Cardin v. Bongino v. Sobhani: Poor form, dumb politics. Dan misses the point.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

“Dan, Dan, Dan. What are you doing?”

In Maryland, there’s a three-way race for the Senate. Democrat incumbent Ben Cardin is running against Republican Dan Bongino and Independent Rob Sobhani. Senator Cardin has held elective office since 1967, beginning in the Maryland House of Delegates where he was eventually the Speaker of the House, then in Congress for 10 terms and in the Senate for the last six years. Independent Rob Sobhani is wealthy and funding his own campaign. He’s run for the Senate twice before, both times as a Republican. Republican Dan Bongino is running for office for the first time, and it shows.

In an email bulletin that I received earlier this morning, the Bongino campaign has released a statement by Deputy Campaign Manager Sharon Strine. It is defensive and highly critical of Rob Sobhani, including some accusations that are misleading, to put it politely.

Two problems…

One is that, if Dan Bongino has anything to say about Rob Sobhani, he should say it himself. Ironically, of the two of them – Mr. Bongino and Ms. Strine – Ms. Strine appears to be the one with balls, figuratively speaking of course. “Dan, if you can’t personally say what’s on your mind, that alone disqualifies you to represent Maryland in the Senate.”

The other is more serious. “Dan, Rob Sobhani isn’t your problem. Your problem is Ben Cardin.” Ms. Strine begins her comments with, “Despite his collapsing poll numbers, Rob Sobhani…” Ms. Strine is no doubt referring to a recent poll by OpinionWorks. (See the screenshot below of a table from Politico.) As you can see, while Dan Bongino’s percentage has actually gone up two points, from 22 to 24 percent, since the Gonzales poll a month ago, Rob Sobhani’s percentage has dropped from 21% to only 14%. These results are surprising in light of the number of commercials Rob Sobhani has been running, put let’s assume the poll is accurate, and ignore its margin of error.Maryland 2012 Senate General Election Polls

“Dan, do you know whose poll numbers haven’t been collapsing? Ben Cardin’s 50%.”

Dan, Ms. Strine, Tuesday evening, after Dan makes his concession speech, when you’re wondering why the best you could do is 24% against a candidate with a legislative and campaign financing history as flawed as Ben Cardin’s, DO NOT blame Rob Sobhani. You’re the problem. While Ben Cardin is enjoying his incumbent status, relaxing above the fray, running his feel-good “My friend, Ben” commercials, you’re wasting your time going after Rob Sobhani, doing exactly what the Cardin campaign wants you to do.

(Actually, since Ms. Strine’s statement only went out to email addresses in your files, it may be that what this bulletin is really about is a last, desperate attempt to hold on to the Republican vote you thought, naïvely, was yours for sure. It’s no longer about this election, is it? It’s about giving Dan a basis for running for something else two, four or more years from now.)

It’s too late now, Dan. Stick a fork in your campaign. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but you’ve had months and months to go after Ben Cardin, to push his steady-state 50% down to where you might have had a chance, even with Rob Sobhani in the race. But you didn’t, and that’s why you’re going to lose and why Marylanders are going to re-elect an unproductive Senator who isn’t up to the task of helping Congress solve the critical problems of our time.

Maryland is going to re-elect Senator Cardin because you didn’t give us any reason not to.

-Next Contestant

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