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When Robert Ehrlich was elected governor of Maryland in 2002, Democrats here warned that he was an ultraconservative extremist out to ban abortions, drain the Chesapeake, and do whatever else it is that ultraconservative extremists do. Slowly, they're starting to realize what should have been obvious from the beginning: Setting aside his personal style and his obsession with putting slot machines everywhere, he's not really so different from his Democratic predecessors.

In fact, after some initial conflicts, the governor and the Dems might even be starting to get along. To quote the Baltimore Sun's David Nitkin, "As he begins his second year in office, Ehrlich appears to have adopted a time-honored strategy for wringing wins from a legislative branch dominated by the opposing party. Like Ronald Reagan in California and Bill Clinton in Washington, Ehrlich has reached across the aisle for policy ideas and is making them his own."

It's a local story, but I figure it has national resonance.