It's often amazing the clarity that a little time and distance can deliver. Take the case of Elizabeth M. Bobo, the former Howard County executive, who lost her seat to Charles I. Ecker three years ago. Ms. Bobo has decided to return to local politics by running for the House of Delegates in the newly created District 12B, which covers west Columbia and parts of Ellicott City.
She might have done otherwise -- no one could blame her if she had harbored some amount of bitterness over her narrow defeat to Mr. Ecker. By the same token, there were those who wanted her to take another shot at the county executive's office. But time and wisdom apparently led her in a different direction. Other Democrats who have plans to compete for the seat are party activist Jim Kraft and former PTA Council president Rosemary Mortimer.
Cynics will contend that Ms. Bobo stood little chance of being re-elected executive after a four-year absence anyway. But others should take at face value the reasons she has offered to explain her decision to run for the House of Delegates: An ailing mother, a new marriage and a desire to spend more time with her family in general, she said, led her to attempt to win the less grueling job of state delegate.
This is not a premature political endorsement, simply a recognition of the sincerity Ms. Bobo has shown. Few people need reminding that basketball superstar Michael Jordan recently retired, citing some reasons similar to Ms. Bobo's. (Of course, Mr. Jordan was stepping aside at the top of his game; we don't know if Ms. Bobo has reached the top of hers.)
Mr. Jordan has been asked to consider new challenges, such as columnist John Alter's plea in Newsweek that he use his talents and charisma in a campaign against violence. Ms. Bobo, in her own way, has political talents that should not go to waste, either.
By her own estimation, she has come a long way from the workaholic existence she led as Howard County executive. "There was a real blessing in having time for introspection," she said. "I didn't take that time before. I'm having a good, peaceful, happy time right now, which is great." But, she added, she is "no shrinking violet." Another campaign -- for a less consuming, elective office -- seems like the right choice to make.