Tag Archives: Ben Cardin

Josh Starr’s Picks

By Adam Pagnucco.

Josh Starr was Superintendent of MCPS from 2011 through 2015 and still lives in MoCo.  He announced the candidates whom he supports on Facebook yesterday.  Agree with Starr or not, his personal experience of working with state and county elected officials gives him a unique perspective on those running for office.  With his permission, we reprint his post below.


Very long post for my MoCo friends about my choices for the primaries, with notes/comments where I feel it’s appropriate. Please note that my choices and/or comments are based on my personal knowledge and experience with these folks, not any deep analysis of every statement/position/vote they’ve made. I definitely have biases.

Governor – Rich Madaleno; Baker would be my #2. When I was super, I found Rich to be one of the smartest, most thoughtful and most knowledgeable elected officials, esp. around budget. He was also one of the first Dems to push back against Hogan. Experienced, smart, progressive, would be a great governor. I’d also love to see an open member of the LGBTQ community elected governor, although that’s in no way the primary (pun intended) reason I’m supporting him.

Senator – Ben Cardin

Congress – Jamie Raskin, because he is, after all, The Jamie Raskin.

House of Delegates – 3 candidates:

Ariana Kelly – solid, speaks out on issues re: women, no reason for her not to continue in Annapolis.

Marc Korman – smart, thoughtful (in my LM class so I got to know him well), definitely a bright future.

Samir Paul – have had a few conversations with him, very sharp and we need more teachers in office.

County Executive (wherein I get a little snarky based on my experiences with many of these candidates). I also think the next CE might be a transitional leader, as we move from 12 years of Ike during an economic downturn towards a new vision that supports bold economic development with progressive politics.

I’m supporting Roger Berliner as I’ve always found him to be thoughtful, a really good listener/learner, consistent and progressive. I’ve always felt Roger tries to do the right thing in an inclusive and reasonable way and will work hard to bring people together around his vision.

A few comments on other CE candidates:

Blair – don’t know much about him, not a huge fan of business leaders assuming they can “save” public entities. I’m pretty agnostic.

Elrich – have always appreciated his progressive politics, always had a solid working relationship, sometimes I appreciate his willingness to take strong positions, sometimes I think they’re unforced errors; major concern is the big hill he’ll have to climb to convince a wide swath of the county that he can do economic development and enact a very progressive agenda.

Frick – there are some things I like about him, personally and professionally, but my experience with Roger Berliner outweighs any support for Frick.

Krasnow – don’t know her, but I hear good things, sounds like a solid choice.

Leventhal – based on personal/professional experience, I’m in the anyone-but-Leventhal camp. He doesn’t have the temperament or leadership skills to be CE, despite his sometimes-engaging personal style and progressive politics. Please, trust me on this one.

Council At-Large (4)

Gabe Albornoz – smart, engaging, thoughtful, has a very bright future; very supportive of kids and MCPS.

Hoan Dang – what I know, I like.

Will Jawando – he deserves a shot.

Hans Riemer – very education focused, solid on economy and progressive issues, always had a good working relationship, we need someone with experience and we need a degree of stability.

I am also in the anyone-but-Jill Ortman Fouse category, based on my experience with her as a board of education member while I was superintendent. Trust me.

Council – D1

Peter Fosselman – solid, good record in Kensington, deserves a shot at council.

BoE (always at the end of the ballot)

At-Large- Karla Silvestre, glad to see her running, great community leader, smart, thoughtful, will be a great BoE member.

D3 – Pat O’Neill, because she deserves a shot at the MD record for longest serving board member. On a serious note, she knows what the role of a board member is and provides an essential balance to other board members who think their job is to run the school system.


Chelsea No

Chelsea Manning has decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Hey, it’s a free country. We let Robin Ficker run for office, so why not Chelsea Manning? That doesn’t mean it’s not an easy lift for Democrats to  say hell no and renominate Sen. Ben Cardin.

Chelsea Manning is a traitor. While supporters view her actions of those of a whistleblower, she turned over hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. Since her release, Manning has taken responsibility for her actions:

In an interview broadcast on Friday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Manning said she had “accepted responsibility” for her actions.

“Anything I’ve done, it’s me,” she said. “There’s no one else. No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me.”

Taking responsibility may not mean accepting that what she did was wrong. However, even if she views her actions as serving the larger good, accepting responsibility should mean that she accepts that she grossly violated her oath and the trust placed in her.

A major argument for Manning’s pardon was compassion over her mental state. While incarcerated at Leavenworth, she tried to commit suicide twice. Indeed, her deteriorated mental health was a key part of Manning’s defense at her trial. While lots of people have mental health issues and still serve valuable public roles, this seems a big step less than one year after her release from prison.

In her leaks, she chose to give the information to Julian Assange, someone who is not an American and with no affection, let alone loyalty, to this country. Or, as it turns out, to liberal democracy. While holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London resisting extradition on rape charges, Assange worked directly to undermine American democracy by working in service to Putin.

Manning’s campaign announcement seems especially ill-timed coming less than one week after Sen. Ben Cardin released a detailed report on Russia and Putin’s coordinated interference in our elections and actions that the U.S. needs to take to protect them from similar problems in 2018 and 2020.

While Manning has neither the experience nor the record to be a good senator, Ben Cardin has quietly worked hard for Maryland and the U.S. for decades. Cardin is not just knowledgeable but effective – a rare enough combination in public life. He has advocated for liberal causes since before Manning was born.

Manning refers to Maryland as her “home state” but she was born in Oklahoma and grew up there and Wales. She lived for 15 months with an aunt in Potomac. While military personnel often have short stays in a place for obvious reasons, even if she returned occasionally, one wonders how up she is on the state. Does she know, say, where Garrett and Somerset Counties are located?

Some make the case that Manning’s campaign will lead to debate over important questions. If anything, her record as a traitor will simply serve to undermine legitimate and important questions over Russian interference and American policy more generally.

Manning will undoubtedly attract lots of press coverage as a celebrity. Donald Trump did too. Perhaps it’s time we seek other qualities in our public officials than the ability to command media attention, especially when we have an outstanding public servant in Ben Cardin already in office.


Mikulski and Cardin 12th and 17th Most Liberal Senators

Sen114_Ideal_Point_PlotBThe graph shows the latest scores to be released by Voteview. Unlike conventional interest group ratings, they take into account all votes in the Senate (except those in which less than 5% of the Senate dissented from the majority).

The points show the estimates on the scale with most positive being more conservative. The lines around the points are 95% confidence intervals (i.e. the actual ideology of the senator has a 19 in 20 probability of falling on the line).

Presidential Candidates

Bernie Sanders is the most liberal member of the Senate. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are literally off the charts as the two most conservative senators. Fellow Candidate Marco Rubio is the seventh most Republican while Lindsey Graham is the fifth most liberal.