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As Long as We Remember...

February 25, 2003

Senate Democrats' Opposition To Slots Is Suspect

John P. Snyder

Certain Maryland Democratic legislators remind me of the conversation between a purveyor of earth's oldest profession and a potential client. "What kind of lady do you think I am," she replied to a likely partner who submitted a low bid for her services. "We have already determined that", he said "now we are just haggling over the price".

With the revelation that State Senate President Thomas V.(Mike ) Miller took in roughly $600,000 from gaming interests for the 2002 elections for his Senatorial Committee for Democrats, their opposition looks a little strange. Surely the candidates who received the "contributions" from him knew where Senator Miller's money came from as they sought his assistance to help them win election. Recall the last minute mudballs via those disgusting direct mail pieces sent on behalf of Sue Hecht. Some were paid for by money from Senator Miller. Every Dem running for the legislator took some of his money. It was hardly a secret that gaming interests were lining his pocket. Many were surprised that over 60% of his $1 million PAC came from outside gaming interests, but that was what was reported in the Washington Post.

Has there been a stampede to give the money back? Any remorse from the recipients?

No and no. This has not stopped some of them from trying to take the moral high ground.

Governor Robert Ehrlich inherited the budget mess. His advocacy of slots machines represents nothing in the way of radical thinking. Did we arrive in this situation because Marylanders are not paying enough in taxes or did the government spend too much?

We have already learned that House Speaker Mike Busch's opposition stems from his late father disappearance from his family only to surface later as a gambling hustler in Las Vegas. Regrettable to be sure. What we haven't learned is his idea for specific tax increases and spending reductions.

Governor Ehrlich has laid out a creditable plan for slots at three racetracks. I trust the citizens of Maryland to treat their existence responsibly. We have learned to live with Keno, a close relative of slots for years. Democrats who position themselves as anointed by God to protect the poor from the evil of slots should spare us the sanctimony.

After all, they have already taken the money.

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