Steele in '06: Let’s Give ‘Em Somethin’ to Talk About

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 02, 2006 11:30 PM
Steele in '06: Let’s Give ‘Em Somethin’ to Talk About

Looking for a reason to get involved this election cycle? Look no further than Michael Steele, running for Senate in Maryland against Democrat Ben Cardin. I was lucky enough to get to talk to him for a few minutes on the campaign trail yesterday. Click to watch the interview.


 

Y'all know I love this guy. The Baltimore Sun poll put Cardin up just 6 this week, which is saying something coming from the Baltimore Sun. Yesterday’s press conference in Annapolis was an announcement of endorsements of Steele by a number of black Maryland clergymen and women, mostly from the Baltimore area.

The other day, when Steele received the endorsements of several prominent, black Democrat politicians in his home county of Prince George's, I knew that was significant. If he can make a dent in the Democrats' black vote in that majority black county, he has a serious shot. But I wondered if he was able to make similar inroads in Baltimore, which is the state's other majority black area. It's not his home turf up there, but Cardin's. From the looks of things, he is making progress, and folks are beginning to call this race a toss-up.

Steele is smart, fun to listen to, and really good on his feet. He's also a committed conservative who has some ideas for boosting the black community and helping the poor of Maryland without making all the help about government programs. He pointed to private, faith-based programs run by the clergy present as often more effective than the federal government. All of the speakers who took the podium were excited, passionate, committed to Steele, and vocal Democrats.

That is something of a sea change. If Steele can pull this off, and I think he can, it's a significant win for the Republican Party, and I think, for the black community of Maryland. All the speakers to take the podium conceded that being wedded to the Democratic Party had not been an effective road out of poverty for much of that community.

Constituencies are inherently better off if politicians have to compete for them. The Democratic Party hasn't had to fight for the black vote for a long, long time, and it shows. They've been able to race-bait a little, throw more money at social programs that don't work, and stay secure in their 90+ percent of that demographic. Steele makes that a whole lot harder.

That's why the Democratic Party refers to him as a "unique threat" who they're prepared to "knock down" and "make a typical Republican in the eyes of voters, not an African-American candidate." That's why Michael J. Fox came to town for Cardin this week. That's why Schumer staffers stole Steele's credit report. That's why left-wing bloggers Photoshopped him in black face.

Steele said his long-time friends and neighbors in Prince George’s County haven't taken kindly to the Democrats' treatment of him, nor has it gone unnoticed that the Democratic Party has passed on black candidates for Senate and lieutenant governor in the last four years while the Republican Party has consistently backed Steele.

Steele is a unique threat, but certainly not to the black community of Maryland, and I think folks are beginning to realize that, just in time to vote for him on Tuesday. I believe I'll be volunteering for him this weekend.

Who are you helping out this weekend? You can donate to Steele, here. And, you can sign up to make phone calls for any and all of the most important House and Senate races right from your home, here. Join in! A Steele win is just one of many, great stories we can write this year, but we've got to get crackin'.