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Ehrlich on the Election: "Got Fired"

Governor

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. went back to the comfortable environs of Baltimore talk radio yesterday to give what he called his first "exit interview" as he prepares to leave office after being unseated last month.

"Got fired. Got fired," is how the governor began a two-hour conversation on the WBAL radio show hosted by his close friend Ron Smith. "It was not good. It's never good, obviously to lose."

Ehrlich (R) has said he will grant more exit interviews to reporters in the State House today, and based on the tone of his commentary over the two-hour radio stint yesterday, they won't involve finger pointing or grousing. No sign he'll repackage the infamous Richard Nixon's vow to the press: "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore."

Yesterday's was, instead, a mostly upbeat Ehrlich, who said he has asked his advisers to refrain from blaming his defeat on the national tide that swept Democrats into office around the country this year.

"We've been very careful not to blame this or that," Ehrlich said. "The bottom line here is ..... we did take on the monopoly. In Maryland today, it appears that people prefer single-party government. It's someone counter-intuitive to what the polls usually reflect."

Ehrlich did however say that he didn't believe he could have defeated any credible Democratic candidate in this year's political climate, even the woman he defeated in 2002, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Neither Ehrlich nor Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R), who joined him in the studio, gave any hint as to what would be in store for them when they leave office in January. Steele, who lost his bid for an open U.S. Senate seat to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, said only: "Get a job, baby. Get a job."

The governor answered the single question about his future this way: "I think the question is, politically, what's next? And the answer is unknowable."

Neither ruled out the possibility of a future revival of the state's Republican Party, which they both acknowledged took a drubbing in the election. Steele said he believes "2010 looks very good. We'll be competitive."
The governor responded by saying, "I'm a little more pragmatic than Mike."

But at the close of the show, when I caller offered praise for Ehrlich's 2006 running mate, Kristen Cox, Ehrlich tempered his pessimism.

"She is a candidate for the future," Ehrlich said.

Matthew Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  December 13, 2006; 6:25 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

Yeah the jerk got fired, but I don't see him getting thrown out of the building by security like he did to ordinary state workers. Kristen Cox a losing candidate for what?

Posted by: MD4BUSH | December 13, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious Steele has his eyes on running for something and Ehrlich doesn't. That is the reason for Steele's optimism and Ehrlich's pessimism. They can't understand how they could have high approval ratings and lose. I'll tell you why, approval ratings don't always equal electoral success. Look at the Presidential election in 2004. Bush's approval was slightly under 50. The national mood played a role, but Ehrlich lost because Republican turnout was low and conservative Democrats felt betrayed by his decision to raise "fees" aka taxes. Why would they vote for him again over a nice looking Democrat who might raise their taxes. He already did. He shouldn't be so negative about how Marylanders want one-party government. No...they were crying out for some differences. Ehrlich lost not because he was too conservative or controversial, he lost because he wasn't conservative enough on the tax issue, and didn't give the GOP conservative base a reason to vote for him during his four years.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Thrown out of the building like state workers? Oh!! you mean like Governor Blendening did to Schafers appointees?? Your right...Governor Ehrlich didn't do ANYTHING like that! Your comment fails to mention that these are APPOINTEES,WHO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR... HELLO.... IS ANYONE AT HOME??? One more thing you fail to point out about GOVERNOR EHRLICH getting fired, only 5 jurisdictions fired the Governor. The rest of Maryland is held hostage by 5 jurisdictions.

Posted by: Steve | December 13, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The Governor is NOT the appointing authority for employees other than Secretaries and Department heads.Do some research Steve. No one is holding yoo hostage -feel free to leave the state anytime. Perhaps Ron Smith has a guest room to rent out now that his wife will hopefully lose her specially created stae job earning close to 6 figures.

Posted by: MD4BUSH | December 13, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If even a small percentage more of the voters in the juridictions being "held hostage" by the other 5 had voted for Haircut instead of O'Malley we'd have 4 more years. O'Malley may not have won every county, but he did better in red ones than Townsend did.

Speaking of state employees, did anyone notice the ex-gov's appearance on The Wire a couple of weeks ago as a security guard at the state house? They had to get him a SAG card for that. So maybe his next career is on the screen? Or an actors union boss?

Posted by: evan | December 13, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and it just so happens that the majority of the state lives in those five places. Ain't democracy great that way?

Posted by: evan | December 13, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Ehrlich's main accomplishment was showing everyone how petty and uncompromising the MD Democratic Party is.

Posted by: BG from PG | December 13, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Ehrlich lost not because he was too conservative or controversial, he lost because he wasn't conservative enough on the tax issue, and didn't give the GOP conservative base a reason to vote for him during his four years."

Keep thinking that. Perhaps the Republicans can even become MORE irrelevant in 2010.

Posted by: Marylander | December 13, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

You know what, in all honesty my respect for Ehrlich is growing. The guy did a cameo making fun of himself and O'malley on the wire, I gotta say that takes some nuts.

Steele well, he is growing on me in the opposite direction. They should switch places with Steele being retired and Ehrlich running for the Senate in 2010.

Posted by: DCDave | December 13, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

How about hiring Ehrlich as a security guard for real so he can escort his cronies out the building when they get fired?

Posted by: Brian23 | December 13, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Ehrlich's main accomplishment was showing everyone how petty and uncompromising the MD Democratic Party is."

Obviously this "accompilshment" didn't do anything to help the Republican party as they lost the governor's mansion and seats in the legislature. Brilliant observation, btw.

Posted by: InMoCo | December 13, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

InMoCo,

Ike Leggett may have won by a landslide in MoCo but if you stop drinking the Washington Post Kool-Aid, you learn that narrow margins elected O'Malley and Cardin in this all blue state. The only card that could be played was the war in Iraq. Without that liability, things would look much different, as they will in 2008. In fact, across the nation many seats were won by narrow margins. Once voters see the Left turn in these politicians that pretended to be moderates, many will be shown the door-again.

Posted by: BG from PG | December 13, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

is clearly not just a river in Egypt. BG from PG, after spending the entire campaign telling us all that Ehrlich and Steele were going to win big, NOW tells us that (1) O'Malley and Cardin won by "narrow margins," (2) it was all because of the war in Iraq, and (3) 2008 will look very different.

Ha ha ha.

First off, dim bulb, the margins were greater than anyone was predicting. Cardin got 54% of the vote -- the one poll that put him that high was derided as an outlier. O'Malley got 53% of the vote. Those were pretty decisive victories, by any standards.

Second, do you think your sainted President is going to actually leave Iraq between now and 2008? Not gonna happen, pal. THE defining issue of the 2008 elections will be Iraq, because as bad as it is now, it's going to be worse in a year, and we'll still be there, because George W. Bush will "double down" and "stay the course" and pretty much anything other than admit that he has committed the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. So get used to that albatross around your neck -- it's not going anywhere until we get a new president.

Third, on a national level, 2008 is a far better playing field for DEMOCRATS, not Republicans. This year, Democrats were defending 18 Senate seats, Republicans 15. In 2008, Republicans have 21 seats to defend, Democrats 12. Look for more Democratic gains, not a reversal. And BTW, there are no MD Senate seats in play in 2008, nor are there any state elections. The marquee race will be a rematch of the Al Wynn-Donna Edwards matchup in the 4th Congressional District. No dog in that hunt for you wingnuts, sorry.

Bottom line -- get used to being in the minority, now on the national level as well as the state. And get ready for a Democratic president in 2009, 'cause that's what's coming. Cheers.

Posted by: De Nile | December 14, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Democrat in the White House in '09, who will that be? It won't be Obama or Hillary despite the media's attempt to prop them up early. No one wants a far Left President-especially one that can't make up her mind on what side of the issues that she stands and the other with no credibility other than a 100% liberal voting record and questionable ethics.

At the end of the day, most Americans (unlike yourself and the other leftist zealots out there) want success in Iraq. There's no guarantee that the picture will be so bleak in late 2008.

Posted by: BG from PG | December 14, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I think Ehrlich could be a strong candidate in the future for something, though he'd have an uphill battle, as he knows. Perhaps if O'Malley is not popular, he could run again for governor on an "I told you so" theme. Or for Senate, though that would be tougher.

Don't know about Steele's viability; he too could be a credible candidate again, but I think he's already had his best shot. He was hyped as a brilliant candidate with the potential for major racial crossover appeal, but the election results disproved that. Maybe he'd be a better candidate for governor if Ehrlich doesn't want to try again. Kris Cox probably has less name recognition but performed competently in this year's campaign as well, and so has further potential.

As for the whining about 5 jurisdictions holding the state hostage--well, those places just happen to be where most of the people live. At least in MD the will of the majority rules, unlike in the US electoral college.

Posted by: MHK919 | December 14, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

BG from PG: How, in light of current circumstances, do you define "success in Iraq"? George W. Bush defines it as "not leaving." How do you define it, and how, other than closing your eyes and wishing for it, do you propose to accomplish it?

BTW, the vast majority of Americans, at least as measured by polls, want the U.S. out of Iraq by early 2008 if not sooner. Upon what do you base your implied premise that "most Americans" support the Bush view of Iraq, present and future?

Posted by: Wondering | December 14, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Upon what do you base your implied premise that "most Americans" support the Bush view of Iraq, present and future?"

Those are your words, not mine. I merely said that most Americans want success in Iraq. Success can be defined as setting up a stable government that can stand on its own, training the police and military to an appropriate level and leaving as soon as possible. My point being that wishing for America's failure in Iraq for the next two years in order to acheive political gain in 2008 is un-American. Dissent is one thing, hoping for failure is quite another.


Posted by: BG from PG | December 14, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

A colleague of mine gave me a "Bush's Last Day" keychain gag gift for Christmas that has a countdown clock until Jan 20, 2009.

You should have seen the look on her face when I told her that the batteries would be dead long before the thing finishes counting 767 more days!

Posted by: BG from PG | December 14, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

If Bobby Haircut was half as humble as his phony appearance on WBAL yesterday, he may have made some headway with the General Assembly. But no - true to form he was as blinded by his ambitions as a certain president is in Iraq.

Good bye and maybe the Md GOP can crawl back under its rock (located under Roscoe Barlett's porch.)

Posted by: Tru Blu Maryland | December 14, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Ehrlich is going to end up working for Bruce Bereano.

Posted by: just you wait and see | December 14, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

perhaps he can return to his previous college career of scalping tickets.

Posted by: MD4BUSH | December 15, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey MD4BUSH, what are the new hot rumors about O'Malley steppin' out on Mrs. O'Malley?

Or is it the other way around?

Do tell!

"Cardin got 54% of the vote -- the one poll that put him that high was derided as an outlier. O'Malley got 53% of the vote. Those were pretty decisive victories, by any standards."

Actually, those are rather slim majorities in a state overwhelmingly Democrat.

Posted by: Rufus | December 15, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Dear Rufus:

Democrats are 55% of the registered voters in Maryland. This fact can be gleaned from the Maryland State Board of Elections website. Republicans are 29%. Four minor parties total approximately 0.4%. Independents and unaffiliated voters total 15.5%.

Now, as I would assume you understand, many registered Democratic voters don't vote, or at least don't vote in the same percentages as do Republicans. Blacks vote less than whites, poor people vote less than wealthy, etc. Ain't no way we'd ever have a Republican dogcatcher if voting patterns followed registration. I suspect that if someone breaks it down when the numbers are available, Democrats in MD probably turned out in percentage terms more than they normally do, but probably 20-30% less than Republicans across the state.

In addition, dear Rufus, let us not forget that there were candidates to the left of the Democrats in both the Senate and Governor races that could have, but did not, siphon off substantial numbers of votes in Montgomery County and other Democratic jurisdictions, Nevertheless, these candidates did take 1-2% of the vote across the state.

Taking all this into account, for a Democratic statewide candidates to get 53-54% in such circumstances is a good accomplishment. More importantly, these numbers are more than anyone thought O'Malley and Cardin could get.

Posted by: Facts are your friends | December 15, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Facts are your freinds-

Regardless of MD voters' party affiliation, 46-47% did not follow the Democratic party line in November.

That's interesting considering A.) Democrats out number Republicans 2 to 1 in MD and B.)despite all the anti-Republican rhetoric out there this year, Ehrlich and Steele were able to muster as many votes as they did.

The relatively small numbers that brought O'Malley and Cardin to victory shouldn't be overlooked. If this had been any other year, the picture in MD would look very different.

Posted by: BG from PG | December 16, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"In Maryland today, it appears that people prefer single-party government. It's someone counter-intuitive to what the polls usually reflect."

Ah, well. Yet another reason why he's out of office come January. Md voters don't want "single-party rule", they just don't want Republicans in office. Cause they're lying, deusional scumbags. Like Ehrlich. And as far as a "winning issue"? Why not just tout the states accomplishments in terms of turning back the South American horde?


Posted by: cc | December 20, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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