Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post's John Wagner virtually cheered Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and the Democratic Maryland General Assembly for its recently-concluded, tax-hiking special legislative session. Well today the hosannas migrated from the front page to the editorial one. The closing paragraphs are rather telling (emphasis mine):
Politically, Mr. O'Malley will have more than higher taxes to show for his gamble. The new revenue will not only close the deficit, it will also help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, extend health-care coverage to 100,000 lower-income Marylanders, build public schools, and add facilities for state colleges and universities. In addition, and critically, the governor secured about $420 million in fresh annual revenue for transportation, the biggest infusion of new money in 15 years...
Those are big achievements, any one of which might have been seen as an important accomplishment. They provide the governor a platform on which to run for reelection or higher office and an argument to support his claim to an expansive, generous vision of government's role. To have gotten them all after just 11 months on the job is a testament to Mr. O'Malley's tenacity, flexibility, political acumen and lobbying skills, as well as to a Democratic-dominated legislature that was eager to hand him a big success.
As I noted yesterday, Post writer Wagner breezed by new spending commitments that have come out of the special legislative session, particularly new spending commitments on health care which may well balloon out of control years down the pike.
But today's editorial makes clear the agenda of the Washington Post in terms of O'Malley, whose liberal bona fides the paper sees as evidence that the Maryland governor is a rising star in national Democratic politics.
With a presidential election coming up next year and the quadrennial parlor game about whom the presumptive nominees will choose as their running mates, it's hard to imagine the Post having a serious commitment to balanced reporting on O'Malley should he be floated as a vice presidential possibility or as a key campaigner for the Democratic nominee.