Friday, October 25, 2013

Maryland Attorney General Attends Underaged Drinking Party. Does Nothing.

An interesting battle for Governor is brewing in my (adopted) home state of Maryland. Presumed front-runner and state Attorney General Doug Gansler is gearing up to face Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown next year, in a battle of two Democrats with interesting credentials. Since this is a solidly blue state, whoever wins the primary is a virtual shoo-in to take the Governor's mansion.

Gansler is a career climber who has gone from local politics to statewide office in record time. It's also clear he's the guy the state Democratic Party is "pushing" for the seat. Brown, who looks an awful lot like Barack Obama (and whose new wife looks a lot like Michelle) wants to become the state's first black governor, and hopes to leverage his name recognition and the fact that almost 1/3 of the state's voters are black. This lead Gansler to make a pretty riduclous statement about Brown a few months ago that pissed off a lot of potential voters and lead Gansler to checkmate Brown by finding himself a black female running mate from Brown's home county. So yeah, lots of pettiness here. Early polls have indicated the race is neck in neck, but I'm thinking Gansler's chances just took a turn for the worse.
A month after launching his campaign for governor, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler was entangled Thursday in yet another controversy, this time acknowledging a lapse in judgment when he appeared at a beach-house party and did nothing to stop apparent underage drinking going on there.

At a half-hour news conference in Silver Spring, Gansler (D) said that when he stopped by a party for graduating high school students in June, he should have been more vigilant about ensuring that the teenagers were not doing anything illegal. A photograph shows Gansler in the middle of a party scene, surrounded by young people. He said that failing to more thoroughly investigate what was going on at the party was “a mistake I made.”

In hindsight, I probably should have assumed there was drinking and talked to the chaperones about what they thought was appropriate,” Gansler said. But Maryland’s top law enforcement official said he was there as a parent, hoping to talk briefly to his teenage son about travel plans, and not as “a police officer or anything else.”

He saw teenagers drinking from red plastic cups that night, Gansler said. “There could be Kool-Aid in the red cups,” he said, “but there’s probably beer in the red cups.”

At the news conference, Gansler was shown a copy of the photo that appears to show him holding a phone. When asked whether he was taking a photo with it, he said he had not yet learned how to do that with his new iPhone. He said he thought he was reading a text message.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that written accounts by the Maryland State Police alleged that Gansler regularly ordered troopers assigned to drive for him to speed and run red lights, even on the way to routine appointments. Gansler accused a police commander who documented those concerns of being a politically motivated “henchman” trying to help Brown’s campaign.

In August, before Gansler ­formally announced his long-anticipated bid for governor, The Post reported that he was secretly recorded at a meeting with volunteers saying that Brown was relying on his race to get elected and that his campaign slogan was: “Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland.”

But Gansler told the Sun: “Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party. How is that relevant to me? . . . The question is: Do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.
For those of you missing the bigger picture here, the state's "top cop" essentially walked into a party in which 17 and 18 year olds were drinking, and looked the other way. His insistence that he didn't know kids were drinking, and that they might have had Kool Aid in those solo cups, and that he didn't know how to use his new iPhone is just laughable. He also seemed to be caught taking pictures of (possibly underaged) girls twerkin' on a tabletop.[1] So yeah, this isn't a good look. At all. And of yeah, there's this.

Not. A. Good. Look.

I suspect Brown is behind this "leak", just as he was behind the "race tape" and the story about the red lights. And I personally think this is fairly smart politics. Make a guy whose job it is to essentially be the legal/moral compass of an entire state look like a total and complete hypocrite by simply throwing out factual examples of his own contradictions. A winning formula if there ever was one.

Brown might wanna start watching his back though. There's a long time between now and the primary.

Question: Is the attorney general responsible for reporting a potential crime even if he's out of state and off the clock?

[1] That's him in the white shirt, looking like a narc.

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