A group of us were sitting around chatting the other day about what appears to be different about this political year as opposed to others – specifically, what appears to be different regarding the GOP Gubernatorial nominee, Larry Hogan, and why it seems he is having such great difficulty rallying the base. He may think he’s doing fine, but out here in the tall grass – he’s getting smoked among a good many folks who “should be” his own people.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know he had the opening of another victory center earlier today – complete with all of the trappings and assorted politicos and the like, but still…
I proffered the idea that what’s different this year as opposed to year’s previous is the tremendous availability and output of social media. Whereas in the past, the MDGOP’s nominee for Governor could and would pretty much call the shots and control the narrative…but that is no longer the case. Everybody’s got a blog (case in point, you’re reading one right now) – and, even if they don’t have a blog, everybody’s trading barbs, insults and political opinions on-line in an unprecedented and escalating manner. Simply put, social media has killed what it means to be a “top dog” or the “King of the Hill.” And, this goes far beyond past election cycles in which, ultimately, “everyone” returned to the fold. In the case of Larry Hogan, he may be – and is – the MDGOP Gubernatorial nominee, but no one cares enough to LET him control the narrative and people are rushing him to send him tumbling down the hill with an ever increasing zeal. He can’t simply issue dictates and automatically expect them to be followed without catching grief, if not Holy Hell, in the social media. Every damned day. It’s got to be maddening for him and, if not him, his well-worn handlers, anyway.
And, yeah, I know he built his entire campaign on social media – Change Maryland, anyone? But, at best, that’s proving to be a double-edged sword for Hogan these days. Because, once you get past his mantra for “change,” there’s no “there” there. And, if there is, he’s sure as Hell not been in any hurry to let anyone see it. This point was brought forward in the past few days in a blog post – what else – by Dark Tech Observer in which DTO wrote bluntly about how and why he wouldn’t be voting for Hogan this fall. You may find Dark Tech Observer’s Blog Post Here:
(Whoa! Stop Rushing me…I could be toppled! I demand you to Stop!)
Now, personally, I like Larry Hogan. He’s a nice guy – and a pretty fun guy to sit around and shoot the breeze with. But, he’s also ripe for targeting – by anyone with a keyboard. Take Brian Vaeth, for example.
Brian Vaeth was a GOP Challenger to Hogan before getting bumped from the ballot due to some residency requirement – a “bumping” Vaeth is currently challenging in the Supreme Court. Anyway, earlier today Vaeth told me he’s “on it” as concerns a decades old story of Hogan’s one-time aide who was, Oh Hell – I’ll let the Baltimore Sun teaser for the story tell you what the article’s about:
“An aide and longtime friend to Maryland congressional candidate Larry Hogan Jr. has resigned from Mr. Hogan’s campaign after being charged with kidnapping a Baltimore teen-ager and forcing him to have sex.”
Anyway, as stated, Mr. Vaeth has informed me he’s “on it,” meaning, I can only imagine, he plans on getting to the bottom of whatever the Hell happened with that story two-plus decades ago. Why? Well, it goes beyond simple retaliation – and brings us right back to my social media theory. Brian Vaeth, for whom there is currently a write-in campaign for Governor underway, can dig up whatever the Hell he wants, and now he has numerous outlets to publicize whatever the Hell it is that he digs up.
It’s no longer quite so good to be the King. Ask Larry Hogan.
John Lofton, the man who famously asked Larry Hogan the “craziest” question Hogan had ever heard about the purpose of government, has been – and remains – in the hospital. What, exactly ails Mr. Lofton, I don’t know – but he’s been in Johns Hopkins for a while now, so whatever’s going on can’t be great. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting John Lofton once back in 1982 or 1983 – when he was an editor with The Washington Times. He is a very religiously devout man, and is always interesting to listen to – even if you end up disagreeing with him. Anyway, here’s hoping Mr. Lofton pulls through his current ailment and continues battling another day.