Sunday, November 30, 2008

McCarthy, Nixon, Bush & Modern Conservatism

There is a fascinating article in the Los Angeles Times about the origins of modern American conservatism, IE, post-World War II conservatism. The article points out that the father of modern conservatism isn't Barry Goldwater, but Joe McCarthy. He was the politician who figured out that what Republicans needed to do was to demonize certain Americans to convince other Americans to vote for them.

Joe McCarthy went after Democrats by saying that they were soft on communism and tolerated communists in the government. He picked up support from working-class Catholics, rural whites, and Southerners. Nixon was able to follow the same strategy by demonizing college students, African-Americans, and anti-war protesters. Bush followed the same strategy in accusing John Kerry of not supporting American troops and implied that anyone who disagreed with him in how he was conducting the Iraq War was Un-American.

McCain tried the same approach against Obama, but the bad economic news meant that people were more worried about their jobs than their neighbors' patriotism. Don't worry, though, as the author of the Times article puts it, Republicans won't give this tactic up because it is in their DNA.

MCDAC Readers Overwhelmingly Support Clinton for Secretary of State

This past week, we surveyed the readers of our weekly newsletter to see what they thought of Clinton as Secretary of State. As you can see from the accompanying graph, they liked it a lot.

Over 85% of those responding to the question, approved of the choice. Those who disapproved only numbered a shade over 10%. If this admittedly unscientific sample is any indication, people who may have had reservations about Clinton as President don't have them about Clinton as Secretary of State.

We allowed those readers who responded to the poll to leave comments about Obama choosing Clinton. You can read some of those comments which are reproduced in italics below. One theme that runs through the comments is that some readers would rather see her in the Senate because they think that Obama and the Democrats have a greater need for her in that position. It is important to keep in mind when considering her nomination that her successor will be chosen by a Democratic governor and will be a Democrat. This means that the Democrats are not losing a vote in the Senate.

Only if Bill or Cuomo is given her senate seat.
Hillary Clinton sold her soul to zionist AIPAC funding years ago so her views will reflect continued anti-Palestinian policies...just another Rice.
As long as her replacement in the Senate measures up to her standards, or exceeds them
She is not " ON THE SAME PAGE " as BARACK and will be a drag on his creativity. Her thinking is back room,old WASHINGTON. Bad decisions on wars.
I would have rather seen Sen. Clinton work on Health Care Reform. Then be seated as a Supreme Court Judge when the appointment is open.
I want her on the Supreme Court, but she can still do that later.
Long before he chose her, I said she should be Secretary of State. I am delighted to learn that great minds think alike!!!!!!
I hope that Bill will stay out of her way.
she is needed in the senate
Duh... Condy to Clinton. What's not to like?
i also think that she would make a great supreme court justice
She doesn't have the character of a Madelein Albright, but she brings in street smarts. Not a bad choice.
I think it would be great. I said this before the election. She is very forceful and wouldn't back down to anyone. Bill would be a good adviser.
I think she would be strong, effective, and restore America's credibility and stture.
We need someone to take the if something should happen
I'm sure that she can surrender to Al Quida as well as anyone else he would appoint to do the job.
Excellent choice of a talented politician. Her reputation will facilitate foreign policy & place her in position for a future presidential run.
Continuing the legacy of ugly women in that office.
Great choice.
Good choice
Barack needs the Clinton's.
Shows that Obama is interested in party unity. She came close to being nominated for President. Most should think she is qualified for this post.
I believe this appointment was discussed before Hillary relented her presidential run. It's a good choice.
Go for it. She's a smart lady and we could only benefit from her experience.
He owes her!
NO. Bill Richardson would have been the better choice. The US must make fundamental changes in foreign policy and he would be better to carry it out.
Intelligent decision. Know your weaknesses and put someone there who is strong

Friday, November 28, 2008

MCDAC Readers Disapprove Joe Lieberman Being Senate Chair

MCDAC recently surveyed the readers of its weekly newsletter, The Kicker, to find out what they thought about the Democratic Senate Caucus keeping Lieberman as Committee Chair. The survey found that of those who responded, 50.7% disagreed with the decision, 37.6% agreed, and 10.1% were undecided.

Here are some of the comments that some of our readers gave us:

However it is done, and Obama seems to have wanted this decision, so let's just move on/
He blows with the wind. His thinking is very unstable. There is no room for that in the " NEW WASHINGTON " Lieberman is an Israeli agent and a war hawk.As a war criminal he should be deported to Gaza to do community service for the rest of his life.
i vote no beause he's a scandral++++++++++++no
Lieberman trash talked Barrack throughout the entire campaign and flew around the country with McCain. What can he do or say to repair that???
Yes, especially if one of Obama's goals is to work in a bipartisan manner to resolve problems. Now isn't the time to 'punish' Lieberman.
He already knows how to screw up everything,why try and train someone else.
Can someone tell us what the rationale for this was?
They must have felt that they needed to do thbis to assure his vote on key legislation net term.
Yes, now the protection of the United States is in his lap. If he wants to walk the fence, lets put him in the hot spot.
no loyalty at all. dillutes the purpose of party membership & respect.
Because of the numbers, we still may need his votes from time to time.
But only if they exact the pound of flesh he owes them. Then they need to support Lamont in 4 years to replace him.
How do we keep discipline as a party if there's no punishment for ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNING for the Republicans?
It's one thing to privately vote for the GOP, but to be a speaker at their convention? He should be booted from the party!
he should not be a chairman of any comm.
Since Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is the Bible these days, Lincoln forgave opponents for what they had said in the campaign. Move on!
Politics require many tough choices to be made. This is one of those.
It was necessary to start the new administration with the promised "new era" of politics. (But he should be tarred and feathered!)
Obama has stressed the need for unity. Lieberman will be expected to work with both parties to effect this change. We must work together during crisis
His power there is not as important as the possibility of his vote toward the 60 vote Democratic ability to kill a Republican filibuster.
Must think ahead Not back . However I don't like what he did- one bit
Barack Obama wants to set a tone of reconciliation in his administration and Congress.
Sen. Lieberman is now deeply indebted to Pres. Obama which will allow the president to use the man's experience and influence to advance policies.
What were the reasons for keeping him? Do we through out the baby with the bath water?
Sure it show Bi partisan working together
Maybe he will repent and return to the Party. If he is dissed, he could do more harm than good. It will remain to be seen if this was a good decision or a good strategy.
My first reaction was that the Dems made a mistake, but after thinking about it, I am not so sure. That leaves me undecided.
Lieberman chose to side with mcain and attack obama . hes not a democrat and should not be allowed a committee chairmanship
Absolutely not. He's a traitor.
Hopefully, we will attain 60 Dems in the US Senate,thus a filibuster-proof majority for DEM legislation.
We need to come together to understand other positions to change the system. Punishing Joe Lieberman for his beliefs & actions is unamerican.
We need cool heads and steady, experienced leadership, and Lieberman has it.
Not sure about this, hated to see him campaign for McCain after being Dem VP candidate 8 yrs ago. What is the reason he was kept onboard?
I agree for now. We are not at 60 yet. Also - we need to focus on bringing people together to solve problems.
It doesn't say much for party loyalty.

MCDAC Kicker Readers Support Early Voting

Last week, MCDAC took a survey of the readers of our weekly newsletter to see when they voted. As you can see from this graph, 72% of the responding readers voted early, while 27% voted on election day. (Results rounded off)

We also allowed our readers to give us their thoughts regarding early voting by leaving comments. Here are some of them:

The in-person early voting will cause candidates to rethink how they campaign, they know what to do for mail voters, but this is a new ball game!
My husband & I voted around 9:30 on election day, our polling place is the Inn of Medina. There was about a 5 min. wait, it was great!
I voted early because I am a poll worker and didn't know how busy I would be on Election Day.
Had to wait in line 40 minutes the Wednesday before the election. I live in NC. We're both blue states now!!!
I voted on paper ballot during the first week of voting. I hope it got counted.
wanted to miss the long lines
It was a struggle to get my absentee ballot. It took 4 contacts with the board and at one time I was told that there was no record of my application
Had to work election day and was afraid I'd be late for work. Didn't really want to vote early, but was glad I did.
I worked the polls. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get home for my wife, so we came in early.
need more election offices in which to vote. no need to go to medina to vote.
A GREAT Day!!!!!!!!!!
We are age 78 & 75, and having been voting at the Board of Elections for years, most of the time due to leaving the County prior to the date to vote.
I was going on vacation.
I live in Litchfield. There is very little waiting ever in our precinct.
I voted three weeks early at the Medina County BOE
Lines were not long at all! It was a beautiful day for Democrates!!!!!!!!
We were planning to be out of the country on election day; I voted the first possible day at the BOE and my husband voted by mail-in ballot.

My wife and I voted absentee since we thought we would not be here. I voted at the Medina Board of Elections 3 weeks early. Fast, efficient and no waiting. I hope we continue this forever!!
The green way to vote is to combine shopping etc with a trip to the Brd of Elections which I did two weeks before the election.
It took me longer to vote at the Board of Elections early than it ever did on the regular day.
Used absentee ballot, voted at home, and then dropped the ballot off at the BOE
Easy was to vote
Sue & I voted early by mail so we could campaign on election day
It was easy in Lorain County. We need paper ballots though in case of recounts.
I liked the convenience of voting early - however, I wanted to be able to see the returns that evening on TV!
Won't do again. Was 2 days after before my county finished absentee counting. Had this been close, Barack could have conceded when he really won. (In Summit County).
I didn't want to risk dieing and not get to vote!
Voting early was great!
Had I not been a poll worker, I would have voted early, but as luck has it, the poll where I work is also where I vote.
Voted absentee ballot
Voting should be made easier. Early voting in more locations as well as a Friday and Saturday two-day system with the workday as a national holiday.
I wanted in line for over an hour at the Medina Co BOE - it was fun.
Glad I did, but lines were not too long anyway, I guess. Turnout % was not that great in Ohio. Why, in light of lots of new voter registrations?
Went to Medina on 10/30...odd day/time 2:15. Process was 35 minutes. Only 4 min in actual booth to vote. Was orderly and refreshing see the interest.
After researching issues on my own. Utilized Judge4yourself and League of Women Voters. Problem with voting early is newspaper doesn't print early.
I voted at the Board of Elections and my husband used an early absentee ballot by mail.
No line either
Voted morning of 10/31 and the line was way out the door. Took about one hour.
I'm a traditionalist. I'm not a P.I.H. Person in Hurry.
By mail. How could it be easier?
I don't live in Medina County; Franklin Co.
Great experience. The Election Board workers were very professional, courteous, and the people in the line were friendly.
There was no line at all on Election Day in Sharon Township when I voted.
I am a poll worker so I voted with an absentee ballot.
At BOE on Oct 10 at 8:30 AM. No line as I was the single voter present.
it was easy - very little wait time. Would do it again.
It was very busy-but went well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rasmussen Poll Shows Dems Gaining Trust on Economy

Rasmussen Reports released a poll that shows that Democrats are now trusted more than Republicans when it comes to handling the economy. The percentage was 50% for Democrats and 35% for Republicans on which party the people poll trusted more to handle the economy.

According to Rasmussen the Democrats lead on this issue has grown since the election. Prior to the election the results were 51% for the Democrats and 42% for the Republicans. Rasmussen also reports that non-investors the spread were 64% to 22%, but investors the spread was only 43% to 41%.

You can read more about this poll here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Senator Sherrod Brown's Remarks on Auto Industry Aid

Ohio's Democratic United States Senator, Sherrod Brown, made an eloquent and impassioned defense of the auto industry at a hearing held on November 18, 2009 by the Senate's Banking Committee. Take particular notice of the part that we have in bold type:

Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this afternoon’s hearing.

The American automotive industry needs our help, and it needs it now. The surest way to turn today’s recession into a depression would be to let this industry flounder.

Like the banking industry, the auto companies have made some poor decisions. But they’ve had plenty of help. In 2005, for example, the House and Senate decided against raising fuel efficiency standards. Most of the members of this committee took the position that the CAFE standards were fine as they stood.

I wish the federal government had acted sooner on CAFE. But we didn’t, and so we are on shaky ground if we now shake a finger at Detroit for being ill-prepared for $4.00 gasoline.

I wish the federal government had acted a lot sooner to address the housing crisis, too. It was only a little over a year ago that the Bush administration began to realize we had a serious problem on our hands. Throughout last year, the administration and boosters in the housing industry told us the problem was largely contained.

It was contained, in their view, to the subprime mortgage market and to states like Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. If you set aside those three states, according to one housing economist at the time, the market was doing just fine.

We’ve seen the success of that approach. Before long, every state in the nation felt the impact and every sector of the economy were dragged down by the troubles in housing. But that mistaken approach is exactly what some of my colleagues are suggesting we take in response to the crisis in the American automotive industry.

Sure, the biggest and most immediate impact will be in places like Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. But auto suppliers and dealers and related industries in every state will soon feel the impact. This industry is woven into the fabric of our economy every bit as much as Lehman Brothers or AIG or the three banks that testified before the committee last week.

Each one of those three banks received $25 billion under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. If it makes sense to give one bank $25 billion, then we can certainly invest the same amount to save the entire domestic auto industry.

As we heard last week, the banks may or may not lend the money any time soon. They may or may not use it to buy other banks. They may or may not award nice bonuses to their executives this year.I do not know what those companies are going to do with the funds they received from the taxpayers, and I don’t know what impact it will have.

But I do know what the American auto industry will do with the loans it seeks. It will build cars using parts from every state in the nation. It will provide good jobs to hundreds of thousands of middle class families in places like Lordstown and Sharonville and Toledo, Ohio. And it will support a decent retirement for a million senior citizens in every corner of our country.

Nobody wants to write this industry or any industry a blank check, and if Detroit were indifferent to the challenges it faces, then I don’t think it would have a very good case to make. But if you need evidence that Detroit gets it, look at last year’s labor agreement.

Labor and management made unprecedented changes to bring their costs in line with the competition.

They didn’t anticipate the current economic environment any more than Alan Greenspan or Secretary Paulson did. But if failing to see the future foreclosed access to federal help, the line of applicants would be very short.

If that were our standard, the government wouldn’t aid the victims of floods or fires. But we don’t turn a blind eye to people who live near the Gulf Coast or the California hills. We help them. Economically and politically, we are the United States, not some confederation of islands.

And we must be united in rebuilding a strong and vibrant manufacturing sector, a sector that has withered over the past decade as we tried to build one Potemkin village after another. Our economy cannot make it on mouse clicks alone, and we cannot live by just lending to one another. We need to build real things.

Helping bankers is fine. But we have it exactly backwards if we help those who don’t need it and ignore those who do.

Thank you Mr. Chairman

How the Feds are Blowing Through 7.8 Trillion Dollars

The New York Times has an article up on its website that is accompanied by the picture to the left. It shows how the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury are distributing up to 7.8 trillion dollars to the financial services industry.

Although they are plowing money into the system, this money won't help with the wave of foreclosures that are spreading across America. This paragraph from the article explains why:

But analysts said the program would do little to reduce the tidal wave of foreclosures. That is because most of the foreclosures are on subprime mortgages and other high-risk loans that were not bought or guaranteed by government-sponsored finance companies like Fannie Mae

What's interesting is the fact that while there was a lot of debate and public anguish over the 700 billion dollars in bailout funds approved by Congress, the amount of loans, according to the Times, is 1.7 trillion. So under what authority is this money being lent out? If the authority was already there, why did the Congress have to act? Under what terms and conditions is this money being lent out? Who is receiving it and how much are they receiving?

It would seem that those questions would interest someone in the media, let alone Congress, yet people don't seem to be asking them. Maybe everyone just assumes that the same geniuses who got us into this mess will get us out. If so, their faith may be sadly misplaced.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not Good News for the GOP

This Gallup Poll on the favorable/unfavorable rating of each party shows that the GOP is in a world of hurt. They have 61% of the public having an unfavorable opinion of the GOP, as against only 34% having a favorable opinion.

Given these numbers, you would expect a political party to co-operate with the incoming President to try and get America out of the economic mess that its outgoing president got us into, but you would be wrong. The GOP's idea of a stimulus package? Cut the capital gains tax to zero.

The Man Who May Cost Cleveland 4000 Jobs

This is John Dugan, Comptroller of the United States. He is also the man who apparently pulled the plug on National City Bank and steered National City into a merger with PNC, the Pittsburgh-based bank that is using Federal bail-out money to buy National City.

Dugan pulled the plug on National City by refusing to allow it to receive Federal funds. According to Ohio political leaders, NCB was the only bank in the top 25 to be refused Federal bail-out money. Although Cleveland Congressmen Kucinich and LaTourette have been trying to find out the particulars of the NCB-PNC deal, they have been frustrated by a lack of transparency in the Treasury Department.

What makes this deal stink is that before becoming Comptroller of the Currency, Mr. Dugan was a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C. One of his clients was, wait for it, PNC. Although he points out that NCB was also one of his clients, his relationship with PNC has caught the attention of LaTourette, among others.

Dugan is shocked and angered that anyone would think that he used his influence to help a former client of his, but LaTourette points out that Treasury gave more money to PNC than that bank was supposed to get. This is from the PD article linked to in this entry's title:

LaTourette said the Treasury Department money that went to PNC marked the first time the federal government took an equity stake in a regional bank.

According to LaTourette, about a week before National City was forced to sell itself to PNC, Dugan told National City Chief Executive Peter Raskind that his institution shouldn't expect federal bailout money.

LaTourette also observed that Paulson and Dugan gave PNC more bailout money than it was eligible to receive under the terms of the federal program. He said the bailout law stipulated that the Treasury Department could only give a bank money equivalent to 3 percent of its risk-weighted assets, while PNC got an amount closer to 6 percent.

Representative LaTourette has a great line about NCB:

It survived two wars and the Great Depression, but couldn't survive eight weeks of the bail-out.

If you agree with LaTourette and Kucinich that the NCB-PNC deal is suspicious, then check out this website and see how you can get involved in saving National City jobs.

Billions for Wall Street, Nothing for Auto-Makers? The Double Standard of Hank Paulson

So, what's with this? The Bush Administration and the Federal Reserve Board are willing to spend trillions on bailing out financial institutions, but won't bail out the auto-makers. Senators and Representatives are demanding a detailed plan from the auto industry on how it would spend any Federal money, yet, as far as we can tell, neither the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve are demanding the same thing from companies like AIG, which reportedly got 150 billion or Citigroup, which apparently is getting 20 billion.

Representatives and Senators from Michigan are calling this policy of billions for banks, but nothing for manufactuers a
"double standard" and it is hard to argue with them. Further, while businesses rant and rail against the United Auto Workers and assert that worker greed is responsible for the automakers' problems, not a word is said about the fact that these financial institutions are all going under and none of them are unionized.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, in an article posted on Talking Points Memo, said that the reason why banks are getting bailed out is that the people who run Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board come from the financial services sector of our economy. This is how Reich puts it in his article:

Nonetheless, Citi is about to be bailed out while GM is allowed to languish. That's because Wall Street's self-serving view of the unique role of financial institutions is mirrored in the two agencies that run the American economy -- the Treasury and the Fed. Their job, as they see it, is to keep the financial economy "sound," by which they mean keeping Wall Street's own investors and creditors reasonably happy.

As Reich points out, however, manufactuers support local communities all across this nation. This is a quote from Reich's article:

So why save Citi and not GM? It's not at all clear. In fact, there may be more reason to do the reverse. GM has a far greater impact on jobs and communities. Add parts suppliers and their employees, and the number of middle-class and blue-collar jobs dependent on GM is many multiples that of Citi. And the potential social costs of GM's demise, or even major shrinkage, is much larger than Citi's -- including everything from unemployment insurance to lost tax revenues to families suddenly without health insurance to entire communities whose infrastructure and housing may become nearly worthless.

We question whether Paulson understands the importance of manufactuers to the rest of the economy. Senator Levin from Michigan said on Monday that he plans to ask Paulson to outline the effect on the country if GM goes under. If Levin gets a response from Paulson, it will be interesting to see what he says.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Future of Political Organizing

This past Saturday, November 22, 2008, two Democratic events took place in Medina County. One was a party organized by Obama volunteers in Brunswick, and the other was a party organized by Obama volunteers in Wadsworth. They were held not because the organizers were told to hold them, but because the organizers wanted to hold them. Using email and the telephone, the organizers of the two events, Nick Hanek in Brunswick and Jule Batey in Wadsworth, made sure that Obama volunteers in their parts of Medina County knew of the event, and knew what they had to do to get involved. The result was people getting together, feeling connected, and maintaining the enthusiasm from the successful Obama campaign.

This is how political organization will look in the future. People will get together on their own, using easily available tools to plan and hold political meetings. Successful political organizations will be those that manage to facilitate such meetings, and provide a means of communication to their members. Such means of communication will then be used by the members themselves to organize and spread the organization's message.

This approach comes right out of the Obama campaign. On the wall of the Medina County Democratic Headquarters, the Obama workers put three big words up on the wall: "Include" "Empower" "Respect." This means that you include people, not exclude them; empower them to act on their own; and respect what they are doing.

These concepts are much different than what a lot of political organizations practice. Too many political organizations are exclusive, acting as if they are some sort of private club that only certain people are allowed into. Too often, such political organizations insist on a hierarchical structure, one that is top down and not bottom up. Ideas that are not generated from the leadership are downplayed and ignored.

That style of political leadership is ending. The Internet, like it did in so many areas, has made sure of that. Political organizations that don't recognize that won't be effective, but those that do, will.

Wadsworth Area Obama Volunteers Get Together

Wadsworth area Obama volunteers got together at the Great Oaks Condominium Party Center to talk about their campaign experiences. Organized by Julie Batey, the meeting included food and drink provided by those attending. Patty Haskins, a resident of Great Oaks Condominiums arranged for the use of the Party Center. Here are some pictures of the event:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama Supporters Party in Brunswick

On November 22, 2008, Obama volunteers from Brunswick gathered at Louise Melnik's home to celebrate Obama's election and talk about the future. Organized by Louise and Nick Hanek, Obama volunteers ate pizza, had some dessert, and shared ideas about getting more involved in Brunswick politics. We posted some pictures from the event.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama's Weekly Address for November 22, 2008

Following is a transcript of President-elect Barack Obama’s radio address for Saturday, Nov. 22, as released by the president-elect’s office.

Good morning.

The news this week has only reinforced the fact that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Financial markets faced more turmoil. New home purchases in October were the lowest in half a century. Five-hundred-forty-thousand more jobless claims were filed last week, the highest in 18 years. And we now risk falling into a deflationary spiral that could increase our massive debt even further.

While I’m pleased that Congress passed a long-overdue extension of unemployment benefits this week, we must do more to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. We have now lost 1.2 million jobs this year, and if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.

There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. But January 20th is our chance to begin anew — with a new direction, new ideas, and new reforms that will create jobs and fuel long-term economic growth.

I have already directed my economic team to come up with an Economic Recovery Plan that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011 — a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face that I intend to sign soon after taking office. We’ll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.
These aren’t just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis; these are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long. And they represent an early down payment on the type of reform my administration will bring to Washington — a government that spends wisely, focuses on what works, and puts the public interest ahead of the same special interests that have come to dominate our politics.

I know that passing this plan won’t be easy. I will need and seek support from Republicans and Democrats, and I’ll be welcome to ideas and suggestions from both sides of the aisle. But what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action.

Right now, there are millions of mothers and fathers who are lying awake at night wondering if next week’s paycheck will cover next month’s bills. There are Americans showing up to work in the morning only to have cleared out their desks by the afternoon. Retirees are watching their life savings disappear and students are seeing their college dreams deferred. These Americans need help, and they need it now.

The survival of the American Dream for over two centuries is not only a testament to its enduring power, but to the great effort, sacrifice, and courage of the American people. It has thrived because in our darkest hours, we have risen above the smallness of our divisions to forge a path towards a new and brighter day. We have acted boldly, bravely, and above all, together. That is the chance our new beginning now offers us, and that is the challenge we must rise to in the days to come.

It is time to act. As the next president of the United States, I will. Thank you.

George Voinovich's Votes to Cut Off Debate in 2008

MCDAC examined Senator George Voinovich's votes on motions to invoke cloture in 2008. A motion to invoke cloture is when the Senate votes to cut-off debate so that legislation can proceed to a vote. It has become the GOP's preferred method of obstructing Democratic sponsored legislation. By preventing bills from coming to a vote, they have avoided putting Bush in the position of vetoing popular legislation. Such votes also mean that so-called "moderates" like Voinovich don't have to go on record on votes. Votes in which they would face the Hobson's Choice of either voting against popular legislation and ticking off the public, or voting for such legislation and ticking off the right-wing base of the GOP.

Our examination consisted of going to the Senate's official website at and examining the votes that were identified as being votes on motions to invoke cloture. We found that in 2008, there were 49 such votes. On those votes, Voinovich voted with the winning side in all but four votes.

On only two of those four votes, did he vote different than the way a majority of the Republican caucus voted. On one of those votes he joined 17 Republican Senators. On that vote, which took place on September 29, 2008, 27 Republicans voted to cut-off debate. On another vote, which took place on June 26, 2008, 39 Republicans voted against cutting-off debate while Voinovich voted to cut-off debate. On the other votes, Voinovich voted with the Republican caucus.

We think that this shows that while Voinovich likes to talk a bi-partisan game, he really doesn't vote on a bi-partisan basis IF the Republican caucus is voting against the Democratic position.

Barack Obama will be putting forth legislation in the 111TH Congress. Legislation designed to turn around America's economy. A lot of this legislation will go against the pro-business, anti-regulation attitude of the Republican party, but will be what a majority of Ohioans want. It will be interesting to see, with two years to go until his re-election campaign, if Voinovich keeps supporting the right-wing position of the GOP Senate caucus.

Five Worst Holidays for Traffic Fatalities

Forbes Magazine ran an article online about the five deadliest holidays for traffic fatalities. Interestingly, New Year's Eve ranks fifth. The number one might surprise you. Here are the holidays and their rankings:

No. 5:New Year's Eve/Day
Average Vehicular Deaths: 421

No. 4:Labor Day Weekend
Average Vehicular Deaths: 488

No. 3:Memorial Day Weekend
Average Vehicular Deaths: 493

No. 2:Independence Day
Average Vehicular Deaths: 505

No. 1:Thanksgiving
Average Vehicular Deaths: 573

You can read the Forbes article online here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is Obama's Election the Final Atonement of the Democratic Party?

Following its inception in the late 1790s, the Democratic Party, originally called the Democratic-Republican Party, worked for the political aims of the slaveowners of the South. The founder, Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves. As the sin of slavery became more and more apparent to Americans, the Democratic Party began to suffer internal strains. Indeed, in the pivotal 1860 election, the Democratic Party split into two factions and each faction had its own candidate. The reason why was because the Democratic Party couldn't remain loyal to both its allies in the Southern ruling class and get the votes of Americans who wanted to abolish slavery.

From 1860 to 1876, the Democratic Party was out of power in Washington. The Southern ruling class, which had lost the Civil War, wasn't able to control the Reconstruction governments of the states of the Old Confederacy. That all began to change, however, following the disputed election of 1876.

In that election, Democratic candidate Samuel Tilling, governor of New York, almost defeated the Republican candidate, Rutherford Hayes. The election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Hayes managed to pull out a win, but the price was that he agreed to withdraw United States troops from the South. He ended Reconstruction.

The ending of Reconstruction meant that the white majority of the Southern states could grab control of the state governments, which they did, and it also meant that they could establish segregation, which they did. The refusal of the United States Supreme Court to rule segregation unconstitutional in the Plessy case meant that black Americans had no way to force the state governments of the South to recognize their civil rights.

From 1876 to 1948, the Democratic Party did not challenge this state of affairs. That ended in 1948 when the young Mayor of Minneapolis challenged the status quo and forced the Democratic Party to adopt a civil rights plank. Strom Thurmond and the so-called Dixiecrats walked out, formed their own party, appeared on five Southern ballots in 1948, and the so-called "Solid South" began to crack.

The cracking was patched over in the 1960 election, with electoral slates loyal to John F. Kennedy carrying most southern states. The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, followed by the Voting Rights Act, drove Southern whites out of the Democratic Party. By 1972, Nixon was following the Southern Strategy and Democrats lost every state in the South. (Of course, McGovern lost all states but one, but the writing was on the wall for Democrats in the South.)

Jimmy Carter managed to get back some of those southern states in 1976, cut lost them to Reagan in 1980. Mondale lost them in 1984 and Dukasis lost them in 1988. Clinton, though, was competitive in the South in both 1992 and 1996. Gore, however, in 2000, was not, and neither was Kerry in 2004.

In politics, though, as in life in general, nothing lasts forever. Obama actually took three southern states, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, on his way to winning the presidency. Not only did he take three southern states, but he proved that a candidate who was not a white southerner could win the presidency.

In a way, the election of the first African-American President as a Democrat represents an atonement of sorts for the Democratic Party's racist past. It doesn't excuse it, it doesn't make it disappear, and it doesn't repay all those African-Americans whose rights were denied for decades in the South, and indeed, in the United States. But, it is an atonement of sorts. As a Democrat, I am proud and glad that my party was the first major party to nominate an African-American for president. As an American, I am even prouder of my country for electing him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

States Ranking by Percentage in Poverty & the 2008 Election

Below is the ranking of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia by the percentage of their population living in poverty. The ranking was done by the United States Census Bureau. If you look at the top ten states, two of them went for Obama and the other eight went for McCain. Conversely if you look at the bottom ten, you will find that nine of those states went for Obama, while only one went for McCain. Ohio, by the way, ranks 21, with 13.3% of its population living in poverty.

District of Columbia
New Mexico
West Virginia
South Carolina
North Carolina
New York
South Dakota
United States
North Dakota
Rhode Island
New Jersey
New Hampshire

Monday, November 17, 2008

Are Republicans Trying to Bust the UAW?

This is Senator Jon Kyl, (R-AZ). Jon-Boy is John McCain's Senatorial colleague. He is a Senator who supported bailing out the financial institutions that helped get us into the sub-prime mortgage mess and whose collapse would supposedly have triggered a very bad recession if not a depression. (You can see how Jon-Boy voted on that bill here.)

Jon-Boy was on a talking heads show on Sunday, and announced that he opposes helping out with Federal money the American auto industry. This is a quote from an AP article: Added Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican: "Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything. It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning."

So, let's see if we understand Jon's position: Using 750 billion dollars of taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street is good, but using 25 billion to help save up to 2.3 million American jobs is bad. Does that make any sense to you, because it sure doesn't to us.

Unless, of course, the aim here is to destroy the UAW, which has long been a thorn in the sides of Republicans in particular and conservatives in general. If the Big Three domestic automakers are put out of business, or even forced into bankruptcy, the UAW will be severely crippled. A major political ally of the Democratic Party will be wounded and the American labor movement, which is, perhaps, on the verge of gaining some political ground come January, will be damaged. We'd say that's a big reason for ol' Jon-Boy to decide that it's okay to help bankers, but not auto-makers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reader Submission: Thoughts on Medina County Dem Campaigns

A reader who is active in Democratic politics, and who has been involved in winning campaigns at the county-level sent us these six points and gave us permission to run them as an entry on our blog.
We urge all Medina Democrats who are interested in local campaigns to read our reader's suggestions on how to win local campaigns.

1. The local candidates developed a really nice joint piece for lit dropping and canvassing. An individual piece of literature, however, would be better for the absentee mailing. People who vote at home take it really seriously and like to review the lit. It would be money well spent for each candidate to do a piece to tell his or her own story for this mailing.

2. I have voted early at the BOE for 3 election cycles and did not receive one piece of lit from D or R local candidates - this means advantage incumbent. These are good voters and can't be missed. These voters can be identified because their absentee applications and the submissions of their ballots are on the same day.

3. Some local candidates targeted only Independents with their mailings. Given this was a year where so many more people than the loyal base pulled a Dem primary ballot, this probably overlooked many good and persuadable voters.

4. Only one local candidate made a case for change, but it may have been too late. The case must be made before the campaign begins. With 20,000 plus good voters voting before Nov. 4th -- the case has to be made before the early voting begins.

5. TV advertising is essential. People need to see the candidates in their homes to "know" them.

6. The cooperation was impressive this year amongst candidates, but the party needs to organize a ground game. Until there is a geographically based organizational structure that survives from year to year, this will never be a blue county. Blue counties aren't necessarily blue because everyone is left of center, but rather because these counties have infrastructure.

Rasmussen Reports GOP Likes Palin, Dems and Independents, Not So Much

Rasmussen Reports released the findings of a poll concerning views Republicans have of Sarah Palin. The interesting thing is that while 91% of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, 81% of Democrats and 57% of Independents have an unfavorable view of her.
What's also interesting is that 69% of Republicans think that she helped the GOP ticket while only 20% of Republicans think she was a liability. Of the Republicans polled, 64% back Palin for the 2012 Republican nomination, while 12% back Mike Huckabee and 11% back Mitt Romney.
The full article from Rasmussen can be read here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Plain Dealer Article on Dem Gains in Ohio

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an interesting article last week on November 10, 2008 about Dem gains and GOP gains in the Ohio presidential election. As you can see from the map, McCain only gained on Bush's performance in 11 counties while Obama did better than Kerry in 77 counties. You can read the article here.

Barack Obama's Election and Household Income

Below is a ranking of the fifty states of the United States, plus the District of Columbia, and how they rank in terms of median household income. You will note that of the top 20 states, which includes the District of Columbia, Obama carried all 20 of them. Of the bottom 20, McCain carried 15 and Obama carried 20. The information was obtained from the website of the United States Census Bureau,which can be found at

Rank Median Income
New Jersey
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New York
Rhode Island
United States
North Dakota
West Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Mexico
South Dakota

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Radio Address

Below is the transcript of President-Elect Obama's radio address given on November 15, 2008. A link to the video clip that was posted on You Tube appears after the transcript.

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
November 15, 2008

Today, the leaders of the G-20 countries -- a group that includes the world's largest economies -- are gathering in Washington to seek solutions to the ongoing turmoil in our financial markets. I'm glad President Bush has initiated this process -- because our global economic crisis requires a coordinated global response.

And yet, as we act in concert with other nations, we must also act immediately here at home to address America's own economic crisis. This week, amid continued volatility in our markets, we learned that unemployment insurance claims rose to their highest levels since September 11, 2001. We've lost jobs for ten straight months -- nearly 1.2 million jobs this year, many of them in our struggling auto industry. And millions of our fellow citizens lie awake each night wondering how they're going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and save for retirement.

Make no mistake: this is the greatest economic challenge of our time. And while the road ahead will be long, and the work will be hard, I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis -- because here in America we always rise to the moment, no matter how hard. And I am more hopeful than ever before that America will rise once again.

But we must act right now. Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again. In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year. If Congress does not pass an immediate plan that gives the economy the boost it needs, I will make it my first order of business as President.

Even as we dig ourselves out of this recession, we must also recognize that out of this economic crisis comes an opportunity to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century.

That starts with the kinds of long-term investments that we've neglected for too long. That means putting two million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools. It means investing $150 billion to build an American green energy economy that will create five million new jobs, while freeing our nation from the tyranny of foreign oil, and saving our planet for our children. It means making health care affordable for anyone who has it, accessible for anyone who wants it, and reducing costs for small businesses. And it also means giving every child the world-class education they need to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.

Doing all this will require not just new policies, but a new spirit of service and sacrifice, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. If this financial crisis has taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people. And that is how we will meet the challenges of our time -- together.

Thank you.

Online Petition Regarding Lieberman

A reader of the Kicker sent us the following email correspondence. We thought we would share it with others:

Senator Lieberman has supported a war in Iraq that has, by nearly all accounts, weakened our security rather than strengthened it. He has stood idly by and allowed the Bush Administration to spy on Americans and torture innocent human beings.

I've had enough of Senator Lieberman squandering his power to aid the likes of President Bush - so I just signed a petition asking my senator to vote to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship. I hope you will, too.

Go to

Please have a look and take action.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Medina Rep Becomes House Minority Leader

Medina County Representative Bill Batchelder became the House Minority Leader on a vote in the House Republican caucus. Batchelder was battling with Representative Matt Dolan for the House Speakership during the 2008 campaign. Once the Republicans lost the majority in the House, Dolan withdrew his name from consideration as House Minority Leader.

State Senator Capri Cafaro Becomes Ohio Senate Minority Leader

Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro has become Ohio Senate Minority Leader on a vote of the Democratic State Senators. Cafaro is known to Medina County Democrats from her campaign for the Democratic nomination for the 13TH Congressional District in 2006. Cafaro defeated Ohio Senator Tom Roberts of Dayton for the position. Cafaro is 30 years old. She was appointed State Senator in 2007 after Marc Dann left the seat to become Ohio's Attorney General.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

College Grads & 2008 Presidential Voting

Below is a ranking of the fifty states by the percentage of four-year college graduates in their populations. The ranking includes the District of Columbia and was prepared by the United States Census Bureau.

A review of the rankings shows that Obama carried all of the top ten states, and carried 17 out of the top 20. Conversely, McCain carried nine of the bottom ten, with only Nevada in that group going for Obama. Of the bottom 20, McCain carried 16 while Obama carried four. (Ohio, by the way, falls into the bottom 20 at 21.9%. Ohio's ranking is highlighted.)

It would be interesting to know if this voting pattern carried down into the county level of the states that Obama carried, including Ohio. If it did, then one way that local Democratic candidates might target voters is by trying to find out which voters have a four-year degree.

Rank State Percent
0 United States 25.9
1 D.C. 42.5
2 Massachusetts 35.5
3 Colorado 33.5
4 Maryland 33.1
5 Connecticut 32.9
6 Virginia 31.7
7 New Jersey 31.6
8 Vermont 30.8
9 New Hampshire 30.2
10 Minnesota 29.8
11 Washington 29.7
12 New York 29.3
13 California 28.5
14 Illinois 28.1
15 Alaska 28
16 Hawaii 27.9
17 Utah 27.3
18 Kansas 26.7
18 Rhode Island 26.7
20 New Mexico 25.9
20 Oregon 25.9
22 Delaware 25.1
23 Montana 24.8
23 Nebraska 24.8
25 Texas 24.5
26 Georgia 24.4
27 Florida 24.1
28 Maine 24
29 Missouri 23.9
30 North Dakota 23.8
31 Michigan 23.6
31 Pennsylvania 23.6
31 South Dakota 23.6
34 North Carolina 23.4
34 Wyoming 23.4
36 Arizona 23.2
36 Wisconsin 23.2
38 South Carolina 22.7
39 Idaho 22.6
40 Iowa 22.2
41 Ohio 21.9
42 Tennessee 21
43 Oklahoma 20.7
44 Alabama 20.6
44 Indiana 20.6
46 Louisiana 20.4
47 Arkansas 19.7
48 Kentucky 18.8
49 Nevada 18.6
50 Mississippi 17.7
51 West Virginia 16.1

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Time for Democratic Market Research in Medina County

No business would introduce a new product without doing some type of market research. The business would try to find out what the potential consumer of the product wanted, what features they liked, and didn't like. Yet, every year Medina County Democrats are running for local office, introducing new "products" if you will, without having any idea what the consumers of the product, ie, voters are looking for or what they want.

These candidates are spending a lot of money to run for office. Yet, that money is being spent blindly, without doing the basic research needed to understand the concerns of Medina County voters, the consumers of all the information that local candidates put out.

These consumers are definitely known. They are voters who reside in Medina County. Finding out what they want from local and county government wouldn't be that hard. Chances are that some of the market research has already been done by publicly funded agencies such as the Medina County Economic Development Corporation and other agencies.

If those agencies don't have the kind of data that candidates need, then the Medina County Democratic Party needs to commission a poll or a survey to find out what voters like and don't like about their county and local governments. What can't happen is for another election year to take place without the Medina County Democratic Party knowing what voters think.

Do 2008 Election Results Show Importance of Cable TV in Medina County?

In an earlier post this week, we pointed out that James Riley from Ashland County got more votes county-wide in the November 4, 2008 election than all but Holman, Obama, and Cordray. He did better in Medina County than Democratic candidates running for Commissioner, Treasurer, and Recorder, all of whom were from Medina County. The question is: Why?

One answer may be that he was higher up on the ballot. Voters came to his race before coming to the county-wide races for non-judicial offices. Ballot location, however, doesn't seem to be the answer. Even though the State Senator race was higher up on the ballot, not as many people voted in that election as voted in the races for other county-wide offices. In fact, the only race in Medina County for a non-judicial race that drew fewer votes was the race for Medina County Recorder.

What's interesting about Riley's race, though, was that according to a good friend of ours, the Democratic State Senate caucus ran ads for Riley on cable television systems in Medina County. None of the other local Democratic candidates were on cable television in Medina County.

In the judicial races, Judge Eve Belfance, running for the Ninth District Court of Appeals, also carried Medina County. In fact, she was the only Democratic candidate running in a contested Medina County judicial election to carry Medina County.

This means that with the exception of Dean Holman, Medina County Prosecutor, who was running in his sixth election, every Democratic candidate who won was on either cable television or broadcast television.

Further, the only Democratic candidate to receive under 40% of the vote, who was running for State Representative in the 69Th District, was up against an opponent who ran ads on cable television systems.

In 2010, when two county-wide elected positions will be on the ballot, Democratic candidates should seriously consider running cable television ads.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama, the Old St. Louis Courthouse, & the Dred Scott Decision

A reader sent us this picture and the following text in a email message. We thought we would share it with our readers.

The picture above (link provided) is from today's Obama rally in St. Louis. I guess the eye is first drawn to the sheer number of people. Impressive, I agree. But that's not the point of this picture to a historian.

If you look in the distance there, you can see a building with a greenish-copper dome. That's the Old St. Louis Courthouse. For years and years, slaves were auctioned on the steps of that courthouse.

The Old Courthouse used to be called the St. Louis State and Federal Courthouse. Back in 1850, two escaped slaves named Dred and Harriett Scott had their petition for freedom overturned in a case there. Montgomery Blair took the case to the US Supreme Court on Scott's behalf and had Chief Justice Roger Taney throw it out because, as he wrote, the Scotts were 'beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relat ions, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.'

I found it rather uplifting that, 158 years later, the man who will most likely be the first black US President was able to stand outside this very same courthouse and gather that crowd. Today, America looked back on one of the darkest moments in its history, and resoundingly told Judge Taney to go to hell.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MCDAC Kicker Visitors in 2008 Compared to 2007

The top picture shows the visitors to this blog in 2008 on a monthly basis and the bottom one shows the visitors in 2007, again on a monthly basis. The pictures come from Sitemeter, the service we use to track visitors to our blog.

As you can see, we had a noticable increase in traffic in 2008 over 2007 presumably because of the presidential election in 2008. There was also a definite coorelation between the number of blog entries we posted in a month and the number of visitors to our site.

Medina County Vote Totals by Candidate

Based on the unofficial results for Medina County from the Board of Elections, below is the number of votes obtained by both Democrats and Republicans running county-wide in Medina County. Since Medina County is in two congressional districts and two state representative districts, we didn't show the results in those races.

While none of the Republicans ran better than the top of their ticket, Dean Holman, Medina County Prosecutor who was running for re-election, led the ticket for the Democrats in Medina County. Interestingly, James Riley, who was running for State Senator, got more votes in Medina County than any other Democrat, other than Obama, running for the first time in Medina County. Riley is from Ashland County.



















Un-Official Medina County Turn-Out

Based on the unofficial returns from the Medina County Board of Elections, this is the voter turn-out for the contested, non-judicial races in Medina County. Since Medina County is in two congressional districts and two state representative districts, we totaled the results in order to show a county-wide vote for those positions. The returns are ranked in descending order of turnout.

The least number of votes in a contested race involving a county official were cast in the County Recorder's race. The Republican incumbent was appointed at the beginning of 2007 and only had two years of incumbency. The most votes in a contested race involving a county offical were cast in the County Treasurer's race. There you had a mult-term incumbent combined with a sharp attack on the incumbent's record to drive up turnout in that race.

Counting the two congressional races and the two state representive races, there were 12 contested races on the Medina County ballot in non-judicial offices. Republicans won eight of them, and Democrats won four.

There were 128119 registered voters in Medina County. The total vote was 87973 for a turnout rate of 68.5%.

President 87973

Congress 79369

Treasurer 77649

Prosecutor 77508

State Rep 77352

Ohio AG 76548

Commissioner 76323

Commissioner 76177

State Sen 75364

Recorder 75017

Unofficial Medina County Results

Below are the unofficial results for Medina County in non-judicial races. The results are from the Medina County Board of Elections. The winners are in color with Repubican winners in red and Democratic winners in blue.

McCain 46829 53.23% R
Obama 39645 42.06% D

Ohio Attorney General
Cordray 38333 50.08% D
Crites 34934 45.64% R

Congress-13th District
Sutton 14206 56.67% D
Potter 10857 43.31% R

Congress-16th District
Boccieri 30827 55.78% D
Schuring 24012 44.22% R

State Senate
Gibbs 41686 55.31% R
Riley 33678 44.69% D

State House-69th District
Batchelder 37708 63.33% R
Schira 21838 36.67% D

State House-97th District
Brewer 7657 43.00% D
Hall 10149 57.00% R

County Commissioner
Hambley 46211 60.55% R
Sharkey 30112 39.45 D

County Commissioner
Feron 33522 44.01% D
Geissman 42655 55.99% R

Holman 44755 57.74% D
Russica 32753 42.26% R

County Recorder
Swedyk 41960 55.93% R
Courtney 33057 44.07% D

County Treasurer
Burke 45023 57.98% R
Todd 32626 42.02% D