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Ehrlich should turn a bit of his criticism on the GOP [Letter]

8:00 AM EDT, April 22, 2014

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Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column "A barrage of wedgies" (April 20) requires a bit of comment. I have known Bob Ehrlich. He is good man. His effectiveness as governor was hampered predominantly, in my opinion, by bad advisers. Be that as it may, his column, while well written, leaves blank any prescription on what to do about what he sees as harmful tactics to this country employed by the Democrats.

His main thrust is that Democrats are campaigning predominantly on attempting to portray themselves as champions of fairness. Thus, by inference, calling the GOP champions of unfairness. He makes some decent points as evidence. The problem with his explanation is two fold. One, from a political vantage point, it worked in two straight presidential elections. Furthermore, the Democrats have gotten more votes nationwide in five of the last six presidential elections and even in 2012 got more votes for congressional candidates across the nation than did the GOP.

The second problem is with his own party. Even if one agrees with the philosophical positions of the GOP on some of the major issues, the stance of leaders in the party on other issues just makes it impossible for middle-of-the-road voters to consider voting for their party. There are a ton of examples.

No one stood up to the Republican leadership when they forced the federal government to attempt to interfere with a husband's gut wrenching private decision on whether to end life-sustaining treatment for his brain dead wife. The GOP had ostensible leaders like Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" for attempting to gain health coverage for birth control pills similar to the coverage for Viagra. The biggest criticism that presidential candidate Mitt Romney could muster is calling Mr. Limbaugh's language "inappropriate." Even conservative commentator George Will scoffed at that. He said, "inappropriate? Inappropriate is when you put the fork on the wrong side of the dinner plate."

Then there was a Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, mind you this is not some yahoo on the fringe but the nominee for U.S. Senate saying, "birth control is a women putting an aspirin between her legs." Then there was Mr. Romney who couldn't bring himself to voice support for the equal pay for equal work by women legislation. Then there is the GOP party platform that wants to outlaw all abortions with no exceptions, even for rape. Shockingly, the GOP lost the women's vote by a wide margin.

Next is the GOP's only position on the immigration issue for the last several years as, Mr. Will again put it, "is to build a wall ten feet high and ten feet thick across the entire border and deport every undocumented immigrant." No wonder the Republicans only got 30 percent of the fastest growing demographic group in the country with that kind of welcome. Then there was the scene of the GOP in the states they control limiting people's ability to vote more conveniently. Viewing the long lines of voters created by these tactics was one of the reasons the turnout among African Americans was so high. They saw this as an attempt to take way their right to vote. There are many more examples of this behavior from GOP leadership.

Mr. Ehrlich's take on what is best for this country might be correct. However, until the GOP, it's leaders like Mr. Ehrlich and it's followers shed these other stances, the GOP will be relegated to the status that Mr. Ehrlich himself describes at the end of his article. He says, "Failure (by the GOP) will mean a continued role as a diminished homogeneous (see all white and male) player only able to muster majorities in off year elections." (And that is diminishing, given demographic trends in staunchly Republican states like Texas and South Carolina). The only other take-away from Mr. Ehrlich's piece is that of whining about Democrats' tactics. The long-ago founders and the icons of your party are watching, you governor, and are demanding a little better from you.

Mel Mintz, Pikesville

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