Former Governor Ehrlich will be a poor substitute for Ron Smith

January 31, 2012

I agree with letter writer Marian Argentino, who is appalled that former Gov. Robert Ehrlich is to inherit Ron Smith's column in The Sun ("Ehrlich is no replacement for Ron Smith," Jan. 27).

Mr. Ehrlich will forever be associated with suppressing the votes of people of color, first through the sleazy tactics attributed to his campaign in 2002 that led the legislature to enact a voter suppression statute in 2005, and then the violation of that statute in the 2010 election, when his campaign's robo-calls resulted in the conviction of one top political aide and left another yet to face trial.

I can think of no more important bedrock principle of democracy and good government than the idea that all people be allowed to vote unimpeded. This country has fallen woefully short of that ideal in the past, and if Thomas Schaller's column was any indication, this will be even more of an issue in the future ("Vote suppression tactics all too familiar," Dec. 15).

But if Mr. Ehrlich is personally repentant of any of his campaign's abominable acts against democracy I haven't heard it. Last week, The Sun reported he was paying former campaign worker Paul Schurick's legal bills.

Another person who appears completely unrepentant is Towson professor Richard E. Vatz ("Schurick's behavior wrong, but not criminal," Dec. 11).

Professor Vatz is supposed to be an instructor of political rhetoric at a state-funded university. Yet he is such a blind partisan for Mr. Ehrlich that he can't grasp the abomination the Ehrlich campaign has perpetrated against people of color.

Apparently for him the art of political science involves a cynical manipulation of the media in order to keep people from voting, rather than dispassionate reflection that encourages democracy and corrects the abuses of the past.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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