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June 1, 2010

To Unseat Senator Mikulski

Farrell Keough

“Side-effects include delayed backache.” Honestly, what the heck is that? Personally, I would love to be able to delay my bouts with backaches. But, I digress…


This year’s elections should provide for almost as interesting a shift as that which led to the election of President Barack Obama. For instance, one of our longest-serving elected leaders, Sen. Barbara Mikulski is running yet again. With almost 40 years in politics, Senator Mikulski has been serving in Washington since 1986 – almost a quarter of a century.


Although the field is wide open right now, two people in particular have garnered my attention – Jim Rutledge and Eric Wargotz. The two have not been negative toward one another as a general rule, but there has been some friction – which is to be expected in a campaign.


The two most obvious differences between the two are reflected in their histories and records. Mr. Rutledge has not held a political office, while Mr. Wargotz has served on the Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners – elected president at one point. Many have seen the utility of a candidate having already held political office and having insight into the impacts of legislation determined at a higher level of office.


The second most prominent aspect between these two men is their party affiliation and candidate donation history. Mr. Wargotz has donated to the campaigns of Representative Steny Hoyer as well as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Parris Glendening, and other Democratic candidates. He did donate to some Republicans, too; but since 2002, Mr. Wargotz has been strictly on the Republican ticket. Nonetheless, this dalliance with the Democrat Party has been an albatross around his neck during this primary.  Of course, this could be viewed as benefit if he made it to the General Election.


Both men have stated they will only serve two terms. Both have spoken to taxes being too high and the method for truly building this nation will be putting dollars back into the people’s hands and into the pockets of small business where our growth really occurs.


National security and energy are areas where the two men do seem to have a difference in their rhetoric. Mr. Wargotz speaks to the Chesapeake Bay and offers a number of generalities. Mr. Rutledge does have many more specifics in these areas – like illegal immigrants, radical Islamists, and the importance of an energy policy as a matter of national security.


On the healthcare law, Mr. Wargotz has much more to say – not surprising considering he is a doctor. The same could be said of Mr. Rutledge speaking to issues like speech and censorship since his profession is that of a lawyer.


Finally, Mr. Rutledge takes on issues like gun rights and the right to life. His stances on these issues are well founded, well researched, and impactful. With the rush of legislation we have seen in the last couple of administrations, many of these rights need to be revisited and re-established.


As you can see, both men have something to offer those who want to see Senator Mikulski unseated.


In the final analysis, my leaning is towards Mr. Rutledge. His openness to argumentation on the issues (not just telling you what he thinks), his reasoned and well-established core values, and his breadth of knowledge on a variety of issues will serve us well in the United States Senate.


If you have never been active in a campaign before, this is the year to help create a sea change and these folks who want to make that change need our time and, if possible for you, our money.


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