In the immortal words of the Phil Collins, "I can feel it coming in the air tonight..."
Pop the champagne America! (but make it Cooks or Korbel - because we're not in favor of free spending)
Or steep your tea bags and feel free keep those Patriot costumes that you've had on since Halloween 2009 on for another night...as it were...because, as new House Majority Leader John Boehner put it, "It's clear tonight who the winners really are, and that's the American people!"
What I think he's trying to say is, "please, please, please...maintain the energy to keep those powdered wigs on and stay united in drag for just two more years, so we can show the country what true 'change' is about...
But in the state that can thank itself for making the phrase, "We must protect this house", a household line, voters did just that - holding tight to the party lines in bringing back, well, everyone.
So what does this mean for the Tea Party Nation and what does this mean for the State?
Well, for the Tea Party Nation, it's bad...very bad. You don't realize it, but it is...
See, the Republican Party, just when it seemed like it might be able to capitalize on rising tide of discontent in America and re-capture not only the seats in House and Senate, but more importantly, the hearts and minds of centrist America, went out and pulled another "Wholesale Crazy".
Yeah, that's right, I'm coining the political term, "Wholesale Crazy" to define what the right-wing/tea party establishment has just pulled off with its little Washington coup-de-etat.
Because (and I'm talking to you - right-wing), in one of the outright craziest election cycles we've seen, when you could have seemed like the safe choice, like your "father's Republican Party", you marched head-stomping Rand Paul out there, side-by-side with "Crazy Juice", Sarah-be-Loco and the Wicked Witch of the East.
Yup, you made the party just crazy enough to completely alienate the middle.
You probably think that the only thing it cost you was the most coveted prize in the race - the Senate seat Harry Reid managed to hold onto.
But what you don't realize, is that it's probably going to end up costing you a lot more. See, if you have control of the House, but not control of the historically more moderate & centrist Senate, what you have is a President who can now point the finger back at you for the next two years, probably just often enough to get himself re-elected. The economy is going to improve, the President is going to point to the fact that, in spite of the resistance of the Senate, his administration was able to overcome and, "we told ya' so", the four year picture will end up a whole lot prettier than it looks after two.
You heard it hear first, today's Tea Party is going to turn into one heck of a 2012 hangover.
But Marylanders, the state that bleeds blue, will be quick to dismiss all that Tea Party nonsense saying, "that's all well and good, but let's talk about Maryland. We held the line here!"
Yup, you sure did.
Nice work, Maryland.
I'm sure you'll take that 56% to 42% drubbing and call it a landslide - a confirmation of Martin O'Malley's first term - and evidence that Maryland is still on the right track. Surely, O'Malley is going to ride the wave right through the State Legislature...nothing like a mandate, free reign, and a final term to continue the unmitigated disaster he started in Baltimore.
I'm the first to confirm that it's a landslide - but more like the kind Californians fear is going to happen with the next big quake - a landslide right into the abyss.
"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." - Adolph Hitler
I hate to go 'Wholesale Crazy' myself, throwing a Hitler quote out there, but sadly, it's been rattling around in my head since I saw the first of infinite O'Malley attack ads in a campaign in which he out-advertised his competitor more than 2-to-1.
But the bottom line is this, O'Malley just won an election by winning just 4 out of the 20 counties in Maryland. He couldn't even win the County that surrounds his first political stop as Mayor (Baltimore) or the County he calls home today (Anne Arundel). If your neighbors don't want you around...
Either way, winning counties like PG, Montgomery and Baltimore City is, at least where I come from, called "Cherry Picking". He managed to outspend and effectively out-lie Robert Ehrlich in 4 key counties, thus sweeping the election and ensuring another 4 years of broken promises, unrealized expectations, fiscal insanity and a harshly anti-corporate environment.
What? You say? Prove it?
OK, well, first let's break down the landslide - or as we should be spelling it - landsLIEd.
The County that O'Malley absolutely owned? PG County - by a margin of 88% to 11%. The other stone cold lock for O'Malley - Baltimore City - a 90 square mile block of misguided influence - I will happily address as well.
And this is where the credibility cart really starts to come off the rails.
Martin O'Malley ran on "tough choices that move Maryland forward". But, what do PG County residents think these "tough choices" have gotten them?
- PG County schools are the WORST IN THE STATE, from a County-by-County comparison. Closely behind PG County - Montgomery County...the County that delivered O'Malley the most votes. These two counties make up the core of the clearly oxygen-depleted and thus impaired, "blue vein" that runs through the middle of the state and keeps men like O'Malley in office. Didn't O'Malley run on "putting education first"? As a side note, Baltimore City, long recognized as one of the worst school districts in the Nation, actually improved and pulled itself off the list once O'Malley moved from Baltimore (as Mayor) into Annapolis. In layman's terms - O'Malley leaves Baltimore, dumps money into PG and Montgomery County, their schools get worse, Baltimore's get better, and O'Malley calls it a success...hmmmm. Meanwhile, Maryland's overall ranking near the top of the Nation - exactly where it was when Ehrlich left office.
- Speaking of education - O'Malley harped on the fact that he froze "college tuition for four years in a row." But the state's largest public institution of higher learning, the University of Maryland, watched it's own student run paper endorse Bob Ehrlich.
- "Tough choices on the economy." Boy did we hear that one. So, PG County and Baltimore City, what did those tough choices net you in return? PG County ranks as the 12th WORST HOUSING MARKET IN THE COUNTRY. Baltimore City, meanwhile, ranks in the 5th quintile (that's near the bottom) in terms of their Economic Outlook Rating by Moody's despite being ranked the 4th largest trade zone IN THE WORLD. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can do LESS with MORE than Mayor/Governor O'Malley.
- "Protecting small business in Maryland". Another laugher. in 2010, Maryland ranked 43rd (out of 50) in "Cost of Doing Business" by CNBC in their Annual Ranking of 'America's Top States for Doing Business'. In 2009, Maryland ranked 42nd. In 2008, Maryland ranked 33rd. In 2007, yes, you guessed it, better still, ranked 29th. That's right. During his term as Governor, Martin O'Malley took us from 29th to 43rd in the nation. NOW THAT'S PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS.
- "Fees are the same thing as taxes". The final cornerstone of the O'Malley campaign. Probably the most egregious and effective of the O'Malley lies. We couldn't expect someone who has such a loose grasp of the truth to understand something like fundamental economics, but fees, which Ehrlich judiciously raised, are NOT the same as taxes. Fees are attached to the providing of a service. Ehrlich looks at running the state as he should, like running a business. Rather than tax arbitrarily for every purchase (like O'Malley's 20% sales tax increase), he taxed you when you used something, "the flush tax", or he taxed you when you owned something, "property tax", or when you built something, "impact & permitting fees." PG County, for example, has some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country...so they're not footing the bill for Maryland...they're just cranking out the completely misguided and uniformed votes that determined the electoral outcome. If you don't own anything, you can't be taxed on anything. Further, they have proportionately lower housing starts per capita than anywhere in the State. So, things like impact fees shouldn't be an issue either. But, somehow, the taxes vs. fees argument worked in PG. Thusly, PG County and Baltimore City, two places Maryland wished weren't part of Maryland, determined who we would be governed by. One word - Wow.
Ehrlich said, "you use it, you pay for it." O'Malley says, at least to PG County, "you walk into the store, you pay for the visit, and if I break it, YOU buy it. But don't think too hard about it, because I'm going to tell you OVER AND OVER, that HE'S the bad guy...HE raised the fees (that you don't pay), HE raised the property taxes (that you don't pay), that HE worked for a lobbying firm and a law firm (that must have been smart enough to outsmart O'Malley, otherwise it wouldn't even be relevant) and all I did was increase the sales tax by a penny (which means EVERYTHING you buy is taxed at 20% more)."
I guess you can't expect much of a grasp of simple math from voters in one of the worst school districts in the nation, but, isn't this just bordering on bizarre?
So, that's what we have to look forward to over the next four years. That's what you've gotten yourself into Maryland.
I'm sure this sounds like sour grapes to most of you, since I so clearly have supported Ehrlich throughout the campaign. But I'm neither right, nor left. I'm neither Republican nor Democrat (and certainly not Tea-Bagger). I'm one of the few people, at least as I see it, that realizes the best choice for Maryland is a Democratic Governor that endorses a Republican candidate for President (as William Donald Shaeffer did in 1992). Or a Republican Governor that honored his Democratic predecessor, as Robert Ehrlich did when he turned the water back on to the former Governor's fountain at the Governor's Mansion upon taking office in 2002.
Our best years have come when we toe the middle, not when we elect Governors based on 4 Counties vs. 16.
So to the Tea Partiers that want reform, lower the shades and ready the aspirin, because that 2012 Hangover is really going to be something. And to the party-line Democrats who gave us another 4 years of incompetency, call Mr. O'Malley and send an email to the President, because they've got your check.