Commentary by Ron Miller
(Sept. 30, 2009) Although politics are more personal today than ever before, I try my best not to let my philosophical or political disagreements affect my ability to engage constructively with the person or persons with whom I disagree.
It might surprise some of my readers to know I'd actually relish an opportunity to break bread with President Obama. We would argue into the night, I'm sure, but I think he's a fascinating person and I'd love to match wits with him.
My opponent in the upcoming state Senate race, Senate "President for Life" and 38-year General Assembly incumbent Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, is an old-school politician and my issues with him are well-documented. He has always, however, treated me cordially in public and even in private conversations has been civil to me. It may or may not be genuine but it's still appreciated.
Then there's the governor of our state, Martin O'Malley.
I've never met the man, but his actions have convinced me he is one of the most selfish and dangerous politicians in Maryland today.
His opposition to the proposed purchase by Electricité de France (EDF) of nearly half of Constellation Energy Group's nuclear holdings has the look of a personal vendetta rather than the responsible behavior of a mature statesman.
He has been obsessed with sticking it to Constellation ever since he made lowering Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) electricity rates a key campaign issue, only to find out after taking office that there was nothing he could do. He's been on their trail like a deranged stalker ever since.
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) wrote a stinging op-ed piece criticizing O'Malley's intransigence on this issue. The president of the Calvert BOCC, Wilson D. Parran, one of the authors of the letter and one of the county's most prominent Democrats, accused O'Malley of "pseudo-populism in an unseemly bid to wring concessions out of the company." Calvert County's interest in a successful Constellation-EDF deal is tied to the construction of a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs facility, a project that could be placed in jeopardy if the deal doesn't go through.
Parran, who is also the president of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO), and fellow commissioner Barbara Stinnett are taking a risk in confronting the titular head of their own party, but they are placing the well-being of their constituents ahead of petty personal concerns. I can't say the same thing for our governor.
Parran and Stinnett deserve a salute from their constituents for standing up to O'Malley. As far as I know, Mike Miller and Sue Kullen, the county's highest-ranking Democratic elected officials, have been silent on the issue.
Blair Lee wrote in The Gazette that "O'Malley
has no duty to anything other than his own re-election." Even the liberal Baltimore Sun is questioning his actions, calling them "distractions from what is really important in the consideration of this proposed deal, and that is the long-term ability of BGE (Baltimore Gas & Electric) to provide affordable, stable power."
The long-term implications of his temper tantrum make his behavior all the more unacceptable. Maryland is already losing businesses to nearby states, especially Virginia, because of its innate hostility to wealth creators, innovators and entrepreneurs, its burdensome regulatory regime, and its high business tax burden which puts it in the top five nationwide - or bottom five, depending on your perspective.
If O'Malley succeeds in killing the Constellation-EDF deal, our state will lose 4,000 short-to-mid term construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs, $130 million in income tax revenue, and a 1,600 megawatt source of power that will bring $141 million a year in savings to BGE customers for eight years once the plant is operational.
Moreover, no corporation will want to do business with the state of Maryland because our governor violated the terms of the contract he negotiated with Constellation where, in exchange for BG&E rate concessions and Constellation's assumption of BGE liabilities, he agreed to stay out of their business below a certain threshold.
Baltimore Sun business reporter Jay Hancock wrote, "By double-crossing Constellation the governor who campaigned on stopping the BG&E rate increase is only drawing attention to his inability to do so."
An O'Malley spokesperson calls the governor's decision to break his agreement with Constellation "in the interest of ratepayers, period." In the real world, Governor, we call it lying, period.
As a military leader and a businessman, I've always marveled at the apparent lack of accountability in the political realm. As an officer in the U.S. Air Force, I was accountable for the performance of the men and women under my command. As a business executive, I am accountable for profit and loss, team performance, customer satisfaction and winning new business. In both cases, I don't advance unless I get the job done.
Conversely, O'Malley left Baltimore with the worst schools in Maryland and one of the highest crime rates in the nation, and he was rewarded with the governorship of Maryland.
After watching him at work, I've concluded he wins over voters with this "man of the people" persona -the Kennedyesque image, the rock band, the warrior against the evil business interests - it's a well-rehearsed act that has brought him great political success.
What makes him dangerous is that his pursuit of this image can often pollute substantive policy decisions as evidenced by his behavior in the Constellation-EDF negotiations. He is determined to play the populist despite the pleas of sober-minded officials and opinion-shapers across the state to get serious about our future economic and energy interests.
His "pseudo-populism" may burnish his credentials as a "man of the people," but it will hurt this state and its people and, like Baltimore, we will be left holding the bag while he seduces his way into another prominent position, possibly on the national stage. We need to bring the curtain down on his performance in 2010.
Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a conservative blogger and activist, former and future candidate for the Maryland Senate, and communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party. Ron is a regular contributor to
ProLifeUnity.com. You can also follow Ron
on his website TeamRonMiller.com, as
well as Twitter and