An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


CQPolitics has a piece on Chris Van Hollen's new role as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that recycles things most of us have heard, but reminds us that: "If Van Hollen has any major challenge for his upcoming tenure, it is that the big Democratic gains of 2006 surely will be impossible to duplicate." After this year, only holding most Dem seats and increasing the number will earn Van Hollen wide acclaim, though insiders will consider him effective if the slippage is minimal. Given a number of the seats Dems will want to hold despite a 2004 vote for Bush and how tied this election will be to the presidential, that's a tall order, even for someone with his abilities. He was very on-message in the interview, so he wouldn't talk about expectations or strategies, besides emphasizing the importance of Congressional Democratic leaders to deliver on campaign promises in winning for 2008.

A Sun piece on Ike Leggett is similarly unenlightening to people who've been reading about him for the last few years (though Baltimore folks might need the 101 on the new MoCo Exec). You've got to like the comment of Blair Lee though: "Political graveyards are full of people who have misinterpreted his nice-guy demeanor as political weakness." Readers who are hoping from big things from the Executive are reminded by the Sun that: "In Montgomery County, the real power of government lies with the County Council."

It should be an interesting four years, as MoCo Politics notes. Maybe the hottest topic in state politics lately has been about the death penalty, though the budget, wages, transportation, and health care are likely to take on some prominence next year.

And have you noticed that New Hampshire north of the Beltway (DC, that is) is named after soon-to-be-former-Sen. Ida Ruben?