Posted by: Ann Corcoran | July 19, 2011

Parrott went where others feared to tread

I found this article in the Annapolis Capital on July 17th fascinating on many levels.  Perhaps nothing is more fascinating to me then seeing how the success of the Parrott-led petition drive (whether the referendum succeeds or not in 2012) may have shown the way out of the socialist mire for CONSERVATIVES in Maryland.

For readers who have watched some writers at the Hagerstown Herald Mail savage Tea Party candidate Neil Parrott before and after his election to the Delegates seat last November (including their endorsement of  his “progressive” opponent) there was poetic justice in this line in the Capital story:

The mastermind of the signature drive is first-term Del. Neil Parrott, a civil engineer from Hagerstown.

Indeed on April 15th, the Gazette named Parrott one of the losers in the Legislative session just concluded.  And, then the Herald Mail’s king of snark, Tim Rowland, perhaps taking a cue from the Gazette, followed on April 30th with a snearing anti-Parrott column in which he called Parrott the “comic relief” of the just-ended Annapolis session.   Well, well! It seems that Parrott may be getting the last laugh!

He may have almost single-handedly begun to shift the balance of power for the whole state. (Don’t freak out, notice I said “almost!”  I know lots of people made it possible).

Maryland Republicans are now looking to the success of the Parrott petition drive as a way out for the minority party that has for so long languished in the shadows of the  Hard Left politicians running the Peoples Republic of Maryland.

In an article titled, ‘Same Sex Marriage, meet the Dream Act’, The Capital story begins:

Maryland Republicans are looking at the upcoming Dream Act referendum and saying they see a way to block any same-sex marriage bill the General Assembly passes next session.

Pamela Wood ­— The Capital Boxes of petitions are stacked outside the Jeffrey Building in Annapolis last month, as opponents of the Dream Act prepared to submit signatures to state officials. The referendum effort to get the bill on the 2012 ballot cost only about $20,000, taking advantage of Web-based signature efforts.

They also say petition drives have become a way to make the Democratic-controlled General Assembly give the minority party more respect.

This optimism is based on the tactics used this spring and summer to collect enough voters’ signatures to delay implementation of the controversial 2011 Dream Act, which would have allowed some illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates.

Senate Minority Leader Jacobs:  Neil Parrott was unbelievable!

“Neil Parrott was unbelievable!” Sen. Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford, said. “There were a lot of us who said, ‘Oh, gosh, it is so hard to (run a signature drive), he is just dreaming.’ He did it. And he has got a very bright future.”

Jacobs, who has served in the House and Senate a combined 16 years, classified herself as a “skeptic at first” who said the signature drive would not work

She has come to reflect McConkey’s optimism about the GOP’s long-term prospects.

“I still think there’s that level of arrogance (among Democrats), that they know better than anybody else. Hopefully, if we are successful with this, they will recognize they need to deal with us,” Jacobs said.


…. the success of the Dream Act petition may give Republicans a card they can play to gain more up-front influence in the General Assembly. They hope the threat of the streamlined Web-based referendum drives will get their amendments more consideration from the majority party.

I don’t know Senator Jacobs, she might be a wonderful lady, but it strikes me that the reason some Republican elders were not taken seriously (before now) is that very few stuck by conservative principles, did anything brave enough (or worked hard enough) to stare down Democrats—heck Jacobs even voted no then yes on instate tuition back in 2003.  Kind of sends a message to the Democrats that Republican “leaders” don’t draw lines in the sand on key issues.

Indeed, with a few exceptions, I didn’t see much action anywhere from the established leaders of the MD Republican Party in the early stages of the petition drive.  It was the young bucks (including female bucks) who took up the charge and jumped in to help on the ground with gathering signatures.

And, then here we have a profound wet-blanket statement from House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell who we know didn’t give Parrott much encouragement until it looked like success was in the offing.

House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell, R-Calvert, said he is approaching petition drives with caution.

“It needs to be reserved for the highest level, for the most important issues, the important issues that elicit a strong response from the electorate,” O’Donnell said. “If you try to do this too often, it may lose its impact.”

Does Papa O’Donnell, in urging caution, really think that Conservatives are dumb enough to squander a nuclear weapon on an insignificant issue?

What is that expression?  Oh yes!

Victory has a THOUSAND fathers, but defeat is an orphan!

Be sure to read the whole Capital article because it addresses the delicious notion that the Dream Act and Same Sex Marriage could both be on the ballot for 2012 (along with Obama)!   Fun times ahead!



  1. It’s nice to read an article acknowledging a Republican effort in Maryland. But let’s not forget Delegate Pat McDonough, who worked with Delegate Parrott and who, with his wife, Valerie, brought the effort a ton of publicity. It’s not a coincidence that so many signatures were gathered in Baltimore County. Delegate McDonough has been working on the problem of illegals for years. It’s wonderful that he finally has people in the state legislature to work with!

    • Thanks Patricia, we definitely commend Pat McDonough for his work on the petition as well. However, he, and others who worked hard on the drive, weren’t mentioned in this particular article.

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  3. I believe The Capital may have gotten it right. The “gay marriage” thing is an important enough issue to bring out the big guns for (another petition drive.)

    I have no clue what O’donnell was thinking with his statement. A threat to run a petition drive for an insignificant issue that few care about would surely fail. The Dems would love for the republicans to try that, so they could show how insignificant petition drives really are and destroy the whole point.

    What Parrott demonstrated with his drive is that we the people now have a voice that has been lacking in American politics for a long time. And, by the way, we plan on using it.

  4. I signed the petition as a Democrat. I am, like most Americans, right of center. I believe there were more Republican signatures because it was easier for a Republican-led drive to reach more Republicans. Although I tried to volunteer, I never really got a response, and I believe it was because I was on their list as a Democrat, so I went out on my own to collect signatures. I only heard about the drive through HelpSaveMaryland the few weeks. Most Americans are sick to death of illegals and want them gone. There is less consensus on gay marriage.

    • Hi Joe, thanks for the comment. I think the folks at MD Petitions know that as many as 30% of the signers are Democrats and I sure didn’t mean to leave you out of this post, but notice that few Maryland publications (like the Capital) want to highlight the Democrats who were involved. Also, since the MD Petitions headquarters was run by just a couple of people, I don’t think there was any intention of leaving anyone out because of political party—it was more like things were too crazy for just a couple of people to answer all requests. So, really glad to hear you were out on your own, but the website helped make that possible because you could get the forms on line. And, every bit helped!

      I don’t know how to judge the gay marriage issue…while it will appeal LESS to some people than the Dream Act petition drive, I think there is a whole other group of Maryland voters affiliated with conservative churches who will take that one really really seriously.

  5. I agree that same-sex marriage will not be as easy to put on the ballot as the Dream Act. In fact, I doubt that anything else will arouse the bipartisan passion of this petition drive. In the flush of victory, Neil’s statements seem to say that he foresees many petition drives against bad legislation. But those who volunteered know what a huge effort it took for this one, and how draining it was. Maybe it’s the wrong time to say this, and you can call me a wet blanket, but I think Neil should be careful about threatening to contest a lot of legislation. In the next effort our opponents will be more prepared than CASA was. And gay groups are a lot more practiced in demonizing opponents, personally attacking people, and just sheer nastiness than even CASA. If the same-sex marriage bill passes, I’ll enthusiastically participate in a petition drive. But we have to be realistic about difficulties in the future — hard to do when we’ve just had such a tremendous success.

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