Not everyone in old Ehrlich gang is distraught over Schurick verdict
For some who used to work for former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the conviction of onetime campaign manager and gubernatorial aide Paul Schurick on election fraud charges Tuesday is a travesty of justice.
But the feeling isn't unanimous.
Joe Steffen, Ehrlich's longtime political enforcer who became known as the "Prince of Darkness," published a response on his blog entitled "Justice Comes A' (Robo) Calling" that takes a harsh view of Schurick's use of election night calls to influence African-Americans on whether to vote.
Steffen, who was run out of the Ehrlich administration after he was linked with an attempt to spread rumors about then-Mayor Martin O'Malley, has since become openly disenchanted with Ehrlich and many of the former governor's closest aides. The former "Prince" has become a prolific blogger on political topics, and his former boss is a favorite target.
In his post, Steffen describes the tactic the jury decided was a fraudulent attempt to suppress the black vote as the "infamous, racist Schurick Doctrine," which he contended will be a millstone around the necks of Maryland Republicans for many years in their attempts to appeal to African-Americans. But he isn't much kinder to the ex-governor.
"I really hope that Schurick’s employer at the time, Bobby Ehrlich, is not allowed to forever float above this entire mess," Steffen writes. "Take it from someone who knows, someone who’s also been under the spotlight (though never convicted) for political dirty tricks done while in Mr. Ehrlich’s employ, Bobby Ehrlich – the failed author whose ego knows no bounds – will attempt to do just that."
Richard J. Cross III, a former Ehrlich speechwriter, wasn't terribly sympathetic to Schurick either on his Cross Purposes blog. He expressed the view that the parade of politically powerful character witnesses on Schurick's behalf may have backfired.
"When Schurick’s friends spoke to the jury, they portrayed him as a model of truth, forbearance, and integrity – Maryland’s own Honest Abe. When I first read that, I nearly lost a mouthful of Diet Pepsi," Cross writes. "Anyone who knows Schurick can tell you he has always been a bit of a rascal – a quality I came to both admire and dislike about him at different times."
Cross suggests that Schurick owes apologies to a raft of people for his actions, including the Republican Party, the former Ehrlich campaign aides who were dragged into the investigation and the former governor himself for tainting Ehrlich's legacy.