Ben Cardin v. Dan Bongino: Rubber stamp.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

This is the sixth article I’ve written recently about the race between Maryland’s first-term U.S. Senator Ben Cardin who is running for reelection against Republic newcomer Dan Bongino. If you’re interested, all the articles in this series begin like this one, with “Ben Cardin v. Dan Bongino.”

It’s hard sometimes, when you’re writing a political piece, not to sound flip, but I’ll do my best. While I’ve been critical of Senator Cardin, it’s not because he’s not a good, smart, honest, hard-working man. I’m serious. I believe him to be all those things. My problem with his candidacy is that he’s done nothing in the past five plus years to warrant his reelection. By all indications, he’s done nothing to address, let alone actually help resolve, the major economic, fiscal and social problems our country is facing. Given the critical nature of these matters, it’s not enough to just show up.

And that got me thinking. (Here comes the part where I’m going to sound flip. My apologies to the Senator.) What if he didn’t bother? What if Senator Cardin didn’t show up? What difference would it make?

We know, from publicly available data that I’ve talked about in earlier articles., that almost none of the 105 bills that Senator Cardin has personally introduced and almost none of the 25 bills he calls “Ben’s Priority Legislation” have ever been enacted. And we know that none of his priorities, even if they were passed, would have any material impact on the major problems a responsible, more effective Congress and Presidency would be fighting around the clock to resolve. So what if he didn’t show up?

According to the Washington Post, of the 320 votes so far in the 112th Congress, Senator Cardin voted with the Democrats 97% of the time. During the 111th Congress, out of 692 votes, Mr. Cardin voted with his party 98% of the time.

“Well,” you say, “he’s a Democrat. What else would you expect?” You know what else? What I would hope is that Senator Cardin, “Senator Anybody,” for that matter, would put his (or her) country first. Unrestricted by the superficialities of party affiliation, I want… No, I demand as a condition for reelection, that my Senator be creative and open-minded in his evaluation and support of solutions, regardless of their origin. If he is, if Senator Cardin had been open-minded these past five years, four months he’s been in office, I think the odds are he would have voted with the other side more than a measly three percent of the time.

And so I conclude that, had I not elected Ben Cardin the first time and sent a simple rubber stamp to Washington instead, I could have saved the people of Maryland, and the United States in general, $174,000 per year ($1,044,000 over six years), plus benefits, including vested retirement. (Yes, U.S. Senators vest for retirement benefits in only five years.)

I’ve wasted enough time and money waiting for Senator Cardin to pay attention, to give Marylanders even a glimmer of hope that he’s up to the task. To be fair, these are difficult times for our state, our country and for the officials we elect to represent us. The problems we are facing are complex and difficult to understand. That’s a fact, but it’s not an excuse.

“Thank you, Senator Cardin, for your service,” but time’s up. Nothing personal. It’s just business. I’m voting to give another good man, Dan Bongino, his chance to do it right.

-Next Contestant

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