WaPo Metro Top Story: Lib Governor's Fight to 'Rebuild Public Image'

Liberal Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is in trouble with the voters who elected nearly 15 months ago. In a state that is deep blue in presidential elections and has a 2:1 Democratic registration advantage, the former local Irish rocker is getting a chorus of boos from voters with poll numbers in the mid to high 30s. One major factor: the tax-hiking special legislative session he called in fall 2007.

Not to worry, Governor, the Washington Post has got your back. Here's the headline for the top Metro section story in my January 23 Maryland Home Edition of the Post:

"On O'Malley's To-Do List: Rebuild Public Image"

It becomes apparent, however, that rebuilding O'Malley's positive press is high on the Post's agenda. Reporter John Wagner wrote of O'Malley's plan to take "modest steps" towards fulfilling what O'Malley insists is "protecting our priorities." Wagner takes care to focus on how a slowing economy could prove an obstacle to O'Malley's policy goals, but fails to address concerns that O'Malley's tax hikes could be part of compounding the problem by disincentivizing business from expanding or moving to the state:

Several factors -- including some beyond O'Malley's control, such as the economy -- could hinder his efforts to recover.

Legislative analysts say the actions taken in the special session should be sufficient to balance a $15.2 billion budget next year that would otherwise have fallen short by at least $1.5 billion. But under current projections, more modest budget gaps will reappear the following year, making it difficult to start programs that could boost O'Malley's standing.

For more on Wagner's bias, check out my earlier NewsBusters posts "WaPo Pats O'Malley, Dem Legislature on Back for 'Wins on Taxes" | Nov. 20, 2007 and "WaPo Laments Lib Gov. O'Malley's 'Modest' 2008 Agenda" | Jan. 7, 2008.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.