09.09.10 Hans Riemer: A Fluffy Campaign
Riemer wants to be an elected official more than he wants to do anything with that privilege.
He demonstrated that in 2005, when – after having lived in the district for a very few months – he declared as the “progressive” candidate for District 5. He did this without so much as speaking with two progressives (Marc Elrich and Joy Austin Lane) who had already been in public service for decades and were already running.
In four years since then, Riemer has done little for Montgomery County, beyond serving on the Action Committee for Transit. Big news, folks: Riemer is for the Purple Line. As is every county politician (except those who love Chevy Chase’s golf course more than good public policy).
Meanwhile, Riemer’s campaign is based on ludicrous claims that he played a major role in saving Social Security from Bush’s marauders and was a key official in the Obama campaign. The latter is particularly dubious: what key campaign official leaves the greatest campaign in many years just as it is taking flight? That’s what Riemer did in March 2008, when he suddenly disappeared from the Obama team. Note, further, that not a single Obama official is quoted or listed as an endorser in any of Riemer’s materials. Key Obama official? Methinks not.
(When I asked the campaign why Riemer left the Obama campaign so early, I was told: “He wanted to spend more time with his family.”)
But even if Riemer did save Social Security and elect Obama, even though he did (in actual fact) get thousands of new voters registered in 2007-08, what do these things have to do with county policy? At a small meet-and-greet and at two public election forums this year, I didn’t see Riemer answer any question on county policy with specifics or particular insight. Instead, his campaign consists of bromides. He is the pretty, young face adopting the mantel of change, without the word meaning a thing. He claims that he will unite the council factions around him, while all the other candidates in the race loathe him for his self-aggrandizement and constant remaking of history.
Riemer’s campaign manager, David Moon, insists Marc Elrich supporters should love Riemer, who (Moon says) is sure to align with the council progressives. But does Riemer’s constant repetition of the work “progressive” mean he can be counted on?
I dunno. Riemer’s campaign reminds me too much of Valerie Erivin’s, his District 5 opponent in 2006, who has wholeheartedly endorsed him this go-round. I get this from the challenger’s eagerness to tell audiences what they want to hear, even if it contradicts what he told the last audience. Ervin had the act down to a science in ’06, when she encouraged slow-growth progressives she was one of them at the same time as she courted the chamber of commerce.
The fluffiness of the Riemer campaign just leaves me wondering what the ambitious young man would do if elected. I can’t answer that question, which is perhaps the biggest reason I don’t support him.
©2010 Keith Berner