Some tasty nuggets:
On the question of how to handle prisoners taken in the U.S. fight against Islamic terrorism, Cardin differs with the Bush administration, which has drawn criticism from Jewish groups - such as the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and Rabbis for Human Rights - for its willingness to torture people and hold them without charges.
Cardin voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law last week, which could suspend habeas corpus for some detainees and which gives the president discretion in defining torture.
Noting that he's the highest-ranking American with the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's parliamentary assembly, which deals with human rights, he faults the administration's handling of these issues.
"Torture is wrong: You cannot be a civilized society and condone torture," Cardin said.
Rep. Cardin is in line with Maryland voters here. I was unaware of his high standing with OSCE, and it certainly speaks to his more than ample qualifications for a Senate seat.
Cardin was among the minority in Congress who opposed the 2002 Iraq war resolution and can expound at length on mistakes made in U.S. conduct of the conflict.
"It was a difficult political vote," he said, citing strong support for the U.S.-led invasion in his district four years ago, "but I knew it was the right vote, and I'm proud of that vote today."
As for an exit plan, Cardin proposes a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops, "without a timetable," to force Iraqis to shoulder their own security and holding an international conference to hammer out a cease-fire of Iraqi militias. Beyond that, he advocates using international bodies like OSCE to train Iraqi forces and nongovernmental organizations to help rebuild "so we don't have a bull's eye on American firms" for terrorists.
Democrats don't have a plan, eh? Tell that to Ben Cardin.
Overall, this is a good article for Cardin, who is going to need the support of the Maryland Jewish Community. Cardin is an unwavering supporter of Israel, and I am guessing he will take the majority of the Jewish vote. Not really because of his support of Israel, but because of the major difference between him and his opponent:
Mark Rosenberg recalls his first meeting with Cardin five or six years ago when the Bethesda lawyer was lobbying the veteran House member on a public policy matter.
"What I really was impressed with about Ben was that he really understood the issues," Rosenberg said of his one-on-one encounter. "There was no aide at this meeting."
Cardin is a professional. He is well versed in the issues and the policy that relates to those issues. No matter how you feel about Mike Steele, I would be difficult to make the same claim about his policy experience. Voters want Senators who are "Senatorial", lawmakers who will not just be a vote for their party, but also be an active policy crafters. You can count on Ben Cardin to to play a major part in crafting quality policy. I am not sure what to expect from Steele, both on issues and on specific policy goals, and that is why in a state with 2-1 Democratic registration, voters are going to look to the experienced candidate. That candidate is Ben Cardin.