Choosing sides in State House race Why Parris Glendening will win

October 21, 1998|By John W. Frece

PARRIS N. Glendening will be re-elected as Maryland's governor Nov. 3 for two simple reasons.

First, he deserves to be re-elected because of all he has accomplished. Second, Ellen R. Sauerbrey is the unthinkable alternative.

Four years ago, Mr. Glendening told the people of Maryland exactly what he would do if elected -- and he has kept his promises.

His balanced record of achievement is broad, progressive and consistent with what the majority of Marylanders want from their government and from their governor.

He has been relentless in his efforts to improve education at all levels, investing more resources in public schools, colleges and universities than any governor in Maryland history.

But his accomplishments go well beyond that. He has compiled the most comprehensive record of environmental protection and land conservation in the nation. He enacted a common-sense gun control law, which has contributed to a decline in crime.

He made health care available for uninsured women and infants and demonstrated his compassion with an unprecedented financial commitment to the disabled.

No new taxes

Not only is he the first Maryland governor in half a century to complete a four-year term without raising taxes, but he also responsibly cut taxes -- the first income-tax cut in this state in 30 years.

He steadfastly supports a woman's right to choose; backed the arts and historic preservation; expanded bargaining rights for state workers; and developed an unmatched record of appointing women and minorities as judges and as policy-makers on his Cabinet and staff. His nationally acclaimed "smart growth" initiative is considered a breakthrough in efforts to discourage sprawl and replace it with more environmentally friendly patterns of land use.

Mr. Glendening's stubborn opposition to casino gambling -- "No Slots, No Casinos, No Exceptions!" -- has stopped the spread of gambling in Maryland dead in its tracks.

By contrast, Ms. Sauerbrey is wildly out of step with mainstream Maryland. Her legislative record can be summed up in one word: meanspirited.

She was the consummate obstructionist, more intent on partisan opposition than constructive cooperation. Annapolis never saw congressional-style gridlock until Ellen Sauerbrey became minority leader.

She opposed almost everything most mainstream Marylanders support: protecting the Chesapeake Bay; getting guns off the street; providing minimum health care for the poor; assuring fair housing practices; even aiding education.

She attacked abortion rights and civil rights with equal fervor.

She was stridently anti-union, her steelworker father, mentioned so prominently in her political ads, notwithstanding.

She opposed so many clean air and clean water bills that her environmental record was ranked dead last by Maryland's League of Conservation Voters.

She voted against bans on assault weapons and Saturday night special handguns, and readily accepted money from the National Rifle Association or its affiliates.

She criticized the governor's quick response to the human health threat caused by the microbe Pfiesteria -- a response recognized and praised elsewhere as a national model.

In this campaign, she knows her only chance to win is to pretend to be someone she is not -- to cloak herself falsely in a patina of moderation, when her own record paints the indisputable picture of a right-wing ideologue.

In a desperate attempt to appeal to voters who would never support her if they knew her true record, she has hidden, glossed over or downplayed almost everything she has ever stood for.

That explains why she is the first gubernatorial challenger in memory to refuse almost every opportunity to debate the incumbent, obviously fearful that to do so would expose her real record.

It is worth remembering Ms. Sauerbrey's own advice when she said: "There is no better indication of what you are going to do in the future than what you have done in the past."

A new persona

Mr. Glendening will be re-elected because the public will not be fooled -- as some of the press seems to be -- by Ms. Sauerbrey's newfound positions on virtually every issue, nor be suckered by her irresponsible, unaffordable tax cut and spending proposals.

Added together, the proposals of this self-described fiscal conservative would cost taxpayers more than $1.1 billion.

The ways she has suggested to pay for that shortfall have, in reality, been used, or would rely on an unacceptable raid on the state employee pension fund, or would depend on a pie-in-the-sky rate of revenue growth that not even her fiscal advisers suggest is possible.

Ultimately, Mr. Glendening will be re-elected because he has proven he can govern -- something she has never done.

Marylanders know their state is being prudently managed under his leadership. As he likes to say, "All the numbers that should be up are up, and all the ones that should be down are down." Job growth is up; unemployment is down. Family income is up; taxes are down. Education scores are up; the crime rate is down.

These are the results of vision, leadership and executive experience. It is a record of balanced, constructive progress and it will be supported on Nov. 3.

John W. Frece covered Maryland government and politics for United Press International and The Sun for 17 years, including Ms. Sauerbrey's tenure in the House of Delegates and gubernatorial elections from 1978 through 1994. In January 1996, he became Mr. Glendening's press secretary and in July 1997 took over public outreach for the governor's "smart growth" initiative.

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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