Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 20, 2005

Clumsy dance on club leaves voters gaping

As the beat goes on, the ballroom becomes more crowded. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s fund-raiser at the Elkridge Club, which has long lacked African-American members, resurfaces with word that Mr. Ehrlich's second-in-command now has second thoughts ("Steele calls on club to admit blacks," July 17).

Those of a certain age recall the team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers flawlessly "tripping the light fantastic." Marylanders do not expect such precision from the Free State's first two citizens. But their mutual tripping over tongues and feet is not comic.

Brows wrinkled, fingers turned to the political wind, explanations have changed.

Mr. Ehrlich's first response as to why this occurred was: "Hypothetical." Then: "Not my business."

Mr. Steele, scrambling for footing on a slippery dance floor to keep in step with his boss, initially stated that he didn't care, "because I don't play golf." That's a double bogey, guys.

In his newest version, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele now concedes he was "flippant" about "this kind of foolishness."

Mr. Ehrlich's spokesman adds: "The lieutenant governor speaks for the governor, and what he says speaks for us."

And away they glide. How sad; how avoidable.

They could have followed the lead of Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who had also used the facility. Forthrightly, his spokesman said: "He [Mr. Smith] was not aware of the country club's membership composition" and "he will not have future campaign events hosted at this location" ("Club's membership `not my business,' governor says," July 6). That's clear and forgivable - brouhaha over, next question.

True, our fearless leaders are not Fred and Ginger. Yet citizens might ask: Which one of these awkward dancers is leading now? Judging from this fiasco, neither.

Next fall is a bit distant, but voters could cut in and relegate these stumblers to the status of wallflowers.

Milton Bates

Baltimore

Club controversy just a phony issue

Here we go again. The cast is in place. The whiners. The politicians. The Sun.

The controversy: A politician held a fund-raiser at a private club that apparently doesn't have any black members or make any effort to recruit black members ("Steele calls on club to admit blacks," July 17).

The predictable result: Politicians opposed to the politician who held the fund-raiser raise a big stink about alleged racism accompanied by demands for apologies.

And it's all phony baloney.

I'm not a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and doubt I'll ever be invited to become one. Why? Because I'm neither a black person nor a member of Congress.

And I'd most certainly be denied membership in the private club that is in the center of this contrived controversy. Why? Because I'm sure I don't meet its membership requirements.

But I don't go around whining about it. Or demanding an apology, or somebody's head.

Grow up. Get real. Get a life.

If you want a private club that allows anybody and everybody to be a member, start one.

Richard Seymour

Baltimore

Little evidence backs Democrats' charges

I am concerned that the Democrats and their supporters so quickly make accusations devoid of evidence against Republican politicians ("For prosecutor, CIA leak case comes down to matter of law," July 17). President Bush has been called a liar, Karl Rove a leak. Yet in both cases, the one thing that is lacking is evidence that would stand up in court.

Perhaps one day the Democrats will afford the same presumption of innocence to Republican politicians that they are always trying to grant to child molesters, killers and terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

Has mud Rove slings bloodied his hands?

While Valerie Plame, who was revealed as a covert agent for the CIA, was probably not put in harm's way, who knows how many of the secret operatives she worked with were endangered by the leak ("For prosecutor, CIA leak case comes down to matter of law," July 17)?

Many people believe that Karl Rove has mud on his soul. Is it possible that he also has blood on his hands?

Sol Goodman

Baltimore

White House lowers integrity standards

While campaigning for president, George W. Bush promised to bring "honesty and integrity" back to the White House. So when he vowed to take appropriate action against anyone found to have leaked classified information, I believed he meant it.

Now, however, it is abundantly clear that top administration officials are involved in the leak of such information. Rather than keep his word, however, President Bush has now backpedaled, saying that anyone who "committed a crime" will be fired, as though that were a high moral threshold ("President alters stance in CIA leak case," July 19).

Apparently, honesty and integrity are no longer job requirements at the White House; your place in this administration is secure so long as you're not a convicted felon.

Joe Fleischman

Bel Air

Exposing the gaps may make port safer

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