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Trav did the right thing hanging up on Schaefer

October 07, 1998

Tim RowlandWouldn't you know, Washington County experiences a genuine Schaefer Moment and I miss it.

Since he's been out of office for nearly four years, I'd sort of let my guard down. I thought the days of tracking down detractors and sending themselves quaint, personalized hate mail were long gone.

I thought I'd never hear again Schaefer's words "I give him credit for having a mind," shortly before he pronounced a critic to be out of it.

Nothing against Gov. Parris Glendening, but he's not the sort of man to point an assault weapon at a reporter, as a general thing. My button with a picture of Schaefer and the inscription "Big Brother is Watching" slipped further and further back into my desk drawer where it came to rest against my David "U.S." Yurus, a 6th District congressional candidate who - four years ahead of his time, as it turns out - promised he'd make people "work for their welfare."

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Of course I knew Schaefer was back in politics, running for the office of Comptroller, which is a cross between the words "controller" and "compost" meaning an official who takes control of your paycheck and makes mulch out of it.

But this is not exactly what you would call a high-profile position. It is a sort of the keeper of the beancounters, where it is easy for a normal person to sit back and make a minimum of public commotion.

Notice the words "normal person." Enter the former gov, who entered the race for the post following the untimely death of the beloved Louis Goldstein.

Well, it seems last week a fellow called into the Trav Ruppert radio show to air his grievances against the former governor. Forums such as talk radio and The Daily Mail's citizen comment board are great fun. Both attract enthusiastic audiences. But, as is the case anywhere people do not have to leave their names and be held accountable, facts in these formats tend to be as elusive as the contents of a milkweed pod on a blustery fall afternoon.

So the gentleman rambled on about how Schaefer was in the Navy (he was in the Army) and how he had been kicked out (he wasn't) and how he is disbarred from law practice (he isn't). Other than that, they guy had things pretty much on the nose.

And as luck would have it, ole Dumbo Ears himself got wind of the verbal assault and decided to call the show to set the record straight. He identified himself as Don Schaefer and Trav, doing exactly the same thing I would have done, said something to the effect of yeah right, and I'm Don Rickles and hung up.

Trav later realized the Don was actually THE Don and apologized, although a number of people I have talked to say he had it right the first time.

Now who do you think acted as the Henry Kissinger-like envoy between the Trav Ruppert show and the Don Schaefer show? Why it was none other than Hagerstown Ex Mayor For Life Steve Sager!

This story just keeps getting better.

Yes, William Donald Schaefer is back, he's rested and he means business. And, not to get everyone overly giddy, but if Ellen Sauerbrey wins, both she and he will sit together on the state's Board of Public Works, where every meeting to discuss building projects has the potential to start out with, "Ellen, you ignorant shrew," or "Donald, you paranoid twit."

Ha ha. And then can you imagine when they both start - what? Oh, OK...hold on, I have a phone call.

Hello? Who?

Oh sure, and I'm William of Orange.

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