Not in My Sandbox, You Don't!
After watching the mechanisms of the just completed legislative session it is easy to conclude that the practical working of our General Assembly is just like the politics of any pre-school. The one difference is there is no adult present to keep order.
Just like pre-school you have all the same personalities: teacher's pet, who always falls in line with the person in charge and has no clue why; the book worm, who knows all the facts but no one wants to listen to his boring oratory; the class clown, who takes everyone's time for a prank or to grab attention, however he is never taken seriously; there are the shy kids, who just sit all session long and say nothing, except the pledge to the flag each morning. And then there are the bullies.
Don't you just hate a bully? They are always the people who want to be leaders but only understand force and violence. They never understand that leaders lead from example and strength, not from intimidation.
This session was about bullies, the famous team of Mike and Mike - Senate President Mike Miller (D., Calvert/PG) and Speaker of the House Mike Busch (D., Anne Arundel) - exercising their pre-election power to show that they are in control. They proved to be true to form. They blatantly exercised their perceived power at the cost of Maryland's citizens.
It started with Senate President Miller issuing the following threat: Republicans are "going to be flying high, but we're going to get together and we're going to shoot them down. We're going to put them in the ground, and it'll be 10 years before they crawl out again." ("Veto battles point toward tough session," The Sun, January 11). This was the first real clue that the children would not be playing nice this year.
Next - in the spirit of cooperation - the two chambers overrode 17 vetoes previously issued by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. To give you a partisan perspective on this, Gov. Parris Glendening had no vetoes over-ridden and Gov. William Donald Schaefer had only two. Each of those men served eight years as governor.
This is also significant because most were minor bills, not major legislation which had been vigorously debated within each chamber. The vetoes were over-ridden only as a show of strength. They did it because they could.
The Mike and Mike team also introduced over 30 bills this session for the sole purpose of taking away power from the executive branch. "Holy Checks and Balances, Batman, the legislative branch is taking over our government. Our Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves. What could be next?"
How about screwing up the way we vote, how we vote and where we vote. That's right! You can now vote early and often in the State of Maryland. This year the criminals can even join in the voting fun. In Baltimore County and four others, we legislated where we go to cast an early ballot. What about voting machines with a paper trail? Sorry, not enough money to preserve honesty according to Mike and Mike.
All bullies hate education. These guys do also. In true bully fashion they have sentenced the children of Baltimore City to at least another year of poor education, all because they could. They have turned on the "teacher," state Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick, and made out the former champion of Baltimore City schools as a monster who doesn't understand education.
Like the high cost of electricity? The bullies do. Both "Mikes" were in the legislature in 1999, both in leadership positions. They had 90 days to work out a solution to this problem and it did not happen. Perhaps if they paid more attention to our consumer problems and less attention to whom is raising money for Governor Ehrlich we would have legislated economically sound relief.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that the bullies remain in power! We have those who blindly follow, without thinking of the outcome, because they have been told "party politics over everything else," even to the point where minorities believe "party over race." The bullies have been bullies for a long time.
Maryland is the poster child for the need for term limits. Everyone knows with power comes corruption.
Senate President Miller has a brand new building, where he works, named in his honor. Where else but Maryland does this happen? Why do we only allow a governor eight years, yet the president of the Senate had wielded power for more than 25 years? We have committee chairmen who have killed legislation for decades simply by refusing to allow them to see the light of day. Unbelievable!
This session proved one big lesson. It's time to graduate the bullies to the real world. If we want change and we want cooperation we need to remove the obstacles. If your legislator is a committee chairperson or the Speaker of the House or the president of the Senate, do the rest of us a favor and vote for someone else.and remember - in Maryland you can vote early and often.