Bentley Isn't Only Strong GOP EntryBarry Rascovar's column...

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July 23, 1994

Bentley Isn't Only Strong GOP Entry

Barry Rascovar's column July 17 builds several strong arguments encouraging Republican candidates for governor to take heart. There is, however, a blemish in his reasoning.

He reasons that only Helen Bentley can beat Parris Glendening in November. He praises her wisdom in selecting a Montgomery County running mate. He ignores the fact that Bill Shepard is also a resident of Montgomery County.

He assumes the current front-runners will be the candidates in the general election. In Mr. Glendening's case, I think Mr. Rascovar is right.

By promoting Ms. Bentley, he does the Republican Party a disservice. None of the candidates has nearly the lock on the nomination that Mr. Glendening does. Mr. Rascovar does a disservice to the Shepard-Gouge ticket. By ignoring it, he indirectly tries to persuade his readers not to support the ticket with the best chance of winning in the fall. Why?

The plain truth is that Bill Shepard has executive skill at the highest policy-making levels. That makes him a very credible competitor.

His years in the Foreign Service, coupled with an enviable education, have produced a man capable of standing on his own laurels. His choice of Julia Gouge as his running mate was a stroke of genius. Her many years of experience as a mayor and a county commissioner assure that his administration will have a finger on the pulse of Maryland.

Grass roots Maryland needs representation as much as the large counties and Baltimore. Mr. Shepard has assigned Mrs. Gouge the task of assuring equal representation for small towns and counties in Annapolis. Mr. Rascovar is right. Republicans are thinking about winning in November. They should be.

If Maryland Republicans select Shepard-Gouge in the primary, Maryland will finally, after all these years, have a real choice.

It will be a classic philosophical choice between liberal and conservative; tax-and-spend versus sound fiscal planning; and, continuing the waste versus businesslike management of all of Maryland.

M. Evans

Westminster

Mr. Rascovar's column suggests that this could be a breakthrough year for Maryland's Republican Party. Underlying this premise is his assertion that Helen Bentley is emerging as a "prohibitive favorite" (whatever that means) in the GOP primary for governor.

The tone of this article strongly suggests that Mrs. Bentley's supposed popularity will carry other Republicans into office on her coattails this year, naming as possible beneficiaries Richard Bennett (candidate for attorney general) and other un-named Republican candidates.

Mr. Rascovar seems so sure of this scenario that he has labeled Helen Bentley as the Republican Party's "Moses," leading the GOP to the promised land.

At first, I thought his statement was misleading and grandiose in portraying Helen Bentley in such a prophetic role. But the more I recalled my biblical knowledge, the more I began to think that he was on to something.

The problem is that if he is right, things won't turn out in November or even September as he concludes. Surely Mr. Rascovar knows that while the biblical Moses set out to lead his people to the promised land, Moses himself never made it.

Seems as though he messed up somewhere along the way and was made to die short of the promised land. Thankfully, his people made it.

I don't know whether Helen Bentley has or will mess up on the way to the promised land (elective office) but Mr. Rascovar suggests some already possible "mess-ups." . . . He adds that since she doesn't have a firm grasp of Maryland policy issues, her handlers have made her avoid most of the candidate forums so far (thus keeping her ignorance from Maryland voters, I guess).

When you add all this to Helen Bentley's poor rating from the Citizens Against Government Waste organization and the fact that she is known as William Donald Schaefer's "favorite Republican," it begins to sound like the real Moses story.

Thankfully for the Republicans, there are other GOP candidates providing the means to get all the way to the "promised land" of elective office.

I note that one, Ellen Sauerbrey, has not hesitated at all to identify the key issues dear to the hearts of Maryland's citizens and has expertly crafted specific platform actions which will address them.

While other candidates chose running mates to "deliver the vote," Sauerbrey chose Paul Rappaport, a 37-year criminal justice expert who will lead her program to do something about violent crime in our neighborhoods and schools.

Recently in Annapolis, Mrs. Sauerbrey unveiled detailed plans to addressing the upcoming budget deficit while providing for increased spending on crime and criminal control, raises for state employees and tax relief for Maryland families.

Mrs. Sauerbrey is at every candidate forum possible laying out her position for all voters to examine and judge and she has a 16-year Maryland record of attacking tax-and-spend politics, unresponsive bureaucracies and unchecked violent crime.

Moses, are you listening?

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