Political scientists will write volumes on the genius of the Steele campaign, win or lose.
I also think we should send a shout-out to Ambassador Keyes. He was about 14 years ahead of his time...
Dear Loyolas Mattman,
There's a world of difference between Mr. Keyes and Mr. Steele.
Mr. Keyes is a good guy, but when he's run, he's been someone with a message looking for a place from which to shout his message. Thus, he runs for the Senate in Maryland, for the Senate in Illinois, for the presidency.
Mr. Steele is a local boy deeply involved in and interested in his local community. He was born here, raised here, went to school here, had a business here. He's been involved in party politics from the ground up, working his way to the chairmanship of the county Republican Party, then the state party. He held significant positions in the party here in Maryland during the 1990s, helping to engineer the recovery of the Maryland Republican Party from near-death to at least being on life-support (in 1990, we had 24 Republicans in the state legislature, out of 188 - today we have 58).
Mr. Keyes looked like a carpet-bagger. Mr. Keyes' focus has always been about the big picture, about the national and international scene. When he ran for Senate here, I didn't ever have the sense that it would have mattered whether he was running from Maryland or from anywhere else. Mr. Steele is the real deal. He knows Maryland issues, he's lived them, he's worked them. He, too, has a national and international perspective, but he also knows where his constituents are, and what are the local issues that mean something to them.
In fact, it is this latter quality that will likely win the day for Mr. Steele, should he win. This campaign has shown that while Mr. Steele knows and cares about what counts in Maryland, Mr. Cardin is little more than a DNC cipher.
Don't get me wrong, I like Mr. Keyes. But they are significantly different candidates running wildly different races. Mr. Keyes couldn't have won this election this year, either.