A Conversation with Spy Columnist David Montgomery and 1st District Candidate Andy Harris

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More than a few Spy readers thought it was a bit odd last week to have David Montgomery, our most politically conservative columnist, interview Democrat Jesse Colvin, who is running against Congressman Andy Harris this November. And yet many ultimately found this format a refreshing change from the more typical and sound bite-driven public forums or mainstream media interviews.

We took that as encouragement to continue our somewhat counter-intuitive approach by having David also interview Dr. Harris as well. And while it is true that their worldviews may be more aligned than with Jesse Colvin’s, Spy readers may find it surprising that Montgomery and Harris are not in agreement on many issues, including immigration and economic tariffs. Indeed, David has withheld his endorsement until he completed these interviews with both. He plans to share his final decision this week in his regular Spy column.

Once again, we are grateful to the Avalon Foundation’s MCTV for their help in producing this Spy conversation.

This video is approximately one hour in length 

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Letters to Editor

  1. Michael McDowell says:

    Andy Harris must be truly exulting over this softball “interview” by David Montgomery. Montgomery, earlier, did a pretty rigorous forensic critique of Harris’s Democratic challenger, 34 year old former Army Ranger captain, Jesse Colvin and Colvin came out of it well, and was unfazed by Montgomery’s questions. So, I was puzzled, like many, to see Montgomery chosen to interview Harris, given Montgomery’s deeply conservative views which are well known on The Spy pages. I had assumed that The Spy, for proper journalistic and professional balance, would then use a progressive/liberal interviewer to interrogate Harris. Instead, Montgomery was used again, and he repeatedly allowed Harris wide latitude to soften Harris’s well-known hard-right agenda and actions, and Montgomery rarely followed up with any supplementary questions to pin down the elusive Harris and get some real answers and show Harris’s contradictions. Disappointing doesn’t cover it.The worst omission was any rigorous examination of Harris’s and the GOP’s/Trump’s trope that they will now, er, “look after” people with pre-existing health conditions. Harris, et al, are attempting an utter con job this month. The so-called Republican health “plans” leave massive loopholes for insurance companies to exclude patients, and when they don’t, these junk-plans, instead, or as well, rely on sky-high monthly premiums which no one but the wealthiest can afford. Where was Montgomery on this matter? AWOL. The information is easily found on Google.

    So clearly, Montgomery’s, like Harris, believes in the hard right or libertarian/Friedmanite economic philosophy which claims that the magical “unseen hand of the market” will solve all problems, which is an utter canard. On taxes, Harris, hardly an expert on economics (or even health, despite his boastful “MD” moniker on his website), was allowed to dismiss the respected Congressional Budget Office estimate of the Republican tax giveaway to the richest and corporations creating a trillion dollar plus deficit! Harris repeated the nonsense that cutting taxes = increased growth, and the whole discredited trickle down economics/Laffer Curve myth and of course Montgomery accepts this, because it’s also Montgomery’s ideology.

    What about Kansas, to coin a phrase from a classic book? Kansas Republicans are now putting UP taxes to try and save the mess which their ideological zealot former governor got them into which had schools going to a four day week and worse. On abortion and gun control, Mr. Montgomery, and I quote, said to Harris: “I agree with you completely” and he also moaned to Harris about friends of Montgomery’s having to wait to long for confirmation to the Trump administration because of holds by Senator Chuck Schumer.

    Well, given the weak resumes, or non-skills of so many Trump nominees, and the dumb-as-a-rock Cabinet picks like Betsy DeVos, etc, this is probably a good thing for our republic! In short, so much for attempting an “independent” (ha!) devil’s advocate approach. I have a lot of respect for The Spy and its editor, but as a serious journalist until 1997 when I went back into the think-tank/economics world, having David Montgomery do this interview was a service to Harris, a disservice to Jesse Colvin, and a disservice to the voters of District 1, whose uncongenial petulant Representative has one of the worst records for INaction, is an utter partisan, and truly deserves the moniker, Dr. No. I listened carefully to the full hour plus and took detailed notes and became more and more dissatisfied with the interview as time wore on. Please, Mr. Editor, don’t use a hard line right winger interview another hard line right winger.

    We learned nothing new. It was an Amen Chorus. Finally, Harris’s shout out at the end about “mobs” of a minority of “vocal” District 1 voters, went completely unchallenged by Mr. Montgomery. Mobs like at Charlottesville didn’t deserve a mention or a polite challenge? Pathetic. You can do better, Spy!

    • Thanks Michael. This was never to be presented as an objective interview with Dr. Harris. Perhaps because of this, you were able to highlight here some major gaps in the issues covered and the responses given. This stands in contrast to our recent coverage of the LWV Forum on Sunday where no comments have been made to date.

      • Michael H C McDowell says:

        Dave, on the LOWV event, it wasnt a debate or an interview really. I suppose it did give all candidates, especially Colvin and Harris, a chance to semi-debate during their answers to questions, and they were questions which were all too general in nature, allowing major escape routes. I am also disappointed you didn’t get comments — at least not yet. But The Spy story was a lengthy interview and a chance to pin a politician down. My point is that David Montgomery DID try to pin Jesse Colvin down, but made a far lesser effort to pin Harris down, who is a notorious waffler and fudger when questioned about his actions, and Harris has an utterly nugatory record in Congress after eight full years. That is my point.

  2. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    I agree Michael. I stopped listening to NPR for the same reason: platforms utterly bending over backwards to give these loonies
    “fair air time”.

    What a crock…..and what a shame when one side is so off base
    and deserves to be held to that!

  3. Gren Whitman says:

    Harris and Montgomery, ho.
    Montgomery and Harris, hum.
    Just two peas in a pod.

  4. John Vail says:

    I will admit that I am a Jesse Colvin supporter. That’s why I attended the candidate forum at the Talbot County Free Library on Sunday, October 21. I’m also a former U.S. Department of Justice official responsible for coordinating training at the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Training Center and a former Law Enforcement Accreditation manager with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.

    As I came out of the Library after the forum, I noticed a white Ford Crown Victoria (the prototypical police car) double parked out front. It had emergency lights mounted in the front windshield and the rear window. I thought it was odd that the Easton Police (who had provided security at the event) would send an unmarked car to pick up its officers.

    As I pulled out of the parking lot onto N. West Street to head home, a car with Andy Harris as a passenger made a left turn from W. Dover Street onto N. West Street, followed closely by the same white Crown Vic (MD license plate 3CV6496). The white car executed a protective maneuver– pulling out into the intersection and stopping–as if to block oncoming traffic–before again pulling close to the Harris car’s rear bumper. At the intersection of N West and Bay Streets, both cars made a left turn, with the white Crown Vic again blocking the intersection as if to provide cover. I turned right to head out of Easton.

    As I merged onto the Easton Parkway going toward US 50, I found myself behind the two cars again. The white Crown Vic was close on the Harris car’s tail and remained there all the way to MD 213, where I turned toward Chestertown.

    How ironic that Jesse Colvin has put 30,000 miles on his truck driving around Maryland’s 1st District while out-of-touch Andy Harris needs a security detail to visit his own constituents!

    I wonder who’s paying for it?

    John Vail
    Worton

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