Gov. holds fund-raiser at all-white country club. Problem?

Gov. Ehrlich of Maryland recently held a fund-raiser at an all-white country club. The club, the Elkridge Club, has no minority members. Rather than submit their membership list to the state in the 70s, they gave up gave up a property tax break specifically in place for country clubs.

On to the debate: should Gov. Ehrlich have held a fund-raiser at a racially exclusive country club?

The state’s Lt. Gov., Michael Steele, doesn’t know if it was appropriate. He also claims to know nothing of the club because he doesn’t play golf.

Ehrlich, a Republican, says Democrats have held fund-raisers at the Elkridge Club in the past:

I’ll start the debate rolling. If Gov. Ehrlich wants to hold a fund-raiser at a KKK rally, more power to him. If he felt holding his fund-raiser at the Elkridge club was appropriate, then that is where he should have held it. For him to claim he knew nothing of the club’s membership make-up sounds like complete bullshit to me. I’m sure at least one member of staff informed him of the club’s history, assuming he didn’t already know. He is a politician. An event as important as a fund-raiser is carefully orchestrated. Also, his attempt to turn this into a partisan issue is ludicrous. Honestly, Ehrlich, just take it like a man. You knew exactly what you were doing, where you were doing it and chose to proceed. Fine, I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with your attempt to deflect the issue and claim ignorance, though.

I believe private clubs should be able to discriminate against whomever they please. I also believe a politician should be able to raise funds at any location he or she chooses and face the music with the voters during the next election. I don’t think many people will disagree with the previous two sentences, though.

As a Marylander, how the heck can there be a white-only country club in 2005? I don’t mean legally, but demographically. It does not seem possible.

Well, Ehrlich was absolutely right. Democrats have used the facility for fundraisers in the past. And they’ve even gone so far as to play dumb when caught.

Baltimore County executive James T. Smith seems to be proof of that.

Shouldn’t he have been aware of the club’s membership before he scheduled an event there? Wasn’t the shifting of blame onto a staffer a bit unseemly? Shouldn’t he have taken it like a man?

What we have here is yet another case of a political party calling another one a colection of whores while batting eyelashes and showing some asscheek themselves.

Seems here that both parties used the club for fundraisers, as it had the things needed most for events - a nice room and some deep pockets. And now, since it has become a political issue, nobody will use it anymore, if they have a lick of sense.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

BTW, from the quotes in the OP, Ehrlich played dumb as well.

As a public official, this going to a club like this is just plain stupid. Do it if you like, but don’t be surprised if a lot of people get pissed off. It’s the reality of politics.

The Elkridge Club is pretty widely known in the Baltimore area as the most exclusive club in town. Golfers of my acquaintance look upon an invitation to play there as a really big deal. I’m not a golfer or a wealthy person, but it seems that while I lived in Baltimore(1954-2000), I was always aware that The Elkridge Club was old-money, all-white, and very exclusive.

The politicians mentioned haven’t joined the club or endorsed its policies. They’ve simply gone to a group of self-selected excluders (bigots?) and asked for some of their money, as well as the money of some of their friends. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. The playing dumb is just that, though. I find it difficult to believe that the politicians or their staff were unaware of what The Elkridge Club is about.

I’d agree that it would be stupid to be a member of a club like this, as this would entail knowing a lot about the rules and membership of the organization.

Mere attendance at an event there doesn’t carry the same stigma in my opinion, and these fundraisers are set up by individuals and committees separate from a politician’s official duties.

And in this case, we seem to have a bunch of politicians from both sides of the aisle who have used the facility, which means that it really is a nonstory. If everyone is equally unchaste, you just have to pick the whore you like better, which is usually the case in politics anyway.

I do agree. A private club should be able to control its membership in any way it wants, but if society finds their restrictions offensive, that then is their right. No doubt, Augusta, which excludes women (still, I think) has had fundraisers or similar events. I don’t think society would find that as objectionable since the desire for men to have a place that might be a haven from wives and womenfolk, is less objectionable than a desire to white people to avoid those of other races.

Looking up as I write this, I see that Mr. Mace has made pretty much the same point with fewer words.

That’s not very logical. Pointing to someone else’s ill advised behavior does not excuse or mitigate one’s own behavior. He got called for making a dumb, racially insensitive move, and he should fess up. Whining that others have done the same thing is cowardly.

However, the real issue is why county clubs were/are getting tax breaks.

No. I don’t think Ehrlich should use the club in the future, especially now that the exact nature of the club is known. I don’t think for a second, though, that attending an event at the club automatically means that the man is a racist or that he is insensitive to the issue.

If that is true, then it is also true for Mr. Smith of Baltimore County, who did the exact same thing. I don’t think he is a racist. I don’t think he is insensitive to racial issues. I think he just attended an event at a country club.

What is true for him is similarly true for the Governor.

Which means absolutely nothing! I repeat, someone else’s behavior has nothing to do with his. I don’t know enough about the guy to call him a racist, but knowingly having an event at a racially discriminatory club, and gladly accepting money from proud unapologetic bigots is certainly racially insensitive. And I think we should also remember that this is offensive, not only to blacks, but to every non-white person that has been denied admission solely because of their race/heritage. I feel comfortable stating that he knew about the club’s policies before he planned this event, and didn’t care. I reserve the same contempt for others who have done the same thing, democrat or republican. Stop making excuses for someone’s stupid behavior.

And yet you seem to be directing this wrath at only one politician, even though it has been shown that there are at least two that have been proven to have attended fundraisers at the club.

Why is that?

What if the Governor hit up the fat cats here for example?

Why do you feel comfortable in stating this?

Indeed. I’m trying to argue from facts in evidence. And what is not in dispute is that politicians from both parties are drawn to events at the club because it is a nice place for fundraisers. It has golf, food, drinks, and above all else, funds.

Point for Mr. Moto – To quote from your quote:

In contrast, when asked about his attendance at the club, Gov. Ehrlich said,

Surely you’re not trying to argue that Smith’s denounciation of the club’s discriminatory policies is comparable to Ehrlich’s noncommittal indifference to those policies, are you?

Because I live in the general DC area, and I have heard of this club. I’m not a golfer, but I know of the club. As Tim Staab stated, the club is fairly well known, and I doubt the governor, and/or his people, had no idea what their membership policies are. Planning a golf fundraiser isn’t an easy thing to do. There is plenty of work that needs to be done, and I can’t imagine nobody was aware of their policies during the planning stages of this event. In addition, unlike Mr. Smith (who I think also knew), Ehrlich says it’s “none of his business” what the club’s policy is. Not only is there no remorse on his part, he feels this is a non-issue. That does not strike me as the attitude of a person who entered into a situation like this unknowingly.

Hey buddy, did you miss this part?

This thread is about the governor, not every other politician who has done something racially insensitive. Please read more carefully.

You keep making this irrelevant nonsensical argument. It does not matter if some other politician did it, it was a stupid thing to do. I’m sure the club is very nice club, but I’m also sure many white supremacists, and other objectionable people have nice homes in which politicians could raise money. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call them on it if they decide to align themselves with ignorant, bigoted people.