Friday, June 30, 2006

Baltimore: Maryland's Baghdad

Governor Ehrlich's recent announcements sounded the theme that will take centerstage as he tries to persuade Marylanders to give him another four terms: Baltimore is a hell hole.

The governor isn't going after Baltimore for shits and giggles. His intent is to show that because Mayor Martin O'Malley runs a cankered city, he doesn't have the credentials to manage a whole state.

So Ehrlich points to all the images sure to scare the suburban voters who make up the majority of the electorate: failing schools, violent streets and everything else that comes with urban decay. As Brian Morton wrote in this week's Political Animal, Ehrlich's efforts are going to make Baltimoreans think "you live in Baghdad."

Of course the logic doesn't make sense. The problems that plague Baltimore were inherited by - not created under - O'Malley, and he can actually point to some disputed statistics to show that the city's made progress under his leadership.

But Ehrlich is absolutely right to show that Baltimore is a city in need. Our schools really our failing the kids. Our streets are violent and dangerous. Some neighborhoods have more liquor stores than groceries and drug dealers commandeer swaths of communitites.

The key word, however, is "need." Baltimore needs help. It doesn't need two big whigs trading rhetoric about it.

(Not a realistic plea, but another outburst of disgust brought to you from The League)


Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

Politics is sort of like waltzing while being shot at. A fair critique of either of these men is that they don't dance very well when they are not being shot at, i.e. they are not leaders but political personalities, who trade and work and cajole and finagle, but do not lead.

7/08/2006 10:06:00 PM  

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