Friday, August 21, 2009

One Helluva Week

Who says August is a slow news month? This past week may have been the worst for the state’s Democrats since Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost to Bob Ehrlich.

Consider the following.

Rise of the Conservatives
Revolts at the town hall-meetings on health care have attracted plenty of attention, but they may have a more lasting effect. Remember how we said that the conservative blogosphere was stalled? Not any more. Mark Newgent’s August 12 whipping of the Baltimore Sun drew 1,101 site visits, probably a one-day record for Red Maryland. The site is on pace for more than 12,000 visits this month, its best performance since October 2008. (Remember, August is supposed to be a bad month for political blogs.) And Ellen Sauerbrey, the original queen of Maryland’s angry conservatives, has both contributed to Red Maryland and started her own blog. For the moment, right-wing blogdom is once again on the attack.

Delegate Jon Cardin Scandal
This issue has gone national with exposure at the Huffington Post, National Public Radio, CNN and countless other outlets. The focus of the outrage is Cardin’s misuse of taxpayer resources, an increasingly sensitive issue in tough budget times. Cardin has apologized, and assuming that no more embarrassing facts emerge in the police investigation, he may be on the road to recovery.

MACO Moment
Five of the ten most-visited days in the history of MPW have come this week, primarily due to the booze-drenched MACO Moment scandal. It has attracted massive attention from all over the state. Rather than facing up to the exhibitionist stupidity of his staff, Governor O’Malley appears to be using George W. Bush’s strategy of ignoring everything and admitting nothing. So long as he blows it off, the images of his wild employees celebrating right before massive budget cuts will become part of his legacy.

Developmental Disability Cuts
This is an under-rated issue and our second-ranking story this week. Advocates for the most vulnerable people imaginable, those dealing with developmental disabilities, made their case and staged a big rally protesting the destruction of the last shreds of their safety net. They snared coverage from both the Post and the Sun. Budget cuts aren’t easy when the numbers have faces attached.

So let’s add it up. Angry and energized conservatives. Clueless and hypocritical state leaders. Vulnerable people about to go under.

It’s enough to drive a Democrat to drink.