The Governor's Race: Tastes Flat, Less Filling

October 09, 1994|By Lucia Margarian

I can't help it. No matter how much I try to get excited over the governor's race, it ain't working. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Of course, this is what happens when the candidate of your choice loses in the primary. You get stuck with someone else's leftovers. And in this race it's come down to a choice between a couple of cliches, Mrs. Voodoo Economics versus Mr. Tax

Fanatic.

Maybe it's just that after all these years of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, I've grown accustomed to a little heartburn in the morning when I read the paper.

Mr. Schaefer is quirky, cranky and often unpredictable. Now that about to get the old heave-ho, I can finally admit the truth. I like the guy. He's like . . . like . . . (well, don't laugh) . . . sausage.

You know the kind I mean? The old-fashioned, coarse-ground kind that's spicy, and full of texture. The kind where you have to chew mighty long before you can swallow it, and just when you think you've digested it, it burps right back.

Bring out the adjectives; he's probably been called them all: loud, obnoxious, outrageous, stubborn, persistent, determined, driven, and one more -- funny.

You never know what he'll say or do next.

Ellen Sauerbrey and Parris Glendening?

I only know them through the media, and while they are ideological opposites, their images are much too reserved for me.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. You're supposed to vote the issues.

But that's just the point. Any policy wonk can memorize a few sound bites or take a position for the sake of the campaign, and then what are you left with after Election Day?

No. What I want in a good politician is spark. The kind of person who can take those day-old, dried-up issues and saute them with some spirit and serve it sizzling on a plate.

And there was only one candidate who could cook like that . . . Helen Bentley.

I mean, Bentley is cool. She is impetuous and entertaining. Figuratively, she is Mr. Schaefer's sister. And she has the one thing that counts to me: attitude. You know what I mean. The do-it-now, to-heck-with-everybody attitude. Call me crazy, but I ate it up.

But now the voters have spoken. The choices have been narrowed down to the equivalent of two pre-processed, packaged, convenience foods.

Mrs. Sauerbrey is like Nutra Sweet. She tells us we can not only have our cake, but we can eat it a la mode without gaining an ounce. We can have it all. We can even cut taxes by 24 percent over four years without interferring with vital state services.

In reality, this is the equivalent of the Jell-O diet, it jiggles and wiggles and feels real good, but it's not fiscally nutritious.

Mr. Glendening on the other hand, is like artificial maple syrup, thick and marketed to sell to the masses.

His biggest promise and selling point is that he will do for the state what he did for Prince George's County.

The the election is about a month away, and I plan to vote, but I'm not excited.

It's like being told I've got to go on a diet, and the choice is either low calorie or low fat.

Any way you look at it, the menu seems mighty predictable for the next four years.

7+ Lucia Margarian is a free-lance writer.

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