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Muldowney says this party's over

August 14, 2000

Muldowney says this party's over



"Muldowney changes his party" - Headline, Morning Herald, Thursday, Aug. 10

Citing vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman and Tipper Gore's continuing hostility toward trash television and raunchy rap lyrics, a tearful former Washington County Del. Paul Muldowney announced Thursday that he is leaving the Democratic Party and for the first time in his life will register as a Republican.

"I've been a member of this proud party through and through for all of my 65 years, but it turns my stomach to watch helplessly as this new breed of Democrat increasingly tries to censure young Americans' fundamental right to get funky," Muldowney said.

The lovably irascible Muldowney said his soul mates of past generations - the Kennedys, the Humphreys, the Stephensons - are "gone, all gone."

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The last straw came Tuesday, when Democratic candidate Al Gore selected Senator Lieberman to run for the second highest office in the land.

Two days later, Muldowney was a Republican.

Lieberman is well-known for his stands against what he portrays as Hollywood filth, having teamed with former Education Secretary Bill Bennett to hand out "Golden Sewer Awards" to people and media who do not adhere to high moral standards.

"What would the proud pillars of the Democratic Party have thought of this?" Muldowney asked. "I don't know, but I have a pretty good hunch that Lyndon Baines Johnson would have been a big Limp Bizkit fan. I know in my own home, anyone who tries to take my LLCool J and Dr. Dre compact discs is going to have to pry it from out of my cold dead fingers."

Muldowney served Washington County in the General Assembly from 1979 to 1986. Since that time he has run unsuccessfully for Congress, for state Senate and for the state House of Delegates.

Washington County Republicans welcomed him into the fold with open arms.

"We've had our differences in the past, but I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," said Sen. Don Munson, R-Washington.

"All right, so back in the '96 race he called me a small minded, sanctimonious little toad," said U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. "But that was the old, Democratic Paul Muldowney. I think the new, Republican Paul Muldowney and me are going to get along just fine."

Muldowney downplayed reports that he had switched parties after a GOP tent meeting in which he had "got compassion."

"I'm still against all the things that Republicans, and truly I myself, have always been against - abortion, gun control, feeding the elderly - it's just that now I am being more honest and true to myself. I'm not a man to wear my compassion on my sleeve. In my book, man's compassion is between himself and his party."

On the other side of the aisle, local Democrats were trying to recover from what to them was an obvious blow. "We're sure going to miss him, the old lug," sniffed Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington. "You try to put the best possible face on this, but it's hard. Heck, I still have a 'Muldowney for House' sign in my front yard from the last race. I know he was running against me, but when he asked if he could put the sign up I just couldn't say no. Really, I couldn't - he had me cornered with a machete."

Speculation immediately began as to what office Muldowney might seek as a Republican, although he angrily denied his party switch had anything to do with electoral politics. "Just because there aren't enough Democrats left in Washington County to pallbear a scarecrow much less win an election has nothing to do with it.

"Besides, next time I run for office I might bypass the primaries altogether and go straight for the write-in."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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