Friday, March 25, 2005

Bob Ehrlich - Risking His Political Life

Tom Bevan makes some excellent points today about how Republican governors can successfully scuttle any hope of achieving higher office by permitting tax increases or by being pro-choice.

Maryland's Republican governor, Bob Ehrlich, may well join the host of Republican governors who may have topped out. He is pro-choice which is close to being a requirement in Maryland, but which would not have affected his election much in 2002. And while he has pretty much held the line on taxes, he has raised state fees of all kinds. Tell my wallet that there is a difference. Add to that the fact that Maryland has been running astounding surpluses which it does not return to taxpayers, and having 15th highest tax rate in the nation, it makes me wonder what the difference would have been had we elected the uniquely underwhelming Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to office.

People elect Republicans when they have tired of a parental state. They elect them when they want to know that their money is being used properly, and that not a cent more is being extracted from them than is absolutely necessary. If we wanted a continuation of the Democrats' policies, we wouldn't have ousted them. Perhaps Ehrlich's tax inertia indicates that he has much to fear in the way of re-election in 2006. But Republicans motivated to elect him in 2002 may just not turn up in 2006 because we really didn't get anything different than what we had under Parris Glendenning, Maryland's roundly unpopular governor during the 90s.

But the legislative session is largely over for 2005. No tax cut bill will slip through. And the mandate for a second term becomes quite dubious.

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