05.12.14 In which an elder statesman disagrees with yours truly re Hucker

Friend, neighbor, and decades-long progressive activist Mike Tabor, has a thing or two to say about Tom Hucker and my view of Tom Hucker. Mike’s points are at least as worthy of consideration as mine. Here’s what he has to say:

Keith,

I’ve been haunted by your condemnation of Tom Hucker reducing his entire career to that easy word, “bully”.  Taking cues from Heather Mizeur at her first televised Governor’s debate, he could be more polite and modest.  Yes, he could have run at large, but that was his decision.  However, a lifetime of effective commitment to social justice can’t be dismissed, discounted and written off that easily by some of his neighbors who don’t necessarily hold office.  

Rather than using the term “bully”, an easy disparaging term, how about “passionate”, “angry”, “impatient”, “insistent”…think about it, if I were a foot taller, all of those descriptions might fit me, or you!  And what’s the alternative? Let’s face it, Terrell North, as good as he is and would be, unfortunately doesn’t seem to have the apparatus to win the seat.  The other alternative is Barclay, the pick of conservative Dems (and the Apple ballot choice) and other moderate voices.  We can’t afford to lose that seat.

Do you picture Barkley giving Marc Elrich the “second” he needs (and so eloquently pleaded for at the recent Progressive Neighbors forum) on issues like rent stabilization on the County Council?  Yes, it would be good if Tom was less provocative, and maybe he’ll grow into a more diffidence as he continues to mature in office.  

Perhaps we need more progressive Dems with the passion Tom has.  I don’t think we should be so ready to write off Tom and his lifetime of good work.  

Michael Tabor

My reply to Mike’s comments:

I did not mean to reduce Hucker’s  career to one characterization. The totality of the good he has done exists, is worthy of praise, and Mike is right to remind us of that. Mike’s also correct that Hucker would be a far better partner to Elrich on council than Barclay. The very fact that Barclay must be stopped argues pragmatically for supporting Hucker.

But to toss off bullying, just because the bully is on your side, is a cop-out: bullying means intimidating, harassing, threatening retribution. None of Mike’s proposed euphemisms accurately describes Hucker’s behavior. Letting Hucker off the hook is reminiscent of the classic: “He’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”*

Well, guess what? I have a philosophical issue with SOBs. But it’s not just about ideals. Bad behavior has real costs. At the least it introduces unnecessary friction into relationships, making progress come at higher costs. At the most, it creates toxicity or scandal sufficient to bring down the perpetrator and any chance of progress. Think Christie, who killed the entire brand of “centrist” GOP with his nasty hubris. Think Spitzer, whose different expression of hubris destroyed him and set back his agenda. Supporting those who engage in bad behavior is risky.

I totally get why Mike supports Hucker on his record. I understand a pragmatic decision to vote for the guy who can stop Barclay. This year, though, I’m rebelling against politics as usual, just a wee bit. My vote is going to the best person for MoCo D5: Terrill North.

*The “he’s our son of a bitch” line has been attributed to several potential authors about several potential unsavory characters. Here’s a brief discussion from Washington Monthly.

–Keith

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5 Comments on “05.12.14 In which an elder statesman disagrees with yours truly re Hucker”

  1. Woody Brosnan Says:

    Both of you seem to dismiss Evan Glass, wiho is progressive, who has been campaigning longer than the other candidates, and who has both the experience and the temperment to be a very good councilmember. Evan has a lot of support in the community.

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    • Keith Berner Says:

      Always nice to hear from you, Woody! Mike has indeed dismissed Glass. I have not — I said very nice things about him in my earlier post on this race.

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  2. Read Bill Turque on politics in the Post…reveals Huckers drunk driving arrest….hanging offense, no but more data on character. Sharon

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  3. Tom Gagliardo Says:

    I’ve known Tom Hucker for more than a decade. He successfully sponsored bills on living wage, pregnancy disability, protection from employer retaliation and tax fairness for those who have been discriminated against. I saw him up close and personally in Annapolis, as well as, in personal social and political contexts. Nothing would suggest rude behavior on his part, let alone that he is a bully. I am baffled by such characterizations on this blog. Any individual self-identified as a “progressive” may prefer Hucker, Glass or North or anyone else. I prefer Hucker. No need to eat our own. To paraphrase Barney Frank — I only voted for the perfect candidate once. That’s when I ran the first time. By the time I ran for re-election two years later, I realized that not even I was the perfect candidate.”

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    • Keith Berner Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Tom. I love the Barney Frank quote and it is very apropos. There are no perfect candidates, just as there are no perfect human beings (except my wife, of course). Hucker seems to arouse passions. You and Mike Tabor have made very strong pitches on his behalf. On the flip side, since I posted my criticism of him, a number of people have come out of the woodwork wanting to tell me negative stories about him. I’ve been gently telling those folks “no, thank you,” because I have no intention of pursuing a vendetta against Hucker. I believe I have sufficient evidence for my critique and wouldn’t have said what I have said, otherwise. But, even if one takes my critique at face value, each voter needs to weigh myriad criteria in deciding among candidates. The only voters I won’t have respect for in the D5 race are those who swallow Valerie Ervin’s poison bait and vote for Barclay, who has no business wasting our time

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