My wife worked for Paul Sarbanes as a Legislative Assistant for two years and despite my conservative bias, I have to admit that Sarbanes is both honest and intelligent, but also a party-line liberal, which contradicts the previous two adjectives. Suffice it to say that at my wedding, my best man sat next to the Senator at the post-wedding dinner and that the Senator was completely unaware of major issues on the Middle East, where my best man had been a negotiator. In fact, Sarbanes was so uninterested in the Middle East that he refused to see a group of Greek Orthodox Palestinians from Ramallah, because his Jewish foreign policy minder kept their religious affiliation, which was the Senator's own, from his attention.
As a reward for his complete non-interest in Middle East issues, he was awarded the job of head of the Middle East subcommittee on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But Sarbanes' main interest was in keeping the Greek 7-10 security assistance relationship with Turkey alive, and his [dis]information on the Middle East came mainly from AIPAC, who made sure his campaign coffers had plenty of contributions from Maryland and national sources interested in supporting their positions on Israel and the Middle East.
I call Sarbanes "honest" because his net worth outside his Senate salary was basically his home in Baltimore, so he did not take advantage of his position to enrich himself, unlike many Senators attempt to do. His unworldly habits were the stuff of legend among his staffers.
Unfortunately, "intelligent" is a relative term and Sarbanes was intelligent as a University prof is intelligent. His son at Princeton gained the highest score in the Classics test the school has run for over two hundred years. So "brainy" rather than intelligent might be the apt term. I say this because the Sarbanes/Oxley provisions passed by the Senate and signed by the President have proved to be a major burden on corporate paper requirements. This may have been the goal of political interests unfriendly to business----the big government left, for instance. But the government does not have the resource-capability to handle, let alone monitor, the requirements of S/O mandated oversight.
My Thursday blog on Michael Steele left out the salient fact that Steele comes from a Catholic background, which could count for a larger percentage in Maryland, which has a large number of Catholics. Hopefully, the Dems will run Mfume as Steele's opponent, and give the "Free State" a choice between democracy and leftist-authoritarianism.
But Steele raises another point which has been the problem blacks have had with Republicans, namely the so-called "Southern Strategy" which delivered the former "Solid South" solidly to the Republicans in '68 and increasingly thereafter, as the Republicans wooed conservative white voters to vote GOP:
Mr. Steele is equally forthright about his own party's troubled racial history. Most analysts date the GOP's estrangement from black America to 1964, when Sen. Barry Goldwater, an opponent of the Civil Rights Act, was the Republican nominee for president. But Mr. Steele says the turning point came in April 1963, when Martin Luther King was arrested in Birmingham, Ala. "No one bothered for a few days to call, until [President] Kennedy called. Republicans were urged to be vocal and supportive, and their historic civil rights legacy was recounted to them. But they were in the throes of developing . . . a 'Southern strategy.' . . . When we [Republicans] so soundly ignored that civil rights call . . . blacks said, 'That relationship . . . is no more.' They were freed of that particular plantation."
To win back black voters, Mr. Steele says, Republicans must acknowledge that "this is a relationship that we blew up. We dropped the ball--we Republicans. . . . My hope is, now, that the black community responds in kind, by listening."
Since the Dems start beating the tom-toms of racial solidarity every time a Republican black runs for office, this mindset will be difficult to overcome.
Since the ideological wing of the Democratic Party is anti-traditional Catholic and also deadset against black Republicans, Steele will face a lot more opposition from the Dems besides the smears they have attempted so far. Stealing Steele's credit records may just be the first act of desperation the desperado Dems apply to keeping their Maryland Senate seat.