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Volume 16, Issue 2 - January 10 - January 16, 2008


In Politics and Policy, ’Tis the Season

Is January winning your competition for the dullest month?

The holidays are over and the Christmas tree at the curb, leaving letdown in the wake of heightened excitement. The Redskins are out of the playoffs and Joe Gibbs out of the game.

Spring’s provocative visit is sure to be short.

And all you’ve got to look forward to is February.

Unless you turn to politics.

For that highly competitive sport, ’tis the season.

We’ve stayed up late two nights, riveted by the returns in both parties.

Last week in Iowa, two underdogs scored astonishing victories horserace style, over not one but many competitors. Who would have imagined the victories of Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama? Not long ago, their names alone seemed enough to consign them to history’s thick file of would-have-beens.

This week the game moved to New Hampshire, jolting our adrenalin with upsets just as amazing. Last week’s stars were this week’s also-runs, as former-favorites Hillary Clinton and John McCain surged back with shows of deep strength.

That’s not to belittle a deep backfield of other contestants in each party, whose place in the race tore at the heartstrings and emptied the pockets of their supporters.

And that’s just the beginning. Next week, the action moves to Michigan and South Carolina. In a competition as deep and wild as March Madness, we’ve got sport to keep us going for weeks.

By the time the race comes to Maryland, February 12, 60 percent of our sister states will have voted. Even though we won’t have much of a say, we’ll have had a thrilling time getting to our day to play.

Yes, at Bay Weekly we follow politics with the gleeful, gloatful and sometimes grief-full enthusiasm bestowed by fandom. We read the political pages of the big daily newspapers as avidly as we read the sports pages — and as jealously. For electoral politics is a game full of thrills and spills.

So we’re thrilled to have one good race running in Maryland, the Republican primary in the First Congressional District, where the champion, Wayne Gilchrest, is being hit hard by two contenders, state senators Andy Harris and E.J. Pipkin. We’ll be telling you more about that dramatic internecine race in a week or two.

But this week, another political spectacle on our minds and in our pages: the Maryland General Assembly comes to town, opening three months of wrangling that we’ll watch with the same fervor that we tune in The Wire every Sunday night on HBO.

In this issue, editor Sandra Olivetti Martin sets the stage by interviewing Del. Mary Ann Love, who seems likely to head Anne Arundel’s delegation for an 11th year — though in politics, nothing is certain till the votes are counted.

You’ve told us you like to see the players in the General Assembly as people, and Love is a lawmaker who’s as human as we are. “We’re all the same,” the Glen Burnie Democrat says of her approach to politics. “I’m living just like you do.”

So we’ve got plenty of sport to see us through January, February, March and into April — when we’ll be perfectly happy to get our selves back on the Bay.

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