Remember Don Dwyer, the Maryland state legislator who got drunk and crashed his boat into a bunch of people, sending 7 of them to the hospital including several children, then blamed his drinking on the fact that he had lost a vote on same-sex marriage? Jonathan Hutson has some interesting information about him that I did not know. Like the fact that he used to be the executive director of Michael Peroutka’s theocratic Institute on the Constitution. And he may well be the one who got Peroutka and David Whitney, both high-ranking members of the neo-Confederate League of the South, to switch their party registrations to run for office in Maryland.
“Many of you may be thinking that I have lost my mind,” Republican Del. Don Dwyer wrote in a March 2013 email and Facebook post to his GOP colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly. Dwyer’s mind-losing idea was to switch parties in order to drag the Democratic Party to the right (indeed, the Neo-Confederate, theocratic right) in the 2014 primaries.
“If the gun community alone follows me in this strategic plan, we will have a devastating effect on the next statewide election,” he surmised. He posted a comment on a Maryland gun owners’ forum, stating, “Friends, I am considering taking ‘Operation DINO’ statewide. DINO stands for Democrat In Name Only.” He then spearheaded a Free State DINOS website, which urges Republicans to reregister as Democrats, and sells mugs and T-shirts of dinosaurs emblazoned with the Maryland flag…IOTC Founder Michael Peroutka switched from the Constitution Party to run in the GOP primary for Anne Arundel County Council, and for a seat on the Republican Central Committee. This is a particularly remarkable switcheroo, because Peroutka was the 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president of the United States. In 2013, the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a Neo-Confederate hate group, named Peroutka to its board of directors.
Meanwhile, IOTC’s lead instructor, Pastor David Whitney, who teaches “the God-given right to secede,” has jumped ship from the Republican Party to run in the Democratic primaries for Anne Arundel County Council and for a seat on the Democratic Central Committee. Pastor Whitney had previously run as a Constitution Party candidate against Speaker Busch in 2006. Whitney serves as chaplain for the League’s Maryland chapter, and he chairs the Maryland delegation to the Southern National Congress, which is planning for the secession of the Southern states. Pastor Whitney makes clear, in a February 2014 sermon and op-ed, that in his view, citizenship in this new nation – including the rights to hold public office, vote, serve on a jury, or serve in the Militia — should be restricted to Christians of the right sort.
I knew that Dwyer and Peroutka shared a very far-right and mostly theocratic view of the world, but I had no idea Dwyer had run his organization or that he had publicly announced this Maryland DINOs idea.