Friday, February 17, 2006

Little Girls for Schaefer

Maryland "Comptroller [and former Governor] William Donald Schaefer abruptly reversed course this afternoon and issued a hand-written apology to a 24-year-old aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. whom Schaefer appeared to ogle in a public meeting this week."

A class act carried out by a man who's served Maryland for over half a century. Who else would have the nerve to deny the press the usual spectacle of self flagellation by way of an old-school hand-written note? The former Mayor of Baltimore, and later two-term Governor of Maryland, appears to be enjoying the benefits of his version of "political retirement". In theory the Comptroller is an elected office; however, Schaefer was elected because he wished it to be so. With a natural's feel for local politics and grasp of the issues, Schaefer has no qualms about keeping his successors in Annapolis and Baltimore honest.

In a state brimming with bland, but well-off, professionals sitting in politically correct judgment in the ever expanding suburbs, Schaefer keeps local politics interesting. The last time he was criticized for off the cuff remarks he handed out bumper stickers reading "Schaefer he says what you think". The time before that incident, he expressed his regard for his critics by wrapping a plastic fish in a copy of the Baltimore Sun during a public hearing. More substantively, in an era of political scandal and budgetary smoke and mirrors, Schaefer is notable for his dedication to public service. It is telling that the most his critics are able to come up with are a few odd or insensitive remarks.

So bravo Mr. Comptroller for sticking it to the PC crowd, while keeping the staffers happy, and reminding us all there's no substitute for the lost art of the personal note of apology.

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