Sunday, September 09, 2007

AA County GOP - Hope It's Not Contagious

Shortly after the below was posted, I received a phone call from John Flynn, one of my heroes in Maryland State GOP politics and Executive Director of the State GOP.

He took the time to assure me that the rumor I described in the original post, and message to the ThePublicSquare was indeed just that, a holdover from the former leadership of Mike Collins and his supporters. Here's what he had to say in a message destined for the Square:


Yes, the rumor you heard is wrong as is the one that the State Party is trying to get involved in the First Congressional primary race. The State Party has no interest in getting involved in primaries, and in fact, we have advised all of the campaigns in the First Congressional District primary race that the State Party will be neutral until after the primary. Later this year, the State Party will be considering new by laws language to prohibit any financial or in-kind aid to any primary candidate by the State Party. That would be a departure from what the State Party has done in the past. Unfortunately, your father received the same misinformation that has been making its rounds. As a long time Public Square member, I felt it was necessary to set the record straight.
Best regards,
John Flynn
Executive Director
Maryland GOP

I am sorry it has taken me so long to post this. He assures me that while this is a State Party policy, the AACO party also has no intention on modifying its bylaws to permit Primary endorsements.

I have avoided commenting on this subject which has reached a news story, mainly because I don't know the people involved. It seemed to me a manifestation of the personality cult, like we had in high school. So I wrestled with the sickening idea of taking part in the cult, trying to get "in" and pretending to be loyal to one side or the other. I decided to opt out and content myself with watching from the sidelines.

Until this afternoon. I was informed by my father whom many of you know, that there were among the "winning" side of the show people who would have the State GOP endorse one Primary contender over all others. Long-time subscribers to ThePublicSquare will recognize this beast as I have pointed him out in the past. Curiously enough, the State Party under the "leadership" of chairman Kane floated this balloon during the Primary season in which Wayne Gilchrest faced his first serious challenger.

I had thought the idea, which was roundly ridiculed by the influential conservative thinkers of TheSquare, was long dead. The rationale then was that Primary campaigns are a "waste" of resources that would be better spent on a losing campaign against the Democrats. That was pretty much it. Excuse me! What did the Party intend to do, you know, instead of holding a Primary? I don't remember there being an answer. Perhaps those receiving this can assist me.

How, indeed, would the Party select it's champion? In order to conserve precious resources for the general election, prospective GOP candidates would simply sign-up. The County Politburo would meet in secret and the personality cult would welcome a new member into its fold. Then they would trot out the anointed candidate to the jeers of an ever-dwindling base. Those other candidates, I guess, would be free to campaign against the endorsed, or the favored one. But what would be the point? In order to conserve campaign resources, the State (and County) party would back their man and discourage the others from running. Remember the 11th Commandment, they would chide. Party unity, they would chant. Go along to get along, eh? And so a machine would be born.

I wouldn't mind it so much if it was a winning machine. This one, unfortunately would be destined to turn out failure after failure. The County party would hasten its slide into obscurity.

The liberals would have a field day with this idea, too. In a last ditch grasp for power, the Maryland State GOP has decided to turn their Primary into a giant rubber stamp, and endorse State Sen. Bullroast Backslapper for congress. Primary voting in the GOP would be a mere formality as candidates vie for the Party nod.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that my dad heard or read wrong.

Mike Netherland
Severna Park

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Peeves - Karaoke

Karaoke Singers
"Singers" is, of course, a polite reference. I became intimately familiar with them after a co-worker, who was an extrovert par excellence, invited my wife and I to the club in Alexandria, I believe, where she worked part-time as a KJ. That's right, a Karaoke Jockey. It was more than a couple of years ago and I remember how awe-inspiringly weird it all was. I sat there in the club drinking what they called gin, with my mouth agape as though I were watching a circus side show.

I had to keep reminding myself that these were "ordinary" people who carry on otherwise ordinary lives and livelihoods. That they weren't paid performers of the sort that pack the green room of a typical Jerry Springer show. My co-worker was typical among them. By day a very competent contract specialist. By night, a howling, hollering KJ, exhorting the crowd not to hog the book (lists of songs that would be played in special Karaoke format that provides the "singers" with the song lyrics and the other popularly known utterances of the song displayed on a video screen).

I spent the evening trying to figure out who was more mad, the singers or the people who egg them on.

So it was just recently in a Solomon's Island resort hotel nightclub. I was trying to explain to my mother (we were there celebrating my sister's 25th wedding anniversary) why I was so concerned about these people. They are borderline psychopaths, I told her. What possible difference to me could it make if these people get up a make fools of themselves? I explained that these people are not just drunks who are fulfilling some long dead dream. They are stone-sober serious about this. They have one of these Karaoke machines in the rec room at home. And they practice singing these songs! They practice singing while looking at the lyrics on a video screen! They are not singers, nor do they want to be singers. If they did, they would have voice lessons and would know the lyrics by heart. The only difference between them and Robert DeNiro's character in Taxi Driver, was that the taxi driver used handguns instead of a Karaoke machine.

So they are not practicing to sing a song. They are practicing to sing Karaoke "songs." They schedule time to go to the local Karaoke club. They connive to get to the book first and get their names in. The sit and wait for their turn, trying to remember how their "OOoooo,, OOOOooo Baby, Yeah's" sounded.

What possible harm could come this fetish? Remember, these are ordinary people. Any one of them could be at the controls of your next flight, or in the tower. They could be in the operating room monitoring your blood pressure, or, God forbid, behind the scalpel. They might be thinking of landing the plane or making a clean cut. Then again they might be thinking about their last Karaoke performance, and how you resemble the balding bearded guy who burst out laughing as you tried to hit that high "!"

So the next time you find yourself laughing at a Karaoke singer, think of Robert DeNiro coming over to your table and asking "Are you laughing at me?"

Peeves - Church

I can't go to church anymore. I tried, Lord knows. I promised the priest who baptized our children that I would try. But then it started. The people. After a year or so of trying I decided it was best for the rest of the congregation if I just stopped going.

First it was the clerics. Some of them were clearly socialists. I found myself writing rebuttals to their Silent Spring and Population Bomb theology to which, even long after they've been discredited, they continue to cling. Anonymously I would hand in my thoughts. I like to think I was getting to them. But who knows?

Then the church subscribed to video sermons, played on twin mini-jumbotrons on either side of the pulpit. I watched the ridiculous spectacle as the pastor took a seat in the pews and craned his neck to view the gospel music video. This was too much. I grabbed another prayer card and chastised the church for marginalizing the wonderful talent of the congregation as well as our excellent organist. The organ itself is an amazing device darkened by nameless, faceless, two dimensional video "choir."

On my second and last such back-of-the-prayer-card missive, I offered to fill any gaps in Sunday service content they felt needed to be filled by the video gospel, with my own brand of sermonizing. The next Sunday's sermon was devoted to gently reminding me that it was for the church to decided on how best to minister to the flock.

Then it was the worshipful themselves. It occurred to me that the only reason people go to my church, it seemed, was to cough. For some reason, some people find occasional moments of silence that break up a typical Sunday service irresistible. They take it upon themselves to fill these reflective voids of noise with their expectoration's. Cough! Here I am! I think they do it because they lack attention otherwise. And who is going to throw them out of church for coughing?

I looked around at these coughers. They are healthy, young men and women. After the service in the fellowship hall I'd expected to see them in an oxygen tent. But no. There they were, gabbing away, laughing politely. On one special service, I think it was Easter, a group of elderly ladies sat in the pew in front of us. For the entire hour, these ladies managed to breath normally in and out. They must have been 99 years old each. Meanwhile, all around them, healthy young men and women were hacking away. But only during moments of silence!

And so I became neurotic, obsessed with the people in the church; obsessed with analyzing their every move. I tried shutting them out. It is rude, apparently, to use an iPod in church. I had to sit in the very back because I was obsessed with idea of people coughing on the back of my neck.

Next....Karaoke Singers