Sunday, December 31, 2006

Republican Iraq War Supporter Who Won Close Election Changes Her Tune

Rep. Heather Wilson, (R-NM), described by the Albuquerque Journal as initially a "staunch supporter" of the war, is now telling New Mexico reporters that she is opposed to increasing the number of American troops in Iraq and, in fact, believes that withdrawing troops might "serve United States interests better" but does not "favor a complete troop withdrawal."

Wilson was high on the House Democrats' target list in 2006. She comes from a district that Kerry carried in 2004, but one that she manages to win. She apparently has decided that losing her seat over George W. Bush's war is not what she has in mind for her political career. According to the Journal's article she is not alone in her decision to oppose Iraqi troop escalation since only one member of New Mexico's five member delegation supports troop escalation.

Wilson called for a re-thinking of American policy regarding Iraq. In what might be a considerable understatement she said that the US seems to "lack focus" on what it is trying to accomplish. She described the establishment of a democratic Iraqi government as an "aspiration" but not something that is vital to American national security.

Wilson is a Air Force Academy graduate and a former National Security Council aide. If she has decided to bail on Bubble-Boy's Iraqi adventure, can other Republicans, especially ones from swing districts be far behind?
Click on the arrow next to this post's title to link to the Journal article.

Richard Clarke Article in the Washington Post

In an article in the Washington Post, former Clinton and Bush national security official, Richard Clarke, points out something that is seldom commented on by the media. It is that Bush's focus on Iraq is causing his national security team to be distracted from other more pressing problems, like global warming and trouble along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It is an interesting article. Check it out by clicking on the arrow next to the title of this post.
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Saturday, December 30, 2006

CNN Gets Bitchy with John Edwards

Scroll down the page and read the transcript of the interview with John Edwards and you see the uphill battle that Democrats face in dealing with the media. The media is determined to put everything into a dichotomy. In this case it is either you agree with Bush and want more troops, or you want to lose and give up the fight. Of course, the American people aren't buying this stuff but the media insiders are and that is going to be a problem for Dems in 2008.

What Democrats need to do is what Clinton did with Chris Wallace on Fox and that is simply not take their stuff. What a reporter/pundit asks a stupid question, call the question stupid, don't dignify it with an answer or treat it like a serious question. If they are asking "got you" questions, call them on it. They need product, they aren't going to stop asking you on their programs and Democrats don't need to take their crap.

A Mission Statement for America?

In his interview with Bob Woodward, the following quote appears from former President Gerald Ford: "Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people," Ford said, referring to Bush's assertion that the United States has a "duty to free people." But the former president said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest." He added: "And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."

That statement made us wonder if what is needed for America is a mission statement. What is the mission of the United States Government and is this administration fulfilling that mission? The quote from President Ford suggests one such mission statement. That statement might be as follows: It shall be the mission of the United States Government to provide for the security of the American people.

Assuming that would be the mission, how is this administration doing fulfilling that mission? Well, based on what is happening in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and what happened with Hurricane Katrina, not very well. In Iraq it has American troops bogged down in a sectarian civil war; in Afghanistan we are seeing resurgence of the Taliban, the same government that harbored bin Laden while he planned his attacks on America. In New Orleans we saw the complete failure of this administration to protect the security of Americans, before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.

The advantage of having a mission statement is that when you are asked to do something, like say invade Iraq, you would contrast the thing you are being asked to do with the goal of your organization, as set forth in the mission statement. This is just a hunch, but we don't think that if comparing America's mission statement with the Iraq War had been done that reasonable people would have came out in favor of the war.

Because a comparison wouldn't have just meant that looking at this Administration's Iraqi claims, but also whether alternative actions would have worked just as well to protect the security of the American people. At least such an comparison would have forced members of the United States Constitution to defend their support of this war in terms that the American people could understand.

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Military Personnel's Doubts about Bush Growing

The Military Times, a newspaper that circulates among military personnel, conducts a poll every year in late December. This poll, which is done by mail, is sent to personnel of all the armed services. This year's poll shows waning support for President Bush and his handling of the Iraqi War.

Here are some of the results:

Percentage of respondents approving of Bush's handling of the war: 37%
Percentage of respondents disapproving of Bush's handling of the war: 42%

Percentage who think that Iraqi War is part of the War on Terror: 47%
Percentage who think that Iraqi War is a separate military action: 47%

Percentage who think that number of troops should be increased: 38%
Percentage who think number of troops should remain the same: 13%
Percentage who think that number of troops should be decreased: 26%

Percentage of respondents who think that it will be more than two year before large number of Iraqi troops are ready to replace American troops: 70%.
Percentage of respondents who think that it will be 10 years before large number of Iraqi troops are ready to replace American troops: 12%.

This poll shows a sharp decline in Bush's support in the military as compared to two years ago. Then 63% of American troops polled supported Bush's handling of the Iraqi War. The full results can be viewed by clicking on the arrow next to the post title above.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Lieberman, Bush, and Iraq

In a column about the need for escalating the number of American troops in Iraq, Joe Lieberman cannot bring himself to blame Bush for the insufficient number of troops in Iraq.(Lieberman article can be linked to by hitting the arrow next to title of this post) In the article the following quote appears: "In nearly four years of war, there have never been sufficient troops dispatched to accomplish our vital mission." Note that nowhere in his article, does Lieberman point out who is responsible for not putting enough troops into Iraq. Well, here is a clue, it wasn't those people who opposed the war, and it wasn't the Democratic Party and its elected officials, it was the administration of George W. Bush.

This is a small example of why Joe Lieberman drives Democrats crazy. He was so moralistic about Bill Clinton lying about oral sex, but he is not nearly as worked up about George W. Bush getting us into a war under false pretenses. He can't bring himself, even now, after the incompetence of this administration has been shown time and time again, and after he has safely won re-election to criticize Bush like he criticized Clinton. This is what we would like to see one those insufferable talking heads like Tim Russert ask Liebrman: "Senator do you consider George W. Bush's mistakes in Iraq worse than Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky?" We think the answer would be extremely interesting.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ford Disagreed with Bush on Iraq

Bob Woodward has a story posted on MSNBC's website that quotes Ford from an interview in July of 2004 disagreeing with Bush on the decision to invade Iraq. He told Woodward that the interview could only be published after his death, although he did not specify any waiting period after his death before the article could be published. The story can be read here:

We have this theory that George W. Bush was pushed for the presidency by people who wanted to make Ford and George H.W. Bush look better by comparison. Think about it for a minute. Who wouldn't have taken Ford, Nixon pardon and all, or take his father, awkward syntax and all, over "Bubble-Boy" and his Boy Genius, Rove. After all, Cheney and Rumsfeld served both Ford and BB's father. What better way to improve the historical standing of Ford and Bush I than by getting Bush to start a war with Iraq. Far-fetched, you say? Well, it makes as much sense as going into Iraq to get rid of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Stand Tall for America

Is what Senator Ron Wyden calls an organization that he has created to help push for affordable health care for all Americans. The address is here: After we posted a reference to Sen. Wyden's health care proposal on this blog, Kari Chisholm, who is working on this plan with Sen. Wyden's organization, posted a comment which had a link to the above website. If you are interested in this subject, you might want to check it out.

Has Bush Raised Your Expectations about Iraq?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, we think we know the answer, and it is either "No" or "Hell, NO". According to this article by the AP, ( ), political experts think that Americans' expectations about Iraq are being raised by Bush taking so long to roll out his "New Way Forward" plan. Now, with approval ratings for his Iraq policy at 27%, according to the last AP poll in December, he would seem to have a long way to go. The theory is that since he is known to be so stubborn, and since he is taking a long time to announce his plan, Americans are beginning to believe that maybe he actually will announce something new that allows us to withdraw from Iraq without it becoming a bloodbath of sectarian violence.

Had more Americans, including media reporters, read Frank Rich's book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, they would understand what is happening. Rich recalls the infamous quote by Andrew Card, former White House Chief of Staff, that you "don't roll out a new product over the summer", to explain why the Bushies were waiting until the fall of 2002 to announce its plans for Iraq. Rich's book makes the point that with this White House everything is about politics and nothing is about policy, or, perhaps more accurately, policy is always subordinate to politics. Part of politics is marketing. The problem with this White House is that it thinks that everything in politics is marketing.

If you don't roll out a new product over the summer, when shows are repeated on TV and Americans are busy taking vacations, watching Little League games, and relaxing, you also don't roll out a new product when people are distracted by Christmas and the New Year's holiday. Hence Bush's decision to wait until January of 2007 to announce his supposed "New Way Forward" on Iraq.

The irony, of course, is that since the American people aren't as cynical as "bubble-boy" and his incompetent group of toadies, this is going to work against him. He is raising expectations for a genuine "New Way Forward", not just a new catchphrase for the old policy. If he doesn't meet them, he will be in even a worse position with the American public than before.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Democrats and Fiscal Responsibility

According to this article in the Washington Post, ( ), Democrats want to drive down the deficit, preserve middle-class tax cuts, and pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One way they want to do this is force Bush to raise taxes to pay for his Iraq War. Budget Director Robert Portman claims that there is no need for a tax increase because the reduction in the expected size of the deficit shows that the Republican tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are stimulating the economy. Democrats respond by claiming that the deficit is artificially low because of increased borrowing from Social Security revenues. They point out that the fastest growing part of the budget is for interest payments on the national debt.

Here's a suggestion: bring back Al Gore's "lockbox" concept. Pass a law that prohibits the use of Social Security revenues for anything other than funding Social Security and Medicare. Force this administration to show the American people how they are plundering Social Security revenues to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Such a move would seize the financial initiative.

Iraq: The Republican War

In the 1950s and 60s one of the attacks on Democrats was that Democratic Presidents got America into wars. There was some justification for that charge. WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were all started under Democratic Presidents, and except for WWI, Democratic Presidents were supported in these wars by Democratic-controlled Congresses.

Well, this current war is a Republican War. A Republican President urged support for this war, and a Republican-controlled Congress went along with him. It was a Republican Secretary of State who went to the United Nations and told them that there was proof that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. It was a Republican Vice-President who claimed that our troops would be greeted as liberators.

The result? We have now lost more troops in the Iraq War than we lost civilians on September 11, 2001. ( Article here: ) Americans don't feel any safer, bin Laden is still at large, hundred of Iraqis are dying each month because of sectarian violence, and America's standing in the world has plummented. Meanwhile, the Taliban, who sheltered the evil organization that attacked us, is enjoying a resurgence in Afghanistan.

In the 2008 presidential election, the question will be whether the Republican Party nominee can escape political retribution for the horrible mistakes of the Bush Administration. This will be especially true if the GOP nominee is John McCain, who is now calling for more troops to go to Iraq. The only way that could happen would be if the Democratic Party nominee was a person who supported the war and if such a nominee was not able to articulate a foreign policy vision that would avoid such a disaster in the future.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Katrina Fraud Could Top 2 Billion Dollars

Because of the lax ways of the Bush Administration in handling Federal aid for Hurricane Katrina, losses due to fraud could top 2 billion dollars, according to Federal and Congressional investigators. This is another example of the incompetence of the Bush Administration and its appointees. Remember when we were told in 2000 that the election of the first President to have a MBA, from Harvard, no less, would bring about good management? Put that right up there with "Misson Accomplished", "compassionate conservatism", and "No Child Left Behind."
You can read an article about this here:

Oaths of Office and the United States Constitution

Article Six, Clause 3, of the United States Constitution reads as follows:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Three things are apparent from a reading of this paragraph:

1. All Senators, Representatives, and all officials of the various states have to take an oath to support the United States Constitution;

2. Unlike the oath taken by the President, the Constitution doesn't prescribe any certain language for such an oath; and

3. No religious test can be ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States.

The oath of office that is prescribed in the U.S. Constitution for the President is found in Article III, Clause 8, and reads as follows:

Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Note that the above oath does not require that it be made upon a Bible and does not include any reference to God, although there is nothing to prohibit a President from taking the oath on a Bible or adding the words "So help me God" to the oath.

Washington Dems Plan to Put Health Care Back on the Table

The Washington Post has a story, ( ), about the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate wanting to put health care back on the table. Since the defeat of the Clinton administration's efforts in 1993-1994, there has not been a major effort to reform the nation's health care system. Polls show growing dissatisfaction with the system, increases in costs to employers, and growing numbers of uninsured Americans.

According to a Republican Senator quoted in the story Democrats will not be able to get universal health care enacted. If that is true, and we are not sure it is, then that means that reform will be centered around continuation of the employer based system we now use. American's employer based system is putting American business at a competitive disadvantage against companies based in countries that have universal health care provided and funded by the national government. One reason why Toyota enjoys a competitive advantage against American automakers is that Toyota doesn't have the same costs for employee health insurance as American automakers.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) plans to introduce a bill to provide health insurance for all Americans using a centrally financed system of private insurance companies. ( Senator Wyden's website offers links to a more detailed description of his plan. You can link here: ). If Democrats could deliver solid reform of the nation's health care system, not only would they be doing the right thing, but also the politically advantageous thing.

Strickland to Change Judicial Appointment Process

According to this Columbus Dispatch article, ( ), the Strickland administration is going to change how judicial appointments are handled. Under the last two Republican governors, three names were sent by the local Republican Party to the Governor's office. The Governor then chose one of the three for the appointment. Strickland wants to set up a screening process, similar to the one used by Dick Celeste when he was governor.

Considering that over 80% of all Ohio judges start their judicial careers via gubernatorial appointment, this is a very significant development. This should lead to greater transparency in judicial appointments and more diversity in the people appointed. It should also lead to greater confidence in the appointment process.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Reader Submission: Sherrod Brown's Victory by the Numbers

An analysis of the November 7th vote shows that Democrat Sherrod Brown ran a far stronger race than Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senate candidates have run in the past 12 years. Since 1994, up until this year, Republicans had totally dominated Ohio's Senate contests.

The numbers don't lie and these are the numbers:

DeWine (R) 53%
Hyatt (D) 39%

Voinovich (R) 56%
Boyle (D) 44%

DeWine (R) 60%
T. Celeste (D) 36%

Voinovich (R) 64%
Fingerhut (D) 36%

Brown (D) 56%
DeWine (R) 44%

In the 10 year period from 1994 to 2004, Republican U.S. Senate candidates averaged 58% of the vote while Democratic candidates only averaged 39% of the vote. This meant that the average Republican victory margin during that period was 19% of the vote. Such an average meant that Democratic U.S. Senate candidates took "a thumpin" from 1994 to 2004.

Sherrod Brown changed that. He beat incumbent Mike DeWine by 12% of the vote. That is huge-particularly in light of the miserable results Democratic candidates obtained during the 1994-2004 period.

The question thus becomes: Why did Sherrod Brown do so well? Although a full answer might depend of more detailed number crunching, a preliminary analysis shows that Sherrod Brown created a strong campaign organization and, just as importantly, talked about issues in a way that appealed to most Ohioans.

Ohio's Democrats would do well to learn these two lessons from Sherrod Brown. One, if you want to win a statewide campaign you need to put together a strong campaign organization. Two, you need to talk about issues that interest most Ohioans, and take political positions that appeal to most Ohioans.

This may sound simplistic but it is something that Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senate candidates were unable to do from 1994-2004.

Bill Mann
Columbus, Ohio
Mr. Mann is a Columbus attorney who has long been interested in politics.

New Hampshire Newspaper Poll Shows Tie in '08 Dem Preference

This is the report of a poll done for the Concord Monitor, a New Hampshire newspaper, that shows Obama and Hillary basically tied among NH Dems. You can read the full story here: We present this for your enjoyment and note that the campaign for the 08 nomination is beginning earlier than usual. The fact that there is so much coverage of the 2008 presidential race almost two years before the election shows (a) the impact of having so much media as compared to even 2000; (b) the desperation of Americans to get this administration out of power; and (c) the fact that political reporters will always focus on the horserace as opposed to substantive ideas.

Bush, Tax Cuts, and the Iraq War

E.J. Dionne argues in this column ( ) that the Iraqi War has never been Bush's top priority, preserving and extending his tax cuts has always been his first priority. He calculates that for every dollar this Administration has spent on the war, it has cut taxes by two dollars. Obviously this can't continue, and the deficits we are experiencing is the natural result of such a policy.

Democrats should demand that if Bush wants to increase troops in Iraq, and wants billions of dollars for Iraq's unemployed, then he should propose raising taxes to pay for expanding the war effort. It would be fascinating to see Republicans try and explain why we should spend billions of dollars more in Iraq, but not raise taxes to pay for such expenditures.

Bush Wants 10 Billion for Iraqi Jobs

According to this report in the London Times, (,,2089-2517659,00.html ) the Bush Administration is seeking up to 10 billion additional dollars to provide Iraqis with jobs. These jobs would be created by rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure. Gingrich, who is advocating this plan, calls for a cross between the Marshall Plan and the New Deal for Iraqis. According to Gingrich, the plan is to "mop up" every unemployed Iraqi and give them a job.

Do you think that anyone in the media will get the irony of this? Here we have a conservative Republican, who would never call for such a plan in the United States, urging a plan that he describes as a cross between two plans associated with liberal Democratic presidents. And he is doing all of this with a straight face.

Well, here is a question for Mr. Gingrich and the Bush Administration: why are Iraqis more worthy than unemployed Americans? Why is such a plan a good idea for Iraqis but not for Americans? Are unemployed Americans not good enough for their own government to help?

The only job plan this administration has for unemployed young people in America is to have them join the military so they can risk their lives, apparently to protect American companies while they provide jobs for Iraqis. Democrats need to start asking why we can spend American tax dollars to provide unemployed Iraqis with jobs, but not unemployed Americans. Watching Republicans try and explain the difference would illustrate the difference between us and them.
It would illustrate the difference between a political party that wants to help Americans and a political party that doesn't.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Two About Hillary

According to a new poll out Hillary leads McCain by 7% in a 2008 match-up. Read more here:,0,7746184.story?coll=ny-leadnationalnews-headlines

Interesting article about Hillary and Obama and who they would be appealing to if they both ran for president.

Time to Amend the Ohio Constitution?

Plain Dealer columnist Tom Suddes ran a column this week calling for a new constitutional convention for Ohio. Ohio's had three constitutions during its history. One was adopted in 1803 when Ohio became a state; the second one was adopted in 1851; and the third was adopted in 1912. The 1912 constitution is constitution Ohio uses today. Therefore, in the first 109 years of Ohio's existence as a state, it adopted three constitutions, but hasn't adopted a new constitution for the last 94 years. As Suddes writes, Ohio is overdue for a new constitution.

In his column Suddes advocates the adoption of a one house General Assembly, like Nebraska's; going from five state-wide elected executive officers to two, governor and auditor; and addressing hot-button social issues. It is a very thought-provoking idea. You can read all of the column here:

Monday, December 18, 2006

From Dick Cheney's Office: An Immoral Suggestion for Iraq

The New York Times ran an article in its Week in Review section this last Sunday called Whispers and Why Nots. According to this article, some genius in Cheney's office, perhaps even Darth Vader himself, is advocating allowing the Shites in Iraq to either eliminate or uproot and displace Iraq's Sunni Muslims. (The article can be read here although site registeration is required ) Bascially what this would mean is that we would have invaded a country, overthrown its government, and allow one group of citizens to engage in ethnic cleansing of another group of citizens. Such a policy would be immoral, stupid, and would haunt American foreign policy for decades to come. Of course, come to think of it, it sounds like something that Bubble-Boy and Darth would come up with.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Colin Powell Comes Out Against Sending More Troops to Iraq

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell came out against sending more troops into Iraq. Let's see, Powell former Secretary of State, retired Chair of the Joint Chief of Staffs, West Point graduate, and Vietnam War veteran is against sending more troops. Dick Cheney, the man whose advice got us into this mess, is for sending more troops. Whose advice would you take? Well, if you are "bubble boy" you follow Cheney's advice because that way you look "tough" and "strong" and not "weak". Of course, it isn't your children who are going to die in Iraq and it isn't your family that is going to live in fear of a visit telling you that your son/daughter/father/mother/sister/brother has died. It is so easy for this President to be "tough" with the children of other parents. (You can read more about Powell's comments here:

Reader Submission: Democratic Organizations Support Worker Rights

Our Labor friends need your help. As you may know, the Union workers at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company are on strike. If you work an eight-hour day and forty hour week, if you receive time and a half after forty hours, if your workplace is safe, if you receive vacation time that cumulates with your service time, if you have health care and retirement benefits, and if you believe in America's middle class - give our Labor Unions a BIG Thank you. Because without the Labor movement in America, you would not have the benefits I just mentioned. It is time for all of us to give back.

Goodyear was hurting In 2003. The union responded to the crisis Goodyear was experiencing and agreed to allow the company to cut some 6,000 jobs including closing a plant in Alabama, as well as trim pay, health care and pension benefits in order make the company solvent. The company has turned the corner and is now making a profit.

Now, Goodyear wants more cuts at the expense of the workers. Goodyear wants to cut their pay, hurt retiree benefits and close more factories in Gadsden, Ala., and Tyler, Texas that employ about 2,200 union jobs. Mike Roop, a USW member employed at Goodyear stated, "That's a slap in the face, say workers who believe they helped get Goodyear back in the black. "Two billion dollars in concessions in 2003. Now they want more," The company touted the vital role the union played in its $1 billion turnaround plan but investors don't think it's enough. According to the SEC documents, many of the investors, have been pressuring the company to shift jobs overseas for cheaper labor and production costs. Whatever happened to the common good in this country?

Labor Unions have been decimated by corporate America and the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan. It is time to help our Labor friends build another workers movement, not unlike the labor/industrial movement in early 20th century, that recognized the dignity of work, fair pay, and a rightful voice through collective bargaining contracts. Will you show your support for signing up to stand with our Labor friends? We are looking for folks to give two hours a week to walk the picket line with our Labor friends. If you don't have the time then can you donate food items for the families of the striking workers? How about making a donation to the USW-L2 strike fund?

(Editor's Note: You can learn more about the Goodyear strike at
Above submitted by Patrick Carano of the Progressive Democrats of Ameria.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Congresswoman-elect Betty Sutton to be on Rules Committee

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped Betty Sutton, (D-13), to serve on the Rules Committee. This is probably the most powerful committee in the U.S. House of Representatives since it controls the terms of debate of all legislation referred to the House from its various committees. (For more on the Rules Committee, click here:
It is rare for a new Congressperson to get an appointment to the Rules Committee. The fact that Sutton was able to get such an appointment shows the respect she is already getting from Speaker Pelosi. Congratulations to Congresswoman Sutton.

Evan Bayh Pulls out of Presidential Race

The 2008 Democratic field for the presidential nomination was reduced by one as Senator Evan Bayh, (D-IN), pulled out. Senator Bayh concluded that he couldn't muster the resources to run for President. You can read more here:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Republicans and their oaths of office

Mr. Batchelder will soon be reciting the oath of office as a newly elected representative. In that oath he will " . . . solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Ohio . . ."
He does not have the right to decide which laws he will support and which ones he chooses to ignore. For 12 long years the Republicans have thumbed their collective noses at the Ohio Supreme Court and the citizens of Ohio. The Republicans have not worked to form a legal method of funding public education. To the contrary they have created charter schools that are siphoning public dollars off into the bank accounts of corporate diploma mills. In addition, not only have the Republicans not reduced the reliance on property taxes to fund education, they have made it worse. Therefore schools and townships, for example, are forced to return to the voters more often than ever. Ohio’s voters spoke very loudly in the last election. Unlike his predecessor Mr. Batchelder has the opportunity to listen to the Supreme Court and to the electorate and not violate his promise to follow the Ohio Constitution. Nonfeasance is defined as the failure to perform an act that is either an official duty or a legal requirement. Betty Montgomery as Ohio Attorney General chose to look the other way and not hold her Republican cronies responsible for failing to perform their collective duty to perform the legal requirement given them in the DeRolph decision. New Attorney General Marc Dann and Governor Ted Strickland must hold the Legislature responsible. If they do then Ohio’s schools and local governments will benefit and the reliance on property taxes will be lessened. We all need to be Argus-eyed from day one and hold those elected accountable for their decisions.

Dave Osborne

Congressman Says Bush is in "Deep Shit" in Iraq

Yes, he actually used that phrase when responding to a reporter's question about what plan the Democrats have for Iraq. Rangel made the observation when noting the absurdity of the media allowing Bush to get us into this war under false pretenses and then demanding that Democrats find a solution. A solution, by the way, that Bush would most likely never implement. Rangel's observation, along with a report about what possible Democratic presidential contenders think about Iraq is here:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dems Have Bigger US House Majority than GOP in 1994

With a majority of 233 to 202, Dems now enjoy a bigger U.S. House than the Republicans ever had from 1995-2006. You may not know that because since the election, Republicans have been acting as if the Democrats didn't do that well in the 2006 elections and most of the media has been letting them get away with it. Why? We don't think it is because they biased against Dems, we think it is because most political reporters are lazy and/or incompetent. They don't want to take the time to actually do research, they have absolutely no sense of history, and they just want to report what they are told. Since Republican operatives are willing to lie when they talk to the media, then their spin gets reported as if it is fact.

Dems Win Last House Election of 2006

The Democratic candidate won the last contested House seat of 2006 for Texas's 23rd District. The seat, which was the subject of a lawsuit heard by the United States Supreme Court, had been held for 14 years by a Republican. This win brings to 31 the number of seats in the U.S. House that changed from Republican to Democrat. This last victory gives the Democrats a 233-202 edge in the House. You can get all the glorious details here:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

American Dead or Wounded in Iraq at 25,000

Frank Proposes New Deal for Labor and Business

Rep. Barney Frank, (D-MA), is proposing a new deal between labor unions, government and business. It is based on creating a universal health insurance program, making it easier to unionize and tying trade deals to environmental and labor regulations. In return business would get relief from governmental regulation. It is a interesting idea. Read more here:

Conservatives, Republicans Abandoning Bush Over Iraq

A new CBS poll shows that since the election there has been a 23% drop in support for Bush's handling of the war among Republicans. There has also been a drop for support of this war among self-described "conservatives." Expect more Republicans in Congress to start sounding like Democrats as they see the possibility of even more electoral defeats in 2008. Read the poll results here:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sherrod Brown Interview with Mother Jones

Sherrod Brown gave an interview to Mother Jones magazine in which he disavows interest in being a vice-presidential nominee, but talks about why the Democratic nominee in 2008 has to pay attention to Ohio and why that nominee should push a economic populist message. Here is the link:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

GOP Senator Refers to Iraq War Strategy as "Criminal"

Okay, so maybe it is because Gordon Smith, R-OR, is up for re-election in 2008, but this past week, he referred to the Bush Administration's strategy for Iraq as "criminal." He explained his remarks more fully here: Expect to see more and more Republicans who are up for re-election in 2008 trying to distance themselves from Bush to protect themselves in 2008. Our job? Don't let them get away with it.

Is the Bush Clan Turning on Karl Rove?

According to this item in the US News & World Report, the Bushies are really upset with Karl Rove's performance in the mid-term elections. Apparently bubble-boy believed King Karl when he promised that the GOP would hold the House and Senate. Now, since it didn't, the Bushies have to blame someone and it looks like the scapegoat is going to be Rove. All of this shouldn't surprise anyone. The vaunted loyalty of the the Bush family only goes one way. As soon as you are no longer useful to them, over the side you go. Look at the treatment of Rumsfeld, the former Treasurer Secretary O'Neill, Colin Powell, and anyone else who was loyal to the Bush family, but didn't practice self-delusion when it came to George W's mess in Iraq. Their reputations were attacked, their abilities belittled, and their loyalty repaid with treachery. Why? Because bubble-boy, aka our President, can't stand to hear the truth. Anyway, here is the article:

Sunday, December 03, 2006

53% of Ohioans Voted for Democrats for Congress

Only 39% Will be Represented by a Dem

The Columbus Dispatch ran an interesting article pointing out that while 53% of Ohio's voters voted for a Democrat for Congress, Democrats only won 7 out of 18 contested seats. This disparity between the actual vote and the election results is one of the worse in the country according to the organization Fair Vote. This is because the GOP has controlled the redistricting for Congressional seats after the 1990 census and the 2000 census. Democrats need to consider pushing for a constitutional amendment that will change the way Ohio apportions congressional and state house districts. A system that stressed competitiveness would be better for Democrats and Republicans both. (Click here to read the full Dispatch article: )

Economic Populists Take on Entrenched Power in DC

Alternet has an interesting article on how the incoming class of economic populists, including Sherrod Brown in the Senate, will have to fight entrenched power, including a lot of Democratic insiders, on the issue of "fair trade" versus "free trade". (Click here for the link: ) It will be very interesting to watch this battle play out, especially in the 2008 Democratic primaries. NAFTA was passed on Bill Clinton's watch, but it is hard to see a lot of support for NAFTA style trade agreements in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Indeed, NAFTA may turn out to be more of liability for Senator Clinton than her support of the Iraq War in 2003. If she was opposed by a candidate who could run against her on both trade and the war, she would have a fight on her hands.

Worse than Truman's "Do-Nothing Congress"

Remember the Republican-controlled Congress that Harry Truman labeled the "Do-Nothing Congress" back in 1948? Well, the departing Republican-controlled Congress can now claim the name. The Congress that met from 2005-2007 will have spent the least amount of time actually meeting in Congressional history; didn't pass any significant legislation; and didn't pass at least 8 of the 11 annual spending bills usually enacted to keep the United States government running. Now, of course, it is somewhat ironic for Democrats to criticize this Congress for not-doing anything when you consider that what they wanted to do was so horrible. They wanted to privatize Social Security; get rid of the estate tax, which only affects the super-rich; and make permanent the reckless tax breaks enacted earlier this decade by their Republican colleagues in concert with their bubble-boy leader. Looking at it that way, maybe them doing nothing was the best we could hope for. It would have been nice, though, if they could have actually worked on solving some of our nation's problems instead of pursuing their narrow ideological agenda. An agenda, by the way, which was rejected on November 7Th. You can read more about this "do-nothing-est" Congress here:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Death Rate in Iraq Higher for Soldiers from Rural US

Did you know that the death rate for American soldiers from rural areas is higher than for American soldiers from urban areas? Did you also know that rural voters helped Democrats take control of the United States Senate? Check out this interesting website about rural communities.

Bush: Worst President Ever?

Columbia University professor writes opinion column for the Washington Post arguing that Bush is the worst president in the history of the United States. Considering that he is battling luminaries like Pierce and Harding for the honor, you will really have to admire the job he is doing at establishing his reputation as the worst president.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Public: Iraq in Civil War

Just because "bubble-boy" doesn't understand reality doesn't mean that the public doesn't. According to poll results reported on by the Wall Street Journal, Americans believe that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Great Republican Shut Out of 2006

Not one incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative, Senator, or Governor lost in 2006. That is really unique for mid-term elections. Not only that, but Democrats didn't lost control of any state legislative chambers they had controlled going into the midterm election, while Republicans lost control of 12. We picked up the House, the Senate, and went from a 22-28 deficit in state governors to a 28-22 advantage in state governors. All of this has caused internal finger-pointing among Republicans. Read this article about the fallout in the GOP and enjoy:

Limitations of the GOP Southern Strategy

Here is a blog entry on Daily Kos that dissects the limitations of the GOP "southern strategy" developed by Nixon and then used successfully by Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and now bubble-boy, George W. Bush: The theory of the entry is that the southern strategy worked well as long as Northeast and Midwest Republicans stayed on board. What's happening, however, is that as the national GOP caters to Southern social conservatives, it loses support in the Northeast and is starting to lose support in the Midwest. This means that what Democrats in states like Ohio need to do is make sure that they split between social conservatives and Republican moderates widens.

The LA Times ran an article this past week on how the Bush administration is getting ready to submit a large supplemental budget request for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to Congress. This budget request will bring the cost of the so-called "War on Terror" to over 500 billion dollars. This war is fast approaching the cost of the Vietnam War, which went on for about 10 years. All of this, of course, is not to mention the human cost of the war both to our troops and to the Iraqi civilians, who are increasingly caught in the middle of a civil war. Here is the article link:,0,2663211.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Monday, November 27, 2006

Battle Between the "Money Party" and the "People Party"

David Sirota has an interesting take on the battle in Washington. He says it is not between Republicans and Democrats, but rather between what he calls the "money party" and the "people party". He sees this distinction in battles over minimum wage increases; trade agreements; union rights; and environmental safeguards. His argument is that on these issues Democrats often side with Republicans because of their allegiance to the money party. This is a link to his website: Check it out, we think you will find it very thought provoking.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Global Warming and Conservatives

The Washington Post ran an article in Sunday's edition about how, even as the Bush Administration dithers about how to combat global warming, governments, businesses and animals in affected areas are making adjustments. Animals adjust by moving habitats. Businesses adjust by trying to change their operations. Local governments adjust by taking action on their own. (Here is the link for the article: ).

Global warming will be to this generation of conservatives what the Great Depression was to the generation of the 1920s: an event that will discredit their philosophy for 50 years or more. In the 1920s, conservatives had succeeded in capturing control of the presidency and both branches of Congress. Republican pro-business philosophy was dominant. Conservatives had seen the election of Harding and Hoover. (Harding, of course, died in office and so Coolidge finished out his term). Harding was apparently an amiable dunce and Hoover a pretty bright engineer. America was seemingly enjoying the prosperity of the Roaring 20s. Then along came the stock market crash, which woke everyone up, followed by the worsening of a depression that had been afflicting the farm belt. All of a sudden a market based philosophy that claimed that government had little or no role in solving America's problems was a luxury that Americans could not afford, and so, with amazing speed, they elected FDR. From 1932-1968, Democrats occupied the White House for all but eight years. They controlled the Congress from 1932 until 1946 and then again from 1954 to 1994, a remarkable record of political dominance.

The reason why all of this occurred is that conservatives couldn't cope with a problem that defied their ideology. They put their faith in the marketplace and that faith failed them. Some problems are just too big, too enormous to be solved without the assistance of an activist national government. The Great Depression was one such problem and so is global warming. What Democrats and progressives have to do is seize this opportunity and start talking about governmental solutions to this problem.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Surprise, Surprise

Former commander of Iraqi prison says that Rumsfeld signed off on interrogation techniques that some have labeled "torture." (Read article here: ) The damage that this idiot did to the United States military and the mideast is just incredible, yet it couldn't have happened without Bush's consent. Not that Bush knew that Rumsfeld had approved such interrogation techniques, but rather that Bush put Rumsfeld in the position where he could do such things. Yet, Bush and his supporters will now try to distance themselves from the horror that is Iraq and blame Rumsfeld.

Being Bush Means Never Having to Take Responsbility

Josh Marshall, of, raises the question of whether Bush is walking away from Iraq. He points out that since the election Bush has been totally silent about Iraq and what is happening as a consequence of his war. (Here is the link to Marshall's article: ) This, of course, is not the first time that Bush created a mess and walked away from it. He bankrupted two businesses down in Texas, he left Texas to become President without dealing with some of the problems his programs were causing Texas, he has plunged America into multi-billion deficits without seeming to worry about how we are going to pay them off, and now he may be planning the same thing for Iraq. He has gotten away with such behavior because when you come from a powerful and rich family, you can avoid accountability.

Take a look at his history: He got into prep school and Yale because of his name. Turned down by the University of Texas for law school, he was able to get into Harvard's School of Business because of his name. He was able to get into the Texas Air National Guard because of his name. He was able to walk away from the aforementioned bankruptcies because of his name. He got elected as Texas's Governor because of his name. He got elected President because of his name. Do we see a pattern here? This is a person who has never had to clean up his own mess or even acknowledge that he created a mess. Unfortunately, this time in Iraq, however, it isn't investors' money that is being squandered, it is the lives of thousands of American military personnel and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

College Republicans to Offer "Whites Only" Scholarship

Let's suppose you are a local chapter of the College Republicans. Let's further suppose that your party has had trouble getting black voters to back it, even when, as in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, you run black candidates. Let's further suppose that your outgoing national chairman promised in the past to change the image of your party so make more appealing to black voters. What do you do? Well, if you are one College Republican club, you create a whites only scholarship because, after all, nothing says you aren't racists like, well, being racists. Read more here:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

MCDAC Newsletter for 11.24.2006

Newsletter changes

You may have noticed that we are linking more and more to the MCDAC blog. We are doing this because we keep running into problems with "spam" detectors on various e-mail servers. If we are above a certain size, or if we have too may links, then the spam detectors block our newsletters. This leads to us having to re-configure and then re-send them. This increases our expense. Therefore, what we are now doing is posting items on our blog and linking to the items. We apologize for any inconvenience that this causes, but we don't see any other realistic alternative. Thank you for reading MCDAC's Democratic Newsletter.

Changes to

We have made some changes to the Dem TV website. We are now hosting it on Blogger, which is the same service we use for the MCDAC Blog. Check it out and let us know what you think! If you are a Democratic officeholder, candidate, or oganization and have some videos you want to display, send them to us at

Ted Strickland Transition Team


Gov. Elect Strickland has opened up a website for his transition. At the website, you can sign up to be a volunteer on the transition and/or submit information to be considered for a position.
The link to the site is:
Rep. Michael Skindell
Why Local Campaigns Often Fail
Check out our posting on our blog about the 2Ms that local campaigns often seem to be missing:
Reader Submission: General Abizaid's Testimony Raises Questions
Reader Kim Kendall has some thoughts about General Abizaid's testimony before Congress this past week. Article link:


Read the articles and links section of the Newsletter at

Articles/Links for MCDAC Newsletter for Week of November 17-24

LA Times columnist about one reason why the GOP lost control of Congress: lack of oversight. Read more:,1,4219901.column?coll=la-news-columns

Oregon Secretary of State on why that state's system of voting by mail is the best for America. Imagine an election without lines, chads, touch-screens, gliches, or recounts. Ohio can have that too. Voting by mail would be a big step forward.

Democrats to stress economic issues in the new Congress, including raising the minimum wage, college affordability, and health care. They understand that it was middle-class anxiety that got them elected and they want to address such anxiety. Read more:

Former Bush allies are turning against Bush on Iraq including the man some say is the "architect" of the Iraq War, Richard Pearle, whom, we are told, resents being called the War's "architect". Read more:

Democratic State Chairs applaud Dean's "50-State Strategy". Article link:

The so-called War on Terror could soon be the most expensive war since WWII, surpassing Vietnam. Article link:

Tony Blair doesn't dispute David Frost description of Iraq as having been "pretty much a diaster" during interview. Article link:,,3-2459292,00.html

Why political reporters in Washington, D.C. are like high school and junior high bullies Article link:

Incoming Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus of Montana tells Bush that Social Security privatization is "off the table". Article link:

From a online article by an editor at "Really, it's just a simple thesis: The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. Together, they comprised one of the oddest legislative power cliques in our history. And for 12 years, the media didn't call a duck a duck, because that's not something we're supposed to do." Read whole article:

According to the Bush Administration, Americans are no longer hungry, now they suffer from "low food security." The number of Americans suffering from "low food security", or what non-ideologue conservatives call hunger, at least part of last year was 12% or 35 million people. Read whole article:

From the "We kid you not" department:

The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women." Read whole article:

Time Magazine, hardly a bastion of liberalism, takes on five myths about the 2006 election. Read whole article:,8599,1560212,00.html

Senators Harry Reid and Barak Obama go after GOP dirty tricks such as harassing robo-calls and misleading flyers designed to influence elections. Read more:

Speaking of "dirty tricks", a follower of Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter was arrested by the FBI after supposedly sending threatening letters to media figures and liberal politicians. Read more here:

Is Bush's Brain, aka Karl Rove, about to leave the White House following last week's election? Article link:

Rove's influence on wane, but sources inside the White House say he will stay on. Article link:

Reader Submission: General Abizaid's Testimony Raises Questions

General Abizaid testified before Congress this past week. Under questioning by Senator Talent, General Abizaid acknowledged that embedding America advisers farther down to the company and platoon level of the Iraqi military would be useful, yet Adizaid stated there would only be embedded down through the battalion level team. Translation, no direct embeds at lower levels, a direct contradiction. Who is calling the shots for the U.S. Forces in Iraq, the military or the politicians in the Pentagon?
Kim Kendall

Editor's Note: Reader submissions are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of MCDAC, its officers, or other writers on this website.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why Local Campaigns Often Fail

Local campaigns often fail to realize that they need both a message and a marketing plan. The message needs to be developed first. Candidates need to be able to express in one or two sentences why they are seeking office. They need to hone the message so that it can be summed up in one short paragraph. The message needs to be the same at the beginning of the campaign as it is at the end of the campaign. Gary Hart once said that Ronald Reagan was the last president who could sum up his political program in 12 seconds: "Government is too big, make it smaller; defense is too weak, make it stronger; and taxes are too high, make them lower." Although Hart may have meant his observation as a joke, think about this: in our media saturated world, the candidate who can sum up his/her message in 12 seconds has a distinct advantage over the candidate who takes 12 minutes. Local candidates often get into races with no clear idea of why they are running or what message they want to communicate to voters. Such candidates shouldn't be surprised when they lose.

After the message has been developed, then a local candidate needs to develop a marketing plan. How is the campaign going to get its message out to the voters? What advertising vehicles is it going to use? Who are the voters it is trying to reach? No business would spend thousands of dollars on promotion without some sort of plan. Yet, local candidates often do just that. They spend literally thousands of dollars on advertising without a plan. Such expenditures may result in victory, but it is not likely, especially if they are running against a candidate who has both a message and a plan.

Local campaigns need to work on the 2MS: message and marketing. Local government is too important to approach a campaign for local office like a high-school student election.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MCDAC Democratic Newsletter for 11.17.2006

More on Medina County Election Results

A lot of people who have recently moved into Medina County or recently got involved in politics may be wondering why so many long time Medina County Democrats were so excited by last Tuesday's results. (Read the rest at

The On-Going Battle in American Politics

Since the creation of the United States, there has been an on-going debate in America over what is and is not the proper role of government. (Read the rest at )

Dem TV Video on the U.S. Supreme Court

Last week we put up a video on Dem TV that raises a question about the U.S. Supreme Court. Click here to view the video:

Rove is Not a Genius

In 2000 the "boy genius" Karl Rove, aka Turd Blossom as the President fondly refers to him, sent George W. Bush to California during the last week of the campaign. (Read the rest at

Name Recognition Trumps Everything

This is very hard for candidates to understand, especially if they have never run for office before, but name recognition is extremely important. (Read the rest at


Is Hillary getting ready to announce this winter for the 2008 nomination? The Hill, a Congressional newspaper that covers the Senate and House, seems to think so in this article:

Senator-elect Jim Webb does the unthinkable and actually talks about America's growing class differences.

Is support for "free trade" bills crumbling?

Republicans upset over Bush announcing that Rumsfeld would resign after the 2006 midterm election. Many believe that it cost them control of one or both Houses of Congress. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of people.

How King Karl got is so wrong. And how the media continues to kiss his rotund behind.

The Boston Globe reports on how the battle over Social Security laid the groundwork for the Dems taking control of Congress on November 7th, 2006:

Remember oversight by Congress of the Executive Branch? Well, the Democrats plan to restore the concept in Washington.

Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin rules out running for the Democratic nomination in 2008. In his statement he said that since the Democrats took control of the Senate, he believes that he can be more effective working in the Senate than running for president. It will be interesting to see if other Senators such as Biden, Kerry, and even Clinton find staying in the Senate more attractive now that they will be in the majority for at least two years and maybe the next six.

A very interesting profile on Harry Reid, the new Senate Majority Leader. One of the dumbest things that Frist did, and he did a whole lot of dumb things, was work to get rid of Tom Daschle. He got rid of Daschle and got Reid in his life who has been a much more effective Minority Leader than Daschle ever was. Thanks for helping us out, Bill, you idiot.

A lot of people don't realize that while Nancy Pelosi has lived in San Fransisco, where she raised her family, she actually grew up in Baltimore where both her father and her brother were mayor. This article points out how she learned politics from watching her father. One thing that that taught her was the importance of government in helping those who can't help themselves.

Bush wants John Bolton to be confirmed as U.N. Ambassador, but Senator Lincoln Chaffee is not going to back him on the Bolton nomination in the committee. According to Joe Biden, incoming Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Bolton nomination is "dead."

From the "I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a Democrat" department. After winning both the House and the Senate and a whole lot of state legislative seats, James Carville has the bright idea of getting rid of Howard Dean as DNC Chair. Why? Because Dean wants to build up the Democratic Party in all 50 states. Only a Washington insider married to a high-level Republican operative would think that is a bad idea. Oh, and it gets better, he wants to replace him with Harold Ford, who just lost the Tennessee Senate race. Boy, that's just makes a lot of freaking sense, doesn't it.

By the way, James, a poster over at Red State, a conservative blog, credits Dean's "50-state strategy" with "destroying" the Delaware GOP.

Lincoln Chaffee, who just lost a race as an incumbent Republican Senator from Rhode Island, is thinking about leaving the Republican Party. Now on the one hand this could be seen as "sour grapes" but on the other hand it could be seen as the harbinger of things to come. Over the last several election cycles the New England states have become more and more Democratic as the national GOP has gone further and further to the right under Rove and Bush. Over the next several years, look for other NE Republicans to move into the Democratic party.

Two of the six newly elected Senators come from the South, four of them, including Sherrod Brown, come from states that Bush carried twice. Clearly Democrats can win in so-called "red states". This article explains why we can't write off the South:

Twenty-four states have now raised the minimum wage, with Ohio joining five other states last Tuesday.

Democrats pledge ethics overhaul when the take control in January.

For the love of God, can we finally put to rest the idea that the media is somehow "liberal"? Read this blog entry and tell me why it is that when Bush admits to lying, the Washington Post can't bring itself to call the lie a lie. What is with these people that they are just afraid to say that this administration tells lies?

Franklin County won't count provisional ballots until after the OSU-Michigan game.

Washington Post article on Sherrod Brown's victory in the Ohio Senate race.

Bush's popularity slips to a new low in the Newsweek as only 31% of Americans approve of the job he is doing. Frankly, that seems a bit high to us, but as Abraham Lincoln once said "you can fool some of the people all of the time."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dem TV Video on the U.S. Supreme Court


More on Medina County Election Results

A lot of people who have recently moved into Medina County or recently got involved in politics may be wondering why so many long time Medina County Democrats were so excited by last Tuesday's results. Here's why: Prior to last Tuesday's elections, it had been 20 years since a Democratic nominee for President or Governor carried Medina County The last candidate to do so was Dick Celeste in 1986. It had been 14 years since a Democratic nominee for Senator last carried Medina county. Prior to Sherrod Brown, the last Senatorial candidate to do so was John Glenn in 1992. What makes the results of last week's victory in Medina County by both Strickland and Brown more impressive was that neither was running as an incumbent. As one long time Medina County Democrat said this past week: "I haven't felt so good the day after an election since 1986".

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rove is Not a Genius

In 2000 the "boy genius" Karl Rove, aka Turd Blossom as the President fondly refers to him, sent George W. Bush to California during the last week of the campaign. This was breathlessly hailed by the national media as a brilliant tactic because he was expanding the playing field. Al Gore's people sent him to Florida. On election night California went for Gore by a huge margin and Florida went down to the wire and beyond. Bush only carried Florida because the U.S. Supreme Court decided to pull off a black-robed coup and give him the election. This year, during the closing weeks of the campaign, Rove has the GOP spend money in Michigan, North Dakota, and New Jersey. Once again he tried to expand the playing field and once again he came up short as Democratic candidates not only carried those three states but Virgiana, Missouri, and Montana by narrow margins. Once again you have to wonder how this guy ever got the label of "genius". One thing about the national media pundits, though, they don't let the facts confuse them. In their dictionaries Rove is a political genius and no amount of evidence to the contrary will convince them otherwise.

The On-Going Battle in American Politics

Since the creation of the United States, there has been an on-going debate in America over what is and is not the proper role of government. It started with the adoption of the United States Constitution and continues to this day. That debate is at the heart of the partisan divide between the two parties. If you ask Republicans and Democrats what role does government have in educating children, guaranteeing access to health care, protecting consumers from shoddy products and services, and helping Americans with retirement, you are likely to get different answers based on what each side sees as the proper role of government. Democrats can usually win this debate, if they engage in it and are not distracted by Republican attempts to confuse the electorate and distract it. Most Americans don't agree with the Republicans that the government has no or little role to play in areas such as education, health care, consumer protection, and retirement security. When Democrats primarily focus on these pocketbook issues, they win. When, however, they primarily focus on contentious social issues they usually lose.

Think about the just completed campaigns for governor and senator in Ohio. Both Strickland and Brown focused on pocketbook issues and both were very successful. Most Ohioans don't want their government to only be responsive to the rich and well-connected. Most Ohioans want their government to work for the middle class. If, however, we don't tell them that is what we want to do and if the other side is telling them that all we want to do is encourage abortions, allow gays to marry, take away guns, and protect terrorists, then we are going to lost elections. In politics you have to have a message and then you have to deliver that message. Too often the Democratic message is "we're not the other guys." That simply doesn't cut it. As Harry Truman once said, "If the choice is between a Republican and a Democrat who sounds like a Republican, the public will choose the real thing every time."

Name Recognition Trumps Everything

This is very hard for candidates to understand, especially if they have never run for office before, but name recognition is extremely important. Indeed in counties such as Medina, which is experiencing a lot of growth, it is probably the most important part of winning elections. Candidates are people who are very interested in politics and government. It is easy for them to believe that everyone is as interested in these matters as they are. After all, their friends and family all know they are running for office, doesn't this mean that the rest of the public knows as well? Well, no, it doesn't.

Put yourself in the position of the voter in last week's election. In Medina County there were 27 candidates major party candidates running in 14 races. (There would have been 28, but our county auditor was unopposed). Not counting the county auditor, you had 26 candidates to try and remember when you went to vote. That is a lot of information to carry around in your head. You are going to look for ways to shortcut the process. One way is by party identification, that is, only voting for candidates who are members of one political party or the other. Another way, although we don't like to discuss it, is by racial or gender identification, that is, only voting for candidates on racial or gender grounds. Usually most voters, however, don't vote for reasons of party, race, or gender. That leaves name identification, voting for the names that you know.

Sorting out candidates by name identification allows voters to go through the process of voting quickly. If they recognize the name, and if the recognition is not negative, then they are more likely than not to vote for that name. This is why incumbents have such an advantage. They have a whole term in office to get known whereas their opponents have only a few weeks, or at best, a few months.

Name identification also explains why, even in last week's anti-GOP wave in Ohio, local Republicans still won. The scandals in state government weren't scandals involving local candidates. No local Republican in Medina County got money from Bob Ney, or benefited from Coingate, or was a part of the Taft Administration. Therefore, those scandals weren't going to be as effective as Democrats may have thought in getting rid of local GOP incumbents or GOP candidates with prior ballot exposure.

What local Democratic candidates need to work on is getting better known before they run for office. At least one to two years out a person considering running for a county-wide race in a county as big as Medina County should be working on becoming known. Trying to become well known the year you run for office isn't going to work unless you have a lot of money to spend building up name identification.