Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 15, 2005

GOP dirty tricks are what public will remember

Republican Party spokeswoman Deborah Martinez charges that Mayor Martin O'Malley's camp "leaked" Joseph F. Steffen Jr.'s Web postings to the news media ("Managing a rumor quietly, then openly," Feb 13).

But what's to leak? The postings weren't secret. They were written for circulation.

Ms. Martinez then intones that "a year and a half from now, people are only going to remember `sex scandal and O'Malley.' And it wasn't the Republican Party that put him there."

What a revealing slip of the tongue. There is no O'Malley sex scandal. There never was one. There is only a Steffen dirty-tricks scandal.

But by talking about a nonexistent "sex scandal and O'Malley," Ms. Martinez inadvertently exposes this whole matter as a Republican Party dirty-tricks scandal.

Robert Sherman

Gaithersburg

Republican spokeswoman Deborah Martinez, who was quoted as saying, "A year and a half from now, people are only going to remember `sex scandal and O'Malley,'" has it wrong.

A year and a half from now, people will only remember "Ehrlich close friend and political appointee caught in clumsy smear attempt, while Ehrlich scrambles, unsuccessfully, to distance himself."

Lloyd Lachow

Reisterstown

Rodricks can't know who started rumors

In his column "The politics of humiliation and hurt spin nicely on Web" (Feb. 10), Dan Rodricks states matter-of-factly that stories regarding rumors of a romantic affair involving Mayor Martin O'Malley facilitated "the outing of the source of these rumors."

Excuse me? How does Mr. Rodricks know that the man who wrote about the rumors on a conservative Web site, Joseph F. Steffen Jr., is the one who started them?

The Sun wrote that the rumors have been around for 18 months ("O'Malley denounced rumors," Feb. 10). And the Washington Post articles cited by The Sun say that Mr. Steffen's Internet postings were made last summer, six to nine months ago.

Do the math, Mr. Rodricks. It doesn't add up. Unless you have a crystal ball, you have no idea who started the rumors.

Tony Ondrusek

Hunt Valley

Taking mudslinging to a brand new low

The GOP has mastered the art of dirty politics combined with plausible deniability. This strategy has helped defeat respectable Democratic opponents and put the Republican Party in the majority nationally with a foothold in Maryland.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. did not invent mudslinging, but his staff has taken it to a new low, humiliating Mayor Martin O'Malley's wife and children in an attempt to weaken a potential opponent before next year's election.

If Mr. Ehrlich believes that the public is naive enough to believe he and his top staff did not know that gubernatorial aide Joseph F. Steffen Jr. was propagating these attacks, he takes his constituency for fools.

Wayne A. Brooks

Baltimore

Ehrlich responsible for aide's tactics

Just when you think politics can stoop no lower, a hack from the Ehrlich administration proves you wrong. The malicious rumor campaign against Mayor Martin O'Malley and his family is a despicable and outrageous act of cruelty ("Managing a rumor quietly, then openly," Feb. 13).

All of those who knew about these cheap dirty tricks should be investigated, officially reprimanded, and made to pay for their reprehensible behavior.

Joseph F. Steffen Jr., the self-described "Prince of Darkness," should be excommunicated from a society that values decency. But it is Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. who must assume responsibility for his political operative's detestable tactics and make a personal apology to the O'Malley family.

Whether the citizens of Maryland accept it will be determined in the 2006 election.

Jim Williams

Baltimore

The governor falls behind in the count

I'm a life-long Democrat who enthusiastically voted for Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for governor of Maryland in 2002.

But Mr. Ehrlich's ban of The Sun's David Nitkin and Michael Olesker was strike one.

The mudslinging against Mayor O'Malley by Ehrlich associate Joseph F. Steffen Jr. is strike two ("Managing a rumor quietly, then openly," Feb. 13).

As the Orioles begin spring training, Mr. Ehrlich needs to remember that in baseball, politics and life, it's three strikes and you're out.

Leon Reinstein

Baltimore

O'Malley is winner in the rumor scandal

As one of many Marylanders who have heard rumors for many months about Mayor Martin O'Malley, I have found the actions of The Sun very interesting.

While apparently completely accepting the mayor's statements denying marital infidelity, both the reporting and editorial staffs have condemned Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as being both responsible and complicit in a conspiracy against Mr. O'Malley.

I have no idea whether the mayor is being truthful. Of much more concern to me is the assumption that the governor is "dirty" in all of this.

The only winner I see here is Mr. O'Malley, and I see no advantage to Mr. Ehrlich in bringing this out in the open.

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