America's Most Liberal Governor?

Elisabeth Meinecke

3/4/2013 8:00:00 AM - Elisabeth Meinecke

 

Maryland’s Top Executive is stockpiling leftist accomplishments that even Obama would envy—and this liberal governor may harbor ambitions to take his leftist agenda national.

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Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's March feature, "Is O'Malley America's Most Liberal Governor?," by Fred Lucas:

Just weeks before the start of Maryland’s legislative session, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley told a gathering of reporters he expected to address anti-gun legislation in 2013.

“What I sense is there is a greater willingness among those who in the past felt that gun control measures were not as effective as some other things that we could be doing,” the governor said not long after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. He added, “I think we have too many guns, and I think we have too much killing.”

A few days earlier he met with NAACP President Ben Jealous about abolishing the death penalty in Maryland, which he failed to do in 2009 despite governing a liberal state with a Democratic legislature.

While devoting political capital to ending the death penalty and restricting Second Amendment freedoms might be risky for some politicians, it’s just checking more boxes after 24 tax hikes, legalized gay marriage, and college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants. O’Malley was uncharitably given the title “Maryland’s Son of Obama” in The Wall Street Journal, an editorial voice respected nationwide on economic matters. All these items reveal O’Malley as one of the nation’s most liberal governors—and, arguably, its worst.

Yet despite a deplorable record as his state’s chief executive, O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, seems to have his eyes toward the White House in 2016.

And why not?

Like Obama, O’Malley calls most government expenditures “investments.” Like Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, O’Malley has strategically targeted key Democratic constituencies important in a primary: gays, Hispanics, unions and environmentalists. A theme on O’Malley’s political action committee website is “Forward,” just like Obama’s 2012 campaign. If he could just get a dog and name it Mo, instead of Bo, O’Malley would be well on his way.

At the end of the 2012 legislative session, Maryland Republican Party Executive Director David Ferguson asked in a press release, “Is Martin O’Malley the worst leader in America? If he wasn’t fixated on his rigid ideology and his future political aspirations, he might be able to lead the state that elected him. After wasting three months of the people’s time, Martin O’Malley has to be the worst leader in America.”

It’s not just partisan rhetoric that stacks up against O’Malley, who was first elected in 2006.

The Baltimore Sun reported in June 2011 that Maryland ranked 50th in job creation based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the previous 12 months. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, ranked O’Malley the nation’s worst governor in 2008. He has moved up on the list, but through no fault of his own.

“We gave him an F in the first year. He has moved up in the ranking not because of improvement but because Maryland hasn’t been as bad as California and Illinois,” Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at Cato Institute, told Townhall. “The recession has forced many liberal governors to slow spending. O’Malley hasn’t. Since 2007, spending in Maryland has gotten worse.”

Regarding the two other states Edwards mentioned, Gov. Jerry Brown only returned to the helm of California in 2011, while Gov. Pat Quinn has been running Illinois since 2009. One could certainly argue these two inherited some of their mess. Maryland’s unemployment rate is roughly double what it was when O’Malley came into office in 2007. ...

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