A note for Michael Swartz


Last week, I wrote about Larry Hogan and abortion. I quoted a Baltimore Sun story from 1992 which said:

Mr. Hogan said he supports states’ rights to limit abortions, although he favors keeping abortions legal.

Swartz mentioned me by name this week in a post about how he thinks the Governor’s race is going to be really dirty:

So I got to wondering who was the one that went way back to 1992 and started the meme which Jeff Quinton reported on regarding Hogan’s position on abortion? One has to take this in context, though: Hogan was running for a Congressional seat at the time (as opposed to a state office) and there was a ballot question regarding abortion law which was petitioned to referendum but handily kept in place by state voters at the time. (Question 6 of 1992 passed by a 62%-38% margin, and was the last referendum until 2012.) Being pro-choice was perhaps the safer electoral move at the time – besides, it took less than four years for Barack Obama to do an about-face on gay marriage so it’s possible Larry has gravitated to a more pro-life perspective in the last 22.

Of course Democrats know that the Republican base is primarily pro-life, so what better way to sow seeds of discord among a select group of GOP primary voters than to bring up the abortion issue? Frankly, that’s not a top-drawer concern for many voters, even in the GOP,  but that five percent who identify it as their key issue can make a difference in a multi-person primary. (Aside from the notion that Hogan favored keeping abortions legal, he’s right on the money about overturning Roe v. Wade and sending the issue to the states. It’s a battle best fought in Annapolis…and Dover, and Columbus, and Austin, and so forth.)

But if someone is digging that deep to find dirt about Larry Hogan, perhaps there’s something to the notion that we weren’t buried face-down as deep as some would have thought eight years ago. 2014 seems like a nice time to emerge.

When I wrote my comprehensive piece on the positions of Republican candidates for Maryland Governor on pro-life issues this week, I responded to Swartz. In the piece, I talked about what caused me to start researching these issues (a conversation with a pro-life activist friend who was disappointed in the response she got from David Craig and Ron George at the MD GOP’s Oktoberfest event.)

That conversation I had with her caused me to start looking into the records and positions of all the Republican candidates for governor,which led me to doing the research contained in this post. (Despite Michael Swartz’s assertion, there’s this thing called Google that made the research easy.)

I noted in the piece that virtually all of the information in the piece was found via internet research by me and I pointed out the times where that was not the case.

I also responded to some of Swartz’s assertions in his blog post:

As I mentioned before, I found the 1992 story through a simple Google search last week. It’s really not that hard to do. I’ve also done a great deal of research on Maryland abortion laws since 1968 in the past few days. I would find it odd if Hogan took the safer political position to support keeping abortion legal if he had already been endorsed by Maryland Right to Life that cycle. That’s why nailing down the information on that endorsement is a critical piece of all this – althought Swartz seems to be jumping to the conclusion that Hogan was just taking the safe pro-abortion position.

I also responded in a more in-depth fashion to him:

It has been 21 years since 1992 (not 22 as Swartz says) and I realize that Hogan’s position could be totally different now than what it is now,but we have nothing to validate that thought at all. Barack Obama’s gay marriage position is better classified as a flip-flop than a change of heart – much like John Kerry’s waffling on the war in Iraq – so I’m not sure that’s a valid comparison by Swartz.

As for Swartz’s claim that even Republicans don’t care much about the issue, polling data on Maryland GOP primary voters exists as recently as 2008 (maybe from 2012 as well but I have yet to find it) that provides some insight on more recent positions on abortion than 1992. Exit polling in the 2008 primary showed 56% of Maryland Republicans identified themselves as pro-life. Additionally, 84% of those polled in the exit poll favored restrictions on abortion. Two separate polls taken before that primary showed that 55% and 59% of Maryland Republicans identified themselves as pro-life. It’s an important constituency in a primary even if candidates don’t need to base their whole campaign around the issue.

I have a simple response to Swartz wringing his hands about the Democrats possibly trying to sow seeds of discord among Republicans over the abortion issue (and the implication being that I am going along with it.) My response is to quote Swartz’s own words from earlier this year:

But going back to my previous paragraph where I alluded to Rush, one has to ask: how often do     you hear the Democrats talking about Republicans in this state? I don’t really hear them talking   about us too much, which seems to indicate to me they’re not really scared of us.

And when they do talk about us, they generally say that we shouldn’t be as strident on social     issues. How often would you take advice from someone who wants to beat your brains in? Sounds to me like they have no answers for the logical arguments we give for these issues, so they’re just going to tell us we shouldn’t bring it up.

Swartz popped in to make a response in the comments on that post:

A few things:

Someone dug up the nugget on Hogan that you reported on. The statement you quoted wasn’t so much about your report but that source.

But more importantly, you’re taking my post somewhat out of context. The original premise behind it was one that this will be a very dirty 2014 campaign, particularly if people are digging back to 1992 for opposition research. (I think in terms of electoral time, which is why I wrote Larry Hogan had 22 years to reconsider instead of 21.)

I also should point out that I realize a majority of Republicans are pro-life, which I am. It’s my strong preference that candidates I support feel the same way, but it’s not a complete deal breaker – I’m not among the five or ten percent who feel so strongly pro-life that they’ll stay home rather than vote for someone who isn’t for banning all abortions. That five or ten percent is who I was alluding to, and just the allegation that Larry Hogan is perhaps pro-choice is already bearing fruit among that crowd, which is probably the desired effect from whoever did the research.

And obviously the political landscape has changed since 1992, as the former pro-choice majority of the time is now a minority. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/154838/pro-choice-americans-record-low.aspx) So the pro-life politican isn’t necessariilDespy a pariah anymore, and in some circles the pro-choice one may be the outcast.

Overall, I think this is a very good, well-researched summary of the abortion issue. And really, I know all about Google, but your snide remark shows you missed the point I was trying to make in my post.

Despite his whining about my “snide remarks”, he missed the point about my Google comments and talks about the original Hogan post having “the desired effect from whoever did the research.” I do appreciate his overall compliments on the post.

However, his comment proves that Swartz missed my point entirely (apparently because it didn’t fit his hypothesis.) So, I responded in the comments:

Someone did dig it up. That someone is me. That’s what you’re missing from my statements in this post.I have mentioned multiple times that I worked as a paid researcher for campaigns and campaign consultants before in the past – and this was in the days before the internet. That’s why I made the comment about Google. You seem to laboring under the illusion that I’m not capable of digging up that sort of thing on my own. My comment about Google related to exactly how I dug it up.

As I said, I had been working on the research that went into this post for a bit now and came across the original nugget last week. I know all about that Gallup poll and almost all of the polling in past five years on the subject as well since it was my job to know them for three years.

Swartz hasn’t responded yet to that comment. His m.o. is to usually drop by, hit-and-run style, and leave one comment and never come back to reply to anyone who replies to his first comment. That’s why I’ve provided this blog post to clear the air.

I have pointed out on multiple occasions now that I started looking into positions of all the candidates on pro-life issues. I worked full-time on pro-life issues at the national level for over three years. I also have a research background as it relates to political campaigns and candidates, as well as an intelligence analyst. I’m not naive to the fact that other candidates do indeed shop potentially damaging information on their opponents to bloggers and reporters. However, I have pointed out numerous times that this particular bit of research was all mine.

Earlier this year I called Michael Swartz the “Dean of Maryland conservative bloggers just because his stuff is always that well-researched, that fair, and that good.”

Since then, observing more of Swartz in action has caused me to reassess things and I’ve finally come to the conclusion now that I must retract that earlier statement. His pettiness toward other bloggers while accusing others of taking him out of context (at the same time he’s taking things out of context himself) are just too prevalent for my original assessment of his fairness to be true. Additionally, his thin veneer of fairness as it relates to candidates has to be questioned after recent events in which he tried to portray a moral equivalence between some of the scummy tactics that supporters of Charles Lollar (apparently his chosen candidate) have engaged in against me (and to a lesser extent other bloggers.)

I really expected more from a self-professed “journalist, in the truest sense of the word.”

I do appreciate the kind words he had overall for my post on pro-life issues and also appreciate the help he gave me related to IP addresses of some of the people who have defamed me on other sites.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton

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  1. All right, in this case I have to admt I blew it. My mstake was assuming you were fed the information, but the research would have been nice to see prior to the piece you wrote about the Sun article. I had a couple pieces of the puzzle and you had the picture. So I apologize if you were offended by my remarks.

    Yet the subsequent posts sort of make my point: the friend you spoke with after her meetings with David Craig and Ron George could fall into that five or ten percent of the voters for whom the pro-life issue is most important. Indeed there is a significant amount of mistrust there, and the Democrats know this too. They see social issues as a way of voter suppression – if they discourage pro-life conservatives from showing up at the polls by making it sound like our candidates have to move to the so-called “center” then there’s fewer voters to convince.

    Why do you think the polls showing Amercans were more pro-life weren’t more widely trumpeted? That goes against the narrative that pro-choice is the “center” when in fact their position is the more extreme.