Still, none of the heavy lifting this year could have happened without him. Governor O'Malley's record shows that when he is particularly engaged, as in the 2013 General Assembly session, or the 2007 special session devoted to taxes and gambling, he is effective in forging consensus. Unfortunately, the record also shows that his level of engagement has been inconsistent. Last year, when his role as then-chairman of the Democratic Governors Association made him a key surrogate for President Barack Obama, his absence from the State House was widely noted by friends and foes alike. Indeed, he appeared blindsided by the breakdown over the budget and gambling on the 2012 session's last day.