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June 27, 2006

Best wishes to Doug Duncan

Maryland Conservatarian has already wished good luck to Doug Duncan, the Montgomery County Executive, who recently withdrew from the Democratic primary for governor because of clinical depression. It's about time I added my wishes.

When I moved to Rockville in 1987, we had a mayor named Steve van Grack, a trial lawyer (the mayor being a non-partisan, part-time official) who was infected by the dread federal-government disease. On Rockville Pike, Maryland Route 355, it was sometimes hard for pedestrians to have enough time to cross at the light, as it surely still is. Van Grack, rather than seeking an adjustment in the timing of the lights, rather than being extravagant and seeking funds to build pedestrian overpasses, was trying to drum up support for an expensive study to look into a "people mover" to take pedestrians up and down the Pike and across. Doug Duncan ran against van Grack in the non-partisan election and won. He served three two-year terms as mayor. During his time in office, almost no one could complain about the way the city ran. Even a guy like me, who's naturally skeptical of government, was impressed.

I've been less impressed by Duncan as County Executive, and I wasn't really looking forward to seeing him elected governor. I think he's an example of how a sensible Democrat has to abandon more and more of his sense as he seeks higher office. The more Democrats you need to support you, the more you're forced into the fever swamps of the left. Duncan already found himself smacked down by the abortion fanatics a few years ago when he was making noises about seeking the governorship. We saw his "Suha Arafat moment" earlier this year. If I had really paid attention, I could probably cite more examples.

But through all of this, I always felt he was a decent human being, and I wish him and his family all the best in dealing with his illness.