Q&A with Blaine Taylor
After running for senator in 2012 and losing in the democratic primary to Ben Cardin, Blaine Taylor is right back at it again in 2014. This time, Taylor, a Towson alum who graduated in 1972, is running for Congress in the second congressional district of Maryland.
The Towerlight spoke with Taylor via email about his candidacy, and what it is like getting back on the campaign trail after his loss in the 2012 primary.
What is it like running against Dutch Ruppersberger, who is a very well-known political official in the area?
I ran against the late Democratic 2nd District Congressman Dr. Clarence Long in 1982 — then the dean of the Maryland Congressional delegation — in my first race for Congress, and had I won, I was fully prepared to run against his later successor as well, the still living now former Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, whose press secretary on Captiol Hill I was nine years later, during 1991-92. I’m not overly impressed — much less awed — by any of them. I like Dutch personally, and have followed his career since he was on the Baltimore County Council. During his second term as County Executive, I used to see him at night during my walks in the Towson Courthouse park, and we’d chat. There is no animosity at all between us. He’s a genuinely nice guy. When he was first elected to Congress in 2002, I attended the debate between him and Mrs. Bentley in our very own Stephens Hall, no less. Experience is all relative. When Dutch was a lifeguard at Ocean City, Md., I was getting shot at in Vietnam by the Communist Viet Cong, being awarded the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, which I’m wearing in my photo. I’ve known seven mayors of Baltimore, seven U.S. senators from Maryland, nine Baltimore County Executives, and seven 2nd Congressional district representatives. As a reporter early in my career, I covered many of them, and also personally interviewed quite a few. Thus, I stand in awe of none of them. They are human beings like you and I, putting their pants on one leg at a time. Finally, of all of them, I went to Vietnam, and none of them did. I’ve also published 12 books, while none of them have. I am up to the task of representing the people of the 2nd Congressional district. When I was a [Student Government Assocation] senator during 1970-72, I had passed more legislation than any other senator in that body up to that time. That record may still stand, too. All of the things that I predicted in 1982 would happen have come to pass now, in 2014. It was easy to foresee, too, with a little common sense, and can be corrected now with the right decisions. I’m ready.
What are some of the platforms that you are running on?
My 2014 platform is as follows: No more U.S. wars without a legal Congressional declaration of war, the last one being Dec. 8, 1941, five years before I was born. Return to overall Constitutional government and the Rule of Law, not of temporary elected officials. Enact a landmark jobs bill akin to the Marshall Plan that uplifted Europe after World War II: A Marshall Plan for America. End foreign aid, especially to states that are our enemies. Re-enter the Space Race for national defense security. In this I adopt the Reagan Plan that won the Cold War: “We win, they lose.” End the Federal Reserve Banking System that is now 101 years old only. We got rid of our National Banks before, and we need to again, now. Credit card reform: Debtors get their debt wiped out once, but can never charge again. Banks get to write off those losses from their tax bills, and credit card payers are rewarded with tax credits. No more debt to any foreign state, especially China. Pay the entire national debt, and then accrue no more. Regarding equal pay for women for equal work, publish all salaries everywhere, across the board. If Parade magazine can do this, so can the U.S. government, and that will end this problem forever. Abolish all offshore banking as an inherently criminal enterprise. End gold leaving the U.S. Tax reform: Enact a flat tax rate that everyone pays with no exceptions. Consider abolishing the 1913 federal income tax altogether in favor of a national sales tax to fund the federal government and state sales taxes to finance state and local governments. Before 1913, there was no federal income tax at all. That was also the year that the current Federal Reserve system was founded, to fund our wars, which have grown out of Congressional control because Congress — all of it since 1941 — allowed it. Secure our national frontiers with returning active U.S. armed forces divisions. Cooperate with the Mexican Army in destroying their, and now our, drug lords. Sink on sight enemy vessels importing drugs into the U.S. Abolish all [Political Action Committees] as inherently evil and destructive of the overall U.S. democratic electoral processes. Via the Federal Communications Commission, compel all TV and radio stations to give candidates equal time and eliminate all paid advertising by and for candidates as inherently destructive of the political process, root and branch. We, the people, own the airwaves, not them. All illegal aliens should be deported, period. A country that doesn’t protect its own borders will fall, and deserves to. Save the planet in whatever ways possible and necessary.
When Governor O’Malley was running for re-election in 2010, you wrote for The Baltimore Sun’s blogs and endorsed him. Who are you endorsing for governor this time around?
I will be personally voting for Del. Heather Mizeur for governor both times, and for State Sen. Jim Brochin and all three incumbent delegates in my voting district, as well as for Baltimore County Councilman David Marks. Thus, as a Democrat, I’ll be splitting tickets and parties to vote for both democrats and republicans as the best people for the jobs in my view. My decision reflects no disrespect for Lt. Gov. [Anthony] Brown, whom I’ve met and talked with on several occasions, mano-a-mano. I like him as a person, and as a fellow U.S. Army veteran of an earlier war, I’ve encouraged Brown to become a brigadier general, as I hope he will. I’ve never met or heard speak Del. Mizeur, but I have read what she has to say. I don’t agree with her on everythring — none of us do — but she is what we need now: A clean sweep with a fresh broom, not more of the same. This happened in Maryland in 1978, when The Baltimore Sun endorsed Harry Hughes in the Democratic primary, an uphill race that he then went on to win, so it can be done. For the general election that year, I interviewed both Hughes and his GOP opponent, J. Glenn Beall, Jr., and to my surprise, I was far more impressed with the latter. In the primary, I voted [for] Hughes, and in the general, I voted [for] Beall, who had the first black running mate in Maryland history, the late Aris T. Allen, as fine a man as I’ve ever known. I am pleased to be able to say that I played a part in the past three political revolutions in the Free State of Maryland: 1974, 1978, and 1990. 2014 will be my fourth!
Is there anything you learned while at Towson that you are still using today?
While at then [Towson State], I met people not only from all over Maryland, but also from all around the country. I’d previously had the very same experience in the army. Being elected to the SGA senate in 1970 gave me the opportunity to have drafted by fellow student Bill Gatton as my legislative aide, legislation that I was then able to have passed by the Senate. I didn’t know then the many losses in politics that I’d have, so I’m doubly glad that I took being in the SGA senate as seriously as I did. In 1971 I ran for SGA president and lost. I replicated that in 2006 by running for the U.S. Senate, and then for President of the United States in 2008 against [John] McCain and Obama. In January 2008, no one would’ve predicted that in November I would be on that presidential ballot, and that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be! Life is about taking chances, and — thus far at least — I haven’t met a risk that I wouldn’t take. I also wrote for The Towerlight all four of my own years at TSC and stayed on as a freelancer another six years as well, to 1978, a full decade, plus hosted an interview show on WCVT. I served on the alumni board then, and since 2009 have served as an appointed member of the legislative TAP organization interfacing with our local elected officials in Annapolis, all of whom I’m voting for this year. I’ve known, worked with, and also occasionally opposed, the past seven University presidents. The current incumbent tells me that I’m an “articulate rebel.” We’ll see. TU has been an integral part of my life and career. When I graduated in 1972, I owed not one cent in debt, contrasted with the truly awful and horrendous massive student debt of today. In Congress, I will do something about that, so stayed tuned.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Our educated TU graduates will be inheriting a world they had little say in producing, just as mine did 40 years ago. Working together, however, there is no problem that we cannot solve. Whenever I hear little Jackie Evanko sing, I stop what I am doing and listen. She gives me hope, and that’s what we all need now — away with gloom and doom. We can solve our problems and have a better life, and we will. To that end, I will bend all my efforts, soldiering on, and shoulder to the wheel! The mantra for my first term in Congress will be: Audi — Latin for “To listen” — to you and others.