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June 14, 2018

Campaigning Monkey Business

Harry M. Covert

It is no secret. Skullduggery is alive and well in the political arena. Surprised? Of course not. It can be a bit surprising at times, particularly when opponents have been quasi-friends for long periods at work “for the public good.”


Take a moment here. Read me out.


Proverbs are in the public domain. From “The Anatomy of Wit,” we can recall that “the rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.” I’m adding “and politics.” Most certainly, there are always styles and activities of trickery, chicanery, fraudulence and others along the lines of monkey business.


I’m getting to the point of this “polite polemic.” But first, there’s another appropriate saying to which many verbalists take credit: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”


There are times when scribblers forget to attribute words and phrases to others. An unkind word, plagiarism, can get in the way. Embarrassing but illegal. I digress here.


Maryland, like many other jurisdictions, is embroiled in hot political races. These competitions are exciting and involve some stretchers, lots of them, who and what to believe.


Specifically Frederick County, Maryland, is enjoying some hot primary battles with various machinations.


For example, three county Republicans are vigorously campaigning to win nomination to challenge County Executive Jan Gardner. In November this will be as monumental as the race for governor. A true knock-down for sure. The Democratic incumbent is no easy mark. Jan Gardner is a favorite of liberals and high-rollers, state and national donors.


Conservatives, and Grand Old Party faithful, will choose between County Councilman Kirby Delauter, retiring state Del. Kathy Afzali and former county Budget Director Regina Williams.


Campaign advertising, direct mail and other avenues are everywhere on the landscape. Larry Hogan, the popular governor who is favored to win another four-year term, is on the trail, too. He has not endorsed any GOP candidate for any office. Here’s the rub.


Ms. Afzali, in league with State Sen. Michael Hough, has emblazoned her campaign posters up and down the highways and byways with the name “Hogan, insinuating that Governor Hogan endorses her for the party nomination for county executive. Here’s the scoop.


I checked out the alleged endorsement. Officially and forthright, Governor Hogan did not, has not and will not endorse Ms. Afzali for the nomination. He’s busy running himself.


Inquiries on the matter to Ms. Afzali have not been answered. I did suggest she write a column about her campaign. She rejected that.


It is important for candidates in any race to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth. Obviously the Afzali campaign is not bothered by a half-truth, white lie or improper inference.


Should the Republican Party locally and statewide, take action? Yes but probably won’t. It’s not a nice way to try for votes. Who cares? We’ll know soon.


Rules of fair play in politics are lacking? Seems that way. I know, it’s not unknown for those of any political persuasion to infer untrue things.


The real lesson here is know the difference between friends, enemies and frenemies.


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