Sanity a calamity in politics

May 25, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

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Memo to Hagerstown City Council candidate David Lidz: I don't know you, but are you nuts?

In the initial count last Tuesday, Lidz made the cut, finishing ahead of Forrest Easton for the fifth and final council seat. But when the absentee ballots were added in Thursday, Easton moved ahead of Lidz by six votes.

We all knew, or thought we did, what was going to come next -- a long, protracted mess. But it didn't. Lidz gracefully conceded and said he'll try again in four years.

Simply put, this cannot happen. It shows clearly that Lidz is not suited for politics as we know it. Concede? Never. You need to go full Norm Coleman on this and drag it out for months.


We want recounts, ballot challenges, court appeals. We want the election to be decertified and the whole process begun anew. We want Hagerstown to wrest the Hanging Chad Capital of America title from West Palm. You know Hagerstown voters. Forrest Easton? They probably thought they were voting for Forrest Gump.

Lidz said: "Hagerstown has spoken, and Hagerstown has said they want to know me a little better before they put me in a position of public trust. Forrest is an excellent candidate. He will make an excellent councilman."

Mr. Lidz. David. Dave. Listen to me. No, no, no, no, no, no, a thousand times no.

This is not how it's done. There's no crying in baseball (end of Tom Hanks references, I swear) and there are no manners in politics. I am shaking my head ruefully. If you got in, you probably wouldn't chase and page girls, either.

You can't look at politics as you would a box of chocolates (sorry). This is hardball, and when you lose by a half-dozen pokes, you have to start thinking Supreme Court.

Lidz said he'll run again in four years because "I have all these signs; what else am I going to do?"

I do like that thinking. It's very Napoleon: He was probably sitting in exile on Elba and thought to himself, "I have all these weapons ..."

As a matter of fact, I don't think it's too early to start a citywide "Lidz in '13" campaign. He's sort of "shovel ready," so to speak. And look, he could have put the other candidates and the city taxpayers through a whole big recount rigmarole, but -- even though I strongly disapprove -- he just writes it off as a near miss and makes plans for four years down the road. That's sort of in keeping with our rural values. We ain't like city folks; we got time.

He could even play his foray into common sense, rare as it might be in politics, into an advantage: "David Lidz: Remember Me? I'm the Sane One."

I suppose that's what I have such a hard time getting over. The thought of someone doing something rational in the electoral process is just too big for me to get my mind around. Normally it doesn't matter if a candidate gets shot down by 70 percent of the vote, he thinks he's just one good slogan from getting over the top. Or it had to be a conspiracy. The Rand Corp., in conjunction with the Trilateral Commission and Bob Bruchey, was beaming subliminal thought stimuli via satellite into the brains of prospective voters.

Or maybe I'm giving Lidz too much credit. Maybe he came to his senses at some point in the last several months and reconsidered the benefits, or lack thereof, of membership on the Hagerstown council. It's like one of those jokes about waking up after a three-day drunk and saying, "I won a seat on the WHAT?"

Membership has its privileges sometimes, but this is Hagerstown after all, not American Express.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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