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January 16, 2018

From Leavenworth to Senate?

Harry M. Covert

That anomalies are everywhere in the political world goes without saying. Lots of hopefuls jump on bandwagons merely for publicity and shock value. Public amnesia in far too many cases allows some to succeed at the risk of the general good.


What a privilege it is to proceed to the hustings. It takes hutzpah, determination and time and talent in the political business. It’s not always fun and games. Far from it.


In preparation for a Saturday evening party with political friends, news broke that Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, announced she is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for one Maryland U.S. Senate seat. The current holder is two-term Sen. Ben Cardin.


Quite probably the Manning entry isn’t causing any great concern for the party, or for Mr. Cardin, a respected leader of Maryland, even to his opponents.


The idea that Manning, who was known as Private Bradley Manning in his Army days, can seek a political seat is incredible.


Manning is transgender, and now female isn’t the issue to true-blue politicians. The fact is “she” is a felon, who served seven years of a 35-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, male section. The sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama.


Manning’s surgery to woman status was paid by the U.S. government - us. Again, the problem with “her” ability to seek public office is felonious convictions.


In some quarters the description “traitor” doesn’t really fit although it’s difficult to not use.


Apparently, there is no law against a felon seeking public office although convicted felons are denied the privilege of voting.


Right off the bat after filing papers with the Federal Election Commission last Thursday, Miss Manning, now 30, immediately announced a fund-raising campaign and tweeted “yup, we’re running for Senate.”


There’s many a slip between her cup and the lip. Democratic Party leaders won’t say anything publicly, but with all the hoopla going on in the halls of government in Maryland’s capital of Annapolis, and the girls and boys in Washington, shock and awe is probably on the minds of the movers and shakers. A few laughs, too.


Senator Cardin’s campaign coffers are overflowing with $2 million. He has to be chuckling over the upstart felon’s gall.


Insiders around Maryland will be quiet as Manning attempts to organize efforts from North Bethesda. Just who is going to fund the leaker’s desires this time? It’s likely someone with more money than sense in the discombobulated political arena will feel sorry for Chelsea.


That a Manning type, a “Leavenworth graduate,” can run for public office without recriminations, is a stunning sign of the times. It isn’t just limited to either of the major parties, nor is it an intended insult to gender persuasions.


Conversation always leads to the nation of laws subject. It is extremely doubtful Manning can be successful opposing Senator Cardin.


The candidacy does create a pall over all the solid candidates who will be knocking themselves out in the coming months.


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