We’re just about through the last weekend of the 2012 campaign, and hopefully by late Tuesday night we will have a good idea of where the country will be heading over the next four years (or perhaps four decades, should the incumbent win.) Of course that’s assuming we have no protracted recounts such as we endured 12 years ago – the prospect of two such occurrences in a lifetime boggles the mind.
Yet regardless of what happens Tuesday life will go on, and the sun will come up Wednesday. I’ll still have my work to do as will most of the rest of us who don’t toil for candidates.
I’ve always been about thinking two to three steps ahead where possible, which is why I’m writing this postmortem of sorts on the Sunday before the election. (It’s also why I wrote my book and eschewed the normal publishing process to get it to market prior to the campaign season hitting high gear. Did it cost me some sales? Perhaps, but readers can remedy that situation easily enough as I link to the sales sites from monoblogue.)
Just in the next three months there are a lot of political stories still to be written, from the local to the national. Here in my adopted hometown of Salisbury, the mayoral race will take center stage. No one has formally declared for the office yet, but it’s highly likely we’ll have at least two (and possibly three) candidates: incumbent Mayor Jim Ireton will go for a second term, realtor Adam Roop made it known almost a year ago he was seeking some unspecified office – his two choices are a City Council district seat or mayor – and recent transplant and blogger Joe Albero has made his own overtures. At least he’s invested in the shirts:
That will probably begin to play out in the next couple weeks.
After that we begin the holiday season, which may be politicized to a certain extent as well. My thought is that if Barack Obama wins, the early predictions of a modest year-over-year growth will hold true or end up slightly lower than imagined. I seem to recall last year started out like gangbusters on Black Friday but tailed off once those big sales came to an end. On the other hand, a Mitt Romney win may open up the purse strings and result in an increase twice of what was predicted. I think seeing him win with a GOP Congress will boost consumer confidence overnight as they figure the long national nightmare is over.
Once the holidays are over, it’s then time for both the 113th Congress to get started and, more importantly for local matters, the “90 days of terror” better known as the Maryland General Assembly session to begin. In the next few weeks I will finally wrap up my annual monoblogue Accountability Project for 2012 in order to hold our General Assembly members accountable for all the good and bad votes they made in the three 2012 sessions. With so much written about in 2012 on my part, I had to put that project on the back burner for most of the fall.
At the same time, state races for 2014 will begin to take shape. Unlike the last three gubernatorial elections we do not have the prospect of a candidate named Ehrlich in the race, which leaves the field wide open. While the three who have made overtures toward running on the GOP side have already made their presence known, only one (Blaine Young) has formally announced and the conventional wisdom (such that there is for Maryland GOP politics) labels him as the longest shot of the three most-rumored candidates, the other two being early 2010 candidate Larry Hogan and outgoing Harford County Executive David Craig.
But there are also down-ticket statewide races to consider as well, and there’s a decent chance that both Attorney General and Comptroller may become open seats as Doug Gansler and Peter Franchot, respectively, consider a race for Governor. (While there are three hopefuls so far for governor on the GOP side, there may be at least five on the Democratic side: Gansler, Franchot, current Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, and Delegate Heather Mizeur.)
The GOP bench is a little shorter for the downticket positions at this time, but I believe William Campbell is willing to reprise his 2010 Comptroller run and wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Shalleck doesn’t make sure he’s on the ballot this time for Attorney General. Another intriguing name for the AG position would be 2010 U.S. Senate candidate (and attorney) Jim Rutledge, who obviously has the advantage of having already run statewide. On the other side, I’m hearing that State Senator Brian Frosh (who generally serves as a dictatorial Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee) is one name in the mix for AG, but another intriguing one is former First District Congressman Frank Kratovil, who is now a judge in Queen Anne’s County.
So the beat will go on after this year’s election is over. It’s not surprising to me that I’ve had some great readership numbers over the last few weeks, but the last couple weeks in particular have blown me away. The trick, though, will be maintaining the audience through a period where fewer discuss politics and more concentrate on friends and family during the holiday season. I won’t be so presumptuous to believe that my humble little site should be uppermost on everyone’s mind, but I hope to roll into year number 8 of monoblogue in grand style.
Yesterday I got a mail piece that REALLY burned me up as an elected member of the Maryland Republican Party – as opposed to the two who claim to speak on my behalf. Here’s a photo:
Maybe it’s because I don’t have family on the payroll of the pro-Issue 7 side, but it seems to me that these two have drifted pretty far away from the party mainstream on a number of issues.
If you really want a good – conservative – Republican voter guide, you can look no further than my website since I went over all these questions last week. I don’t sell out to the highest bidder.
It is interesting to note, however, that the group which paid for this mailing is NOT the one which has paid for the numerous pro-Question 7 mailings which have found their way to my mailbox. Those are paid for by the laughably misnamed FOR Maryland Jobs and Schools, while this mailing was paid for by the similarly misnamed Republican Leaders Referendum Guide. The treasurers for each group are different as well.
Now I can understand that both Audrey and Michael have their roots in Prince George’s County and they feel the new casino would someday benefit their former home. And it just might once the conditions are set right.
But we are in a situation now where casinos being opened up cannibalize the revenues of existing facilities, and the rationale for choosing locations seems to be more about cronyism and buying votes than real market forces. It’s telling that MGM waited to jump into the market until they got a sweetheart deal they could live with; meanwhile, Penn National played by the original rules and watched their investment in Perryville go sour the minute a casino opened in Anne Arundel County. Obviously that’s the risk an investor runs.
So why should every little decision have to come down to the voters? I’ll grant that I’m not familiar with the setup of other states, but it seems to me that if we’re talking about a commission that includes both gaming and the Maryland Lottery the rules should be relatively the same – if the Maryland Lottery wants a new scratch-off game voter approval is not required.
The solution is simple: vote AGAINST Question 7 and make the General Assembly come back with a ballot issue in 2014 to repeal Article XIX of the Maryland Constitution. That ill-considered change from 2008 removed the General Assembly from making decisions more properly theirs, punting these issues to a ballot every two years as opposed to being able to make changes at least annually if not more often via a Special Session as it was this summer. If Question 7 passes then there’s no incentive to change a system that’s flawed. Let’s get gambling done right: it’s as simple as that.
And just for the record: Steele and Scott are wrong on Questions 1 and 2 as well. There’s no need to modify the Orphan’s Court in any county.