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Attack on Brochin misleading and unfair

State Sen. Jim Brochin.
State Sen. Jim Brochin. (Submitted photo)

I have known Sen. Jim Brochin and opposed his positions for decades, beginning when he was a student in my class many, many years ago. He now speaks in my class, and we fight on WBAL Radio. I found him then and find him now a person of unquestioned integrity, fairness and more consistency than I find in 95 percent of all politicians.

Former Maryland Democratic Party executive director Pat Murray’s attack on Senator Brochin’s alleged “conversions” (“A political conversion for Jim Brochin?” Nov. 2) is political rhetoric at its worst: insidiously misleading, slyly and secretly motivated and persuasively and dishonestly selective. He details Mr. Brochin’s votes on health care issues without referencing his arguments regarding differences in times or the implications of the bills.

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Virtually all politicians take positions respecting their constituents’ values and preferences, often seeming either contradictory with their overall philosophy and some past votes if you do not like them, or practical necessities of political compromise if you do.

No one would infer from Mr. Murray’s ugly rhetoric — for example, he says that Mr. Brochin reveals the “shallow posturing of an opportunist following his polling in order to grab headlines…” — that the author was deputy chief of staff to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Didn’t read of any of Mr. Miller’s historic antipathy toward Senator Brochin in Mr. Murray’s oped? Full disclosure, Mr. Murray?

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Senator Brochin has never yielded on most of his unpopular-with-Democrats positions: limited death penalty support, speed camera reform or his fights with the pre-eminent Baltimore Sun columnist and others. As I wrote in a Sun column several years ago (“Romney flip-flops, and so does Obama; what’s wrong with that?” May 3, 2012), sometimes changes in position are “simply … an evolution of thought.”

Regardless, the ugly rhetoric of Mr. Murray is another example of the eclipse of fair and serious political exchange in today’s America and certainly in today’s Maryland.

Richard E. Vatz, Towson

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