Just a bunch of short items tonight.
Let’s begin at the national level, where another prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidate was brought out of the closet by the Washington Post. They devote five internet pages to Fred Karger’s story.
The play on words was intentional; Karger is billing himself as the first openly gay presidential candidate. I actually mentioned him before when Herman Cain jumped into the race, but this is the biggest splash about him I’ve seen. Leave it to the liberals at the Post to promote him, since Karger isn’t exactly the flavor of the month among Republicans and TEA Party regulars.
Having said that, though, Fred opens up a big can of worms – since establishment Republicans recoil in horror at the thought of being portrayed as racist, imagine the cacophony when they’re deemed homophobes because Karger’s not considered among the top tier of candidates.
Once the Salisbury election is over, I’ll start linking to GOP hopeful websites and Karger’s will be one, assuming he’s still in the race.
How Maryland will affect that race is up for debate. Because of rules adopted by both parties, those states with “winner-take-all” primaries like Maryland have to push their primaries back to April of next year. (Traditional lidlifters Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina will be allowed to hold primaries in February and states which allot convention delegates proportionally may go in March.) Thus, the earliest Maryland could hold its primary in 2012 would be April 3rd, which is the first Tuesday in April.
Compare this to 2008, when Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia held a regional primary on February 12 of that year. (The primary process started in Iowa on January 3 of that year; currently next year’s Iowa caucuses are slated for February 6, 2012.) We still didn’t have a lot of say in the process since 2008’s “Super Tuesday” of primaries occurred the week before.
Also up for change is the date for the 2014 state primary, which needs to be backed up to comply with federal law regarding military ballots.
If it were up to me, though, the national primary process would mirror our state’s to a greater extent. Run Iowa and New Hampshire around the middle of June, hold a half-dozen regional primaries over six weeks in June and July, and have the conventions in late August. A nice short process. Primaries shouldn’t even begin until June as far as I’m concerned – anything before that makes the campaign WAY too long.
The next item comes from being on the strangest e-mail lists. Somehow I have ended up on Barbara Boxer’s e-mail distribution network, but this item piqued my interest.
This week I introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, a bill to permanently prohibit new offshore drilling along the Pacific coast. I was joined by all the Senators from the West Coast – including my colleague from California, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) – in offering this critical legislation to protect the 570,000 jobs and $34 billion coastal economy of our three states.
Additional offshore oil development along the Pacific shoreline would needlessly endanger irreplaceable natural resources and our vital coastal economies.
Boxer goes on to note that there’s no plans for development until at least 2017, but wants to make sure it’s permanent. Why do I get the sneaking hunch that our two Senators will either try and amend the bill to include Maryland or have the brilliant idea to do their own measure? Substitute the word “Atlantic” for “Pacific” and you’d sum up their sentiments.
Of course, the difference is that we know there’s oil off the Pacific coast while the jury’s still out on whether there’s marketable reserves under the Atlantic. But there are some reserves of both coal and natural gas deep underneath the Free State and it behooves us to allow exploration – unfortunately, we have a governor who is woefully short-sighted in that department. (In fact, wind farms, coal mines, and natural gas wells can coexist in the same area.)
In the meantime, I’d lay odds on our not-so-dynamic duo of Cardin and Mikulski helping Boxer’s bill along.
After all, they don’t listen to their constituents who want nothing to do with Obamacare, instead voting along like good little Democratic sheep. Mikulski even voted to keep the onerous Obamacare $600 reporting requirement. (Ben Cardin had the good sense to vote yes, although, more likely, he realized that 2012 is fast approaching.)
Finally, there’s a casting call for another arrogant Democratic party leader in Maryland – seems Susan Turnbull is leaving her post. Benefits include fawning press coverage from most newspapers and plenty of special interest money to spend come election time.
Applicants may suck up to Martin O’Malley for consideration.