I am speaking, of course, of the Annapolis Kapital. Not just the editorial pages but the whole operation, ostensibly a newspaper produced by professional journalists. But this weekend's Editor's Notebook tried, as a faithful and proud mistress would for her man, to put the best face on the Gilchrest-as-Democratic-supporter news this week.
First, a word on political primary campaigns, especially Republican ones. There is no such thing as a congenial primary campaign. The act of politicking is not to be confused with the activities and goals of a ladies sewing circle or a Boyscout Jamboree. The goal of a political campaign is to win the hearts, minds or votes of a majority of people. If your goal is to conduct a congenial campaign then you might as well not even run. You are not going to win by espousing the virtues of your opponent.
Now, if you are convinced that YOU are the best man for the job, that necessarily means that your opponent is not. Boo. Hiss. How bitter. How nasty! What do you mean implying that I am not right for the job? How dare you even consider running against me! You are so mean and nasty. Ugh. One can hear almost the same kind of rhetoric on any given elementary school playground.
So, can we dispense with the "nasty" and "bitter" qualifiers of any primary campaign in which we are the losers? Can't we just win or lose like grown men and women? Hmm? Thank you.
Now, of course the Kapital-paper editors were not surprised that Gilchrest lost to the better candidate, Andy Harris. That didn't stop the editors from endorsing him. Neither were they shocked when the man-without-a-party pledged his support, whatever that means, for the Democrat to prevail against Harris in November.
But the editors are still grappling with the mood of District 1 GOP voters. Only the Kapital-paper can find irony in the dumping of Wayne Gilchrest after they pretty much laid out in the previous paragraphs how Gilchrest was practically begging to be dumped. How could they vote against one Vietnam veteran (Gilchrest) and for another (McCain)? McCain puts principle above party. Gilchrest is independent, thinks for himself. McCain is a maverick. Gilchrest is not a sheep. One and the same! Right? Cut from whole cloth! Yes? Separated at birth! No?
The editors go on to try to explain the difference between national and congressional campaigns. The national ticket "is won and lost in the middle." National candidates need "some support from moderates and independents." Still struggling with what this has to do with Gilchrest lending his Republican affiliation to support the Democrat? Well, the editors tie all this together in the next paragraph describing how modern computers make Gerrymandering congressional districts a science virtually guaranteeing that incumbents (of the party in power) will never lose! So...you see....that means that poor politicians like Gilchrest are forced to cross party lines in order to get anything done! Aha! Thereby.... uh ...incurring the wrath of the party faithful and losing in a nasty, bitter, evil, dastardly and hurtful primary campaign!
The solution? To what, losing a nasty primary? It doesn't matter. Just go with it. Stop allowing elected officials to Gerrymander (I wonder why they don't use that term?) congressional districts! This will lead to congenial political campaigns? Will this require amending the U.S. or State Constitutions?