Saturday, June 23, 2012

Not All Democrats Are Lemmings

The first time I had heard of Peter Franchot was back in the late eighties during his unsuccessful run to oust Representative Connie Morella from Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.  Though Connie Morella was not conservative enough for my tastes, she was a classy lady, and I was glad she survived the challenge at the time..  After Franchot's loss to Morella, he subsequently faded from my memory.

But Mr. Franchot has been in the news much more as of late, and I am starting to like what I see. As a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, he was an ardent campaigner against legalizing slot machines in Maryland, believing that the social costs of increased crime and broken families would far outweigh any (illusive) revenue gains.  Though he was unsuccessful, I believe Mr. Franchot has been and will continue to be proven right.

Recently as Comptroller, Franchot has again spoken out against increasing the use of slots and table games as a means of gaining revenues in light of Maryland’s budget shortfalls.  More importantly, and quite surprisingly for a Democrat, Franchot has been an outspoken fiscal conservative—a thorn in the side to the tax-and-spend Governor Martin O’Malley.  In a recent interview on WMAL, Franchot displayed some common sense that stands in stark contrast to the demagogic buffoonery we tend to hear from the Democratic left:
Franchot, a Democrat, told the WMAL Morning Majority that tax increases on Marylanders are not the right approach.  He cautioned that economic recovery is threatened by a continued spiral of borrowing and tax increases.
"We are in the midst of a feeble recovery from what can only be described as the Great Recession," Franchot said.
He said the Democratic Maryland administration's proposed tax increases are "well-intentioned but it doesn't work, doesn't get good results."
"It's that adding of new debt, adding of new spending, adding of new taxes, which instead of helping the recovery hurts the recovery," he said.
As lawmakers and Governor O'Malley look for ways to close what could be a billion-dollar shortfall, Franchot says they must see the wisdom of staying in control of the budget.
More recently, Franchot contrasted Maryland’s self inflicted fiscal mess to the performance of its southern neighbor in Virginia, suggesting that the latter’s common sense policies are the reason for its superior economy and employment picture.

This is all very encouraging.  It is possible for even a dyed in the wool Democrat to come to his senses when confronted with the laws of economics and basic math.  While I am sure that I still don’t see eye to eye with Mr. Franchot on many an issue, it is refreshing to see a Maryland Democrat who does not walk in lockstep with the state’s party establishment as it walks off the fiscal cliff like a bunch of lemmings.  I understand that Mr. Franchot has his eye on the governorship in 2014.  Great!  Unless there is a strong and compelling alternative on the Republican side, I might actually consider voting for him.

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