Monday, July 28, 2008

Too Smart by Half

Eric Luedtke trots out a theory that Mike Miller is in all actuality going to retire, he's just not telling anybody at this point in order to keep the Senate together in one place.

Luedtke's thought process there is completely rational, and totally something that Mike Miller would do in order to continue being Master of the Senate. However, whee Luedtke's analysis goes wrong is right here:

Martin O'Malley's polling numbers have been, in the words of one West Wing character, 'Less than yeasty.' He needs to bring those poll numbers up to have a good shot at re-election. In order to bring up his poll numbers, the Governor is going to need the legislature to, you know, legislate. And not just normal naming of post office legislating, but big time get popular and ground-breaking stuff done legislating. Now, if Miller is retiring in 2010, and that fact is public knowledge, the State Senate's Democratic Caucus would spend the next two years splitting into factions as Senators Frosh and Middleton jockey for position.
And I don't think he could possibly be any more wrong here. The reason that O'Malley's poll numbers are less than yeasty has everything to do with what the Senate has done for O'Malley. Miller led the Senate towards higher taxes. Miller ensured the Senate didn't cut parts of the budget to make up the difference. Miller helped the Governor pass his ludicrous spending plans. Let's face it: Mike Miller being Mike Miller and helping out Governor O'Malley is exactly why the Goveror's poll numbers are in the tank. O'Malley got what he wanted, which is something that taxpayers are less than enthused about.

The funny thing is that if Miller had stayed retired, and Luedtke's "Lord of the Flies" scenario came to pass, the Senate would be virtually in a stand still. And that means that none of the Governor's out of the mainstream tax and spend proposals would ever see the light of day. In that scenario, the divided Senate protects O'Malley from O'Malley, with the only piece of legislation derailed that would hurt the poll numbers would be the likely temporary election year tax cut that Democrats always like to pass.

In Luedtke's analysis, he assumes of course that a Miller retirement would have been the end of the universe:
But as for the whole idea of keeping the Senate Democratic Caucus in line, here's something our Democratic State Senators need to remember - if O'Malley loses, all of us lose. Not just in the larger sense of getting stuck with another four years of Bob the Golfer. But also in two very serious ways: 1. A strong showing by a Republican gubernatorial candidate could increase Republican turnout and swamp some of our Senators in the more marginal districts, decreasing our advantage in the Senate, and 2. Whoever is elected Governor in 2010 will have significant power over the redistricting after the next census, and could create districts in such a way as to completely screw with Democrats, as happened with the Republican gerrymandering in Texas. Sitting Senators stuck in the same district. The map redrawn to create Republican districts in Democratic jurisdictions, such as northern Montgomery County. It. Would. Be. A. Disaster. In other words, if the Senate didn't do its job without papa Miller to ride herd, they wouldn't deserve re-election, because they'd be doing serious damage to the party.
Because for Luedtke and his ilk, the party always comes before the people. And he, of course, forgets what happened when the Glendening map was thrown out in court for....completely screwing Republicans and conservative Democrats, with sitting Senators stuck in the same district.

Of course, Luedtke calls it a disaster....I call it a good start.

(Crossposted)

1 comment:

MarylandDonkey said...

If we accept your premise that O'Malley and Miller working together to pass O'Malley's unpopular legislation is the reason O'Malley's numbers are down (and there is little reason not to accept it), then I don't think it necessarily follows that continued work with Miller will bring about bad things. Quite the contrary, being able to work with Miller would be one way for O'Malley to raise his numbers. Erik seems to be suggesting that a deadlock would solidify the status quo, but so long as O'Malley can accomplish things he still has a chance to turn it around.

As a dirty fucking hippie, I might argue that once O'Malley can point to tangible improvements that are the result of the tax increases (most of which were included in the republican version of the budget by the way) his numbers will go up. Time will tell.

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