The dominant meme coming out in the wake of Senator Kittleman's abrupt resignation as minority leader is that he failed some sort of right wing litmus test by sponsoring a bill to call basically anything a "civil union." From what I hear the real story is much simpler and much more sordid. It was simply about power.
Kittleman, succumbing to the chronic case of Stockholm Syndrome that afflicts the Maryland GOP caucus, scored a hat trick by undertaking a rather benighted effort to win approval from people who will never like him while, at the same time, alienating his friends and giving his political enemies an opening.
My views on the subject of "gay marriage" are pretty well known and one has to wonder what Senator Kittleman was thinking and question his sense of priorities given the other problems Maryland faces at this moment. Be that as it may, he has resigned and the GOP is the worse for it because we are about to see a fairly conservative leader replaced by one who isn't conservative at all.
It is no secret that Senator David Brinkley desires to return to the majority leader position.
The fact that Brinkley is waiting in the wings to be Kittleman's successor should 1) be a very good clue to what happened and 2) definitively refute the "litmus test" meme. David Brinkley may be a lot of things but conservative isn't an adjective that comes to mind when describing him. To refresh everyone's memory, Brinkley was senate majority leader before resigning after an extramarital affair he was carrying on was exposed culminating in Frederick County sheriff's officers being called to the Brinkley household.
According to the Baltimore Sun:
Brinkley, 48, accused his wife of slapping him in the neck and trying to grab his hands, and then using his hands to hit herself in the face, according to Deputy Orion G. Rustin, who responded to the home in the 12000 block of Barnett Drive about 8:20 p.m. May 30.One of Brinkley's biggest boosters as majority leader was Senate President Mike Miller. If that doesn't send chills up your spine nothing will. A major supporter of Brinkley's return to majority leader is the pro-abortion EJ Pipkin. So this is hardly a coup by social conservatives based on a "litmus test."
MD GOP Chair Alex Mooney gets it exactly right. Kittleman should reconsider his resignation as majority leader. But the idea that social conservatives have conspired to push Kittleman out in favor of Brinkley is just laughable.