“Governor Hogan is a Big Mean Meanie-Pants” Says Senator Miller
Several days ago, the Maryland Senate finally held it’s last veto-override vote, possibly in violation of the MD Constitution, giving voting rights to felons who are out of jail on parole and probation. Since then, the 29 State Senators who voted against the will of the overwhelming majority of the people to override the veto have been getting emails and phone calls from disgruntled constituents. True, some of those messages have crossed a line between civility and vulgar hatred. Obviously, as someone who has been on the receiving end of similar hatred and vulgarity I roundly condemn such things. However the majority of the messages left for the Senators have been your standard, run-of-the-mill, “I hope you never get elected again,” generic messages. Yet even that was just too much for Maryland Senate President Mike Miller.
Senator Miller took to the floor of the Maryland Senate last Friday to complain about the tone of the messages, reading what he felt were the worst ones, then blamed Governor Hogan for “ginning up” the hatred. You see, Gov. Hogan had the audacity to share a post from his campaign arm, Change Maryland, that had named the 29 senators who overrode the veto. Here is the post in question from the Governor’s facebook page:
Nothing inflammatory, nothing hate-filled, just a hey, theses are the guys who went against the will of the people. Let them know what you think about that. But there is a narrative being crafted by the media that blames Governor Hogan and that post for the nasty phone call and mean emails. This narrative is a continuation of the idea the media has pushed forward since the initial veto last year.
The original narrative was that Gov Hogan and Republicans are hateful, and don’t want to help these poor, reformed ex felons get back on their feet, that’s why they denied them the right to vote. However, in MD, the law ALREADY allowed ex-felons to have the rights to vote restored as soon as they completed their time, including parole or probation. In other words, ex-felons could regain the right to vote once they had completed their sentences and thereby completely paid their debt to society.
In part because this narrative was not debunked effectively last year, and in part because it’s what they do, the media has taken this story of Sen. Miller’s complaints and used them to attack Gov. Hogan and his spokesperson as hateful, and unfeeling. The claim is that Hogan is a big mean meanie pants who sicced his friends with their hateful rhetoric on the Senators because they disagreed with him and just wanted to help these poor felons. The media backs this up by using a quote in the response from Hogan spokesman, “If these good senators don’t want their constituents to be upset with them, they should stop voting in favor of bills that they (voters) absolutely despise.”
But that was not the full statement from Doug Mayer. For the record, the Daily Record actually has more of the Hogan response, including the condemnation the nasty stuff. Every other news story I’ve seen on this leaves that part of the Hogan response out.
“Douglass Mayer, a spokesman for Hogan, said he would not comment on the actions of the campaign but acknowledged that the governor had also shared the post on his official account.
“After listening to the talk on the Senate floor this morning, it sounds like a number of senators are very mad that people outside of Annapolis now know what’s happening inside of Annapolis,” Mayer said. “If these good senators don’t want their constituents to be upset with them, they should stop voting in favor of bills that they (voters) absolutely despise.”
“If the argument they’re making is that we need less transparency and less accountability in governing and legislating, then they need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and decision about who are they really serving here in Annapolis,” Mayer said.
Mayer said Hogan does not approve of threatening messages.
“Of course the governor condemns words of violence,” Mayer said. “But this isn’t a conversation about that. It’s a conversation about accountability and transparency.”
Mayer said Miller wants to play by rules in which nothing is ever discussed once a vote or decision is made, while Miller himself is frequently critical of Hogan.”
Interestingly, the media is downplaying Senator Miller’s threats directed at Gov. Hogan. The Daily Record quoted Miller saying, “We need to continue to avoid the pin pricks that precede the cannon shots. This is a pin prick. If you want a cannon shot, it’s going to come later on in the session and we don’t need that.” What does that mean? It seems to say that Hogan better reel in his crowds or Miller’s going to really show Hogan who’s boss. The Capital Gazette had a more direct threat from Miller, “Hopefully this is a lesson learned, and hopefully he heard the message loud and clear. And if he didn’t, and it happens again, there’s going to be consequences.”
Constitutionality aside, this veto override was a power play. It was Sen Miller and company out to prove to the Governor that he’s powerless to stop anything Miller & Busch want done, therefore he should just fall into line and let Miller have his way. Hogan’s best, fastest way to prove them wrong was to let the people know what they had done. Hogan can not control how the people react. If some nutter went off the rails, that’s not Hogan’s fault.