The following is a selection of reader comments on The Baltimore Sun's talk boards and blogs about two of Monday's biggest topics (and subjects of Tuesday's Sun editorials): The future of Maryland's Republican Party and questions about the success of this year's Preakness. Readers commented on Republican lawyer Michael Pappas' formation of an exploratory committee for governor and the drama over whether Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird would run the second leg of the Triple Crown.

GOP in Maryland

Omar: The thing I really like about Pappas is he's out there hustling. He isn't waiting for some manufactured groundswell of support, drummed up over a talk radio program, to make it appear as if he is a candidate reluctantly deciding to run only because the public demanded it. Nor is he waiting for polling data to look favorable enough before deciding to enter the race.

ybnormal: Yawn. We Republicans wish to thank all the Democrats out there for the over-spending and the largest tax hike in MD history in this down economy - way to go fellas!

Flower child: Even before Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched to the Democratic side, Republican leaders were warning that their national party was in danger of becoming a regional one.

Banastre Tarleton: The Republican Party determined, under the wise leadership of Karl Rove, that it could craft a durable majority simply by inspiring church-goers and the Christian right to come out on election day and vote the ticket. That worked for a while ... but then a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box. People figured out that voting for president was a lot different than picking your favorite preacher.

It is this frenetic pandering to a bloc of voters who simply do not exist in sufficient numbers to produce results in national elections, nor in most Congressional districts, that will inspire one of two reactions: the death of the party, or the wholesale change of the party.

mike: A two-party system works better than a one-party system.

The GOP would be smart to start in the city of Baltimore, where 50 years of a one-party system has led to massive urban decay, a crumbling school system, patronage run amok, poverty/health crisis, etc. Stand on a street corner and rotate, you'll spot a problem.

Make Baltimore an example of what GOP policies can do for everyone, not just bankers, CEOs, etc. Someone from West Baltimore should step up and lead the change. If a kid from the south side of Chicago can do it, why not Baltimore?


jamiek: If Mine That Bird skips Preakness, I think tickets sales will suffer even more and TV ratings will probably go down too. This will be further bad news for Magna, which really needs a strong Preakness to make Pimlico valuable for potential bidders down the road or to get a decent price from the state.

Most people I know don't know or care much about horse racing. But they watch Preakness mainly for the Triple Crown drama. Without it ... will they still watch? I usually watch - but if Mine That Bird doesn't run - not sure I will this year.

Rich: Unfortunately, racing is a dead business and Pimlico is a dump due to years of neglect. The only reason there were these "huge" crowds for one race a season was a huge, drunken party in which most had no clue there was even a race going on.

Brad M.: Anybody else get a good laugh out of the slow ticket sales being blamed on the economy? The second they banned people from bringing in alcohol, I said they will be down 20-50 percent. I went [to the Preakness] in high school and sometimes in college (I'm 33 years old now) for one purpose. It was the only place to legally drink when you were under 21.

John: Not a horse racing fan myself, but yesterday's winner was an interesting case to be sure. He was driven 21 hours to get to Kentucky. The jockey skipped the after parties, good for him. ... But how funny would it be for a gelding to win the Triple Crown, not much in stud fees coming in, but I think they can use DNA now for producing bloodlines.

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