I’ve been involved in Politics, Professional and otherwise, for the past 35 or so years, and I’ve never before witnessed such a grand and glorious version of political theater than I saw take place yesterday (Saturday, May 14th) at the MDGOP Spring Convention. It was stunning and it was beautiful. You could call it stunningly beautiful and beautifully stunning – either descriptor would work just fine.
To begin with, MDGOP National Committeewoman, Nicolee Ambrose, was re-elected for another four year term which commences at this year’s GOP Convention in Cleveland. She was re-elected by acclamation – and to an absolutely deafening, thunderous, applause.
It was time to put MDGOP Committeeman, Louis Pope, on the spit and baste him in his effort to hang on to his seat against the challenge of Citizens United’s David Bossie. And this is where the political theater picked up in intensity – as if Ambrose’s victory via acclamation wasn’t intense enough.
Bossie’s first nominating speech was delivered by 1st District GOP Congressman, Andy Harris – the only GOP Congressman in the state of Maryland. And, it was delivered very nicely, too. Harris recounted a lot of Bossie’s achievements both on the national level and going all the way back to David Bossie’s time as MD CFYR Presidency.
And this is where the political theater blew through the roof and into the stratosphere. It came time for David Bossie’s second nominating speech. And, MDGOP National Committeewoman, Nicolee Ambrose – who’d just won re-election by acclamation – took to the microphone.
The “WHOAS!” that went through the crowd were audible and strong. The shift of the energy level on the convention floor was palpable. Louis Pope was sitting there looking as though he’d just befouled himself. This was unheard of: Pope’s female counterpart on the same committee was going to nominate his challenger to come along and kick his ass.
It was beautifully stunning.
And, did Nicolee Ambrose ever deliver a knockout of a speech. I’ll tell you what – Ms. Ambrose’s sense of timing and passion are impeccable. And was she ever impassioned! She did not denigrate Mr. Pope in the least – but what she did was sold David Bossie to the masses the left no question as to who should win. Furthermore, the ending of her comments were incredible, when she looked out at where David Bossie was standing and shouted out, “David, Bring it!” It was a magnificent and masterful performance – so much so, that a number of attendees told Ms. Ambrose that her speech convinced them to vote for David Bossie.
Then, it came Louis Pope’s turn – well, his nominating speaker’s turns, anyway – and up to the podium stepped MD Lieutenant Governor, Boyd Rutherford – who more or less mumbled his way through the basic bio of Pope and how he (Rutherford) and Pope were friends, that sort of thing.
After Ambrose’s electrifying performance in those 10 minutes that have forever altered the fortunes of the MDGOP, no matter what Rutherford may have said, it would have proven to be dramatically undramatic – as anti-climactic as anti-climactic can be.
Well, after Ambrose’s victory via acclamation, David Bossie smoked, as in absolutely crushed, Louis Pope by a total of 385-178. It was amazing and breathtakingly spectacular. Crushed, as he was, Pope left the convention floor – never to return.
And, those two votes change EVERYTHING for the MDGOP.
To begin with, there are the votes the three members will cast with the Republican National Committee. Such votes had been cast by Committeewoman Ambrose, Committeeman Pope, and State Chair Diana Waterman. Normally – I said NORMALLY, not every time – the votes would come down 2-1 with Nicolee Ambrose being the “1.”Now, I predict these 2-1 votes will come down with Waterman being the “1” more often than not as I see Ambrose and Bossie, conservative political soulmates, voting the same way 90% of the time.
Secondly, there is what will happen on the MDGOP Executive Board, as with the new executive board, with the addition, of David Bossie, the conservatives rather than the old hack machine will now be in control. This is huge as the MDGOP Executive Board will no longer allow the state party to be used as a backstop. Instead, I fully expect the MDGOP will be in the game – wholeheartedly and fully – for as long as both Ambrose and Bossie sit in control. Between Nicolee Ambrose’s street smarts and enthusiasm for grassroots activism – see her Super Saturday successes – and David Bossie’s knowledge of and friends on the national and local level to kick start funding for the MDGOP, I see a winning combination.
It’s interesting, but I see more losers than merely Louis Pope left in the wake of Saturday’s monumental votes and the thunderous applause which accompanied both of them. I also see the loss suffered by The Hogan Administration – who’s own LG endorsed Pope in his losing effort. I heard a veritable boatload of people talking about “the embarrassment to the Administration” that Pope’s resounding loss to Bossie was.
Couple that with the insolence Governor Hogan has shown in refusing to get behind the Party’s Presumptive Presidential nominee, Donald Trump – who still rolled through MD on the way to winning the state on primary day, despite Hogan’s refusal to endorse him – and THAT embarrassment, when added to the Pope embarrassment, has me questioning the Hogan Administration’s most basic political instincts.
And, the answer ain’t good.
Whatever, there is now NO DOUBT who controls the MDGOP. Yeah, yeah, yeah – Larry Hogan may be the Governor and Diana Waterman may be the State Chair, but the control of the state party now lies in the very capable hands of Committeewoman Ambrose and Committeeman-Elect, Bossie. They will have the votes, they will have the power. It’s really that simple. And, judging from the reactions of the convention attendees, they couldn’t be happier.
The days of the MDGOP walking on its own grassroots activists are over. The days of the MDGOP being a laughingstock are over.
There is a new power – and it is here, now, and the new committee will be in position in a few short months. And it couldn’t have come to pass any sooner.