Ben Cardin calls for Investigation of GOP Fliers
Many in the Maryland GOP would like to forget November, 2006. For them it was a time for desperate, dirty politics, and Ben Cardin is determined to have the Maryland GOP held accountable.
Cardin's follow through on this case is important for several reasons, but most of all because of how racially charged this incident really was. The Senate race in Maryland was tinged with racial conflict starting long before the primary, when the Maryland Democratic Party chose to ignore the early announcement of Kweisi Mfume. Some Democrats (myself included), particularly those in Baltimore were rather peeved over this decision, claiming that the Democratic Party Machine had "reserved" the seat for the Congressman Cardin. I realize now the issues/baggage that Mr. Mfume carried with him, and I somewhat understand the prudence of the Maryland Democratic Party's position.
This division, whose racial aspects were re-enforced by media coverage, and then by the Republican Party, became the hidden rallying cry for Michael Steele. Once Ben Cardin won the primary, Steele became focused on making their racial differences apparent in a way that would not alienate the more rural/suburban white base. Mr. Steele knew that his policy positions would not win him this election, so he focused, rather insultingly to Maryland voters, on race.
Even this strategy seemed to be failing. Mr. Steele was simply having difficulty finding prominent local blacks to support him. He was pulling out all the stops, from Russel Simmons to Mike Tyson and Don King. But that wasn't enough for Mr. Steele. He needed to get support even from those who were clearly not supporting him.
So, Mike Steele and the Maryland GOP decided that they best way to get the coveted black Democratic votes they needed to win, they would simply imply that they were Democrats using misleading fliers passed out in majority black voting districts. Not only would they lie, they would import homeless black men from Philadelphia to distribute their lies.
The stunt was insulting and insensitive. The fliers impugned upon the character of Mr. Mfume and Mr. Johnson, it denigrated the intelligence of our voting public, and of course, it failed miserably.
As a Senator, Ben Cardin is a busy man, and he certainly could have forgotten about this incident and moved on. However, I applaud Senator Cardin for demanding an investigation. The Senator was elected in part by black voters who were the targets of these fliers. After the primary fiasco created by the MDP, it is only right that Mr. Cardin fights for justice for these voters.
The most recent election results make it clear, Maryland voters of all races were not swayed by the lies and distortions of the GOP. Hopefully, Mr. Cardin's call for an investigation will help to make sure those types of lies will not be permitted by either party in 2008.