I heard an interview with my Congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, (R Maryland) on WSCL, the radio station at Salisbury State University, a couple of days ago. Wayne, who has spent the last eighteen years in Congress, was defeated by a more “conservative” candidate in this spring’s Republican primary. The new candidate, Andy Harris or Democrat Frank Kratovil will become my new Congressman after the election in November.
I use his first name because Wayne is a local, Kent County, man, who used to teach civics at our high school and has always presented himself as being one of us. I have spoken to him a number of times and even played guitar for him once, while he sang, “My Wild Irish Rose.”
The one statement that stands out in my memory of the interview is Wayne’s definition of conservatism, as he sees it in 2008. I am writing this from memory, but I think I can quote his words pretty closely, “When someone says ‘I am a conservative,’ what that means is ‘I want to spend your children’s inheritance right now, as fast as I can.’ He went on to connect this to President Bush’s call for drilling in ANWR and offshore. Offshore drilling for oil could potentially mean drilling off the Eastern Shore of Maryland, interestingly. Wayne is of the opinion that extracting that oil would only be a drop in a bucket, considering our energy needs and that conservation and alternative energy sources must be our focus rather than extraction and continued consumption. All the oil in ANWR and offshore would only supply us with enough for one year, according to Wayne.
Wayne said that he believes that the Republican party has become dogmatic, narrow minded and ineffective. He was not specifically speaking about Andy Harris, however Harris is a member of that neo-conservative camp. Wayne’s comments were directed at his fellow Republicans in Washington and at the Bush Presidency. Personally I would vote for Wayne for President if he ran. It’s too bad he’s too short, bald and ugly to be elected.