With Maryland Republicans taking over the annual sustenance of four elephants at the Baltimore Zoo -- and not so subtly challenging their Democratic opponents to match the effort -- Democrat Robert Barrett has accepted.
"We're going to take over the donkeys," said Mr. Barrett, a member of the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee, while noting that elephants overshadow the humble donkey when it comes to spending. The annual cost is $12,000 for the GOP symbols, the four elephants. A zoo donkey's keep is a mere $25.
Mr. Barrett sees a lesson in this: Republicans, he claimed, can be the big spenders while Democrats can be the conservatives.
The GOP-ADOPT program for the zoo's elephants, started recently by Carol L. Hirschburg, a member of the Republican State Central Committee from Baltimore, is aimed at helping the zoo cope with a $350,000 deficit caused by cuts in state and city aid.
Ms. Hirschburg, anticipating a bit of partisanship, suggested that Democrats almost certainly would want to raise taxes to cover costs.
But the T-word did not pass Mr. Barrett's lips. He did say he hopes the Democratic effort will go well beyond the upkeep of the donkeys and that he plans to bring the zoo's plight to the attention of his party's members statewide.
Marty Miller, a registered Independent, said he might adopt the Cockatoo and send $50. "If you're lucky in life," Mr. Miller said, "why not share it with people?"
Or with birds and animals.