The Maryland presidential primary, held this year on April 26, usually doesn’t cause much fanfare. But in this year of crazy campaigns and possible brokered conventions, suddenly every state matters.
At the Ritchie Coliseum yesterday, hundreds were turned away after the 1,780 seat venue was filled to capacity with University of Maryland students — we’re talking about kids, here — waiting to cheer on a 76-year-old Republican. Ron Paul’s speech focusing on noninterventionism, ending the draft system, ending the war on drugs — and according to The Sun, legalizing raw milk — was enthusiastically received by UM students. Probably the only way he could have drawn more cheers was with free hookahs and a promise to lower the drinking age to 18.
I kid — Paul has to be by far the least pandering of the Republican hopefuls (yeah right, more like one hopeful and three despairfuls — zing!). And that’s one of the things that’s hurt him in the race; he’s used a libertarian college student stump speech no matter whom he’s addressing. It’s those very same stances on foreign policy, military spending, and civil liberties conservative pundits are always calling “off the rails” that the conservative-leaning college set is likely to deem “pretty sick.”
After the event, Paul weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case to Politico‘s Zack Abramson — insofar as he refrained from weighing in — saying, “[D]ay to day the facts are changing, so for me to speculate on exactly what’s going on there… I think it deserves attention, I have questions in my mind, but I haven’t heard all the answers that are probably there.” A reserved, even ambiguous, statement — and perhaps for some frustratingly so — but one typical of the candidate who when given the opportunity to get righteous about the controversial Terry Schiavo case in a Florida debate, instead just encouraged anyone listening to get a living will.
(By the way, when I searched for an image of Paul on Google, the top suggested search string was “ron paul shirtless.” Am I missing something?)
Mitt Romney is bringing his campaign for the Republican nomination to Maryland, with a 4 p.m. stop in Arbutus today at a town hall event at American Legion Post 109 in anticipation of our primary vote on April 3, with 37 delegates at stake.
I have been DYING for the Republican primary to get to Maryland, just so it can finally count as local news. The thrills! The gaffes! The absurdity! Of course, it would have been nice if the race made its way to Maryland before Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry dropped out — remember when Perry said he wanted to kick Turkey out of NATO? I loved that guy. But now that it’s finally here, I gotta tell you, I’m a little sick of the whole thing. All the best jokes have gone stale, and now we’re just left to slog through a terrible culture war.
The perpetually disempowered Maryland Republicans will actually get to play a role in their presidential primary, and for them I’m glad. But, man, we all paid the price for it, didn’t we? We had to restart ages old debates about the separation of church and state, birth control, even pornography. And we were too distracted we missed some heavy-duty news items, like the Attorney General defending the assassination of an American citizen with the argument, “‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same.” Sure, we got the occasional glorious “moon colony” moment, and for an instant, maybe it all seemed worth it, but how fleeting those moments were.
Maybe if Gingrich comes here — right now he’s focusing on Louisiana — we’ll get to see him promising horse-loving Maryland that he would bring back the pony express.