Sometimes an opinion article hits a nerve.
In this case, my column on Maryland Republican officials, child immigration from Central America, and what to do locally about these children, sent a number of the GOP faithful into conniptions.
Dan Bongino, the GOP candidate for Congress in the Montgomery County-Western Maryland district, called the column a “hate-filled, ignorant, one-sided piece. . .. so full of vitriol and emotion. . . . [it] should have never been published. There is already a movement growing, among a large group of grassroots activists, to respond.”
They did – along with many others.
Len Lazarick, who publishes MarylandReporter.com, an essential aggregator of news and commentary on Maryland politics and government, ran my column and later ran responses from Republican Congressman Andy Harris and Republican Del. Pat McDonough, among others.
Len also ran a lengthy defense of Republican immigration policy and a frontal attack on the Democrats’ immigration policy (and my “slanderous, outrageous” column) signed by Diana Waterman, chair of the state GOP.
Another former elected official sent me this response:
“This has got to be the most outrageously partisan[,] myopic, and uninformed column you have ever spewed out. I might try to respond but it would not be worth my time.
What follows are some of the other reactions.
From Billy Earl:
“Brilliant piece, spot on. . .”
“[Y]ou were right when you said this: ‘The best way to stop this unwanted influx is to become involved in helping Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala crack down on criminal activity, to bolster health and education opportunities and to encourage business development.’
“How could anyone disagree with this? It is shameful that Mr. Bongino called for your firing for an opinion piece. I am a life-long Republican and I have never found his presence comfortable. . . .
“I do not support the Governor’s actions or those who have spoken up on this issue because I find that both sides are just reading polls and trying to get attention. I find it classless all the way around.”
“Personally, I think [Rascovar is] full of s**t on this issue, but I am glad you posted it, and hope you keep it online, so people can form their own judgments on the issue and on Rascovar’s opinions. . . .”
“If the column reduces Rascovar’s readership or influence, or lowers public opinion of his value, so be it–he’s entitled to say what he thinks and we are entitled to draw whatever conclusions we wish about him. My personal opinion of him has taken a major hit.”
“Yeah, I know you and Len took a lot of flak for it, and maybe you did paint with a broad brush, but I appreciated your opinion piece. . . . Someone had to say it.”
“I’m a registered Republican and I thank you for this column. Your courage and insight are appreciated always, at least by [my] family.”
“I’m not familiar with you or your column. . . . [P]eople want something for nothing and there are politicians in this country who are spreading the rumor in [C]entral and [S]outh American countries that they can get it here. Unfortunately WE Americans are sick to death of paying for the problems of non-residents. . . It is not the American way.”
“That piece is really beneath you, filled with ad hominem vitriol. You have to ask yourself why nothing has been done on Immigration reform, and why these children are causing such a ruckus. For years, the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between the two sides of the aisle has been that the Democrats don’t do anything substantive about halting the flood of illegals since they generally partake of Democrat social programs, and so vote Democrat. Since they’re illegal, they get paid under the table, so Republican business interests can pay them as little as they like. So far, so good. Now, kids are coming in, whom the Democrats like, but who won’t be working for Republicans anytime soon. Oops.”
“I appreciate you trying to be a reporter of sorts but I would get your facts straight before posting. People will appreciate your views much better.”
“I didn’t bother reading all of your article because nothing seemed factual . . .
“Keep reporting Barry but at least research. Most of what I read isn’t true.”
“Usually your columns are very insightful. Not today. I suppose everyone deserves a vacation once in a while.
“First and foremost, you conflate legal and illegal immigration. . . .
“Second, since when is appropriate [to] use graffiti to characterize a political party’s position? . . .
“Third, you mischaracterize the historic position of the Republican Party on immigration. . .
“Finally, is there a more eloquent articulation of pro-immigration position than in Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address? . . .”
“I suggest you pull this article immediately. It is so full of lies and misinformation and fabrications, that you better hope that you don’t get sued by the GOP.
“Pull it immediately until you have factual information. And you know I can call you out on it being a blogger myself. It’s horse**** ”
Finally, from Jerry:
“Wow! What do you really think about the child immigrants? And our neo-Know Nothings in the Republican Party? Well said!!”
* * * * *
One of the goals of column-writing is to stimulate discourse and discussion.
The column I wrote focused almost exclusively on how certain state Republican officials have reacted to the recent wave of child immigration. I avoided getting into the broader immigration issue that has tied national Republicans and Democrats in knots.
The central point of the column was this:
As Americans, we have an obligation to humanely care and shelter these children until their cases are resolved. Maryland Republican officials mentioned in the column opposed the “helping hand” approach proposed by local religious and government leaders.
I found that misguided, and that’s what it wrote.
Little, if any, of the responses from Maryland Republicans have offered sensible suggestions on how to humanely care for these children locally while they await their fate.
Maybe the next round of missives will return to that pivotal question and give us some thoughtful answers.