Yet Another Post Editorial on Van Hollen/Edwards

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The Post editorial board weighed in yesterday – again – on the ongoing war between Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards. WARNING: It’s not for the faint of heart. Strong language follows.

EVEN IN a season of political chicanery, the campaign of Rep. Donna Edwards, a Democrat running in the primary for U.S. Senate in Maryland, stands out for having twisted the truth so extravagantly that her message provoked the ire of the White House.

The televised ad that elicited the Obama administration’s rebuke this week was the work of a nominally independent pro-Edwards super PAC known as Working for US, but the message dovetails with the candidate’s own. The White House objected because the ad falsely implied that President Obama supports Ms. Edwards. Its underlying message — that Ms. Edwards is an unbending foe of the National Rifle Association, while her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, is squishy — is equally false.

We have endorsed Mr. Van Hollen in the April 26 primary, and ordinarily we might not write again. But instead of fighting the race on the merits, Ms. Edwards insists on repeating a slander that strikes us as beyond the pale. There is a real contrast between the two candidates, but it’s not their views on gun control. The more accurate distinction is that Ms. Edwards is an ineffective advocate, while Mr. Van Hollen has crafted actual legislation to chip away at the gun lobby’s power.

Ms. Edwards, for all her smarts and political savvy, is like many members of Congress: more about posturing than achievement. Mr. Van Hollen, by contrast, was a key sponsor of a state law requiring trigger locks on handguns when he served as a state legislator, and in Congress he has crafted legislation to encourage states to require handgun permits and background checks. Both Mr. Van Hollen and Ms. Edwards have F ratings from the NRA.

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