Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Equality Maryland: Picking Noses, Picking Losers

As MoCoPolitics notes, John Giannetti (Sen: R-21) defected today to the Republican Party. The Sun article which I quoted on my own site is also damning of Giannetti's opportunism.

Giannetti and Ida Ruben (D-20) were both endorsed by the pro same-sex marriage lobbying and advocacy group Equality Maryland. You read that correctly. Equality Maryland picked two candidates who a) had a weak or bad position on same-sex marriage and b) lost. With Giannetti, it's even worse: his anti-same sex marriage position is what is getting him the nod from GOP leaders, i.e. he has to deliver for them, not just beat the liberal Rosapepe but stay socially conservative once there. From the Sun:
"I declined the nomination in favor of John," [GOP Sen-21 nominee John] Stafford said earlier yesterday, noting Giannetti's credentials as an opponent of abortion and gay marriage [emphasis Crablaw]. "I think he has a better chance of winning as the incumbent and being able to appeal to the same kind of decent Democratic voters that I can appeal to."

...

In a brief telephone interview in the afternoon, Giannetti said: "I am still a Democrat until the right set of conditions occur."
I know Giannetti from law school. A very likable guy, charismatic. He may win. I have argued back and forth about how "blue" or "red" District 21 is. Its registration numbers are blue on their face, but with a lot of career-covering independent right-leaning registrants at Fort Meade and NSA - not exactly Granola Park.

But Equality Maryland picking him over Rosapepe and picking Ruben over hard-core same-sex marriage advocate Jamie Raskin is a scandal. Some people in their legislative affairs division should resign or get fired.

5 Comments:

Blogger jsmdlawyer said...

Two words: incumbent protection.

One word: fear.

All of these groups, not just Equality Maryland, were afraid to go against the perceived power of incumbents like Ruben and Giannetti -- working with Raskin, it drove me crazy to see the endorsements roll in for Ruben.

Now that both Ruben and Giannetti have lost and lost badly, these groups look really, really stupid, for the reasons you state. This situation needs to change -- if an incumbent ain't gettin' it done, groups should have the balls to give their endorsements to a better-qualified challenger. Period. Anything else is dishonest and shady.

This is separate and distinct from the travesty of Progressive Maryland, which decided that "Progressive" meant "anything that we think helps get Tom Hucker elected." So when Hucker sucked up to the incumbents, they all got endorsed -- as if Gareth Murray was really more progressive than Heather Mizeur or Aaron Klein. PM did more damage to its own reputation in the primary than Bob Ehrlich could do in five terms as governor. It was a disgrace, and I hope they pay for it.

9/27/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Dray said...

Did they do this because they thought that the challengers would lose in the General, and that half a loaf was better than none. Or is this a matter of incumbant protection and greased palms?

9/27/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

Maybe they did it because Raskin was stuck, he could not become anti same-sex marriage without earning the wrath of Takoma Park, whereas Ruben could become that. So they wanted "to be owed" in the event that Raskin got struck by lightning or arrested for a felony or something. So the endorsement was a stick/carrot, not a reward to an extremely loyal ally. Or maybe they did not want to screw with Ruben, their office is in Dist. 20. Or they are just cynical suckups.

The Giannetti endorsement makes less sense, if he is anti gay marriage. Easier to skip the race entirely. But I guess the same logic could apply. Better to give Giannetti some love, so Giannetti has to pay them "political rent" not to smack them.

But this is all too cute by half. Anybody who gave a dime to either candidate on the basis of these endorsements should be angry, because the weaker candidate both on the issue and on Election Day lost.

Another possibility: their legislative directors are politically stupid or naive or lazy and deserve to be fired by the Board of Directors. Giannetti's defection to the GOP is a bit of a surprise but the GOP knew he was anti gay marriage.

To hell with single issue advocacy. It's like ordering take out everyday: real cooks know how to work a kitchen and real citizens should take the time to scour prospective candidates.

9/27/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Rfustero said...

Politics as usual.

9/28/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger OnBackground said...

I wonder how many groups made silly picks, picks based on relationships rather than on a fair evaluation of the candidates, etc. I know it is rampant, but if someone actually asked the hard questions about endorsements (i.e. why did you endorse them, specifically), I don't think we'd like the answers. I bet it would find that the endorsements are not done in a consistent or effective way that would give members, supporters, or donors confidence that their money or clout is being used effectively.

9/28/2006 10:33:00 AM  

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