The “Voters” Are To Blame
The final moments of the Maryland General Assembly approached Monday at midnight and mercifully, the continuing infliction of pain to the citizens of Maryland ended. Sine Die has brought a temporary end to Maryland's self-inflicted pain.
The citizen is ultimately responsible for the actions of legislators in Annapolis; that is why the diagnosis is self-inflicted pain. Voters send legislators to Annapolis. Voters elected the governor. The actions of this past session and the continuing liberalization of Maryland are the results of the ballot box – and that is the bottom line.
When asked about his overview on this session on Monday Senate President Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Miller (D., Prince George’s/Calvert) was quoted: "The state has become more progressive….There is no doubt about it." He went further to explain that Maryland is not the southern state it once was and that issues today (referring to most of Gov. Martin O'Malley's legislative agenda) would have never passed two decades ago.
So, what happened? Why do we now have our liberties removed with additional gun control? Why a new gas tax? Why the need to repeal the death penalty? Why provide Maryland drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants? Why expand early voting? Why have same day registration and voting? Why do we want ugly, expensive wind turbines off the shores of our beautiful state?
The short answer is uninformed voters mandated these punishments on themselves. They gave the green light to no-holds-barred liberal legislation by not paying attention, continually re-electing incumbents and practicing blatant partisan politics. You reap what you sow
Voters should not expect different results when they continue to elect long-term incumbents. If you want change, you have to make changes. In a recent conversation a small business owner asked: "Don't they realize they work for us?" My answer was it was she, and others like her, who mandated these legislative actions at the ballot box.
When asked if she was upset enough to clean house and make changes, she hesitated. "I just want them to listen." Legislators are listening – to their leadership, donors and to their goal of re-election. Just like you, they want to keep their job, their paycheck and build up their pension. We have morphed from citizen legislators to those who seek long-term political careers with benefits.
Just as we have term limits on our executive branches of government, the same should apply to the legislative branch, too. If you cannot accomplish the goal of citizen legislator in eight years (two terms), you are either marking time in your job repeating and enjoying ineffectiveness, or you are living off the fat of the land.
Only long-term incumbents, special interest groups and lobbyist support no term limits. The legislators do because it is their job and no one wants to lose a job. The special interest groups and lobby groups do because they protect and financially support legislators who "go their way" on issues. It makes running for office very expensive.
The citizen challenger is faced with fundraising head-to-head with special interest groups and political action committees. Delegate and Senate races in demographically competitive areas cost in excess of $200,000! It’s a daunting task, almost always benefiting the politically entrenched incumbent.
Senate President Miller seemed to reminisce about the "old days" in his statement. There was a time when conservative Democrats ruled the legislature. Those days are long gone. However, the registered Democrat at the polling place is still toeing the old party line while scratching their head as to why the results aren’t different. Like Senator Miller said: "The state has become more progressive" – which is code for "liberal."
We cannot expect change in Annapolis until the voters wake up and replaces the pieces of the machinery, namely the legislators. All delegates and senators have a bad vote or two; everyone understands that fact. Nevertheless, those who were sold the 2013 plan of "progressive legislation" by Governor O'Malley and his friends are out of step with Maryland.
If you do not hold them accountable – you will continue to inflict pain on yourself and generations to come.