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As Long as We Remember...

March 18, 2019

The MDGOP's Faustian Bargain

Jason Miller

Much to the chagrin of the Maryland Republicans (MDGOP), the Democrats have handed the Maryland Republican agenda defeat after defeat so far in this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly.


The failure to defend a post-Labor Day start for Maryland public schools from the Maryland Teachers Union lobby is a metaphor for what the true conservatives in the Republican base knew all along. It takes both sides of the aisle to be bipartisan.


The elites in charge of the MDGOP and the "Change Maryland" kindred spirits have started to send out email updates daily – if not weeks after – critical hearings, votes, and even independently organized protests, in an attempt to raise money in the face of the latest Republican setbacks in Annapolis.


What are the latest MDGOP setbacks that have turned into donation bait? The progressive backed Maryland $15 minimum wage bill passed on party line votes in separate Senate and House versions. Those two bills will more than likely be slapped together as Republican legislators are forced to sit and watch. The Maryland Physician Assisted Suicide passed to the dismay of many. Dr. Kevorkian would be proud.


The most recent outrage came this past Saturday as an amendment was proposed to the latest gun control bill – designed to afflict law abiding citizens – making the theft of any gun in Maryland a felony punishable with two years of prison. It failed on a party line vote. Gov. Larry Hogan, in keeping with tradition, was silent on the erosion of the U. S. Constitution’s Second Amendment in Maryland during this year’s Maryland General Assembly session. Even so, "Change Maryland" blasted the latest failure to address public safety on social media as if Republicans had been caught in an ambush.


If the failure last Saturday to pass the stolen gun felony amendment was so egregious an affront to both the MDGOP and "Change Maryland." why didn't Governor Hogan get to the press bully pulpit earlier in the week to announce his full support of firearm theft in Maryland being a felony? Surely stealing a gun and having it be punishable with prison time epitomizes bipartisan common sense. I guess blaming President Donald Trump for this setback would have sounded hollow.


As the legislative sausage continued grinding, Governor Hogan’s bipartisan popularity failed to stop a Democratic-controlled Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that voted 9-4 to kill Hogan’s “Retirement Tax Fairness Act of 2019.” That piece of legislation was expected to expand tax breaks on retirement incomes from Roth IRAs and pensions.


There are two take-aways to learn from with these progressive legislative hijinks. The first take away is that the MDGOP appeasement strategy to pacify so called moderate leftists, to form a coalition with #Nevertrump Republicans, can yield a high popularity for a Republican governor in a blue state but cost dearly in the down ballot state legislative races statewide. The second take away is that those down ballot legislative losses ensure limits to passing results driven Republican policies in a Democrat dominated legislature.


The MDGOP can now offer little more than excuses echoed by Governor Hogan and his Jeb Bush loving Republican #NeverTrump fan club. The saddest part is that some of the conservative base within the MDGOP, who've been left behind, don’t seem moved to help the party elites as they contend with the Faustian bargain the MDGOP made for Governor Hogan’s re-election.


Adding state legislative insult to national party injury, Governor Hogan heads to New Hampshire which only adds to speculation on what might turn out to be a national embarrassment for the MDGOP should Governor Hogan decide to challenge President Trump in a contested primary.


Governor Hogan already threw a publicized temper tantrum at the Republican National Committee for circling the wagons around the Trump White House. Despite Jeb Bush's low energy attempts at recruiting an opponent, President Trump has the nomination and more than likely a second term wrapped up given the present Democrat candidates who have announced.


The largest take away is that unlike Governor Hogan, President Trump won’t necessary need to throw his conservatives base under the bus to achieve a re-election victory.


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