As a resident of Annapolis, the state capitol of Maryland, I can tell you Larry Hogan, our governor, is known well around here as a good guy. Being a GOP governor in this People’s Republic isn’t easy. I know that. But there is a point when trying to make the best of bad political terrain morphs into sleeping with the enemy.
He is very close to that point.
On a junket yesterday, the governor was in New Hampshire to get tons of free adoring press and to shine up his anti-Trump credentials with Maryland Dems, who far outnumber we Republicans here in the Old Line State. He babbled there was “very disturbing stuff” in the Mueller report and accused the president of attempting to obstruct justice. Hogan even threw in his health issues (and they are severe) to give a warm glow to his political reconnaissance/sucking up to the usual suspects trip to the Granite State.
However, cancer recovery, as horrible as getting that disease is and as courageous as is the struggle to fight it, is not a free pass to undercut the national leader of your own party. It’s also pretty smarmy to bring your disease up at the drop of a hat as a way of deflecting hard questions and changing the subject. This is a cheap stunt he’s been doing for a while.
Given his predilection for pity as politics and his disdain of the president, Hogan would have been more honest just to run as a Dem when he ran for reelection last year. But that wouldn’t get him this kind of press, as the media’s favorite game is to try and set up a GOP civil war.
Well, that dog isn’t likely to hunt, as a University of New Hampshire poll puts Hogan’s primary support at one percent in any matchup against the president. The president chimes in at 76 percent, with challenger Weld at five and potential challenger Kasich at 10. Trump won the 2016 GOP primary there by more than two to one. He lost the state in the general election by less than half of one percent.
Not exactly a mandate for rebellion.
Yeah, it’s early and the regular season isn’t until next year. I hope Hogan at least has enough sharp people around him to know (I’m tempted to name his advisors as the firm of LeBeau, Newkirk, and Carter) that a run at Trump is a fool’s errand. The president’s wild loyalty from, and popularity with, the GOP base is readily apparent in this regard.
Those of us here who personally like the guy hope this is a show pony exercise for Dem Maryland voters to remind them he’s a very different kind of GOP governor and to discourage them from getting in the way of whatever his next play is. He’s limited to two consecutive terms in his current position. So if he wants to curry favor with local players (that includes DC) to land softly when he has to turn in the keys in 2023, he has to go out of his way to trash the president. You see, Trump isn’t very popular with the regional political class.
Gee, wonder why?
National politics can become a lush and entitled kind of prison (dare I say, Klink?) for people who can’t find a major (Hochstetter) reason to ever leave and return to the normal world where not close to everyone you meet is a sycophant.
I hope Hogan learns this before too many more trips to New Hampshire and potential subsequent actions. For the three-plus years remaining on his term in Maryland, we even have some things for the likable governor to do here.