That Irish gift of the gab shines out

One minute you're nobody, an anonymous Irish expat in America, opining on Emerald Isle politics at the dawn of the blog age.

Next thing you know, a dozen years zip by, and you're director of a governor's office. And not just any governor, but one fancied far and wide as a Democratic up-and-comer. One whom presidential hopefuls - Hillary Clinton, for instance - might well seek out for help on the campaign trail, just as Bill Clinton helped Martin O'Malley when he was running for governor.


And that's precisely when somebody goes to the trouble of Googling you, turning up your old musings about the Clintons' 1995 visit to Ireland in the IRL-POL listserv archives.

Not that Colm O'Comartun - then of Boston, now of O'Malley's office, where he functions as the governor's handler - said anything that bad about the Clintons. In fact, he took up for them. But in some less-than-flattering terms.


"Ireland actually likes what they see in Clinton and everyone felt that his speeches were good and I disagree with the person who said that they thought his speaking style was bad," he wrote. "It was light enough yet not patronising. And Hilary was a big revelation. It must be remembered that Clinton was regarded as a lame duck President and a bit of a fool before this and Hilary a bitch. This trip changed those perceptions dramatically."

Like the John Edwards campaign bloggers who saw their own postings about the Catholic church come back to haunt them, O'Comartun seems to be watching what he says these days. He did not comment, referring my request to the governor's press office.

Said deputy press secretary Sasha Leonhardt: "Yes, he wrote that 12 years ago, and stands by his assertion that the Clintons were a huge success in Ireland, regardless of the misperceptions at the time."

You're already big shots; you don't have to be noisy

John Leopold ran into John McLaughlin on the train the other day, when the Anne Arundel County exec was traveling to New York to meet with bond rating agencies.

Leopold talked - what else? - politics with the political talk show host, and introduced him to the county financial honchos traveling with him, county spokeswoman Rhonda Wardlaw tells me.

"This group looks conspiratorial," McLaughlin said.

Guffaws all around - until the conductor came over and told the group to pipe down.


Maybe they should get numbered jerseys

Some outfit called Knowlegis took it upon itself to rank every member of Congress this week, and Dutch Ruppersberger, for one, was happy enough with his ranking to issue a press release.

"Ruppersberger Named 36th Most Powerful Member of Congress," the headline read.

Actually, Ruppersberger was named 36th most powerful member of the House, not Congress as a whole. Senators were ranked separately.

Perhaps Sens. Barbara Mikulski (33rd) and Ben Cardin (74th) look in the mirror every morning and see a future rep.

The rankings are based on things like tenure, committee assignments and the number of bills proposed and passed. (Feel-good legislation, like the kind that names post offices for popular community figures, doesn't count.) Here how's the rest of Maryland's delegation ranks according to Knowlegis, "a government relations knowledge management company," whatever that is:


Steny Hoyer 2

Chris Van Hollen 15

Elijah Cummings 44

Albert Wynn 91

John Sarbanes 192

Wayne Gilchrest 312


Roscoe Bartlett 350

And worth every penny of it

I got one thing right the other day: Anthony Kennedy doesn't know how much he makes. But he was closer than I was.

At a hearing last week, the Supreme Court justice said he made $202,000 a year. Rep. Jose Serrano of New York chaired the hearing, and his office was nice enough to transcribe for me a funny bit about the Orioles and Yankees. The office also told me Kennedy was wrong about his salary - that associate justices make $194,000 and the chief makes $202,000.

I've since heard from David Sellers, spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. He said associates make $203,000 and the chief makes $212,100.

Still below Pat Jessamy's $225,000.


Not too shabby, even if we don't have Paul Newman

More e-mails naming well-known white Baltimoreans from the first half of the 20th century. (And again, I make no claim that they outshine Thurgood Marshall or Billie Holiday, only that they exist, contrary to the claims of a certain Sports Illustrated columnist who need not be named here.) Mama Cass Elliot (1941); TV variety show host Garry Moore, (nee Thomas Garrison Morfit, 1915); Leon Uris (1924), author of Exodus, a best-seller on European Jewry that was turned into a movie starring Paul Newman, who, sadly, was not born in Charm City.