“Whining Is Not A Leadership Style”

In February of this year a story broke here in Maryland about Baltimore City’s boy Mayor, Martin O’Malley. The mayor is a nice looking young man who sings in an Irish band. He is also one of the biggest whiners around and he always blames problems on President Bush, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, or both. Though Baltimore has become a drug infested murdering field and turnstile for police commissioners the mayor insists on pointing to problems in the state and of course, blames Ehrlich.

O’Malley blamed Bush for not providing federal money and now it is alleged that he did not act in time and lost $2 million of that very same money. The boy mayor has a grand old time because he gets a free pass on everything. He has his eye on the State House and the major paper here, The Sun, is going to do everything in its power as the media wing of the democratic party to ensure that Martin makes it in.

The story of February is about a former state employee that worked under Governor Ehrlich. This employee Joseph Steffen, who was an aide to the governor, was caught writing nasty things about O’Malley on a blog. Steffen was stirring up information about O’Malley being unfaithful to his wife. When this story first broke the papers made it seem like Steffen was the one who started the rumors though they did reference that these rumors had been circulating for about 18 months. The Mayor and his wife appeared at a news conference and talked about the republican dirty tricks department and how this was so terrible. They said the first they had heard about the rumors was about 18 months ago. Local talk shows talked about it and stated that they had heard the rumors some time ago and they had heard them from democrats. So far, so good.

Enter WBAL radio and TV. It seems that there was an interview in the WaPo in March of 2000 where the mayor’s wife mentions the infidelity rumors and says that she thinks the democrats who opposed her husband on the city council started them. Here is the exchange from March 2000:

Katie O’Malley found it “demeaning” to see herself in print as “the pretty wife,” but her husband can’t seem to help himself from crowing over her. “I am the luckiest guy,” says O’Malley, and his slate-blue eyes glint.

“Well, I’m glad he feels that way,” says his wife, by telephone a few days later. “It helps offset the rumors.”

Rumors? What rumors?

“That he’s running around on me. That he’s been running around on me for years,” she says.

Who says this? “Oh, I don’t know,” says the mayor’s wife. “Opponents, I guess, from when he was a councilman.”

Pause. The reporter offers that the mayor seems like he wouldn’t have the time. “That’s exactly what Martin always says,” says the mayor’s wife, who is also a crack prosecutor who would never say something in open court if she didn’t want it out there.

Now folks, who is playing dirty politics? The mayor and his wife knew about these allegations 5 years ago, not the short 18. They are both well educated so I am assuming they know that there are 60 months, not 18, in 5 years. Joseph Steffen did something very wrong in throwing this stuff around. Governor Ehrlich fired him for it. The governor stated that he will not tolerate such behavior. Was Steffen wrong? You bet. Did the newspapers, especially the WaPo which should have known, ignore information that could have presented this situation in a different light? You bet. Did the O’Malley’s allow this to play out without mentioning that they knew about it 5 years ago so they could benefit from it politically? Probably so. Knowing them and the way they are connected I would not be surprised.

Let us look at how the mayor is set:
Has the local paper in his pocket. He is their boy and they will publish what he wants. This was vehemently denied by a representative of the Sun in an interview. The information was from an email sent by O’Malley’s brother-in-law who works for the State as commissioner of the Maryland Public Service. The emails were sent from his state computer while he was being paid by the state.

Mrs. O’Malley is a judge. She was appointed to the bench during her husband’s tenure as mayor. Her father is the Maryland Attorney General. Her brother you already know about. He was very concerned about her 2000 interview and thought she needed a press secretary.

You see, media bias is alive and well at the local level. While many wingnuts will say “here we go again. A witch hunt about sex.” they would be overlooking the real issue of the story. Like Bill Clinton’s affair, sex is not the central issue. Bill’s was about lying under oath and the O’Malley case is about media bias with regard to local newspapers ignoring or failing to report all the facts so as to give the appearance that republican dirty trick teams were out to get the mayor. It is also about the mayor and his wife ignoring or neglecting to tell everyone that this was as old as 5 years. It is about responsibility.

I know that this probably does not interest most of you but I believe that Robert Ehrlich will seek a very high office in the future and he does not need false allegations leveled at him. In addition, the Washington Post is a widely read newspaper and they should be more accountable for their actions.

UPDATE:
Despite the latest revelations about the 5 year history of the rumors the mayor is still blaming the governor and said that he [the governor] should put and end to this now. He indicated that those responsible for this should be fired.
Ehrlich said that O’Malley should name specific people and stop whining. “Whining is not a leadership style”, the governor said.



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