Top Maryland News Stories For 2008

Posted on December 30, 2008


Adam Pagnucco over at Maryland Politics Watch is gathering input to compile a list of the top ten Maryland news stories for 2008, and the top ten Montgomery County stories. He will be publishing the results in a few days.

Here are Maryland On My Mind’s nominations for the top Maryland news stories of 2008:

  • Slot machines — it’s about the decline and fall of American civilization, as seen through the lens of fundamentally unfair tax and revenue policy.
  • The Ulysses Currie and Nathaniel Exum stories. Whether these senators are culpable or not, I don’t know, but the stories underline the widespread perception (and probably reality) of a “culture of corruption” in Maryland state government.
  • The so-called Millionaire Tax issue. (see “decline and fall” above)
  • The bursting of the housing bubble. Besides the foreclosures, a lot of “homeowners” are under water.
  • Election of Donna Edwards and Frank Kratovil to Congress. The rise of two bright young stars in the talent-rich Maryland Democratic Party.
  • The fall of The Baltimore Sun. The rapid decline of the MSM, especially newspapers but also network television news, is going practically unnoticed, compared to the attention given to the housing crisis, the banking crisis, the auto industry crisis. The decline and fall of newspapers and TV news has grave implications for democracy in the U.S. In Maryland, the most significant manifestation of this nationwide trend is the bankruptcy of Tribune Corp, owner of The Baltimore Sun and it’s suburban weeklies. Have you seen The Sun since its redesign last summer? No wonder circulation and advertising continue to decline.
  • Peter Franchot and Tom Perez might be flashes in the political pan, or they might be key political leaders in future years. I think they are fading.
  • The crushing of the short-lived Bob Ehrlich-Michael Steele Republican resurgence in Maryland. Republicans have now been clobbered in two straight statewide elections, and Barack Obama strengthened the Maryland Democratic Party even more. (If you’re keeping score, Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley trounced Bob Ehrlich in the 2006 gubernatorial election; and Ben Cardin demolished Michael Steel in the 2006 U.S. Senate contest. Ehrlich has been relegated to a Saturday-morning talk show with his wife. In 2008, Barack Obama crushed John McCain in Maryland, 62 percent to 37 percent, and Democrats added two new members to Congress. The Democratic Party bench is very deep in Maryland, and the Republican bench is bare.)

— Bernie Hayden