Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sutton Testifies Before U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee

Testimony of Representative Betty Sutton, (D-OH13), on February 28, 2008:

“Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I am very proud to have served on this Committee last year, and I’m pleased to join you once again to speak on budget issues of importance to Ohio ’s 13th District. The budget is a moral document. It is a statement of the values of our nation. It is the clearest way to see where a government’s true priorities lie.”

“That’s why I’m very concerned about the message that the President’s Budget sends to the American people. It does not invest in the most important long-term priorities in the country… it instead places a premium on investment in the short-term interests of a few.”

“At a time when working families are facing skyrocketing energy, health care, and education costs, the President’s Budget would cut critical programs that can help Americans through these tough economic times. Today I would like to discuss a few of these programs, which are vital to the people I represent in Ohio .”


“The state of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure was demonstrated in the most dramatic fashion possible, when the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River last August. In the face of overwhelming evidence of the need for increased investment in our infrastructure, the Bush Administration continues to pursue an open-ended policy in Iraq , while badly shortchanging infrastructure investments at home.”

“Tackling the repair of our nation’s infrastructure is not a glamorous task, but it is absolutely essential for our nation’s long-term success. The Minnesota bridge collapse and Hurricane Katrina are vivid reminders that these considerations are not theoretical. Investments in infrastructure are not just critical for public safety, but they also bring a significant boost to local economies and provide more Americans with good paying jobs.”

“The President’s proposed funding levels are fully $1 billion below the levels guaranteed by SAFETEA-LU. The Budget Committee should reject this funding level and renew our commitment to improving our national infrastructure.”

First Responders

“I would also urge the Budget Committee to reject the cuts the President has made to grants to local law enforcement and fire departments. Although the President has repeatedly stressed the importance of homeland security, he has left our first responders without funds that are critically important to the work they do in our communities every single day.”

“Firefighters in my district depend on Assistance to Firefighter Grants, which are used for equipment, training, and other projects to ensure they have everything they need to keep our families and neighborhoods safe. The President’s proposed funding levels would eliminate over $24 million in Fire Grants for the state of Ohio , which could result in 267 fewer grants awarded. He also eliminated formula funding for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which would result in 122 fewer police officers funded in Ohio .”

“Our first responders are out in our communities every day and have made a commitment to protecting our communities from harm. We in Congress must also make a commitment to our first responders, to ensure they have the resources they need to continue their critical work.”

Research and Development

“In order for the United States to continue at the forefront of innovation and technology, we must continue to support research and development. That these investments generate significant returns is abundantly clear, and not only will they result in advances in our scientific understanding, they will generate new jobs and help fuel our local economies.”

“The University of Akron , for example, is a world leader in polymer research, and the effect this research center has had on the Akron economy has been profound. I would encourage the committee to include robust funding for research and development in this year’s budget.”

Green Jobs

“In addition, this year, we have the opportunity to fund a newly authorized program that will help reinvest in American manufacturing, such as at the Avon Lake Ford Plant in my district, and help create Green jobs. This past December, we authorized the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, which will be administered by the Department of Energy. This program will provide low-cost loans to automobile manufacturers to make substantial investments in their factories here in the United States . By funding this program, auto companies will have low-interest loans available to invest in engineering, component production and the retooling of existing factories to manufacture new, advanced technology vehicles such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, advanced diesel and fuel cell cars.”


“We must always remember that the full measure of what we owe our veterans does not end after they leave the battlefield… our responsibility extends to what we provide for our soldiers once they return home. The President’s Budget does not provide adequately for the care of our veterans, providing $20 billion less than what is necessary to merely maintain its current purchasing power. It is unacceptable for the President to attempt to impose new fees on our veterans even though they have been overwhelmingly rejected many times before.”

“I am proud to say that I served on this Committee when we passed the largest increase in VA funding in American history. I urge the Budget Committee to continue its commitment to helping those who have fought so bravely and sacrificed in ways that many of us can never fully appreciate.”

Community Development Block Grant

“Finally, I would strongly urge the Budget Committee to reject the proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant. I cannot overemphasize the positive impact that CDBG funds have made on my district. With the foreclosure crisis driving many of my constituents out of their homes, and with so many Ohioans losing their jobs in recent years, CDBG provides funds to state and local organizations to address these difficulties.

It has created tens of thousands of jobs across the country, assisted families in finding affordable housing, and has been a catalyst for economic development.”

“A loss of nearly $30 million of these funds would deprive my district of funds that are critical for helping us move forward. It would be irresponsible to cut these programs that are intended to assist families who currently have the greatest need. When the Bush Budget arrived in Congress earlier this month, it was characterized as “dead on arrival.” And that’s because we have all recognized that President Bush is not listening to the American people. He has demonstrated a callous indifference to the needs of working class Americans that we must reject.”

“As one who has served on this esteemed Committee, I know that it is difficult to balance the many competing priorities before you. However, I urge you to keep the needs of working families in mind as you make your decisions. We cannot afford to turn our backs on them during these difficult economic times. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.”

Conservative Talk Show Host Repudiated by McCain Claims He was Asked by DeWine to "Throw Red Meat to the Crowd"

Bill Cunningham, the right-wing talk show host from Cincinnati, who introduced John McCain at a rally last week using Obama's middle name and referring to him as a "Daley style" politician from Chicago, says he was recruited to do the introduction by former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. He claims that he was recruited at a lunch by DeWine and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. Deters disputes that the recruiting took place at the lunch that he attended with DeWine and Cunningham. All of this is contained in an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Cunningham, who is now ticked off at McCain for apologizing to both Obama and Clinton for Cunningham's remarks, is telling his listeners that he cannot support the person he is calling "Juan Pablo McCain". (We are assuming that Cunningham is calling McCain Juan Pablo to point out McCain's support of immigration reform, but, since we are not a radical, right-winger, we can't be sure.)

One of the constant things we have been told by the media over the years is that Mike DeWine is some sort of "moderate" Republican. (Apparently if you don't foam at the mouth and howl at the moon, you are given "moderate" status by the corporate media.) Like all such "moderate Republicans", however, DeWine is not above using the radical, right-wingers when it serves his political purpose.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Online Voter Guide

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has put its voter guide for the 2008 primary online at Usually newspapers publish these guides in a special section that is released on the weekend before the election. One reason why they put them in a special section is that they can then sell advertisements to candidates. It will be interesting to see if the PD puts this guide out in a print format as well as an online format.

The PD's online voter guide allows you to find candidates by name, by geographical location, or by the type of race, ie, presidential, congressional, Ohio General Assembly. The page is set up so that the first thing you see is a place to enter you address and then you can get information on races for that area. The online guide covers 217 races and 295 candidates.

Each candidate was asked to give biographical information and then answer three questions that pertain to the position that the candidate is seeking. There is also a picture of each candidate.

If you are undecided about what candidate to support in certain races, or are interested in who is running for office in your area, you might want to check it out. Just click on the link given above.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Cost to Ohio of its Four Nuclear Reactors

A reader sent us a link to an article that was posted on a website called out of Columbus. The article is titled How Swing State Ohio Got Nuked. The theme of the article is that the cost of the state's four nuclear reactors is hurting Ohio economically. This is a quote from the article:

The state suffers some of the nation's highest and most unpredictable electric costs for four simple reasons: the Davis-Besse, Perry, Zimmer and Beaver Valley 2 nuclear plants.

Davis-Besse, near Toledo, is world-famous for a leak of boric acid that ate through a six-inch stainless steel reactor pressure vessel, bringing northern Ohio to the brink of a Chernobyl-scale catastrophe. Perry, east of Cleveland, suffered billions in construction cost over-runs, and is the only US nuke to have been damaged by an earthquake. Zimmer, on the Ohio River, was allegedly more than 95% complete when massive design and construction flaws forced its hugely expensive 1980s conversion to coal. Beaver Valley 2, near Pittsburgh, has run up even more in overages.

To recoup their radioactive losses, Ohio utilities rammed a 1999 "deregulation" bill through the legislature that has thus far cost ratepayers at least $10 billion, and counting. The vast bulk of the money has gone to repay "stranded costs," corporate code for sunk debt reactor owners don't want to eat. Had that money gone to increased efficiency and renewable technologies, Ohio’s economy would be on a very different footing.

The article points out that Ohio has lost business opportunities as a result of our electric rate structure. Here is a quote from the article:

On Friday, February 22, a powerful group of international steel investors announced they were pulling Ohio out of the running for a new high-tech production plant. Some 500 jobs will now go elsewhere. The investors blamed unstable power prices. "If you had to rank from clarity on the utility situation, Ohio would not rank very high," said one.

Check out the article and draw your own conclusions. We think you will find it interesting.

Thanks to reader Phyllis Bernel for sending us this article.

Question to Ask the GOP: How Much Longer Will You Keep American Troops in Iraq?

That is the question that the media never seems to get around asking Republican Senators and Representatives. They are allowed to get up and denounce Democrats for wanting a time limit to our involvement. They are allowed to claim that Democrats are going to put "a bullet in the heart of our troops," as Senator Kay Hutchinson did on Tuesday, February 26, 2008. Yet, they never have to state how long they would keep spending American lives and money in Iraq.

We hear such trite sayings as "We will stand down as the Iraqis stand up." We are told that the Democrats should allow General Petraeus to decide how long troops should stay in Iraq. But Republicans never say how long they are willing to keep American troops in Iraq.

While GOP officeholders are not willing to say, the Pentagon is willing to tell us. The figure they are using is that 140,000 troops will be in Iraq after the troops that make up the so-called "surge" are withdrawn. If you are keeping score, that is 8,000 more troops than were in Iraq when the "surge" began.

The cost to the United States for the war in Iraq is getting close to half a trillion dollars, and we are spending money at about a clip of about 12.5 billion a month. Of course, that is not what we were told at the beginning of Bubble-Boy's adventure. Then we were told that the war would cost around 50-60 billion. When Larry Summers, the President's Economic Advisor, said that the cost could reach 200 billion, his estimate was called "baloney" by Donald Rumsfeld.

So here we are, five years after the invasion of Iraq, over 4,000 American dead, thousands wounded, and billions spent. Yet, the media continues to act as if the burden of proof is on the opponents of the war and not on the supporters of the war.

Latest Ohio Polls on Dem President Race

One of the nice things about Josh Marshall's website, www.talkingpoints.memo, is the section called "Poll Tracker" in which they list all the polls that are released publicly. Here is the latest polls on the race for the Democratic nomination for President for Ohio:

OH-Pres (D)
Feb 26 SurveyUSA Clinton 50%, Obama 44%
OH-Pres (D)
Feb 26 Rasmussen Clinton 48%, Obama 43%
OH-Pres (D)
Feb 25 PPP (D)Clinton 50%, Obama 46%
OH-Pres (D)
Feb 25 ARG Clinton 49%, Obama 39%
OH-Pres (D)
Feb 25 Quinnipiac Clinton 51%, Obama 40%
OH-Pres (D)
Feb 25 Univ. of Cinc. Clinton 47%, Obama 39%

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vote Vets Ad Against John McCain

This is the ad that Vote Vets released against John McCain on both the Internet on You Tube and it will also be running these ads on television:

Senate Votes for Cloture on Bill to Cut Off Funding for Iraq War

In what was seen as a surprise move, the Republicans in the United States Senate agreed to allow a vote on a bill to cut funding for the Iraq War and to redeploy troops out of Iraq within 120 days. Consequently the motion to invoke cloture passed by a vote of 70 to 24 with 6 Senators not voting.

Both Ohio Senators voted to invoke cloture, which may be the first time that Brown and Voinovich have voted the same way on a bill related to Iraq. Interestingly 21 of the 24 votes against invoking cloture on debating the bill came from Democrats. Democrats voting against cloture included both Democratic Senators from Delaware, and newly elected Democratic Senators Casey, Webb, Tester, and McCaskill.

The Republicans voted to allow the debate to go forward and to advance the bill to a vote because they think that the so-called "success" of the surge will help them move public opinion. Of course, a lot of that depends on how the Democrats frame the debate.

We hope that Democrats point out that Republicans are willing to spend billions of dollars on Iraqis, but not on Americans. Billions of dollars to rebuild Baghdad, but not New Orleans. Framing the debate that way makes the choices that Republicans are making very clear.

We would also like to see Democrats earmark the money saved by cutting funding for the war and deploying troops out of Iraq for helping ordinary Americans caught up in the foreclosure crisis or into developing alternative energy. Of course, it is all hypothetical anyway since Bush has already vowed to veto any bill cuts off funding and redeploy troops out of Iraq. Still, the debate could be interesting.

Obama's Camaign Uses Existing Social Networks to Organize Ohio

That's the question raised by this article in the online version of Time magazine. The answer is yes, definitely.

The article is titled Obama's Ohio Grassroots Advantageand it points out how Obama has been organizing in Ohio since last summer. Just as in other states, the Obama campaign has relied on volunteers in Ohio who got activated through the campaign website. This is a quote from the article:

One of Obama's first volunteers here was Antoinette McCall, a substitute high school teacher who has never worked a campaign before in her life. McCall became active 11 months ago, donating what little money she could to Obama's campaign. She used Obama's website to recruit volunteers and run a phone bank from her living room. She convinced friends who own beauty salons to organize their customers, and created a database of hundreds of Obama supporters.

"It's like we had this whole movement built up before the campaign staff even got here," says McCall, 36. In a few months, McCall, a political novice, has built an organization rivaling that of some state senators who form the backbone of Clinton's establishment support. "By the time they finally opened the office," she says, "this place was packed."

The reference to beauty shops is interesting since the use of beauty and barber shops was credited with helping the Obama campaign build an organization in South Carolina. What the Obama campaign was able to do was to tap into the social networks that such shops had already established and use them for the campaign.

What is fascinating about Obama's campaign is that he has a background in community organization. One thing that community organizers are taught is to identify existing social networks and use them to organize a community for political change and activism. Clearly the Obama campaign has been doing just that.

Help Turn Medina County Blue

This week the Medina County Democratic Party, through its Chair, Pam Miller, is debuting its "Turn Medina County Blue" project. This project involves recruiting Neighborhood Leaders who will be involved in canvassing voters in person and by phone, distributing campaign literature, putting up yard signs, and distributing Common Sense, Medina County's Democratic newspaper. If you are interested in taking part in this project, go to the contact page at, or call 330-722-6655 and leave a message.

More Misleading Statements from the Straight Talk Express

So has someone in his campaign told John McCain that claiming he doesn't care that American troops are in Iraq for a 100 years, or even a 1,000 years, is not the way to win the presidency. He is now trying to back off the statment, telling a crowd in Ohio yesterday that he meant that troops would be stationed in Iraq, but they wouldn't be combat troops.

In fact, this is what he is now telling voters:

"By the way that reminds me of this 100 year thing," McCain told the 800-plus crowd. He went on to characterize the conversation he had in Salem as a "back and forth" over the war and how long American troops would be there.

Then McCain took a step he hasn't before.

"My friends, the war will be over soon..." McCain told the crowd. "The insurgency will go on for years and years and years. But it will be handled by the Iraqis, not by us."

"And then we decide what kind of security arrangement we want to have with the Iraqis."

We wonder what prompted McCain to try and change his tune on Iraq. Was it the fact that organizations like has a new video ad up which has a woman who is a Iraq War Vet asking McCain why he is so willing to spend billions of dollars on Iraqis?

Is it the fact that Gallup polls show that he is losing to Obama, but beating Clinton, and the most significant difference between the two is the Iraq War resolution?

Or is it just his overwhelming desire to be President, which in the past has led him to renounce his own immigration bill, change his position on Bush's tax cuts, and embrace people like Jerry Falwell, who he previously denounced?

Of course, in the past this wouldn't have mattered because there wouldn't have been video clips all over the Internet of what he actually said. In the past his friends in the national media, like Chris Matthews, would have pontificated in his favor and covered up his actual words. Well, thank God those days are drawing to a close. Now we can all see just what a staight talker John McCain is and what he actually says.

Monday, February 25, 2008

How Media Treats Republicans and Democrats Differently

Jamison Foser of Media Matters has a very interesting article up on the Media Matters website concerning how the treatment of John McCain differs from the treatment given to Democrats like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or John Kerry. The article is titled "John McCain and the Clinton Rules." He analyzes how there were three such "rules" used by the media when discussing Democrats, but which aren't used by the media when discussing John McCain or other Republicans.

Those rules are:

If any part of an alleged scandal turns out to be true, the media behaves as though the entire story is true.

Media parse every statement by progressives in response to controversy, looking for something to ridicule -- whether the ridicule is fair or not.

Allegations that turn out to be unproven, or even false, are used by the media as evidence in support of future allegations.

Foser points out that if the same rules had been used in covering George W. Bush, he probably wouldn't have won the 2000 election, even with the help of his friends on the United States Supreme Court. Foser also wonders if the media is starting to apply the Clinton Rules to Barack Obama, noting the news story that appeared that seemed to criticise Obama for not using drugs as much as he suggested in his book, Dreams of My Father.

This is how a writer from the New Yorker saw the Times story:

The news here is—what, exactly? That Obama, who now appears grounded, motivated, and poised, formerly appeared grounded, motivated, and poised? That his inner uncertainties, such as they were, were more apparent to himself than to others? That he was marginally less of a pothead than he has made himself out to be?

If the national media applies the Clinton Rules to one side, but not the other, then that side is under a big handicap, indeed, you could argue that such one-sided application would be a fatal handicap, given the elections of 2000 and 2004.

GOP Worried About Charges of Racism and Sexism During 2008 Campaign

Ever since 1968, when Richard Nixon adopted the Southern Strategy for winning the White House, the GOP has used racism to beat Democrats in national elections. The thinking is that you capture the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, combine them with farm belt states, and then get enough of the industrial states to win the electoral college. This thinking has paid off in wins in every presidential election since 1968 except in 1976, 1992, and 1996. Of course, the GOP lost the popular vote in 2000, but with the aid of the Republican United States Supreme Court managed to win the electoral college.

The strategy also paid off in Congressional races, as the states of the Old Confederacy provide the GOP with 18 Republican Senators and a substantial part of its membership in the House of Representatives.

There has been, however, a political price paid for that success. In the 1960s, the GOP carried most of New England, now it is barely competitive in New England. Nixon saw California as essential to his election prospects, now a GOP candidate cannot carry California. Still, during the 40 years from 1968 to 2008, the GOP has controlled the White House 28 of those years, and controlled both Houses of Congress for 12 of those years.

Given that success, you would think that the GOP would be chomping at the bit to run against either Obama or Clinton. Yet, according to a story in Politico, GOP operatives have become concerned over the possibility that the media will call their attacks on either Obama or Clinton racist or sexist.

This is an interesting dilemma for the GOP, and of course, one of their own making. It also shows how far we have come as a society since 1968, something that those of us who are Democrats tend to overlook.

Of course, we fully believe that the GOP will overcome its reluctance to engage in negative attacks against either Clinton or Obama when faced with the possibility of losing the White House. We also think that 527 groups, created just for this election, won't be nearly as squeamish about being called racist or sexist since such groups won't have a "brand" to worry about damaging. So we still expect one bitter and divisive campaign. After all, what can the Republicans run on, the great success of the Bush presidency?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

After Giving Us Bush, Ralph Nader is Trying for McCain

Once again the egomanic known as Ralph Nader is going to run as an independent. While we don't think that he will be as harmful as he was in 2000, when he helped deliver Florida for Bush, the fact that he is willing to once again try and trash the Democratic Party's chances in November shows what an idiot this clown has become. He knows he has no chance of winning, and he knows that his only role, if he was to get enough votes, would be to spoil the chances of the Democratic nominee.

When he tried this in 2004, he was only able to get on 30 ballots because the Democratic National Committee successfully challenged his petitions. Then, crybaby Ralph had the gall to complain about the treatment he was receiving from the Democrats. Well, hopefully the DNC can do it again. This joker deserves to be stopped cold.

Why Ohio Democrats Need a Contested Presidential Primary

In politics, when the presidency is on the line, that campaign is the main event, all other campaigns are the undercard. In such elections, voters don't turn out to vote for state senator, or county commissioner, unless they are a relative or friend of such local candidates, they turn out to vote for president, and while they are there, they vote in the other races.

Which is why Ohio Democrats need the battle between Clinton and Obama to last until March 5th, 2008. In Ohio you become a member of a political party by voting in that party's primary election. Thus, if there is a race between Clinton and Obama there will be much more incentive for Democrats to vote than Republicans.

If what has happened in the rest of the nation, a much bigger turnout for the Democratic race as opposed to the Republican race, then registration levels for Democrats will soar. This means that local Democratic parties will be able to identify and use the names of voters who vote in the 2008 primary as potential volunteers in this fall's elections.

That's why, no matter which candidate you are supporting for president, you want this campaign to continue until after Ohio's primary. What you don't want to happen is what this writer calls for and that is for Clinton to drop out before Ohio's primary.

Obama Closes Well

One of the more interesting trends in this year's Democratic primaries has been that Obama closes very well. By that we mean that polls in the various state races usually show that Obama gains on Clinton the closer they get to an election. Ohio is no exception to this trend. Polls show that Clinton still has a significant lead in Ohio, but that Obama is narrowing the gap as the campaign gets closer to the March 4 election.

Our take on this is that a lot of journalists don't understand how important name recognition is in political campaigns. Journalists, especially political journalists, are very knowledgable about candidates running for political office. They have to be, it's their job. Not only is it their job, it is also their passion. For most voters, however, politics is not their job and not their passion. Therefore they don't follow politics very closely, if they follow it at all.

This means that Clinton's support was always softer than most reporters realized. Once there was only one main opponent for the media to concentrate on, she faced the prospect of losing support because that opponent would become better known and therefore voters would be more comfortable voting for such an opponent.

What she probably didn't see happening was that the main opponent would be Barack Obama and not one of the white guys who were running. Barack Obama had the potential of getting support from a significant group of voters inside the Democratic Party because of his race, just like Clinton had the potential of getting support from voters because of her sex.

The problem for Clinton, however, is that women, including white women, are much more divided about her than African-American voters are about Obama. One reason for this is her vote for the Iraq War resolution in 2002. In 2004 Howard Dean got a lot of support from Democrats upset about the Iraq War, but couldn't close the deal. The war wasn't yet recognized as the disaster it has turned out to be and Dean didn't have Obama's political communication skills.

If Clinton was running against a white male candidate who had supported the 2003 Iraq War resolution, then she would be winning the Democratic nomination. Unfortunately for her, her main opponent has turned out to be a charismatic African-American politician who opposed this war from the beginning. The better Democratic voters know him, the more comfortable they are voting for him. That's why Obama closes well, and that's why Clinton is fighting for her political life as a presidential candidate in Ohio and Texas.

Note to the Media: It's the Republicans, Not "Washington", that Screwed Up America

In his book, The Big Con, Jonathon Chait talks about how the media tries to put a bi-partisan spin on its criticism of politicians, even when the problem that is being discussed is really being caused by just one political party. He points out that this form of journalism favors Republicans because it gives the impression that both parties are equally to blame for the partisan bitterness in Washington. He points out that studies show that the Republican Party has moved much further to the right over the last three decades than the Democratic Party has moved to the left, yet the media often gives the impression that the Democratic Party is as liberal as the Republican Party is conservative.

An example of this tendency is seen in this Febraury 24, 2008 column on crime by David Broder of the Washington Post. He points out that Americans are far more worried about crime than international terrorism, yet most political candidates aren't talking about crime. He then goes on to make the following observation about Federal funding of anti-crime programs:

...The bad news comes from Washington. For exactly a century, since Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation creating what is now the FBI, the federal government has recognized its stake in fighting crime. In the 1990s, with the controversial passage of the Omnibus Crime Act, it pumped billions into hiring, equipping and training police; building prisons; and stiffening sentences. Between 1994, the year that law passed, and 2001, violent crime declined 26 percent and the murder rate fell 34 percent.

But in this decade, Washington has gone into reverse. The report notes that "the Bush administration has cut the major Department of Justice programs by 56 percent from fiscal 2001 to the present." One result is an actual decline in the number of local law enforcement personnel.

Let's see, which political party was in control of the presidency in the late 1990s? That would have been the Democratic Party. Which political party controlled all three branches of government from 1/20/2001 to 1/1/2007? That would be the Republican Party. Yet, while Broder is willing to put responsibility on the Bush Admnistration, he doesn't point out the obvious, which is that the Republican Party, not "Washington", is to blame for the cutbacks in Federal funding for Justice Department programs.

Part of this is the result of the fact that American reporters pride themselves on being "objective". This means that they will strive to be "even-handed" in their reporting even when the facts don't really back up such an approach. Another problem, though, is that too many of them refuse to admit how much the Republicans want to cut back the power of the Federal Government.

Bill Clinton suppsedly told his staff after the Republicans took over Congress in the 1994 mid-term elections that every American election is a debate over the role of government. The Republicans in Washington have one vision of the proper role of government, Democrats have another. Reporters need to acknowledge such differences so that Americans can decide what political party they want controlling government.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oklahoma Right-Wing Senator Says Going Into Iraq "Was Probably a Mistake"

Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma is one of the most conservative members of the Senate. Back in 2005 he predicted that Iraq would be well on its way to being a sustainable democracy in two years. Now, at a town hall meeting in Oklahoma he comes out and says that going into Iraq "was probably a mistake." Here is a quote from the article linked to above:

Coburn's comment came at the beginning of remarks at a weekend town hall meeting in Muskogee.

"I will tell you personally that I think it was probably a mistake going to Iraq," said the freshman senator, who made it clear he did not believe the U.S. could withdraw but had to stay.

What was unclear was when exactly Coburn changed his position on the controversial war, what led to that change and why he chose to reveal it at a town hall meeting back in the state as opposed to in front of a wider audience.

Coburn's comment came less than a week after he returned from his second trip to Iraq since entering the Senate.

Of course now he wants us to stay there because supposedly the perils of withdrawal are worse than spending American lives and money in Iraq. Still, the fact that he thinks it was a "mistake" to go into Iraq shows what a problem the Republicans have with this war.

Superdelegates Switching to Obama?

The AP is reporting that the so-called "superdelegates" are beginning to move toward Obama as he racks up win after win in the primaries and caucuses. This is from the AP story:

The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama.

In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.

The result: He's narrowing her once-commanding lead among these "superdelegates," the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.

We posted a blog entry in the past in which we advocated that the superdelegates should vote the way their state or district, depending on what kind of superdelegate they are, votes. We still think that this is a good idea, because it removes these delegates getting caught in the middle of a potentially very nasty intra-party fight.

Unless Clinton starts winning some elections, though, there isn't going to be a nasty intra-party fight because Clinton will be out of the race way before the convention.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Representative Betty Sutton to Volunteer at Local Foodbanks

Congresswoman and Staff to Support Harvest for Hunger Campaign

Akron, OH – Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D-13OH) will volunteer at two local Foodbanks with members of her staff on Friday, February 22, 2008. The group will be sorting and repacking donated food items for distribution throughout the community as part of the Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger Campaign.

The Harvest for Hunger Campaign, which had its kick-off on February 20, is the second largest food and fundraising drive of its kind in the nation. The Campaign is a collaboration of efforts from four Northeastern Ohio Foodbanks.

“The Second Harvest Foodbank of North Central Ohio and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank are wonderful examples of community members coming together to help our neighbors in need,” Sutton said. “I am pleased to be able to volunteer with my staff to support such a worthy cause.”

Years ago, when Tony Hall represented the Dayton area in Congress, he advocated for Democratic Party members to get involved with local charities, especially ones dealing with hunger and poverty. His thinking was that the community should see Democrats involved not just politically, but in all ways. Representative Sutton's volunteering at local foodbanks is an example of a Democratic office-holder doing what Tony Hall advocated.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Medina County Organizational Meeting for Senator Barack Obama

Medina County for Barack Obama Meeting
Barack Obama Staurday Rally in Akron

Medina Country Organizational Meeting

When: Saturday (Feb. 23) at 9:00 AM
Where: 5535 Champion Creek Blvd., Medina
Re: Setting Up Door-to-Door Campaign
Contact Information: Chic and Dave Kelley 330 722-1301 (Home) or Dave’s cell phone 216 570-1080

You are invited to attend an organizational meeting of Medina County for Barack Obama this Saturday. This meeting will be devoted to a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) program and door-to-door canvassing. No RSVP is required. Please distribute this far and wide to as many people who might be interested. Bring along any supporters.

Attending and chairing the meeting will be Gerad Teague (cell phone 603 801-4869) a full-time field director who just came into town for the Obama Campaign. He and other staff members and volunteers will be staying here in Medina for the next 10 days. As you know the Obama campaign has been a phenomena in many ways but their field organization has been especially impressive. They focus on door-to-door canvassing locally, not on phone calls which are done nationally by volunteers across the country.

If you can not attend please let us know if you are interested in helping or have any leads for us to pursue. If you are a Clinton supporter we look forward to working together in the summer and fall for whomever gets the nomination.


Saturday evenings Barack Obama Rally in Akron
Please join Barack Obama at a Keeping America's Promise Rally in Akron , where he'll talk about his vision for bringing about the kind of change we can believe in.
Keeping America's Promise Rally with Barack Obama
John S. Knight Center
77 E. Mill St.
Akron, OH 44308
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Doors open: 4:00 p.m.
Program begins: 5:30 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. is limited, and admission is on a first come, first-served basis.
For security reasons, do not bring bags. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners are permitted.

Medina County March Madness Fundraiser on Primary Night


Fundraiser to Benefit 2008 Medina County Democratic Candidates
Sponsored by the Turn Medina County Blue Project and MCDAC

Ohio Primary Night
March 4th
Buffalo Wild Wings
5050 East Pointe Drive

Appetizers will be provided

Cost: $25/person

RSVP by March 5th or PAY AT THE DOOR!

Please make checks payable to: MCDAC

Mail RSVP to: MCDAC, P.O. Box 1213, Medina, OH 44258

You can also pay on-line by going to:

For further information contact Julie Batey at or

Transcript of Interview of Senator Sherrod Brown by The Nation Magazine

On February 11, 2008, the Nation magazine posted an interview with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown regarding the campaigns of Senators Clinton and Obama. The interview is very interesting. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Q: What are some of the specifics you would like to see them speaking more openly about, being more aggressive about?

They should certainly talk about the Patriot Corporation Act. I think they should strongly speak out against the Columbian Trade Deal. And they should call for a time out – as Hillary has, perhaps Barack has, I haven't heard – call for a time-out on trade agreements. I have a bill I'm about to introduce to set up a Commission – both parties, both Houses – to look back at what we've done in trade, and decide which ones we renegotiate. And work to renegotiate. And what we learn from that, and what we move forward on. I know what I think we should do, but I think we need to build a better consensus in Congress to get there. It's labor and environmental standards, that's a start. It's also stopping the shift of power from governments to corporations. Part of the privatization effort that we have in these trade agreements… we're giving away our sovereignty to corporations in terms of environmental law, food safety law, labor law, allowing these companies to overturn democratically arrived at, democratically determined, health and safety rules and laws. That's where I wish [Barack and Hillary] would go when they start to get more specific.

If you are interested in getting Senator Brown's take on the presidential campaigns and what they should be talking about, check out his interview with the Nation.

Who Advises Obama?

The New York Sun has an article up about the people who are advising Senator Barack Obama, particularly on foreign affairs. The article carries the following two paragraphs:

Who advises Mr. Obama and whom the candidate would appoint to key foreign policy posts if elected president has raged as the topic of intense speculation on the Internet and through often anonymous e-mails warning Jewish voters that Mr. Obama's team may be neutral or indeed hostile to Israel.

In a series of interviews with the campaign's foreign policy advisers and supporters, as well as critics, the national security team that emerges around Mr. Obama is one that is in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The senator's advisers favor a withdrawal from Iraq and see it as a distraction from the wider war on Al Qaeda; they have developed a detailed policy on how to exit the country. The campaign favors high-level diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iran, but in the context of changing the behavior of these regimes. And the foreign policy team, like the candidate, does not support pressuring Israel into negotiations with Hamas.

This article is very interesting because, as the writer notes, there has been concern in the Jewish community over what policies an Obama administration would follow regarding Israel, the Palestinians, and the Mideast. Clearly this article is an attempt to allay the fears of some Jewish voters regarding Israel and Obama.

If you are interested in this area, you need to check out this article and the companion piece that lists all of Obama's inner circle of foreign affairs advisors.

Clinton Campaign Doesn't Know How to Effectively Attack Obama

The New York Times has an interesting piece up on its website dated February 21, 2008 about the difficulty that the Clinton campaign has in effectively attacking Obama. The article points out that every major line of attack, especially the attack that is he is too inexperienced to be president, has fallen flat. Some of her advisors want Clinton to be more aggressive, but the problem is that such tactics increase her negatives as well as his negatives.

At the end of the article, the writer points out that McCain's advisors are having somewhat the same problem with Obama. Here is an interesting quote that ends the article:

“I think it’s the difference between their party and our party,” said Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. “They have a more liberal constituency. And the country is center-right.”

“It comes down to the issues,” Mr. Duncan said. “I honestly believe this: I can’t remember a better contrast for us between our candidate and the Democratic candidates during my lifetime.”

This guy Duncan is right in that there is a very clear distinction between Clinton and Obama in a lot of ways. Race, age, position on the war, position on trade, just to name a few. Unfortunately for him, we think the distinctions favor Obama, but, hey, if Obama gets the nomination, we will see in November.

CNN Exit Poll Shows Impressive Wisconsin Win for Obama

One of the things that has been intriguing this primary season has been how the two remaining candidates have done among various demographic groups that make up the electorate in the various primaries and caucuses. CNN has been doing fairly extensive exit polls for the various state races. The one on Wisconsin shows that Obama won among Wisconsin voters of nearly every socio-economic background.

Obama won the male vote by 67% to 31% and drew even with Clinton among female voters.

Obama won 54% of the white vote and 91% of the African-American vote.

Obama won 52% of the non-college educated vote and 60% of the college educated vote.

Obama won 57% of those voters with an income less than $100,000 per year and 60% of those with an income over $100,000 per year.

The top three issues that voters listed were the economy, Iraq, and health care. Among voters listing each of those three as the "most important" issue, Obama got 57%, 60%, and 54% respectively.

Marital Status
Obama got 56% of those voters who were married and 58% of those voters who were not married.

Political Party
Democratic, Republican, and independent voters all took Democratic primary ballots. The percentage of voters in each category was 62%, 9%, and 28% respectively. Obama's percentage with each of those three groups was as follows:

Among voters 18-64, Obama won 61% of the vote, but among voters 65 and older, Clinton won 58% of the vote.

Union Households
Obama won 53% of voters who came from households with an union member and 59% of those who did not.

The above is not a complete list of the various demographic groups polled. The full list can be read at the link given above.

Partial List of Union Vendors in Northeastern Ohio Area

Pam Miller, Medina County Democratic Chair, had Carol Gurney, who serves on the Medina County Democratic Executive Committee, send out a list of union vendors in Northeast Ohio. If you are a candidate or a campaign committee looking for printing, etc., please check out these vendors. We will periodically update this list throughout the campaign year. If you know of any vendors who are not on this list, but should be, please send the information to

Union Vendors

Akron Hotcards
265 S. Main St.
Akron, OH 44308
They print cards, flyers, brochures, yard signs, banners.
They claim to be the lowest cost full-color printer in the nation!

Capricorn Printing Inc.
15325-A Brookpark Rd..
Brookpark, OH 44131
(216) 362-0309
1600 East 23rd St.
Cleveland OH 44114
Howard Ross
Bonnie Phillips, Brand Manager
brochures, rack cards, door hangers, posters, stickers, vinyl signs, direct mail campaigns and web site development; Minority Owned- Claims lowest full color printing and design service in nation

Madison Graphics
13130 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood OH 44107
(216) 226-5770
Ron Salim
signs, magnetic signs, t-shirts, give aways

Patriot Signage
1001 Second Ave.
Dayton, KY 41074
(800) 777-7446

P.S. Graphics
11820 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland OH 44107
(216) 227-0007
Phil Vedda

ProForma Steinbacher & Associates
23 Public Square
Medina, OH 44256
Larry Steinbacher
For signs, doorhangers, promotional items (with union bug)

Qwestcom Graphics Inc.
4560 State Road, Suite C Cleveland OH 44109
(216) 739-9225
Joe Krause
printing, mail house, magnetic signs, yard signs

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

USA Today Covers Representative Betty Sutton Working To Get Defibrillators in Schools

Representative Betty Sutton, D-OH13, had a great article in USA Today about her efforts to help get automated external defibrillators (AEDs)into every school so that they would be available to help heart attack victims who are stricken while at school or school functions. Representative Sutton is working with a grassroots activist group. Sutton became interested in this cause following the death of a Barberton high school student, Josh Miller, who died of a heart attack at a football game.

Representative Sutton has introduced a bill, HR4926, named after Josh. This bill would help get the defibrillators into the school systems. The people who came to lobby Congress included a father, John Acompora, whose son Louis died at a high school event. Because of Mr. Acompora's efforts, New York passed a bill that required defibrillators in every school. So far this law is responsible for 38 lives being saved. One of the people working with Mr. Acompora to lobby Congress on behalf of Representative Sutton's bill was the 25th New York high school student saved because of that state's law.

This is the kind of difference that people elect Democrats to make. Representative Sutton's legislation will make a real difference in people's lives.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman

Fundraiser for MEDINA COUNTY PROSECUTOR Dean Holman

Thursday, March 13th
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
At Medina Eagles Club
696 Lafayette Road, Medina

$30 per PERSON $60 per COUPLE


RSVP to: Kimberly Duke, Treasurer by March 10th
4884 Sleepy Hollow Medina, Ohio 44256
After March 10th, tickets available at the door.

Or call: Wadsworth 330-334-1604, Medina 330-725-4620 Brunswick 330-225-0608

Voting for President is an Emotional Act, Not an Intellectual One

Mark Shields, the political pundit who has appeared on CNN and the News Hour, often says that a vote for president is the most emotional vote that Americans make. It is emotional because the president is the only office-holder elected by the whole country. This means that a lot of Americans' hopes, dreams, and aspirations are bound up in their vote for president.

This essential point often seems to be missing from losing Democratic candidates' campaigns. Think of the Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry campaigns, did they strike you as intellectual exercises or emotional exercises? Indeed, one could make the argument that of those three, the Gore campaign was the most emotional, especially after the conventions and the debates when he adopted a more aggressively populist tone. While all three of those campaigns lost, only the Gore campaign managed to win the popular vote.

Contrast all three of those with the two Clinton campaigns. Clinton was able to emotionally connect his ideas and his agenda to voters' concerns. As a result, he became the first Democrat since FDR to be elected to a second term in office.

The fact that a vote for president is an emotional vote is also very well understood by Republicans. The favorite tactic of Republicans is to make the Democratic nominee appear to be slightly "alien" to a majority of voters, especially white middle class voters. The underlying message in most Republican campaigns is that the Democratic nominee is "not one of us." He or she doesn't share our values, our backgrounds, and therefore can't really understand our hopes, desires, and dreams.

Which brings us to the current campaign for the Democratic nomination. If we had to put in one sentence why Obama is now leading Clinton in public opinion polls, it would be that he instinctively understands that voting for president is an emotional act and she does not. This is not to say that she may not intellectually understand that, but that she can't internalize it the way that Obama can.

This is why his emotional appeal to voters cannot be discounted in both the nomination battle and in November. Obama, much like Bill Clinton in 1992, is giving voters emotional reasons, most of them positive, to vote for him. Clinton is giving voters intellectual reasons to vote for her.

If you believe, as we do, that the Republicans will run a campaign using negative, exclusionary emotional appeals in 2008, then having a Democratic nominee who can counter with emotional, positive appeals makes a lot of sense. We think that a lot of Democratic voters feel this way and it is one reason why Obama is now leading the polls against both Clinton and McCain.

Here's a Great Idea: Let Democratic Party Decide if Nominee Should Take Public Funds for Campaign

Okay, here's the problem: Senator Barack Obama made what appears to be a promise to take public financing for his campaign if Senator John McCain would make a similar promise. According to a report on MSNBC, Obama wrote "yes" when asked if he would make a commitment to accept public funds for his campaign. Then he wrote the following in his answer: "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

Of course, that was before Obama started raising millions of dollars per month in contributions. It might have also been before his campaign thought about what had happened to John Kerry in 2004. Kerry accepted public financing and that meant that after the Democratic convention, which occurred before the Republican convention, he couldn't use the money he had raised in his nomination campaign to rebut the infamous ads run by the conservative oil man T.Boone Pickens and his friends.

So now, the question is, how does Obama get out from under this apparent pledge he made without getting pilloried by the media and the Republicans for supposedly "breaking" his promise?

A writer on Huffington Post believes that the Obama campaign should allow the Democratic convention to decide this issue. He points out that this isn't just about Obama, it is about the competitive position of the Democratic Party in 2008, not only for the presidential nomination, but for down-ballot races as well.

Personally, we think this is a great idea, assuming that the supposed "promise" is a problem at all. Another way to deal with this would be for Obama to announce that he has decided that he can't afford to allow 527 groups supporting Republicans to make charges he can't answer, and so, therefore, he is going to opt-out of the public financing process. Most reasonable people would accept that response, and for those who don't, too bad, they can vote for John McCain.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Mike Todd, Democratic candidate for Medina County Treasurer, is hosting a fundraising dinner for his campaign on Saturday, March 8th. The Spaghetti dinner will take place at the Masonic Temple on 660 High Street in Wadsworth. Guests will be served from 6 to 8 PM.

The event will feature spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, beverages, and dessert for all attendees. Mike Todd, and a number of Medina County elected officials and dignitaries, will address the audience. Tickets cost $15 per person, and are available in advance through the Todd campaign (checks made payable to Todd for Ohio, P.O. Box 343, Medina, OH 44258), or at the door the day of the event.

Mike Todd’s campaign for Medina County Treasurer has generated an unprecedented amount of excitement and support so early in the cycle. Mike’s aggressive and comprehensive door-to-door campaign has been underway for over a month, and field operations have begun in cities, villages and townships throughout the county. Mike Todd’s commitment to restore accountability and integrity to the Treasurer’s office is winning him praise throughout Medina County from Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama Supporters Can Dish It Out, But Can They Take It?

The Obama campaign has put out a mailer against Clinton that uses the same theme as the "Harry and Louise" ads of the 1990s. According to Senator Ted Kennedy, the Obama piece is not negative.

Now Clinton has a mailer out attacking Obama's health care plan. According to Ted Kennedy, that mailer is "negative." So what's going on? Is this an example of the Obama camp willing to dish it out, but unable to take it?

Quite frankly, Obama's supporters have displayed a tendency to whine about every little thing that Clinton does that they don't like. No matter what anyone says about Obama's proposals, if it is negative, his online supporters, and now it seems his political supporters, claim that the criticism is unfair.

Apparantly his political opponents, the media, and the rest of the world are not supposed to hold Obama up to the same standard as mere mortals. We are all supposed to recognize his inherent nobility and give him the red carpet treatment on his road to the Democratic nomination, and, then the presidency.

Well, unfortunately, the GOP doesn't play that way. His supporters better get ready for a down and dirty political campaign if he is the Democratic nominee. The GOP won't be about anything other than winning this November. If Republicans have to divide this country along racial lines to preserve their hold on the presidency, they will do it, and they will enjoy doing it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Education Gap Among Democratic Voters Between Clinton and Obama?

The Washington Post has a blog on its website called "Behind the Numbers" where one of their reporters examines the demographics of recent primary and caucus elections. In the entry for Friday, February 15, 2008, there is an analysis of the voting patterns of the Democratic contests based on level of education.

The following quote summarizes the analysis of the data:

In Post-ABC national polling, Clinton consistently scored better among voters without college degrees than among those with more education, and the pattern has held firm in primaries across the country. In fact, education has been a key divider among white voters in a contest marked by an evident racial divide.

In each of the states where the Post subscribed to exit polls (and voters were asked about their level of education), Clinton did better among non-college than college-educated white voters. She also outpaced Obama among non-college whites in all 14 of these states, but beat him by more than a single percentage point among college graduates in only five.

The entry goes on to note that while half of all whites say that the nation is ready for a woman president, only about a third of whites without college degrees said that the nation is ready for an African-American President. Whites with college degrees were about twice as likely to say that America is ready for such a president as were whites without college degrees.

In the U.S. as a whole, 27% of all Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, and in Ohio the figure is 23%. These figures suggest that Ohio should be a better state for Clinton and polls show that as of Friday, February 15, 2008, she is leading the state.

The long-term question is, though, what exactly the fact that whites without college degrees think that the nation isn't ready for an African-American president means in a general election between McCain and Obama. Are such whites expressing their opinion about our society, or are they really saying that they themselves aren't ready for an African-American to be president? If it is the former, then the observation doesn't really impact on their voting behavior. If it is the latter, however, then in a battle with McCain, Obama may be at a disadvantage considering that 73% of Americans don't have college degrees and a lot of those 73% will be white voters.

MCDAC Interested in Buying Photos and Video Clips of Dem Events

MCDAC is interested in buying photos and video clips of Democratic campaign events that will be taking place in Ohio this year. We are particularly interested in obtaining pictures of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton speaking at rallies or interacting with voters.

Photos and video clips should be sent to No more than 10 pictures should be sent by any one person and video clips should be no more than five minutes in length. Pictures should be in jpg format and video clips should be in wmv format or compatible with Windows MovieMaker.

If you are interested please email us at the above address and we will tell you what we will pay per picture used and/or video clip used. MCDAC reserves the right to reject any picture or video clip without explanation. Any material used will remain the property of the creator and may be sold or used in other venues. All material will be displayed either on this blog or at All email to us should contain your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and the best time to reach you in case we need to talk to you.

Does Blogging Drive Down Readership of Opinion Pieces?

Here is something that I have noticed about myself: Ever since I started posting blog entries, I have been reading other people's opinions less. I also note that I have become more selective about whose opinions I read. This is a big change from my reading habits of a decade or so ago.

It used to be that I religiously read every opinion column that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer or the various magazines that came to our home. Didn't matter if they were liberal, conservative, or in between, I read them. This habit meant that I read columns by George Will, who I very seldom agreed with, and columns by Tom Oliphant, who I almost always agreed with. It also meant that I watched shows on PBS like Washington Week in Review or the News Hour, (although to be more accurate, that was more like 15 years ago.)

Now, however, I read opinion columns less and less and I have also stopped watching shows where viewers are subjected to hours of talking heads giving me their opinions. This trend started in the Clinton Administration. There was really no point in reading or listening to conservative commentators because after you had read a couple of them, you knew what the rest were going to say. It was some theme of "Clinton is horrible. He must be stopped, and the only thing that will stop him are those paragons of virtue, the Republicans." Unless you are Dick Cheney's wife, there is a limit to how much of this you can take.

The other thing, though, is that since I am now posting entries on blogs, I have much less time to read opinion pieces. I would rather read a news article, write my reactions to the article, and then post it as a blog entry than take the time to read a column by some right-wing whack job, like say Charles Krauthammer. After all, my time is limited and why waste it reading someone's opinion that will most likely just upset me?

Another reason why I read less and less opinion pieces is that I don't really think that most of the pundits and commentators are any smarter than I am, or for that matter, than some bloggers I read. The whole idea behind opinion columnists is that they have a degree of expertise that I don't possess. Once you determine that they don't have that expertise, then why read them at all?

An example is Maureen Dowd. Dowd very seldom gives you insight into a political problem that you couldn't get from your friends, although it is usually better expressed. Her whole style depends on making "clever" observations about political leaders' personalities and no observations about their policies. Since there is nothing in her background to indicate that she has more knowledge of human psychology than I do, why read her?

Given the fact that there are literally millions of bloggers around the world, this tendency, if indeed there is such a tendency, could have profound implications for the future of punditry. Newspapers may have to go back to being just about the facts, and not the opinion. Gee, wouldn't that just be terrible?

Anyway, if other bloggers have opinions on this topic, please share them with me in the comments section.

Reyes Challenges Bush on Intelligence Bill

The Raw Story, an online publication, reprinted the letter that Representative Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent to President Bush. The letter was sent in response to Bush's demands that the House of Representatives just pass the intelligence bill that cleared the Senate and send it to him for his signature. The letter makes several interesting points.

The first is that there are three ways that the existing FISA law can be used to protect Americans. Representative Reyes gives an example of how the law was used in Germany to disrupt a terrorist plot.

The second is that it is not logical that giving telecommunications companies immunity for something they did years ago will impact on protecting Americans in the future.

The third is that the dangers to America stem from the failures of this Administration to capture terrorists. Here is a quote from the letter regarding this point:

"If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don't have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations – including al Qaeda -- that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch."

He ends the letter with a promise that he won't back down to anyone, terrorists or presidents. It is a powerful letter and very well written.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Washington Post: Clinton Campaign Screwed Up on Caucuses

One of the arguments that Senator Clinton makes about why she should be the nominee is that she is the more experienced candidate. She contends that having been through her husband's administration, she is in a much better position to actually get things done in D.C.

Her team's experience was also supposed to be the reason why she was in a much better position to actually win the nomination. Her campaign staff gave the impression to the national media that her advisors knew how to win the nomination and then win the presidency. Her early domination of fund-raising supported that theme.

There is a saying in prize-fighting that "everyone has a plan until they get hit." That certainly applies to the campaign between Clinton and Obama. Up until they started counting votes in Iowa, it looked as if she couldn't be stopped. Now, it looks like she is in for one tought fight.

According to the Washington Post's blog on campaigns called "The Trail" in an article titled "Clinton's Primary Gift", one reason may be that the Clinton campaign wrote off the caucus states after their experience in Iowa. In Iowa they poured between $20-25 million into the state only to lose. The problem with that decision, though, is that a lot of Democratic delegates, especially in states with smaller populations select their delegates with caucuses.

The result has been that Clinton has lost almost every state that has chosen its delegates with a caucus. This might have been an acceptable trade-off if she was winning every primary state, but she isn't. She has now lost primaries in 12 states and won primaries in 11 states, according to CNN's Election Center.

Two things are happening as a result of her strategy. The first is that she is losing a lot of delegates to Obama and the second is that he is getting a lot of momentum which helps him in the primary states coming up, including Ohio.

Indeed, you could make an argument that she is a great candidate because very few candidates could take 10 straight losses in both primaries and caucuses and still remain viable. If this trend continues, however, that will be scant comfort to her.

"Bonddad" Says Obama Program Can't Work Because After Bushies U.S. Doesn't Have the Money

Here is an article by Hale "Bonddad" Stewart" that looks at Obama's program and finds it impossible to implement because the U.S. doesn't have the money to spend 210 billion on infrastructure repairs. Stewart blogs about economic matters under the moniker "Bonddad" and started out on Daily Kos and now has his own blog. What's interesting about his entry, though, is this quote:

No candidate will run on a cleaning up the deficit platform. It's not an economic winner -- especially during a period of economic problems. In addition, the way to clean-up the mess -- raising taxes and asking people who benefited from the last 7 years to now pay their fair share of that growth -- is a politically dicey proposition at best. So what is actually in the interest of the country in the long-run just isn't going to work politically.

What Stewart doesn't talk about, though, is that the Bush tax cuts are set to expire in 2010 which is one reason why Republicans talk about making them "permanent" and why they want to inject their extension into the 2008 race. Since those tax-cuts are weighted toward the rich, it would seem that if they are allowed to "expire" as scheduled their expiration would go a long way toward helping us out of deficit problem.

What Obama could be counting on is changing the equation once he is elected so that the political pressure to extend the tax-cuts is not there. Risky perhaps, but interesting.

As a side-note, get this part of his article:

Now -- the Republicans have created a meter on their website to track the increases in government spending. You guys ran the government for 6 years. You had complete control. YOU GOT US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. SHUT THE HELL UP.

That, by the way, is just about exactly what Obama or Clinton should say to McCain during the debates, assuming that McCain is stupid enough to be seen on the same stage with either of them.

McCain: "Insulting to One's Intelligence" to ask How Long U.S. Will be in Iraq

Okay, this is one for the books: John McCain said that it is "insulting" to a person's intelligence to ask him how long he is prepared for American troops to stay in Iraq. Here's the quote from a Faux News Report:

Delivering a harsh rebuke to war critics, Sen. John McCain said Monday that it “almost insulting to one’s intelligence” to question how long the U.S. will keep troops in Iraq.

“Anyone who worries about how long we’re in Iraq does not understand the military and does not understand war. The question is not how long we stay in Iraq, the question is whether we are able to reduce casualties, eliminate them, have the Iraqi military-as they are today-take over more and more of our responsibilities,” McCain said after a rally at the Virginia Aviation Museum.

The surge proponent ratcheted up his rhetoric today, accusing his Democratic rivals’ of having a fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to fight a war.

“The argument is really almost insulting to one’s intelligence to say how long we’re in Iraq,” McCain said, noting that the U.S. has maintained thousands of troops in Germany, South Korea and Japan for decades. “The question is, will we be able to succeed with this strategy, which is succeeding, and withdraw American troops to bases out of harms way, eliminate the casualties, and have this counter-insurgency succeed—which we are on the path to doing.”

The reason why he has to use such rhetoric towards those who question his decisions on Iraq is that he has absolutely no idea how long he would keep American troops in Iraq. The reason why he doesn't know is that he is willing to cede control over whether American troops stay in Iraq and for how long to Iraqis. The reason why we say that he is ceding such control is that his plan would allow Iraqis to take as long as they want in establishing a political solution for Iraq because they wouldn't have to worry about our troops leaving. Basically, his approach is to enable the Iraqis to continue in their dynsfunction as long as they want.

We don't think that any American president should base the use of American troops on decisions that Americans don't control. We think that American troops should only be put in harm's way as a result of American decisions, not decisions by foreigners, whether such foreigners be English, French, German or Iraqi. There was a time when American presidents agreed with such an approach, but that belief is apprently passe on the Republican side.

Barack Obama is Using Populist Rhetoric in Home Stretch

David Sirota picked up on some interesting language from a speech that Barack Obama gave at the University of Wisconsin after he won the Potomac primaries on Tuesday. It was good stuff for those of us who favor a more populist approach to economic policy by the Democratic Party. Here is a quote from that speech:

"It's a Washington where decades of trade deals like NAFTA and China have been signed with plenty of protections for corporations and their profits, but none for our environment or our workers who've seen factories shut their doors and millions of jobs disappear; workers whose right to organize and unionize has been under assault for the last eight years...So today, I'm laying out a comprehensive agenda to reclaim our dream and restore our prosperity. It's an agenda that focuses on three broad economic challenges that the next President must address - the current housing crisis; the cost crisis facing the middle-class and those struggling to join it; and the need to create millions of good jobs right here in America- jobs that can't be outsourced and won't disappear.
For our economy, our safety, and our workers, we have to rebuild America. I'm proposing a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years. This investment will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of additional infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs - many of them in the construction industry that's been hard hit by this housing crisis. The repairs will be determined not by politics, but by what will maximize our safety and homeland security; what will keep our environment clean and our economy strong. And we'll fund this bank by ending this war in Iraq. It's time to stop spending billions of dollars a week trying to put Iraq back together and start spending the money on putting America back together instead...

It's also time to look to the future and figure out how to make trade work for American workers. I won't stand here and tell you that we can - or should - stop free trade. We can't stop every job from going overseas. But I also won't stand here and accept an America where we do nothing to help American workers who have lost jobs and opportunities because of these trade agreements. And that's a position of mine that doesn't change based on who I'm talking to or the election I'm running in.

You know, in the years after her husband signed NAFTA, Senator Clinton would go around talking about how great it was and how many benefits it would bring. Now that she's running for President, she says we need a time-out on trade. No one knows when this time-out will end. Maybe after the election.

I don't know about a time-out, but I do know this - when I am President, I will not sign another trade agreement unless it has protections for our environment and protections for American workers. And I'll pass the Patriot Employer Act that I've been fighting for ever since I ran for the Senate - we will end the tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas, and we will give those breaks to companies who create good jobs with decent wages right here in America"

Since NAFTA was signed, Ohio and other northern industrial states, like Illinois, have lost hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs. Clinton has a big problem on this issue because her husband pushed NAFTA. Just think how much better off America would have been if Clinton had linked NAFTA and universal health insurance together, telling American employers that if you want the one, you have to support the other.

This is what Sirota says about Obama's top economic advisor:

With the departure of John Edwards, Obama is a candidate whose top economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is the only remaining top presidential economic guru who acknowledges that our current trade deals are horrifying - rather than wonderful.

This is what Sirota says about today's political climate:

And though we've seen people like Bill Clinton promise as candidates to get tough on trade and then as president do exactly the opposite, this is a different candidate and a different era - with a much more angry public.

The question becomes which candidate is likely to move beyond the free-trade mindset that has dominated the media landscape since the 1990s, Clinton or Obama? Our money is on Obama because he doesn't have the same baggage on this issue that Clinton has.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Voinovich and McCain Vote Against Bill Containing Ban on Waterboarding

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) joined Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in voting against a intelligence bill that contained a ban on waterboarding. The bill contained a provision that prohibited the CIA from engaging in conduct that violates the U.S. Army Field Manual. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) voted in favor of the bill.

This, of course, is just the latest of a series of positions that McCain has taken that represents a change from his previous, i.e., before running for President in 2008, positions. Originally he was against Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, now he is for them. Originally he was for the immigration bill that he co-authored; now he is against it. Originally he was against torture, now he is against banning it. These are a series of well known and well publicized flip-flops. Now, let's see if the news media calls him out on them.

Of course, it will help if Democrats point out to the media what he is doing. Last night, in a speech in Wisconsin after he had won the Potomac primaries, Obama did just that by pointing out McCain's change of position on Bush's tax cuts. The phrase he used was that the "wheels have come off the Straight Talk Express." This is exactly what Democrats need to do to in this election; draw a sharp distinction with McCain.

On the war, Obama is in the better position to do that, but on economic policy, both Clinton and Obama can do it. The point is, though, that it has to be done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Contact Information for Clinton and Obama Campaigns

The following message is from Pam Miller, Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party:

I have the following contact info for the Presidential Primary campaigns:

Obama Campaign:
Matt Besser, 216-338-3554

Hillary Clinton Campaign
Lisa, 404-207-6768

Anyone who is interested in assisting either campaign, should call these people. Please pass on their names & numbers to those who ask you how to get involved.


Why the Media Likes Personality: Most Reporters Don't Know Policy

There is an amazing post over at in which PD reporter Mark Naymik takes some shots at how Clinton came across during her endorsement interview. Apparently she acted as if she knew more than the PD writers and she didn't ask them for their endorsement. Now, this caught our attention because right now in our house people are reading The Big Con by Jonathon Chait. It is a very fascinating book and deals with how believers in supply-side economics managed to convince the media and the public that this whacked-out economic theory was viable.

One of the most important reasons he cites is that most reporters don't know issues and don't want to learn issues. Therefore, according to Chait, they "scorn campaigns rooted in issues and lacking a personal narrative." Which leads us to the blog entry by Naymik. Nowhere in his entry does Naymik discuss any point of policy which was important to the PD in giving its endorsement to Obama. The tone of the entry can be found from this closing paragraphs:

Clinton is a fine candidate.

But she isn't paying attention to one of the messages voters sent Democrat John Kerry in 2004: Nobody likes a smarty-pants.

Basically he is telling candidates for public office that the PD doesn't really care what you know, they care how you get along with them. Interestingly, in the same blog, he points out that Senator John McCain was actually talking to someone else while do his telephone interview with the PD. Now, that strikes us as more than a little rude, but apparently being rude is more acceptable to the PD than knowing too much about the issues or not asking the editorial board for its endorsement. Naymik takes care to mention that both Obama and McCain did just that. Oh, and he also liked the fact that John McCain made a bad joke about "waterboarding."

The other thing that he doesn't point out is that relatively few Americans met John Kerry during his campaign for the presidency. So where did this belief that he was a "smarty-pants" come from? Why, the media, of course, only Naymik either doesn't realize it or doesn't want to acknowledge it.

Look, you can complain all you want about the fact that most media personnel are not really all that interested in issues, or you can accept it and try to go with the candidate who has the better personality. We realize it is aggravating, but you are probably not going to change the culure of the media during one campaign cycle.

Thanks to Jill Miller Zimon of Writes Like She Talks for bringing this to everyone's attention.

Who Will do Better in the Electoral College, Clinton or Obama?

In 2000 Al Gore won 18 states plus the District of Columbia and lost the electoral college by 5 votes, (assuming that you accept the totals from Floria). In 2004 John Kerry won 17 states plus the District of Columbia and lost the electoral college by 25 votes. The question that is facing Democrats isn't which candidate can get the most votes, its which candidate can win the electoral college.

So far, there is a case to be made by each candidate. The one made by Obama is that he is showing strength in states that Democrats don't normally win, such as Kansas, and if he could duplicate that effort in the fall, he would put many more states in play and thus increase his chances of winning the presidency. The counter-argument is that a lot of his wins in so called "red" states have been in caucuses and such results are not a true indicator of how he will run in the fall.

The case for Clinton is that she is showing strength in states that Democrats absolutely have to carry, and she is showing strength with Latino voters. The latter could become very important because she could take Florida, New Mexico, and Colorado, which would give her the presidency. The counter-argument is that she is showing strength in states that Obama can also carry if he is the Democratic nominee and so is adding nothing to the electoral mix.

Ohio is a very important state in the GOP's calculations. No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio. It has a very diverse population and if Obama or Clinton could win Ohio, then he or she would probably also win Missouri and maybe Florida. Those three states would guarantee the presidency for the Dems.

So while electability is important, it isn't popular vote electability, it is who can take enough states to win the electoral college. Ohio Dems could do a lot worse than trying to read polls of Ohio voters showing the results in match-ups between McCain and Clinton and McCain and Obama.

Zogby Exit Polls Focus on Dems who are Evangelicals

Last week we posted an entry that talked about the fact that most exit polls don't ask Democratic voters if they are evangelicals. This week we find out that the Zogby polling group did just that in Missouri and Tennessee during last week's primaries. According to a Yahoo News story on the exit polls, they were commissioned by a organization called Faith in Public Life. Faith in Public Life is described as a non-partisan resource center.

The results are interesting. This is a quote from the Yahoo article:

In Missouri, the polls showed 34 percent of all white evangelicals who voted took part in the Democratic primary versus 66 percent in the Republican primary.

Evangelicals made up 19 percent of all Democratic voters in Missouri and supported Clinton over Obama by 54 percent to 37 percent, closely mirroring the vote among all whites.

In Tennessee, the polls indicated 32 percent of primary voters who fit this profile were Democratic and accounted for 29 percent of the party's vote there.

It would be interesting to see what such exit polls would show for Ohio. One problem with the media is that very few reporters actually know white evangelicals. Since they don't know from personal experience any evangelical voters who are Democratic, it is easy for them to conclude that all such voters are Republicans.

This, of course, is not true. Indeed in 2004, according to the 2004 CNN exit poll, 21% of white evangelicals voted for John Kerry and they made up 23% of the electorate. Raising that percentage to 30% would have made a big impact on the 2004 election since Bush lost those voters who were not white, evangelicals by a 56% to 43% margin.

Hopefully, Zogby will continue such exit polls and publication of their results will begin to change the perceptions of the media.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is the National Journal Trying to Tar Obama With a Liberal Brush?

The National Journal released its annual ranking of how liberal or conservative Senators are on Thursday, January 31, 2008. Interestingly Obama was ranked the most "liberal" Senator and Clinton was ranked the 16th most liberal. In 2004, the National Journal ranked John Kerry the most liberal Senator, and also ranked John Edwards as pretty liberal also.

Now, in the 2006 rankings Obama had a liberal score of 86 and Clinton had a liberal score of 70.2. Those scores meant that Obama was ranked 10th most liberal and Clinton was ranked 32nd most liberal. In 2007, however, Obama moves up to number one and Clinton moves up to number 16. Quite a jump.

So how does the National Journal come up with this ranking system? Well, the National Journal doesn't base its ranking on every vote. According to the Journal the rankings are based on what it calls 99 key votes.

If you look at the supposed "key votes" you find that 26 of them are proposals to limit debate on various bills, and seven of them are proposals to table various bills. Thus, a third of the votes aren't votes on legislation at all. Further, the list is inherently subjective. An example is the very first vote listed, which was a proposal to set up an Office of Public Integrity. Apparently, according to the Journal, if you are in favor of enforcing ethics laws against Senators, you are a liberal.

Now, how did the National Journal get into the ranking business? Well, it was a brainchild of Bill Schneider, who is a political commentator on CNN. This is how the Journal explains Schneider's work on these rankings:

The ratings system -- devised in 1981 under the direction of William Schneider, a political analyst and commentator, and a contributing editor to National Journal -- also assigns "composite" scores, an average of the members' issue-based scores. In 2007, Obama's composite liberal score of 95.5 was the highest in the Senate. Rounding out the top five most liberal senators last year were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., with a composite liberal score of 94.3; Joseph Biden, D-Del., with a 94.2; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with a 93.7; and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., with a 92.8.

So where does Bill Schneider come from? Well, among other things, he is described by Wikipedia as a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. The AEI is then described by Wikipedia in the following language:

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a conservative think tank, founded in 1943. It is associated with neoconservative domestic and foreign policy views.[1][2][3] According to the institute its mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism — limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate."[4] AEI is an independent, non-profit organization. It is supported primarily by grants and contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It is located in Washington, D.C.

AEI has emerged as one of the leading architects of the second Bush administration's public policy.[5] More than twenty AEI alumni and current visiting scholars and fellows have served either in a Bush administration policy post or on one of the government's many panels and commissions.

So basically what we have is a ranking system devised by a conservative which is used by a supposed "non-partisan" media company to produce rankings that are used every four years to tar Democratic presidential nominees with a "liberal" brush. To make it even more interesting, the system is based on a very subjective set of votes with the liberal-conservative position subjectively set by the National Journal.

The ranking system is then released to the public and picked up the media with little or no explanation of what the rankings represent or how they were determined. Yep, sounds real objective to us.

Brian Feron for Commissioner Leap-Year FundRaiser

Leap into the future with the kick-off campaign for:
Brian T. Feron for Medina County Commissioner!

The kick-off fundraiser will be held Friday, February 29th, 5pm - 8pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 131 North East St, Medina. A donation of $20.00 is requested.

We will have appetizers, refreshments and an opportunity to meet Brian. There will be campaign information and opportunities to sign-up and help with his campaign. RSVP to Dorothy Feron @ 330-725-5945 or e-mail

If you are unable to attend you can still help! Send a contribution payable to Brian T. Feron for Commissioner, 5211 Wedgewood Rd., Medina, OH 44256.

For more information on his campaign visit

Guidelines for Placing Items in the MCDAC Newsletter

The Medina County Democratic Action Committee sends out an weekly email newsletter early each Friday morning. We are happy to run items from Democratic candidates about their campaigns and to run announcements about campaign events like fundraisers. There is no charge for this service, but the following guidelines must be observed:

1. We require that you give us a short paragraph describing the event with information such as date, time, location, cost, contact person, any telephone numbers and email addresses. This paragraph must be included in your email message to us requesting that we run the announcement. It cannot be an attachment. We don't edit your announcements and are not responsible for any mistakes.

2. This information must be received by Wednesday at 5 pm to be included in that Friday's newsletter.

3. We reserve the right to reject any announcement without explanation.

4. Announcements must be sent by email to

MCDAC is a separate political action committee and is not part of the Medina County Democratic Party, although it often works with the MCDP on various projects. Therefore, posting an item with MCDAC does not guarantee that it will be posted by the Medina County Democratic Party at its website,

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Only Thing Wrong With Obama is Some of His Online Supporters

A friend and I were talking last week and he mentioned that the only thing he didn't like about Obama was his supporters. The level of their bitterness toward the Clintons is just astounding. Here we have a fairly liberal Senator, Clinton, and she is regarded as no better than Bush. Well, here's a reality check for you:

Clinton wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq after being attacked by Bin Laden and his followers;
Clinton wouldn't have vetoed more health insurance coverage for children;
Clinton wouldn't have nominated Roberts and Alito;
Clinton wouldn't have advocated tax cuts for the wealthy;
Clinton wouldn't have run huge deficits to pay for the aforementioned tax cuts;
Clinton wouldn't have authorized torture against American prisoners;
Clinton wouldn't have held an American citizen in detention for over three years before bringing charges against him while denying him access to counsel;
Clinton wouldn't have tried to do away with the Social Security program; and
Clinton wouldn't have supported a Medicare prescription drug benefit that prohibited the government from using its economic muscle to get better prices from drug companies.

Yet, to Obama supporters, Clinton and Bush seem to be one and the same. A lot of Obama's online supporters seem to be taking the position that if their candidate doesn't win the nomination, then they will be just as happy to see McCain win the presidency. A McCain victory, of course, would do nothing to advance the ideas that Obama advocates.

Now, this is not to say that Clinton is perfect. Her support of the Iraq War Resolution was an incredible blunder and, by itself, may very well disqualify her for the presidency. But to act like she is as bad as Bush indicates either an intellectual dishonesty or a total lack of understanding of what the Bush Administration has done to this country.