Chameleon of the Chesapeake

Given my current economic circumstances, I wasn’t looking for laughter in the editorial pages of my local paper this past week, but I read something hilarious nonetheless. My state senator, “President for Life” Mike Miller, wrote a sober letter to the editor imploring us to be resilient and work together to solve the state’s fiscal problems. He said, “Now is not a time for demagoguery, geographic divisions, or partisan brinksmanship.” Excuse me, but what has been taking place in the General Assembly under your leadership for the past several decades?This can’t be the same man who was famously quoted in 2006 as saying of the Maryland Republican Party:

“We’re going to get together and we're going to shoot [Republicans] down. We're going to put them in the ground. We're going to bury them upside-down, and it'll be 10 years before they crawl out again."

What did this statesman of The Free State have to say in 2009 after this past year’s elections?

"I said, you know they are riding high right now but what’s going to happen is we’re going to come together and we’re going to shoot 'em down. We’re going to shoot 'em down and we’re going to bury them face down, deep and far. So deep and far it’s going to take 20 years for them to come out the other side. They’ll see China from there. But I was wrong. It’s going to take 40 years for them to recover from what we did to them in 2008."

And this is the man calling for an end to demagoguery? I’m sorry, but I’m not buying what he’s selling. Over the years, he and the Maryland Democratic Party presided over massive spending increases and the largest tax increase in Maryland’s history, locked out the Republicans from the decision-making process and ridiculed every alternative budget they put forward for consideration.

Even now as he calls for cooperation, no Republican legislators are being consulted in the budget discussions. Yet they are the ones who are being labeled as partisan and demagogic.

Mike Miller and his party have held a monopoly in the Maryland General Assembly for generations.  He began his first term as a delegate from Prince George’s County when I was 11 years old. When he started his first term in the Maryland Senate, Gerald Ford was the President of the United States. When he became President of the Senate, Bob Ehrlich was a freshly minted delegate from Baltimore County’s 10th Legislative District.  If we choose to return him to the Senate for a 10th term and he serves the full four years, he will have occupied a seat in the General Assembly as either a delegate or senator for 44 years.

Whether he wants to or not, he owns this current fiscal crisis right down to the pink slips issued to state employees because when he had the opportunity to show leadership and hold the line on spending, he didn’t do it. While he may attempt to present himself as a bipartisan fiscal conservative to the newcomers in our district, those who have watched and studied him for a long time aren’t fooled by his pronouncements.

Maryland’s report card is dismal; 4th highest tax burden in the nation, 5th least friendly to businesses, 6th highest in cost of living. We can’t afford another term of Mike Miller as the leader of the Senate. He only knows how to do politics one way, and as we approach the last decade of the 21st century, it’s time for voters to turn the page. The future won’t wait.