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Time to stop, drop and take stock of election results

November 14, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

So I'm writing my weekly podcast, specifically about how everyone is so panicked about a woman becoming Speaker of the House. And I said, what was she going to do, change all the drapes?

It was an OK line, not great, but serviceable. And then I turn on the TV and what do I hear but President George Bush making a Nancy Pelosi-drapes joke.

Man, what a wakeup call. If ever there were a sign that a humor columnist is in the autumn years of his career, it's when he gets undercut by the Unfunny in Chief.

I mean, you expect it once in a while if Jon Stewart or Bernard McGuirk beats you to the punch. It happens. But a president? One who hasn't issued a genuinely side-splitting punch line since "mission accomplished?"

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I glumly changed "drapes" to "shoes" and tried to cut my losses.

All in all, it was a horrible week. Thank you, to the many people who e-mailed their condolences to me over the defeat of Washington County Commissioner John Munson.

I don't know how many messages of sympathy J-Mun himself received, but, no lie, if I didn't have more, I bet I was awfully close.

I am in his debt one final time when, commenting on his defeat, he left us this gem: "Either way is fine, because I'll be in Florida while you're shoveling snow."

Nothing like a commissioner candidate whose dedicated to the county in which he seeks to serve. I lose? Fine, I'm outta here. Long vacation. Goodbye and good luck.

If Tsar Nicholas had thought of this, little Anastasia might have lived to see her picture on the cover of People magazine. "You revolt on my watch? Fine, I'm going to go sun myself on the Riviera. Call me when they jackhammer the Berlin Wall."

And on top of that, I darn near lost Sen. Alex Mooney, a guy with all the campaign financing in the world, taken to the wire by a relative unknown. As Vince Lombardi said, "What in the hell is going on out there?"

You people nuts? Sending a stern message of displeasure to a guy I'm rooting for as our next 6th District Congressman, after Roscoe Bartlett mummifies in a committee hearing.

If Mooney was counting on a resounding victory to propel him into a national office, it could be back to the bank account. On Sept. 1, Mooney had almost $160,000 on hand; his opponent, Candy Greenway, had $10,000.

Based on state returns, that averages out to something like $8 a vote. And you can't put away someone named "Candy" who filed for office on the last day, like impulse-buying a box of Tic Tacs in the express lane? "Let's see, milk, bread, pancake mix and - oh what the heck, how 'bout a run at state senate." And she almost won.

You need like 120,000 votes for a 6th District win. At $8 a vote, he's gonna need a whooole lot of jack - and by that I mean Jack Abramoff.

But Mooney did win something else in this election: A Democratic governor. Famous for his rabble rousing and demagoguing under Parris Glendening, Mooney almost disappeared over the last four years after losing his Evil Nemesis. And after, no doubt, Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich got him alone in the utility closet for a moment and told him he better sit on that zoo act of his.

Face it, without the joker, Batman becomes just another fly-eating day-sleeper. At least now, Mooney has another windmill at which he is free to tilt after.

And speaking of Ehrlich, who was in charge of the governor's campaign, his chief strategist on passing slots?

Talk about being hit by friendly fire, Ehrlich gets popped by an Iraq War he had nothing to do with. Subtract Iraq, and he wins by five points. You think there's anyone who hates the war anymore right now than him? Next time they turn the water cannon on Cindy Sheehan, Ehrlich is going to have to get a dry suit.

But looking over the local field, I otherwise see few possibilities of amusement for me. Sure, someone might stand up, step forward and help me out by doing something totally nuts.

But you can't always count on people, particularly those whom you know little about. Of course, sometimes normally rational people can go over the edge with just a little gratuitous poking and prodding in the press.

Memo to County Commissioners-elect John Barr and Terry Baker: The cell-phone-hurling record in this here county is 38 feet. And personally, I don't think either of you are man enough to beat it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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