Doug Gansler should be Maryland's governor today. There, I said it. It needed to be said!

That is what many of us were thinking back in November, and we continue to think it today. Unfortunately, the radical progressive bug is contagious, and former Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown caught it from our beloved super-progressive president.


After an eight-year sample size of progressive policies being fully implemented without any obstruction from the Republicans, Maryland voters voiced a resounding "No Thanks!" to another four years of radical progressive policies from the Brown-Ulman ticket.

Now, before you start to think that last November's gubernatorial race had anything to do with Larry Hogan's political savvies, let me point you to an article the New York Times ran a few days after Mr. Hogan's victory. In short, the Times article pointed out that Mr. Hogan only slightly out-performed Robert Ehrich's 2006 and 2010 gubernatorial campaigns. That fact suggests that Mr. Hogan did not do anything extraordinary to win. Meanwhile, Anthony Brown's campaign was historically bad even though Maryland voters had an opportunity to make history by electing the first African-American Maryland governor. This was shocking because we all know how much progressives enjoy making history.

Mr. Hogan winning by a substantial margin should scare the heck out of progressives because he won in spite of alienating his conservative base. Mr. Hogan had a contentious relationship with 2nd Amendment activists within the GOP, and he angered many social conservatives when his daughter appeared in an ad saying that her father supported "unfettered access to over-the-counter birth control."

Mr. Hogan was able to win easily while abandoning his base and moving hard to the left. In retrospect, some may say that Mr. Hogan looked brilliant, but how could he have known that Mr. Brown's campaign would have been so incompetent? The answer is: He didn't.

It was simply dumb luck.

Republican Party officials have been crowing about how Mr. Hogan's template for success (social liberalism coupled with economic conservatism) is the recipe for success for Republicans in Maryland. If they deploy this template in the future, rest assured they will lose miserably as there is little chance that Maryland Democrats will make the same mistake twice by nominating a radical progressive like the Brown-Ulman and O'Malley-Brown tickets. The voters have made it clear that such a ticket is not selling anymore, and Democratic Party officials would be wise to listen.

That brings me to Doug Gansler.

Mr. Gansler knows the ebbs and flows of American politics. He understood during the Democratic primary that what was once popular (progressivism) may not appeal to a broader electorate in a general election. Mr. Gansler properly positioned himself as a center-left candidate last June because he had talked to voters and he knew that Marylanders were sick and tired of the O'Malley-Brown failed progressive policies that were concocted in academic lounges across the country since the 1960s.

Mr. Gansler also knew that Maryland has a large concentration of Catholic voters, many of whom still fancy themselves Kennedy Democrats of the blue dog mold. Mr. Gansler understood that Catholic/blue dog Democrats still make up the majority of Maryland voters, and he ran a campaign that would have easily defeated any Republican candidate in November by catering to that demographic.

Unfortunately for Doug, and for all of Maryland as it turned out, he gave the progressive Democratic primary voters too much credit by thinking that they would be able to properly take the temperature of the electorate as a whole. The progressives who have hijacked the Democratic Party of Maryland had their leftist candidate in Anthony Brown, and by George they were going to get him through the primary process in spite of what the Kennedy/blue dog-types wanted. We all lost in the end as a result of the greediness and shortsightedness of the progressives, didn't we?

Doug Gansler was right by running as a blue dog, as that was the mood of the electorate. Mr. Gansler understood that Maryland is still Catholic and still liberal ,but the speed and inefficiency of the way the progressives go about their business has a damaging affect on the Democratic Party as a whole. Unless the Maryland progressives realize this fact and start being content with incremental progressivism then they should start getting used to Republican victories because the GOP has learned how to win without their conservative base.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski just announced that she would not be seeking re-election. Hopefully Doug Gansler seeks her office, and this time Maryland Democrats are smart enough to embrace his blue dog template for success. If not, Maryland will become red just as quickly as Virginia has become blue.

Marvin Finley, Bethesda