Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dispatch Article About Medina State Representative Bill Batchelder's Quest for House Speakership

The Columbus Dispatch ran an article about Medina County's own Bill Batchelder and his campaign to become House Speaker. The article pointed out that both parties have leaders who are term limited in the Ohio House and therefore each party is going to have a leadership battle.

Besides the fight for leadership, there is also the continuing effort by the Ohio Democratic Party to take control of the Ohio House of Representatives. The article points out that neither party has ever taken control of the House from the other without using the reapportionment process. The House Democrats, however, are only four votes away from having the majority so they think that they can pull off a political upset next November.

The article points out that there is a four person team opposing State Representative Batchelder, but that he does have some important allies, including the Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party. Right Angle blog, a conservative blog for Republicans, is pushing for Batchelder to become Speaker.

Given the race for Speaker among Republicans, the effort by the Democrats to take back control of the Ohio House, and the fact that the Democratic House Leader is also term-limited, 2008 will be quite an interesting year in Columbus.

Why Washington Based Media Resents New Democratic Players

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read an article from the Associated Press's political reporter, Ron Fournier entitled "Democratic Hopefuls Snub Party Moderates." The article talks about how no Democratic presidential candidate is attending the Democratic Leadership Council's summer meeting, which took place last weekend.

The title of the article tells you the tone of the article. This is an article that claims that the Democratic presidential candidates are catering to the so-called "liberal activist" base of the party, just like the Republicans cater to the "conservative activist" base of their party. In both cases, according to Fournier, the two political parties are ignoring the swing voters, who reside in the middle of the political spectrum.

Over the last 20-25 years reporters like Fournier have developed contacts with groups like the DLC. They use these groups for quotes and to give them insight on what is going on in the Democratic Party. Now these groups are being replaced. This makes the media's job harder. Compounding the problem for Beltway journalists and commentators is the fact that many of the new players in the Democratic Party don't live or work in D.C. Kos of Daily Kos, for example, lives near San Francisco. Journalists don't like the fact that they have to develop new contacts, groups like the DLC don't like competition, so they both have an interest in downplaying the power and significance of the newcomers.

The problem is magnified by the fact that most of these reporters and commentators work for corporations and many of the new players in the Democratic Party have an anti-corporate attitude, or at least, not a pro-corporate attitude. Thus, there may be pressure both from their co-workers and from their sources to write disparagingly about the so-called "activist" base of the Democratic Party.

What this means is that stories like the one linked to in this entry should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Ask yourself what evidence is being offered to back up the storyline or what biases of the author appear in the story. Don't rely on Washington based journalists and commentators to know what is happening out in the country.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Moderate" Republicans & the Corporate Media

Okay, so last week the corporate media was breathlessly reporting about how Senator Arlen Specter was coming down hard on Gonzales and the Bushies over Fredo's possibly perjuring himself before Congress. Well, if you thought Arlen's backbone would once again collapse, you were absolutely right. Yesterday, he told a talking heads show that he wanted to wait until there was a intelligence briefing before deciding whether Gonzo had committed perjury.

This is from an AP story linked to in this entry's title:

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he wanted to wait at least until a briefing Monday by the Bush administration on classified spy programs that could help him decide whether Gonzales lied to Congress.

Once again a so-called GOP "moderate" is backtracking and enabling the Bush Administration to continue pursuing its illegal and reckless policies. What the media tends to overlook is that none of what Bush has done to America and the world could have been done if GOP "moderates" like Specter, Voinovich, Chaffee, Snowe, Collins, McCain, DeWine, and others hadn't supported Bush in the Congress. Bush couldn't have gotten his reckless tax cuts through Congress, couldn't have started the Iraq War, couldn't have appointed ideologues to the United States Supreme Court, and couldn't have ran huge deficits if "moderates" from his own party hadn't supported him.

Now, of course, after enabling all of the above, Republican "moderates" want to back away from the destruction they have caused and be seen as "breaking" with Bush. The sad thing isn't that they think they can get away with it. The sad thing is that the corporate media will let them get away with it.

Republicans Duck You Tube Debate on CNN

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read about how Rudy, the Political Transvestite and Mitt, the Dog Abuser, are trying to duck the You Tube debate on CNN. Why? Because they don't want to face ordinary Americans and answer their questions. They only want to answer questions from a corporate owned media and friendly GOP audiences. Well, if they are afraid to face ordinary Americans now, what will they do with the Islamist terrorists they are always talking about?

How Bush Justifies Iraq War Screw-Up

The Washington Post ran a column in the July 30, 2007 edition about how Bush justifies his big screw-up in Iraq. According to the author he uses "counterfactual" reasoning in which he runs an alternate view of history, one in which Saddam Hussein remains in power, and then, not surprisingly concludes that the world is better off without him in power. The problem is, as the column's author points out, that is absolutely no way to test his theory since you can't go back in time.

According to the author there has been a book published on how political "experts" make decisions. The book divides such experts up into one group called "hedgehogs" and the other group called "foxes." Hedgehogs often use counterfactual reasoning and are more partisan than foxes who don't rely on counterfactual reasoning nearly as often. Hedgehogs tend to sometimes be spectacularly right but can also be spectacularly wrong. Guess which category Bush's decision about Iraq falls into?

Bush Veto of Health Insurance Bill Will Hurt Ohio Kids

Elizabeth Auster of the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a column in the July 29, 2007 issue about how Governor Strickland's plan to insure more Ohio children may be screwed because of a possible Bush veto of a bill to increase health insurance for children. If you click on this entry's title, you can read an article that includes the following quote from Governor Strickland:

"The coverage the president enjoys, that enables him to have a colonoscopy that is not available to a lot of other people, is in part financed through the government," Strickland said. "This is really frustrating, that in a country that's spending billions of dollars a month on a war that he chose to initiate, that we cannot spend the money that's needed to make sure that our children have access to health care. I find that reprehensible."

This quote from the Auster column shows how the program would work:

In the past, Ohio has limited coverage under the children's health insurance program to families with incomes up to twice the poverty level - $41,300 this year for a family of three and $48,260 for a family of four. Beginning next year, families whose incomes fall between twice and triple the federal poverty level - between about $41,300 and $61,900 for a family of three - will be able to buy coverage for a $40 monthly premium per child.

Ohio's Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, supports the expansion of health insurance but Senator Voinovich has not yet announced a position. If you are so inclined, you can call his Cleveland office at 216-522-7095 or his Washington office at 202-224-3353 and let his staff know your thoughts on this issue. The name of the program is the State Children's Health Insurance Program and your question would be whether Senator Voinovich backs an expansion of this program. Be polite. If you call and receive an answer, please let us know the response by emailing webmaster@medinacountydemocraticactioncommittee.org.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

John Edwards Goes After Corporate Media

Republicans Want A Way Out on Iraq, Should Dems Help Them?

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an Associated Press story about how Republicans are starting to push the idea of passing legislation that limits the American military's mission in Iraq, but doesn't set deadlines for the withdrawal of American troops. Here is a quote from the article:

But the GOP approach quickly is becoming the attractive alternative for Republican lawmakers who want to challenge Bush on the unpopular war without backtracking from their past assertions that it would be disastrous to set deadlines for troop withdrawals.

"This is a necessary adjustment in the national debate to reintroduce bipartisanship, to stop the `gotcha' politics that are going on that seem to be driven by fringes on both sides and change the terms of the discussion," said Rep. Phil English, R-Pa.

English is among the more than 40 Republicans in the House and Senate who are sponsoring legislation intended to shift the mission of U.S. troops. Several other GOP lawmakers, facing tight elections next year and a strong anti-war sentiment in their districts, say they are considering this approach.

Now, of course, if the Republicans were really interested in bi-partisanship they could have allowed an up or down vote in the Senate on the recent Democratic legislation setting timelines for American troop withdrawal from Iraq. Of course, since bi-partisanship is only used by Republicans when they are in deep political do-do, we know that is not the aim of this proposed legislation. The real aim of this legislation is to get Democrats to sign on to it so that when Bush vetoes it, and they don't provide the votes to override the veto, Iraq will no longer be the political albatross it was in 2006.

The problem that the GOP has is that unless the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate agree to allow this legislation to move forward, it can't come to the floor for a vote. Over the next few weeks, but especially after September, you will see Republicans start to push this idea harder and harder. You will also see their allies in the media, like Russert, just to name one, start to push this idea and blame the Democrats for being "stubborn" on Iraq. We have already seen this idea floated in the Washington Post editorial of last week. As long as the Republicans in Congress won't stand up to this President and as along as they won't vote to override his vetoes, then there is really nothing for Democrats to discuss with them.

Working Class Males, Democrats, & Illegal Immigration

MCDAC recently received a response to a fundraising letter it had sent out to Medina County Democrats who have either contributed to prior political campaigns, signed up to receive literature from Democrats, or who are otherwise engaged in the political process. The response said that both he and his wife no longer considered themselves Democrats and wished to be removed from the Democratic Party mailing list. The reason given was that Democrats are for amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Now, the person sending this letter is no right-wing crank. He has supported MCDAC in the past, he has been an elected public official, and is active in his community. The point of this entry is not to deplore the policies of the national Democratic Party, but rather to point out how the perception of such policies can affect Democrats in local campaigns.

MCDAC has not really done much on the illegal immigration issue, one way or the other. To the extent that this blog has posted on illegal immigration, it has been to advise Democrats not to try and end the filibuster over the recent immigration bill. Yet, this local Democrat has the perception that the Democratic Party is the party of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Where is that perception coming from? Probably from news organizations like Fox, maybe from news reports, or from conversations with others, who knows? The point, though, isn't that the perception is particularly valid, the point is that it is out there and Republicans will use it in 2008 to villify Democrats and the Democratic candidate for President.

Such efforts, by the way, won't be limited just to Democrats running for President. Voters paint with a broad brush. They don't make fine distinctions between national Democrats and local Democrats, as shown by the response described above to the recent MCDAC mailing.

Democrats need to figure out now how they are going to respond to this attack, because it is coming. Thinking about it next October will be too late.

Logic Doesn't Win Campaigns, Emotion Wins Campaigns

Earlier this year we posted this entry on how Democrats need to relate emotionally to voters. In the July 29, 2007 edition of the Washington Post, Drew Westin, a psychologist who writes on the voters and campaigns, has an excellent article in the Washington Post.

The following is from the article:

When you hear a pollster or strategist say, "We've got 'em beat on the issues," you know you're on the dispassionate river, and you know you're going under. By my count, voters disagreed with Ronald Reagan on about 75 percent of "the issues." But they liked him. They believed he would restore America's greatness. They voted with their values.

So do Democrats, but their candidates too often hide their values in the fine print of their policies. Democratic pundits, strategists and primary voters require their candidates to do precisely the things that lose general elections: to offer their 16-point energy plans rather than to offer their life stories, their values, their visions and a couple of well-chosen "signature issues."

Westin goes on in the article to describe what he thinks, based on his research regarding voters, that Democrats need to do:

Data from thousands of voters surveyed since the late 1940s suggest that voters tend to ask four questions (in this order) that determine how they vote:

· How do I feel about the candidates' parties and their principles?

· How does this candidate make me feel?

· How do I feel about this candidate's personal characteristics, such as integrity, leadership and empathy?

· How do I feel about this candidate's stands on issues that matter to me?

Candidates who focus toward the top of this hierarchy and work their way down generally win. They drink from the wellsprings of partisan sentiments, which account for more than 80 percent of votes. They tell emotionally compelling stories about who they are and what they believe in

Westin was once on a radio program on public radio and he said that Democratic candidates act like the voters are like Thomas Jefferson, sitting around Monticello, reading essays, and pondering politics and policy. Well, most of us have too much going on in our lives to be TJ. We have to worry about our jobs, our families, our relationships, our finances, and everything else that makes up our day, to ponder politics. That's why most voters use emotion to cut through the clutter surrounding campaigns.

The problem, of course, with using emotion is that voters can be manipulated. Republicans know this and are good at it. Democrats make their jobs easier by not using emotional arguments to sell themselves, their party, and their policies.

We are not talking about manipulating voters, but we are talking about presenting politics in such a way that voters can emotionally connect to our candidates, our party, and can emotionally relate to what we want to do if elected. FDR understood, this. Harry Truman understood this. JFK understood this. LBJ understood this. Bill Clinton certainly understood this. The question is does the current group of Democratic candidates understand this?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

How Will Fox Spin This? Obama Up Over the Political Transvestite

According to this story, Obama is now leading Rudy Guiliani by six points and is also leading former Senator Fred Thompson by six. Obama also leads Giuliani in the poll when the questions are asked about whether the person being polled will definitely vote for or definitely vote against a candidate. Here is a quote from the article:

A separate survey found that 29% of voters say they will definitely vote for Obama if he is on the ballot in 2008. Thirty-seven percent (37%) will definitely vote against him. Twenty-five percent (25%) will definitely vote for Thompson while 34% will definitely vote against. The numbers for Giuliani are 22% for and 39% against.

So how will Fox spin this? Identify Obama as a Republican? Call him Osama? Run a report identifying him as a radical? With Fox anything is possible. Their motto should be "We distort and we decide."

Iraqis Refuse Possession of U.S. Build Reconstruction Projects

If you needed yet another example of how much of a mess the Bush Administration has created in Iraq, just click on the link in this entry's title. You will read a story from the New York Times that appeared in the Saturday, July 28, 2007, edition. It concerns a report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency. This is a quote from that article:

Iraq's national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The article notes that the Bush Administration often cites reconstruction projects as evidence that Iraqis are making strides toward establishing a working government even though there is a civil war brewing. Yet, as this report shows, constructing such projects are only the beginning. You have to have someone who will take control of them and use them.

This quote from the article probably best sums up the situation:

“To build something and not have these issues resolved from top to bottom is unfathomable,” said William L. Nash, a retired general who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Middle East reconstruction. “The management of the reconstruction program for Iraq has been a near-total disaster from the beginning.”

Why has it been a near-total disaster from the beginning? Because under Bush ideology trumps everything, including experience, education, sound public policy, and training. Bush is a true believer and he surrounds himself with true believers.

He apparently believed that once he overthrew Saddam Hussein everything would just fall into place, as if by magic. Consequently there was no planning for what happened after Hussein was removed from power. American soldiers are paying with their lives, and American taxpayers with their money, for Bubble-Boy's folly. Of course, just like every other screw-up in Bush's life, he will leave office and other people will have to clean up his mess.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

WaPo Article on Politics Turning Left Overlooks Key Point

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an interesting article from the July 26, 2007 edition of the Washington Post raising the issue of whether the electorate is turning "left." The article is interesting, but misses a key point. In pointing out how the word "liberal" has been demonized by the Republican right, the fails to distinguish between social liberalism and economic liberalism.

On issues involving civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, abortion, and crime, the right has been very successful in dividing Democrats along gender, racial, and sexual orientation lines. On issues that are economic, such as raising the minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, and the environment, the right has not been nearly as successful in getting the public to adopt its positions or in dividing Democrats.

What's happening now is that economic issues are beginning to become more and more important because of the uncertainity in the economy, globalization, the collapse of America's health care system, and global warming. All of those issues raise anxiety among voters and they are looking for a government that can provide them some security. The right's total dependence on markets to cure everything isn't going to cut it in that kind of environment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

His Lovely Wife to Speak

The latest book by Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz, “And His Lovely Wife: A Memoir of the Woman Behind the Man”, will be in bookstores on June 16.

The book is a compilation of journal entries she made while campaigning across Ohio last fall with her husband, Senator Sherrod Brown. It is written in her signature style and is witty, humorous and full of common sense observations.

She writes; The first time I heard it, I laughed. Oh, come on, I thought. He didn’t just say that.We were in a restaurant in southern Ohio where a hundred or so Democrats and a handful of young campaign workers had gathered to hear my husband, Sherrod Brown, announce for the seventh time in two days why he was running for the United States Senate.
The party chairman of the county stood up at the lectern and in a loud, booming voice, introduced “Congressman Sherrod Brown – and his lovely wife”.
By week 40 of the campaign, I had been introduced that way nearly a hundred times.

Connie Schultz is scheduled to appear in Medina on September 27 to speak and to sign books at the Broadway Auditorium (in the County Administration Building) at an event sponsored by the American Association of University Women. 

—Gloria Brown

The above article ran in the June 2007 issue of Common Sense, Medina County's only Democratic newspaper and is cross-posted at www.medinacountycommonsense.com.

Ted Strickland Takes on the Backdoor Draft

Breach of Faith
On April 9th President G.W. Bush announced the early deployment to Iraq of 13,000 soldiers comprising four U.S. national guard units to include the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Little Rock, Arkansas; the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Oklahoma City, OK; the 76th Infantry Combat Team, Indianapolis, and the 3,600 troop-strong 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Columbus, OH.

Within 24 hours, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland posted a letter to the president.

“As you are aware, the 37th Infantry Combat Brigade Team was originally in line for possible mobilization in 2009. The timeframe has been moved up dramatically. This is a significant departure from the commitment made to Ohio soldiers and their families, and I believe it is a breach of faith,” he wrote. He noted that more than 9,000 Ohioans had been deployed since 9/11 and that the 37th, also called the Dragon Brigade, was initially informed that it would not be deployed for at least another two years. The brigade includes units from Columbus, Walbridge, Bowling Green, Tiffin, Sandusky, Marion, Piqua, Springfield, St. Marys, Cleveland, Austintown, Akron, Lima and Medina. The Medina unit is the 1-134th Field Artillery Service Battery.

At the end of May, the U.S. Department of Defense alerted 160 soldiers in the 838th Military Police Company in Youngstown that they were to report Fort Dix, N.J., in September. Having yet to hear from the president in regards to his first letter, the governor sent a second and similar letter, this one certified.

The breach noted by the Governor was one of a string of broken promises that would burden families in Ohio and across the nation.

The day after the Governor sent the letter, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stepped before microphones to announce that effective immediately, all active duty soldiers deployed or going to combat area would have their one-year tours extended to 15 months.

“They have set in motion a process that could easily break the Army over the next couple of years. It is setting the Army on a descending spiral. You make the job harder, you make the tours longer, you put additional stress on families – all of which makes it harder to recruit new people,” Edwin Dorn, former Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, told the Washington Post after Gates’ announcement.

In his letter to the president, Governor Strickland wrote, “I am asking for your assurance that prior to deployment, every Ohio soldier has the most up-to-date equipment, including individual body armor systems, M-4 rifles and other weapons systems, night vision devices, and up-armored type wheeled vehicles. I am also asking for your assurance that every Ohio soldier has appropriate training.”

The governor is right to seek such assurances. After a May 4 tornado destroyed Greensburg, Kansas, the states’ governor, Kathleen Sebelius, said state’s response will likely be hampered because much of the states national guard such as tents and semi-trailers is in Iraq. She is not the only governor with such a problem. CBS reported that nationally, the average national guard unit has about 40% of required serviceable equipment. Ohio has 65% of the equipment it needs to train and fulfill its mission. It leads the nation. Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, Chief, National Guard Bureau, told a congressional subcommittee earlier this year that, “88 percent of the forces that are back here in the United States are very poorly equipped today in the Army National Guard.”

There are hints and suggestions that these changes in deployment, readiness are not temporary circumstances.

The May 9 issue of Washington Post quoted Lt. General Raymond T. Ordierno, commander of Multi-National Corps, Irag, as saying, “The surge needs to go through the beginning of next year for sure. What I am trying to do is get until April (2008) so we can decide if we can keep it going or not.”

Lengthening duty tours and accelerated deployments will no doubt have an affect on an already-strained military. This February the New York Times reported that the Army has lowered acceptance standards for new recruits. USA today published an article that same month stating that only one-fifth of the officers in the Individual Ready Reserve are willing to remain in the Army owing to their concerns about being deployed. As many as half of these essential officers may be planning to leave or take early retirement. Another article in the New York Times reported desertion rates rose 27% last year. Some 3,196 active-duty soldiers deserted.

The governor closed his initial letter saying, “I look forward to your response and assurances.”

The President has yet to show the governor of one of the nation’s most populous states the courtesy of a personal reply.
—Mac Overmyer

This article ran in the June issue of Common Sense, Medina County's only Democratic newspaper and is cross-posted at www.medinacountycommonsense.com.

Medina County Unemployment Rate Lower Than State Average

According to this report from the Ohio News Network, Medina County's unemployment rate is at 5.6%. This is lower than all but one of the contiguous counties to Medina County. The one contiguous county with a slightly lower unemployment rate is Wayne County, which has an umemployment rate of 5.4%. Medina County's rate is lower than Ohio's average of 6.4%, and again of the contiguous counties, two have a higher unemployment rate than the state average and those are Cuyahoga and Lorain.

The Power of Passivity in American Politics

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read the Washington Post's account of Attorney General Gonzales testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, July 24, 2007. The story details how Senators from both political parties were frustrated and angry with Gonzales's testimony. Gonzales refused to answer questions from both Republican and Democratic Senators.

Based on his behaviour, the Post today editorialized once again that he should either resign or be asked to resign his position. Yet, nothing will happen. Why? Because to a great extent the American system of government is built on people doing what they are supposed to do and if one of the actors in that system, in this case the President, just refuses to take certain actions, the system has little means of forcing such an actor to do otherwise.

If Gonzales won't resign, which he won't, and if Bush won't ask him to resign, which he won't, that only leads the option of impeachment. Impeachment, though, is a slow mechanism and, even in this case, a very uncertain one. First Articles of Impeachment would have to be introduced in the House of Representatives. Then, they have to be assigned to a committee, in this case, probably Judiciary. Next the Judiciary Committee has to report out such Articles for the whole House to consider. Assuming that such Articles would get a majority vote on the floor of the House, the issue then goes to the full Senate for a trial. Finally, after a trial, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote for impeachment before he could be removed from office. Given the fact that Gonzales only has less then 17 months to go before he is replaced by a new President, it is doubtful that all the above could get accomplished in that period.

By the way, the power of passavity isn't just exercised by Republicans. During the Clinton impeachment process, the Republicans assumed that Clinton would be pressured by Democrats to resign and allow Gore to become President. They didn't do that and the Republicans found themselves impeaching a President but not being able to force him to leave office. In that situation, President Clinton also triumphed by just being stubborn in not doing what other actors in the political process expected.

Of course, we Democrats think that Clinton's position was justified and Bush's position isn't, but neither Bush nor the Republicans are bound to accept our version of reality, just as we weren't bound to accept theirs during the Clinton fiasco.

The bottom line? Never underestimate the power of just not doing anything in the American system.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Public Trusts Democratic Controlled Congress More than Bush on Iraq

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read a Washington Post article about a new poll that was taken regarding what Americans think should be done in Iraq. While the public is dissatisfied with both Bush and the Congress regarding the war, it wants Congress and not Bubble-Boy to set Iraq policy. Here are some of the interesting findings from the poll:

Three-quarters of Republicans approve of the way he is handling his job, but just one in 10 Democrats and three in 10 independents give him positive marks.

Even among those Americans who said they had served or had a close personal friend or relative who served in Iraq, just 38 percent approve of Bush's handling of the war.

Fifty-five percent said they trust congressional Democrats on the war, compared with 32 percent who said they trust Bush. (Eleven percent of all Americans and 17 percent of independents said they trust "neither.")

And by 2-1, Americans said Congress rather than the president should have the final decision about deciding when to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. Even nearly three in 10 Republicans side with Congress over the president on this question.

The above figures shows why Republicans who have to run in 2008 are very nervous about the war. In very few districts or states can Republicans win just by getting Republicans to vote for them. They need to get independents also. Bush is driving down the value of the Republican "brand" and there is nothing Republicans can do to refurbish their image as long as the war drags on.

Click here to read the actual poll results.

Anti-Voinovich Video Clip on You Tube

MCDAC received this email message on Monday, July 23, 2007:

I'm Matt Hurm, the Ohio Field Director with Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq. We're a group founded by 12 national groups including Vote Vets, Moveon.org, and SEIU. We're working out of the Progress Ohio office in Columbus as well as Cleveland and Cincinnati and we're putting together a very active organization. We put together some political theatre at poor Senator Voinovich's expense. I've attached the link and embed below. Enjoy and follow up with questions to me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

AP Story on Nervous Republican Senators

Interesting AP article about how Republican Senators are getting very nervous about the Iraq War and don't really know what to do about it. They realize that if there are still 140,000 or more American troops on the ground next November, the GOP will not only lose seats in both Houses of Congress, but there will also be no chance that they will be able to hold the White House.

It's All Harry Reid's Fault

That's the new story line from Republicans trying to distance themselves from Bush and his increasingly hugely unpopular war. The story line is that somehow there would be over 60 votes for a change in policy but Reid, by insisting on deadlines, is forcing, yes, forcing, Republican "moderates", aka wimps, like Voinovich, Lugar, Warner, and Alexander to support Bush's policies in the Senate.

You can listen to this argument being advanced by David Brooks on the Jim Lehrer News Hour during the Shields-Brooks segment that aired on July 20, 2007. You can read it in the Washington Post editorial that ran on July 21, 2007. You can see it in the comments that George Voinovich made in the New York Times about how the Democrats are politicizing the war. You can read it here in the L.A. Times.

Why is this message being repeated? Because Republicans realize that they are being killed politically by Bush and his war. They want to distance themselves from it in the public mind, but, on the other hand, they don't want to tick off Bush's supporters in the Republican Party. So here's what they and their supporters in the media want: They want to pass a resolution that can't be enforced but that sounds good on paper so they can say they did something and they want it to be bi-partisan so that Democrats can't use Bush's war against them.

Well, here's a news flash for so-called Republican moderates like Voinovich: Harry Reid wasn't chosen Senate Majority Leader to make your life easier. Here's another news flash: Those of us who are Democrats don't really care if you take a political hit.

Here's what Democrats ought to say to Republicans like Voinovich: If the Congress passes a bill that calls for a withdrawal from Iraq, without "timelines" over Bush's veto and he doesn't comply, will you vote for impeachment? If the answer is no, then what good is the approach that they are supposedly in favor of?

See, the problem with media outlets like the Washington Post and the News Hour is that they act like we are supposed to take what Bush says seriously, as if he is a person interested in compromise. What Democrats like Reid understand is that Bush doesn't believe in either compromise or telling the truth. The only way you can deal with someone like that is give him or her absolutely no room to maneuver. Then, and only then, can you get him to possibly compromise. This guy is a bully and the only things that bullies understand is power. To guys like Bush and Rove compromise is another word for weakness.

This is why national political reporters who are creatures of the culture of the Washington Beltway just don't understand either Bush or Democrats who stand up to him. These reporters believe that compromise is how you get things done. Political actors who reject compromise and insist on getting their own way baffle these reporters. "That's just not how you play the game" is their attitude. Well, the game has changed. Harry Reid gets it, the Washington Post editorial board doesn't.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Don't Private Sector Workers Join Unions? Because Oganizers Get Fired

One of the interesting trends in union membership has been the decline in union representation among private employers. While union membership in public employee unions has gone up, union membership has gone down dramatically in the private sector. Often the right-wing explains the difference by claiming that private sector employees don't need unions or don't want unions. This Alter-Net article offers another explanation: private employers illegally fire union organizers and conduct other illegal intimidation tactics because they pay almost no penalty for breaking the law. Check it out.

MCDAC Newsletter for July 20, 2007

MCDAC is holding a meeting to plan the next issue of Common Sense. The
meeting will be held at the Cloverleaf Recreation Center at the
intersection of Friendsville Road and State Route 224, which is located west
of the intersection of IS 71 & IS 76/State Route 224. The meeting will
go from 10 am to noon. The recreation center is right next to the
Cloverleaf Senior High School. If you are interested in attending, please
send your name to joycekimbler@medinacountydemocraticactioncommittee.org.

You can view the latest issue of Common Sense online in a pdf file by
clicking here:
You can download the latest version of Adobe's Reader by going to


Media out to get John Edwards?

Voinovich votes against increasing college aid

Voinovich does it again-supports Bush on Iraq War

Speaker Pelosi appoints Congresswoman Betty Sutton to House Judiciary

Medina County Dems visit Governor Strickland

Congressman Ralph Regula votes for indefinite deployment of American
troops in Iraq

New York Times avoids the "f" word

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Media Out to Get Edwards?

There is an article in the Atlantic Online about why Edwards' haircut got a lot of media attention and Mitt Romney spending $300 of his campaign's money at a spa didn't. Here is the bottom line: a lot of reporters just don't like Edwards.

This is a quote from the article: There is a difference in the political reality: fairly or unfairly, a healthy chunk of the national political press corps doesn't like John Edwards. We have seen this before. The national political press corps didn't like Al Gore in 2000 and didn't like John Kerry in 2004. This antipathy was one reason why this country has been afflicted with Bubble-Boy Bush for eight years. A reason, by the way, that the mainstream media won't acknowledge.

The reason why national political reporters can afford to engage in such pettiness is that they don't really need the kind of programs that Democrats like Edwards push. They have good jobs with good health care. Their kids don't have to worry about being educated or about serving in the American military. They make a pretty good living. In short, they belong to the part of America that isn't really affected by the idiocy of this administration.

American democracy will be a lot better off when the national political reporters who live inside the Washington Beltway have a lot less power and influence. Hopefully, that day is not far off.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Voinovich Votes Against Increasing College Aid

This is a description of H.R. 2669-College Cost Reduction Act of 2007:

College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to alter the Pell Grant program by: (1) increasing the maximum Pell grant; (2) removing the tuition sensitivity provision reducing the Pell Grant available to students attending low cost schools; (3) allowing year-round Pell grants; (4) increasing students' Pell grant eligibility by increasing their income protection allowance; (5) altering the formula for determining whether a student qualifies for a simplified means test and zero-expected family contributions; and (6) excluding certain income and assets from student need determinations.

Sounds like a good idea, right? After all, Americans are being constantly urged to get more education so they can compete in the global economy. Who could vote against something like that? George Voinovich, that's who.

George Voinovich: Supporting Bush on Iraq and opposing helping Americans go to college. He's a real sweetheart, ain't he?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Voinovich Does It Again

Once again we have a high-profile story on how Voinovich is breaking with Bush over Iraq. This time the media is using a supposed comment Voinovich made about how Bush has "f---d up" in Iraq. Of course, once again Voinovich gets to have his cake and eat it too. He gets to look like he is actually breaking with Bush on Iraq, but when the chips are down, he won't vote against Bush.

This week, there will be a vote on whether to allow an "up or down" vote on the Reed-Levin plan to end American military involvement in the Iraq War. Republicans are threatening a filibuster and the Democrats need 60 votes to cut-off debate. All Voinovich has to do is vote to cut-off debate to send Bush a real message about how he feels about the war. He doesn't even have to vote in favor of the amendment, just allowing a vote would be a way to show Bush what he thinks. Our bet is that he won't do it, that when the chips are down, he will once again support Bush. Any takers?

UPDATE: Click here for an excellent column by Harold Myerson of the Washington Post on the same topic.

UPDATE TWO: Yep, he did it. He voted against the cloture motion which means that the Reed-Levin amendment won't come up for a vote. So just exactly does George V. plan to force Bubble-boy to change course in Iraq? Maybe by wishing really really hard while clapping his hands?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Speaker Pelosi Picks Sutton for House Judiciary Committee

United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked Congresswoman Betty Sutton, (OH-13), a Democratic freshman to sit on the House Judiciary Committee. This is the third important committee assignment that the Speaker has given Sutton. Speaker Pelosi put Congresswoman Sutton on the House Budget Committee and on the House Rules Committee. Congresswoman Sutton will stay on the Rules Committee, but will leave the Budget Committee to take her seat on the Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman Sutton replaces a Democratic Representative who retired.

Medina County Dems Visit Governor Ted Strickland

Last Saturday 30 Medina County Democrats joined 2500 other Ohio Democrats in attending a picnic held by Governor Ted Strickland and his wife, Frances, at the Ohio Governor's mansion in Bexley. The reception was a way of recognizing people who had helped Strickland become Governor. In order to make sure that the Governor got to greet each person individually, the reception was held in two-hour shifts. The picnic included hot dogs, lemonade, potato chips, lemonade, and music by a bluegrass band, The Gasahols.

Governor Strickland addressed the group. He pointed out that because of the efforts of Ohio Democrats, Ohio had a budget that increased the number of children covered by health insurance, increased aid for early childhood education, gave senior citizens and the disabled a real property tax rollback, and held college tuition for undergraduates to the same level it was during the last biannual budget. He also pointed out that this had been accomplished without raising taxes or fees for government services. None of that, the Governor said, would have been possible without the help of the people attending the reception.

Among those attending from Medina County were Pam Miller, Medina County Democratic Chair, Donald Baker, Treasurer of the Medina County Democratic Party, his wife Carol and son Nicholas, Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman and his wife Karen, Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack, MCDAC treasurer Joyce Kimbler and her husband, Judge James Kimbler, David and Chic Kelley and their daughter Bridget, Medina Township Trustee Mike Todd, Medina County Young Democrats President Amanda Armstrong, Julie Batey, President of the Medina County Democratic Women and Mary Ogden, Treasurer of the Medina County Democratic Women, Earl Rager, Jane, Rager, Bob Simmons and Carol Simmons, all from the Wadsworth Democratic Group, and Judy Chase, former Secretary of the Medina County Democratic Party. Attending from Brunswick were John and Pat Hanek, the President of the Northern Medina County Democratic Club, Anastasia Birosh, and Brunswick Ward Two Councilman Vince Carl. Assistant Medina County Prosecutor Anne Eisenhower was at the picnic, along with Medina Attorney Pat Walker, Amy and Baji Panchumarti, and former Hinckley Township Trustee Ron Majewski.

Below are pictures of Medina County Dems at the Governor's Mansion.

Medina County Democrats at the Ohio Governor's Mansion on Saturday, July 14, 2007. Knelling in the first row is Amanda Armstrong, Baji Panchumarti, Nicholas Baker, Judy Chase, Anastasia Birosh, Bridget Kelley, Mary Ogden and Dave Kelley. Standing in the second row are Judge James Kimbler, Ron Majewski, Assistant Medina County Prosecutor Anne Eisenhower, Brunswick Ward Two Councilman Vince Carl,Amy Panchumarti, Pam Miller, Pat Walker, Joyce Kimbler, Judge Mary Kovack, and Jane Rager. Standing in the back row are Medina Township Trustee Mike Todd, Ron Majewski, Donald Baker, Carol Baker, Carol Simmons, Bob Simmons, Julie Batey, Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, and Karen Holman.
Ohio's First Lady Frances Strickland addressing the crowd at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland addressing the crowd at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Medina County Young Democrats President Amanda Armstrong, Carol Baker, Nicholas Baker, and Karen Holman at the Ohio Governor's Mansion getting ready to listen to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Karen is right next to Nicholas
Medina County Democratic Women Treasurer Mary Ogden at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Dave Kelley with his daughter Bridget. Dave is very active with the Progressive Democrats of America.
Medina City Democrats Amy and Baji Panchumarti at the Ohio Governor's Mansion. Baji is standing next to Amy.
Carol Simmons and Bob Simmons with Julie Batey at the Ohio Governor's Mansion. Bob and Carol are members of the Wadsworth Democratic Group and Julie is President of the Medina County Democratic Women.
Brunswick Democrat John Hanek at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Medina Township Trustee and State Senate candidate Mike Todd, former Hinckley Township Trustee Ron Majewski, and Pat Hanek at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Medina County Democratic Women President Julie Batey with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
MCDAC Treasurer Joyce Kimbler with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Earl and Jane Rager of the Wadsworth Democratic Group taking a break in the shade at the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Pam Miller, Medina County Democratic Chair, Vince Carl, Brunswick City Ward Two Councilman, and Anastasia Birosh, President of the Northern Medina County Democratic Club waiting to meet Governor Strickland.
Chic Kelley (wearing sunglasses), her daughter Bridget Kelley (in red facing camera) and Medina County Democratic Chair Pam Miller at Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Medina County Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack and Medina Attorney Pat Walker inside the Ohio Governor's Mansion.
Entrance to the Ohio Governor's Mansion in Bexley, Ohio.

Judy Chase, former Secretary of the Medina County Democratic Party and Amanda Armstrong, President of the Medina County Young Democrats smiling for the camera.

Pam Miller, Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party, Mary Ogden, Treasurer of the Medina County Democratic Women and Joyce Kimbler, Treasurer of MCDAC waiting to go into the Ohio Governor's Mansion in Bexley, Ohio.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Congressman Ralph Regula Backs Indefinite Deployment for American Troops in Iraq

As the result of this roll call in the United States House of Representatives shows, Congressman Ralph Regula (R-13) voted to indefinitely deploy American troops in Iraq. He was joined by all the Republican Representatives to Congress from Ohio.

Of course, if you ask them, they will tell you that their vote wasn't for deploying American troops in Iraq indefinitely. They will tell you that their vote was against establishing deadlines for the removal of American troops. They will tell you that their opposition to the Democratic bill establishing a withdrawal date of March of 2008 is not the same as voting to deploy troops indefinitely.

Don't believe it. After four years of war in Iraq, it is obvious that Bush has no idea on how to end America's involvement in Iraq. Nor does he seem to have any desire to do so. If you aren't for a deadline to bring American troops home, then you are for continuing Bush's indefinite deployment of American troops in a sectarian civil war. Ohio Republicans: Once again, putting Bush first.

New York Times Article Avoids the Word "Filibuster" When Discussing Vote on Webb Amendment

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an article in the New York Times about the Senate's vote on the Jim Webb amendment requiring that troops spend as much time at home as they spent in Iraq before being reployed. This is the headline: "Senate Narrowly Backs Bush in Rejecting Debate on Increasing Time Between Deployments".

Now if you just read the headline, you would believe that a bare majority of United States Senators voted against the Webb amendment and you would be wrong. Actually 56 Senators voted for cloture on the Webb amendment and 41 voted against cloture. Now, here is where it gets really interesting.

Cloture is invoked when a piece of legislation is threatened with a filibuster. Under the Rules of the United States Senate, 60 votes are needed to cut off debate. So what happened on the cloture vote on the Webb amendment was that 56 Senators voted to cut off debate and 41 Senators voted to allow a filibuster. Guess what? The New York Times article never uses the word "filibuster" in discussing this vote.

Now, the Times had no problem using the word "filibuster" when discussing Democratic opposition to appointing right-wing nut-jobs to the Federal bench, but, when it comes to discussing Republican Senators voting against cutting off debate on the Webb amendment, they get a case of the vapors and refuse to call the tactic by its proper name. Here's a spelling lesson for the media: Republican Senators are engaging in F-I-L-I-B-U-S-T-E-R-s to block Democratic leglislation on the Iraq War and other issues. If you use the word, the world won't come crashing down on you. Try it, you'll see.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

While U.S. Is Bogged Down in Iraq, Al-Qaida Rebuilds in Pakistan

This is really great. During the time that the United States has been increasingly bogged down in a civil war in Iraq, Al-Qaida has rebuilt inside Pakistan, in the apparently ungovernable area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. (You can read an article about this by clicking on the link in this entry's title.) This is a quote from the article:

Al-Qaida is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the counter terrorism official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of "significant gaps in intelligence" so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

John Kringen, who heads the CIA's analysis directorate, echoed the concerns about al-Qaida's resurgence during testimony and conversations with reporters at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

"They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan," Kringen testified. "We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. We see that activity rising."

The article then goes on to state that this could strengthen Bush's hand in his confrontation with Congress over Iraq. Democrats need to start asking the following question: "What in the hell does Iraq have to do with Al-Qaida's operations in Pakistan?"

In fact, this report actually strengthens the argument for getting out of Iraq's civil war. We need to use our military to go after Al-Qaida in this border area between Iraq and Pakistan.

This article also points out that Al Qaida has more money to use to conduct operations. Where are they getting the money? Is it coming from Saudi Arabia sources? Is it coming from sources in Iraq which are using the Iraqi breakdown in law to carry out criminal activities which make money to fund Al-Qaida?

This article also explains why Bush and other administration officials are starting to use Al-Qaida as a justification for staying in Iraq. They know that this leaked report will generate news stories like the one linked to in this entry and they want the public to confuse staying in Iraq with actually doing something about Al-Qaida. Meanwhile Al-Qaida grows stronger in Pakistan while we are mixed up in a civil war in Iraq. Lovely.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Voinovich Screws Troops, Backs Bush

Here is a list of the Senators who voted against cutting off debate on the amendment offered by Jim Webb, (D-VA), that would have set time limits on redeployment of troops back into Iraq. Webb's amendment would have required that the miltary allow regular troops as much time at home as they spend in Iraq and allow National Guard and Reserve units twice as much time at home as they spent in Iraq. As Webb pointed out in an interview with CNN, historically the United States Army and Marines gave soldiers twice as much time at home as compared to the time spent overseas.

Not surprisingly Ohio's own George Voinovich is on the list. Seems like just a few days ago that the media was reporting on how Voinovich was going to break with Bush on Iraq. Yet, on the first vote that comes up after he got all that publicity for supposedly "breaking" with Bush, he supports Bush and screws over American military personnel.

None of this should come as a surprise. Voinovich can always be counted on to publicly suggest that he is going to oppose Bush, get the gullible Ohio and national media to do stories on his so-called "moderation", and then, when the votes go down, vote to support Bush.

He did it on tax cuts and he is doing it again on Iraq. We don't blame Voinovich for playing this game, but we sure blame the Ohio and national media for letting him get away with it. Here's a suggestion for those gullible reporters and commentators who are buying Voinovich's bovine manure: next time wait until he actually votes against a Bush position before you give him all the free publicity.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bubble-Boy To Change Spin but Not Policy

According to the Washington Post, Bubble-Boy aka Our President, plans to try changing the spin on his Iraq policy, but not the policy itself. He plans to start telling the American people that he wants to draw down American troops in Iraq in 2008, provided, of course, that security concerns are met. Obviously, this is some Bush BS, or BBS for short, designed to give political cover to vulnerable Republicans in next year's elections without changing his policy that got us into this screwed up mess in the first place.

One of the many problems with the Bush Administration is that Bubble-Boy and King Karl Rove don't really care about how their policies impact on people othen than their wealthy supporters, they just care if they can sell those policies. There is little evidence that Bush cares about the fate of the troops serving in Iraq, or the fate of the independent contractors serving in Iraq, or how much money this adventure has cost America. He just cares whether he can sell the policy and help his party regain control of Congress so they can continue pandering to their wealthy supporters.

The media, though, may be finally catching on to the tricks of BB and King Karl. This is a quote from the Post article:

Yet key Republican senators have indicated that they would not be satisfied with a change in political spin over a real change in strategy. In a speech on the Senate floor after a White House meeting yesterday, John W. Warner (R-Va.) set the tone, declaring this "a time in our history unlike any I have ever witnessed before." Warner recalled that Congress has voted to require Bush to demonstrate progress in Iraq or detail how he will alter his strategy, adding that he warned the White House to take it seriously.

The significance of the above quote isn't what John Warner believes. The significance lies in the fact that the Post's reporters are using those comments to point out that the "new" Bush message is the same as the "old" Bush message. Two years ago, maybe even one year ago, a story in the Post would not have included the above quote. The media, like most Americans, have reached the end of their patience with BB's and KK's antics.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Should Start Running Ads Right Now on GOP Obstructionism

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read a report on how Bush plans to blame Congress for delays in enacting legislation. Of course this is ironic given that the reason more bills haven't made it to his desk for signature is because of Republican filibusters. As one Democratic Senate leader put it last week, "They are filibustering bills that they actually support." The reason for this is obvious, the Republicans want to make sure that Democrats are blamed for their obstructionism.

Instead of just bitching about their dilatory tactics, the DSCC should start running cable ads on the fact that Republicans are filibustering Democratic legislation. They should run such ads right now, on cable because it is less expensive and start making sure that the American people know which party is refusing to address the important problems affecting America.

Colin Powell's Attempt to Salvage His Reputation

Colin Powell told a crowd in Aspen, Colorado, that he had a meeting with President Bush in which he tried to talk him out of invading Iraq by telling him of the problems the United States would have in occupying an Arab country. (You can read a report on Powell's remarks here.)

Here is what really ticks me off about Colin Powell and Paul O'Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury and co-author of the book The Price of Loyalty: they knew that Bush was an intellectual lightweight, poorly suited for the Presidency of the United States, and yet in 2004, when he was up for re-election, they chose to remain silent. They chose to be loyal to a President who they knew was not worthy of that loyalty and, by so doing, they did a huge disservice to the people of the United States.

Now, when they realize how much of a disaster this administration has been, they want to try and salvage their reputations by giving speeches and writing books. Well, where were they in 2004, when they could have made a big difference?

Imagine the impact that Colin Powell's revelations would have had if he had come out before the 2004 election with his account of his meeting with Bush. Imagine the impact that O'Neill would have had if he had come out and blasted the Bush Administration for turning surpluses into deficits with his reckless tax cuts. Instead, when it could have mattered, they stood mute.

A friend suggested recently that Barack Obama should announce that if he wins the Presidency, he would appoint Colin Powell Secretary of State. Although such a move makes sense politically, it would be unfortunate because Powell should pay a price, not for being wrong about Iraq, but for staying silent when he could have made a big difference.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Is the Prince of Darkness Bailing on Bubble-Boy Bush?

Robert Novak, aka "The Prince of Darkness", has this column today in the Washington Post where he quotes an unidentified Republican Senator as saying "they just do not recognize the depth of the difficulty they are in." The "they" this Senator was referring to is the Bushies, led by Bubble-Boy and the Duck Hunter.

The article is interesting not because it points out that Bush is losing Republican Senators over Iraq, rather it is interesting for the tone that Novak adopts in the article. Instead of the usual sneering tone that Novak uses for those who oppose BB's programs, in this article he seems to actually be urging the Bush Administration to get its head out of its collective rear-end. This is seen by this quote from the end of the article: As the first in a succession of Republican senators to be critical of Bush's Iraq policy, Hagel feared the worst when he returned home to conservative Nebraska for Fourth of July parades. Instead, he was pleasantly surprised by cheers and calls for the troops to be brought home. Perhaps a White House scouting trip into the American heartland might be worthwhile.

If the Bushies have lost Robert Novak on the Iraq War, then they are in very deep do-do.

Reader Submission: This Should Be A Bumper Sticker

A reader sent us the following:

Spotted on a blog. Should be a bumper sticker!

Politics is like driving.
To go backwards, put it in R.
To go forwards, put it in D.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Congresswoman Betty Sutton Headlines Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic

Congresswoman Betty Sutton came to Brunswick on a warm Sunday afternoon to tell Medina County Democrats that "fast track authority" on trade agreements is "dead". Her announcement brought cheers from the partisan crowd. The crowd also cheered Congresswoman Sutton when she talked about ending the war in Iraq, protecting American jobs, helping fund education, and guaranteeing affordable health care for all Americans. As Congresswoman Sutton pointed out, jobs, health care, and education are all linked together, and addressing one without addressing the other two doesn't make sense.

Ms. Sutton wasn't the only Democrat attending who is interested in Congress. State Senator John Boccieri who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 16th Congressional Crowd brought two of his children along. He talked about his experiences as an Air Force officer in Iraq and how that has shaped his views on veteran issues and on the Iraq War.

A lot of people outside of Medina County don't realize that at least part of Medina County has been represented by a Democrat in Congress since 1976. From 1976-2002 all of Medina County was represented by Democrats. First there was Congressman Donal Pease and then Congressman Sherrod Brown.

That changed after the 2000 census when the Republicans changed the district so that only the three northernmost Medina County townships were included in the 13th Congressional Distict. The other 14 Medina County townships and all the municipal corporations in those townships became part of the 16th Congressional District. Senator Borrieri wants to make sure that all of Medina County is represented by a Democrat.

Beside the Congresswoman and State Senator, other elected officials attended the picnic. Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, Medina County Court of Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler, Ninth Disrict Court of Appeals Judge Clair Dickinson, Medina Township Trustee Mike Todd, Medina City Council President and Medina County Democratic Chair Pam Miller, Medina County Coroner Dr. Neil Grabenstetter, and Brunswick City Councilman Vince Carl also were present. The Party was hosted by the NMCDC and its President, Anastatia Birosh.

Pics from the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic on July 8, 2007

Northern Medina County Democratic Club President Anastatia Birosh and Carol Baker getting the Pavilion at Neura Park in Brunswick ready for the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic on July 8, 2007.

Medina County Dems Kristi Overmyer and Susan Ramsey relaxing before the festivities begin at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic.

Brunswick Ward Two Councilman Vince Carl and Medina County Democratic Party Treasurer Donald Baker helping to set up refreshments at the Northern Medina County Democratic Picnic.

Brunswick City Council Jack Mortelette and his daughter Jackie at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic. Jackie is her Dad's campaign treasurer.

Medina City Council President and Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party making introductions at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic.

State Senator and Democratic candidate for the 16 Congressional District John Boccieri addressing the crowd at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic.

Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, Karen Holman, and Ninth District Court of Appeals Judge Clair Dickinson at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic.

Medina County Coroner Dr. Neil Grabenstetter at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic

Richard and Sue Niedzwiecki, Brunswick City Democrats, at the Northern Medina County Democratic Club Picnic

Congresswoman Betty Sutton at Northern Medina County Dem Picnic

Congresswoman Betty Sutton of the 13th Congressional District with Brunswick Hills Township Democrat Jack Schira and Medina County Democratic Party Treasurer Donald Baker.

Congresswoman Betty Sutton of the 13th Congressional District with Lori Henry, Court Administrator of the Medina Municipal Court and candidate for Brunswick Hills Township Fiscal Officer.

Congresswoman Betty Sutton of the Thirteenth District in Brunswick at the Northern Medina County Democratic Picnic with Lori Henry, Susan Ramsey, and a staff member.

Mike Todd for State Senate Campaign Website

Do you know that Medina Township Trustee Mike Todd is running for the Ohio Senate in 2008? Learn all about him by checking out his new website: www.toddforohio.com

Pew Center Survey Shows Why Media is Losing Audience

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a study in June that shows why the traditional media is losing its audience. The study is of the public's views toward coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. Here are some interesting statistics: by a 76% to 19% margin the public wants more coverage of the positions of the candidates' position on the issues; by a margin of 54% to 39% the public wants more coverage of the candidates who are not the frontrunners; and by a margin of 57% to 36% the public wants less coverage of which candidate is leading in fundraising.

Note that wants the public wants is consistent with the fact that voters have to make a choice in the 2008 presidential election. They want the facts that are important to them in making that choice. Yet, the media, in its wisdom, keeps giving them what they don't seem to want: more coverage of frontrunners and how much money those frontrunners have raised.

Thomas Patterson, a professor who studies the media and how it covers politics, wrote a book in the early nineties called Out of Order. In that book he presented evidence on how the media gets caught up in the "game" theory of politics and presents most of its coverage in terms of who is ahead, who is behind, who is coming up, and who is going down. Excessive coverage of polls and fundraising efforts is a result of such a world view. He claimed that the media looked at politics from a "campaign schema."

Patterson wrote that the public, on the other hand, looks at campaigns from a "governing schema." The public wants to know who will make the best decisions in public office. The public wants information that they can use in making that decision.

If a business keeps failing to give its customers or potential customers what they want, they eventually go elsewhere. For a long time, customers of the media didn't have anywhere else they could turn, then along came the Internet.

Media types such as David Broder decry the Internet and claim that bloggers are ruining American politics by polarizing politics but almost never examine whether they are giving the public what it wants in terms of political coverage. Such refusal to engage in self-examination is a sign of arrogance in any profession or industry and the media is no exception. Until media personnel start to critically question whether they are providing readers and viewers what they want in terms of covering political campaigns, they will continue to lose their audience to the Internet.

Bush Administration Missed Opportunities to Capture Top Al Qaeda Personnel in Pakistan

If you click on this entry's title, you can read a New York Times article on how Rumsfeld aborted a mission to capture top Al Qseda officers inside Pakistan. The officers were located in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is an area ruled by tribal chiefs. This is ironic, considering how Bush and his administration mocked the efforts of the Clinton administration to find and kill bin Laden.

You would think that the lessons of the last four years would have taught some humility to the Bushies, but you would be wrong. In order to learn humility, you have to have a level of self-awareness that is missing from Bush and his followers.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

MCDAC Volunteers at July 4th Parades

MCDAC Volunteers handed out Common Sense, Medina County's only Democratic Newspaper, on July 4th, 2007 at parades in Spencer, Chippewa Lake, Valley City, and Medina. Volunteers pictured are Joyce Kimbler, MCDAC Treasurer, Nick Hanek and his friend Emily Embrescia, Glenna Roberts and her daughter Alexandra Matejczyk

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Reader Submission: Arming Iraq's Sunnis a Risk

A reader sent us the following email:

Armed Sunnis in Iraq: potential short-term gains, long-term risks (AP) 07/03/07

BAGHDAD: The U.S. tactic of using armed Sunni tribesmen in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq offers short-term gains to weaken the insurgency, but could set the stage for a full-scale sectarian civil war when the Americans begin to draw down their forces.


So, schrub is using questionable tactics to make his "surge" look like it is working, knowing that these tactic is going to make things worse in the long run. Is this another one of ROVE'S carefully choreographed 'show' or a real new way out?

"Sarah, if the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation [America], we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." George Bush Sr, interview with Sarah McClendon in December 1992

Microtargeting and Politics

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an interesting article in the Washington Post about the person who convinced the 2004 Bush campaign to engage in microtargeting of voters. The interesting relevation about this effort was that it was carried out in Ohio. The article credits microtargeting with Bush getting 16% of Ohio's black vote as compared to 11% nationwide.

Microtargeting is a concept of using a different message for voters based on what demographic models tell the campaigns about certain type of voters. Typically the means of delivering the message is direct mail, personal appeals, or robo-calls as opposed to television ads. Direct mail and personal appeals are what could be called "narrowcast" medium while television ads are examples of a "broadcast" medium.

Microtargeting has been used in business for a long time and what also used by Mitt Romney's successful 2002 campaign for governor in Massachusetts. Interestingly Romney has an MBA and is known to be intersted in applying business techniques to politics and government.

The Democratic consultants quoted in the article seem somewhat skeptical of microtargeting, although Democrats are also using microtargeting. In the past we have urged Democratic candidates to use consultants who come from a business background as opposed to a political background. This article is one more example of why Republicans are often successful in campaigns even though a majority of voters don't back their agenda.

People don't vote logically, they vote emotionally. Democratic consultants and Democratic candidates often don't seem to, or don't want to, recognize that fact. Republicans, who often come from business backgrounds, don't heistate in recognizing that fact.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Why Can't Ohio Do This?

If you click on the link in this title's entry, you can read a story that appeared on www.AlterNet.org about a college student in Maine who got the Maine state legislature to pass a bill helping students with college debt. This quote from the article illustrates how the program works:

The idea was fairly simple: help students pay off their debts if they stay in Maine. Last week, two years later, Bossie's work, along with those of other activists and groups, including the League of Independent Voters, bore fruit when Maine legislators passed the Opportunity Maine Initiative. The measure will give tax credits to help Maine residents pay off their student debt as long as they stay in the state. "Nontraditional" students returning to get their degrees would also be eligible for the credits, as would employers who pay off their workers' student loans as a benefit.

In the past we have thought that Ohio should adopt a program whereby it paid for the college tuition of students who went to college and agreed to stay in Ohio for a period of time after graduation. This program actually seems better because it is geared to those students who graduate. This avoids the whole problem about what to do with students who get the credit but don't graduate or who transfer to a school in another state.

So here's the question: why can't Ohio do something like this?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Strickland's Uses Line-Item Veto Power

The difference in the Republicans only having 54 votes in the Ohio House of Representatives is shown in this quote from an article in the Newark Advocate regarding the 2007-2009 Ohio Budget: Attempts to override any Strickland veto are remote. A three-fifths majority in each chamber is required. That means 60 votes in the House, which has just 54 GOP members. House Republican spokeswoman Karen Tabor said her caucus had not yet decided whether to challenge the governor. Any override attempt would have to begin in the House, where the budget bill was introduced.

Strickland vetoed the establishment of a voucher program for special needs children; a provision to limit the powers of the Governor and require more reporting to the State Controlling Board; attempts to control lottery payouts and prohibit Sunday lottery drawings; an attempt to put limits on the Ohio Department of Job and Family services regarding the cost of prescription mental health medicine; and the establishment of a fund that could only be used to promote absintence only sex education for teens.

Clearly this whole budget process has been a victory for Strickland. He basically got what he wanted from the General Assembly and looked good while doing it. It was essential that this process go well so that he could keep his momentum going into the second half of 2007, and he certainly accomplished that goal. There was only one dissenting vote regarding the adoption of the budget.

One personality trait that Strickland brings to the Governor's office is that he is a polite person, but not a push-over. The Republicans saw that he wasn't a push-over when he exercised the veto of the bill that Taft tried to have become law without his signature, but he has followed that up with being polite to the Republican leaders during the budget process. Both of these traits have served Ohio well during his first six months in office.

Fascinating Article About Hillary Clinton & Feminists on AlterNet

AlterNet has a fascinating article up about why some feminists who once supported Hillary Clinton as First Lady are bitterly against her as a Democratic Presidential Candidate. This is a quote from the article:

"I love [Hillary Clinton] so completely that, honestly, she would have to burn down the White House before I would say anything bad about her!" exclaimed Nora Ephron in a 1993 Newsday interview. Three years later, she told the Wellesley class of 1996, "Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you." Come late 2006, however, Ephron was the one on the attack as one of the self-described "Hillary resisters" -- those who believe that "she will do anything to win, who believe she doesn't really take a position unless it's completely safe," as she wrote on her Huffington Post blog, "who believe she has taken the concept of triangulation and pushed it to a geometric level never achieved by anyone including her own husband, who can't stand her position on the war, who don't trust her as far as you can spit."

This rather dramatic change of heart encapsulates one of the great ironies of Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency. Many of the very same feminists who were her most ardent supporters as First Lady are now fiercely opposed to her historic bid to become the first female President of the United States. The woman once described by Susan Faludi as a symbol of "the joy of female independence" now evokes ambivalence, disdain and, sometimes, outright vitriol. The right wing's favorite "femi-nazi" now has to contend with Jane Fonda comparing her to "a ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt and a vagina."

The article goes on to examine why some feminists are so down on the first woman to really be considered seriously for the nomination for United States President by a major party. Hillary Clinton is the first woman, as far as we can remember, who is leading in public opinions polls for the Democratic nomination less than 18 months from a presidential election. Note also that the concern doesn't seem to be over her electability, which is a concern a lot of Democrats have, but over her political positions.

It is really ironic that, as the article notes, on the one hand she is being called a "femi-nazi" by Rush Limbaugh and on the other hand she is being called a "sell-out" by people like Nora Ephron. The article also points out that this disdain for Clinton is mostly shared by more liberal women. This is a quote from the article:

So what's up with the Hillary-bashing? "Women don't trust Hillary. They see her as an opportunist; many feel betrayed by her," wrote Susan Douglas in a May In These Times article titled "Why Women Hate Hillary." A month later, in her Newsweek column, Anna Quindlen declared, "The truth is that Senator Clinton has a woman problem."

Not exactly true, as it turns out. Hillary Clinton was the number-one choice of 42 percent of likely Democratic primary women voters in a recent Zogby survey, compared with 19 percent for Barack Obama and 15 percent for John Edwards. And her favorable rating among independent women is a whopping twenty-one points higher than among independent men.

Let's be clear: Hillary has a "feminist problem," and more so with those who lean left.

This problem, by the way, is not unique with Hillary Clinton. One of the enduring problems for most Democratic candidates since the internal party split over the Vietnam in 1968 has been the fact that often liberal activists seem to prefer candidates who are right on issues as opposed to those who can actually win elections. This split led to the bitter divide of 1968 and the primary challenge to Carter from Kennedy in 1980. Interestingly enough it didn't lead to a primary challenge for her husband from the left in 1996, even though some liberal activists were disenchanted with Clinton over welfare reform in 1996.

All candidates are like houses when you are purchasing a residence: All of them have some attractive qualities and all of them have some qualities that you don't like. In the end you make a decision over which candidate has the most attractive qualities compared to the qualities you don't like. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate and every candidate has some problems when exposed to intense media scrutiny.