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Purple Haze

Think fast: What is the route of Metro's proposed Purple Line?

It's a question that Republican Michael S. Steele posed in a bid to pivot the U.S. Senate race onto metro Washington issues, territory where he as lieutenant governor and a Largo resident feels more comfortable than those pricky national issues.

It worked at first: Democratic Senate candiate Ben Cardin flubbed the question when Steele asked him in a Channel 8 debate on Wednesday.

Cardin started to answer, sputtering "Chevy Chase" before realizing that the question came from his opponent, not the moderator. "I'm not going to answer your question."

Pursued by reporters after the debate, Cardin was still unable to produce an answer though he did voice support for the 14-mile rail line under consideration.

But the question may have backfired on Steele, when he too, appeared a little fuzzy on the answer. On Thursday, he called a news conference at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station to decry Cardin's lack of knowledge about suburban Washington.

But It turns out that the Grosvenor-Strathmore station in North Bethesda was part of an old proposal, called the "outer line," that Maryland dropped two years ago. The only path being studied now, the "inner line," would start in downtown Bethesda -- four miles from where Steele stood.

Asked why he held yesterday's news event so far from the proposed route, Steele said the Grosvenor-Strathmore stop was "convenient and the easiest" site for his travel schedule. (see video)

When pressed, he explained that he was going back and forth to the District. So didn't his Metro ride take him right past the downtown Bethesda Metro stop, the inner line's western end?

"This is where they told me to come," Steele snapped. "I'm not trying to draw any distinction between inner and outer. I'm focusing on the Purple Line."

This morning, Steele's spokesman Doug Heye offered this clarification: "To be absolutely clear, as was explained to the Post twice, we chose the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station because it was very easily accessible to all parties, most importantly, the media. We had media from Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis in attendance and this was deemed the most convenient for everyone."

I bet independent Kevin Zeese, a Takoma Park resident, knows the route.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 27, 2006; 9:10 AM ET
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Grosvernor is out doors and much better for a public-relations event then Bethesda. Where are you going to have news cameras setup in Bethesda--in the dark recesses of the actual platform where you can barely see the text on a book? Outside of the entrance with all of the metro and rideon buses rolling by which is also pretty dark? Oh, yes, by the one elevator next to the post office? Grosvernor was clearly picked for the site's remarks because it is media-friendly unlike Bethesda. Silver Spring would've also worked, but c'mon, has anyone ever tried seriously reading a book without standing right next to one of those white billboards that are lit? It's a strain on your eye, the sound quality of anything microphone related would suck inside the tunnel, and photos would be pretty bad (ever wonder why the Post's photos of the inside of metro's always look kind of grainy).

Here is a better question though--when was the last time Ben Cardin even rode the metro? And i dont mean that little Congressional underground subway. He has no clue about the issues of average people, but he knows how to talk about minute policy points like he did in the first debate--didn't everyone else hear the collective, huh?

Like Steele or not, he definitely knows Washington transportation issues far better than Cardin--he has lived them and is familiar with the hectic commutes. I'd be surprised if Cardin's knowledge exceeded the roads he drives in.

Someone should ask him about the ICC, maybe he'll tell us it's the International Cancern Coalition or something?

Posted by: Bryan | October 27, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

There were many old transportation proposals on the shelf when Ehrlich/Steele came to office which are now coming to fruition. The ICC, the Hughsville Bypass and soon the Purple Line will follow. Old route, new route, who cares where the press conference is held? With Ehrlich it will be built and with Steele in the Senate, it will be paid for with Federal funds.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 27, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nice try from both of you, but he screwed up and proved that he knows nothing about the proposed Purple Line.

First off all, Bethesda has an above ground entrance with the Metro column perfect for a photo-op, there are plenty of places to set up camera outside. If they really wanted shots of him getting on the train or in front of a train, they could have walked down stairs (cameramen carry those cameras all the time). For the sake of accuracy, they should have been at the right place.

Second, Grosvernor is not more easily accessible to media from Baltimore and Annapolis, since both of them have to come down the Beltway (Bethesda being conveniently located off of the Beltway, whereas to get to Grosvenor you have to go up I-270. Talking the alternative route from Baltimore on I-70 West and then down I-270 is actually a longer route than the Washington Beltway (I know, I've driven it in both directions).

You guys are so desperate to make Steele look infallible that you come off looking more stupid when you cover up for these kinds of mistakes.

Simply saying, look we screwed up, but at least we are trying, and I believe it is an imporant issue, is more believable, honest, and genuine then trying to play off mistakes as gotcha politics.

Since Michael Steele has never held elected political office which he has won on his own, and has never himself ran a successful campaign, I wouldn't expect him to actually know that.

Posted by: opps | October 27, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for mentioning that I know where the Purple Line is being planned -- you're right. In fact, two of the stops would be within walking distance from my home in Montgomery County.

We need mass transit - a regional mass transit plan that connects DC-VA-MD and in Maryland connects the major cities as well a National Place and BWI. Along with this transit oriented development, more walkable and bikeable communities and less sprawl. Spending money on the ICC is a gigantic error that will only help the developers who own land along the route. It will actually make traffic worse by creating more sprawl. It is 1950s thinking rather than 21st Century thinking.


Posted by: Kevin Zeese | October 27, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I am encouraged by the comments of Green/Libertarin/Populist candidate Kevin Zeese above.

Three things are becoming really clear in this Senate race in Maryland:
1)Zeese has really done his homework and knows what he is talking about;
2)The place to look for answers to the problems this state and country are facing is NOT in either of the two status-quo parties; and
3)After Cardin's political suicide by dissing the NAACP in Waldorf last evening, it looks like the only way to beat Steele is to vote Zeese.

Posted by: John Low | October 27, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Zeese,

I'm genuinely curious. What in the hell did you say to the Libertarian party to earn its nomination? Did it take anything more than "I'm against the war?"

If nothing else proves the idiocy of third-party candidacies, it's the thought of the Libertarians nominating someone who supports public transit, socialist healthcare, and God knows what other socialist bromides, just so they can say they have a candidate.

Posted by: Brandon | October 27, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"The ICC, the Hughsville Bypass and soon the Purple Line will follow. Old route, new route, who cares where the press conference is held? With Ehrlich it will be built and with Steele in the Senate, it will be paid for with Federal funds."

Right on the money! If we want something actually done with transportation, voting for Ehrlich/Cox and Steele is the way to go.

O'Mally and Cardin will give us additional years of environmental impact studies that lead nowhere but cost, cost, cost big money.

Posted by: Rufus | October 27, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, although I support the idea of 3rd or even 4th party candidates, I am appalled at your open attack of Ben Cardin in order to sway voters to Steele. You know you can't win, yet you continue to play the role of spoiler, in hopes that things will get so bad, that a 3rd party will actually have a chance in 6 years. I find that disgusting...and you cannot dispute that notion, because it was on your website, posted by your own son, until last week.
If you truly cared about the issues you espouse, if you truly cared about the state and our country, if you truly cared as you say you do, you would drop out and throw your support behind Ben Cardin, as he has the gravitas and policy expertise to represent the interests of the citizens of Maryland. Rather than play the role of spoiler to further your own self interests
You sir, do more damage to the future legitimacy of 3rd party organizations by your lack of cooperation and bipartisanship, than the 2 major parties could ever do.

Posted by: gatsby46 | October 27, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Steele's team really let him down with poor advance. With the contacts at the state that they have, there is no reason to have him hold a press conference at an irrelevant location. They should have vetted this event better, and let him down. He also seemed ill-prepared. Where was his briefing? Campaigns are crazy times, but slow down and get it right. They had a major coup with Cardin and the purple line and now it has backfired.

Posted by: Poor Advance | October 27, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Pretty funny if you ask me for Steele to make a big point of claiming Cardin didn't know the purple line issue when Steele himself was lost on the subject. Steele's last minute nastiness backfired on him. In fairness, Cardin was a lot closer on the purple line location and Chevy Chase is the exact place where all the disagreement on the line is located. Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase does not want the line going through their golf course. Also (just FYI for those out of the area) the local "purple line high school is BCC High School. It stands for Bethesda Chevy Chase HS. The two towns are that close together and connected that the local high school is named for both towns. Cardin was perhaps two blocks away on his statement, Steele was miles away and two long metro stops away. Steele way overplayed his hand and somehow he got bopped back on the head for his nastiness. Sounds like justice to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I still hate the ICC and think it is a waste of money and way too late to do any good for traffic. We need more mass transit and subway money, not more highways.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse


You're rant about a third party conspiracy is a joke.

As you sit there, still licking your wounds and reeling from the Nader Factor (Versions 1.0 & 2.0), you seem to be forgetting that in this country, you can vote for the candidate of your choice.

To quote you: "if you [Zeese] truly cared about the state and our country, if you truly cared as you say you do, you would drop out and throw your support behind Ben Cardin"

You, my freind, and the other Democrats that follow the notion that a vote for a 3rd party candidate is a "stolen" vote from another are totally un-American and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. You think you know what's best for everybody, don't you? People can make up their own minds at the polls and don't need your help.

Like it or not, the Independents have a place in politics. It's to fill the void left by disenchanted Democrats.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 27, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I can understand the agony that Gatsby is going through. It is like the pain of an addict gripped by his disease, in this case -- fear. While you are in it you can know nothing else. Once (or rather, if) you see the light of Hope it all starts to make sense. But, until then, fear and anger are the only comfort you can take. Good luck, brother. we'll be praying for you.

Posted by: John Low | October 27, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Not really enough time or space to respond to the interesting comments but I'll try!

Re dropping out and supporting Cardin, I see the problem as big business control of Congress through campaign contributions and both of my opponents are part of that problem.

Why don't we have health care for all? Health insurance funding of candidates prevents it. The only way any country has provided health care for all is to have as its foundation a national health care plan with a single payer system. The waste from the overhead of private insurance -- 25% of the cost of health care -- results in the U.S. spending much more than any country per person on health care, but 47 million being without insurance.

Why don't we truly face fossil fuel addiction? Because the fossil fuel industries donate to both parties and profit from the status quo. Every penny increase in the price of gasoline is $1.5 billion annually for the oil companies. And, we give them tens of billions in corporate welfare on top of that. And, politicans say they want to break our addiction to oil? Give me a break.

Why an immigration problem? Economics trumps enforcement. And, corporate trade agreements like NAFTA that weaken workers and farmers, add to a desperate economic situation. Especially when we allow U.S. corporations to break the law and hire cheap labor -- undocumented workers who they can take advantage of. On the north and south of the borders corporate-government causes the problem and tripling enforcement has failed to stem the flow--and the absurd wall being built (how East Berlin of us!) will also fail. Economics trumps enforcement. And, corporate-government does not allow us to face up to the economics.

On issue after issue big business-government is the central cause of the problem and the reason we are unable to face up to the issue and solve the problem. All of these problems have solutions -- we just don't apply them because it is against the interests of the status quo represented by both parties.

Sen. John McCain describes our political system as "a massive influence peddling scheme where both parties conspire to sell the country to the highest bidder." He's right and anyone who follows politics (even a little!) knows he's right.

So, what are you going to do about this corrupt system -- participate in it or challenge it.

I'm challenging it.

Why not Cardin? He is part of the problem (as is Steele). They both are deep in the pockets of big business interests. And, their policies reflect it. They are both wrong on the war, corporate welfare, the Patriot Act, taxes, the environment. I'm sorry, I don't see either of my opponents as people who will fundamentally change the direction of our country in the way that it needs to be changed.

Why would I support status quo candidates, beholden to special interests, like Cardin or Steele when we need change? You don't get change by voting for representatives of the status quo.


Posted by: Kevin Zeese | October 27, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Re the Libertarian Party and why they would ally with the Greens and Populists.

Great question. The Libertarian Party is not only against the war (at least most of its members), it is also against the Patriot Act, the war on drugs, corporate welfare and two parties that manipulate the rules to prevent alternative parties from developing. They see that the two party system -- that has sold out our country to special interests -- as a central problem.

The health care issue came up at the nominating meeting before the Central Committee so it was carefully considered. While not all agreed with me they saw that I weighed liberty in my analysis.

The current health care system is a combination of big business and government. These are two critical ingredients to any defintion of facism. Add to that totalitarian law enforcement and you have achieved the classic definition.

So, a single payer system is better than the current approach, i.e., socialism is better than facism. However, I'm not advocating socialism in my approach. Doctors would not work for the government, hospitals would not become a government agency. They should remain as in the present system a mix of private, non-profit, and for-profit.

Single payer actually provides greater freedom, especially for consumers. We get to choose our doctors -- not the insurance companies. We get to choose our health care -- not the HMO.

Workers have greater freedom as they can choose to change jobs, take care of a sick relative or stay home with a new child without having to worry about losing health care.

Businesses are able to compete better without the burden of health care, an uncontrollable cost that makes hiring more employees, reducing cost, and increasing profit more difficult.

Doctors benefit as they remove a major bureaucratc cost -- 42% of the cost of a typical doctor's overhead is collecting payment from insurance companies. It also makes malpractice costs much less of an issue as injured patients will at least have access to health care to correct the problem.

I'm open to a free market solution, but I do not see a practical one that will provide comprehensive, affordable, lifetime benefits to all -- and that should be our goal.

On other issues, like the environment Libertarians have some useful ideas. For example, they believe in property rights, but with rights come responsibility. And, if property owners pollute and do not live up to their responsibility they believe in the right of citizen's to sue to ensure property owners meet their responsibility.

And, while regulation has its place, it is important to note that often the regulator is taken over by industry so the regulation becomes more image than reality.

Libertarians also like my plans to turn corporate welfare into taxpayer investment so that taxpayers profit from the wealth they help create. The approach is modeled after the Alaska Permanent Trust that shares the oil wealth of Alaska. Currently tax payers provide more than $300 billion in corporate welfare mostly to big business, national and international corporations. I favor all business that take tax dollars putting a small percentage of their profit into a National Permanent Trust that shares the wealth of America in an annual check to each American. Wealth created by taxpayer investment should be shared with all Americans.

We need to stop funneling money to the top from the working and middle class. This approach has resulted in an unfair divisionof wealth. The top 1% currently has wealth equal to the bottom 95%. The Libertarians a free market, but not a market like we have that relies on force and fraud to benefit the politically connected at the expense of the rest of us.

And, the Populist Party brings a working family perspective to these issues. Health care for all, free college education, full-time workers getting paid a decent wage, taxing investors more and worker's less. My tax plan calls for the first $100,000 to be federal income tax free -- a 22% raise for all Americans earning less than $100,000. These policies will make Americans wealthier, allow families to do better economically and produce a foundation for a growing 21st Century economy.

The Green Party's platform of social justice, ecological wisdom, economic localization and non-violence are consistent with these views. They are a more pragmatic, solution oriented party than their caricature. They are forward looking and apply a lot of common sense approaches to the problems of all Americans.

And, isn't the unity of these parties -- coming together for the good of the country -- better than the bickering of the two status quo parties?

Also, I have Democrats, Republicans and independents among my volunteers, donors and campaign committee. So, we are bringing people together to fundamentally change the direction of this country at a time when we are far off course.


Posted by: Kevin Zeese | October 27, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it is strange politics when Greens, Liberatarians, and Populists all endorse the same candidate. How did this happen? It is simply because the commonality of the three parties' issues outweighed their differences, and because the commonality of the Democratic and Republican Senate candidates outweighed their differences. If one gets to what I consider the core issues: The Iraq War, the USA Patriot Act, our so-called campaign finance system, and the ubiquity of corporate sponsors in the political arena, the differences between Cardin and Steele are cosmetic at best. The differences between Zeese's positions and the other two candidates' positions on these core issues are fundamentally clear, whether you agree with Zeese or not.

And much as I despise the very idea of the ICC, it is not a core issue in the Senate Campaign. The ICC IS a core issue in the Governor's race, but that's another blog entirely.

Posted by: Robert Lanza | October 27, 2006 11:18 PM | Report abuse


There is no such thing as a "Spoiler". Your candidate does not own my vote. And if you believe that a THINKING Marylander would continue to support Cardin after his decades of UNCHANGING politics, or Steele with his "Stay the Course" loyalty to a failing administration, I feel sorry for you. The time for change is now. The person to accomplish it is ME - with my vote for Zeese.

Posted by: DPfromSilverSpring | October 27, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I have to chime in here. The "spoiler" thing is such a Democratic whining point it is as if they lack the capacity to truly vote for whom is best. Expediency is given preference over expression. It goes much to the heart of how the two entrenched parties are the same. Republicans say that any torture/erosion of rights/consolidation of power in the executive that they implement are the only thing that can be done to stop the terrorists so anyone who opposes must needs be sympathetic to the terrorists. Democrats say that the Republicans are so bad that anyone who doesn't support Democrats must needs be sympathetic to the Republicans. Both attitudes boil down to the ends justifying the means. For Democrats unseating the Republicans can only be done by Democrats so forget about true discourse, forget about any other ideas, forget about trying to actually fundamentally changing the way Washington works so that NO ONE can ever behave the way the Republicans are now, just forget about anything but putting Democrats back in power. That end is so important that we must subjugate all other consideration. Any means must be employed.

Gatsby46, some of us remember what it was like when Democrats ran wild in Washington and how 22 years ago it was a Democrat who was behaving inappropriately with pages. We remember that it wasn't all that different then than now. Some of us want a truly new voice in Washington and Kevin Zeese ought to be it. Even if it turns out that he doesn't get elected, there can be no spoiler effect when we vote for whom we think represents us. In fact even if Mr. Zeese were to throw his support behind Ben Cardin, he could even become his campaign director I still wouldn't vote for Cardin in a million years. So how is that "stealing" my vote?

We have brave young men and women dying in Asia for our right to vote. We should at least show enough courage to vote for whom we want. Our country needs heroes now more than ever and I think that anyone who can step out of the limited thinking conditioned into us by either "side of the aisle" (as if there can only forever be two) is as brave as any soldier. So fire your shots at us idealists we are brave enough to stand up for ourselves against both corporate owned parties.

Posted by: KP McLaughlin | October 27, 2006 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Zeese should drop out. If he were polling at 20 or even 15 percent I could understand, But he's run such a lousy campaign and he's polling so low (3%) he needs to go away and help keep Steele from winning.

Posted by: Sean | October 28, 2006 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I need to go one further about the "spoiler" idea and stealing votes from Cardin. I think Cardin is stealing votes from Zeese. There are those on the left who actually believe Cardin will stand up for them when it comes to environmental and social justice issues. So when he sells Marylanders up the river to the highest pharmaceutical or petro or war profiteering company bidder it will become clear that those people who really had those concerns should have by rights voted for a candidate who actually stands for Marylanders on the environment. When Dems pretend to care they steal votes from Greens who actually do. When Republicans pretend to care for civil liberties, other than the right to carry guns, they are stealing votes from the Libertarians because we all can see how much Repubs actually care about our rights granted by the Constitution.

So truly the "spoiling" is coming from the two status quo parties. The statistics show that the general public can smell that stench because they overwhelmingly feel that the two parties of, by and for the corporate donor they just have a hard time identifying specifically where the smell of spoiling democracy is coming from so they blame the third party people.

Dems need to get off the backs of others in all races but especially in this one. Mr. Zeesecan't steal votes from Cardin or Steele because so many people think that the two special interest parties just plain suck.

Posted by: Kevin V | October 28, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the previous posts here refuting the notion of Kevin Zeese's campaign being that of a "spoiler". The onerous regulations placed on Third Parties to get a candidate on the ballot are such that, once there - they deserve it! (Maybe more so than the Dem/Rep).

That said, I believe that Maryland Democrats gave up claim to this arguement a year ago when Kevin Zeese announced his candidacy. After his announcement, the Democratically DOMINATED Maryland legislature took up a bill that would have had Maryland switch to Instant Runoff Ballots (or Instant Runoff Voting). This would have eliminated the "spoiler effect". However the legislature voted it down, knowing that Zeese was running.

In fact, they later met in "emergency session", (usually reserved for, well, 'emergencies') so that they could pass a law requiring that a candidate's name could only appear on the ballot next to the party he/she was registered with. Thus, Zeese's name will only appear once though he was nominated by three established parties.

So the state legistature made a calculated choice not to switch our ballot. The fact that this election may end up looking a lot like 'Florida 2000', is a situation entirely of the Democrats own making.

Posted by: GDU61 | October 28, 2006 5:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm becoming convinced that Maryland Democrats are supporting Cardin simply because there is a 'D' after his name on the ballot, and they want more Senators with 'D's than there are with 'R's. If Maryland Democrats really looked at Cardin's record and position on issues, and compared it to Kevin Zeese, instead of Michael Steele, I believe they'd favor Zeese by a wide margin. In issue after issue, Zeese seems more in line with Maryland Democrats than Cardin. Thus, I think it is Cardin who is stealing the votes of Maryland Democrats whose allegiance is to any candidate with that 'D', and not the candidate who is in ine with their beliefs. What a shame.

Healthcare: Zeese advocates single-payer universal healthcare. Cardin advocates somehow expanding the current employer based system.

Iraq: Zeese want the U.S. to pull out (military/corporations) in 6 months. Cardin wants to draw down the military (but I've not heard him mention the corporations) in about 18 months. (With 3-4 U.S servicemen dieing every day!)

Corporate Welfare: Zeese wants to end it. Cardin supports it, though he talks about 'doing something about it'.

Patriot Act: Zeese wants to repeal it or seriously modify it. Cardin: Has voted for it every time, including the version that Senate Democrats ended up filibustering.

War on Drugs: Zeese wants to end it now. Cardin: I can't find his position on this, but he's been in congress for 20 years and there's still no end in sight.

Cardin says he has the backbone to stand up to the president. Why? Because of one vote four years ago? It won't take much 'backbone' to be a Senator of the majority party (as Dems likely will be) and face a Lame Duck President. No, that backbone would have been shown a year ago (and more) when he could have voted against funding the war. He could have said "I won't vote for continued funding until I know what the plan is." Sure he would have faced criticism (some would have said 'You're not supporting the troops"). But since we all know that criticism wouldn't have been warranted, he could have deflected that rather easily-and shown some backbone.

Posted by: GDU61 | October 28, 2006 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Blogger Sean argues that Mr Zeese should drop out because his polling numbers to date are poor. This argument is circular. First, I have only seen two polling organizations out of at least a dozen that even include Zeese in their polling questions on the Senate race. Second, polls always ask which candidate would you vote for, not which candidate would you prefer. Thus some voters who might prefer Zeese (in this case) but who accept the conventional wisdom that he has no chance tell the poll-taker that they will vote for some other candidate who they think has a chance to win. Third, coverage of Zeese's campaign has been deliberately suppressed by major media outlets. If you doubt this, the best example is this very newspaper. After both of the two three-way debates that have occurred so far, the Post cropped its photo that accompanied its story of the event to remove Zeese, not to mention the pitiful lack of coverage of Zeese in the stories themselves. Fourth, no poll published yet reflects the public reaction to the only debate televised so far.

Posted by: Martin Lefstein | October 28, 2006 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm a life-long Democrat but I can't vote for them any more.
I'm sorry. Zeese has my vote.

The Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance premium for my family is $910 a month and we're all in good health. Cardin has not been an advocate for my interests. At best, he's been on the sidelines. How stupid does he think we are?

I like what candidate Zeese is saying. We need a fresh approach. Screw K Street.

Posted by: Pat Elder | October 28, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse


Where do you get off saying, "I bet independent Kevin Zeese, a Takoma Park resident, knows the route." ?????

What the hell kind of reporting is that? You should be ashamed of yourself for deliberately promoting a candidate under the guise of reporting. This is the WASHINGTON POST not some back water opinion site hosted on If you think he might know the answer, call him and quiz him.


Posted by: John Hamilton | October 28, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Zeese running a poor campaign?? What a bunch of malarkey. It is my understanding that he has spent less than $100k so far. Compared to what the "Fat Cats" have squandered, I'd say he has run a campaign that is:
B)Issue Based, and

To call for him to drop out reminds me of the schoolboy taunts one might hear at the playground by the bully and his stoolies. Grow up!

Statistically, every 1% of the Maryland voting population represents approx. 20k-30k voters. So if we believe the 3% figure (from the polling company "Hired" by the Cardin campaign) that would translate into 60,000 to 90,000 voters expressing their intention to vote for Zeese. If we believe other polling numbers, some around 6%, that would translate into 120,000 to 180,000 voters. Do you (Sean) think we ought to disenfranchise that many people? If peace and freedom are your goals, why would you want to create such conflict by excluding so many voices from the conversation? Wars are fought because someone "draws a line" somewhere. be careful where you draw yours.

I've been watching Kevin's campaign. I am personally aware of several dozen registered republican voters who are choosing Kevin over the GOP's lightweight candidate. I also know that, after Cardin's politically suicidal decision to blow off the NAACP in Charles County the other evening, there is a growing number of folks who think that the only way to beat Steele is to vote Zeese.

The African-American community is still reeling from the Democrats treatment of Mfume. [After doing his duty by "endorsing" Cardin, has anyone heard from him?] Cardin is slipping in PG and Balto. Counties--his district. Cardin is starting to look very un-electable. Does that make you a little scared?

Posted by: John Low | October 28, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If Zeese were to go away, all of the Zeese supporters, all 2% of you, would (secretely, of course) vote for Cardin, which may be enough to swing it for him. I'm registering and voting for Cardin. I am not willing to give my vote to Zeese, regardless of his 'political correctness', and it has nothing to do with spoilership. I support 3rd party candidates, but I have not seen or heard enough from Zeese. He has not been very visable in Maryland.

Posted by: M. Willoughby | October 28, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

We should put the Zeese candidacy in proper context. Here are the August 2006 Statistics from the Maryland State Board of Elections for Voter Party Registration in Maryland:

Democrat 1,706,325
Republican 902,034
Other Parties 63,591
Unaffiliated 433,286

There are about 800,000 more registered Democrats than there are registered Republicans in Maryland, and there are about 500,000 voters either unaffiliated or registered to other parties. So who is worried about whom here? If Ben Cardin can't win the Maryland Senate race with registration statistics like these, then he and the Democratic Party leaders who nominated him really need to find another line of work.

Posted by: Robert Lanza | October 28, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, John Low, I believe that Zeese should 'disenfranchise' a hundred thousand of his supporters to save millions more from Steele. You telling anyone to 'be careful' is pretty pathetic. Steele and Cardin are running even. Zeese has a measly 3%. You do the math.

Posted by: Sean | October 28, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have a one track trolley up and running between Silver Spring and Bethesda Metro stops within two years. Leggett was on the council for l6 years and no connection was made. We'll see how the trolley works and then seek needed enhancements.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Independent for Montgomery County Executive | October 28, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Sean: You say "you do the math?" See my previous post, where I did the math for you. There are 800,000 more registered Democrats in Maryland than there are registered Republicans, and Steele and Cardin are running even in the polls? How can this be so? Cardin should be totally crushing Steele in every single poll in this heavily Democratic state. But he isn't. So it is the responsibility of us independent and third party voters to "save Maryland from Steele" because 1.7 million registered Democrats are either unable or unwilling to do so? I don't think so. If in fact Cardin and Steele are running even in the polls, and by the way I have little confidence in poll numbers, I think that it is incumbent on Democrats to figure out why that is the case, and it isn't because Zeese is on the ballot either. If Cardin's poll numbers were anywhere near party registration numbers, Cardin would be polling 55+% and Zeese's 3% share (and again, I have little confidence in these poll numbers) would be irrelevant. The fact that Zeese's candidacy isn't irrelevant when more than 50% of registered voters in Maryland are Democrats is indicative of deep-seated issues within the Democratic Party. Democrats should be working to identify and address those issues rather than telling voters such as myself that it is our responsibility to save them from themselves.

Posted by: Robert Lanza | October 28, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

M. Willoughby hasn't seen or heard enough from Kevin Zeese. This can be corrected by going to his website: But that problem also points up the lack of full and fair reporting on the part of this newspaper as well as other media. The media likes to focus on the polls or the personality conflicts (the horse-race) rather than give us the content of the proposals being made as solutions to the problems we face. In the recent debate aired on Channels 28, 22 and C-Span Kevin Zeese put forth the positions he has listed in an earlier post. But the Washington Post mentioned him in about two sentences with no information on the proposals he made in the debate. The bickering of Cardin and Steele was sophmoric and provided us with no assurance that they had any answers for those millions of people who face great hardships through no fault of their own, including our armed forces trapped in an occupation that is always a losing position.

Posted by: Chuck Harker | October 28, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse


In-fact people can go to and see the last three debates in their entirety. 1. The Urban League Debate. 2. News Ch 8. 3. NAACP Debate where Cardin skip out at the last minute. (I did not get the most resent debate in its entirety I am sorry to say.) We posted these for two reasons. One, its good for people to watch the whole debates as they show who candidates really are. The second reason we posted all three is because we won them.

Posted by: Alex Zeese | October 29, 2006 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Lanza, don't bother even addressing M. Willoughby or Sean here. They clearly suffer from the same disorder that the rest of the Democratic party does - taking for granted great blocks of voters. (As I mentioned above I would not vote for one of the two status quo parties in a million years because they are in a bribe, oh sorry, "campaign contribution"-induced coma. So no I wouldn't secretly vote for your man if Zeese went away.) If you want Steele not to win so badly why don't you get a candidate with a message that people want to hear? If can't Cardin even win all of his OWN PARTY why do we you aren't even in his party have to vote for him? Why does someone like Mr. Zeese have to "go away" in order for you to win? Can't take a fair fight in the arena of ideas? Steele is taking away far more votes from you than Zeese, ask him to go away. For that matter why doesn't Cardin go away and let us in Zeese's camp have a fair crack at Steele? Sound ludicrous? Yeah your proposal sounds that way to us too.
You Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans except they at least are nakedly power-hungry. Democrats lost their right to legitimacy as far as I am concerned during the past five years when they couldn't even mount a decent opposition party resistance when Bush and his minions put our country TRILLIONS of dollars more in debt, hundreds of thousands of military people in harms way on a fools errand, set back the position of our country in the world with this torturing and spying habit they have. Democrats stood by pandering for votes and wishing they were in power. Just like you guys here are wishing Zeese away so you can get back in power now. Democrats don't deserve it. Democrats need to "go away" so people with real ideas and real will can get this country back on a track to upholding our Constitutional rights and some responsibility to the people not just political donors.

Posted by: Kevin V. | October 29, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

How about this math? There are fewer than 18,000 registered voters in the three parties supporting Zeese and yet he is polling at as much as 180,000. That's 1000% of his starting point.

Cardin has 1.8 million or so registered Democrats yet he is even with Steele who has 800,00 fewer. So Cardin is getting (being generous here) less than 75% OF HIS OWN SUPPORT.

Who's runing a lousy campaign? 1000% or less than 75%?

Posted by: Kevin V. | October 29, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

People, Kevin Zeese is not a threat. Just relax. He has the right to express his ideas. Cardin is going to win. Mark my words. Third parties are a good outlet for people who would otherwise spend their time learning to speak Klingon and attending Star Trek conventions.

Posted by: Democrat for Cardin, but not worried about Zeese | October 29, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree you all should relax, let the American political process run its course, and Cardin will win.

The people with the money have seen to it.

Posted by: someone else who won't leave their name | October 29, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

To the previous two bloggers:

Too cowardly to identify yourselves when throwing your barbs? I am a retired Naval Officer with over 22 years spent defending this country, not wasting them "trying to learn Klingon". I resent your implications that anyone who supports third party candidates is some kind of fruitcake. At least I put MY money where my mouth is. And I am not ashamed of who knows it.

Posted by: DRPercell in SilverSpring | October 29, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Posters like those at 10:21 and 11:08 clearly demonstrat that Maryland Democrats either have their heads in the sand (politicaly) or they have just been drinking too much of the Kool-Aid offered by the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, I agree that Cardin will likely win this election. Thus, in 2, 4 and 6 years from now, we will still not have single payer universal healthcare. We will still be embroiled in Iraq (and perhaps even Iran by then), we will still have the Patriot Act (or worse), we will still be torturing prisoners, we will still be waging a futile, expensive War on Drugs, we will still be spending millions of dollars each year in corportate welfare, and Democrats and Republicans will still be beholding to special interests rather than the people.

And Marylanders will ask: "Why didn't I get what I wanted?" The answer of course will be because you didn't vote for what you wanted, you voted against something else. What a shame.

Kevin Zeese offered a way to avoid this future. Instead, the politics of fear prevailed once again.

Posted by: GDU61 | October 29, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous posters: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it isn't all that clear that Cardin will win the election. See the most recent Real Clear Politics poll with Cardin at +5.3 percent: 50% Cardin, 44.7% Steele. Yes, Cardin isn't even polling at greater than 50% in this poll [remember those extra 800,000 registered Democrats in the Maryland voter registration statistics? They seem to have gone missing again.] I've seen two other polls today, one that has Cardin at +11% and another that has Cardin-Steele even. That's "margin of error" territory folks, or maybe an indication that these pollsters have no idea what's actually going on out there. I lean towards the latter explanation; that the political ground is shifting around the pollsters, making their work a lot more difficult.

So yes, I'm one of those people working to shift the political ground. But our anonymous posters are working to keep the political ground safe for the status quo. The polls do indicate that one of the two status quo candidates will win. But which one seems to be somewhat uncertain at the moment.

Posted by: Robert Lanza | October 30, 2006 12:48 AM | Report abuse

If I were voting in your election - I would vote for whoever honestly represented my views. This is not naivety - this is a refusal to 'play the game'.

When the stakes are as high as they are on a worldwide scale and everything your foolish government does, has an effect on all of us (I write from England)....then all we can hope for is some honesty from the citizens of America - your media and government show very little of the stuff. I believe that honesty starts with your vote.

Tina Louise

Posted by: Tina Louise | October 30, 2006 4:56 AM | Report abuse

Robert Lanza,

Are you familiar with the "Wilder Effect?". Steele is done. Black candidates always poll higher than their final numbers against white opponents. In the case of Governor Wilder, he was up 10 points but barely won the election for Governor in Virginia. In order for Steele or Harold Ford for the matter to win this election, they both need to be up in the polls about in the polls by 5 percentage points on election day.

The fact that Cardin is at 50% says a lot. If he failed to break the 50% level, I would be concerned.

Cardin will likely win by 8% points.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 30, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone see comic strip in the Style section of the Post on Sunday regarding this matter? It is hilarious.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 30, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I saw Mr Zeese speak at an event at Maryland University quite some time ago. There were so many students there both for and against him. He gave a nice speech about the war and said many quality things, but he largely failed to motivate those of us who were there hoping for a more serious anti-war candidate.

In any case, I wish that I could vote for Mr Zeese, but he just isn't doing well enough in the polls and I would much rather have Ben Cardin win than Michael Steele. I support third party candidates, I think they can say things that the others can't say, but if a third party candidate is not doing too well in a close race, I believe they should consider conceding the race and helping the candidate whom they most relate to.

Mr Zeese should concede this race.

Posted by: Mary Sampson | October 31, 2006 3:12 AM | Report abuse


I understand exactly how you feel - we have similar issues here in the UK. BUT, I need to be honest and I can't possibly vote for someone who has policies I believe are wrong - can you? You sound like a person of prinicipals and it must surely go against them to vote a lie in order to play a political game?

I too saw Kevin Zeese - he was at a peace conference in London last December and I although I only met him briefly - he spoke like an honest man and unlike other politicians - appeared to answer spontaneously and with passion for his beliefs. If we ever have a candidate like that here - I will vote for them.

I truly believe that unless we all agree to place one foot in the direction we want to go in - we will always end up here. Unless you make a step toward your idea of good govenment Mary, where will you end up?

The only reason we doubt the effectiveness of our votes for third party candidates is because we believe everyone else will! We need to be true to ourselves and if we all were - third party and anti-war candidates would win hands down.

I wish you an honest election over there - but also remind you that honesty begins with self.

Tina Louise

Posted by: Tina Louise | October 31, 2006 6:51 AM | Report abuse

The one thing people have to remember about this race is that if Cardin win's its a lifetime appointment for him, that means you will probably be dealing with him for the next 18-24 years in the senate. Does anyone think that Cardin will make a great enough senator for giving him 18-24 years?

Posted by: Alex Zeese | October 31, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Mary Sampson writes "I believe they [third party candidates] should consider conceding the race and helping the candidate whom they most relate to."

Problem it, Mr. Zeese doesn't relate to either Cardin or Steele. Neither do most Maryland voters for that matter. The politics of fear keep this a two-man race.

Mr. Zeese should stay and give voters a choice. This way, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by: GDU61 | October 31, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It looks much like the situation we have with our two main parties in the UK; the Labour Party and Conservatives - too alike on the bad stuff.

Whereas the Liberal Democrats, who stand for peace and fairer taxes and are more open to green issues - are not considered as serious contenders for leadership as most say a vote for them is wasted and simply goes against whatever party you would otherwise vote for - according to popular thought.

Popular thought though does not represent wisdom; merely sheep-dom where we all follow what everyone esle is doing and not what we know to be true and right.

If Kevin Zeese was to bow down for the sake of popular thought and for the sake of simply getting one party out - he would not be an independent candidate, he would already be part of the political game and a member of one of the game playing parties ie: Republican or Democrat.

The fact that he stands firm is surely a sign of his honesty, determination and commitment and not of spoiling the usual game - the usual game needs spoiling, badly.

Tina Louise

Posted by: Tina Louise | October 31, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous poster: Yes, I am familiar with the "Wilder Effect." I am also familiar with the fact that political parties and interest groups can and do manipulate polls for their own purposes, by carefully wording their questions, taking not quite random samples, etc. So I have very little confidence in poll numbers. You predict that Cardin will win by 8 percent? You may be right about that, maybe not. I'll come back here in a few weeks with another post whenever the State Board of Elections finishes counting the votes.

To Mary Sampson: "I wish that I could vote for Mr Zeese..." But you can vote for Mr. Zeese. All you have to do is fill in the little dot on your absentee ballot next to Mr. Zeese's name. That's all it takes. (I do hope that you all have your absentee ballots by now.) And if the anonymous poster is correct about Mr. Cardin's poll margin, you can vote for Mr. Zeese with full confidence that your vote will express your views on the issues without causing Mr. Cardin any great difficulty. But then again, I have little confidence in poll numbers.

To the Washington Post Moderator: it says somewhere else on this page that anonymous posts are not permitted and that unsigned posts will be removed.

Posted by: Robert Lanza | October 31, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I must apologize for my Oct 29th entry at 11:08. Not leaving my name was a shot at the coward before me. I figured that the comment about the people with the money controlling the election was over the top enough to demonstrate my sarcasm (it was the least offensive thing I could think of to print since I was so livid with the "Klingon..." comment). Just goes to show how one fool following another's foolish act can lead to bad outcomes, not unlike voting for someone other than who you believe to be the best candidate.
As for "if a third party candidate is not doing too well in a close race...they should concede" this is how the conspiracy theories crop up. First just to establish how a candidate is doing is a rather arbitrary thing. Mr. Zeese wasn't even included in the poll questions until very recently even though he was the first to gain the ballot. If people read polls that don't even include him until the 10th or 11th hour then certainly they can come to the conclusion that he "isn't doing well". Who decides what the poll questions are? It is not so self-evident as you might think, determining how things are unfolding. Events change the perception and negativity such as "I would support but..." creates a perception as well. If he were polling 20% would some of you agree to vote for him? If everyone who actually agrees with Zeese's positions would vote for him he would win easily, that according to public opinion polls such as support for the war, need to really improve healthcare, etc. that indicate many more Marylanders' opinions fall closer to Zeese's than the other two. But lemmings will be lemmings as I just demonstrated above with my foolish comment.

BE bold, be brave, really exercise your Patriotism and vote your own opinion not against someone else's. Stop letting the marketers dictate your life even down to your vote.

As for me, 'I do not vote for evil, lesser or otherwise.'

Posted by: Kevin V. | November 1, 2006 1:42 AM | Report abuse

All of these Zeese supporters on this blog point to a media blackout of his campaign as an excuse for his miserable poll numbers. But there is a reason there is a media blackout of Zeese. He's nobody! He has no voting record! No history! Nothing! He has been desperately trying to make up for his lack of political capital with a 'progressive' messsage. Those of us who have voted for Sarbanes in the past are more than comfortable voting for Cardin.

Note to Zeese: Do yourself a favor and go run for office, school board, comptroller, city council, D.A. whatever, then come back, try again and see if you don't get some press.

Then again, maybe your entire goal is to throw the race to Steele and watch the press come running.

Posted by: sean j | November 1, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

sean j.

You show your lack of research (attempting to be polite here) with your comments above about Mr. Zeese. He is far from a "nothing" and you would know this if you took 2 minutes to visit his web site,, and checked his political history.

There IS a media black out, for the obvious reason: the folks who own the republicans & democrats own the media as well. The people who contract the polls couch their questions to get the results they want (just today I was polled on behalf of Steele & there was no ability to show my support for Zeese, but I got an earfull on how evil Cardin is...) so, polls are about as reliable as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.

It will be a shame if Maryland is forced to pass legislation similar to that in Florida, making it compulsory for publicly owned media to cover all ballotted candidates equally. But I am ready to lobby for it if necessary (and for instant run-off ballots). Perhaps that is what it will take to get third party messages past the corporate road-block, and counter-act the politics of fear you seem to be trapped in.

Posted by: DRPercell in Silver Spring | November 1, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse


I didn't realise that to be effective required 'BEING SOMEBODY'...that must be so limitting to progress? How on earth do things ever change if you only vote for people who have always done the same thing? Are you so content with the systems in your flawed government that you don't want change?

If you look at the voting records and background to the politicians who are 'SOMEBODY' then I believe that will easily make the case for voting outside of the norm. The norm is awful, the norm is corrupt, the norm takes us to war, the norm works for power and personal profit - not for the people who vote.

There is a media blackout for Zeese and all other third party candidates - this is such an obvious statement I don't see how you can possibly challenge it?

Your elections are all about funding and slandereous advertising - the BBC showed some candidate ads on Newsnight last night here in the UK and I was astounded. Don't your political candidates ever run campaigns based on how much they will do for their communities? All the ads reflected hatred and gossip and dragging their opponent's names through mud. Awful.

You also state that "He (Zeese) has been desperately trying to make up for his lack of political capital with a 'progressive' messsage." is that wrong? Were you perhaps looking for a backward path? What on earth do you mean by this rather silly statement?

You then follow that you are "comfortable voting for Cardin."...ah, is that what this is all about...comfort? I can only assume you have no children or grandchildren to consider - or you would be looking for something that perhaps UN-comfortably goes toward making the future more secure for them and not simply 'comfortable' for you.

To me, you sound like one of those bitter, opponent bashing political ads.

I truly wish that the outcome of your elections was unimportant to me, over here in England...but sadly, your government is taking its foolish policies and inflicting them on the world, the actions of your government affect us all. Tragically, the chances for a safer, prosperous and fairer future rest with voters like you - our only hope is that everyone else votes for people like Zeese.

Tina Louise

Posted by: Tina Louise | November 2, 2006 5:50 AM | Report abuse

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