Memo from The Prediction Department
Tomorrow brings in 2013, the unfulfilled promise of a new year in which to renew, refresh and reinvigorate. People typically resolve to do things differently, to be healthier and better than they were in the year past. Sadly, most of these resolutions barely survive the month, much less the year.
The cottage industries associated with fitness explode, from gym memberships to treadmills. Most gym memberships lose their grip on clients when snowfall first hits the ground, and most treadmills purchased during this mad rush to fulfill a personal commitment are relegated to clothes hangers before spring's flora brightens the winter landscape.
We're not the only ones subject to the whims of frivolous resolutions, either. Our political leaders are also prone to making promises without the will to keep them as well.
TheTentacle.com crystal ball and future-prediction staff have been hard at work. They've analyzed past trends and modeled likely behavior to produce this annual set of resolutions and predictions.
First up, President Barack Obama roars in 2013 with a head of steam and a monstrous single-digit mandate to lead the American people. The president has resolved to be more accessible to his counterparts in the legislative branch of our government, particularly those pesky House Republicans.
The president intends, as long as he can stand it, to invite House Speaker John Boehner (R., OH) up to the White House as often as possible. He plans these frequent visits over coffee or soup so that he can tell the Speaker what the Congress is supposed to do, and exactly how to do it. See, this is what a president, who won by a percent (or so), can do with that kind of over-whelming acceptance by such a slim majority.
They call that sarcasm.
Both Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., NV) resolve to raise the favorability rating of the Congress above mob loan sharks, child abusers and illegal human organ harvesters.
Good luck with that. With 535 ego-fueled, limited-vision political animals all feeding from the same media trough, it's hard to see how that problem fixes itself.
Our governor, Martin O'Malley, has made a resolution himself. His resolution has nothing to do with the Free State, though. Mr. O'Malley resolves to find ways to increase his national profile.
He has submitted an audition tape to both The Real Housewives and Honey Boo Boo reality shows, and is trying to book his Irish rock/folk band – O'Malley's March – on PBS' The Artist Den concert show. He resolved to grow a beard if he could appear on Duck Dynasty on the A&E Network.
He has a problem there, though. The Duck Dynasty crew has a distinctly pro-Second Amendment ideology. Kind of hard to imagine Mr. O'Malley tromping through a Louisiana swamp with a shotgun slung over his shoulder, but such is the dilemma of a presidential wanna-be.
Closer to home, County Commission President Blaine R. Young's 2013 resolution may be shifting. We all saw the motor coach with the graphic wrap, that big smiling face and logo Blaine Young for Maryland from stem to stern.
Practical political reality and opportunity are likely setting in for the Young camp. Instead of a GPS map of Maryland, Mr. Young and his team may need a more local mapping tool for this summer.
The Frederick County Charter vote went his way, and now Frederick County voters will be electing their first county executive in 2014, just as Mr. Young is ending his first term as county commissioner.
That possible change of plan has a sort of resolution ripple effect. Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has eyes on that executive job, too. Her whisper advisors have been telling her all along that she'd be the perfect candidate. A couple of years working for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski has probably kept that political office-holder fire burning.
Facing the Young campaign juggernaut is probably not a relished thought, regardless of the desire for the job. Just ask one-termer Kai Hagen. Mr. Hagen was sent packing to the hills above Thurmont; his sophisticated campaign message was entirely deflated by a more media-savvy approach.
Another political climber tangentially impacted by Mr. Young's decision is Commissioner Billy Shreve. Mr. Shreve is also a "climber" and has been pining for that county executive spot, too. If Blaine changes his mind and trades a shot at a desk on the second floor of the State House for the new executive suite at Winchester Hall, poor Billy will be left wishing.
His choices are to seek a lower-paying seat on the new county council, or look elsewhere for a better paying political job. Mr. Shreve may resolve to move two blocks west on Church Street, by trying to knock off incumbent Mayor Randy McClement this coming year.
Billy won't be alone if he does. In fact, next to the new county executive political race in 2014, the mayor of Frederick race in 2013 looks to be a full-capacity field.
Based strictly on their past performance, it seems as though every single member of the Board of Aldermen aspires to replace the mayor, save Alderman Carol Krimm. Ms. Krimm has already made clear her own political resolution, which is to replace her current boss, Del. Galen Clagett, as one of the two District 3-A delegates to the General Assembly in 2014.
Mayor McClement hasn't made any announcement about his own future, but it doesn't take TheTentacle.com prediction department any effort to guess that the mayor wants another four-year term. Safe to assume that his resolution is for a quiet and productive summer leading into his re-election.
His opposition could come from unexpected places. Recent rumor-mongering adds the aforementioned Delegate Clagett (D, 3-A). He had resolved to seek a statewide constitutional office, but incumbent Comptroller Peter Franchot shot that wish down by abandoning a gubernatorial bid early.
Galen may still opt for the county executive slot. He wanted it badly back in the 1980s, but even a popular pol like Delegate Clagett would have to consider the long odds of beating Blaine Young.
One-term former Frederick Mayor Jennifer Daugherty still longs for political relevance, and the mayor's job is one she's done. She's also expressed interest in the county executive slot, but it isn't clear she'd resolve to re-enter the fray, for either office.
Another fun rumor had former two-term Frederick Mayor Jim Grimes running for county executive. The ultimate good-old-boy, Jim might resolve to run, but not against his protégé Blaine. If Blaine wants it badly, Jim will help him get it.
So, the resolutions and wishes of the office holders and seekers seem to run the gamut. Two things stand in the way of these political hopes and dreams. One is the reality that sets in when facing long odds. Smart politicians calculate the odds, and shift their objective if the picture isn't sufficiently rosy.
The other is the will of the electorate. Long is the list of candidates who misread or misinterpreted the will of the electorate, and overplayed a winning hand.
That leads us to our final resolution. Newly elected Sixth District Congressman John Delaney won his rookie race with an overwhelming victory over 10-term incumbent Roscoe Bartlett. In spite of predictions of a close-shave race, this one was a walk-away for the challenger.
Representative-elect Delaney should resolve to learn and respect the varied interests of his new district. He should resolve to vote according to the will of his constituents, not to be a tool of the House Democratic minority.
If he makes and honors that resolution, he'll easily replicate the success of his predecessor in winning a two-year renewal, and many more. If not, he'll face a moderate GOP challenge in 2014 and risk being bounced out on his posterior.