The Tawes Clam Bake is not the model for the way politics should be. No matter what the organizers and counties originally intended, politically it is now about influence and access peddling.
The average citizen can pay a reasonable but hefty price to stand in line for really wonderful food. But for office holders and politicians, it’s quite a different experience.
The central feature of the Tawes Clam Bake is an enormous tent with a large sign at the main entrance saying the “Office of Bruce Bereano” and signs saying “invitation only”. Access is tightly controlled should a mere voter wish to, this year, come in out of the rain.
Bruce Bereano is far and away the most highly paid lobbyist in Annapolis. In his tent the food and drink are served to office holders and clients of the host who pay his office handsomely for access and influence over decision making in Annapolis.
For Governor and Lieutenant Governor on down it is a delicious but otherwise a command performance.
Politicians do very occasionally emerge from the Bereano tent and do a walk around for photo ops from the media. No media inside to catch office holders hob nobbing with the lobbyist’s clients. During the walk arounds they may be accessible to the determined voter who is there otherwise for the food and opportunity to get together with family and friends.
As a model for the way politics in our democracy should be, it is a sad reminder of the way it is, that whoever has the gold for access makes the rules.
Watching average voters wanting to take some vacant seats in the spacious Bereano tent and be told it’s not for them kind of sums it up.