Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Unanswered Questions in the Maryland Senate Race

The Post has an article today on the small controversy over Michael Steele's use of pictures of himself with prominent Maryland Democrats that were posted and then removed from the front page of his website. Democrats, in response, have put up their own website to begin the effort towards tying Steele to King George the W. Neither is much of a surprise. Steele has to make himself look moderate to have any chance of winning, despite the reality of his being completely out of line with Maryland on a whole host of issues, including but not limited to freedom of choice. Meanwhile, a central part of the strategy for any Democrat that wins the primary will be to label Steele for what he is - a conservative Republican with ties to the President. But there are still some unanswered questions in the race right now:

Whither the undecided Dems? While Kweisi Mfume has a lead over Ben Cardin, there is still a huge chunk of the primary electorate that hasn't made up their mind. They will end up deciding who wins, and if Ben Cardin can grab enough of them he will be able to overwhelm the more progressive part of Mfume's base. After all, Takoma Park is only so big...

Rales as a spoiler? Meanwhile, the TV ads that Josh Rales has managed to put up might start increasing his percentage of the vote from 1% to something approaching an overwhelming 5%. My hunch is, though, that those votes will come out of what would otherwise be Cardin voters, since moderates seem to be leaning towards Cardin, and progressives don't make a habit of voting for multimillionaires from Potomac.

Zeese as spoiler? Maryland should feel embarassed to have its own version of Ralph Nader this year. Green Party candidate Kevin Zeese will be running in the general, and if there is a close race we could see Florida in 2000 all over again. These guys still think they didn't swing that election (despite political reality and the laws of mathematics) and are making the same case Nader made - both parties are the same. Which I guess means that they honestly believe that Al Gore would have sole the country to oil companies, ignored congress and the law, started two wars, passed the Patriot Act, and generally screwed over the country. The question is whether Zeese is able to trick some progressive dems into voting for him, or if he will only get votes from the delusional activists on the far end of the spectrum.

Will national money pour in? With a number of threatened Senate incumbents on the Republican side, including Dewine in Ohio and Santorum up north in PA, it remains to be seen how deep Steele's pockets will go beyond what he currently has, and whether any Democratic challenger will have a source of funds after the primary ends. Cardin's going to spend his money trying to beat Mfume, and Mfume doesn't have any money to begin with.

In any case, there's a long, long road between now and November, and it's almost certain that we'll see some surprises, and a number of thrown oreos, along the way.
Originally posted at MoCoPolitics, Montgomery County's alternative source for political news and commentary.

12 Comments:

Blogger OnBackground said...

Check out www.Zeese.US has an interesting argument against the "spoiler" charge:

*RESPONDING TO THE STRAIGHT-JACKET OF THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM:* WHY VOTING
LESSER EVIL IS THROWING AWAY YOUR VOTE

Many deplore the Democrats for having no spine, but they should realize
they were put in power by voters who had no spine -- voters who were
afraid to vote for what they want -- or support financially or with
their time candidates with whom they agree.

The 'lesser evil' argument highlights the straight jacket of the two
party system that prevents people from voting for what they want. It
really treats voters like children. I know when my kids were growing
up,
if they wanted to do something I opposed, call it "C", I would say --
hey guys, why not do A or B. They thought they had a choice, but in
fact, I had already made the choice. That is, in essence, how the two
parties treat voters.

(it continues on the Zeese web site)

7/12/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Concerned said...

I don't think this is really "free state" politics as the blog pretends.

It is unfortunate that the author of this post unfortunately has no clue as to American history, nor did they pay attention in civics class (if they even took it at all). The lack of education is astounding.

The reason, blogger that you believe we have a "Two party system" is that the "two party owned media" has told you so. Therefore you apparently only believe what you see on TV and radio and what others tell you is true.

"IF" Zeese is a spoiler, you should be delighted that this state is owned and operated by Democrats. Therefore, the election should go in your favor.

However, you pay little attention to electronic Voting machines, and are apparently clueless as to how they can be manipulated, votes changed and they can put into office whoever those in power want.

SO . . . if they want Cardin, the war monger, you will get Cardin the war monger. Have you looked at his voting record? He pays lip service to you saying he is doing one thing and actually Votes another way.

He voted FOR the Patriot Act which abolishes your civil rights. He voted AGAINST Internet Neutrality so that those in power decide what you can do and where you can go on the internet.

I think "democrat" you should 'get over yourself and the party that has lied to you and myself repeatedly over and over.

I learned since Bush stole the 2004 election (and he did steal it) through use of voter intimidation, election fraud, and throwing hundreds of thousands of Democrats off the voter rolls, you might have learned something when "Mr. I've Got Your Back" threw up his hands a day latter and conceded. Yes, I voted for him and believed him. I was stupid.

I've learned just how much you democrats are like the republicans, especially in this "free state" where your democratic leaders made sure Diebold voting systems are in place with no way to audit an election. How your democratic leaders were bought off through campaign contributions by Constellation's monopoly and voted on their behalf to sky rocket your bills.

I have news. Spoiler? You better think about how the rich and elite "want" the election to go with Diebold voting systems.

And, you don't know the first thing about Ralph Nader. I thought the same as you before I heard the man speak and met him to know how the LYING corporate media portrays him to brainwash people like you who are so gullible.

If you had any brain that was not washed left to think for yourself, you might recall that the founding fathers of this democratic republic NEVER wanted "parties" to rule the system like they do.

You want to keep on the course for United States Empire over everyone in the rest of the world? Please vote either Democrat or Republican.

And by the way, I am an Independent who in the past always voted for Democrats until I found out how crooked and dirty they are behind the scenes in this state.

7/14/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger fit2Btied said...

I am fascinated to see how the tired old tag of 'spoiler' keeps getting batted around by disheveled and disgruntled democrats. It's as if they didn't have the organizational skills to create a political agenda and popular movement with any added value beyond 'we're not the other guy'.

Spoiler is a word that has more specific meaning. It is a relevant description only in relation to a corrupt system. To label a candidate as a 'spoiler' without offering cogent arguments and detailed analysis is simply an admission of complicity in a rigged process.

I think (call me naive, or maybe just a cock-eyed optimist) that Maryland voters are sophisticated enough to realize that only a fair and open debate on the issues will lead to a Senator that has an opportunity to speak for his or her constituency. Roughly 20% of all Maryland voters have chosen to forego the charade of voting in the primaries to register their discontent by refusing to affiliate with either of the two recognized corporate parties.

The remarkable thing about a guy like Zeese is this--if you actually look at his positions, consider his experience, maybe even ask him a few questions (he's an extraordinarily approachable fellow)it becomes clear that he is more attuned to the issues and ideals of most Democrats and Republicans (not to mention Independents, 3rd Party voters, etc.)than anyone in leadership in either of the Donkey/Elephant groups! If our leaders would listen, they would think and talk a lot more like Zeese!


But the bottom line is this. If the Democrats really cared about the voters in Maryland they would abandon the empty rhetoric of the spoiler label and pass Instant Runoff Voting measures (a simple task due to their veto proof majorities in the State House) that would allow Marylanders to vot their conscience and not their fear.

7/14/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Which I guess means that they honestly believe that Al Gore would have sole the country to oil companies, ignored congress and the law, started two wars, passed the Patriot Act, and generally screwed over the country."

Well, let's see--the Clinton Gore administration opposed the importation of generic AIDS drugs into Africa at the behest of the drug companies...but then I guess that's not selling out Americans, only Africans, who don't really count, do they? Hmmm, come to think of it, what did Clinton do to promote rnewable energy?

Clinton started two wars, as I recall--one without going to the UN. He would have invaded Haiti as well, if it weren't for the pesky ol' Jimmy Carter finding a peaceful way out.

The Patriot Act? Well, the Patriot Act passed the Senate by 89–11 and the House by 280–138. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought there were a good deal more Democrats than that.

Ignored the law? Well, you really don't need an answere on that one, do you?

7/14/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger lanzar said...

"Delusional Activists"

Activists we may be, delusional we are not. The U.S. Senate voted in 2001 to pass the USA Patriot Act 98-1. Senator Russ Feingold was the only Senator to bring his backbone onto the Senate floor that day. The most recent vote in the Senate on a resolution to continue the Iraq war indefinitely and "stay the course" was 86-13. Barely 10 percent of the Senate voted that the Iraq war should end. Almost 90 percent agreed that the President should decide for himself when [if ever] the Iraq war ends. And almost 90 percent of the Senate voted to renew the USA Patriot Act this year, stripping you, me, and every other American of our Constitutional Rights. One would think that the Iraq War and the USA Patriot Act would be very contentious issues in the Senate, but they are not. They are, rather, subject to near consensus. It is interesting to me that the Iraq War and USA Patriot Act are much more contentious on the streets of this country than they are in the halls of Congress. The 98-1 Senate vote for the USA Patriot Act was a real watershed moment in my view of the so-called "two party system." So I am not going to vote for one of the two consensus candidates in the U.S. Senate race in November. When I cast my vote for the next Senator from Maryland, I am going to vote for the one. I am not going to vote for one of the 98. Whether the candidate of my choice can win the election depends upon how many Maryland voters support one of the two consensus candidates.

Lanzar

7/14/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Nat said...

I solicited a response from a Green Party activist I know.....

Why don't the Democrats who control the Maryland Legislature enact Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and eliminate the whole "spoiler" threat? It is my understanding Del. Paul Pinsky has presented this bill year after year but the Dems won't even let it out of committee!

Greens will continue to run candidates against the "Republicrat" duopoly -- get used to it. (MD Greens are running more candidate in 2006 than ever before!)

I think you should stop whining and start supporting IRV!

Dave Goldsmith
Baltimore County Green Party Coordinator
and
(Proposed) Green Party Candidate for MD House of Delegates 11th District

7/16/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger MoCoPolitics said...

Wow. I'm impressed with the acidity of some of these entries. That's one great thing about the internet - with anonymity comes the feeling that you can say anything. Even attack the person rather than the idea. So...

I've been communicating with Kevin Zeese since I posted this entry, and he does have some good points to make about corporate influence over the Democratic party. But I still think that without a system like Instant Runoff Voting, splitting the vote on the left hobbles us without any similar split on the right. In a winner takes all system, if all the progressive dems split for the greens, Republicans might be able to win in even incredibly liberal districts. So, great, pass Instant Runoff Voting. I'm all for it. But until it passes, I'd rather have someone like Martin O'Malley than someone like Bob Ehrlich. O'Malley ain't perfect, but he's better than the devil on the right.

As to Concerned: It's pretty ridiculous, don't you think, to describe the site as not being free simply because posters disagree with you, or to try to insult someone by questioning their understanding of American history (geekfest much?). But since you want to play, the two-party system formed almost immediately after the ratification of the constitution, and has continued under different names since then. Only in times of great turmoil has a third party risen to prominence (like the Republicans just before the civil war), and only when one of the two parties had completely collapsed (as the Whigs had, being consistently crushed by the pro-slavery Democrats). The reason I believe we have a two-party system is because we have a two party system, and have had one since the 1790s. That doesn't mean the current system can never change, but denying reality doesn't help.

And yes, I am well aware of the history of stolen elections in our country. That is, after all, how we got Jack Kennedy into the White House. But you do understand, right, that constantly harping about the electronic voting machines like they are about to cause armageddon makes you sound like a conspiracy theorist? It makes you less credible with ordinary voters, with the politicians in Annapolis, end even with people like me who agree with you. You can fight the fight without getting frantic.

It was out of line for me to use the word 'delusional' in the original posting. I still believe, with pretty good reasons I think, that Al Gore would have been a helluva lot better than King George the W. But, fellow lefties, just because I have a different belief about what strategy we should pursue does not mean I am stupid, or that I've been hijacked by the mainstream media. I thought that democracy and open discourse was one of the Green Party's planks? Yet I see posts like Concerned's pop up any time anyone questions the Green Party. Which, in the end, is one reason that the Green Party will not go mainstream any time soon...

7/17/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

I agree with the prior comments in favor of IRV, but the lack of civility here bothers me more.

Spirited disagreements are a given, including among the member contributors on this blog. I am not a clone of The League or OnBackground, for example, nor are they clones of each other. And we should apologize for serious differences of view, nor their clear expression here. But the personal attack has no place.

I understand the frustration of the Green Party posters here; I am a left-leaning Libertarian Party registered voter myself. But playing in the big leagues means acting with maturity.

About a decade ago, when Senator Phil Jimeno made a bad vote on ballot access, I ripped him a new one in the Annapolis Capital. My party chairman called me up and gently chided me for my tone. He was right, and I was wrong. Fortunately, Jimeno voted better in later years. Glad I did not go absolutely nuclear even if I was out of line. Using a softer tone, I was successful in getting all three of my delegates in the 11th District to go from opposition to ballot access reform.

Just a few thoughts.

7/17/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger OnBackground said...

Thanks to those who remind us that civil discourse is the only way we can have a blog that people want to read and participate in, and incidentally the only way we have a functional democracy. I've gone out of my way not to censor, edit, or control the discussion and I'd like your help to keep this site both civil and fully free.

7/17/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

above I meant "not apologize" sorry, bad blogger, no milkbone.

7/17/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Concerned said...

MoCoPolitics. At no time did I insult anyone for disagreeing.

But you need to wake up to few facts. And i actually excelled in US History and civics.

Thank your people for the Patriot Act. Have you read it?

I absolutely agree that "now" we have a two party system because of corporate control of media and hands of and financed by the backers of those two parties. It was never in dispute.

I would prefer not to cite history lessons regarding the founding fathers views of "parties" and power being in the hands of a few leading to what it has in our country.

I am very ok with the fact that you disagree. But facts are facts, and what I was stating was not "opinion" with regards to the two parties.

It has lead to corruption. Trust me when I say I always voted 'democrat'. In truth, I liked Howard Dean, however the media was allowed to destroy him.

I like John conyers, I like Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich.

But it is apparent that you do not understand what democrats have done to election integrity in Maryland. That is not an opinion. I don't confuse the two. it is fact.

It is very cool you disagree, but at least be informed about what your party has done in the state of Maryland.

Martin O'Malley took over 50 thousand from constellation Energy and rounds black up in the city like cattle with arrest quotas. He has little concern for Election integrity either. I asked him in person myself. His only response to the illegal election system we have in place was "I don't know."

That was when I asked him what he intended on doing about it.

Duncan was by far the better choice. I don't believe personally his public reason for dropping out.

I won't be casting a vote for either Ehrlich or O'Malley. I don't think a lot of others will either.

Word on the street is people are pretty fed up with both parties. I suggest you look at the latest Zogby poll on the matter. Poll numbers don't lie.

7/17/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Concerned said...

For lurkers out there; people may be interested in the following video. Kevin Zeese represents We The People better than anything corporation controlled and run two parties have to offer.

It proves the original post, is vastly out of touch with the truth and in calling Zeese a "spoiler". You want democracy, take your country back.

BACK TALK - Democracy for America (DFA), Salisbury

I think a lot of people will like what they see.

7/18/2006 03:13:00 AM  

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