By Len Lazarick
Democratic talking points for next year’s election in Maryland are familiar from the speeches of its eight candidates running to replace Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. They paint him as a do-nothing that refuses to stand up to President Trump.
The governor’s own speeches depict an alternative state, emphasizing job creation, tax cuts, roads and education — and no mention of the Republican president.
Unlike Hogan, the more conservative Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s sole remaining Republican congressman, does not shy away from Trump, and he previewed his own GOP talking points at Saturday’s GOP Christmas Party in Baltimore. (Calling it a “Christmas Party” on the invitation was a political statement in itself.)
Harris even recommended that the snow-defying crowd at the home of national committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose watch Trump’s “great” 80-minute speech in Pensacola, Florida, Friday night. Harris’s speech was less than six minutes.
“We are going to be in great shape in 2018” though “we got off to a slow start” in Congress.
Trump’s Christmas present
“We’re going to have tax reform by Christmas,” he assured them. “What does every American really want for Christmas? Every American wants a job for them. … Our unemployment is the lowest in 17 years.”
He noted that Democrats do not even try to give President Barack Obama credit for the past three quarters of 3% growth in the economy since Trump’s election, the first time that has happened in 17 years, he said. “That’s only the start.”
With the proposed tax cut, businesses “are going to invest in the equipment” to grow jobs, particularly in manufacturing, and raise wages, which have been stagnant since 2008. “The only way to raise wages is to raise GDP.”
The president is “going to give America a huge Christmas present” with tax cuts and jobs
Harris urged the crowd to back Hogan’s reelection, “the most popular governor in America.” (Actually, the second most popular governor according to most polls.)
“When they find out what it’s like to be governed by Republicans, they’re gonna like it. ,,, Maryland is going to look at what’s being going on the last three years, and they’re going to say ‘I’ll take four more years of that,’ ” Harris said. “I think 2018 is a tremendous opportunity.”
The 1st District congressman emphasized the need to elect five more state senators or seven more delegates so that Hogan’s vetoes can be sustained, especially when it comes to legislative and congressional redistricting which the next governor will be proposing.
“We need a redistricting plan that is going change the landscape of Maryland politics for the next 10 years and maybe a generation.”
Harris’s talking points were reinforced by former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a former chair of the Republican National Committee and now a radio talk show host and TV commentator.
“The record speaks for itself, every time they cross the bridge” and pay lower tolls; “They know what we are capable of doing for them,” said Steele, who is mentioned as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate next year.
UPDATE: Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon made similar economic claims Monday night in Alabama. Washington Post reporter Philip Bump did some fact-checking on the claims, and found them largely true.