Playing the Hand Your Dealt

I don’t often disagree with Streiff’s assessment of local politics, but I don’t think his assessment of yesterday’s budget hearings does the Republican Caucus justice in this regard.

As soon as President Miller and Speaker Busch called for public hearings and a public airing of Republican ideas; the caucuses were faced with a Hobson’s Choice:

  • Show up; or,
  • Not show up.

Of course, there were consequences to the Caucus picking either choice:

  • Show up, and you get the opportunity to air your grievances publicly, in front of citizens and the media. You get the opportunity to show the people and legislative leadership that there are, in fact, real alternatives to the failure of Martin O’Malley and the Democrats to lead on this issue; or,
  • Don’t show up, and then the story becomes Republicans not wanting to present their ideas on fixing the budget.

Tony O’Donnell, Chris Shank, David Brinkley, EJ Pipkin, Steve Schuh and other Republicans down in Annapolis did the best they could with the hand that they were dealt; in fact, I think that Republican leadership, in actuality, called the bluff of the Democrats. I am not sure that Speaker Busch thought the Republicans had real budget solutions to offer (never mind all of the amendments that O’Donnell, Lowell Stoltzfus, and others have offered over the years).

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The fact that Republicans participated in the budget hearing was the best of all possible solutions, particularly when you consider the media hellstorm that would have followed had the Republican caucus balked.

That leads into a different problem; everybody and their brother knew that the Republican budget ideas were not going to get a fair shake in the media. Which leads me to wonder where the hell the Maryland Republican Party has been on this issue. What messages, emails, and talking points have gone out to aggressively push the Republican side of the story?

Frankly, there are two points that need to be said about the State Party media operation;

  • One, it seems to comprise short, pithy, not particularly aggressive our meaningful press releases; and,
  • Two, it seems to me that we here at Red Maryland seem to have a more aggressive and organized media operation than the State Party does.

Republican legislators in Annapolis did what they had to do yesterday; they played the hand that they were dealt.

Now, we have to do our part to grow their numbers this fall….


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