As a conservative leaning independent, I should be thrilled. For like-minded people around the country, Tuesday was nothing short of spectacular. As someone of this philosophy living in Virginia, I should be elated. Three, and perhaps four, of the state’s congressional Democrats lost.
But as a native Marylander who is devoted to the Baltimore Orioles, hates the Indianapolis Colts, knows crabs are the best food on Earth and still remembers (and more to the point believes) the old marketing campaign that said Maryland was “America in Miniature,” I am nothing short of deflated.
The Republican Rock Star Bus Tour which stormed through nearly every state in the nation seems to have bypassed Maryland. I am still in denial.
Gov. Martin O’Malley won re-election by 14 points. So despite being the education governor who lost the endorsement of the largest student newspaper in the state, he cruised to victory. He has promised to build a much needed transit system connecting Montgomery and Prince George’s County, but heaven only knows how he will pay for it.
Chances are, this and countless other matters, won’t be an issue. He’ll stall and stonewall enough to get past the 2012 elections. Then his ego will get the better of him, and since he did after-all win in a horrible year for Democrats, he will begin his sure-fire 2016 presidential campaign. Heck, it took less than a day for the Washington Post to speculate on it. Everyone in Maryland knows he has cared more for national office than his state. Had he not hitched his hopes so strongly to Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, chances are he might already be in Washington.
One thing is for sure though; he didn’t win his campaign on his own merits. His ads, while damning and filled with lies, were highly effective. He should thank his ad people. In that vein, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, his Republican opponent, should wonder what his ad guys were doing. They waited far too long to respond and when they did, the damage was long done.
And what about Maryland’s senior senator, Barbara Mikulski? The woman routinely gets voted the meanest politician in Washington and she cruised. Granted Republicans didn’t put up much of a fight against her, but really? What are Marylanders thinking?
Republicans in the state picked up one congressional seat. Yippee. Ten years ago the state had an evenly divided delegation: four Democrats and four Republicans. Now it’s six and two. This for the state that if were paint by number, would be overwhelmingly red, sans for Baltimore city and the Washington suburbs.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the current-but-not-for-long House Majority leader, is from Maryland. But even if he stays on in Democratic House leadership, how effective can he be as a member of the minority? Now the state that gave birth to the National Anthem is left singing in the wind. Lucky for Marylanders, their fearless leader in Annapolis is actually the lead singer in an Irish rock band. And he’s a better singer than governor. Too bad that’s not what the election was supposed to be about.