No, not the recent Supreme Court case, here I am talking about the two-faced ancient Roman god of “beginnings, passages, and endings.” We are witnessing a number of American political figures exercising their inner Janus these days, Senator Jeff Flake comes to mind. One clear eye on what is right for the country and on how posterity will remember them; the other eye filled with electoral fear as they shift their tremulous gaze towards Trump’s minions lurching about in blind support of their Dear Leader. Far too many of these officeholders are making the easier, and cowardly, choice to stand by this corrupt Administration. Or, paralyzed into a near inert state, they find themselves unable to do more than post feeble tsk-tsk tweets. Not exactly Washington crossing the Delaware…
Which reminds me. I promised you an article on the Howard County Executive race. When considering the Allan Kittleman-Calvin Ball match-up, it is important to remember that the current CE is predisposed to play it safe. As I have written before, if he had 15% more gumption and 30% more derring-do, he could have been the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2014, probably Governor now, and likely an early recipient of some 2024 speculation. Yes, for the Big Chair located at 1600 Pennsylvania. Would he have ended up like GOP governors in blue states such as Weld or Whitman who passed on the opportunity to enter the Fray? Perhaps, but we will never know. Kittleman’s next shot at Annapolis isn’t until 2022. Even if elected Governor of Maryland in that year, that effectively rules him out for 2024…and he will turn 70 in 2028.
My point is this, Kittleman is going to run a re-election campaign that is localized and personalized to the greatest extent possible. He is not going to cross the national GOP or local conservatives on issues like immigration (for example: his statements on the sanctuary bill demonstrate that he is, at the core, a standard-issue Republican (sorry, “Democrats for Kittleman”)). He will attempt to aw-shucks and “Oh, my pa-pa” his way across the county while he endeavors to maintain the myth of Kittleman-as-moderate. He probably figures that between incumbency and the presence of an (on the surface) popular Republican Governor on the ballot, he can withstand any potential Blue Wave and possibly, just maybe, improve on his 51.2% showing from 2014.
Returning to the face metaphor, I would be less concerned about his eyes and more focused on his jaw, which I believe to be composed of glass. He should be pressed to square his “people before politics” rhetoric with the reality of our schools and the continuing overcrowding challenges. He should be called to account for saying that he is “independent” but how, precisely, has he stood up to Trump and his party? He talks about making Howard County a “destination economy,” but does he really mean a “developer economy?” What about the middle and working class folks who already live here and who are seeing their quality of living diminish year-after-year as more attention seems to be paid to new developments as opposed to the needs of those in older neighborhoods? The Kittleman campaign can’t be allowed to get away with framing the debate through Pollyanna language meant to cloak the crony conservativism congealing at the heart of his cadre.
It is this disconnect between word and deed that must be made clear to the electorate. Kittleman says X, but does Y. If only there was a effective way to visualize this tendency in a direct mail piece or TV spot. Wait, what was the title of this piece again?