Tuesday, September 05, 2006

On Raskin - response to Bruce Williams

See below -- http://circlewoods.blogspot.com/2006/08/saturday-aug.html -- for a story on lawn-sign theft allegations made by Ruben campaign.

Hi all--

I don't want to politicize the listserv, but I felt I should stand up for Jamie Raskin (and Lucinda Lessley) because Bruce has provided his analysis and listed his recommendations.

I'm not sure if the listserv was the appropriate way to communicate your choices, Bruce, but it certainly was the most efficient! I think we're all intelligent enough and interested enough in the many races to consider your comments along with everything else, and then vote for the candidates we feel will best represent our interests. I actually appreciate your stating why you're voting the way you are (or are more or less undecided in some cases).

First, re: Lucinda Lessley. She didn't rate a mention in Bruce's post, but she's thoughtful, smart and experienced (she's worked in the Legislature and on Capitol Hill, for Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings), and really wants to listen to all points of view before moving forward. She's also the only delegate candidate to come to my door! So, retail campaigning makes a difference.

On the Raskin-Ruben race, I urge folks to check out Jamie Raskin's web site at www.raskin06.com and read as much as you can on both candidates. Sen. Ruben has been around a long time and has seniority, but I don't think her record is so stellar that she should be automatically rewarded with another term. The advt. in the latest Voice, signed by TP supporters including Mayor Porter and Bruce, says that she's been there for us and now it's time to be there for her. But this election isn't about rewarding her for years of service. It's about doing what's best for District 20. I'm voting my interests, which I hope coincide somewhat with those of the community at large. Raskin, by the way, lives in Takoma Park.

Just to respond to some of the points -- Ruben is for the death penalty in very limited circumstances, Raskin's against it. Yes, he worked for Doug Gansler, who's pro-death penalty. But I think it's unrealistic and unfair to hold him to the standard Bruce laid out. If every politician were judged based on the company he kept (or whom he worked for in the past), and only those who were 100 percent consistent were considered worthy, I think the halls of legislatures and council chambers would be empty.

Registration: Actually, 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the general election are allowed to register and vote in the primary. Raskin's idea may seem pie-in-the-sky, but I'm not sure what's wrong with trying to get young people thinking about their civic duty. I think you still have to register with the Selective Service at 18, so why not have to register to vote as well?

Ida brings home the money: I think Raskin would fight hard for dollars for our district, and given his smarts, affability and energy would have as much success. By most accounts (even those of her supporters), Sen. Ruben is not an easy person to get along with. Raskin is a very personable, backslapping kind of guy who will hit the ground running. Will he accomplish everything he sets out to do? Of course not. But the idea that he doesn't know how to build coalitions or horse-trade with out-of-district legislators is, I believe, wrong. He grew up in D.C. steeped in politics -- his father, for example, was on the staff of the National Security Council in the Kennedy Administration before founding the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank. Raskin (the candidate) is a constitutional law professor and is passionate about education, democracy, health care and a host of other issues. I think he'll bring fresh energy to Annapolis.

Raskin stands accused of being thin-skinned. I don't think so. I think he's simply tried to respond to misleading criticism lobbed at him by the incumbent, the most notable being her claim in a flier sent out a few weeks ago that he's not a real Democrat because he supported the right of pro-life groups to protest outside abortion clinics, as well as the right of Ross Perot to appear in the 1996 presidential debates. Even Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who has given money to Ruben, denounced her tactics. I wrote a letter to the Gazette complaining about their coverage of the race that went into some of these issues.

Ruben, however, called up the principal of Montgomery Blair High School to complain about the school newspaper's endorsement of Raskin, prompting the Washington Post to editorialize that she looked like "an ill-tempered rookie" compared to the newspaper's editor http://www.raskin06.com/news/posteditorial06-06-17.php

Lastly, on the issue of campaign tactics and both campaigns' complaints about the other, let me simply say that a supporter of the senator went on a local blog (Gilbert/Granola Park at the Voice) to claim that the Raskin campaign had stolen hundreds of Ruben lawn signs from her neighborhood in Hillandale. Insignificant and petty, perhaps, but I decided to look into it because I simply couldn't believe the allegation. Turns out the charge originated with the Ruben campaign, even though the campaign manager feigned ignorance. I posted the results of my reporting at http://circlewoods.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

Much ado about nothing? Maybe. Politics as usual? Probably. But the experience left me wondering what Ruben
won't do to win.

I think it's time for a change.