The Washington Post has a very nuanced and subtle position on the first two Van Hollen-Edwards debates Friday.
For voters frustrated with gridlock and hyper-partisanship in Washington, the Edwards-Van Hollen debate offered a moment of clarity. Mr. Van Hollen, who represents the 8th Congressional District, has an undeniable record as a deal-maker with a knack for creative compromise in a Congress where that skill is a rare commodity; Ms. Edwards, the incumbent in the 4th Congressional District, attacked him for it, declaring she would never bend “when it comes to our principles.”
Friday’s debate, on WAMU-88.5’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, at times wallowed in competing claims of support from various Democratic interest groups. Yet beneath the tedium was a core truth: that while Ms. Edwards is right that women and black people are underrepresented in the U.S. Senate, most elected female and black officials in Maryland who have made endorsements are backing Mr. Van Hollen, who is white.
There’s a reason for that. While no one doubts her political savvy or policy chops on issues she cares about, Ms. Edwards is widely seen as less interested in crafting legislation and tending to the weeds of local funding and projects than in staking out ideologically pristine positions, even if they contribute to partisan paralysis.
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Ms. Edwards is unlikely to have her name on successful legislation. Her allergy to compromise, comparable to the disdain expressed by tea party Republicans, is what has brought Congress to a standstill. She is proof that doctrinaire ideology is alive and well on both sides of the aisle. Mr. Van Hollen, on the other hand, might chip away at it.
Wow. Don’t hold back there, fellas. Let it all out. Tell us what you really think.