Previous Articles

  • Thinking About Things: Our Hugely Interesting 2022 Mid-Terms November 22, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs  In the election finally almost concluded, the Biden administration faced  hurricane force headwinds brought on by many things. including:  (i) the catastrophic departure from Afghanistan; (ii) the declaration of war on domestic carbon fuels and the consequent spiking gasoline prices; (iii) the flooding of the economy with “free cash” to politically favored groups  and the consequent spiking of inflation to rates not seen since the 1970s; (iv) the disastrous lack of security on the southern border and the consequential spike in deaths from opioids cum Fentanyl;  (v) the toothless criminal law enforcement policies of many urban centers, driving up murders, carjackings, and burglaries; the mishandling of Covid  during  2021 and the caving in to the demand for lockdowns from the teachers’ unions, with the effect of stunting the educational growth of millions of children; and (vi) the panoply of issues surrounding wokeness in schools and elsewhere.    But bucking a nearly century-old trend, instead of receiving the voter punishment expected by most, the administration just about broke even.  This was not because the electorate voted to approve the policies that generated these massive headwinds.  This was because, contrary to most polling and expectations, the GOP in general, and Donald Trump in particular, handed scores of congressional seats to generic…
  • Winnable Elections Lost November 22, 2022 by W. David Montgomery - By David Montgomery Despite a significant advantage in voter registrations, Talbot County Republicans did not do particularly well in local or statewide elections.  Republican Congressman Andy Harris lost to his challenger in Talbot County while winning in his District as a whole.  Republican underdogs in the races for Governor and the U.S. Senate lost in Talbot County, but Republican underdogs for Maryland Comptroller and Attorney General won the Talbot County vote.  The Republican candidate for Attorney General was attacked as an extremist every bit as hard as gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, but the results were the opposite.   At the same time, Republicans took both seats in the Maryland Assembly and the seat in the Maryland Senate.  The Assembly races were close, but Johnny Mautz won the Senate handily over a far-left opponent.  Mautz and one of the Assembly candidates had the advantage of incumbency, and the other Republican won by a narrower margin. Even in races Republicans won, their margin of victory fell far short of their registration advantage. In local elections, the results were mixed.  Republicans ended up with a 3 – 2 majority on the County Council, continuing a trend down from 5 – 0 representation several elections back.  Republican candidates for the four open…
  • Worth Reading November 22, 2022 November 21, 2022 by The Editors - In line with the dedication of this issue to the mid-term elections, we offer a few more reflections on that election here. Republicans are losing races they could have won across the country. It is not just unelectable MAGA candidates coming out of primaries that is responsible. Nationwide and in Talbot County there has been a massive increase in mail-in ballots for Democrats. This short note points out how large this shift is, and contains the recommendation that “Democrats have worked very hard for decades to move to an ‘election season’ where they can harvest ballots every day ... so that by Election Day, they have already won. Whereas Republicans keep focusing on getting people excited for Election Day ... That is not going to work in places where there’s massive unsupervised balloting and ballot trafficking operations, so [Republicans] either need to do a much better job of fighting those things, or they need to join and actually play according to the new rules of the game.” A Republican state senator discusses the outcomes of Maryland races in particular, and again emphasizes how the Democrat mail-in strategy is working for them An article in the City Journal discussed the recent…
  • Editors Note October 18, 2022 by The Editors - The editors have invited all candidates for a seat on the Talbot County Council to submit essays describing the issues they believe are important and their thinking on those issues. The first essay in what we hope will be a series is written by David Montgomery, one of the editors of this journal. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Chesapeake Observer or its editors.  Comments are welcomed and encouraged.
  • Thoughts on Talbot County October 18, 2022 by W. David Montgomery - David Montgomery Candidate for Talbot County Council In the past few weeks there have been a number of community forums to which all ten Talbot County Council candidates were invited.  In those forums we had a minute or less to answer sometimes surprising or complicated questions.  That is nowhere enough time to address the complex issues facing Talbot County, and I am left with many pages of notes that went unused.  Therefore, with the indulgence of my co-editors, I will take this opportunity to lay out a framework for thinking about these issues.  I will not give a pitch for myself, that is available at www.montgomeryfortalbot.com.  I will organize around a few familiar themes, listed with links to jump to sections of interest: EnvironmentManaging GrowthComprehensive PlanPublic SafetyBudgetSchoolsHealth CareAffordable Housing and Good Jobs Environment I have been an enthusiastic sailor, and I hunt in every local season.  I am committed to preserving our farmlands, open spaces and forests.  I want to see populations of oysters, crabs and fish increase in the Bay.  I want farmers and watermen to make adequate incomes so that they stay here and continue their harvests. Much of my life for 40 years has been spent working on how to design policies and programs that achieve…
  • Accountability for Thee… But Not for Me October 18, 2022 by Guest Author - Editors’ Note: The Chesapeake Observer publishes occasional guest editorials on timely topics that would interest our readers.  The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Chesapeake Observer or its editors.  Comments and other contributions are welcome. Captain Rob NewberryChair, Delmarva Fisheries Association,Inc.After the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) announced they may extend a 2025 deadline for reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation responded with “Going forward, the Chesapeake Bay states must demonstrate the leadership necessary to complete the job and the EPA must hold all of us accountable.” At the Delmarva Fisheries Association (DFA) we agree; especially if holding all of us accountable includes CBF. We also suggest CBF follow their own advice, since recent CBF actions speak louder than words on accountability. Earlier this year, CBF participated in a joint oyster reef restoration project in Virginia. The project included rebuilding oyster reefs in estuaries in the Lynnhaven River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. After work began, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) determined the dumping of wire, steel, concrete, and asphalt in this CBF joint project posed a serious threat to water quality and…
  • Thinking About Things: How Quickly Things Change September 6, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - By John DeQ Briggs September 6, 2022 If you have been on vacation, or otherwise taking a summer break from day-to-day news, it may surprise you to learn that the political landscape of early September, two months before the midterm elections, bears little or no resemblance to the political landscape back in May or June.  My very last column was only about two months ago, and the subject was the beginning of the end days for Mr. Biden within his own party.  During the spring and early summer things looked beyond bleak for the President and his party.  In fact, I had ruminated to myself that the only hope for a Democratic success in 2024 would be a series of bank shots along the following lines. Step one: shortly after the Democratic shellacking at the midterms, the administration arranges for Vice President Harris to accept a lifetime appointment to some federal court or a high paying job with George Soros or somebody.  She resigns.  Step two: shortly thereafter, President Biden appoints Mr./Ms. X to be Vice President.  Gavin Newsome might be a plausible candidate, but there are other possibilities. But let’s think of it for this thought experiment purpose as Mr. Newsome, the governor of…
  • Worth Reading September 6, 2022 September 6, 2022 by The Editors - For a contrary view of the GOP’s chances to take back the House of Representatives, see Karl Rove’s piece from last weekend Be Skeptical of the Democratic Comeback in the 2022 Midterms. A conversation between Bret Stephens and Gail Collins on the political ramifications of The Biden decision to forgive billions of dollars in student loans.  Especially interesting is a lengthy interview of Bill Barr by Bari Weiss at commonsense.news titled Bill Barr Calls Bullsh*t.  From The Harvard Gazette, How Did Biden Go from Xero to Hero in Public Arena so Quickly And from The Washington Post, an opinion piece entitled Rising GOP Anger at Trump Shows a Deeper Problem for the Party A reminder to glance from time to time at https://www.usdebtclock.org/ . Student debt at $1.7 trillion is more than all the US credit card dept put together. Also, interesting that debt per student is at $40,000, while debt per cardholder is at $7,000. He national debt now stands at 124% of GDP, up from 45% in 1980 and 56.5% in 2000. The national debt is more than $1.5 trillion and the annual interest on that is $444 billion, next largest line item after defense spending, but still far away from the two elephants in the room:…
  • Hard Times for the Secret Service August 15, 2022 by Matthew Daley - By Matt Daley and John Magaw The United States Secret Service has had its share of notoriety over the past decade.  A once stellar reputation has been tarnished. Individuals and institutions that in the past would have given the Service the benefit of the doubt or readily accepted its position on an issue now display marked skepticism.  The sources of the bad ink are threefold, and each requires different corrective action.  The most often seen problem has arisen out of misconduct by off duty employees, both in the United States and abroad.   These peccadillos have not caused serious public concern, but they damaged the reputation of the Service and that reputation is related to the cooperation the Service receives whether performing criminal investigations or protective assignments.  This issue can be addressed by clear guidance and consistent discipline, to include dismissal from the Service in the most serious cases.   A more invidious phenomenon took the shape of active or former USSS Special Agents leaking tantalizing vignettes or writing a book concerning individuals whom they protect.  Generally, the “protectees” are important government officials or, in some cases, family members of those officials.   In a stereotypical twenty-four/seven environment, Agents often witness the mundane as well the momentous in the…
  • Worth Reading August 15, 2022 August 8, 2022 by The Editors - The China Diary by Matt Daley The China Diary returns with two articles that capture commentary on Speaker Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. The first, published before her trip, is by a commentator in the Global Times, a tabloid subsidiarity of the Peoples Daily controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The author makes a wide range of threats, and presumably is acting as a surrogate for the CCP. The second article, written after Pelosi's trip by an experienced and thoughtful former Singapore diplomat, provides an important regional perspective "how Pelosi's Taiwan visit made things worse." Worth Reading Just before the FBI search of Mar-A-Lago, JDQB recommended a podcast by John Podhoretz and friends at Commentary in which they speculate about how the Republicans could blow it, a process which may be starting already. WDM offers this essay, in a publication and by a writer he respects, as an example of comments that this is a "Banana Republic" moment. In an interview on FoxNews, Raymond Arroyo speculates that the search is all about 2022, intended to tempt Trump into announcing he will run again so as to increase Democrat chances of keeping control of Congress in 2022 and the Presidency in 2024. Arroyo provides…