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Steele Democrats

On Sunday, Meet the Press host Tim Russert grilled Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele about his bumper sticker proclaiming "Steele Democrat."

On Monday, Steele showed him what he meant, rolling out endorsements from former Prince George's County executive Wayne Curry, five County Council members and other political and business leaders--all of them Democrats

The officials who bucked the state Democratic Party to back the Largo Republican said they don't agree with everything Steele stands for. The same could be said for the Democratic Party, they said.

But when they were questioned about the Steele's position on affirmative action, many of the black Democratic leaders, including the typically verbose Curry took a pass.

Steele came to the microphone to clarify his position, as he tried to do earlier this week when he was asked questions about the policy on Meet the Press.

"I support affirmative action," Steele said.

But he said that he think that "we should be focused on economically disadvantaged individuals. . . and not get hung up on race, not get hung up on things that divide people."

Curry was asked to respond. Curry stood next to Steele.

Instead, Council member Samuel H. Dean sprang forward.

He tried to steer the discussion back to why they were supporting Steele - because the state Democratic Party has taken the black vote for granted.

"When the party has an opportunity to show that their base is recognized and appreciated they don't," Dean said.

Then he took a shot at the media for asking about affirmative action. "The media, particularly when there are African American candidates, you come up with questions that are absolutely asinine."

Dean never said whether he agreed with Steele. Neither did Curry.

Ovetta Wiggins

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 31, 2006; 12:02 PM ET
 
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Comments

Is the Post planning on covering the Steele push poll?

Posted by: jkl | October 31, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

This election is as much a referendum on Democrat's empty promises to black voters as it is on Bush.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 31, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

yes, let's change the subject rather than discuss the uncomfortable fact that black people may actually like the idea of having another black man in the Senate and aren't real enthusiastic about putting a guy in the Governor's mansion who has a policy of wholesale arrests for tens of thousands of innocent black residents and then letting them go without being charged - regardless of what it does to their credit, their employment prospects, their reputation, etc.... After the drunk driving stories, O'Malley of all people should know how damaging an old arrest record can be to your future - and yet he has no problem inflicting that on twenty thousand black Baltimore residents last year alone.

Posted by: we are fed up | October 31, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Everybody, sing with me now: "Oh the times they are a-changin'...!"

Posted by: Rufus | October 31, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Why are people surprised by Curry's endorsement? He endorsed Ehrlich/Steele in 2002. If you review the PG county result from the Gubernatorial race in 2002, you will see that his support of Ehrlich/Steele had a negligible impact. Ehrlich/Steele receive only a few thousand more votes than Sauerbrey received in 1998 in PG County. The Ehrlich/Steele race was won in Baltimore County not PG.

I have several a questions for all these so-called Black leaders. Why didn't PG County support Stu Simms for Attorney General? According to result from the AG primary, Gansler received 54,000 thousand votes in PG to 39,000 for Simms. Why blame state Democratic party officials when Black chose not to support one of their own?

Curry remains upset that he wasn't chosen for the Lt. Governor slot by Townsend. I guess, he assumes he deserved it. It is unfortunate, that he and others are placing their bruised egos over what is best for most African Americans in Maryland. As Black Democrats, they look silly standing by Steele who doesn't support racial affirmative action, supports the War in Iraq, supports privatizing social security, opposes raising the minimum wage (unless its tied to an increase in business tax breaks), supports the Bush tax cuts, support the Bush budget which has cut critically need education programs and elderly/disabled housing, thinking that their actions will give them more clout. When Steele loses next Tuesday, their influence will disappear and they will be outside of the state party looking in.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Why are people surprised by Curry's endorsement? He endorsed Ehrlich/Steele in 2002. If you review the PG county result from the Gubernatorial race in 2002, you will see that his support of Ehrlich/Steele had a negligible impact. Ehrlich/Steele receive only a few thousand more votes than Sauerbrey received in 1998 in PG County. The Ehrlich/Steele race was won in Baltimore County not PG.

I have several a questions for all these so-called Black leaders. First, how has the state Democratic Party has taken the black vote for granted? Isn't this the first year, an African American has chosen to run statewide? Why didn't PG County support African American Democrat Stu Simms for Attorney General? According to result from the AG primary, Gansler received 54,000 thousand votes in PG to 39,000 for Simms. Why blame state Democratic party officials when Blacks chose not to support one of their own?

Curry remains upset that he wasn't chosen for the Lt. Governor slot by Townsend. I guess, he assumes he deserved it. It is unfortunate, that he and others are placing their bruised egos over what is best for most African Americans in Maryland. As Black Democrats, they look silly standing by Steele who doesn't support racial affirmative action, supports the War in Iraq, supports privatizing social security, opposes raising the minimum wage (unless its tied to an increase in business tax breaks), supports the Bush tax cuts, supports Bush's right-wing court nominees and supports the Bush budget which has cut critically need education programs and elderly/disabled housing, thinking that their actions will give them more clout.

They are willing to support a man who will strengthen the power of conservative Republicans in the Senate and possibly deny the national Democratic party a Senate majority because Mfume failed to win the primary? When Steele loses next Tuesday, their influence will disappear and they will be outside of the state party looking in.

Thankfully, Mr. Mfume, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Wynn, and other realize what is at stake with this election and have endorsed Cardin.

Posted by: DC Dem | October 31, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

It's an unusual strategy to demand respect and appreciation by supporting someone who doesn't agree with you on any of the important issues of the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

But he does agree with them, o anonymous poster, on the important things such as school choice, pro-life, traditional family values, etc.

Posted by: Rufus | October 31, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps in addition to asking Mr. Steele about his opinion of affirmative action with regard to black voters, Mr. Cardin could be asked about the impact of abortion, a cornerstone of the Democratic Party, on the black population. As it stands today, according to the CDC, for every two black babies who are allowed to be born, one unborn black baby is aborted before birth. The District of Columbia in 2000 had more abortions than births.

Furthermore, the Maryland Democratic Party seems as arrogant and overconfident toward black Marylanders as the National Republican Party has been toward the voting public in general. The party is so accustomed to winning an overwhelming majority of the black vote that it feels that blacks will vote democratic regardless of the candidate or the message (or lack thereof). And in the same way that the national GOP has used fear as a tool to motivate voters, the Maryland Democratic Party is using fear as a tactic to attempt to move the electorate.

I feel insulted as a voter when I am given no reason to vote for one candidate but bombarded with reasons to not vote for his opponent that are solely based on party affiliation. Those are arguments that seem designed for a simplistic type of voter who does not research candidate positions and I feel slighted when I hear nothing but "Steele likes Bush - He's a REPUBLICAN!!" commercials. I think that a Steele victory in Maryland will be the appropriate medicine to bring the Democratic Party to the realization that it too must work for every vote and that it must do more than have blacks in "token" (to borrow the phrase) leadership positions).

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks County Council for screwing over our county to support a losing campaign for U.S. Senate.

Let's see how well the legislative leaders in our state respond to needs in Prince George's now that our county's Democratic leaders have backed Steele. We just fell to the bottom of the list in legislative priorities. Thanks morons. I'll never vote for one of you again.

And if the Democratic party is so anti-African American, how is it that the three largest jurisdictions in the state are going to be led by African Americans next year?

You want an African American U.S. Senator? Then you should have been shouting to get Elijah Cummings in the race. He might have won, but he didn't run.

Posted by: Good luck to Prince George's county | October 31, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Cardin couldn't even make it out to the NAACP debate -http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/28/AR2006102800136.html. Scheduling conflict.

The Democratic Party rainmakers pushed away Mfume - who had a far superior resume to Cardin (Cardin has essentially been in office since graduating law school and has not apparrently had another job in his adult life except for legislator; Mfume headed the NAACP in addition to being a five term congressman). Even without the endorsements of the party's wisemen, Mfume almost won. Then he was expected to be a good soldier and show loyalty to the state party that showed no loyalty to him.

And all of us black folks are supposed to vote for Cardin? Just because he's a Democrat? Just because Steele is a Republican? Get real!!

Posted by: RLSUser | October 31, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Ben Cardin has an eerie resemblance to the late former South African apartheid president P.W. Botha.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 31, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Cardin didn't make it to a local NAACP meeting, so what? He long ago was scheduled and did appear at the much larger, state NAACP meeting in Baltimore. Which Steele only decided to attend at the last minute.

As for these endorsements, I'll just say that if I, as a white man, stood up and said that I was supporting the white candidate because he's white and not because I agree with him, the reaction would be a lot different than what we're seeing about Curry doing that exact thing. Tell me I'm wrong.

Posted by: Just Saying... | November 1, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous,

"Perhaps in addition to asking Mr. Steele about his opinion of affirmative action with regard to black voters, Mr. Cardin could be asked about the impact of abortion, a cornerstone of the Democratic Party, on the black population."

We should ask him. He's proudly pro-choice. Despite your rhetoric, most Blacks in Maryland are pro-choice. Check the polls. You see, African American women in this country are not forced to have abortion and most of the children awaiting adoption in this country are unwanted children of color.

"I think that a Steele victory in Maryland will be the appropriate medicine to bring the Democratic Party to the realization that it too must work for every vote and that it must do more than have blacks in "token" (to borrow the phrase) leadership positions)."

What do you mean working for every vote? I thought that a politician's support of the issues one cares about is the paramount reason to vote for him/her. Let's see the Democratic candidate for Senate supports increasing the minimum wage, opposes the War in Iraq, supports a woman's right to choose, opposes the Bush tax cuts, opposes the Bush administration's cuts in affordable housing program, supports race based affirmative action, opposes Bush's right wing court nominees, supports healthcare reform to help the neediest Americans. The Republican candidate opposes increasing the minimum wage unless tax cuts are given to businesses, supports Bush's reckless tax cuts for the rich, supports the War in Iraq, supports the Bush budget, supports Bush's right wing court nominees, opposes raced based affirmative action, and opposes universal health coverage.

Most African American in Maryland support the positions taken by Mr. Cardin.

Your suggestion is silly. You are going to cut off your nose to spite your face. Great strategy.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

If for some god awful reason Steele wins this race, Wayne Curry and the members of the PG COunty council that endorced Steele should be marched down to military recruiting offices to enlist their own kids in fighting Bush's War. It's really this simple: Backing Steele is backing Bush and it should have real world consequences.

Posted by: corbett | November 1, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

(Same person as anonymous)

DC Dem wrote:
"We should ask him. He's proudly pro-choice. Despite your rhetoric, most Blacks in Maryland are pro-choice. Check the polls."

I'd be very interested in seeing polling evidence of that. Do you have any? Most Blacks in Maryland are Democrats, which doesn't necessarily mean that we're pro-choice. More likely, it means that we resent the way that the GOP has treated us for most of the past 45 years. Now, there is a lot of resentment against both parties for different reasons. Actually, Blacks are probably the most morally conservative ethnic group in the country. The Democratic Party affiliation is because of folks like Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, who expanded the GOP by bringing in the old southern Democrats. Blacks are becoming more politically Independent (as are Whites) and focusing more on the candidates than the parties.

As for your other points, most Black people (along with most White people) are opposed to the war in Iraq. We're there because both parties backed what is now understood to be a really bad idea of going to war in Iraq. Steele wasn't even in Congress at the time - how can he be blamed for that? There are two other things that many Black voters in Maryland are tired of. One is the direction of the Democratic Party, which has drifted further to the left than the GOP has to the right. The other is the inclination of the state Democratic party to just assume that Black voters are going to vote Democratic no matter what.

I have yet to see a Democratic commercial telling me why to support that candidate - I only see ads that tell me that Steele likes Bush. Clearly, there needs to be a better message. What will the party do when Bush is gone in two years and the Iraq war is over? What will be the reason to support the party then?

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

(Same person as anonymous)

DC Dem wrote:
"We should ask him. He's proudly pro-choice. Despite your rhetoric, most Blacks in Maryland are pro-choice. Check the polls."

I'd be very interested in seeing polling evidence of that. Do you have any? Most Blacks in Maryland are Democrats, which doesn't necessarily mean that we're pro-choice. More likely, it means that we resent the way that the GOP has treated us for most of the past 45 years. Now, there is a lot of resentment against both parties for different reasons. Actually, Blacks are probably the most morally conservative ethnic group in the country. The Democratic Party affiliation is because of folks like Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, who expanded the GOP by bringing in the old southern Democrats.

As for your other points, most Black people (along with most White people) are opposed to the war in Iraq. We're there because both parties backed what is now understood to be a really bad idea of going to war in Iraq. Steele wasn't even in Congress at the time - how can he be blamed for that? There are two other things that many Black voters in Maryland are tired of. One is the direction of the Democratic Party, which has drifted further to the left than the GOP has to the right. The other is the inclination of the state Democratic party to just assume that Black voters are going to vote Democratic no matter what.

I have yet to see a Democratic commercial telling me why to support that candidate - I only see ads that tell me that Steele likes Bush. Clearly, there needs to be a better message. What will the party do when Bush is gone in two years and the Iraq war is over? What will be the reason to support the party then?

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser,

"The Democratic Party rainmakers pushed away Mfume - who had a far superior resume to Cardin (Cardin has essentially been in office since graduating law school and has not apparrently had another job in his adult life except for legislator."

How did they push Mfume away?

By the way, you have your facts wrong. Until Cardin was elected to Congress in 1986 he held a full-time job as a lawyer. His work in the state legislature was part time. Unlike Congressmen, state legislators have real jobs.

"Even without the endorsements of the party's wisemen, Mfume almost won."

Who endorsed Cardin? Miller and Hoyer. Who endorsed Mfume? Glendening. By the way, Mfume almost won because Steele's GOP buddy Rales spent his own money (around $4 million it think) to run in the Democratic party in hopes of siphoning votes from Cardin.

"And all of us black folks are supposed to vote for Cardin? Just because he's a Democrat? Just because Steele is a Republican? Get real!!"

And all of us Black folks are suppose to vote for Steele just because he's Black even though most of us don't support his position on the issues? This is ridiculous.

Karl Rove, George Bush and Dick Cheney are sitting back and laughing at all of these Black Democrats who oppose their policies but are willing to vote for their chosen candidate, who if he is elected will support the conservative Republican agenda (the War in Iraq, privatization of social security, opposition to increasing the minimum wage unless businesses are given tax cuts, support for the reckless Bush tax cuts that have resulted in cuts to education and affordable housing programs, support for right wing Supreme Court nominees, opposition to raced based affirmative action, etc.).

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

DC Dem.

As I watched this race closer than anyone else on this blog, I have to disagree with you on who Rales ended up taking votes from. If he wanted to KO Cardin why did he try to go to the progressive side of the party? In his first candidate forum he was stay the course in Iraq, and then kept on moving left from there. If Rales wanted to take Cardin down he should have played up the "I am also jewish" thing and his centrism, he is a classic centrist big money guy. But he went after Mfume's base. I would also argue that the 16 other candidates in the race hurt Mfume more then Cardin, except for Dennis Rasmusin.

Posted by: Alex Zeese | November 1, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

And thanks to che for littering the discussion with his off-topic nonsense once again. The fool is consistent.

Posted by: Rufus | November 1, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey, DC Dem.

My comment about how the Democratic Party endorsed Cardin over Mfume is based on the endorsements you mentioned as well as the general consensus that Cardin was the "establishment" candidate. Just look through the post archives. The effect of this was similar to the way that the GOP iced John McCain in 2000. Even though he was the better candidate, without the party backing, he had no prayer of making it to the general election. $$$

I am not supporting Steele because he is black and I am black. I am supporting him because I think he is the better candidate. Also, I don't feel a sense of allegience to either party - I dislike both major parties. In addition, Michael Steele's beliefs on issues that are important to me - including abortion and EMBREYONIC stem cell research (which, by definition, involves human embreyos) - are consistent with mine. Cardin, who is a nice guy and who I certainly wouldn't mind getting a cup of coffee with, has a 100% approval rating from NARAL, as do many in his party. Because of my personal convictions about abortion as well as its devastating impact on the black community (1 out of 3 black pregnancies end in abortion), I have trouble supporting a mainline Democratic party candidate like Cardin. Also, Steele has a wider variety of experience. Cardin has been a professional legislator since graduating law school - I don't regard that credential as being a key to "changing Washington."

I also have come to resent the Democratic Party almost as much as I resent the Republican Party. I resent the fact that when blacks decide to affiliate with other parties, white politicians have hurled racial insults ("Uncle Tom", "token", etc) as though they know how to "define" blackness. Extremely arrogant and a total turn-off. I also resent the fact that for all the state Party's talk about defending issues of importance to black voters (Maryland is 29% black), we don't have the opportunity to be the mainline candidate for the Party. This is not the first election in which Maryland Democrats just assumed that blacks would vote for their candidate regardless of the person or message involved. It's like we're subscription customers and they're counting us as automatic revenue. You may not understand, but it's insulting and puts many Blacks in the position of caring little for either party. Which brings us back to looking at the individual candidate. Which brings me to Steele.

If you are a DC Dem, here's some scary news for you. I voted for Al Gore in 2000. i voted for Townsend in 2002. Five years ago, I used to think bad things about blacks that sided with the GOP. Know what happened? The Democratic Party has gone so far to the left that I can't call myself a Democrat anymore. And the state party has done a lot to turn me off. This is unfortunately a trend, and you guys need to examine your policies, messages, and take no vote or group of votes for granted if you want to be competitive - especially since you need at least 70% of the Black vote to have any chance of winning.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser,

"I'd be very interested in seeing polling evidence of that. Do you have any?"

I have nationwide data not state specific. A 2004 Pew Polls revealed that 63% of Black Protestants nationwide opposed stricter laws on abortion. Moreover, a June 2006 Washington Post polls shows that Maryland voters (of all races) are more likely to support abortion rights than nationwide. In fact 63 percent of Maryland voters surveyed said abortion should be legal, compared with 56 percent nationally. I would be interested in data showing that most African American Democrats don't support abortion rights. Based on anecdotal evidence, Blacks who tend to be rabidly pro-life are Republicans.

" We're there because both parties backed what is now understood to be a really bad idea of going to war in Iraq. Steele wasn't even in Congress at the time - how can he be blamed for that? There are two other things that many Black voters in Maryland are tired of."

Steele supported the War in 2003 and still supports it now. If he is elected, he indicated that he will continue to support it. By the way, Cardin was in Congress at the time and did not support the war. He voted against the war and still opposes it.

"I have yet to see a Democratic commercial telling me why to support that candidate - I only see ads that tell me that Steele likes Bush. Clearly, there needs to be a better message."

You haven't been watching the channels I watch. I listed above the many differences between Cardin and Steele, many of them mentioned in ads. I have yet to see an ad from Steele telling me where he is on any of the issues I outlined.

"What will the party do when Bush is gone in two years and the Iraq war is over? What will be the reason to support the party then?"

Who's to say that the war will be over when Bush leaves in two years. By the way, the reason for most African Americans to support the Democratic party are listed above.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I have never in my entire life seen such inane comments on both sides of this issue.

Everyone should just grow up and vote either his or her own conscience or self-interest without twisting arguments in knots to justify some specious logic.

We WILL get the Government we deserve...and that thought certainly frightens me.


Posted by: hammer | November 1, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

About Steele and Iraq. Steele was not in Congress during that time period. If he in fact did support the invasion of Iraq, so did the other part of the 70% of Americans who approved of it at the time. The only ones who saw some type of detailed intelligence on Iraq were members of Congress - and even among them, many Democratic members supported the invasion. If you don't like Bush, that's certainly your right, but, why blame a guy who wasn't even there at the time?

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

DCDem writes

"I have nationwide data not state specific. A 2004 Pew Polls revealed that 63% of Black Protestants nationwide opposed stricter laws on abortion. Moreover, a June 2006 Washington Post polls shows that Maryland voters (of all races) are more likely to support abortion rights than nationwide. In fact 63 percent of Maryland voters surveyed said abortion should be legal, compared with 56 percent nationally. I would be interested in data showing that most African American Democrats don't support abortion rights. Based on anecdotal evidence, Blacks who tend to be rabidly pro-life are Republicans."

I don't think there is much data in existence on how Blacks in Maryland feel about abortion. I would be interested in such data if it existed and were obtained without spin or bias (i.e., from a truly independent group). But, my belief is that Blacks tend to be much more "anti-Republican" than "pro-Democrat." In this election, this seems true for people of all races. The Democratic Party still hasn't articulated to me why they should be in power other than for the reason that they're not Republicans.

"Steele supported the War in 2003 and still supports it now. If he is elected, he indicated that he will continue to support it. By the way, Cardin was in Congress at the time and did not support the war. He voted against the war and still opposes it."

Actually, Cardin stated that he would not cut funding on the war. Steele said that it was a "mess" but didn't say exactly what he would do, although he expressed displeasure with the Defense Secretary. So, I don't really think that Iraq will be fixed anytime soon regardless of which of these guys get in. It's a total mess and there sadly are no simple answers at this point in time.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser,

"My comment about how the Democratic Party endorsed Cardin over Mfume is based on the endorsements you mentioned as well as the general consensus that Cardin was the "establishment" candidate."

I showed you that your comments were incorrect. By the way, the two people who endorsed Cardin for Senate also endorsed Stu Simms for Attorney General.


"I am not supporting Steele because he is black and I am black. I am supporting him because I think he is the better candidate."

That is good for you. If you support him on the issues, why all the talk about the Democratic party and taking Blacks for granted and pushing Mfume under the bus. If you support Steele on the issues, that should be enough. My point is that most African Americans in Maryland do not support Steele's position and he needs to get them to vote for him for other reasons including his race. That is why he and other are seeking to take advantage of the dissatisfaction of some Black Democrats in Maryland.

"Also, Steele has a wider variety of experience. Cardin has been a professional legislator since graduating law school."

Cardin was a lawyer from the time he left law school to his election to Congress.

"I don't regard that credential as being a key to "changing Washington."

Really? How would Mr. Steele change Washington given that he's been a party hack for years, his party is currently in control of both the legislative and executive branches, his support them on most issues, and has provided no evidence that he has ever stood up to his party in the past?

"I resent the fact that when blacks decide to affiliate with other parties, white politicians have hurled racial insults ("Uncle Tom", "token", etc) as though they know how to "define" blackness."

I resent the fact that someone would call me a "slave" to the "Democratic plantation." Black conservatives and Republicans say it all the time. If you don't believe me just google "Democratic plantation."

"Extremely arrogant and a total turn-off. I also resent the fact that for all the state Party's talk about defending issues of importance to black voters (Maryland is 29% black), we don't have the opportunity to be the mainline candidate for the Party. This is not the first election in which Maryland Democrats just assumed that blacks would vote for their candidate regardless of the person or message involved."

Who just assumed that Blacks would vote for their candidate. You act as if Cardin has not courted the Black vote. By the way, care to respond to the fact that more Blacks in Maryland voted for Gansler than Stu Simms for Attorney General? Who's fault is that? In PG county alone, 54,000 voted for Gansler and 39,000 voted for Simms. You blame the party leaders for his defeat?

"This is unfortunately a trend, and you guys need to examine your policies, messages, and take no vote or group of votes for granted if you want to be competitive - especially since you need at least 70% of the Black vote to have any chance of winning."

Let's see. Fielding candidates like Cardin who support the issues I listed above is taking the Black vote for granted. Luckily for the Democrats, most Blacks disagree. A recent look at the polls show that the Democrats are getting that 70%.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

RSLUser,

"I don't think there is much data in existence on how Blacks in Maryland feel about abortion. I would be interested in such data if it existed and were obtained without spin or bias (i.e., from a truly independent group). But, my belief is that Blacks tend to be much more "anti-Republican" than "pro-Democrat." In this election, this seems true for people of all races. The Democratic Party still hasn't articulated to me why they should be in power other than for the reason that they're not Republicans."

Unbelievable. You make a point claiming that most Black Democrats in Maryland don't support abortion rights. I rebutted you with the best available information and you ignore it. I showed you that most Blacks in this country do not support making abortions illegal and provided evidence showing that overall Marylanders are more pro-choice than other voters. Despite all of this you and your lack of support for your assertions, you still try to pretend that the issue isn't settled.


"Steele said that it was a "mess" but didn't say exactly what he would do, although he expressed displeasure with the Defense Secretary. So, I don't really think that Iraq will be fixed anytime soon regardless of which of these guys get in. It's a total mess and there sadly are no simple answers at this point in time."

Steele still supports the War in Iraq and in August supported Bush's handling of the war and claimed that the terrorists were being routed. He's calling it a 'mess" now because it is costing him votes. Where was he in 2003, 2004, or 2005? Steele's a johnny come lately. Cardin has criticized the War from the beginning.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser: I don't think there is much data in existence on how Blacks in Maryland feel about abortion.

Take a look at SUSA polls.

MD Black respondents: 68% pro-choice, 22% pro-life, 10% not sure (9/12/05)

link

Posted by: District21voter | November 1, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Here's the link:

http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StateAbortion0805SortedbyProChoice.htm

Click on Maryland for crosstabs.

Posted by: District21voter | November 1, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

District21voter writes:

"Here's the link:

http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StateAbortion0805SortedbyProChoice.htm

Click on Maryland for crosstabs."

I don't see this broken out per ethnic group. I would also like to see what questions are asked in the survey. The way a question is asked makes a big difference. Example "Do you oppose a woman's right to have an abortion even in the case of assault?" or "Do you believe that a woman has the right to abort her baby if her life is not in danger and she is not the victim of assault?" This gets spun one way or another, so the raw data would be good to have. This doesn't prove the case that black Marylanders are overwhelmingly pro-choice, as it doesn't seem to break out the survey by group.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

DCDem first wrote:

"I have nationwide data not state specific. A 2004 Pew Polls revealed that 63% of Black Protestants nationwide opposed stricter laws on abortion. Moreover, a June 2006 Washington Post polls shows that Maryland voters (of all races) are more likely to support abortion rights than nationwide. In fact 63 percent of Maryland voters surveyed said abortion should be legal, compared with 56 percent nationally. I would be interested in data showing that most African American Democrats don't support abortion rights. Based on anecdotal evidence, Blacks who tend to be rabidly pro-life are Republicans. "

And then wrote:
"Unbelievable. You make a point claiming that most Black Democrats in Maryland don't support abortion rights. I rebutted you with the best available information and you ignore it. I showed you that most Blacks in this country do not support making abortions illegal and provided evidence showing that overall Marylanders are more pro-choice than other voters. Despite all of this you and your lack of support for your assertions, you still try to pretend that the issue isn't settled."

None of the information you provided talked about Black voters in Maryland nor does it go into any detail about how the information was sampled or what questions were asked. In addition, URLs would be very helpful.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

DCDem wrote:
"Cardin was a lawyer from the time he left law school to his election to Congress."

Did he actually practice? That's good - didn't see that in his bio. In any event, that was a period of no more than three years during his 20's in the 1960's. Still not a very diverse resume in my opinion.


"Really? How would Mr. Steele change Washington given that he's been a party hack for years, his party is currently in control of both the legislative and executive branches, his support them on most issues, and has provided no evidence that he has ever stood up to his party in the past? "

He's not an incumbent and hasn't been there for 20 years (part of which, for Cardin, was as a majority party member), which is an important part of the change. Also, the Senate tends to be much more independent than the House.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"He's not an incumbent and hasn't been there for 20 years (part of which, for Cardin, was as a majority party member), which is an important part of the change. Also, the Senate tends to be much more independent than the House."

And there goes your whole argument. If electing someone who's been a party loyalist to the Senate means they'll be more independent because the senate tends to be that way, then who's to say that Cardin wouldn't be any less independent than Steele would be? The fact is, neither of them would be very independent in the Senate because no matter which party wins next week, a slim majority means all members have to stick together.

The facts are clear - Steele has, at best, a minimal understanding of many of the most important issues we face; while Cardin is well-known for his attention to detail and knowledge of the issues. And on the issue that matters most today - Iraq - who should we send to the Senate, the guy who opposed the war from the outset and realized our strategy there has to change or the one who wants to "stay the course" with George Bush?

Posted by: corbett | November 1, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser: I don't see this broken out per ethnic group. I would also like to see what questions are asked in the survey.

Sure it does. I get it by clicking on "Maryland". It's broken out by age, gender, race, party affiliation, ideology, church attendance, region.

The question was: On abortion, are you pro-life? Or pro-choice?

The 10% undecided probably wanted it placed in context.

Posted by: District21voter | November 1, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks District21voter. I couldn't find the information I knew I had seen before. Let's see what RLSuser has to say.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 1, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Corbett wrote: "The facts are clear - Steele has, at best, a minimal understanding of many of the most important issues we face; while Cardin is well-known for his attention to detail and knowledge of the issues. And on the issue that matters most today - Iraq - who should we send to the Senate, the guy who opposed the war from the outset and realized our strategy there has to change or the one who wants to "stay the course" with George Bush?"

How is it a "fact" that Steele has at best a minimal understanding of the important issues that we face? There's a better term for that statement: your opinion. I respect your right to your opinion but don't agree.

I don't see how either of the two of these guys is going to do anything to fix Iraq. And, in terms of Iraq, Cardin voted YES to give an emergency funding of $78 Billion to fund Iraq and Afghanistan (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Benjamin_Cardin.htm). Steele has said that withdrawal is on the table if Iraq wants a civil war.

Steele's comments on Iraq include the following (http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Michael_Steele_War_+_Peace.htm):

Q: On Iraq, in July you said, "For me, staying the course, yes." Two weeks later you said, "It didn't work. We didn't prepare for the peace." And then when asked if you agreed with the management of the war, "By & large, absolutely, yeah." And then 10 days ago: "The situation is not going well on the ground. We are getting deeper and deeper into a mess." Where are you on Iraq?
A: The war in Iraq right now stands with a mess that we need to fix. We are at a point right now where there is no clear strategy. Going forward, what is the strategy? Put in place the benchmarks, put the pressure on the Iraqi government to lay out very clearly and very forcefully that they're committed to democracy.

Q: Did the Bush administration help create this mess?

A: The Defense Department did not give the president the kind of strategy that he needed to prosecute this war. From the beginning we didn't have enough troops on the ground, from the beginning there was no clear decision to win the peace here.

I wouldn't quite call this guy a "hawk" or a neocon by any means.

Cardin voted YES on the following (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Benjamin_Cardin_War_+_Peace.htm):

States that the House of Representatives:
* affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
* commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
* commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
* commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

District21voter, I see the stats now. This is an interesting site - didn't know about it. I don't understand how this is the case and how on a national level, 45-55% of the general population at least believes that abortion is morally wrong. In any event, I maintain my conviction that abortion is both wrong and also doing spectacular damage to the black community. Also, when more attention is brought to the true statistics, I predict some backlash against the Democratic party by blacks unless they reexamine their policies on the issue. I used to be a Democrat, highly anti-Republican, and very pro-choice. I've flipped my views on the issue and am now an Independent (against both parties) - and I know a lot of people in my demographic and in my state who think just like I do on these issues.

Even if the poll information is accurate, your other premises are correct and nothing changes, if 68% of black voters voted for Cardin, Steele will be the freshman Senator from Maryland.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Any black person who votes for Steele deserves what they get - I am a white person and I will say that anyone who votes for someone based on the color of their skin is a COMPLETE IDIOT! I live in PG County, have been trying to invest 1.3 million in a new house here (have to wait over a year for building permit), hoping that this county is going to turn around but I am taking my money and moving to Loudoun. UNBELIEVABLE!
I do consider myself to be a non-racist person, but I cannot accept that blacks rank family values as a high priority when over 70% of black babies in the DC area are born into single parent families. I do not think family values are a high prioority in black families when there is little to no emphasis on education as a way to get ahead - very few get there in sports and entertainment and the sooner the black community figures this out, the better. The schools in PG County are awful and a primary reason for this is a complete lack of adult participation - when the schools are 85% black, this tells me that it is the black parents who are not involved and apparently don't care.
No one forces anyone to get an abortion in this country - black or white or whatever. If a black girl wants an abortion, that is fine. If a white girl wants one, that is fine, too. Believe it or not, I am not racist - I think everyone should have the same opportunities and access to all kinds of help - but Steele is not the one who will come through in the end.
Mfume was not the candidate to choose - talk about a lack of family values!!! A great speaker, but the Republicans would have had a hay-day with him - we would be in the same position as we are today.
Since moving here 4 years ago, I have seen this county do nothing but shoot itself in the foot over and over again - it is as though it wants to be the worst place in the area to live. There hasn't been one bit of progress - I am taking my money and leaving - especially when it looks VA might get a Democrat and we will be getting a Republican - UGH! PG County and the blacks of MD gets what they deserve.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

RLSUser: I maintain my conviction that abortion is both wrong and also doing spectacular damage to the black community. Also, when more attention is brought to the true statistics, I predict some backlash against the Democratic party by blacks unless they reexamine their policies on the issue.

We agree -- in the sense that abortion rates impact minorities disproportionately. In fact, more attention has been brought to the true statistics -- by the Guttmacher Institute here in DC -- they published a comprehensive report, available online, that substantiates the higher abortion rates in minority populations.

Where we may disagree is in our approaches to reproductive justice and equity. Frankly, within the pro-choice movement there has been long-standing criticism of the overwhelmingly "white" priority of focusing solely on the legal status of abortion without acknowledging that real choice for women and families involves making decisions in the context of equal opportunity: affordability of health care, access to birth control, and so on.

Increasing legal restrictions on abortion is not the answer. Consider the following: the #1 cause of death for African-American women prior to the legalization of contraception/abortion was ... illegal abortion.

This is why you'll find little support within the pro-choice factions of the Democratic party for a return to heavy restrictions or abortion bans. Most of the legislation I've seen focuses on reducing the abortion rate via increases in funding for family planning, both for contraception (preventative) as well as improving economic support for lower-income women to return real "choice" into the continuation of pregnancy decision. How effective these initiatives are is difficult to judge -- most have been buried in our republican congress.

Consider the recent news that has the Bush administration promoting funding for abstinence programs for unmarrieds up to age 29 instead of family planning programs. In this area, there's a distinct gender gap between Black men and women. Do we really want to impose a discriminatory "abstain before marriage" on Black women?

Here is an essay outlining African-American activism within the pro-choice movement:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/WoC/reproductive/ross.html

Thanks for the discussion.

Posted by: District21voter | November 1, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

To the anonymous person who posted at 3:30 PM - this is a bit over the top. I respect the views of every other person who posted here, even if I disagree with them.

First of all, please don't think that you're doing a favor to P.G. County or anywhere else by living there. If you don't buy a particular house, someone else will and possibly for more money.

Second of all, I am not voting for Michael Steele because he's Black. Know one thing that turned me off about Cardin? After the death of Terri Schiavo (a White woman), I called to express my disappointment with his vote to allow her ex-husband to disconnect her from food and water when her wishes were not recorded. His staff members were somewhat dismissive of me. Then, I looked up his record and saw that he has a 100% NARAL voting, opposed optional school prayer, etc. Also, I looked up his biography and was quite unimpressed that his professional life experiences are pretty much limited to being in elected politics. I would vote for whoever best represents my views regardless of their skin color. Of course, as a Black person, I am happy to see a Black senator, but I would not vote someone in to office because they're Black (by the way, did you know that the first Black senator of the 20th century was a Republican from Massachusets? Were the people who voted him in idiots?)

Thirdly and lastly, you rail off your opinions about black people and use that as some kind of statement that amounts to "how dare they talk about abortion?" You say that you want to get away from P.G. county, etc., spew out a bunch of stereotypes and top it off with the classic "I am not a racist" statement. I don't know whether you are or aren't, but I certainly wouldn't call you or anyone else an idiot because they choose to vote for. If your goal is to persuade people to adopt your viewpoints, you might take a different approach.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

RLSUser:

It is fine if you are voting for Steele because of his stance on abortion or because of however he might have voted in the Terri Schiavo case - but it is wrong to vote for him because he is a black man, which is what I see and hear about. (I personally think it is wrong to interfere with other people's choices and so do not understand people who think it is alright to make decisions for others.)
I have the same problem with the people in Kansas (for the most part, white) who vote against their own self-interests when they vote for Republicans because of 'family values' and so forth - these people are the ones hurt the most by Republican policies - the Republicans don't care about anyone except for big business and the really really wealthy people in this country - we have seen more examples than I can begin to put forth here.
The truth of it is is that if Steele was not a black man, he would not have received the Black Democrats endorsement or that of the PG County Board. Of course, there is no proof, but I think we all know it is true.
We clearly have very different views on most issues - and there could be a prolonged and heated debate on many of them - that is not what I am looking for but I do think that any black who votes for Steele simply because of the color of his skin is making a terrible mistake, and does little for making relations between the races better.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, anon:

We're probably not going to come to a meeting of the minds on issues important to us - and that's cool - that's why this is a great country. We can disagree about issues and not be enemies.

Actually, I disagree that if Steele were white that he wouldn't have been endorsed. Maybe you're not as familiar with the trends of the P.G. electorate as of the past two years or so, but there is a conservative movement among some Black leaders there. A few have met with the President or Bill Frist and have alliances with people of faith of all colors. Some of the people who were part of the endorsement are strong Evangelical Christians and probably would support Steele over Cardin if Steele were white. A number would probably also support Steele over Mfume had he won the nomination. But since he didn't win the nomination and this is the second time in four years that there was a perception in the Black community that we were being slighted, that probably only adds fuel to the fire.

The problem isn't with the voters but with the Democratic Party in my opinion. If they made a few changes, they wouldn't be in the position of needing such a strong showing from everybody. They could lose the election even if they got 68% of the Black vote. Is that the fault of Black voters? Isn't 68% enough - what other ethnic group votes so uniformly for one party? You seem to imply that Black voters OWE our votes to the Democratic Party. If this is your opinion, you may have missed a painful lesson that the Democrats should have learned in Maryland in 2002 - that no group of voters owes anyone anything. Hopefully, both parties will learn something from this election.

Take it easy and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

It is fine if some of the black leaders have moved in a more conservative direction - but then they should not be calling themselves the 'Black Democrats.' I know that there are a couple of the PG County Council members who are black and who operate under the Republican label and it is fine if they would endorse Steele - I would expect no less.
What I don't understand is the black community's sense that they are entitled to have black candidates on the ballot - and because they feel slighted, they then endorse Steele this time around? There are so many issues here - what has Steele done to get anyone's vote - black or white? He is one of the most un-entitled candidates I have ever seen - Mfume is more qualified than he is. I just moved here in 2002 - and from what I understand, the blacks are angry because Townsend (pardon the spelling) didn't select an black running mate - she most likely choose the person she thought was most qualified for the position - and chose to not pander to the black population. So for this, she did not win the election? What happened to qualification? Does the color of Steele's skin make him qualified for the position he seeks? Or do his previous experiences and positions do that (of which there is very little that could be seen as real qualification)? I am not saying Cardin is the best candidate, but he has some qualifications and has actually done something in his career. Steele was chosen by Earlich and now by the Republicans to run simply because of his color - see the article on him this week in the Post that outlines the very little that he has ever done that would qualify him for the Senate.
Neither party is obligated to put a black candidate on the ballot - and it should the people that are most qualified, not some reverse affirmative action move.
No group OWES its votes to any one party or candidate, but they do OWE its votes to the party or candidate who best represents that groups best interests, not the candidate that fulfills some imagined quota - which I think we would both agree is wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I just heard Michael Steele on "The Politics Hour" on WTOP. Part of his response to questions about the John Kerry contraversy was to chide the GOP for trying to make too much of the issue and trying to score some quick political points.

I'm sure that Karl Rove was working behind the scenes to make Lt. Gov. Steele criticize his own party (again). It's a conspiracy, I'm sure.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for the typos and grammatical mistakes - am getting tired. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

RLSUser:

Are you being sarcastic about the Michael Steele WTOP comments? It seems to me that you would be applauding those comments - and of course Rove is behind - he is behind everything - any Dem or Rep would say that. Whatever the motivation, the Republicans WERE trying to score cheap points off of Kerry's comments - the comments were taken completely out of context and everyone should be smart enough to see that. If it makes you feel any better, I think the Dems did a HORRIBLE job handling the
situation. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Anon wrote:

"It is fine if some of the black leaders have moved in a more conservative direction - but then they should not be calling themselves the 'Black Democrats.'"

First of all, people can have whatever party affiliations that they choose. Secondly, the reason that they're not Republicans is that many Black voters have years of resentment stored up against that party. Because people have no love for either party, they look at the individual candidates. Also, allow me to flip one of your scenarios around. If Steele were a Democrat and Cardin a Republican, who would you vote for?

"There are so many issues here - what has Steele done to get anyone's vote - black or white?"

For one, he's visited almost every Municipality within the state, formed relationships with many of the mayors and executives and become familiar with their needs and concerns. In contrast, Cardin was unfamiliar with the issue of Maryland state funding for Metro, which is a major, billion-dollar issue in the D.C. area.

" I just moved here in 2002 - and from what I understand, the blacks are angry because Townsend (pardon the spelling) didn't select an black running mate - she most likely choose the person she thought was most qualified for the position - and chose to not pander to the black population. So for this, she did not win the election?"

Actually, she didn't apparrently consult Black elected leaders at all in her selection of a running mate. Then, she seemed surprised that she wasn't going to automatically get the black vote. But, much more importantly, she didn't have a message - just like in my opinion, Cardin doesn't have one now. Her own governor was severely critical of her campaign.

You are assuming that Black voters will vote for Steele just because he's black. Maybe some people will do that, but I doubt that it will be widespread. I think many will look independently at the candidates and choose Steele. I think that your presumption that the only reason one would vote for Steele is either because of Black racism or because of being a Republican is insulting. What are your reasons for voting for Cardin? I don't think that you're voting for him just because he's White.


Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 7:53 PM | Report abuse

What, exactly, is Steele's message?

I did not vote for Cardin in the primary (I didn't vote for Mfume, either) - but I am voting for him because he will not be an automatic 'yes man' for Bush - he will work to get us out of Iraq in a way that causes the fewest problems. I am voting for Cardin because he will work to advance medical care - both in the area of Medicaid, where it doesn't make sense that the government can't negotiate to get the lowest prices from the drug companies and by allowing embryonic stem cell research, he will preserve a woman's right to choose (privacy - no one should be making those choices for anyone else - if you don't like it, work to reduce it, not ban it - that should be everyone's goal), I am voting him for so many reasons. The purple line? Yes - we need more mass transit (look at what Earlich has done with the ICC - shameful - not so much that it is being built, but that there is not provision for mass transit) but it is not the number one most important priority. Getting some semblance of balance back into government is the most important priority.
All you can come up with to hold against Cardin is that he fumbled on the Purple line? There is much much more to this whole deal. . .
Believe me - if the Republicans would put up an acceptable (not far-right-wing beholden to Christian Conservatives type) and if Hillary was the choice for the Dems in 2008, I would consider crossing party lines - but I cannot vote for someone who wants to regulate how I live - makes decisions for me.
What I find most interesting about Steele is that I think he has to know, if he is even basically intelligent, that he is just a little pawn in the Republican's game - if I was a black Republican, I would find THAT insulting. . .I think you are a Republican anyway, so it doesn't matter - but for those blacks who are Democrats and who vote for Steele - they are only hurting themselves in the long run.
There are not many true Independents in this country and to think there are is very naive.
I do think that blacks and other minorities are under-represented - but I won't vote for one just because he is running. I also don't think that there is any requirement for any particular ticket to have a certain number of blacks or any other race. I would be thrilled to be able to vote for a black senator or president who was qualified - Steele doesn't begin to fill that bill - he is a shallow hull who is acting as a puppet. I will vote for such a person when he actually has some true credentials and when he is not a pawn in someone's game.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Anon wrote:
"What, exactly, is Steele's message?"

Why don't you read it for yourself at http://www.steeleformaryland.com/issues.htm. Have you bothered to do any research on his views or positions, or have you just summarily dismissed him because he is a Republican candidate?

"I am voting for Cardin because he will work to advance medical care - both in the area of Medicaid, where it doesn't make sense that the government can't negotiate to get the lowest prices from the drug companies and by allowing embryonic stem cell research, ..."

According to http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Benjamin_Cardin.htm, Cardin:

Voted NO on small business associations for buying health insurance. (Jun 2003)

Voted NO on Prescription drug coverage under Medicare. (Jun 2000)

Voted NO on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts. (Oct 1999)

He also, according to Steele (http://www.steeleformaryland.com/CardintoEnglishDictionary.htm) voted against adult stem cell research, a move that not even Maryland Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes did.

he will preserve a woman's right to choose (privacy - no one should be making those choices for anyone else - if you don't like it, work to reduce it, not ban it - that should be everyone's goal), I am voting him for so many reasons."

Okay. On the "right to choose" issue, my belief is that people can choose anything they want as long as they don't affect the lives of other people. Pregnant women deciding to abort their unborn babies are affecting other human lives, not just their own. I believe that unborn babies are human life and I believe that people who are disabled in comas are also still human beings. I don't believe that other people can decide to kill them. I think that the government shouldn't be all over our lives, but should protect the defenseless, including people who can't speak up for themselves.

I have problems with the following votes that the Representative has made:

Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)

Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)

Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)

Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (Nov 2001)

Preserve Alaska's ANWR instead of drilling it. (Feb 2001)

Voted NO on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)

Voted NO on eliminating the "marriage penalty". (Jul 2000)

and

Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients. (Feb 2003)


Other than what you may have watched during the campaign commercials, how familiar are you with Steele's record? In other words, do you know why you oppose him?

Also, you've made some presumptuous comments in my opinion about Steele's qualifications and even his intelligence. Why? What basis do you have for saying that?


Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"Are you being sarcastic about the Michael Steele WTOP comments? It seems to me that you would be applauding those comments - and of course Rove is behind - he is behind everything - any Dem or Rep would say that. Whatever the motivation, the Republicans WERE trying to score cheap points off of Kerry's comments - the comments were taken completely out of context and everyone should be smart enough to see that. If it makes you feel any better, I think the Dems did a HORRIBLE job handling the
situation. . ."

I agree that the Republicans were trying to get miles more out of the Kerry comments than one could reasonably expect (hey ... they're desperate). I thought it showed class and some independence for Steele to call his party on that. I was being sarcasting in saying that Karl Rove made him say that.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (Nov 2001)

Preserve Alaska's ANWR instead of drilling it. (Feb 2001)

Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)

These are straight up three reasons to vote for Cardin - prayer has no business in any school under any circumstances - have you ever heard of the separation of church and state, one of our country's basic tenets and something that is being seriously eroded?
ANWAR - when are you going to figure out that the answer to our energy problems is not to drill more? Drill, drill, drill, ruin, ruin, ruin - we need to find other ways to operate our cars.

Needle exchange - have you not heard that DC has one of the highest rate of AIDS in the country? One way to help reduce that number is to be realistic about the drug problem and to give out a needle that costs a few cents rather than have to care for someone for years on the government's dime.

Cardin's vote against adult stem cell research - he had no choice considering the bill it was buried in and attached to.

If, in your opinion a fetus is a human being, that is fine - but are you ready to go back to women dying because abortions are illegal? Making abortions illegal will not stop them - it never has - just like drugs. We can work together to reduce the number of abortions and to offer other alternatives - but there are cases, believe it or not, where there just isn't any other choice and that is not my decision or yours to make. As I said - it is fine for you to believe that a fetus is a human being but please do not impose your beliefs others. You may talk to anyone you would like about it, but please be as respectful of other's choices as you expect others to respect yours. That is all - respect for differences.

As far as the severely disabled - people in the condition that Terri Schiavo was in have no chance of recovery - we both know it. She had no brain left. Is that the kind of life someone should live? I do not think those kind of decisions are easy to make but I think that people need to have the right to make them.

Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients

Aid should not be based on a requirement to be married - I do think that all welfare should be based on a requirement to work. I do not know the specifics, but once again, I am sure that this was attached to another bill that required a no vote.

I have read through Steele's web site - the problem, once again, is that there is nothing there - he has not done a single thing that should give him the pleasure of getting my vote. He has not accomplished one thing during his 4 years in Annapolis.

I don't believe in following the party line lock-in-step, but if I were to ever vote for a Republican, that person would at least have to be in favor of the death penalty, and Steele is not. Believe it or not, there is something that I disagree with Cardin (and most Dems) on. But all in all, that is not a big deal. There are much more important issues at hand - energy independence, re-establishing the US as a credible nation, getting our house in order before we go telling other how to run theirs.

Go ahead - vote for Steele - I won't deny you your right to do so, but please do not deny others the right to make choices for themselves - they do not presume to tell you how to live your life.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"No group OWES its votes to any one party or candidate, but they do OWE its votes to the party or candidate who best represents that groups best interests, not the candidate that fulfills some imagined quota - which I think we would both agree is wrong."

I certainly am not in favor of "quotas" and don't pick who I vote for because of the color of their skin (I voted against my Black representative for the past two elections in favor of non-Blacks who better represented my viewpoints). However, it isn't absurd to wish that there were some level of diversity in the national elected officials for a state in which one out of every three residents is Black? Or do you think it is?

I challenge the notion that voting against a Democrat is voting against the interests of Black Americans? For every positive the party brings, there is a negative that blunts the effect of the positive.

For example:
Positive: Democrats tend to be in favor of Affirmative Action (which I also support), which offsets years of institutionalized racism. It also helps more kids from poor backgrounds have a shot at getting an education. Great.

Negative: Democrats support the policy which I call "abortion on demand" - permitting the killing of unborn babies at any point before birth for any reason. Since 1973, 30 million unborn babies have been aborted, including 13 million unborn black babies. For every 1000 black babies born, 500 black babies are aborted, which means that for every two black babies born, one is aborted.

So, I get to choose between having some chance of leveling the playing field or seeing the black community literally cut in half in terms of population. What a choice.


Positive: The Democrats have been less foolishly hawkish about getting into war situations with countries that weren't really threating us (unless you consider ... Bosnia).

Negative: Both parties supported the Iraq invasion, including quite a few Democrats. No one in either party seems to have a credible plan to fix this great mess. There's a problem with blindly saying "stay the course" and there's a problem in packing up the tents in leaving. Remember, it's much easier to campaign on fixing Iraq than to actually do it.


Positive: The Democrats are less beholden to oil companies.

Negative: The Democrats, including Cardin, won't do some of the common sense things that need to be done in order to reduce our demand for foreign oil, such as drilling for our own oil in the U.S. State of Alaska.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"These are straight up three reasons to vote for Cardin - prayer has no business in any school under any circumstances - have you ever heard of the separation of church and state, one of our country's basic tenets and something that is being seriously eroded? "

We're talking about OPTIONAL school prayer, for one. And though we need to reduce our demand for oil, we can in the meantime reduce our demand for foreign oil, which works against America's strategic and financial interests.

"If, in your opinion a fetus is a human being, that is fine - but are you ready to go back to women dying because abortions are illegal?"

Do you know how many women died as the result of abortions the year before Roe? 63 total. Out of nearly 600,000. And almost half of them died during legal abortions (abortion was legal in some states before Roe). And twenty years later, with abortion completely legal everywhere, there were still a comparable number of women dying during abortion procedures. Look at the CDC report at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm. Don't believe all the arguments the abortion industry puts out there.

"Go ahead - vote for Steele - I won't deny you your right to do so, but please do not deny others the right to make choices for themselves - they do not presume to tell you how to live your life."

Thanks, but I don't need your permission or blessing to do so. I'm not trying to deny anybody the right to vote for who they choose - I'm just exchanging my thoughts.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

We both know that ANWAR is not the answer - it has at best 10 years of oil - what good does that do us? Put us another 10 years behind Brazil? We do not need to expolit all of our natural resources - we need to figure out how to make biodiesals and other possibilities viable and practical. It has the potential to be a huge industry - a huge money-making industry with lots of jobs.

I do not think that all abortion should be legal - for example, I have very little problem with banning partial birth abortion.

Your argument about the black population being cut in half borders on racism - so you want to ban abortion so that there are more black people? How about advocating birth control - or is that another thing you would like to see banned because it is cutting into the black population? I will apologize for the harshness of the following comment - but I do not get the impression that black girls are frequent users of the pill and other forms.
That is much much harsher than what I mean but I am tired and it is a topic that you and I will not agree on. There are other options - and there should be more education, but no one should be forced to have a baby just as no one should be denied access to birth control - you can't have it both ways, you know?

As far as Iraq - I absolutely agree with you on your point about campaigning on fixing Iraq and actually being able to do it - but at least the Dems want to DO SOMETHING! It will be tricky - but the Republicans have not offered anything else, either.

Thank you for this conversation - perhaps we can resume it at some point tomorrow - and if not, good luck on Tues - whomever you vote for, just exercise your right to do so.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I do not have a problem with birth control. In my view, life begins at conception, not beforehand.

Good talk and take care everyone!!

Posted by: RLSUser | November 1, 2006 10:40 PM | Report abuse

One more note ... John McCain has just written an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun adding his endorsement for Steele - http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.mccain02nov02,0,3096537.story?coll=bal-oped-headlines

Posted by: RLSUser | November 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

John McCain who voted against the Martin Luther King holiday? I bet that helps Steele in Baltimore...not.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I kinda wish people would see the whole picture. Some of the county council chose to support Steele. Obviously, the other 4 choose to support Cardin. In the end who cares? I mean, when you're in the voting booth, do you really think about who your particular councilman endorsed. Honestly, endorsements by local politicians like this are sooo overrated. But since race was involved it gets lots of attention and front-page headlines. Race and/or sex always do. Cardin will win PG in a landslide. O-malley will win but it will be far closer than the "experts" expect.

Just for the record, I am white and live in PG and I like it just fine here. The person moving to Loudoun is making a mistake. In 10 years your $1.3M house will be worth far more in PG than it will be in Loudoun. Close-in counts in horseshoes, hand-grenades and real-estate. If you can't see the positive changes afoot, than you're not playing close enough attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

To anon #1 - I learn something new every day. I didn't know that John McCain opposed the King Holiday back in 1982. That's dissappointing. However, he's still a respected national leader and I think that the endorsement will move votes toward Steele. Having said that, the endorsements of Cathy Hughes (Maryland-based radio magnate and founder of Radio One) and even Russell Simmons probably will.

To anon 2 - Cardin might win P.G. County in a landslide and still lose. He needs more than a landslide - he needs almost total conformity by Democratic voters. Also, I don't think the big stir about the County Council backing Steele was just about race. I think that for a county that is so solidly Democratic to have the majority of its elected council support the Republican candidate would be noteworthy regardless of the racial dynamics. However, because of the huge stigma about blacks voting for the GOP, it obviously magnified the attention given to this story.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Didn't respond to this part of anon #1's post:

"Your argument about the black population being cut in half borders on racism - so you want to ban abortion so that there are more black people?"

Uh - no. It's not racist to not want people to be killed at a rate of 1.3 million a year, most of them for reasons other than self-defense. I wish that there were a ban on abortion except for cases of assault and life of the mother because I believe that abortion has gone completely out of control in terms of the numbers. At the very least, we should ban late-term abortion, as we are the only major Democracy in the entire world that permits it. 4,000 babies a day are aborted in the U.S. From a race perspective, about 1,500 of them are black. Like I said before, for every 1000 black babies born, 500 unborn black babies are killed in utero before birth. It's not racism to want to stop it - and for the record, I want very much to stop all the white, hispanic, asian and other babies from being killed as well.

I emphasize the race component because 1) blacks are more affected by abortion than any other group, 2) the Democratic Party is the party most responsible for keeping "abortion on demand", and 3) black americans, who are most affected by this cornerstone of the party platform, are the glue holding the democratic party in place in terms of being competitive nationally. It's time for the party to stop being ultra-liberal. It's time for the party to be more like the party of Roosevelt, Truman and John F. Kennedy than the party of Dean, Pelosi and Ted Kennedy. Cardin, as nice a guy as he might be, is very liberal on social issues and does not bring the Democratic party in the right direction, in my opinion.

On the party politics front, the Republican Party needs to shed its recent history of giving place to people like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms and be more the Party of Lincoln. The party needs more people willing to criticize itself, because they've become very insular and have shown little tolerance for dissent. My hunch is that Michael Steele would be a step in the right direction to change the GOP so that it's more self-critical and open.

Lastly on the abortion front, I've often heard the argument that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. It's not rare - it happens 1.3 million times per year in the U.S. and 46 million times per year in the world. Women still die during abortions and there is some statistical evidence to suggest a possible link to cancer. The number of abortions per year have almost trippled since Roe v. Wade. And while the Democratic party talks about impacting the social conditions so that fewer women feel like they need to have them (I'm in favor of this as well), the reality is that the numbers really haven't moved much in the past twenty years, not even when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Something needs to change.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 2, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

With all the angry and negative commentary on the endorsement of Steele by Curry & Co, I'm fascinated that I have seen no commentary on the sheer political mal-adroitness of their action.

Specifically, they wanted to record their dissatisfaction with how they feel AA's have been treated by the Dems, by reprimanding the Dems, (which is fine). Their options were, A: announce withholding of endorsement of Cardin, Steele, and Zeese, B: endorse Steele, C: withhold endorsement of Cardin & Steele and endorse Zeese instead.

I believe they are all closer ideologically to Zeese than Steele. Zeese is not going to win, (even with my vote), and if he did, would not be a vote for dubya on the hill. Instead of endorsing Zeese, which would have been the smart choice in more ways than one, they chose to attempt to inflict maximum harm on the Dems, and at the same time leave themselves open to charges that they are unprincipled, untrustworthy, opportunistic, dumb race-baiters. A Zeese endorsement would have communicated a willingness to break with party, and served notice that it could happen again with more serious consequences in 08, but avoided much of the negativity. And THEY want to be our leaders.

If the Dems have any spine they'll kick them out of the party. On second thoughts that would increase the chances that JJ acolyte Will Campos could one day end up as County Executive. I retract everything.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | November 3, 2006 1:14 AM | Report abuse

More endorsments

http://www.examiner.com/a-376980~Steele_earns_endorsement_from_black_ministers.html

I guess it's time to kick a whole bunch of black people out of the Democratic Party for supporting Steele, then. Oh ... I forgot ... they can't afford to. The easier thing to do, then, is to change the Democratic Party, not retaliate against people who choose to not vote for the candidate and for the party platform.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 3, 2006 6:43 AM | Report abuse

RLSUser,

If it's all about endorsement, let's see: Steele has the endorsement of some ministers, so does Cardin. Steele has the endorsement of Wayne Curry and five members of the PG Council. Cardin has the endorsements of Johnson, Wynn, Mfume, Ivey, and host of other leaders in the county. Steele's other endorsements include Mike Tyson, his sister (the former Mrs. Tyson), Don King, Russell Simmons (who supports Steele because the Lt. Gov. told him he wants to eliminate "poverty and ignorance" LOL), and Cathy Hughes. Cardin has Michael J. Fox, Barack Obama, Rep. Cummings, Rep. and civil right Icon John Lewis, the head of the Minority Business Council who was quoted in the Post earlier this week saying that contracts to minorities have actually decrease during the adminstration of Ehrlich/Steele.

Posted by: DC Dem | November 3, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

DCDem - you are right in pointing out that both camps have a lot of endorsements. It's less significant in my thinking that the Democratic candidate in an overwhelmingly Democratic state has a lot of endorsements from the most loyal party supporters. It's more striking when a Republican candidate gets a lot of endorsements - especially with all of the (understandable) stigma of black voters voting for the GOP.

Beyond all the issues of party, platform, ideology and even race, I still wonder one thing. Is it possible to win by simply being anti-Bush and not giving people reasons to be pro-Cardin? We'll all find out together on Tuesday. I say this because the only Democratic ads that I've seen are ones that attack Bush. I'm confident that Cardin would beat Bush, if he were running in Maryland. I'm not confident that he can beat someone just because he's in the same party as Bush if he isn't focusing on any positive issues about himself.

I don't think that the supposed black support for Steele is just about race. Trust me, if Alen Keyes or Armstrong Williams were running for the Republican Senate spot, no one would be talking about this contest at all. Steele has a pretty wide appeal.

Posted by: RLSUser | November 3, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Michael Steels (RLSUSer) has been almost as active here as Robin Ficker.

Posted by: blog reader | November 3, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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