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October 13, 2005

Maryland Can Do Better? So Could Baltimore

John P. Snyder

A collective ho hum was heard statewide with announcement that Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley intends to run for governor of The State of Maryland. Aside from having no issues to run on - or a good record to point to - he is in good shape.

Now let's see, the state has a $1.7 billion surplus, state spending on education is astronomical, unemployment is below the national level and most importantly for Democrats women can still abort their fetuses in Maryland. What is a challenger to do?

Obviously, someone advised the O'Malley camp to do what Jack Kennedy did to Dick Nixon in 1960. His standard stump speech admired the America of the day, but claimed America could "do better."

There was still a post-war prosperity in America in 1960, unemployment and inflation were low. Angst about the Cold War prompted Mr. Kennedy to promote a bogus "missile gap," which he purported America was losing to the Russians. With the help of a fawning media and the unusually high turnout of dead Democrats in Cook County, Illinois Mr. Kennedy prevailed.

No such opportunity will exist for Mr. O'Malley. He'll cry about the increased tuition at Maryland public colleges, but that has more to do with the college administrators than the governor.

He supported the slots imitative, so he can't take on Ehrlich there. Crime? Drugs? Illiteracy?

Take away Baltimore City - and Prince George's County - and Maryland would be in great shape.

Last week, at an old folks home in Owings Mill, he chastised the Ehrlich administration for going slow on stem cell research. Huh? Maryland is supposed to lead the way in stem cell research?

Race baiting is out, of course. And so is gun legislation.

Doug Duncan, should he be in a fighting mood, will soften him up for the general election.

Under his watch, the reliability of his city's crime statistics has been called into question. Some may want to know why he believes Baltimore should spend $300 million of taxpayers' money to build a hotel next to Camden Yards.

Say this for Mr. O'Malley; he never fell into the two paws up fawning for Peter Angelos' affection.

While the Ehrlich administration was helping the Orioles mount a defense to keep the Washington Nationals out of the area, Mr. O'Malley simply instructed Mr. Angelos to field a winning team and he won't have to worry about competition. For his honesty, Mr. Angelos is now in the Ehrlich camp.

Recall that the terminally ambitious Mayor O'Malley wanted to run for governor in 2002, just a year into his first term. He went ballistic accusing the Ehrlich administration with spreading rumors about supposed marital infidelity. As Frank DeFilippo, political commendation on WBAL radio, observed that he heard the rumors for a long time, and they didn't come from Republicans.

Without a heavy hitting issue to club the Ehrlich campaign with, he will always be nibbling at the edges, trying to raise the ire of voters. A lot of variables work against him.

Consider how the white liberals that run the Maryland Democratic Party have been treating Kweisi Mfume's bid for the U.S. Senate nomination. He has been given the cold shoulder. Should he lose, he might just take his bat, ball and glove and go home, thereby suppressing black vote in Baltimore. Bad news for Ben Cardin and Marty O'Malley.

But that, dear readers, is a subject for another day.

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