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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Flood the Zone II: Race Baiting in Maryland

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a race-baiter? The WaPo adds this:

"The reason Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is going hard negative is because her positive campaign wasn't working. In a heavily liberal Democratic state, it just wasn't working," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "The first debate, when Townsend went on the offensive and was quite negative, worked. It halted Ehrlich's momentum."

Townsend herself counted the debate at Morgan State University as a turning point. At the Sept. 26 event, she witheringly derided Ehrlich for saying he was operating out of his "comfort zone" by coming before an African American audience.

At the Rockville forum, Ehrlich was also combative at times with the largely Democratic audience, calling one question about the Bush tax cut that he supported "ridiculous on its face." When a questioner wanted him to explain his statement on African Americans, Ehrlich accused Townsend of race baiting and told the questioner, "You're going to be sorry you asked."

He went on to say that Republicans for decades have been criticized for being unwilling to engage with the African American community. He and his African American running mate, Michael S. Steele, "believe that's wrong."

Well, was she simply attempting to energize her base, and evil Republicans denounced it as "race-baiting"? If this is how the base gets energized, let's call it what it is.

Anyway, what was going on in the Democratic primary?

This week, Glendening (D) disgorged the years of bile and venom that he had been holding back, paying for two sets of radio ads attacking the man who was his predecessor in the governor's mansion. The first portrayed Schaefer (D) as a man insensitive to women and blacks, calling them "little girls" and "Afros."

Everyone in the story seems to be a Dem, except the evil Republican spokesman who says that the Dems used race-baiting in 1998, and prophetically suggests they will do so again.

UPDATE: More on Maryland in 1998: Arianna Huffington summarizes as follows:

In Maryland, free speech became hate speech when an ad by Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening claimed to reveal ``the real Ellen Sauerbrey'' -- against civil rights, and even against ``freedom and tolerance.'' This ad was too much even for Baltimore's black Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who observed that he can tell the ``difference between a political conservative and a racist.'' One wonders what he thinks of the ad that the Missouri Democratic Party is now aiming at black voters: ``If you don't vote, you let another church explode ... you allow another cross to burn.''
If you scroll way down, or word-search on "bait", this article provides more details.

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