Question: why hasnâ€™t Senator Ben Cardinâ€™s support for trade (both fast track authority and the bill itself) come under more scrutiny in Maryland? He has consistently sided with proponents of the deal, offering amendments and voting for the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, and speaking out about his “scars” from the Presidentâ€™s lobbying efforts. Strangely, despite all his votes for the bill, he voted against cloture - allegedly because he was unhappy about amendments not included as part of the bill - but then proceeded to vote for the bill moments later. Thatâ€™s the opposite of the usual wishy-washy Senate approach, which is to vote for cloture - the crucial vote - and then against the bill, when it no longer matters much. With the fast track bill on its way back to the Senate, pay close attention to Cardinâ€™s words and actions. They may be critical to the ultimate success - or more hopefully, failure - of the Presidentâ€™s trade agenda in the coming days and weeks.
I have to believe that state labor organizations and advocates are paying attention. While Cardin isnâ€™t on the ballot until 2018, he will be 75 years old that year, and will have been in elected office for 52 years, since his election to the House of Delegates at age 23. Still very popular, there has long been speculation - way way before I started this perpetual rumor mill - that Cardin might not run for a third term. Heâ€™s not exactly endearing himself to labor recently, a key constituency in any Maryland statewide race. And he has a relatively paltry amount of cash on hand for an incumbent senator (approximately $690,000), which should only increase the speculation.
I know, just what we need - weâ€™re still gearing up 2016, and here I am throwing gasoline on the fire for 2018. But hey, I live to serve. My Fatherâ€™s Day public service announcement.
NOTE: Iâ€™m traveling today so I didnâ€™t have the time to put the links in for this article - rest assured that I found and reviewed them. But if you have any questions about the particular votes or other data Iâ€™ve cited, I will put up a revised version in the next several days, and in the meantime feel free to ask me for any particular cites.