….. so is this the first salvo from the Maryland ruling class to destroy Parrott?
This week Annie Linskey at the Baltimore Sun wrote a feature article on Del. Neil Parrott the architect of a hopefully new phase in Maryland politics where the rights of citizens heretofore in the supposed minority are being resurrected through the petition process. Here is how Linskey begins (emphasis mine):
By any standard measure, Neil Parrott’s place in Maryland politics ought to be toward the very bottom. He’s a freshman Republican delegate in a very blue state, without pedigree or government connections.
Yet through dogged organizing and clever use of technology, this tea party leader from Hagerstown has turned a little-used provision of the Maryland Constitution into a tool capable of overturning chunks of the ruling Democrats’ legislative agenda.
Parrott, a University of Maryland-trained traffic engineer, developed a website that makes it much easier to collect the 56,000 valid signatures needed to petition a law to referendum in Maryland. As a result, three laws are headed to voters in November — laws to legalize same-sex marriage, allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, and create a new congressional map.
It’s the first time in 20 years that any law has been petitioned to the Maryland ballot.
By showing that the referendum process can be mastered, Parrott is shifting the balance of power in Annapolis and offering his party a path to relevance that it has lacked since GOP Gov.Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. left the State House. Maryland Republicans crowned Parrott their Man of the Year at their spring convention.
He is the person most responsible for what is potentially the most significant change in our democracy for decades,” said Del. Steve Schuh, an Anne Arundel County Republican.
I read Linskey’s piece as a pretty thorough report on what we already know about Neil Parrott, but J. Doug Gill writing at The Examiner sees it as the opening salvo of the “ruling class” (Dems and Republicans!) to destroy Parrott before he goes any further in rocking the political boat in Maryland where the Dems run the state and most of the Republicans in Annapolis go-along-to-get-along not wanting to jeopardize their relationship with the majority Dems who throw them a little booty for their districts from time to time.
So as Gill sees it, this article is designed to suggest that Parrott doesn’t play well with others and we better destroy this populist hero to the people before he goes too far. Please read Gill’s article after you have read the entire Baltimore Sun article. Doug Gill is an excellent analyst and clever writer.
The issues about Parrott’s past that Gill raises that might cause red flags to go up for some are all familiar to those of us who live in Parrott’s district and watched the Hagerstown Herald Mail attempt to use them to destroy Parrott in his 2010 race for the delegate’s seat. Parrott’s opponent was progressive Democrat Brien Poffenberger, big kahuna of the local Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County ruling class’s pick. Parrott handily beat Poffenberger and the smart people in Hagerstown can’t get over it. [Search PTPR for Poffenberger and you can read the whole history of the race—ed]
To make my point about smart people not getting over Parrott’s win, here is Tim Rowland of the Herald Mail making fun of Parrott at the end of his first year in Annapolis in May 2011. This, of course, is the same Tim Rowland who wrote that urination piece recently on the rail-trail in which he essentially said we red necks and rubes who disagree with his progressive desire to ride his bike through people’s back yards are not too bright.
Now back to the really important issue raised by the Sun article and by Gill—the Republican establishment’s response to Parrott’s success in using the petition process.
We expect the Maryland Dems to try to stop Parrott, but wouldn’t you think the Republicans would see him as a way to escape their image as a bunch of benchwarmers for a moribund Republican Party? Apparently not!
Here is the Sun:
Parrott’s success hasn’t always sat well with other Republicans. Four-term Baltimore County Del. Patrick McDonough, who had been the go-to Republican in Annapolis on immigration issues, has complained that the freshman has received too much credit for challenging the immigration tuition law.
The GOP establishment was not initially behind Parrott last year when he set out to challenge the in-state tuition law, called the DREAM Act. He recalls that one prominent Republican predicted the challenge would fail and hurt the party.
House Republican leader Anthony O’Donnell did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article. O’Donnell’s deputy, Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio of the Eastern Shore, acknowledged that Parrott started without establishment support.
Inspite of the Annapolis Republican poobahs original disapproval of Parrott’s first petition initiative, wouldn’t you think that O’Donnell would be gracious now and just say he was wrong and then praise Parrott?
Of course he wouldn’t, if you know anything about his role in pushing another reformer and principled conservative—Dr. Jim Pelura—out of the Chairman’s seat of the MDGOP a few years back when Pelura wanted the party to have articulated principles, but the Annapolis Republicans wanted to be free to do whatever they wanted in Annapolis (wheeling and dealing!) with no guiding direction from the party. For them, the party’s only role was to raise money and shut up!
Hint to the MDGOP: New people won’t join if they don’t know what you stand for!
So here is Gill:
Also front-and-center is the noting of House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell’s failure to respond to “multiple requests” for a comment on the Western Maryland lawmaker (implying that Parrott truly doesn’t play well with those in his own party), and a mention that the Speaker of the House, Michael Busch, flat out declined to comment – because, obviously, some rural rube who dare ruffle the feathers of the ruling class is beneath both contempt and acknowledgement.
From an opening sentence that questions Del. Parrott’s “pedigree” to a quote from a Montgomery County delegate that drives home the point that the governor, speaker and senate president can have their hard work “stopped in its tracks” by this wave-making Republican, “GOP Freshman” wasn’t so much a gift to Maryland conservatives, but instead an unassuming present for Maryland Democrats.
O’Donnell endorsed Perez!
This is getting long, but before I finish I need to remind readers again that we have never had an explanation from Del. Anthony O’Donnell about why he (in his official capacity as Minority Leader of the House of Delegates!) felt compelled to go on record and support that menace Thomas Perez to be Eric Holder’s right hand man in the US Justice Department. What sort of deal did Republican O’Donnell have with hard leftie Perez? Inquiring minds want to know. With no explanation we can only guess!
Is that why there is no comment from O’Donnell praising Parrott? Is Perez already peeved with O’Donnell? Was O’Donnell expected to keep everyone in line on instate tuition for illegal aliens and anything else that might interfere with the flow of immigrants into Maryland for Perez’s future political base? So many questions!