PRINCE GEORGE's County Executive Parris Glendening now knows what it is like to pique the petty parochialism of Blair Lee IV, Montgomery County's premier Baltimore-basher.
It happened like this: Several months ago, Mr. Glendening had the temerity to advocate the merger of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland at Baltimore on the theory that this would strengthen the UM system and the flagship campus on his own home turf at College Park.
Never mind that the UM board of regents unanimously endorsed the idea. Never mind that UMCP president Brit Kirwan gives merger lip-service. To Mr. Lee's glee, Senate President Mike Miller, a College Park alum and political rival of Mr. Glendening, fought and beat it during the recent General Assembly session.
In Mr. Lee's view, life seems to be a zero-sum game. What would be good for poor old Baltimore is bound to be bad for his rich neighbors in Montgomery County. What would be of obvious merit in creating a new research university in Baltimore must, by definition, be bad for suburban Washington. It is a mind-set he has had since his daddy was defeated for governor after putting together an all-suburban Washington ticket that did not go over too well.
Mr. Glendening's reply:
"The true spirit of American philosophy has never been that one person or institution excels or prospers by keeping another person down. The College Park campus will not grow great by keeping other institutions down. That is not the path to greatness. It is not only bad public policy but it is also inimical to the underlying spirit of higher education." Well said.