In a recent ad, Brown referenced being a military lawyer in Iraq.
Speaking at the the Maryland gubernatorial candidate’s forum Monday, Gansler seemed to take issue with Brown’s ad, saying that being governor is “a real job.”
“You know I’m running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything. You know his ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good, but this is a real job.”
Just when Gansler had started picking up some momentum, he suffers a self-inflicted wound today. I’ve included Anthony Brown’s official military portrait above for reference.
Save for one job at a law firm, Gansler has drawn a paycheck from the state or federal government for the largest portion of his professional career. Of course, none of those involved deployment to a combat zone or receiving a Bronze Star, like Brown’s deployment to Iraq as a JAG Officer. I’d like to see Doug Gansler trying to fast-rope out of a helicopter or jump out of an airplane while wearing 35 pounds of combat equipment and 15 pounds of reserve parachute. Those are both things Brown had to do (along with numerous other tasks) to earn the Air Assault wings and Parachutist wings you see on his uniform in the picture above. Brown was a distinguished military graduate in the MIT ROTC program when he graduated Harvard and he’s worked his way up the ranks to Colonel, which means he has been promoted five times and gone through numerous courses of study to reach those ranks. Before he became a military lawyer, Brown graduated flight school and flew helicopters. Brown served on active duty in Europe with the 3rd Infantry Division. He re-branched to Judge Advocate Corps from Aviation after he became a reservist.
Brown’s career after law school included a clerkship for a federal judge, just like Gansler. And, just like Gansler, Brown has worked at a law firm. Brown’s civilian job record looks about the same as Gansler’s – other than Gansler’s political career focused on the legal arena. Maybe these comments today were an attempt to emphasize the new information that came out on Brown’s previously unreported job at a Merrill Lynch office in Maryland?
Regardless, Gansler really stepped in it with his comments today. He hit what is possibly the new third rail of American politics – appearing to criticize someone’s military service. I am not a fan of either Brown or Gansler politically but, as a veteran myself, I’m behind Brown and highly critical of Gansler on this issue. This is a blunder of monumental proportions when you look at all the military personnel and veterans who live in Maryland. Gansler claiming his job as attorney general in a climate-controlled office or courthouse in Maryland is a real job while slamming Brown’s job deployed as a JAG officer in the desert of Iraq as not a real one rings hollow.
A report from The Daily Record has reaction to the comments:
Jon Soltz, chair of VoteVets.org, a political action committee that endorsed Brown for governor, called the statement “slime ball politics.”
“Doug Gansler needs to stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a ‘real job,’” Soltz said in a statement. “It’s a horrible insult to all those men and women who put their lives on the line, and especially those who died, in service to this country. Additionally, Mr. Gansler, if he chooses to attack an Iraq War veteran, ought to at least admit that the person he is attacking has been serving as Maryland’s lieutenant governor. This kind of slime ball politics is what turns people off to our democratic process, so Mr. Gansler is doing no favors for Maryland or our democratic electoral system by playing in the gutter like this.”
Soltz went on to demand an apology from Gansler.
The video of Gansler’s remarks is below. It appears the remarks were posted to the account of the Brown campaign’s tracker assigned to Gansler.
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.