SIDNEY KRAMER, the Montgomery County incumbent who lost his bid in the Democratic primary to run again as Democratic candidate for county executive, and who was considered the consummate party politician until now, has stunned party regulars and constituents by announcing that he won't accept the will of the Democratic primary voters who sent him to defeat. Suddenly chucking the gracious statements that he had made in pledging support to Neal Potter, who beat him decisively, Mr. Kramer left some of his closest political allies gasping as he turned on Mr. Potter in a most astounding way:

"People are finding now that the real Neal Potter has stepped forward -- the Neal Potter who is attempting to become a boss, the Neal Potter who is asking the development community to fund his campaign, the Neal Potter who is trying to favor the FIT amendment," a ballot proposal backed by a group called Fairness in Taxation, which seeks set limits on property tax powers of the local government. Mr. Kramer even resorted to the shopworn political claptrap about how the write-in campaign is a "spontaneous organization" not of his doing but the wish of people who made "so many calls" saying how much they want a new opportunity to rally around him.

Mr. Kramer is free to run around trashing Mr. Potter and begging for another chance -- even if every other Democratic candidate decides that Mr. Potter won fair and square and should be supported, not deserted. What this does to the party or to the Republicans may be negligible; what it does to the reputation of the man who worked long, hard and with deep affection for his county could be as damaging as it is surprising.