- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

For 14 years Maryland Democrats in the 8th District have run against Connie Morella's party affiliation, Republican, rather than the candidate herself. For 14 years that ploy has failed. Partly that's because she works assiduously to obtain federal funding for causes at home the National Institutes of Health, child-care subsidies for low-income federal employees and so on. Partly it's because Mrs. Morella is in many ways a Republican in name only.

In 1998, she voted with the majority of her party just 39 percent of the time. In 1999, the number rose to a whopping 49 percent. In other words, she voted with Democrats more often than with her own party. Her campaign literature reflects her liberal tilt, containing honors and endorsements from a who's who of the political left: Jim and Sarah Brady and Handgun Control Inc. for backing firearms restrictions, the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters for her environmentalist votes, Common Cause for backing McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform.

That said, Mrs. Morella has cast votes that a Democrat in the seat might not have. She supported, for example, elimination of both the death tax and the phase-out of the marriage penalty. She has taken a somewhat more cautious approach to Medicare and prescription-drug coverage reform than others might, advocating a plan that would start by covering the 30 million seniors with chronic illnesses rather than trying to cover everybody at once, a formula that would exacerbate the program's already serious financial difficulties.

She also casts a vote that keeps Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, which is precisely why Mr. Lierman says she has to go. But the Republican-controlled Congress has numerous accomplishments among them the balanced federal budget that Mrs. Morella won't find hard to defend. Her party organization vote helped make that possible. So she has this paper's endorsement.

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