Gallantry doesn't come naturally to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. He attempted a little faux gallantry the other day at a Democratic Party conference in Charleston, S.C., in a critique of Nikki Haley, South Carolina's Republican governor.
"Now, some of these new Tea Party Republican governors are funny in this regard, aren't they?" Mr. O'Malley said. "They run on a platform claiming government isn't working. Then when they're in office, their own failure to do the job proves their point. Your current governor — bless her heart — is a case in point."
That little blessing is not always meant to be taken as a blessing, as every Southerner knows. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it means, "he/she's a jerk." Mr. O'Malley went on to catalog all sorts of alleged failures attributable to the mere presence of a Republican woman in the governor's office. Chiefly, Mrs. Haley is to be scorned for not running up the state's fiscal "credit card" to pay for programs the state couldn't otherwise afford.
While Maryland can boast of a state unemployment rate 2 points lower than South Carolina's 8.7 percent, Mr. O'Malley omits mention of how many of those jobs are on the federal government's shrinking dime. If sequestration "cuts" ever touch those jobs — something last week's continuing resolution casts in some doubt — what will he point to then?
It might not be the 400 jobs at Beretta USA, the firearms manufacturer that has been in Maryland since 1977. The company has threatened to move out if Mr. O'Malley's gun-control proposals become effective. When the state created a Handgun Roster Board to harass gun owners several years ago, the Italy-based firm, which supplies weapons to the U.S. military and many law enforcement agencies, moved a distribution center to Virginia to avoid the unnecessary red tape. Now, Maryland might lose the whole shooting match.
The governor's revised boast won't be new jobs at "big box" stores, either. Mr. O'Malley's allies in the Democrat-controlled legislature have steadfastly opposed expansion plans by such firms, even though they provide good salaries and benefits that satisfy their employees. Maryland's high rollers have legal gambling, and South Carolina doesn't, but there aren't enough casinos in a gambler's eye to match the economic stimulus a more diverse retail environment provides.
The Maryland governor boasts of "investing" in public works that touch education, roads and infrastructure, but his South Carolina serenade went silent on the topic of crime. In his final term as governor, Mr. O'Malley is touted as a potential Democratic presidential nominee four years hence. He went to South Carolina to boost the anticipated 2014 gubernatorial bid of state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, whom Mrs. Haley trounced in 2010.
A Haley spokesman had pointed advice for Mr. O'Malley. "He should go back to Maryland, where he quite successfully legalized gambling, gay marriage, the end of the death penalty, and hiked taxes on everyone and everything he could think of," CNN quoted Haley aide Tim Pearson as saying. That sounds like good advice.
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