Your Opinions

July 16, 2006

Candidate asked to dump Steffen

Editor's note: The following letter was submitted to the newspaper and was written to Aaron Kazi, a candidate for Harford County Council president.

I was extremely disappointed to read in The Sun that you have hired Joseph Steffen, better known as "The Prince of Darkness" for his notorious smear campaigns, to work on your campaign. And I was surprised to see you posing with him for pictures, as if you were proud to be importing into Harford County the dirty tricks that he, by his own admission, employs and represents. The citizens of our county deserve better.

Governor Ehrlich was right to reject this brand of politics by firing Mr. Steffen. It stands at odds with our values as Republicans - and it undermines every Republican's political campaign in Maryland to clean up government. It chips away at citizens' faith in our political process, and it certainly seems to contradict your campaign slogan: "A Principled Republican with an Independent Mind."

I urge you to reconsider going down this path and, instead, follow Governor Ehrlich's lead by removing Mr. Steffen from your campaign.

In calling Mr. Steffen a "hero," I can only assume you are unaware of the things he has done and written. Below is some of his writing, which you can find on the Web site It should help make clear what your decision should be.

8/1/2004, 4:51:36 AM: "I work in professional politics for a living. Part of my unwritten job description is to hurt people. It's the nature of the beast. ..."

7/24/2004, 8:13:13 PM: "My nicknames in GOP campaign circles are A) The Prince of Darkness, and B) Doctor Death. I can't even discuss a lot of what I've done/written/managed/executed because A) Most of the candidates I helped were elected and are still in office, and B) These office holders have NO IDEA of what actually helped elect them (Plausible deniability - a MUST in politics and psy-ops) . ... "

8/5/2004, 5:20:24 AM: "`It's time to treat all mosques as enemy outlets ... ' I could not agree more. As a first step, the USA should pull the Federal tax exemption granted to Islam, which means not only that they have to pay federal taxes but that the country no longer acknowledges `the religion of peace' as a bona fide religion. We should then zero in on every mosque in the country, raiding when we can and filing RICO charges when we must."

6/13/2004, 9:15:08 AM: "`This Administration rejects torture.' - John Ashcroft. That's a huge part of the problem. Turn on the video. Torture them. Douse them in pig's blood. Execute them. Make sure THAT damned video gets aired on Al Jazeera."

8/5/2004, 5:36:05 AM: "`Diaper Heads' is my term of choice as well."

6/3/2004, 3:32:20 AM: "Julian Bond is a race baiting swill merchant. Since at least the 1960s the left has had far more `terroristic' elements associated with its various factions and agendas than has any segment of the right. Sure the fruit-loop right is allegedly the spawning ground of McVeigh, but the left has the Uni-bomber, not to mention Al Gore. Further, as far as I know, there are no known ex-Klansmen `serving' as Republicans in the United States Senate."

7/24/2004, 5:56:30 AM: "I despise giveaway programs. If you're hungry, find work - and feed yourself. If your kids are hungry, find work - and feed them. You have no right to eat on my dime, unless I decide to feed you. Social Darwinists Unite!"

This is just a small sampling of Mr. Steffen's work. There is much more - in addition to what Mr. Steffen admits is a nearly 30-year history of unethical practices, including attacks against fellow Republicans.

Because you are new to Harford County politics, you may not realize that we do things differently here. We are decent and honest conservatives, and we do our best to follow the golden rule from Luke's Gospel: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

I welcome an open and honest debate on the issues, knowing that the voters of Harford County will decide for themselves who they think can best lead the County Council. But there's a right way to win and a wrong way. I have never stooped to ugly tactics and baseless rumors and I never will. I pledge to run an honest and civil campaign, just as I always have, and I ask you to do the same. On your Web site, you write: "Principled, dedicated, and honest representation is the best way possible for Government to improve life for its citizens." It's hard to reconcile those sentiments with your new hire. I ask you to end your association with the Prince of Darkness and reject his unethical methods. Harford County deserves no less.

Robert S. Wagner

President, Harford County Council

Craig is rich in supporters

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