The Talbot Integrity Project has announced that it likes my opposition to uncontrolled growth in Talbot County. It has done so in letters to the Spy and the Star Democrat, and most recently by a postcard mailing to voters. That limited “endorsement” has disturbed both conservatives and liberals, and I think it is worth stating why I accepted TIP’s support.
The principle is very simple: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I disagree with the chairman of TIP, Dan Watson, on every other issue on which he has stated an opinion. He feels the same way about me. Where I agree with him and TIP is on the absolute necessity of stopping unacceptable growth. That battle pits us against powerful interests in the County, and I would be foolish to try to fight alone. Having my name put on TIP publicity helps inform those who share my concerns that I will fight for them.
That is all there is to it. My being on a list with even two other Republican candidates does not mean that I agree with them on anything else. I disagree about everything else with the Democrats TIP endorsed.
That does not mean I do not have a problem with TIP. TIP’s mailing about its “endorsements” violates my understanding of their intentions, with a two-faced approach to the Republican candidates. In response to a comment in the Spy attacking me, Dan Watson made it very clear that he did not recommend that anyone vote for me:
…please note the explicit yardstick that gave rise to these recommendations: they were determined “by the criteria of protecting Talbot’s rural character against intrusive development.” In the final analysis, Talbot voters will apply other measures as well, but we thought it important to be forthright in reporting on every candidate’s attitude toward growth and development, …
No endorsement there. Just “reporting” my attitudes toward growth and development. Yet their new mailing says that TIP actively opposes all five Republicans who did not speak to them. That is a heads I win, tails you lose proposition. No real support for those of us that did talk to them, and outright opposition to those who did not.
If I had a higher opinion of TIP’s ability to conceive and carry out a devious plan to split and destroy Republican candidates, I might share my friends’ suspicions. As it is, unless TIP takes steps to resolve this mess, I think they have succeeded only in casting doubt on their claim to be nonpartisan and interested only in growth and development.
I have taken many other positions disputing liberal orthodoxy: my departure from the Spy when the editor refused to publish my opinions about the evils of grooming children to change their natural gender; my efforts to prevent the removal of the Talbot Boys; my testimony in Annapolis opposing measures to weaken police statewide; my opinions in The Chesapeake Observer about Black Lives Matter, the Second Amendment, successes of the Trump Administration and threats to our country from the left; my Facebook posts deploring the unanimous vote by the current council to create a Transgender Visibility Day; and my warning to parents to keep children away from the Pride weekend. Perhaps TIP might help some of those who disagree with me on all this to decide that the threat of uncontrolled growth matters more here and now.
Many of my conservative supporters are angry with me for cooperating with TIP. I hope I have made it clear that I line up with TIP only on the necessity of limiting growth, and that is clearly the only reason Dan Watson tolerates me. I hope that most conservative voters agree with my opinions and activities on the other matters I mentioned, plus spending and taxation. I certainly did not expect TIP to oppose other Republicans, especially since they did not unequivocally “endorse” me or the two other Republicans who spoke to them.
My friends should understand that I will accept support on specific issues where I can get it, but I will not modify my position on any other fundamental issue in a quid quo pro. My deal with myself in agreeing to run for this office was that I would state clearly my views on every issue that came up, and never be silent or soften my position because of whom I might offend. That is the attitude that makes me willing to state that I agree with TIP that Lakeside must be stopped, and I hope that their support in future will help to stop other threats.
Candidate for Republican nomination for County Council