Look out, here comes Martin O'Malley
Keep your eyes ahead three years to the summer of 2016 because a character as destructive as Barack Obama is scurrying down the road. If Martin O'Malley, now governor of Maryland and almost maniacally ambitious, succeeds, he will either win the Democrat nomination to replace Obama or, friends say, settle for the vice-president's slot if he is beaten by Hillary Clinton or someone equally tough.
O'Malley is our nation's worst governor. Higher-income residents are fleeing. He has transformed his small state into a model of spiraling taxes and left-wing orthodoxy. He has handed illegal aliens in-state college tuition paid by taxpayers and ordered they be given Maryland driver's licenses as well, banned more guns and is underwriting a hugely expensive offshore wind farm.
The city prison in Baltimore was being run like a cheap crack house and bordello by the inmates; four of the overpaid, unionized female guards were pregnant by just one prisoner whose name they had tattooed on their necks and bodies, and, when exposed last month, O'Malley tried desperately to dodge any responsibility, though he has posed for years as being tough on crime.
One sign of O'Malley's extremism — his “Rain Tax” takes effect on July 1. Homeowners and businesses will pay a yearly tax based on the “impervious surfaces” they own — parking lots, driveways, building roofs — which are rained upon and have water runoff. The taxable areas will be determined by satellite imagery. (Maybe the NSA will volunteer to do it.)
The money collected, estimated at $482 million a year, will be used, O'Malley claims, to reduce runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps a “Sun Tax” will be next for O'Malley and his Democratic Party crazies.
I always had a warm spot for Maryland. I have been around the state for more than 50 years. Even now I have an apartment in Chevy Chase, though my wife and I live on the water in rural Virginia.
I spent a year at boarding school in rural Maryland (The Naval Academy Prep School) in 1960 and took my free-weekend duck hunting on the Susquehanna Flats in Havre de Grace, then maybe the best place in America for the sport because of the huge numbers of canvasbacks flying in for the wild celery.
Sometimes, I would hitchhike the 35 miles to Baltimore on a Saturday to visit the bars in the colorful downtown vice center along East Baltimore Street. It was called The Block — very tough bars, hookers, strippers and burlesque houses, including the Two O'clock Club, featuring Blaze Starr.
The central police headquarters overlooked the iniquity from a perch at the end of The Block. The wag's line then was that the cops were sited so close to make the regular collection of cash and cases of whiskey a shorter haul.
The city was run by Democrats, then and now. Nancy Pelosi's father, Big Tommy D'alesandro, had been mayor, as was later her brother, Little Tommy. Her mother, known as Big Nancy, was her husband's bagman, so said my friend Catherine Mackin, then a reporter for the Baltimore Journal American.
Big Nancy was once publicly accused of carrying a $25,000 bribe to Big Tommy, a slick character with diamond rings on each hand, who got a haircut daily and drenched himself in cologne. Those were simpler days. But now we have Martin O'Malley bearing down on America.
I'd take Big Tommy and his troupe any day.
Richard W. Carlson is a former U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles and the former director of the Voice of America.