Suspicion in the State House Hardly pals: Glendening's convention snub reflects poor rapport with State House leaders.

August 09, 1996

FRIENDS THEY are not. Out of necessity, sometimes they're allies. But a deep suspicion permeates relations among Maryland's State House triumvirate -- Gov. Parris Glendening, Senate president Mike Miller and House speaker Casper Taylor. Right now, they aren't getting along that well.

Take the spat over who attends this month's Democratic National Convention as part of the Maryland delegation. Messrs. Miller and Taylor rightly felt they deserved invitations as Democratic legislative leaders. They badly wanted to go, but the invitations never arrived. Governor Glendening, the titular head of the state Democratic Party, either snubbed them or goofed.

A goof sounds logical until past history is recalled. When the governor welcomed a new NFL football team to Baltimore, he conveniently "forgot" to invite Messrs. Miller and Taylor until it was too late for them to make it. He also neglected to invite former Gov. William Donald Schaefer to participate in that ceremony and didn't include him in the recent Ravens Stadium groundbreaking. Is there a pattern here?

On other occasions, Messrs. Miller and Taylor have complained about being left out of gubernatorial announcements and decisions that clearly have legislative connections. This governor apparently craves center stage by himself.

Mr. Glendening and Mr. Miller are enemies from their days in Prince George's County. Thus, the governor worked better with the House speaker during his first year in office. But this year, the governor cooled toward Mr. Taylor, who is viewed as a potential rival in 1998. As a result, a surprising Miller-Glendening rapprochement has developed -- helped by the appointment of Mr. Miller's son to a state sinecure. But the "convention caper" may have ended that brief era of good feelings.

Why needlessly worsen matters? The governor ought to brush up on his political etiquette -- or find a staff aide who know how to invite the right people to the right events.

Pub Date: 8/09/96

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