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Fraser Smith's Essay: March 14, 2013
March 14, 2013
Governor Martin O'Malley appears headed for spectacular success in this General Assembly session. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
Try to think of something major on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s wish list that doesn’t seem headed for his signature after this year’s General Assembly session.
He’ll likely find a way to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. A significant gun control measure has cleared hurdles in the State Senate. He seems to be getting a wind power bill. And the death penalty seems likely to be repealed in Maryland. Other legislative accomplishments – all of them bearing his fingerprints – could be added to the list of wins.
All of this will be added to last year’s successes with marriage equality, gambling and the Dream Act.
It’s a remarkable winning streak, which so far has not resulted in more than middling job approval according to some recent polls. People could be getting a little tired of him after a decade of high profile service – or maybe it’s something like aversion to gas tax proposals.
O’Malley owes much of this run to Senate President Mike Miller who could have blocked him but chose not to. O’Malley’s reluctant support for Miller’s pet issue – gambling – lies somewhere near the heart of it all.
Republicans, no doubt, see the record as replete with damaging ventures into the realm of revenue raising (gasoline tax initiatives) or costly experiments (wind). The gun bills as well have been dismissed by the GOP as over-reaching.
Is O’Malley shamelessly burnishing his image in anticipation of a presidential run in 2016? Or is he simply getting his job done as governor? Probably depends on your point of view. But there is this: with the help of Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch, he’s presiding over a state that seems to get its work done without crippling disruption.
Will it help him win the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2016? Who knows? Many political lifetimes will pass before our eyes in that length of time.
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