"For the next two years, we [Republicans] are going to keep our nose to the grindstone, we're going to keep working hard and leave these guys to continue to expose themselves as the obstructionists that they are," he said. "That will lead to change at the ballot box in 2006."
Miller, the Senate president, said he will be able to work with Ehrlich as long as the issue does not involve what he called "major philosophical differences."
The current stalemate, Miller said, is caused by a Washington culture that Ehrlich, a former four-term congressman, has brought to Annapolis.
"The governor trained for eight years under Newt Gingrich. It was a confrontational style. They were battling with the Clinton administration continuously. The theory was government was an evil," Miller said. "There is a totally different philosophy here in Maryland."
Miller said the strong constitutional powers endowed upon Maryland's governor might have diminished Ehrlich's appetite for compromise. The governor can reward friends and punish enemies with the most far-reaching budget authority of any state chief executive.
"When you have a conservative philosophy and you have that much power, you wield a big stick," Miller said.
Increasingly, Democrats are frustrated that Ehrlich appears more focused on scoring political points through media appearances than on reaching solutions to important problems.
The special session, said Middleton, "was just a wonderful press opportunity for the governor. Lots of press conferences, and a very, very heightened media attention."
It was during a televised news conference Wednesday night that the governor announced he would veto the malpractice bill. At the time, the final version had not yet been printed, and even lawmakers were not sure yet what a negotiating committee had agreed to.
"He wants to look like the hero that is not taxing the people, even though he passed the property tax, he passed the car tax - talk about regressive - he passed the flush tax, he passed 10,000 fees that are taxes," said Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, a Baltimore County Democrat who helped negotiate the final bill.
"If you look at the finished product, it is as good as you are going to get if you are going to get 188 people to agree," she said. "This isn't gridlock. This is pure, unadulterated politics."
It will be for voters to decide where the blame truly lies for the failed initiative.
But Bambacus, the former GOP senator, said he knows who will get the most attention:
"The governor, because he is the most visible elected leader in the state, if he is seen as ineffective, it is going to be hard for him in a one-party Democratic state for him to say it's the legislature's fault."
Staff writer Stephanie Desmon contributed to this article.