Rosapepe’s Revisionism

The delusion of the few Maryland Democrats yearning for a Martin O’Malley White House has once again been put on full display.

In an editorial published yesterday in The Hill, State Senator Jim Rosapepe made a pitch that Martin O’Malley’s Catholic values are going to propel him in his 2016 campaign for President. But just as interesting as that crazy notion is the Rosapepe’s attempt to rewrite the history of Martin O’Malley’s Administration.

After fabricating a tale based around the standard O’Malley story that blames Bob Ehrlich for all of our collective ills, Rosapepe drops this astonishing “fact”:

He also brought a new tone to Annapolis: respect for political opponents, immigrants — and even legislators. When I came to the Senate, I was astonished to hear Republican colleagues say they were being consulted more by O’Malley than they had been by his predecessor. 

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O’Malley has shown he’s an A student in working with diverse personalities and interests. More than anything else, that’s why he’s been able to get so much done in just eight years. O’Malley has won almost his whole agenda — including repealing the death penalty. 

Nothing of course could be further from the truth. Martin O’Malley has shown, during his term as Governor, no respect for anybody but himself and no respect for anything beyond his own selfish personal ambitions. O’Malley has not worked with diverse personalities and interests. Instead, he has merely used political intimidation to try to get what he wants, and has gone above and beyond to attempt to punish Republicans and Democrats who don’t go along with the program.

Don’t believe me? Look again at the redistricting plan that he pushed.

While that’s insulting enough, what’s truly infuriating for me as a Catholic is this idea that Martin O’Malley is some Catholic warrior for justice.  Rosapepe writes:

But, as one who has watched O’Malley up close during his years as governor, I find him more interesting and unusual in the modern Democratic Party. He’s a social justice Catholic—or, as some have called him, a Pope Francis Democrat—in the tradition of Mario Cuomo and Robert Kennedy. 

Consider O’Malley’s outspoken leadership last summer on the crisis of refugee children on America’s border with Mexico. When demagogues claimed that frightened ten year olds from El Salvador are a threat to our way of life, O’Malley asked Americans to remember the biblical injunction of hospitality to strangers and protection of children. He brought together faith leaders in Maryland to find the right refuges for young refugees in his own state. According to the federal government, more than 2,200 of these children have found refuge in Maryland. 

That’s the Martin O’Malley I know — acting on the values he learned from his family, from his Jesuit high school teachers, and from his college years at the Catholic University. And acting with the leadership skills of an Irish Catholic Democrat he learned in seven years as mayor of Baltimore and eight years as governor of Maryland.

This is the typical, “social justice” line that we get from Catholic Democrats who want to focus on things like opposition to the death penalty immigration, education spending, and programs for the homeless and for the poor. While of course sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, and clothing the needy are all indeed part of Catholic social teaching, what that teaching does not say is that it is the job of Government to do these things. No, it is the job of each and every one of us as Catholics (and as Christians) to take on this responsibility ourselves. It is the individual responsibility of us, not the collective responsibility of the society through government, to do these things. And what Rosapepe is suggesting is that O’Malley is living this “social justice Catholicism” by using the force of government to make individuals do what we should be doing ourselves.

Left unsaid and unexplained by Rosapepe, of course, is where the “social justice” is in raising taxes on middle and working class Marylanders in order to dole out political spoils to Maryland Democratic cronies, which has turned out to be the real hallmark of the O’Malley Administration.

Rosapepe’s wrapping of O’Malley in the warm embrace of Catholicism also of course fails to acknowledge the number of times that O’Malley blatantly ignore s Catholic teaching as well. You need to look no further than his embrace of gay marriage or his continued refusal to protect the lives of the unborn. As I asked last year, why is ending the death penalty more of a priority than protecting the unborn?

Rosapepe’s piece is imaginative in how he tries to rewrite the history of the O’Malley Administration. I can’t say I blame him, given how much of a failure that O’Malley has been with fewer jobs, higher taxes, and a hostile business climate. O’Malley is leaving his successor a deficit of over $1 billion and his policies were thoroughly rejected by voters at the ballot box. But if O’Malley wants to pretend that everything is smelling likes roses and that somehow he is a great champion of Catholic values, it’s going to take more than a creative writing project from a brown-nosing State Senator to get people to buy in.

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