Four-and-a-half years ago, Time magazine named then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley as one of America's five best big city mayors. I noted at the time that Time must be setting low standards to credit O'Malley as being good at his job.Fast forward back to today, and you would be shocked and appalled to discover that Governing magazine has named Martin O'Malley one of their 2009 Public Officials of the Year.Seriously:
Everyone knows Martin O'Malley is a numbers guy. The data-driven approach to policy and administration that he created as mayor of Baltimore, known as "CitiStat," has been copied by cities across the country. Now, as governor of Maryland, O'Malley is showing that states, too, can improve performance by measuring what they do and relentlessly monitoring their progress.Emphasis mine. Because I'm not exactly sure what progress we are improving upon here in Maryland thanks to O'Malley and any of his metrics.Frankly, somebody needs to get the guy a calculator and a clue so he might realize that spending more than you make is an irresponsible, reckless, and immature way to run a government.The Governing article gets even deeper with O'Malley in an extended interview that has some, well, enlightening comments.
So as you're tackling these big jobs, how do you keep everyone focused and keep morale up when the budget situation is so tough?
I think there's two things that allow us to stay focused as we're jumping these budgetary bowling balls that keep coming down the gutter at us: It's clarity about the big goals — sustainability, security and skills — and it's the relentless stat meetings.
I ask you this; is a Governor who is so focused on his band really able to keep his entire administration focused on public service?
Next, we get to Martin O'Malley's thoughts on power and "being mean":
But how do you know when to back off a little and when to lean in?
When you actually hold the power, I don't think you ever have to be cruddy or mean. I appoint judges, and that's one of the things that I share with them. If you're wearing the black robe you don't have to be cruddy or mean, you've got the power.
Hasn't Martin O'Malley made a career of being cruddy, mean, petty, immature, irresponsible, and a bunch of other adjectives that you could insert here? O'Malley has some of the thinnest skin in the history of Maryland politics, and loathes it when he doesn't get his way. Just look at his shakedown of Constellation Energy and you will see a Governor who is more petulant than poised, and more concerned in political posturing that doing real work for real people.
And furthermore, you will note in the original that O'Malley himself put an emphasis on the phrase "you've got the power." You can draw your own conclusions of O'Malley's views on government intrusion and the scope and size of government from that little emphasis on that little word.
Then, the subject turns to the budget and the economy, and O'Malley continues to show that he has been living in some fiscal wonderland that the rest of us are not privy to:
We did a lot of things prior to getting hit with this recession. When we came in, we had what was primarily a structural deficit, not a cyclical deficit. That was the result of Democrats and Republicans alike, who had voted for huge increases in education investments, the cost of which they knew wouldn't come ashore for another five or six years, while simultaneously voting for 10 percent cuts to revenues. And so we had to address that utterly irresponsible fiscal math, and we chose to do that in a special session eight months into my first year.
Yes, he somehow managed to squander a $1.2 billion surplus eight months into his term. It was amazing and stupefying, yet he was able to pull it off. That leads us to....
Most of us remember it as a really miserable session — there was nothing terribly special about it. But we looked at virtually every revenue source available, the primary one being the sales tax. So we raised that by a penny. We also put in place a progressive income tax for the first time in Maryland's history, where we asked higher-earning folks in our state to pay a little more than a single parent who might make only $30,000 a year. And we also increased our corporate income tax by 1 percent. Those were some of the things that we did. And as difficult as it was, the fact that we did them before the recessionary tsunami hit has stood us well.
Yeah, it was a miserable session alright; mainly for Maryland's middle and working class families who have been suffering at the hands of Governor O'Malley's recklessness and incompetence. Higher and higher taxes continue to slow our economy, drive jobs out of state, and force middle class Marylanders into continued economic uncertainty, but Martin O'Malley thinks that this is a good thing. And what's even more delusional is the fact that Martin O'Malley thinks that Maryland's fiscal situation is good right now. He raises billions in new taxes, adds billions in new spending, wonders why the math doesn't work out, and then in an Orwellian fashion declares the crisis managed and that victory has been won. It's surreal.
Finally, as is Governor O'Malley hadn't already shown how divorced he was from reality, comes this:
In talking to some of the Republicans in the legislature, while they complain about Democratic dominance they do say that your administration is at least approachable. What's your basic strategy when it comes to working with the legislature?
I was elected following a term of tremendous polarization. It was almost the Newt Gingrich sort of thing, that you'd better not be seen having lunch with people that are not of your party. So I've tried to bring us together, and to underscore that we're one Maryland and we're all in this together. I do understand that each legislator is individually elected and each has a vision that they bring into government.
A Maryland Democrat talking about polarization is so incredibly comical, given the fact that it was Democratic leadership in Annapolis that refused to work with Governor Ehrlich when he came to them with a collaborative approach. In the time since O'Malley has taken office, he has taken a my way or the highway approach, particularly with Republican leadership in Annapolis; how many times over the years has Republican leadership been completely left out of the conversation, particularly when it comes to important issues such as taxation, the budget, and health care.
Sure, there are some Republicans who for whatever reason will give O'Malley cover and vote for his plans. But I think it is safe to say that Martin O'Malley has presided over the greatest partisan divide in Annapolis in my lifetime.
The fact of the matter is that this article in Governing has shown that the O'Malley camp is doing a nice job of pulling the wool over the eyes of people who don't see how he operates on a day-to-day basis, nor people who are living here in the state of Maryland. We see the kind of petulance, incompetence, and indifference that comes out of the O'Malley Administration on a Daily Basis. We see the middle and working class families who are struggling to make ends meet as they suffering from higher taxation and fewer job opportunities. We see state employees suffering furloughs because of lower than expected tax revenues due to businesses, people, and jobs leaving the state in droves.
It makes you wonder how any objective observer could recognize O'Malley's "Accomplishments". I suppose there is hope for Jim Zorn yet...
Labels: Budget, genuflection, incompetence, O'Malley, O'Malleynomics, Taxes