Fun Reading for Marylanders


Every once in a long while editorial writers on the Washington Post glance beyond their Beltway to find amusement in the politics of a quaint geographic entity known as the state of Maryland. One often finds condescension and belittlement in their scribblings, particularly in reference to Baltimore City. As everyone knows, this is the site of Oriole Park and Harborplace -- both favored destinations for Washingtonians eager to rediscover America.

The other day the Post got a laugh out of an editorial on these pages in which we dared to suggest that Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin might be a good choice for governor now that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's withdrawal had narrowed the Democratic field. Only Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg of Baltimore County, Prince George's Country Executive Parris Glendening and state Sen. Mary Boergers of Montgomery County are left.

In a style imitative of professional Baltimore bashers from the green reaches of Montgomery, the Post put quotation marks around its own summation of what it perceives as the Baltimore position. To wit: "We need a governor of Maryland from this city because that way he can direct all the state money and good programs to his hometown rather than to other parts of Maryland."

Because Post editorial writers should have a better understanding of the state that bequeathed their city to the nation, let us offer a tiny little primer on the realities of politics in Maryland.

If The Sun were quite the city mouse the Post suggests, it assuredly would be loath to propose Ben Cardin for governor. And why? Because his candidacy would split the Baltimore metropolitan vote, at grave cost to Mickey Steinberg in his head-to-head contest with Parris Glendening. While Mr. Steinberg hails from Baltimore County, recent redistricting sealed in a process of blurring jurisdictional lines. Many politicians from precincts where Mr. Steinberg comes from now have to represent both city and county constituents.

The Post's institutional memory also failed to register the fact that this newspaper strongly urged Rep. Constance A. Morella of Montgomery County to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate. Ms. Morella happens to be the only GOP candidate in sight who might be able to unseat Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes -- a Baltimore boy bred if not born.

If this seems a plea for the Post to limit its observations on Maryland politics, don't believe it. At this end of the corridor, we find its comments as droll as the Post finds the whole state of Maryland.

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