler defeated longtime Sen. Millard Tydings in 1950 — during the height of the Red Scare era — by distributing a doctored, composite photo showing Tydings with the leader of the American Communist Party.
This end-justifies-the-means mentality is deeply offensive in a democratic arena. It may work on the battlefield, but Army Colonel Brown knows it is totally inappropriate in an American political campaign.
Not that Hogan’s antics deserve a silver star.
His much-ballyhooed attack on the Democratic administration’s “40 tax increases” is wildly inflated. His $1.75 billion listing of “waste, fraud and abuse” is irresponsibly inaccurate and filled with stunning errors. His misleading attacks on the “rain tax” perpetuate a Republican fiction. His data to prove Maryland’s economic decline badly overstates reality.
What’s lacking from both candidates is a compelling, detailed argument for why they should be governor. Instead, we get finger-pointing and shrill, over-the-top charges of extremism.
This campaign has been about extremism — extreme name-calling. And it’s worth reiterating that Brown is doing far more than Hogan to put this campaign in Maryland’s Political Hall of Shame.
Recently, Brown issued his own cost-cutting, “government efficiency” program, making sure it was released on a football Sunday, guaranteeing that few paid attention.
Flight of fantasy
It’s a disgraceful document, nearly as bad as Hogan’s much-discredited budget-cutting plan.
It assumes future savings that may never materialize. It makes giant leaps of faith that aren’t supported by any credible documentation.
It incorrectly counts savings by local governments as state budget savings. It makes wild assumptions that employee suggestions will save tens of millions of dollars each year. It attributes huge savings to decriminalizing marijuana — a flight of fantasy lacking in hard evidence.
Given all the fraudulent assertions by each candidate, neither deserves to move into the governor’s mansion.
But that’s not an option for voters.
We’re left picking between the lesser of two evils. What a sad commentary on the current state of Maryland politics.
Barry Rascovar’s commentaries can be found at www.politicalmaryland.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank god there is still a real newspaperman around to tell it like it is…thank you Mr. Rascovar.
The Maryland assault weapons ban is the real lie. If FSA2013 is upheld by the
courts, it’s because you can go into a gun store and buy any one of
hundreds of close and equally deadly substitute rifles.
Even the retired commander of the licensing division who testifies called it a lie.
Here is a real loophole for you: You can go into said gun store and buy
these rifles with a federal check, but MD does not report mental health
to the feds because …???
FSA2013 is a victory bullet point on some political consultants resume, that is all. It does not make MD safer.
Anyone who believes Brown’s rhetoric on this is ridiculous. Go into a gun store and see for yourself. And: it’s not about banning more guns. Whether you agree with it or not, the constitution guarantees the right to own a rifle. It may, or may not, guarantee your choice of rifle. But, any legislation upheld by the courts will allow the sale of enough rifles to make the ban mostly irrelevant. Any weapon suitable for self defense can also be used to kill a lot of people, if you catch them unaware and defenseless.
The answer to your question is within you own question. Larry Hogan keeps saying “40 consecutive tax increases” when his own Change Maryland research
distinguished between taxes, fees and tolls.
There really is a difference between a tax (sales, income, alcohol, tobacco, gas,corporate) and a fee (birth certificate, death certificate, firearm
registration, vanity license plates, etc.) and tolls and farebox hikes. So as
to standard tax hikes — money many people pay that goes into the general fund for which the individual taxpayer gets nothing specific in return– there were about 23. There were lots of the licensing fees etc. are paid by only small groups of people. If you didn’t get a birth or death certification, a home
improvement contractor license, ride on an MTA bus, cross a toll bridge or
tunnel, you didn’t pay these increases.
Tax-a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.
:…or added to the cost of come goods, services, and transactions.” This includes fees.
There is no difference between “taxes” and “fees” according to O’Malley. I cite the O’Malley campaign against Ehrlich when O’Malley was first elected. You democrats cannot have it both ways even though you try.
Granted, Brown has already proven he is incompetent and his campaign has shown he is a disgusting mud slinging liar. How can Rascover claim what Hogan is accusing the administration is false. If anything it is understated. Within a month of taking over the Brown/O’Malley wasted a $1billion surplus and put Maryland into debt requiring a special session responsible for the highest tax increases in the history of the state, and it goes on from there. Brown/O’Malley had to steal from the transportation fund and Chesapeake Bay fund just to balance the budget so they didn’t wind up in jail. Then they increased the gas tax just to cover their irresponsible spending. Tax and squander is the battle cry of the Brown/O’Malley administration.
And what about that prospective 67% property tax increase that Peter Franchot is talking about these days? 67%????? Brown needs to address that. Is he going to raise our property taxes or cut the budget? Which is it?
Rascovar, what premise do you have to say Hogan’s 40 tax increase figure is inflated? Even the liberal Washington Post, which just endorsed Brown, contends there are actually 45 tax and fee increases: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2014/10/11/tax-and-fee-increases-in-maryland-from-2007-to-2014/
I would really like an answer to this question.