A Republican with real power in Annapolis? Just kidding!
An Annapolis Dispatch from the Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz:
It was just after 10 a.m., and the 78th day of the 2009 General Assembly session was about to begin.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, was nowhere in sight.
In his place at the podium in the historic House chambers was Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, the Republican leader from Calvert County.
He was standing in a place no Republican has for the better part of a century: at the speaker’s rostrum, ready to lead the gathering of 141 lawmakers.
O’Donnell banged the gavel and asked the guards to close the doors to the chamber, the instructions that start legislative business.
Republican applause erupted. Del. Susan McComas of Harford County was among those who stood and pumped fists in air. It was a vision that the small group of 36 lawmakers thought they might never see.
O’Donnell led the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced Del. Todd L. Schuler, a Baltimore County Democrat, to give the traditional daily prayer. Before Schuler bowed his head, he looked at O’Donnell and then looked heavenward: “Please, God, tell me that it’s April 1st.”
Of course, that was the reason. After the prayer, O’Donnell quickly returned to his regular seat, and a smiling Busch sauntered over to the podium, taking his spot at the position of power.
Just like Democrat Cas Taylor did before him.
And Democrat Clay Mitchell before that. And Democrat Ben Cardin before that. And Democrats John Hanson Briscoe, Thomas Hunter Lowe, and Marvin Mandel before that.
April Fool’s indeed. No wonder the cheering from Republicans quickly subsided.
-- Julie Bykowicz