August 2, 2015

Rascovar: The new, nasty Larry Hogan

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Gov. Larry Hogan announces closing of Baltimore jail.

Rick Lippenholz/Governor’s Office

Gov. Larry Hogan announces closing of Baltimore jail.

Veteran journalist Barry Rascovar writes a weekly column for MarylandReporter.com which is later posted on his own website, PoliticalMaryland.com, along with his other columns. The topics chosen and the opinions are his own.

By Barry Rascovar

For MarylandReporter.com

What happened to the friendly, smiling, easy-going Larry Hogan? Mr. Nice Guy has morphed into Mr. Nasty.

Perhaps he’s spent too much time with his pal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the combative presidential hopeful with the mouth that roars.

Perhaps his hairless Kojack look, as well as his tough chemotherapy sessions, help explain what’s going on.

Or maybe it’s just a recognition by Maryland’s Republican governor that tough talk and decisive action go over well with his conservative-to-moderate constituents. Excoriating hapless, fumbling Democrats and going it alone make you look like John Wayne riding to the school marm’s rescue.

Whatever the reason, Hogan has taken a turn down a dark alley. It may lead to a promising political future, but from a governing standpoint it could lead to disaster.

Alienating Democrats

In less than eight months Hogan has managed to offend or alienate much of the Democratic elected leadership in Maryland. He has:

  • Immediately shuttered the disgraceful Baltimore City jail and detention center without even bothering to inform local officials, judges or prosecutors — or provide any details about how this is feasible.
  • On an impulse, unilaterally re-opened the old Senate Chamber in the State House while the prime mover in this historic restoration, the Democratic Senate President, was out of the country.
  • Vindictively eliminated $2 million in renovations for an arts center cherished by the Democratic House speaker.
  • Slashed education aid to Democratic strongholds, then reneged on a compromise.
  • Preemptively killed the Baltimore region’s rapid rail Red Line without any backup plan.
  • Stripped to the bone the state’s contribution for the Washington area’s rapid rail Purple Line, them squeezed two counties for $100 million more.
  • Shifted all the mass-transit money saved to rural and exurban road and bridge projects.
  • Named a commission to do away with regulations and made sure the membership was exclusively pro-business and Republican-leaning.

In nearly every case, Hogan’s made it clear he’s the act-now, think-later governor of Maryland who doesn’t need to consult with Democratic lawmakers or local officials who might offer valuable input. That would complicate matters.

It’s his party and he’ll do what he wants.

Hogan is giving the public what it wants: Simplistic, quick answers to difficult, highly complicated problems. It’s also how he campaigned for governor.

Sort of reminds you of Donald Trump, doesn’t it?

Fixing the mess 

Here’s the catch: If easy solutions could fix government’s worst dilemmas, they would have happened long ago.

If simply closing the Baltimore City jail and detention center could solve that jurisdiction’s incarceration nightmare, such a step would have been taken by Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich or Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Hogan’s quick action at the Baltimore jail opens a can of worms.

You can’t mix people awaiting trial with convicted felons, but that’s apparently the plan. How do you tend to the medical and transportation needs of 750-plus former city jail inmates about to be spread among other state prisons? Are you overwhelming nearby state facilities? Will the state face additional, unwinnable ACLU lawsuits?

Hogan says he won’t build a replacement city jail. That would make Baltimore unique in the United States. How is this going to work? Hogan is mum. What does he know that criminal justice expert don’t?

The city jail announcement came with gratuitous, nasty and factually inaccurate swipes at Democrat O’Malley. It sounded like a re-hash of Hogan in last year’s campaign.

Nor did the Republican governor spare Democratic legislators from his wrath. Then again, he displayed a stunning lack of preparation: He admitted he hadn’t even read a detailed report from a special legislative commission on handling Baltimore’s chronic jail/detention situation.

Another Agnew?

Hogan is playing to his political base: frustrated, angry white men and women — most with limited education — that Spiro Agnew appealed to. If the governor continues along this combative line of attack, he could well become a talked-about contender for the Republican vice presidential nomination, just like Agnew.

We live in an era of presidential campaigning dominated by sound bites, blunt talk, insults and easy answers. Hogan seems to be following that path, too.

The difference is that presidential candidates don’t have to govern. Hogan does, and he has now made that part of his life far more difficult.

Maryland could be in for at least three years of government gridlock in Annapolis. It may not be pretty or helpful for Marylanders, but it could well serve Larry Hogan’s political purposes.

Barry Rascovar’s blog is www.politicalmaryland.com. He can be reached at brascovar@hotmail.com

  • Proud Maryland Resident

    Just because you don’t agree with a decision doesn’t mean they were “nasty” or “vindictive” or meant to harm. The last time I checked, elected officials make unpopular decisions all the time – from the President of the United States down to the mayor of a small town. That – precisely – is why we elect them, to deal with the hard choices and not bow strictly to political winds. The only lesson from this article is if you don’t agree with someone’s position, then attack their integrity. I guess that says a lot about the author and the total lack of objective journalism…stick to the facts next time.

  • charlie hayward

    Nasty? Takes one to know one. Some of Rascover’s views here are nasty (such as language describing Hogan’s base) if not also unsupportable (indiscriminate mixing detained and sentenced prisoners is illegal.)

    Rascover uses the word “governing” as if the term means to cut deals. So Hogan should have cut deals regarding BCDC, the arts center, education aid, etc.; to facilitate more deal cutting. Governing has several more enlightened definitions; how about governing as a means of restraint or holding back the size and scope of government?

  • PigtownDesign

    Another Hogan issue: The Baltimore City Liquor Board, which has basically reverted to its pre-Judge Ward ways. One member reversed a 180-day closure without any consideration or input from the surrounding neighbourhoods.

  • Didmytime

    Come on, Barry. You know as well as anyone remotely in the know that the dice were cast as soon as those want-to-work-together legislative leaders gave the unofficial okay to the MSEA to launch attack ads against Hogan in his first term on GCEI (something O’Malley didn’t even fund half the time). Larry was around during Ehrlich’s first term and remembers well what happened when Ehrlich stuck out the olive branch–you get whacked in the face. (Tell me you don’t remember them busing kids in for protests during school hours?).

    And re-opening the Old Senate Chamber without the Senate President’s permission during the height of Annapolis’ tourist season? Oh no! You would think we offended a king by your logic here.

    Could Hogan bring the legislators in to say here’s what I plan to do with the jail and let’s work out a plan to make it happen in the next 3 months? Sure, I would agree there. But waiting around for another 10 years while everyone gets coddled in the legislature? That’s horse crap, and we all know it. What did they do after reports of those kids getting whacked in canoes at DJS facilities? They form a committee to investigate, take a year or two to write a report, draft some in-name-only bill that eventually gets watered down, and a few years later declare victory just in time for the election having done nothing.

  • Ron Smith

    I’m so glad I recently moved out of that communist, progressive shithole of a state. It’s sad when “journalists” can’t even find the roots of the problems yet excoriate the current governor for at least trying to eliminate one of the roots….overspending by decades of Democrat controlled legislatures. Screw Maryland, the Democrats and so called “journalists” like Her Rascovar.

  • dwb1

    meh. Democrats had umpteen years to fix it and didn’t. Hogan has better things to do than stroke Democrat egos. What were they going to say if consulted anyway – no keep this monstrosity open?

    Democrats (should) have better things to do themselves, like focus on the cancer in Baltimore city that they have allowed to metastasize. 45 homicides in July, and a new 3 month record. Still unemployment nearly twice the national average, and awful labor participation rate.

    But don’t worry, those gun laws Democrats pushed in 2013 will start working any day now, I am sure of it. Gotta wonder though why the gun laws only apply to regular law abiding residents and not the gang members having their picture taken with city council.

    Maybe when Hogan has won the war against his own cancer, he can focus on the cancer in Baltimore. If it’s not too late. Baltimore bankruptcy here we come.

  • Frank

    Hey Barry, maybe Hogan has become an asshole because he’s had to sink to the Democrats’ level in order to communicate with them.
    You know, the way a parent has to talk in simple, and sometimes blunt terms, to their 10 year old child.

    • Dale McNamee

      In many of the Democrat cases, he had to use “baby talk”…

  • Doug B

    You know what? He could have gone and kissed everyone of those democratic butts and liberals and the Sun Papers would still try to drive him into the mud. Good for him. Stay tough Hogan. That’s why we put you in there.

  • San

    What an awful, hateful piece filled with lies. Libel is against the law.

  • Amiga

    Wow, this is so offensive on so many different levels. I guess I am one of those “white” not educated angry white women who voted for Hogan…except I am not any of the above. It is amazing to me the rationalizing that takes place when trying to figure out why in the world this Republican man got elected to govern the state of Maryland. All of the sudden we have all become white and ignorant. Stand tough Governor, this educated Latina stands with you.

  • rabidpolitico

    What a nasty, hate-filled article. I think the author is bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Dale McNamee

    And I’m supposed to feel sorry for the loss of funding for the Progressives’ dream programs/projects ?

    Nice try, Nasty Barry…

  • charles_1

    If you want to understand where that governing style comes from google this: “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”

  • Juggling Mother

    First of all, it is despicable to use ones illness against him in such a manner. Calling the Governor “mean” and “nasty” because of his cancer? Disgusting.

    Secondly, since you are so against a leader using their executive power, how do you feel about our President wielding his executive power on a regular basis, bypassing Congress like its a competitive sport? Oh, that’s right…the rules for a Republican are different than those for a Democrat.

    Hypocrisy at its finest.

    • Tom Obama

      You should probably find an article that’s about President Obama, not LARRY HOGAN.

  • joe

    Barry just misses former liberal Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley’s “Tax and Spend” governance, employing Maryland taxpayers as his ATM!

  • tanishab

    This educated African American (Democrat) female voted for Hogan. Tired of the same old crap in Annapolis. I guess the angry white guy here is you Barry.

    • ForConsideration

      You nailed it. We’re seeing the true stripes of folks like Barry and others at the Sun. More interested in politics than progress. Hogan is passionate for Maryland. Anyone who has paid any attention knows it to be true. And that passion is bringing folks together to focus on solving problems vs. digging partisan trenches. He’s a good man. Barry could learn a great deal from Governor Hogan.

    • M Dean

      Well said!

  • Vidi

    I wonder if Gov. Schafer made any “in your face” decisions and I wonder what the reaction was to them?

  • lenlazarick

    Gov. Hogan responded to this column on his Facebook page:
    A “columnist” called me nasty and mean for not giving Democratic
    legislators prior notice of our plan to close the Baltimore City
    Detention Center. He even blamed it on my cancer, saying maybe the bald
    head and chemo was making me mean. Actually for safety reasons we could
    not leak this plan in advance to the gang leaders and criminals running
    the jail. But, we did give notice early that day to legislative leaders
    in advance. In spite of 10 days of 24 hour chemo I haven’t become mean
    and nasty, I’m still the same nice guy I have always been, and we are
    still accomplishing great things for Maryland.”

  • Deanna Dempsey

    Hogan’s agenda has always been to curb spending. Spending $2 mil on someone’s “cherished” organization, just because it’s his cherished organization, is something that can be cut.

    Complaining that mass transit funds were spent outside the city? Really, who do you think is paying for all the other junk in the city? Those rural areas that you don’t want to have bridges or roadways.

    POTUS is infamous for sidestepping protocol. So don’t complain Hogan is mean if he follows POTUS’ lead.

    Also, no self-respecting, or respected, journalist would use a person’s life threatening illness the way you did.

  • JayJacobs

    What a terribly nasty horrible thing to say. You are attacking a man for loosing his hair due to CHEMO. Politics aside, Barry, you are a special kind of hateful.

  • LuckyFarm

    Sorry folks, known the family for 40 years; the father’s sweet as peanut butter pie, the son is mean and nasty – at least since Gonzaga HS in days gone by. Since he knows he’s a 1 term kind of guy, he’s gonna pull every Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer kind of move he can on the residents of MD. Those are just facts borne out by actions.

    • Bubbaskirtchaser

      You lying POS!

      • LuckyFarm

        Well, I’m not. But let me ask: How are things in Tehran?

    • DLG1116

      Are you channeling Barry now? 🙂

      • LuckyFarm

        Nope, been close to MD real estate and politics for a long time now and know enough to look for a thumbs up or down from HH and MM. The judgement of Hogan is that he’s a train-wreck. Let Rutherford have a go at it – at least he can find his rear end with both hands.

  • John C

    Wow. I was going to comment on how mean and negative this article was. Then I read the comments already in place. It’s the single most unified stance I have ever seen following an article on this site. So, now I will just say “Ditto”. To the writer – take a hint. You blew it this time.

  • DLG1116

    Yeah, you outdid yourself with this piece, Barry. Uncool.

  • Steve

    Barry…. you are an uncaring political hack….and that is all you will ever be!

  • RickinBmore

    Gutting transit, cutting education, thumbing his nose at Baltimore City. Sounds pretty par for the course for a Republican. The man is taking his cue from Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, Chris Christie and other conservatives who play moderate during the election and then take an axe to spending priorities for urban areas and the poor as soon as they get in office. None of this is new. Let’s just hope that the Democrats in Central Maryland and the DC Burbs who stayed silent last election will rise up in 2018.

  • commonsense

    Okay, so you’re a Dem hack, writing a column. And poorly, I might add. But to try and make something of a man’s illness that he is fighting (while still working), makes you a pathetic piece of excrement at best. Better hope Karma is on summer vacation.

  • ForConsideration

    Barry, Barry, Barry… didn’t you get the memo? Marylanders have decided it’s time to put away the rigid partisan ideology. They’ve decided that Maryland isn’t served well by those who care more about the party line vs. what’s best for Maryland. The governor is passionate for our state. He’s committed to solving tough problems. And it’s committed to doing it in a way that serves all of us well. The left. The right. Those in the middle. You, on the other hand, are paralyzed. Locked in “us vs. them” mode. The Governor could cure cancer, AIDS, malaria, and find a solution to the energy problem… and you’d still criticize him. We’ve seen your type before. And we’ve tired of you. Pay attention Barry. The R’s and D’s of Maryland have spoken. They want problems solved and they don’t really care who solves them.

  • Steve

    If the purpose of your post was to get people like myself who have never heard of you to reply, well, I guess you got your wish. It takes a bitter, pathetic excuse for a human being to mock someone’s battle with cancer. We can only hope you slink back under that rock you crawled out from under and that you return to the obscurity you so richly deserve.

  • M Dean

    I guess this displays the lack of writing capabilities of someone who apparently obtained their journalism degree out of a Cracker Jack box.

    Of course, being that he is obviously an angry, ignorant tool of the Socialist Party, otherwise known as Democrats, should we expect any less than insults and low-blows?

    Once more, we get proof that any low-intelligence personality can attempt to pass for a ‘journalist’, to use the term very benignly in this case, in the age of the internet where integrity and actual thought processes are a thing of the past.

    • John Stinemire

      Very well stated!

  • Bud Humelsine

    I’ll take “mean and nasty” Hogan, over an opinionated, hypocritical, progressive, biased “columnist” any day of the week. But then, what does anyone expect from the liberal press.

  • JD

    Your are welcomed to your opinion however you need to be more respectful of someone’s illness…Hogan is “getting er done” and that is why I voted for him ..his action speaks louder than words we have hear for years

  • Regarding closing the jail: The governor is obligated to support the Constitution. The Constitution protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. The old jail was unsafe and too ancient to renovate. Being imprisoned there was a violation of the prisoners’ constitutional rights. Don’t we want our elected officials to abide by the Constitution? This was a human rights issue that he fixed.

  • Mike Schrock

    Ok first off I’m a Democrat so ill get that right out their after watching the house and senate act like a bunch of spoiled brats if u don’t vote the way bush and miller wants they make dam sure u don’t get any pork fat as they call it my party has ruined maryland with all the back door bs look at the gun control they lied on all the stats including the now attorney general typical politics u have a gov. That not afraid to say or do what needs to be done as for the jail it needed closed all the stuff that happened their i voted for larry hogan and id do it again he is what maryland needs he is what needs to happen for the future of our children AND SHAME ON YOU SIR FOR EVEN USING THE CANCER CARD THAT IS WAY OUT OF LINE BUT FREEDOM OF SPEACH IS IN THE CONSTITUTION WEATHER U LIKE IT OR NOT BUT I STILL WOULDNT HAVE WENT THEIR TACKY

  • Tom Obama

    His comment about the jail was spot on and it will become a cluster f– trying to stick inmates all over the place.

  • Maura Irish

    Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for stupid, Barry. Maybe the governor will feel sorry for you and enlist the help from one of our few biotech companies (the one’s still here despite O’Malley) and they come up with something to fix this heinous disease that seems to affect only those that disagree with the governor. Perhaps it’s just too little too late, as you seem to have it bad.

  • Doug Rainey

    In looking in from the state next door, I don’t see anything particularly mean or nasty. Is he tacking too far to the right? Not so far. He does need to keep in mind the first and last term of the last Republican governor. Purges will motivate Democrats.

  • Karen Lewis

    I think you are the one who “took a turn down a dark alley.” While you have every right to disagree with Hogan’s decisions as governor, inferring he is making emotional decisions rather than reasoned ones due to his chemotherapy treatments is simply abhorrent.

  • PHD CFO 285k a year.u? a loser

    Hogan supporters uneducated? Are we poor too? What if we go to church? What a miserable hate filled bigot you are. How is it you are still employed. I tell you what I’m going to do. I am going to find out who your advertisers are and all be contacting them. Good day to you.

  • biancaneve

    Simplistic, quick answers to highly complex problems? What comes to mind isn’t Trump but Obama. Funny how lefties love it when Obama acts unilaterally, ignores Congress, and insults his political opponents. When they’re on the receiving end of similar treatment, suddenly it’s “nasty” and “mean”.

    Marylanders elected Hogan because they wanted a change. Grow up.

  • Derrell J Battle

    F- Larry Hogan

  • Frustrated white liberals like Barry the Rascal despise Republicans that appeal to voters of all creeds, colors and backgrounds. Using his cancer in an attack piece? Looks like poor libs are getting truly desperate! Lol

  • TheCannon

    I have to agree with Barry for the most part. First and foremost, he pulled the plug on the RedLine which did away with thousands of Maryland jobs. Furthermore, to use the FEDERALLY FUNDED PROJECT for other projects in the county is flat out WRONG. At the very least it should have been placed on a ballot. Conveniently, the funds are being distributed ONLY to the counties and Baltimore City was left out. Second, Obamacare is law. Get over it. The highest court in the land heard the argument and gave the decision. Move on. My partner owns a small business and pays $300 per month because the Maryland Health Website still hasn’t been fixed. If you want to be angry, be angry at insurance companies. They determine rates based on profitability. Obamacare only makes them accept customers with pre existing conditions. The rest is up to them. Also, and I hate to bring this up, but please all of you review your government classes. There is a system of checks and balances in place to ensure that equal power occurs. Executive privledge is used in circumstances where the executive and legislative branches can’t agree and an action is needed. Like in the instance where a bill won’t be passed unless planned parenthood is defunded. This is politics. Leave all of your religious beliefs at the door. You have the right to practice your religion anyway you choose, but don’t force those belief on me by enacting legislation that depicts your own religious beliefs. If everyone agrees that Larry Hogan is doing his job, then sorry folks Obama is doing his. Healthcare, Cuba, unemployment (which by the way is not part of his job. He is to lead the country not find you a job.). I work two jobs to make ends meet and have for most of my adult life. Furthermore I have a sense of worth and accomplishment because I’ve EARNED what is mine. I am sorry to hear of Mr. Hogans health and wish him the best. I just haven’t seen yet where he is the best for ALL of Maryland (Baltimore City included).