So I am headed out of town for a few days of vacation, and wanted to get something up on the blog before I departed.
It’s been a while since I blogged anything, partially due to the fact that nothing has really inspired me to climb back aboard my soapbox.
Sure, the robocall mess is grinding on. I hear former Ehrlich campaign staffers and others have paraded before the state grand jury investigating the matter for much of the week. Various contacts have shared the names of some of the reported witnesses with me. It would not be fair to publish those names here, as this might create confusion as to who the witnesses in the investigation are as opposed to its targets. I may revisit that topic at length when (or if) indictments come down.
Minimally, if indictments do happen and there is a trial involving two senior Ehrlich campaign aides, its political penumbras will be felt elsewhere. As Red Maryland’s Mark Newgent and others have observed during some of our Facebook interactions, such a trial would be a beneficial distraction for the state’s Democratic leaders as they focus on redistricting, raising taxes, and increasing tolls. Assuming the grand jury finishes its work soon, and indictments follow, any expected trial would probably begin this fall, just as the Maryland General Assembly convenes for its special session. Indeed, the state's ruling Democratic monopoly knows how to play these kind of games exceptionally well.
Ultimately, before all is said and done, I hope those who shepherded this racist, destructive, possibly illegal and definitely bad idea to fruition answer at least one question: What exactly did you guys think it was going to accomplish?
As for the presidential race, frequently touted candidate Gov. Mitch Daniels decided to take a pass, as did Mike Huckabee. Sarah Palin, who seemed relatively absent from the presidential landscape for a while, has resurfaced, creating speculation that she might get in at some point. Inexplicably, Rudy Giuliani’s name has surfaced. I like hizzoner a lot – ideologically I am perhaps closer to him than any other candidate – but I don’t see how he can look at his performance during the 2008 primaries last time and see any opportunity there.
So, looking at the race from where things stand today, I am forced to draw two conclusions: 1) Mitt Romney will be the nominee; and 2) barring a seismic incident on the political landscape, President Obama will likely be reelected.
Lastly, speaking of bad ideas, I have been watching with interest the political fallout surrounding the whole issue of in-state tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.
Recently The Baltimore Sun exposed (perhaps unwittingly) the folly of the idea by juxtaposing coverage of O’Malley’s in-state tuition bill signing ceremony with news that 350 top high school scholars were about to lose their promised scholarships because of “budget cuts” seemingly needed to offset the cost of the tuition breaks. The O’Malley Administration quickly reversed course, restoring funding for the scholarships.
But the episode created a rallying point for people collecting signatures on petitions to put the law on the ballot. This incident certainly makes their job easier. If they succeed and the measure appears on the ballot, getting the voters to ratify an idea whose support is limited to the state’s boutique liberals – not to mention illegal immigrants themselves – may be a difficult sell, especially during tight budgetary times.
With respect to how to deal with illegal immigrants, I consider myself a moderate on the issue. The priorities should be to seal the borders, and to get individuals who are here naturalized – perhaps through an expedited process – and paying taxes. Congress and the president should work together to achieve these goals federally.
It is premature for Maryland or any other state to grant illegal immigrants amenities traditionally reserved for its legal citizens before that happens. Initiatives like in-state tuition breaks can deter them from wanting to naturalize. It serves political ends – in this case, courting the Hispanic voter bloc whose influence is growing in politics – at the expense of the rule of law as well as traditional notions of citizenship.
Well, those are my pre-vacation thoughts. Have a great holiday weekend. And, if you see a process server bearing down on you with all the ferocity of Robert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, run.