Monday, November 27, 2006

Mike Miller on the way out

Mike Miller has been an institution here in the MD Senate. It will be interesting to see who succeeds him in a few years. Many things have gone well in the this state (RKBA and otherwise) precisely because Miller either killed stupid ideas or pushed through good ideas.

According to the Baltimore Sun, there are three leading contenders for Miller's Senate Presidency:

The generally accepted front-runners in the race are the three veteran committee chairmen: Sen. Ulysses E. Currie of Prince George's County, Sen. Brian E. Frosh of Montgomery County and Sen. Thomas M. Middleton of Southern Maryland.

Sen. Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore, who takes over the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee in January, will also have a strong perch from which to position herself for the post over the next four years.

Other names that have been suggested by current members of the Senate include Sen. P.J. Hogan, a Montgomery County Republican-turned-Democrat who is vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee; and Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat who has been Miller's go-to guy on slot machines, BGE rates and other complex issues.

A dark horse possibility is Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, an attorney and Army veteran from Montgomery County who is well-liked and respected in the chamber but who has served only one term and has not held a leadership post.

I can tell you right now that Currie, Frosh, Carter Conway, and Garagiola would be disasters for this state. Anyone who supports a ban on so-called "assault weapons" fails the logical reasoning litmus test and shouldn't be in charge of a pair of safety scissors, much less the state senate.

That leaves Hogan, Middleton and Kasemeyer. Unlike those other three, these guys appear pretty reasonable at first glance:

Middleton, Hogan and Kasemeyer are known as moderate or conservative Democrats, making them philosophically similar to Miller.

I don't know much about these three, but will be doing some research in the coming years. . .

A new Senate president might do more to demonstrate the leanings of the membership than to change the body's direction, said Sen. John C. Astle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat. Miller kept his leadership post for so long largely because he kept himself in tune with the mood of the Senate, Astle said.

"He did it by keeping everybody happy," Astle said. "I haven't really seen the current president driving things. He's been pretty good about letting the membership decide what is on the agenda and what is not. I wouldn't think that's going to change."

I really like and trust Astle, so I will take his word for how Miller has actually been handling things. From where I sit, it seemed that Miller ruled with an iron fist; maybe I am mixing up Miller with Mike Busch, Speaker of the MD House. . . .


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