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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Bullshit

January 23, 2014
Illustration by Alex Fine

Illustration by Alex Fine

Governor Martin O’Malley delivered his final State of the State address this morning.

It did not disappoint, so full was it of measures and metrics and, oh God, in the online version, even footnotes: “Goals.  Deadlines.  Performance measures.  This is also how we are making our air and our waters cleaner. [37]”

Anyone who has paid attention knows that the governor sold out the Chesapeake Bay to the chicken industry while socking residents with new taxes to clean up that for which he would not hold industry responsible. There’s a litany of these bait-and-switches in the speech and in his record. Almost every one of them attributable to his ambition for higher office, which burns in his loins like a dose of the clap.

The governor’s rules of political conduct would be easy to guess even if they had not been the prime directives of  policy:

  1. Never offend a potential campaign contributor when you can tax some poor schmuck instead and use statistics to claim victory.
  2. Never push a legislative agenda until the escape pod doors are already swinging open.

The governor is calling to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, which is a good thing. Maybe it will even happen. But O’Malley seldom if ever before last fall expressed a legislative concern about the earnings of poor people, even as wages stagnated under his watch in Baltimore and in the state (and nation) as a whole.

Instead, he has focused exclusively on highlighting snippets of data that make the state under his watch look shiny to national reporters who, he hopes, will not check the facts. Even in this speech: “Because of these actions, the Pew Foundation now ranks Maryland one of the top three states for upward economic mobility.[74]

One may well ask: if upward mobility is so great, why do the poors need a raise? Won’t they just get them some upward mobility?

But then, attempting to apply logic to an O’Malley speech is like applying a tourniquet to a neck wound. You can do it…but you’ll kill the dream.

All the usual O’Malley themes are present: the unwavering faith in technology, the juked statistics, the hand-wringing about how “we can do better,” the stage-managed appeals to hope for a better future.

Then at the end of this absurd pile of non sequiturs that would humiliate anyone possessing even a coke spoon’s worth of intellectual honesty or self respect, The Governor of Maryland actually says: “The only things worth doing are the things that might possibly break your heart.”

What those things were, or what they are, is not defined.

  • Tom

    Not sure why this piece is in the opinion section. What are you saying? It’s all fluff and rant. All “state of the whatever” speeches are a collection of generalities and empty phrases. Many good things have been accomplished: marraige equality, dream act, abolition of the death penalty. That’s far from bullshit. Try living in a state anywhere south of us!

  • Rustyschaos

    As far as “try living in a state south of us” you may have not noticed that most of us with any sense are moving there already. If you are happy to see us go that is just fine with me. You can smile at the Democrat controled state as your taxes go up and up and up……

  • Barnadine_the_Pirate

    Bye. Leave. Just shut up about it.

  • William Bond

    Fantastic headline…

    Believe in What…?

  • Mike K

    We can tell since Virginia is now blue.

  • Anonymous Bosch

    Your taxes will go up too eventually, at least at the federal level. We will reach a tipping point where the choices are to tax the rich or the entire country falls apart, and you and your party will be seen as the spoiled, entitled children you are.

    But in the meantime, thanks for getting the hell out of my state.

  • Ezra

    I think some states to the South of us do not tax you quite to the point where all vitality and passion has drained from your body.

  • asteroid_B612

    O’Malley is an ambitious, unprincipled narcissist. We are going to be mercifully free of him very soon. Unfortunately, he has trained SRB to follow in his footsteps, with Meet the Press appearances and trips to Panama. We are stuck with her for the foreseeable future.

    Go to the City’s website and you won’t seen anything on the front page about help for the homeless during the current cold spell, the recent spike in violence and muggings and what the city is doing about it, or anything else that affects 99% of thepopulation. Instead you will find a prominent link to a Photo Gallery of the Mayor, the most recent of which contains pages of photos of her talking at a Weight Watchers event. Really????

  • Rustyschaos

    You keep paying, I’ll keep packing. “Your state”?

  • burgersub

    is this buying into the right-wing “RAIN TAX!!!” nonsense (even if you do add some faux-populist, anti-corporate dressing to it) supposed to be like edgy or something? like punks being into death in june?

  • seoigh

    Excuse me while I chew on the irony of the City Paper calling something BS.

  • MoneyLaunderingNews

    what do you expect from this carpet-bagger! anyone who voted for him for mayor or governor should now wake up and never vote for him again.