Monday, May 7, 2012
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve written six articles having to do with the race between the one-term U.S. Senator from Maryland, Democrat Ben Cardin, and his challenger, newcomer Republican Dan Bongino. Both candidates are good, smart, competent, reasonable men. All things equal, making a decision between the two of them would be a toss-up. But all things are anything but.
Between the two candidates, the choice is simple. One of them, incumbent Senator Cardin has done nothing to warrant his reelection. The old adage still applies. If you’re not part of the solution, well then, you’re part of the problem. We need to give his opponent, Dan Bongino, an opportunity to do better.
It’s not Mr. Cardin’s points of view on any particular issues that should be turning voters off, but rather his general failure, over the past five plus years he’s been in office, which is a long time, to make any discernable difference in our continuing struggle to resolve critical economic, fiscal and social problems. I feel that it is essential that we hold him, and his colleagues in the House, Senate and The White House, responsible for the failure of our government to do its job.
While these articles are about a specific race, they are meant to apply to all incumbents, from the President on down, who are asking us for another chance. I believe the time has come when we, the voters, need to take charge and make the business decisions on election day that will protect our families and our country. Complacent re-endorsement of incumbents hasn’t worked, hasn’t sent the right message to Washington. As voters, we need to set the example for our elected officials by putting party affiliations and our concerns about relatively less important issues aside. In critical situations – economic, fiscal, whatever – it is essential that voters be laser-focused on the most pressing issues of our time, and that we elect representatives who will be the same on our behalf.
Senator Cardin has had his chance. Time’s up. I’m casting my vote to fire Mr. Cardin and replace him with Mr. Bongino. My hope is that this “next contestant” will be more focused, more creative, more determined, more open-minded to solutions whatever their origin and, in general, more effective at accomplishing a new mandate that Maryland voters give him. I have every reason to believe that Mr. Bongino will perform up to my expectations. In any event, and not to demean Mr. Bongino in any respect, Senator Cardin has set the bar so low, it’s hard to believe any legitimate replacement could do worse. Six years from now, if Mr. Bongino fails to live up to these rightful expectations, I will be writing articles arguing that he should be replaced. From what I can tell about Mr. Bongino, he is both up to the challenge and wouldn’t have it any other way.
For the record, I don’t work for the Bongino campaign. I’ve never met “Dan” except to have seen him on television, and have never had the pleasure of talking to him. These articles are of my own initiative. In any case, reaction to them has been unexpectedly strong. And so I’ve decided, based on reponse to my most recent article (“Rubber stamp.”) in particular, to offer this campaign a symbol. From my previous article, I give you “Senator Cardin’s Brain.”
“What?” you ask. See the picture. It’s a rubber stamp, the simple, ubiquitous, but nonetheless clear symbol of mindless approval. I humbly submit it to the Maryland electorate as representing three things:
1. Senator Cardin’s closed-mindedness, as exemplified by his voting 97% with the Democrats so far during the 112th Congress, 98% with the Democrats during the 111th Congress.
2. Senator Cardin’s proven commitment to “business as usual” in Washington.
3. A reminder to all of us that being an incumbent or candidate from any particular party is no reason, in and of itself, to vote for someone.
(Dan Bongino is too much a gentlemen but, were it up to me, I’d be handing out rubber stamps door-to-door. Maybe put the picture of Senator Cardin’s brain on t-shirts, behind an international “do not” symbol, with “That’s what elections are for.” on the back. I love t-shirts. We can start a political action committee dedicated to helping good candidates running against non-performing incumbents, and raise money selling “Next contestant.” brand rubber stamps and shirts. Who wants one?)
When prospective voters, who I hope are still open-minded about their choice for Senator, think about Senator Cardin, the image I want them to see in their heads is that of the rubber stamp. Ask yourself if you and your families, and your country, are better off today than we were when Senator Cardin was first elected to the Senate over five years ago, and to the House, before that, twenty five years ago. If the answer is “No,” if you are tired of ineffectual government, then you need to make the obvious business decision.
Nothing personal. It’s why we have elections. Mr. Cardin is a lawyer and an experienced politician. I’m sure he’ll have no trouble finding work.