LAST WEEK'S selection of a new state Democratic Party chairman initiated an inter-party exchange of bad poetry and whimsical gifts between political leaders.
State GOP Chairman John M. Kane launched the festivities Wednesday, when he presented incoming Democratic honcho Terry Lierman with a pair of boxing gloves to commemorate their new rivalry.
Lierman, a former congressional candidate from Montgomery County, was tapped to lead the party Dec. 13. He immediately launched broadsides at Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., signaling a new era of political polemics.
Kane included a poem with his gift:
These gloves may seem outrageous, but they say we're getting dangerous;
As we build our base stronger, please let your Progressive Summits last longer.
Mainstream Maryland may still be mostly blue, but with your selection as Chair, RED will be our state's new hue.
To interpret for the uninformed: Ehrlich has urged the state's business community to "get dangerous" in their lobbying activities in support of the governor's agenda. Lierman played a visible role during a Progressive Summit earlier this year designed to energize the left wing of the Democratic party's base.
A day later, Lierman responded with a return gift and a little ditty of his own:
Chairman Kane, your gift was perfectly right; last November your team was punch-less that night.
As to Maryland turning any redder, well, your budget is, unless you get better.
And after Oh-Six you'll be nowhere in sight.
Here's a gift of brand new running shoes; you can run, but they won't let you hide.
Because there's a strong case of Democratic BLUES, spreading fast to turn the tide.
Lobbyists seek to retain easy access to buildings
Maryland lobbyists are scheduled to meet today to figure out how to maintain their easy access to state buildings.
Starting Jan. 1, lobbyists will lose their badges under a new security system being implemented by the state Department of General Services. Under the current system, lobbyists can use specialized cards to bypass metal detectors and enter the State House and other buildings without waiting in line.
But general services police say there are insufficient restrictions on who may sign up as a lobbyist, leading to a proliferation of cards. Lawmakers and state employees will continue to have quick access.
Today's meeting is being convened by Sean Looney, a lobbyist for Comcast and head of the Maryland Government Relations Association. One argument the group will make, according to Carolyn T. Burridge, a co-founder of the association, is that by forcing lobbyists to wait in line and pass through metal detectors before entering hearings, the public will be inconvenienced by longer waits.
"From schoolchildren to the League of Women Voters to the Montgomery County Arts Council ... it makes their lives much harder," Burridge said.
Mayor turns to Scotsman for a dose of inspiration
In a letter to supporters after last month's national election, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley acknowledged that "a lot of us are deeply disappointed," and then attempted to lift spirits through an unattributed quotation.
"No great cause is ever truly won or lost, the creed must constantly be restated and the battle renewed. Because some ideas are universal, catholic and undying. They do not pass out of fashion or age with time for they represent eternal things. They are the guardians of the freedom of the human spirit, and the proof of what our mortal frailty can achieve."
O'Malley has used the quotation before - once in a 2002 commencement address at Gonzaga University - but it took some digging to reveal the source.
The passage was penned by John Buchan, a Scottish writer who died in 1940, and who was the author of more than 100 books. Buchan was a government administrator in South Africa, and was also governor-general of Canada.
Steven Kearney, an aide to the mayor, said O'Malley grew fond of the quotation after hearing former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart use it. O'Malley worked on Hart's presidential campaigns in the 1980s, and was his national field director in 1988.