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George Michael: Voting no could end O'Malley's career

November 03, 2012|By GEORGE MICHAEL

For those too young to remember, first lady Nancy Reagan had an anti-drug message to Americans in the 1980s around the theme, “Just Say No!” Conservatives in Maryland could use this quip when entering the voting stalls on Nov. 6. It will be a great time to say “No.”

Seven referendum questions will be on the ballot facing voters in this election besides casting a ballot for the presidential, senate, and congressional races. The first three are constitutional changes, the first two of which deserve rejection. But items Nos. 4 through 7 are very important. Conservatives have an opportunity to vote down the legislative agenda of the Martin O’Malley administration.

These are not peripheral issues. They go to the heart of the liberal-conservative divide, not only in Maryland, but in fact, touch issues that are significant nationally. Political observers around the country will be watching.

Item No. 4 is the so-called “Dream Act,” which allows certain undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges. This seems unfair and illogical at the core.

Should we be granting these extra discounts, especially given the state’s current financial mess? Gov. O’Malley has already pushed us to the edge of financial chaos and giving away more discounts seems irrational.

And to the immigrants in our state who have played by the rules and become citizens and residents of Maryland by legal means, more power to you. Our nation is a still a melting pot and a ray of hope to millions around the world.

Item No. 5 is about the governor’s redistricting plan. You may recall how Gov. O’Malley drew up this new, twisted, convoluted map in response to the 2010 census requirements.

The map is a classic case of political gerrymandering at its worse. Our own 6th District was changed by taking most of Frederick and Carroll counties out of the 6th and throwing us in with half of Montgomery County. The obvious purpose was to enable Democrats to get rid of Roscoe Bartlett, whom they never could defeat in a legitimate election. The only fly in the ointment in the governor’s plan was that his handpicked candidate, Rob Garrigiola, lost in the Democratic primary to newcomer John Delany.

Question No. 6 deals with same-sex marriage. The governor spent weeks of this year’s General Assembly time with all kinds of special deals to get this one passed. Then, he had to call a special session to take care of our state’s financial issues when the budget was not completed on time.

Fortunately, a number of large black churches in Prince George’s County and the D.C. suburbs are against this bill and will join conservatives from Western and Southern Maryland along with the Eastern Shore in opposing this item.

Lastly, the question we have heard the most about, No. 7, is the expansion of gambling with a new site to allow citizens to line the pockets of the gambling industry and new opportunities for people to lose their shirts at more video gambling terminals. Another case of a bad solution for a real problem — our state’s finances

So just say “No.” Actually, on the ballot, it says, “Against the Referred Law.” Republicans are accused of being the “Party of No.” But when you understand the agenda of both President Obama and Governor O’Malley, saying “No” is the only recourse allowed in their world of one party rule.

There is one other way local voters can say “No.” A vote for Roscoe Bartlett for Congress would be a great way to say “No” to the governor’s big gerrymandering scheme. Do people of Western Maryland, Democratic or Republican, want someone from Montgomery County to represent us?

It is pretty certain all of these measures will fail to pass in Washington County.

But Maryland is a very liberal state and three jurisdictions alone, Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County can swamp the more rural counties of the state.

Defeat of any two of these O’Malley initiatives would be a significant set-back for the governor and his plans to run for president in 2016. Defeat of any three would be huge. Losing all four would be seismic, the ultimate defeat for Mr. O’Malley. He could kiss his political future, such as it was, goodbye for good.

George Michael is a Williamsport resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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