- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

To the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun, it's apparently fine for blacks to aspire to statewide office in Maryland, so long as they know their place with the Democratic Party. If they're not prepared to do the bidding of Democratic machine candidates like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, they seem to be fair game for just about any kind of attack.
How else to explain the sneer at Michael Steele, (now, we're proud to say, Maryland's lieutenant governor-elect and the first black to hold that distinction) in the paper's Nov. 3 editorial endorsing Mrs. Townsend's gubernatorial candidacy? The Sun editorialized that, so far as the Republican gubernatorial ticket headed by Rep. Robert Ehrlich was concerned, Mr. Steele "brings little to the team but the color of his skin."
Mr. Steele, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University law school and chairman of the state Republican Party, played a major and indispensable role in building this once-moribund institution into a serious political force.
If Maryland Democrats fear Mr. Steele, they should. He has done much to break the Democratic Party's monopoly on political power in Maryland, and he worked tirelessly to recruit strong candidates, and bring new and younger voters into the Republican Party. Had it not been for Mr. Steele's tenacious (and initially very lonely) fight against the gerrymandered legislative districts concocted earlier this year by Gov. Parris Glendening and the General Assembly, who knows whether the state's highest court would have overturned them and substituted its own map. Without that new map, a few veteran Democrats who were defeated would never have had to worry about competitive races.
Whether you agree with Mr. Steele's politics or not, he did not deserve the disparaging remarks by the Sun's editorial page. Mr. Steele deserves an apology from the Sun.

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