Smith: No One Is Immune From The Transition Blues

Nov 20, 2014

Credit Who you gonna call? taken by warrenski via flickr

The election’s behind us. Winter lurks. And depending on who or where you are on the political spectrum, it’s a season of change, challenge and melancholy.

Call it the Transition Blues. No one’s immune.

Take governor-elect Larry Hogan. He’s about to take charge of a $40 billion government with a deficit of about $1 billion. You probably can’t keep your tax-cutting promises. The ecstasy of victory slams into reality.

And Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. He lost his race for governor. Now he wonders how to pay back a half-million dollar loan. He’s got no rainy day fund – and no government contracts to sign.

Any number of state bureaucrats who suffer in anonymity. No one knows you, but you’ve worked for up to a decade on an enormous public works project: the Red Line light rail system. The cost is monumental. And you read the newspapers. The new governor doesn’t think we can afford the billion dollar state share. Years of work may be dead in the political water.

Any number of lawyers. You’re a Democrat waiting for a judgeship. Do you now go to the back of the line? These jobs are handed out based on merit, of course, but all merit is not equal.

Stephanie Rawlings Blake. You are the Democratic mayor of a major Maryland city. You had your partner’s number in the governor’s office on speed dial. But you woke up two weeks ago facing one question: who you gonna call?

Vinnie DeMarco, one of most effective public interest lobbyists in Annapolis. He’s used tobacco tax increases to fund health initiatives. But the new governor says higher taxes are off the table. And legislative leaders sometimes resent your success. Who are you gonna call?

It’s a question Maryland Democrats usually don’t have to ask.