Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The election

So I hear there's an election today.

I'm not going to offer sweeping predictions, because I honestly don't know. I haven't been pouring over poll numbers like other political junkies. My gut instict tells me this is going to be a narrow one in the House - a 20-Democratic seat pickup, give or take. But I also think that the election will go deep into the night, and possibly beyond. Not only will there be many close contests, but we'll also be waiting on the overly large number of absentee ballots. Further complicating things, scenarios that have several House Democrats swithcing parties if this is real close do not seem implausible.

As for the Senate, I think there will be a three seat gain for the Dems.

Now, as to what I want to happen, obviously I am hoping for Republican rentention in both Houses. But, to tell the truth, the only race that truly matters to me is the one that affects me in Marlyand, and that is the Senate race between Steele and Cardin. Though I also would very much like to see Santorum pull out an upset in Pennsylvania, I don't see it as a likely outcome, nor does it matter as much to me as this one.

Ideologically this election is a clear choice. Steele is a true blue, Catholic conservative. I was impressed by him the first time I saw him speak at a Knight of Columbus gathering last winter. He's an engaging speaker who has full command of the political scene, and he's on the same page as me on the issues that truly matter. So, there was never any doubt as to whether or not I would vote for him.

But as the campaign has progressed, it's become much more important to me to see him win. This morning I saw a picture of Ben Cardin, and I think it was the first time I had seen his face during the campaign. That should give you an indication of the absolutely atrocious campaign that the invisible man has run. On the other hand, Steele has run one of the most magnificent campaigns I have ever observed. Sure, the puppy add might have been a bit of fluff, but it was also a smart ad that showed that Steele was a little different from the rest. His campaign has accentuated the positive, a stark contrast to Cardin, and especially the pathetic Webb-Allen fiasco (more on that in a second).

Cardin's basic line of attack is basically to accuse Steele of actually liking George Bush. While that sort of campaign makes copious amounts of sense in a heavily Democratic state, and I can't really blame Cardin for taking advantage of Bush's unpopularity, the lack of substance truly aggravates me. On every level I want Steele to pull this out.

Will he? Polls that have Steele getting merely 12% of the African-American vote are, simply put, not to be believed. He has garnered many important endorsements, including an essentially loud "no comment" from Cardin's primary opponent, Kwasi Mfume. Of course, this is a state where voter registration runs something like 2-1 Democratic to Republican, and this isn't exactly a good year to have an R next your name as it is. But the momentum is heavily on Steele's side. I think he can do it.

I also have promoted Jeff Stein for Congress. It would take a miracle of the first order for him to defeat Van Hollen, but at least I can vote for him without holding my nose.

I can't say the same for Bob Ehrlich in his bid for re-election as governor, though Bill Clinton's last second appeal on behalf of Martin O'Malley may have been enough to spur me to vote for the moderate. But that will be a last second decision, to be sure.

As for Webb-Allen. Ugh. That's all I can say. Though Allen can't be blamed entirely for the disaster that has been his campaign - the Washington Post has been on a mission to defeat him since September - he can be blamed for a good chunk of it. I mean, citing Webb's novels? Come on. Of course, Webb has been a joke in his own right. I wish both men could somehow lose this race, because they have been equally awful. Whatever the outcome, it's safe to say that Allen's presidential hopes have been completely obliterated.

A quick note on this evening - I will be posting, though I won't be "live-blogging" per se. The television and computer are in seperate rooms, so I will post as I see fit on the Cranky Con.

All right, political junkies of all partisan stripes - have fun tonight, and drink plenty of cofee.


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