Cardin Pulls Out of NAACP Debate

ummm WTF?

This is terrible politics, just TERRIBLE. Ben, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Folks over at Red State make a good point (yeah, I can't believe it either). Ben Cardin has been waiting for this race for a long time. This is absolutely the WORST move imaginable. Sending Michael Steele to the NAACP debate alone? ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Suck it up Ben. Yeah, you had a gaffe at the last debate. That does not mean you insult the most vulnerable Democratic constituency in the state, Black voters.

I am not looking forward to doing GOTV calls in Baltimore tonight. What can I say to a voter who asks "Why did Ben Cardin skip the NAACP debate tonight?" I guess I could say, "Ben will be debating with Steele in front of the NAACP this Saturday", but the damage has already been done.

I warned Democrats about not electing Kweisi Mfume as our Senate candidate. I was worried Ben would have trouble connecting to Black voters in Maryland. For the past few weeks, I figured I was incorrect. Ben might have really screwed himself here.

I can guarantee you that Mfume would never have skipped out on an NAACP debate.

Ben Cardin has violated the first rule of modern Maryland politics. You do not slight, or even APPEAR to slight Black voters. Here's hoping Ben spends tonight doing something EXTREMELY important. I really can't think of what is more important for a Democrat in a Maryland Senate race than debating at the NAACP, but lets hope Ben found the answer, and is doing just that.

For the first time this year, I am nervous about this Senate race.

Kind Words for Ben Cardin from Washington Jewish Week

Like so.

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.

Ruppersberger sets me Straight

A week ago I emailed Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02 D) and asked kindly that he consider donating his sizable campaign warchest to local Democrats or to the DCCC. Well, I guess Dutch saw it as some sort of attack on his fund raising efforts. I meant no such disrespect, and honestly I didn't expect any sort of response.

I was surprised yesterday when I got a phone message from Rep. Ruppersberger, explaining his contributions this year in great detail. I can't list them at this time (left my cell phone at home), but they were considerably large. I'll update this entry soon enough, if only so others can get an idea of how much work and cash some Democratic Reps are putting into this '06 election.


Fixed for Firefox.. I hope

Several folks have asked me to fix Kujanblog so it could be read by firefox users. Since I am now a firefox user at work, I decided to change to a new template, and things seem to be fixed. If you are still having issues, let me know.


Google-bombing Steele

Michael Steele compared embryonic stem-cell research to the holocaust. Please, feel free to link this story about Michael Steele as much as possible. Voters in Maryland need to know that Michael Steele will vote against embryonic stem-cell research should he become Senator.