Maryland Senate candidate Michael S. Steele, who often avoids mentioning his political affiliation in the overwhelmingly Democratic state, took one of his most direct swipes at his party in a new commercial yesterday while continuing to fault Democrats.The story goes on to say that Steele is trying to distance himself from the GOP and even quotes a number of political science professors to that end. However, what the story fails to mention is that Steele has long been a proponent of education, particularly for lower classes and minorities. Steele has long viewed education as the road to success, particularly since his education has allowed him to move beyond his own humble beginnings.
In the ad, Steele criticizes Republicans for creating an education policy "that teaches to a test," a reference to President Bush's No Child Left Behind law, and Democrats for putting "bureaucracy ahead of our kids."
"Some Republicans forget folks still climbing that ladder," he says, and Democrats "just raise their taxes."
As the campaign heats up to a frenzied pace, Democratic nominee Ben Cardin continues to paint Steele as being in the pocket of the Bush Administration. In any other largely Democratic state, this strategy might work, but Maryland is a little different. The close proximity to DC means that Maryland voters are much more cognizant of even subtle differences in positions and Steele's differences with Bush are not subtle, but substantive. Where the two men agree, you will usually find Steele's position to be long held or based upon personal principal.
On a key issue that Cardin is playing up, the fact that Steele opposed stem cell research, Cardin fails to acknowledge that Steele, a devout Catholic, opposed his own governor, Bob Ehrlich, who signed the bill into law in Maryland. With a large part of Maryland business being bio-tech, Steele's position cost hiim support in that community. Thus Steele is not as easy to pin down as Cardin would hope.