At the end of the State of the State Speech, Governor Larry Hogan pulled the microphone from the podium, turned it sideways, stared straight at Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker Mike Busch, and dropped the mic. The only thing heard for a few seconds as he walked out of the room was the sound of the feedback beginning to squelch before the few Republicans in the room began to clap furiously. It was a great speech.
Democrats instantly pounced. They are holding up the nominations for several of Hogan’s people, Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer will probably not get through now. Democrats will say it’s because of his handling of Hurricane Isabel, but the real reason is because Hogan called out their policies and how they’ve run the state into the ground, and because Al Redmer was the main cheerleader during the campaign, the smiling face on election night that introduced the new Governor that will forever be burned into their mind, the guy that helped get Baltimore County there which was the County that cemented Hogan as Governor. This will be the opportunity to hurt Hogan the most by targeting the cabinet member that means the most to Hogan.
Republicans for their part also started jumping up and down saying that this showed the Democrats weren’t going to be bipartisan. It’s a shame that tax cuts are a partisan issue, but Republicans have worked for the past thirty years to make that connection in everyone’s minds.
Democrats have one poll tested shot at attacking Hogan and it’s through the education “cuts”. Hogan “cut” education by not fully funding the Geographic Educational Cost Index which would pump added money to Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Baltimore City. Education will receive more money than ever, and there is no true cut, but because you’re not spending as much as a formula said you should, then you are cutting education. There’s a little bit of grumbling on Hogan cancelling the 2% raise for State Employees, but Hogan could fix that by repealing O’Malley’s legislation that required non-union State Employees to pay into the state employees union.
The honeymoon didn’t last long, but Hogan did call his new bride fat in the limo on the way from the reception, so it’s no surprise that this reaction happened. The question will be whether Hogan apologizes, or declares himself the man of the house and, if my married life is any indication, finds himself sleeping on the couch for the next four years.