Maryland’s Senator Ben Cardin. Running on empty.

Sunday, October 13, 2012
(October 17, 2012. Campaign financing data have been updated to include contributions through the Cardin campaign’s third quarter FEC report.)

Maryland’s junior Senator Ben Cardin is running for re-election to his second term. (Before the Senate, he represented Maryland’s Third Congressional District for 20 years.)

Last week, I posted two articles having to with campaign commercials Ben Cardin produced for his “My friend, Ben” series. In one of the ads, Senator Cardin took credit for children’s dental care legislation that he introduced, but which never became law. In the other, he took credit for a DOT grant to improve runways at BWI/Marshall Airport.

Seeing those ads, both of which are very professionally, very expensively done, you’ve got to wonder why Senator Cardin would invest so much money in production and airtime to promote such relatively minor accomplishments. Forget about the fact that neither ad was truthful, even if he had been completely responsible for both the dental care program and DOT grant, were these the most significant legislative achievements he can claim in a time when we’re facing more critical economic, fiscal and social problems?

Unfortunately for Maryland, Senator Cardin doesn’t having anything better to talk about. Take a look at the following table. You can click on it to make it larger.
Senator Ben Cardin Legislative Record

During almost six years in the Senate, Senator Cardin has introduced 110 bills and 41 resolutions. Of the 110 bills, only three have been signed into law. As you can see from the list in the table, all three are relatively insignificant. Either for a lack of creativity or, heaven forbid, interest, Mr. Cardin has apparently sat back, content to leave far more serious problems to others in his party to resolve. If you don’t believe me, go to the website and read the titles, and the full bills if you like, for all 110 bills Mr. Cardin introduced. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth your time. You’ll come to the same conclusion, that, for whatever reasons, Senator Cardin has been effectively oblivious to all the really big stuff that’s been in the news, on television and around your kitchen table.

As you can see from the voting percentages, the Senator has voted an average of 97.3% of the time with his party and President. (Think of the money we could have all saved, instead of electing Senator Cardin, by just sending Majority Leader Harry Reid a $3 rubberstamp with Senator Cardin’s face on it.) This exceptionally high voting percentage – higher even than then-Senator Barack Obama when they were colleagues – is not only indicative of mindless adherence to party ideology, it’s an indication of a complete failure on Senator Cardin’s part to work across the isle, to develop and support compromise positions, even though they might differ from his party’s line.

Interestingly enough, while he’s been busy doing nothing in particular, Senator Cardin has managed to collect $1,030,500 in salary, plus benefits of course, in just six years. (How much do you make?) And he’s taken $3,900,399 from special interests, some of which are directly related to the Senator’s committee assignments. “Hmm. I wonder what these contributors want for their investments?” The answer is access to Senator Cardin that the ordinary citizens of Maryland can’t afford and don’t get. Hardly seems fair, does it? Of course not.

Maryland voters need to ask themselves what Senator Cardin has done over his past six years in the Senate to earn what we’ve paid him. Over the past six years, has Senator Cardin made a material contribution to the quality of life for your family, your state and our country? If you have to stop and think about it… If the answer is, as it should be, “Not really,” then you need to vote for one of the Senator’s opponents, either Republican Dan Bongino or Independent Rob Sobhani.

Can you do that? If you’re a Democrat, can you put your party affiliation aside in favor of doing the smart and the right thing? Of course you can. The one thing you can’t do is reward (re-elect) incumbent Senator Ben Cardin for six years of wasting our time and money.

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