The second Ehrlich-O’Malley debate, sponsored by the Washington Post, was more substantive than the first one, in part due to the moderators. The moderators asked pointed questions and had more control over the debate as compared with the debate sponsored by WJZ-TV. The debate provided the public the opportunity to hear from the candidates beyond the 30-second commercials that dominate television and radio.
In the second debate, anyone who was looking for differences between the candidates would have learned their positions on several issues:
Ehrlich: Pledges not to raise taxes and says he will push for a repeal of the O’Malley sales tax increase.
O'Malley: Refuses to rule out taxes
Ehrlich: Opposes illegal immigration; vetoed the granting of illegal immigrants the lower rate of in-state tuition at state colleges, and opposes drivers’ licenses for illegals.
O'Malley: Calls illegal immigrants “New Americans” and supports giving them benefits, including 6 years of having a Maryland driver's license before they have to provide proof of status.
Ehrlich: Says pension levels are unsustainable for the future. Says governments must move to defined benefit plans (401(k)) like the private sector did decades ago. Promises that reform will apply to new government hires.
O'Malley: Says he will consider recommendations by a pension reform commission, but he will not move the State to a defined benefit program.
RECOGNIZING OUT-OF-STATE GAY MARRIAGES
Ehrlich: Opposes recognition, but supports giving benefits to non-traditional couples, as he proposed during his term.
O'Malley: Says that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized in Maryland, as Attorney-General Doug Gansler has opined.
Ehrlich: Supports punishing criminals who have guns (Project Exile), but says that gun control laws disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens. Is pro-Second Amendment.
O'Malley: Supports gun control laws.
KEEPING THE REDSKINS IN PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY AS AN ECONOMIC ENGINE FOR THE REGION
Ehrlich: Supports keeping the Redskins football franchise playing in Maryland (Largo).
O'Malley: No position.
A common question that I have heard from regular people (not political junkies) is: what are these candidates going to do if elected. At least on the issues above, now you know.
Dilip Paliath has a general law practice in Towson. For more information, see www.paliath.com.