Now that all the lesser media, you know, the Post, the Sun, the Examiner, the HoCo Times, and the Flyer, have weighed in, its time for the most coveted of all endorsements: those given out by the fineline editorial board.
I’ll start with the most important race, the U.S. Senate. The fineline endorses Ben Cardin. While it is long past the time that Maryland should have sent its first African-American Senator to represent it in the United States Senate, Michael Steele simply does not belong in the U.S. Senate. While Mr. Steele has a winning manner and a likable style, to vote for him would be to choose style over substance. He insulted the intelligence of Marylanders by refusing to clearly delineate his stands on many issues. Those stands he did take suggest he lacks the judgment and wisdom needed in the U.S. Senate in these trying times. For example: Steele steadfastly supported the invasion of Iraq, the privatization of Social Security and massive tax cuts for the rich, at a time when both the federal deficit and inequality in the distribution of wealth and income are at all time highs. Most importantly, a vote for Mr. Steele, would also be a vote for continued Republican control of the U.S. Senate. Seldom in the history of this great nation has a political party been less deserving of its control of Congress than the present Republican Party.
On the other hand, I am truly excited to have the opportunity to vote for Ben Cardin. (“Excitement” and “Ben Cardin” are two phrases infrequently used in the same sentence). Ben is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people in politics (just like the Senator he is going to replace). His intellect is balanced by his highly moral, ethical and compassionate nature. Mr. Cardin doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve; instead he quietly conducts himself in the most honorable fashion. Mr. Cardin has, with little attention or fanfare, shown himself to be one of Congress’ most effective members. The nation needs him in the Senate. Moreover, a vote for Cardin sends a message to the Bush Administration that the people of Maryland want: universal healthcare, honesty in government, fiscal responsibility, competency and rationality in foreign policy, respect for the Constitution and the protection of social security: A message that the President and his cronies sorely need to hear and heed.
While Michael Steele might make a great replacement for Dr. Phil, Ben Cardin will provide the steady, thoughtful, experienced, intelligent and just leadership so sorely needed in the U.S. Senate. We are fortunate to have a candidate of his caliber on the ballot.