Peroutka, Dwyer, and theocratic, neo-Confederate politics in Maryland
An interesting post about an odd, under-scrutinized corner of Maryland politics went up Wednesday on the progressive blog Daily Kos. Written by Jonathan Hutson (pictured), treasurer of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee campaign of his wife, Betsy Bury, it examines the phenomenon of what he calls "neo-confederate Democrats" here in the Free State. As evidence, Hutson cites the Democratic candidacy of David Whitney, one of the contenders in the June 24 primary in which Bury is running. Whitney is a pastor and lead instructor of Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), co-founded by Christian lawyer Michael Peroutka, the former Constitution Party presidential candidate given a hard look by City Paper a decade ago. Peroutka is an important player in the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center dubs a neo-confederate group. Today, Peroutka is a GOP candidate for Anne Arundel County's Republican Central Committee, and reportedly came close to filing as the Republican Party's candidate for Maryland attorney general. Jeff Quinton of the conservative blog The Quinton Report has been giving Peroutka some straight-shooting attention. Cato Institute senior fellow Walter Olson emailed City Paper in February about Quinton's reporting on Peroutka, calling the theocratic political-philosopher a "wackypants anti-gay crusader," a less caustic characterization than that offered by the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign in 2012, when they dubbed Peroutka an "active white supremacist and secessionist sympathizer." City Paper also highlighted Peroutka in coverage of the successful same-sex marriage campaign in Maryland that year. Hutson's portrayal of the current political situation in Anne Arundel County includes fact-packed descriptions of Maryland state Del. Don Dwyer, an IOTC veteran, and former Republican, now Democrat John Moran, a Baltimore police officer and perennial GOP candidate in the county who was a passenger on the boat Dwyer crashed while drunk in 2012, injuring children. Moran is running to be a state delegate in District 31A, and Hutson writes that he is a manifestation of Dwyer's "Democrat in Name Only," or DINO, movement that seeks a rightward shift in the party of the left. Intriguing reading–and a fluid situation in need of public attention, which Hutson, though he has a dog in the fight, is good to give.