Back to the Sandbox
This final Cavey article of the year had to be, in my mind, a best guess of future political dealings. Many thoughts ran through my head and quickly the realization became clear. There are many good and bad things on the political horizon; however, the public's perspective is now shifted a bit due to the November election results.
The year started out with Senate President Thomas V. (Mike) Miller's (D., Prince George's) now famous quote about the killing of the Republican Party that ended: ".We're going to put them in the ground, and it'll be 10 years before they crawl out again." Well Republicans got a little dirt kicked on their faces, but they aren't set back to 1998 levels and Democrats basically stayed stagnant.
The Senate president worked hard and helped defeat a popular governor, but still, on the home front the demographics of his Senate remain the same; he even lost some of his high-ranking lieutenants for various other reasons. Perhaps these are some of the many factors prompting his decision to retire at the term's end. Who knows?
So, we'll start here with our list: Break-even in the Senate good for Republicans. Mike Miller's retirement, also good for Republicans.
The next subject is a broad topic: slots, taxes and the legislature. If you are a fan of slots, get your quarters ready, it's just a matter of who gets to take credit for bringing this venture to the citizens of Maryland. Good for the gamblers. Good for revenue. Questionable on the social values.
If you are a fan of taxes and overhauling the entire tax structure in Maryland; get your checkbooks ready. This is just a matter of how soon it will happen and if it can be done in time for the public to forget by November 2010. Good for Maryland's bondholders, perhaps bad for everyone else. Bad for the Democrats who sponsor the bill.
Next is the revival of unchecked Democrat partisan politics. No one is left to be the backstop, to veto illegal and wildly partisan bills. Republican numbers in the legislature are too small to effect veto-proof chambers for the Democrats. The fox is ruling the henhouse once again. Good for the Democrat legislature. Good, too, for the Republicans who can now point out the differences between governors and fiscally responsible leadership.
Money is the mother's milk of politics. Starting now, the cash flowing from fair-weather friends, who give only toward the power, will be writing new names on their checks and heading back to their comfort zone of Democrat fundraisers. Good for the Democrats and their party. Good, too, for the Republicans, they now will know who are their friends really are - and they will remember.
Leadership! Lost is the Executive Branch by the Republican Party - bad for everyone.
On the other hand all sides will now watch Governor-elect Martin O'Malley. Will the bandleader from Baltimore fit into the Annapolis crowd? Will the boy mayor re-pay all his political favors? How will he generate revenues? Does he really have a short fuse in his management style? Inquiring minds want to know the answers to all these questions - and more.
All answers will be good for Republican comparisons, bad for Democrats unless Governor O'Malley performs brilliantly and without affecting the pocketbooks of Maryland's citizens.
Last item - Republican leadership. Good all the way around. Excellent minority leaders and whips in both chambers. Men of character, experience, able to express opinion and draw contrasts as needed. Party leadership on a state level is grassroots orientated, created from the ground up, ready to build and fortify in preparation for the next electoral challenge. Good for Republicans, bad for the Democrats.
Overall one would have to say Republicans only had a little dirt thrown in their faces by the Annapolis playground bullies. Now that the dirt is wiped off and grit is removed from their teeth, Republicans are back in the sandbox for another round - this time around a little wiser.