Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin rarely embraces drama, but as the denouement of the debt ceiling debate played out Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat became something of a mystery — undecided up until the very last minute on how he would vote.[...]
Cardin said he supported the measure in part because it includes language that protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries from direct cuts.
He noted that the automatic cuts, if triggered by inaction, would also fall on defense spending, traditionally a priority for Republicans.
And that, Cardin said, would put Democrats and Republicans on more equal footing than they have been all year.
"I know the base is angry," Cardin said. "I've been through enough tough votes to know that a few weeks from now, a few months from now, maybe, it'll be a little bit different."
Then again, what can you expect from someone who sees no connection between the debt ceiling and spending?