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The Tentacle


July 17, 2002

How Bad Do They Want to Win?

Mike Kuster

When politicians begin lying and smearing the names of an assassinated President of the United States of America, one must really question their morality and their fit with the position they seek.

This writer will be the first to admit that mud slinging plays an important role in politics (I could retire if someone would pay for the mud slung my way in the past two years). One of top five rules in running a campaign is to Kick Ass.

A line of decency does exist. That line rules out attacking someone's dead relatives, an assassinated U.S. President, and flat out lying.

If someone does these things, are they fit for office? What motivates such behavior? I hardly think it is a calling to serve. Rather, it is a calling to be powerful and/or rich.

So, who would do such things? Who running this year is unfit for office?

Congressman Robert Ehrlich and Michael Steele, GOP candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor respectively.

These two men cross the line in their behavior. The two men, representing a party that clings to morality as its banner, disgrace their party with behavior unfit for the level of office they seek.

Congressman Ehrlich sent a campaign letter to Republicans warning voters and financiers that this country does not need another Kennedy presidency. He alludes to a Kathleen Kennedy Townsend run for the presidency in 2004. The letter is filled with partisan rhetoric from a man the GOP claims to be centrist and a bi-partisan team player.

So, in order to win the Governor's mansion, Congressman Ehrlich attacks one of the country's most popular presidents, a man who died serving his country. Not only is he willing to attack a man loved by millions, he is willing to attack his opponent's deceased uncle! How low is that?

Besides, what is Congressman Ehrlich opposed to from Kennedy's Administration?

The Peace Corps? President Bush has expanded upon this program both abroad and at home.

NASA? Would he prefer the Soviets had landed on the moon first?

Tax Cuts? Kennedy believed in trickle-down economics, just as the Bushes do.

Civil Rights? Would Congressman Ehrlich prefer his running mate ride in the back of the campaign bus?

Get real! This is a low blow by any account. The mud being slung here reeks of manure. That crosses the line.

Next, Michael Steele, Ehrlich's running mate, decided to lie to his campaign staff, his party, and the press. Mr. Steele tells people on a regular basis that his stepfather was Robert Kennedy's chauffeur. When he took the leadership of the party, he made a point to include it in interviews. After being tapped to be Ehrlich's running mate, he told campaign staffers this tidbit of news. He even told the press and public during speeches that his stepfather was Kennedy's chauffeur.

Steele told the Washington Post, "I just think it's kind of cute and ironic that here we are, 40 years later, his daughter and my father's son, running against each other."

Surprise! Steele told a lie!

As a matter of fact, Steele's stepfather, John Turner, never served as a Kennedy chauffeur. He did not even drive a limousine, not even for the Justice Department. When asked if he ever drove for Kennedy, Turner told the Washington Post, "That wasn't me. I drove an airport taxi."

Steele now also claims that his biological father was a gardener for then Senator John F. Kennedy in Georgetown. No one has been able to confirm or deny this claim. With Steele's track record, we are left to doubt the veracity of the candidate's claim.

So, the GOP sends forward its candidates. Their hope for victory in Maryland lies with a man slinging cow pies rather than mud and a liar whose own stepfather won't back his stories.

What are these men's motives?

Congressman Ehrlich does not need money. He has a nice job. It must be the power.

Michael Steele has neither money nor power. The man has been unemployed for years and his business continues to report losses year after year. He claims to be draining his savings. Being chair of Maryland's GOP brings little power. This state has been Democratic so long that the GOP can only concentrate on one statewide race at a time. Therefore, we gather that Steele will say anything for an income and a little power.

Are these men the ones we want leading our state? Will Frederick County vote for such despicable characters?

Probably. Enter into evidence Alex Mooney and Roscoe Bartlett.



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