Either as a result of incredible ego or incomprehensible naivete, county executive Sid Kramer has entered the general election campaign despite his defeat in the Democratic primary. As one who supported him in 1986 and again this year on the belief that he was better able than Neal Potter to administer our county government in the challenging years ahead, I am saddened and appalled that he has chosen to ignore the will of his party.
I am among those who felt that the charges leveled against Mr. Kramer in the primary campaign were unjust and unfairly personal. I am among those who agree with Mr. Kramer that had more registered Democrats voted, Mr. Kramer would likely have won. But the fact remains that those voters who chose to vote did so, and Mr. Potter prevailed. It is ironic that, while the bitter Democratic primary fight tore the party asunder, it is Mr. Kramer's reversal of his initial gracious acceptance of the result that will contribute the most to Democrats closing ranks behind their party's nominee. I suspect that most Democrats who were initially unenthusiastic about Mr. Potter will now support him in a show of unity. But other Democrats (and independents who might have voted for Mr. Potter) will probably now be so disgusted at the fratricide within the long-dominant party of Montgomery County politics that they will take a fresh look at the Republican candidate.
A week after his primary election loss, I saw Mr. Kramer in a local grocery store. I thanked him for his years of service to the county and expressed my hope that he would continue to remain engaged in public life. I certainly hope that he did not interpret my good wishes as an encouragement to reenter the race.
Mr. Kramer is, of course, entitled to once again put his candidacy before the people. But we are entitled to expect leadership of our leaders, not hubris. When I served as chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party's fund-raising "Dollars Drive" and as a precinct official, I was always disappointed that so many Democratic elected officials lacked sufficient loyalty to lend support to the party that helped ensure their continuance in office. I never included Sid Kramer among those officials.
Mr. Kramer is entitled to feel great bitterness that the party members he so tirelessly served for many years rejected his bid for reelection. But, at the same time, he should realize that Democratic voters gave him the privilege of being our standard-bearer for many elective positions. He has now rejected our collective judgment and replaced it with his own.
During the primary election I felt that the charges of "bossism" against Mr. Kramer were unjustified. Now I am not so certain. JAMES A. KLEIN Potomac