"Md. looks for clues to what Hogan will do," blared the Metro section front-page headline in Friday's Washington Post. But rather than examine what the average Joe or Jane Marylander thinks about the Republican governor-elect, the Post's Jenna Johnson and John Wagner turned to reliably left-wing interest groups for their thoughts and fears about an administration that is likely to be considerably more conservative than the Democratic one on the way out the door.
Naturally, however, Wagner and Johnson presented these groups as apolitical (emphasis mine):
Throughout the campaign, Hogan focused tightly on reducing taxes, cutting wasteful spending and improving the state’s business climate. He rarely offered up positions on other issues.
That has left activists, lobbyists, state employees and others wondering what to expect over the next four years. Among the questions being asked: Who will Hogan pick to advise him? What will his legislative agenda look like? Will he start making bold changes on his first day?
“We have no idea,” said Kimberley Propeack, senior director of politics and communications for Casa de Maryland, a Latino advocacy group.
Vincent DeMarco, a Maryland activist who has pushed for gun-control measures and health-care reform, said he is assessing what to do next. “We’re not ready to talk about it,” he said Thursday.
Lobbying firms have started letting clients know that they can help them with Republicans as well as Democrats. Annapolis-based Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver alerted clients via e-mail that it “worked with Mr. Hogan and his running mate” when they were Cabinet secretaries in the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
A number of advocates said Thursday that they view their causes as nonpartisan and that they hope to develop a good working relationship with Hogan. They looked for glimmers of hope in some of the comments he has made.
For example: Brown campaigned on a promise to expand half-day pre-kindergarten classes to all 4-year-olds. Hogan, in turn, questioned whether Brown’s plan to pay for the expansion with casino revenue would work.
“He never said he didn’t support universal pre-K,” said Margaret E. Williams, executive director of the Maryland Family Network. “He just wanted to know how to pay for it. And that’s a fair question.”
Even with a Republican in the governor’s mansion, the Democratic-controlled legislature in Annapolis will continue to wield a great deal of power.
Charly Carter, executive director of Maryland Working Families, said that having a Republican governor could galvanize progressive legislators.
“We have an opportunity to show just how strong we are,” she said. “It’s time for us to organize, for us to really start working together.”
Aside from that last example which indirectly hinted at ideological considerations, you'll notice Wagner and Johnson avoided liberal labels, even as the persons they approached represent left-wing interest groups. Casa de Maryland, for example, is well known for it's pro-amnesty position and advocacy for so-called Dream Act legislation which grants in-state tuition to illegal-immigrant students.
No conservative-leaning lobby group representative was quoted in the story, nor any average voter-on-the-street. The implication is that Maryland voters' true interests are represented by liberal activists and that Governor-elect Hogan is a threat to those interests.