Kendel Ehrlich Blasts Away
Kendel Ehrlich rode her high horse into Ocean City over the weekend and touched off a firestorm rarely seen in Maryland political circles. Astride a stallion undoubtedly named "Righteousness," Maryland's first lady provided a gathering of Lower Shore Republicans a heaping helping of opinions and observations likely to do her, her governor-husband and her causes a measure of damage.
"They lie," she said, without naming a specific publication. "I would punish my son if I caught him in a lie, and they need to be punished." The next day, in case anyone missed what Mrs. Ehrlich meant, her spokeswoman, Meghann Siwinski, told the Associated Press: "I think she's urging people to not buy the papers, to not read the papers, to not trust what they read about her husband's administration in the papers."
Along those lines, the first lady also took some well-aimed shots at state Democrats, calling their behavior during the just-completed General Assembly session "despicable." Democrats, she said, are "so afraid of losing power it is unbelievable, it is rude and it is awful, and if our 5-year-old acted like that, he'd be punished. I'm not kidding." Mrs. Ehrlich, of course, neglected to point out that her husband's continued inability to work across party lines kept the governor's own major initiatives stymied. When it comes to failures at the Statehouse, the blame has to go both ways.
The cheap shots, heavy partisanship and severe exchanges have become too abundant in state politics. It has to stop somewhere -- and should stop at the top.
When are people going to tire of the perpetual "us vs. them'' mentality spread about by this governor and his administration -- and now by the first lady? Is Maryland's first couple more interested in getting things accomplished or having their egos massaged? Will all who disagree or fail to yield to their demands be branded as liars and enemies? And how much longer will the Ehrlichs insist on shooting the messenger?