It is shameful that Marylanders who twice elected a first class governor in Martin O’Malley after his remarkable and grossly underestimated terms as Mayor of Baltimore should now look likely to approve Chris Van Hollen rather than Donna Edwards as their Democratic candidate for the Senate – which is akin in Maryland to being anointedas Senator-in-Waiting.
Having watched Van Hollen’s spineless, content-less value-less and apparently effortless rise over the past decade within the state and national Democratic parties, I am fascinated by how completely he replicates the slow, awful paralytic death of our national political system and the rot of the English language itself in America.
Van Hollen is endlessly praised from the Washington Post to the Baltimore Sun for his endless “achievements” and “ability to work constructively” with people.
Yet what exactly are these “achievements?” I have yet to see any single one worth the name listed.
On the contrary, Van Hollen is a spineless non-entity.
I first noted him when as a congressman for my district, he spent literally years in “negotiations” with the National Institutes of Health to get a secure walkway for pedestrians through the vast NIH campus in Bethesda and he completely folded on even that while of course proclaiming ita “victory.” There’s a worthy “achievement” for you.
That was a truly minor hiccup, though Plutarch counselsus never to neglect the minor as the secrets to the behavior of our “leaders”in greater things.
But it is astonishing that the state and national Democrats should so eagerly revere and raise to the quasi-imperial purple of the Senate the one man most directly responsible for their greatest electoral catastrophe of the century so far.
For in 2010 it was Van Hollen who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with such ineptitude that he blew all the momentum of President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 national landslide with an eight million vote victory margin only two years before. Despite a steadily improving economy, the Dems as directed by Van Hollen lost control of the Houseof Representatives to the Republicans, who have on to it tightly ever since.
Yet now, Van Hollen, apart from the gutsy challenge of Rep. Donna Edwards, looks set to coast home to a cozy quasi-lifetime appointment in the Senate.
The sheer physical contrast between Van Hollen and Edwards should reveal the real story to any sensible voters not lulled into the usual arrogant complacencies and contemptible absurdities of Montgomery County.
Both candidates are the same age – 57. But Edwards, though having been a single mother, is slim, attractive and alert – looking 20 years-and-more younger than her age.
Van Hollen at 57 is the same shape as me. I am considerably older, and that is nothing to boast of even at my age. He exudes all the dynamism and sheer charisma of the old Goodyear Blimp.
What will we get if Van Hollen, the son of a diplomat, the son of privilege, the man with a silver spoon in his mouth all the way –the man who has always risen, like any blimp, by being spineless and lighter than air, is raised to the Senate?
Van Hollen claims he will oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal but he has consistently supported all those “enlightened” Republican-style free trade agreements that have gutted the industries and prosperity of Maryland for the past two generations.
Van Hollen’s record on this is clear: He will fearlessly crucify the lives of hundreds of thousands more Maryland families by sacrificing their industrial and increasingly also agricultural jobs on the altar of good relations with Mexico City, Beijing and Tokyo.
He will do Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid’s corrupt, predictable and tired old bidding just as he always has. He will dare to challenge his party’s leaders, or even those of the Republicans on — Nothing: Just as he has always done.
I do not need to defend Rep. Edwards contrasting record here: It speaks for itself.
She is rejected by the corrupt old power-mongers, black and white, young and old, but all lazy, all cowardly and all corrupt. She is Maryland’s own Bernie Sanders.
She has resolutely opposed one free trade agreement after another. Her political judgment and social conscience have repeatedly been demonstrated to be infinitely superior to Van Hollen.
She dares to speak her mind and stick by her principles: For this she is endlessly slandered. But the constituents of her own district, again like Senator Sanders’ loyal voters in Vermont, know her well enough tokeep reelecting her anyway.
Edwards is not lazy, not contemptible, not selfish and not deliberately dumb. When she sees people in need, it angers her and she seeks to act on it. All the attacks on her alleged lack of achievement fail to note that Van Hollen, who has always been given so much more, has in reality always produced far, far less.
I have seen many Chris Van Hollen’s and far too few Donna Edwards’s in my 40 years of covering America and the rest of the world.
Give Edwards, like Bernie Sanders, the slightest, outside chance, and she will run with it, and make her entire state and – if given a Senate platform – the entire nation ring with it.
Give Van Hollen the world, and it will turn torotted, putrid slime in his hands, just as it always has.
Maryland Democrats really have a chance to Make a Difference tomorrow – a rare occasion indeed.
For once, send someone to Congress brave enough, decent enough to fight your cause.
I am not black. I am not a lady. And I don’t live inPrince George’s County or the city of Baltimore. So what? The choice for me is clear. And it should be for everyone else.
Vote for Donna Edwards on Tuesday.
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff