Saturday, March 29, 2008
Many local candidates make the same mistake that O'Neill made in his first race. They don't ask their friends, neighborhoods, and relatives to get involved in their campaigns. They have a variety of reasons. They don't want to appear "pushy". They don't want to intrude. They don't want to presume on their relationships. A lot of the time, though, they are afraid of being rejected.
If you want to run for office, you have to ask people to help you out. Often your friends and relatives want to get involved, but just like you don't want to presume on their time, they don't want to presume on your campaign. They are also afraid of rejection. So many times a potential source of volunteers goes unused.
Just as bad for a campaign, if not worse, is not thanking people for their help. Take the time to send volunteers and donors a thank you note, either written or typed, it doesn't matter. Another thing that you might want to consider is giving your volunteers and donors a souvenir of the campaign, like a T-shirt or a coffee cup. The cost of such items is relatively small compared to the potential benefits.
In any event, thought, Democratic candidates need to learn the O'Neill lesson: People like to be asked and they liked to be thanked."
Friday, March 28, 2008
"The clashes suggested that American forces were being drawn more deeply into a broad offensive that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, launched in the southern city of Basra on Tuesday, saying death squads, criminal gangs and rogue militias were the targets. The Mahdi Army of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite rival of Maliki, appeared to have taken the brunt of the attacks; fighting spread to many southern cities and parts of Baghdad.
As President Bush told an Ohio audience that Iraq was returning to "normalcy," administration officials in Washington held meetings to assess what appeared to be a rapidly deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.
Maliki decided to launch the offensive without consulting his U.S. allies, according to administration officials. With little U.S. presence in the south, and British forces in Basra confined to an air base outside the city, one administration official said that "we can't quite decipher" what is going on. It's a question, he said, of "who's got the best conspiracy" theory about why Maliki decided to act now."
So let me see if we have this straight. The Prime Minister of Iraq, without apparently consulting his American allies, decides to go after a political rival. This leads to fighting, which apparently was predictable. Now that the fighting has begun, according to the Post article, American troops are taking the lead. This is also from the Post article:
"U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in Sadr City, the vast Shiite stronghold in eastern Baghdad, as an offensive to quell party-backed militias entered its third day. Iraqi army and police units appeared to be largely holding to the outskirts of the area as American troops took the lead in the fighting."
We have been told by this Administration that the U.S. is not being drawn into a civil war in Iraq. What the hell do you call it when armed groups of Iraqis are fighting each other for political power, a tea party? Of course it is a civil war. The fact that Sadr hasn't yet declared a rival government doesn't mean that its not a civil war.
If American soldiers are going to risk death, then the decision to put them in harm's way should be made by American politicians, not Iraqis. Not one American had the opportunity to elect this Prime Minister who is so careless with American lives.
Read the whole Post article here.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Although that was said almost 30 years ago, a Gallup poll that came out on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. This quote from the Gallup website explains it all:
"If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain
If McCain vs. Clinton, 19% of Obama backers go for McCain"
Now, losing some Democratic voters to the GOP nominee is nothing new. In 2000 and in 2004, around 11% of the Democrats who voted in those elections voted for George W. Bush. Further, those numbers can be expected to come down once the Democrats have chosen a presidential nominee and had their convention. Still, those numbers, especially the 28% figure is troublesome. If Obama gets the nomination, he can't afford to lose over a quarter of the Democratic vote to McCain. Nor, could Clinton affored to lose almost a fifth of those votes, although obviously she would have an easier time getting down to the 89-90% level among Democrats.
There are a lot of explanations for these figures. Certainly racism, and for that matter, sexism, plays a part. Certainly the tone of the primary battle plays a part. Certainly the fact that the national media loves McCain plays a part. Regardless of the reason or reasons, though, this November's election will be one hell of a tough fight. The sooner this battle for the nomination ends, the better.
Click here to read the full Gallup poll results: http://www.gallup.com/poll/105691/McCain-vs-Obama-28-Clinton-Backers-McCain.aspx
In the interview, Waldman makes the case that John McCain gets a "free ride" from the media because he takes the time to stroke reporters and develop a personal relationship with them. This is a quote from the interview:
"But what McCain understands better than anyone in his profession is that nothing is more important than establishing a personal relationship with reporters. As he's found time and time again, when you build up those ties of friendship, they become a resource you can draw on later. So when something pops up that would be enormously problematic or even fatal for another politician, reporters give McCain the benefit of the doubt."
Waldman also explains how McCain's relationship with the media benefits him:
"What you find when you examine McCain's treatment by the press is this: The rules are different for John McCain. Other candidates get defined by their biggest weaknesses and the worst thing they ever did; McCain gets defined by his best qualities and the most noble thing he ever did. Other candidates find a press corps that mocks their spin and assumes they're phonies and liars; McCain's spin frames his coverage. (When was the last time you saw a story about McCain that didn't refer to him as a "maverick" or his utterances as "straight talk"?) Other candidates view the press as an adversary, and the coverage they get reflects that relationship; McCain views the press as a partner and friend, and that's how they treat him.
The result is that a whole series of ideas about McCain -- that he's a maverick, that he's a reformer, that he's an ideological moderate -- have become so embedded in the coverage of McCain that journalists no longer even ask whether they're true. And in many cases, these ideas are either completely false or have been wildly exaggerated."
Basically, if you are interested in establishing a relationship with someone, you do it by being nice to them, by flattering them, by making their jobs easier, and by not criticizing them, especially publicly. McCain is apparently applying those rules to the media because he wants a relationship with them. It obviously works, although, tellingly, not as well with his home-state news media.
In the article Waldman points out that reporters from his home-state of Arizona have seen the whole gambit of McCain's emotions. They have seen his temper, his rudeness to those who disagree with him, and his pettiness to his opponents. It is not as easy to stroke someone who has seen you blow up at them or others.
Still, since most of the media doesn't come from Arizona, McCain's treatment of the press gets him the results he wants. Since Obama hasn't been around that long, and since Clinton and the media seem to have some sort of love-hate relationship going, Democrats are going to have the face the fact that McCain will be getting much better media treatment than the eventual Democratic nominee.
Here is the link for the Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/25/free-ride-inside-the-med_n_93285.html
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Here is a recent quote from John McCain about Iraq, as contained in a story by the Associated Press: "We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says.I've seen the facts on the ground." Now, of course, what McCain has seen on the ground is what the American military wanted him to see. So we question whether McCain is getting an objective view of what is happening "on the ground" no matter what he says.
Besides the fact that we wonder about the objectivity of what he was shown in Iraq, there is also the issue that McCain sees what he wants to see. Remember when he came back from Iraq the last time he was there and pronounced that a marketplace where he had walked wearing a bullet-proof vest, accompanied by soldiers, and protected by helicopters flying overhead showed the progress we were making in Iraq? Apparently it never dawned on McCain that his vaunted trip didn't show anything other than the American military could keep a United States Senator on a planned photo-op.
This conviction that they are right, no matter what the evidence, is why Bush and McCain agree on Iraq. It is also why the election of McCain would be a disaster for the United States. We would find ourselves trapped for another four years in Iraq, pouring lives and money down a sandy rat-hole while Osama bin Laden watches us bleed like the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan.
Of course, we shouldn't be so hard on the Bushies, because according to Vice-President Dick Cheney, the person who is sacrificing the most is George W. Bush. Here is a question from an ABC News reporter and here is Cheney's answer:
Q. from Martha Raddatz: "I want to start with the milestone today of 4,000 dead in Iraq. Americans. And just what effect do you think it has on the country?"
A. from Dick, the Duck-Hunter, Cheney: It obviously brings home I think for a lot of people the cost that's involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. It places a special burden obviously on the families, and we recognize, I think — it's a reminder of the extent to which we are blessed with families who've sacrificed as they have. The president carries the biggest burden, obviously. He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us."
More than anything that we have seen come from the mouth of Dick Cheney, this points out how the Bush Administration sees the world. Apparently, according to the DH, losing a child over in Iraq is not greater than the sacrifice that Bubble-Boy is making. Apparently having a loved one wounded in Iraq is not as great as BB's sacrifice. What more needs to be said about this Administration?
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The flip side of this coin is that since 2000, no Republican elected county official or judge has been defeated either. The last time a Republican incumbent was defeated was in 2000 when Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack defeated DR Judge James Leaver. Judge Leaver had been appointed by the then-Republican Governor to fill out the term of DR Judge Ralph Berry who had left the bench to go back into private practice.
That means that in the election years of 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and since Municipal Court Judges are elected in odd-numbered years, 1999 and 2005, no elected incumbent has been defeated. This is somewhat unusual for Medina County, based on recent past history.
Starting with 1976, almost every election year saw an incumbent official defeated, usually a Republican, since they held more offices. In 1976 the GOP lost the Sheriff's office. In 1980, the GOP lost a seat on the County Commission and the Prosecutor's office. In 1982, the GOP lost the Auditor's office. In 1984, the Republicans gained back the Prosecutor's seat they lost, but then lost it again in 1988 with the election of Dear Holman, who is still Medina County Prosecutor. In 1990, every incumbent retained their office, but in 1992, while the GOP gained back one commissioner seat, they lost another. Finally, in both 1994 and 1996, Republicans both successfully defended their county elected offices and gained one back when, as mentioned above, the GOP defeated Ferris Brown.
There may be several reasons why incumbents have been harder to defeat in the last several election cycles. One is that Medina County experienced rapid growth during the 1990s, growth which has continued up until last year. It may be harder to defeat incumbents when there is high growth because it is more difficult for challengers to get known. It has also become much more expensive to run a county-wide race in Medina County. This cuts against incumbents being defeated because it is harder for challengers to raise the money to mount effective campaigns. Finally, the Democrats who are presently in office, and the Republicans also, have been there for several years. This means that their names are very well known, especially compared to challengers.
Given the fact, however, that the Democratic primary vote was much higher than the Republican primary vote, it may be that 2008 represents the best shot Democrats have had in several years of defeating Republican incumbents. In order to win, however, local Democrats must support their candidates both financially and with volunteer help. No candidate can win a race on his or her own.
Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.
Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.
People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.
The article goes on to argue that there are several reasons why the media is pushing this theme. One is that they love a horse race. A horse race is good for the bottom line and also means that people are paying attention to their work. Another is that the media is captivated by the Clintons' ability to get out of political jams. No reporter wants to make the mistake the media made right before the New Hampshire primary.
So, assuming that her advisers understand her chances are slim, why does she keep fighting? Well, a slim chance may be better than no chance, which is what she would have if she gave up. Also, she is a competitor and doesn't want to admit defeat. There is also the fact that the next 10 races or so may actually favor her in that many of them are closed primaries where Republicans and independents can't vote.
The danger for Democrats is that Clinton will under mind Obama's chances of winning in the fall while not being able to defeat him for the nomination. Party leaders will not want that to happen. That's why, unless Obama's poll numbers go in the tank between now and the end of the primary season, superdelegates will start breaking for Obama well before the Democratic convention in August.
Here is a quote from the article:
So it's official. Sen. Barack Obama is black enough. Now it's time for him to switch gears. Okay, maybe not Obama himself -- he does a good job of appearing to be above the political and racial fray, as his speech last week proved again -- but his supporters. They need to start pushing the idea of how white he is.
Yes, that's right: Barack Obama is as white as he is black. The one-drop rule is not a genetic law or a social fact; it is a construct of this country's racist imagination. For Pete's sake, he's a distant cousin of Dick Cheney's. We need to start stressing the idea that his universal appeal is partly due to his being white, like all the presidents before him.
I know, I know. For a while the big issue was Obama's blackness. But the King (Jesse Jackson) and the Prime Minister (Al Sharpton) of black people announced he'd passed the test. Of course, it took a gang of white people in Iowa voting for him before they felt comfortable anointing him, but it happened. All of a sudden, Bill Clinton looked less like a gumbo of James Brown, John Coltrane and Magic Johnson and more like a potluck dinner of Tom Jones, Kenny G and Larry Bird.
Of course, Obama is aware of the need to find a way to connect with white voters of the AHN block. That is one reason why he stressed that he could no more abandon his minister than he could his white grandmother for saying racist things. So he is well aware of the need to make that connection.
So maybe, as the writer of the article, Bomani Armah, says that is really Obama's supporters who need to start stressing his "white side" to undecided voters. Armah goes on to list some things that Obama can do, and they are pretty funny, but they all make the point that voters vote for candidates who they can relate to, and that relating is more important to getting their vote then policy.
These financial crises take place when human beings want to make a lot of money. Now, on the one hand, to quote the character played by Michael Douglas in Wall Street, "greed is good." The desire to make a buck is what drives the American economy.
On the other hand, however, greed can cause human beings to do things that are bad for others. When the desire to make a buck overtakes any feeling of civic responsibility, then people start doing things that are bad for the rest of us. Things like loaning money to people who are not really able to pay the money back, or things like creating exotic financial instruments that investors don't really understand. Greed causes the strong to prey on the weak, all in the name of "rugged individualism."
That's where government comes in. Government regulation can level the playing field, make sure that the strong understand there are consequences to preying on the weak, or perhaps a better way to describe it is preying on the uninformed. Wall Street executives, like most of us, don't want to go to prison or have their reputations ruined.
When liberals try to pass legislation banning discrimination of various kinds, conservatives often claim that liberals just don't understand human nature. They claim that human nature is what drives people to discriminate and "you just can't change human nature." Well, if that is so, then one thing that you can't change is the all too human condition of greed. You can, though, regulate it. Something that Republicans just don't want to do.
The issue facing Democrats is how to make that lack of will to regulate business understandable to American voters. Here's a suggestion: Start talking about the greed of Wall Street executives. Americans understand simple, clear language. Instead of talking about hedge funds and sub-prime mortgages until voters' eyes glaze over, talk about the need to control human greed. In other words, don't talk details, talk philosophy. People elect officeholders based on philosophy. It is the officeholders job to then attend to the details.
All too often, the only side talking about philosophy is the GOP. They explain their attacks on government by saying things like "big government is bad." The way to counter that is not to list all the beneficial programs that Democrats have passed, the way to counter that is to have a equally clear message. On regulation of the economy, the clear message should be that "humans are greedy and greed needs to be controlled." A clear, simple message beats a complicated message every time.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
First of all, it does a very large disservice to Senator Barack Obama, who, unlike the editorial staff of the Washington Post, was right about the fact that the Bush Admnistration didn't make the case for war back in 2002.
Second, after being wrong on almost everything that they have written about this war, we are to assume that when they write that withdrawal would be a disaster for the U.S., we are now to believe that they are right? Where is the evidence that they are right? Where is the evidence that withdrawal from Iraq would harm American security? Does such evidence come from the same people who told us before the invasion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or that we had to worry about mushroom clouds over our cities?
The Washington elite, which includes Fred Hiatt, editorial director of the Post, backed this war, were cheerleaders for this war, and now don't want to admit that they were wrong. Well, here is our question for these so-called "experts": How many more thousands of Americans have to die, or be wounded, before you are willing to admit that you were wrong? How many more billions have to be poured into Iraq before you admit that you were taken in by Bush and his lackies? The blood of the Iraq War isn't just on the hands of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. It is also on the hands of synophants like Hiatt who are not now, even after five miserable years of war, willing to admit that they were, and are, wrong about Iraq.
The question has been raised as to whether the Medina County Democratic Party should change the length of its membership terms from 4 years to 2 years.
First, let me reassure all those who were elected to the Central Committee on March 4th that you have been elected to a 4-year term and nothing can change that.
Second, I think it's helpful to review why the Party has 4-year terms. In the early 1990's, the State of Ohio changed its laws to allow the political parties to select either 2 or 4-year terms. At the time, both the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party in Medina County changed to the 4-year system. The reason is simple: it makes for a much easier process in recruiting members and makes it easier for Central Committee members so they don't have to circulate petitions so frequently. Unfortunately, when Ohio moved its Presidential Primary to March it put a burden on people because the timing for the filing deadline is now in early January, at a time when most people's energies are devoted to holiday and family activities. This year, both parties in our County fell short on filling all their Central Committee spots (although we did better than the Republicans!). This is not unusual in any county.
As Chair, however, I take responsibility for this and know that we should begin much earlier and much more comprehensively 4 years from now to field a full slate for the Central Committee.
Meanwhile, the Executive Committee, as it has done in the past, will appoint or re-appoint members to the open slots. In fact, when positions fall vacant or new people step forward who could fill empty slots, we make appointments any time throughout the cycle. We already have a substantial list of those who for whatever reason did not get their petitions in but would like to serve, as well as others who have offered their services. Anyone who is interested should get in touch with me immediately (330-725-7487 or email@example.com.
In conclusion, to shorten Central Committee terms from the current 4-years would be a step backwards and would only consume time and effort that would be better put to use in working to recruit and elect Democratic candidates in Medina County.
Pam Miller, Chair,
Medina County Democratic Party
While winning Kentucky is not essential for Democrats, winning either Missouri or Ohio would be extremely helpful in winning the electoral college vote this fall. The last two elections have been very close in the electoral college and in both elections Bush carried both states. If Democrats had carried Ohio in either 2000 or 2004, Bush would have lost those elections. If Democrats had carried Missouri in 2000, Bush would have lost that election. If Democrats could carry both states in 2008, it would be impossible for McCain to win the electoral college, assuming that the other states break the way they did in 2000 or 2004.
These polls show that the controversy over Rev. Wright's sermons are hurting Obama with white voters. Whether the damage is permanent is another question. It will be interesting to see if polls taken after Obama's speech in Philadelphia show him bouncing back.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Paragraph two of The PREAMBLE of the BYLAWS for the Medina County Democratic Party:
“We acknowledge that a political party that wishes to lead must listen to those it would lead; a party that asks for the people's trust must prove that it trusts the people; and a party that hopes to call forth the best our nation can achieve must embody the best of the nation's heritage and traditions. In accordance with the Constitution of the United States and the State of Ohio and the Constitution and Bylaws of the National and Ohio Democratic Parties, we pledge to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of a society of free people.”
So how are we doing? From the perspective of having served for two years as a Precinct person and Central Committee Member, we are doing reasonably well, but we should be doing better, for the following reason.
• Medina County has 151 Precincts but only 63 Precinct persons were elected at the just completed March Primary. This means that 88 (~58%) of the Precincts do not have benefit of an elected Precinct person. If Precinct persons serve a beneficial role, then why are there so many vacancies?
Speaking as a Precinct person who was appointed to the Central Committee in 2006, I have, by my initiative been involved in various activities. However, there has not been a meeting of the Central Committee, to my knowledge, since my appointment. Nor have there been any communications to me about activities of the Executive Committee. This concerned me, so I undertook to try to find out why. A careful review of the BYLAWS received by me shortly after appointment, but only now critically examined, reveals some likely causes that should be changed to achieve possible solutions.
1. Precinct persons are elected on the same four year cycle as the Presidential election in the March primary. The filing petition deadline is 60 days before the primary date, or about 3 January for 2008. This means the candidates will very likely need to secure the petition form from the BOE, and then make contact with at least five registered Democrats, who reside in their Precinct to seek their signatures on the petition, during the busy holiday season which may why many Precincts have not even a single candidate filing for Precinct person. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
2. Once elected, the Precinct persons and now Central Committee Members are called to an organization meeting to elect a fifteen member Executive Committee and four Committee Officers. This is the only meeting of the Central Committee until four years later when the next four year election cycle produces a new group of elected or re-elected Precinct persons. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
3. The fifteen Central Committee Members elected to serve as the Executive Committee participate in Executive Committee meetings, at least six per year, and it is the responsibility of the Secretary to provide access to meeting proceedings or minutes to the Executive Committee Members only. The Executive Committee has no apparent accountability to provide feedback to the Central Committee. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
So what might be done in order to try to improve? The BYLAWS can be changed by amendment. The BYLAWS stipulate that the BYLAWS should be reviewed every four years, and any proposed changes are to be voted on at the organization meeting of the Central Committee. With the organization meeting date close upon us, perhaps in early April, now is the time to get the amendments on the agenda, where they can be debated and voted upon. If not done now, it will be 2012 before we will have the next opportunity!
The BYLAWS contains eighteen ARTICLES. It is proposed that seven ARTICLES need to be amended to accomplish the following changes.
1. Change to a two year election cycle from the current four year election cycle for the Central Committee Precinct persons.
• The next election will be in two years, or 2010, which has a later May primary. This moves the petition process until after the busy holiday season for the candidates for the off-Presidential election years at least.
2. Clarify language to reflect that the four officers; Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer serve as officers for both the Central and Executive Committees to be elected by majority vote of the Central Committee at the organizational meeting.
3. Hold the Central Committee organization meeting following the Precinct person elections on a two year cycle.
• This doubles the frequency that the Central Committee will meet.
4. Expand availability of the official proceedings or minutes, of the Executive Committee meetings to both the Executive Committee and Central Committee members to accomplish accountability feedback.
• This increase of communication should facilitate more bottom-up participation, input to party activities, and improve teamwork.
5. Change the cycle for BYLAW review from four years to two years to be acted upon at the organizational Central Committee meeting.
• Enables a more nimble organization, ready to more quickly change process to improve when it is recognized that improvement is needed.
If you are a Precinct person who will be participating in the upcoming organizational meeting, it is requested that the proposed BYLAW amendments be given your serious consideration and ultimately your support.
Bob Simmons, Wadsworth Township Precinct B committee person.
This is from the article:
Suicides, family breakups, depression and social stigma are just some of the hidden legacies of the Iraq war among the more than one million US troops who have served in the campaign.
While nearly 4,000 American troops have been killed in the war and more than 29,000 have been wounded, those who escape physical injury still stand a high chance of developing psychological scars that may stay with them for life.
The article points out that troops who are experiencing psychological stress caused by repeated combat tours and/or the amount of combat action they are seeing, have to wait months before receiving an appointment to see a mental health professional. This is also from the article:
The study, by the group Veterans for America, found that the mental health care provided for soldiers did not meet the psychological burden they had suffered during repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Sooner or later, and likely sooner, we're going to hit the wall and something will have to change," said Bobby Muller, the founder of Veterans for America and a former Marine paralyzed while serving in Vietnam in 1969.
The report criticized a Pentagon policy of extending tours of duty from 12 to 15 months and insufficient time between deployments to recuperate as key factors in the high level of mental problems among returning US troops.
On its most recent deployment, the 10th Mountain Division's second brigade combat team lost 52 troops killed in action, while a further 270 were wounded, out of a total troop strength of around 3,500 soldiers.
The figures reveal the unit's soldiers to be five times more likely to be killed in action than the average soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the report -- a major psychological stress on the troops.
The study found troops in the unit reported low morale, spousal abuse and attempted suicides. And yet, troops had to wait up to two months for an appointment with a mental health expert once they returned, it said.
The article also pointed out the rise in the attempted suicide rate among U.S. Army personnel: According to the figures, more than 2,000 soldiers tried to take their own lives or injure themselves in 2006, compared to about 375 in 2002.
This article shows what happens to combat troops when the civilian leadership, ie, the President, send them off on a war that is not well thought out, has no clear purpose other than removing one man from power, and there are no plans to handle what happens after that person is removed from power.
The article is well worth the few minutes it will take to read it. You will find it very enlightening. Of course, since AFP is a French company, it is likely that the right-wing blowhards who support this war will just ignore it. After all, who knows better, Bush or the French?
In the matchups in the NBC/Journal poll, Senator Obama comes in ahead of McCain by 47 to 44 percent. Senator Clinton edges McCain by 47 to 45 percent. Both races fall within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points
Right now Democrats have a fundraising advantage and they need to exploit it. This is also from the article:
Part of the challenge facing the McCain campaign is that Democrats have raised more money than Republicans in the current presidential campaign. "What is of interest to me this cycle is ... the Democrat funding advantage," McInturff said. "I just felt as a Republican we had a God-given right to more money.... Republicans, if they look a little bewildered, it is because they are not used to being outfunded. I think that is a huge story this cycle."
A lot of pressure will be applied to the Democratic candidate to accept public financing, especially from newspaper editorial boards. Why? Because in an environment where both candidates are limited in what they can spend, newspaper editorials have somewhat more significance. Well, their possible editorial support is not a sufficient reasons to give up this advantage.
Democrats who think this will be an easy election aren't in touch with reality. The Democrats will be nominating either a woman or an African-American for President. Such an nominee is going to be a very big change for America, and not all Americans are going to accept such a change. This election will be down and dirty and Democrats have to be prepared for such an election.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
That post got us wondering how Sherrod Brown did with white working class voters in the 2006 election against Mike DeWine. Now, for purposes of this entry, we are defining working class voters as voters who don't possess a four year college degree.
The CNN Exit Poll for the 2006 Ohio Senate Race shows that Brown carried this demographic group of voters against DeWine in 2006. Here are some numbers from that poll:
Brown beat DeWine among all white voters by a 52% to 48% margin. He took white males by a margin of 51% to 49% and white women by a margin of 53% to 47%. He took non-college educated 57% to 43% and he took college graduates by a margin of 55% to 45%. Among white voters who stated religious preferences, the only group that Brown lost were white Protestants, and he took white Catholics, white Jews, whites of other religions, and whites who don't have any religion.
Among geographical regions, the only areas he lost was Southwestern Ohio, and he won in cities and suburbs, but lost in small towns and in rural areas. He won both among union members and among non-union members.
Whoever comes out of the race for the Democratic nomination should take a long look at Sherrod's 2006 campaign for Senator and use that same approach when campaigning not only in Ohio but all over the United States.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
One thing that has to be kept in mind is that a lot of these media types, people like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews, make a lot of money, yet they don't release their tax returns. They would say that there is a difference since they are not elected officials, yet the fact is that knowing how much money these whores would save if John McCain's idea of making Bubble-Boy's tax cuts permanent would be helpful in evaluating their reporting and commentary.
Indeed, they take the position that while we are entitled to know every little detail about the private lives of elected officials, we are not entitled to know anything about their private lives. Like, for instance, the fact that for years Andrea Mitchell was living with Alan Greenspan while she was reporting on the actions of the Federal Government.
The double standard applied by the media is more than just hypocrisy in action. The media's refusal to critically examine George W. Bush in 2000 and then its failure to critically examine Bush's claims about Iraq have led to one disaster after another for Americans, especially working class Americans. Of course, Bush's tax cuts benefit people like Russert and Matthews and they don't have children serving in Iraq, so maybe they weren't so dumb after all.
His observations about the economy rank up there with his belief that our nation could afford his tax cuts and still have a surplus, his confident assertions about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney's warnings about Iraq and mushroom clouds, and observations about American troops being greeted as liberators.
On just about every major pronouncement of policy, BB has been proved wrong. To quote Stephen Colbert, "the facts are biased against the President."
Howard Metzenbaum was Jewish, a businessman, and a liberal from the east side of Cleveland. Yet, he had no trouble winning votes from white, working class males. Why? Because he was an economic populist who consistently stood up for the economic interests of Ohioans. He was tough, combative, and didn't take anything from anybody.
In 1988 he spoke to a group of UAW retirees in Parma. He told them that he was on the hit list of every right-wing group in America. Then, his voice roaring, he told them "I don't mind their hatred, I welcome it." It was classic Metzenbaum.
Howard Metzenbaum didn't always win. The first time he won the Democratic nomination for Senate, in 1970, he lost the general election to Robert Taft, the father of Ohio's former governor. The second time he ran, after being appointed in 1973 by John Gilligan, he lost to John Glenn in the Democratic Primary. The third time, in 1976, he won. He went on to serve three terms in the Senate. So that was another trait of Metzenbaum's: persistence.
Liberals who want to know how to win elections should study his career. They should talk about economic inequality, about fighting the power of huge corporations, and about standing up for ordinary Americans. They should never stop fighting, and they should be intellectually and politically tough. If they do, they will be true to the heritage of our party and, like Howard Metzenbaum, they will win their share of elections.
Click here to read the PD articles on Metzenbaum.
The split between the Shias and the Sunnis in Islam has lasted far longer than 240 years. In Iraq it is compounded by the fact that Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, killed, tortured, or imprisoned thousands of Muslims who were not Sunni. So, it shouldn't come as any surprise to us when Iraqis find it difficult to set aside their differences and work together.
Yet, this administration, from the beginning, has acted like it had absolutely no sense of history when it decided to being Bubble-Boy's horrible adventures. No one in this Administration seemed to consider whether, after we toppled Hussein, the Iraqis would be able to work together and actually form a government.
Now, here we are, 4,000 American dead, 20,000 American wounded, and half a trillion American dollars later, and, lo and behold. the Bushies are discovering that the Iraqis are having trouble working together in post-Hussein Iraq.
The following is from a Washington Post article about General Petraeus's upcoming testimony before the United States Congress in April: Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.
Here's the bottom line: Bubble-Boy and McCain want the decision of how long American troops should stand in harm's way in Iraq to be made by Iraqis because they are willing to keep troops there until there is a so-called political "reconcilation." We have no idea how long that will take, or whether it will ever take place.
America can't control what Iraqis do, it can only control what it does. Yet, Bush and McCain want to cede control over how long our troops are in Iraq to Iraqis. Call us old-fashioned but we believe that American politicians, not Iraqi ones, should decide how long American troops stay in Iraq.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Prominent Democrats included Pam Miller, Medina County Democratic Chair, Tom Wolfe, former chair of the Medina County Democratic Party, and his wife, Colleen, Joyce Kimbler, Treasurer of the Medina County Democratic Action Committee (MCDAC), Julie Batey, chair of the Wadsworth Democratic Group, and Steve Bailey, one of the founders of MCDAC.
Representatives from several area labor unions, including the Laborers, the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, and the Teamsters, also attended.
Below are some scenes from the Fundraiser:
“The formation of this independent ethics entity will help cure many of the inherent structural flaws that restrain our present ethics structure by eliminating the conflicts of interest that are found in our current system,” Sutton said. “The formation of the OCE is an illustration of our commitment to restoring the public’s trust in government and to ensure that any potential abuses in the future will be identified and addressed.”
The independent OCE would be composed of six individuals appointed jointly by the Speaker and Minority leader. Current Members of the House and lobbyists are not eligible to serve on the panel.
After enacting the strongest ethics and lobbying reforms since the Watergate era earlier this year, this Democratic Congress continues to deliver on the pledge to end the culture of corruption and restore public trust in government. H.Res.895 is essential to instilling confidence in the ethics process and ensuring Members of Congress who violate the law or rules of the House of Representatives are held accountable for their actions.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Professor Chernus examines several public opinion polls and finds that McCain is doing relatively well even though most Americans don't believe that the war will be ultimately successful. He also argues that these polls show that McCain is seen as better prepared to protect the nation against terrorists, which is broader than the war in Iraq.
Professor Chernus points out that over the last year the percentage of people who believe that the war is "going well" has increased. This is from the article:
Over the last year, the number who say the war is going well jumped from 30% to 48% in the LAT/B poll. The NYT/CBS poll records a similar jump since last June, from 22% to 43%. In the WP/ABC poll, the number who see "significant progress" jumped from 31% to 43% in just the last three months. That increase tracks very closely with the growing political fortunes of McCain, who was all but counted out last summer.
He also points out the results of a Rasmussen Reports poll concerning the famous or infamous 3 a.m. call ad that the Clinton campaign ran against Obama in Ohio and Texas. This is from the article:
Remember the "crisis phone call, 3 AM" commercial that the Clinton campaign used so successfully? Rasmussen Reports was smart enough to ask voters whom they'd rather have answering that phone: Clinton, Obama, or . . . McCain. The two Democrats got only 25% each, while McCain was way ahead with 42%.
None of this is to suggest that McCain will beat either Obama or Clinton. It does mean, though, that this is going to be a very tough race for Democrats. If Obama is the nominee, Republicans will use race to divide Americans. If Clinton is the nominee, then the Republicans will use gender to divide Americans.
It is unfortunate that while our two main nominees are attacking each other as opposed to having a presumptive nominee going after McCain and defining him before he gets a chance to define himself.
This year there were 63 Democratic precinct committee persons elected, out of a total of 151 Medina County precincts. This means that only 41.7% of the precincts elected Democratic precinct committee persons. These 63 elected party officials collectively received 8229 votes. This means that while 32,687 voters took Democratic presidential ballots, only 25.1% of potential Democratic voters voted for precinct committee persons.
The reason why there was only 63 Democrats running for the Central Committee was because many of the Democrats who were precinct committee persons as of the end of 2007 didn't file petitions to run for the Central Committee. The reason for that may have been the fact that the presidential primary in Ohio is in March and the petitions for the Central Committee have to be filed in early January, 60 days before the primary. This means that circulating petitions for Central Committee often conflicts with Christmas and holiday obligations. It also means that the weather can hinder the circulation of nominating petitions.
This is not a new problem for the Medina County Democratic Party. Under the Ohio Revised Code, a political party can chose whether the members of the Central Committee serve a two year term or a four year term. Since 1992 the members of the Medina County Democratic Central Committee have served a four year term. It may be time to consider having members of the Central Committee serve a two year term instead.
If the Medina County Central Committee amended the by-laws at the organizational meeting to shorten the term to two years, this means that members of the Central Committee would be elected in 2010, during the May primary. It would probably be much easier to get people to circulate nominating petitions during the spring than in the late fall and early winter. This would lead not only to more members of the Central Committee running for election, but would also lead to more Medina County Democrats voting for the Central Committee. Such an increased vote would give more legitimacy to decisions made by the Central Committee.
Another reason to adopt two year terms is that shorter terms would bring more accountability to the Democratic Party. Right now the opportunity to change the Executive Committee only occurs once every four years. Since the Executive Committee chooses the officers of the party, the opportunity to change those officers only occurs once every four years. Going to two year terms would result in greater accountability.
We are the Democratic Party. We are about accountability. We are about encouraging people to take part in their government by voting. Adopting two year terms for the Central Committee would be consistent with our party's philosophy. It would also lead to greater participation by Medina County Democrats in their party's operation.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Here is the essense of his argument:
Obama's support comes in large part from reliably Republican states such as Idaho, Utah, Georgia and South Carolina. Democrats have no chance in those states come November. Meanwhile, Clinton will have won at least eight of the 11 largest states, including must-win battleground states such as Florida and Ohio (and Pennsylvania).
Remember, too, that Obama's coalition is composed of more reliably Democratic base voters: African Americans, voters making over $100,000, and young voters. These are groups that Democratic candidates carry most easily. If Clinton is the nominee, she can take these groups for granted.
By contrast, Clinton's coalition - women, older voters, whites making less than $50,000, Catholics, Hispanics - would be McCain swing voters in a race against Obama. Obama hasn't been successful in wooing those voters yet, so it's unclear why anyone would believe he will finally carry them (and then defend them from a very appealing McCain) in November.
In other words, if you look at the underlying fundamentals of the race, and not just the theoretical polls, Clinton can make a strong case that she is the candidate better suited to challenging McCain and winning the White House
Of course, his argument assumes that Clinton holds the African-American vote and the vote from younger voters. It may be that an increasingly bitter primary could erode her support among those two voting blocks. Still, the argument is an interesting one and is well worth the time to read it.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Every Local Democratic Party's Goal: To Win Elections.
But how do we get to that goal?
Four Things Every Local Party MUST Do:
Before getting started, it is important to do what every business or campaign should do: make a plan. A party should write out a definite, concrete plan that touches on specific goals and sets timelines. Without such a plan, there is no accountability and there is no improvement. By having set goals, it forces the party to work toward solid, achievable results.
It is definitely a good idea to ask your local party what its goals are and if they have them. Otherwise you’re being involved or supporting an organization without any thought being put behind it. It’s exactly like how you feel as a
First things first, make sure you have a written plan.
For every action or potential action that a party is considering, a party should make sure it fits into a category that will help it achieve its ultimate goal:
This key helps a party achieve its goals. It is rarely what people think about when they think about getting involved in politics- but it leads to the things that make the differences. Without it, the rest is not possible. When you complain about a candidate not being able to respond to a message, when you see a television ad, or a newspaper ad, or you wonder about where the yard signs come from- that’s all about money.
Just like when you start up a business, it’s important to budget and get the money to meet that budget. Donors invest money in a business, a candidate, or an organization where they know the money is going toward specific goals.
The most valuable fundraiser for any organization is the organization’s leader. That could mean the CEO, the candidate, or the Chair of the local party. That person is in the best, and sometimes the only, position to ask for money. If the organization’s leader doesn’t believe in what the organization enough to ask for you to take money to support it, then what person will want to give money?
Money gets yours message out, it builds your party, and it helps recruit your candidates. It’s the basic fundamental that drives the rest. Plan out how much money your party needs, how they plan to raise it, and by what time they will raise that amount. If you don’t know, ask! If you like what you hear, you should give money to help them reach their goals.
Every local party covers a set amount of physical area that includes a population of people. While this point seems incredibly obvious, what we can conclude from it is not. It means there are only so many people in each area and we can keep track of them household by household and know a little bit about what each voter wants or needs. It takes time, but it’s about ID’ing our potential market. Just like a good marketing campaign, we need to keep track of who wants our product and who will vote for our party.
(Notice that we’re building a party, not a candidate. There will be good and bad candidates, but we’ll always have the Democratic Party. Remember: Crystal Clear Pepsi didn’t sink the entire brand. )
We have to keep track of every person that contacts our party, at a bare minimum. Is there a phone line they can call? Is there an email address? A website? There should be guidelines as to how long it should take for someone who contacts the party to get a return contact. Is there any other business where it is acceptable to ignore people who contact it for months at a time? It’s simple customer service
Remember: Today’s volunteers are tomorrow’s candidates and tomorrow’s donors. If someone wants a yard sign, they should get it right away, that’s a voter. People who work with the party should feel liked, appreciated, and encouraged to return.
Plan for how you want to keep track of, encourage, and nurture the people involved in the party. Most businesses have policies on this- thank you cards, phone calls, prompt contacts. It’s the difference between involvement and apathy.
And the voters who might vote for your party- why waste your time with someone who will never, ever, vote for your party? Focus on the voters who will vote for you, figure out who they are.
Easiest way to get candidates? Make a list of the people you have or would like to run. Figure out how to get them involved in the party, the community, and push them to run.
One of the key reasons the Democratic Party never seems to have enough candidates is because we do not push our people to run for every office possible. We don’t control enough school boards, city councils, and local government areas.
What steps is your party taking to develop and create candidates? Far too often parties fall into the trap that candidates magically fall from the sky- that’s not the case. We should be planning during the 2008 cycle for the 2009 and 2010 cycles. Each party should have a list going NOW of the candidates and people they see in the future cycles and for what position. We can’t start over every year hoping that candidates materialize from places we haven’t planned for.
Ask your local party who they plan on running in 2009 and 2010.
Get Out The Vote. The party should be responsible for its voters that they know, on election day and in early voting, that will vote for the Democratic Party. We’ve ID’s them and we know how to get a hold of them. The party should provide ways to get people to the polls, to make sure they’ve filled out absentee ballots or early voted.
How can a candidate expect to work on both the I’s and the D’s in the final months leading up to the election? And if a local Democratic party cannot make sure that the Democratic voters are voting… then what exactly are they doing?
Ask your local party what it plans on doing for the 30 days before the election and on election day in 2008. How many votes are they creating for the Democratic Party? Ask for numbers.
Everything the party does should work to achieve one of the four things laid out here. If it’s not doing that, it’s not meeting a goal.
There should also be a message- but the message ties to a function. If you issue out a press release- does it help attract people into the party? Does it help a candidate? Does it raise money? Will more people vote on election day for our party?
Parties should also consider basic functions that tie to others. Does your party have a regular, comfortable, meeting place? That helps bring in people, for example.
Each thing that is done by the party must be in support of one of these goals.There’s more to this than I’ve laid out here in this- but it’s a great start for you to start to ask your local party how they are planning to meet their four core functions.
Both Happs won their elections. Their victories led to many more Democratic wins, and two officeholders connected with Greg Happ are still in office today, 28 years later. This record is the Happ legacy in the Medina County Democratic Party.
This is a list of Medina County Democrats elected who were connected to the Happs:
Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, who worked as an assistant county prosecutor for Greg Happ and who has served as Medina County Prosecutor since 1988. Total years in office as of 2008: 20
Judge James Kimbler, who worked as a part-time assistant county prosecutor for Greg Happ and who served as Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge from 1986 to 1996, and who has served as a Medina County Common Pleas Judge since 1996. Total years in office as of 2008:22
Judge Judith Cross, who worked as an assistant county prosecutor for Greg Happ and who served as a Medina County Common Pleas Judge from 1986 to 1998. Total years in office: 12
Ferris Brown, whose campaign for Medina County Auditor in 1982 was managed by Dean Holman and who served as Medina County Auditor from 1982 to 1992, and then as Medina County Commissioner from 1992 to 1996. Total years in office: 14
If you add the years that John Happ was in office, (12), and the years that Greg Happ was in office, (4), to the years listed above, you will find that the number of years that these officials served or have served Medina County comes to 84 years. Since Judge Kimbler is unopposed he will serve another six years. If Dean Holman wins re-election, and he is easily the favorite in that race, then he will serve another four years. Adding those years to the 84 means that Democratic officials connected to the Happs will have served 94 years in office since they were elected in 1980.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The process would be that every Democratic voter in each state would receive a ballot by mail and would then fill it out and return it to the Democratic Parties of their respective states. This would obviously be expensive, but probably not as expensive as paying for poll workers to cover polling places for 12 hours or more. Oregon votes by mail and reports few problems with the concept.
One interesting aspect to such a procedure would be that Republicans and independents wouldn't be able to participate, as they can in other primaries.
This is from a Reuters news article on the exit poll:
The Tuesday poll also found that 42 percent of Ohio’s white evangelical voters ranked jobs and the economy as the most important issue area in deciding how to vote versus 14 percent who ranked abortion and same-sex marriage as the most important issue.
Such a finding may not be surprising in a Rust Belt state like Ohio, which has been shedding manufacturing and other jobs. But the poll also found that 54 percent of white evangelical primary voters surveyed wanted a broader agenda such as ending poverty and protecting the environment.
These voters are voters that Democrats can reach by talking about social justice issues and relating those issues to their faith. What Democrats can't do is decide that they aren't going to talk to such voters or try and address their concerns.
Here is a quote from the CNN article:
Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and John Warner, R-Virginia, said in their Friday letter to the Government Accountability Office that Iraq has "tremendous resources" in banks worldwide but is doing little to improve security and reconstruction efforts.
Iraqi officials did not immediately respond to the senators' allegations.
"We believe that it has been overwhelmingly U.S. taxpayer money that has funded Iraq reconstruction over the last five years, despite Iraq earning billions of dollars in oil revenue over that time period that have ended up in non-Iraqi banks," wrote the senators, who are their party's top members on the Armed Services Committee.
One of the ongoing themes of the last seven years of the Bush Administration has been how the rich and well connected are sticking ordinary Americans with the bills. It has happened with Bush's tax cuts, it has happened with the sub-prime mortgage business, and it is happening now with Iraqi reconstruction.
This is from the article:
That means, as we all have grown tired of hearing, that she would need to win with superdelegates. But, with most superdelegates already committed, Clinton would need to capture the remaining ones by a margin of better than two to one. And superdelegates are going to be extremely reluctant to overturn an elected delegate lead the size of Obama's. The only way to lessen that reluctance would be to destroy Obama's general election viability, so that superdelegates had no choice but to hand the nomination to her. Hence her flurry of attacks, her oddly qualified response as to whether Obama is a Muslim ("not as far as I know"), her repeated suggestions that John McCain is more qualified.
He makes the argument that if she spends seven weeks attacking him in Pennslyvania, a swing state in the fall, it will hurt his chances of winning that state in November. He raises the question of whether the Republican Party could have carried Florida in 2000 if someone had spent seven weeks attacking Bush that spring. Here is how Chait puts it:
Imagine in 2000, or 2004, that George W. Bush faced a primary fight that came down to Florida (his November must-win state). Imagine his opponent decided to spend seven weeks pounding home the theme that Bush had a dangerous plan to privatize Social Security. Would this have improved Bush's chances of defeating the Democrats? Would his party have stood for it?
A problem that Clinton has is that, in the past, the Clintons have appeared willing to jeopardize Democratic chances of winning elections if it meant that they would win themselves. Robert Reich wrote a recent article for AlterNet in which he laid this tendency right at the doorstep of Hillary Clinton. Here is how he put it:
I suppose I should not be surprised. If Hillary Clinton has experience in anything, it's in fighting when cornered. When Bill Clinton lost his governorship, it was Hillary Clinton who commissioned Dick Morris to advise the Clintons on a no-holds-barred campaign to retake the governor's mansion. At the start of 1995, when Newt Gingrich and company took over Congress and the Clinton administration looked in danger of becoming irrelevant, it was Hillary Clinton who installed Dick Morris in the White House, along with his sidekick Mark Penn, to "triangulate" by distancing Bill Clinton from the Democratic Party and moving the Administration rightward. (When Morris was subsequently discovered to have a penchant for the toes of prostitutes the White House dumped him but kept Penn on.) And now Mark Penn is the "chief strategist" of Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Like Chait, he also points out the harm such a "scorched earth" policy could cause:
The sad news is that whether the Clinton scorched-earth strategy ultimately succeeds or fails, it will have caused great harm. In the unlikely event it succeeds, the result will be a shame and not a little ironic. Barack Obama has breathed life into the Democratic Party, and into American politics, for the first time in forty years. Not since Robert Kennedy ran for president has America been so starkly summoned to its ideals; not since then has America -- including, especially, the nation’s youth -- been so inspired.
The Clintons would prefer to write off Obamania as a passing fad, but the reality is that idealism and inspiration are necessary preconditions for positive social change. Nothing happens in Washington unless Americans are energized and mobilized to make it happen. Hillary Clinton's tactics are the old politics the nation is recoiling from -- internal division and national fear. This only serves to deepen Americans' cynicism about politics, and makes social change all the harder to achieve.
There is a tendency among some Clinton supporters to write off any criticism of her, especially if it is made by men. Reich, however, is a former Secretary of Labor for Bill Clinton and Jonathon Chait is no left-wing crazy. When people like Reich and Chait start suggesting that Clinton's campaign style is doing more harm than good, it is time to listen.
All of this is not to say we believe that Clinton should drop out. She has a right to campaign for President up and until Obama gets enough committed delegates to clinch the nomination. What she doesn't have the right to do is damage the Democratic Party's chances of winning in the fall. This election is too important to some of the most vulnerable members of our society for her to take that approach.
While the Republcan National Committee is trying to downplay the significance of the Democrats' win, this is a very good thing for Dems. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee poured $1,000,000 into the race when it became apparent that the Democrats could take the seat. John McCain campaigned for the Republican nominee and Barack Obama endorsed the Democratic nominee. So, not only does the GOP lose a seat that had gone for George W. Bush in 2004 by a vote of 55% to 45%, its presidential nominee looks like he has zero coattails. All in all, a very good night for Democrats.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
In Ohio, each political party is organized around precinct committee persons. Each precinct has an elected committee person for the Democratic and Republican parties. During the March 4, 2008 primary, each party elected precinct committee persons, either for a four year term or a two year term. In Medina County, for example, the Democratic Party's committee persons serve a four year term while Republican precinct committee persons serve a two year term.
These precinct committee persons will meet at an organizational meeting after the March primary results are certified. Collectively they are referred to as the Central Committee of the county party. They elect a Chair of the Central Committee, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. In Medina County the last two positions are combined.
The members of the Central Committee also elect an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee then elects its own officers. In Medina County the Executive Committee is composed of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. Unlike the Central Committee, the last two positions are not combined, but are held separately.
The Central Committee is the only political party organization that is recognized under the Ohio Revised Code for county political parties. (The State Central Committee is comprised of a Committeeman and a Committeewoman elected from each State Senate district. In Medina County's State Senate District the State Central Committee members are Pat Hanek and Michael Todd.) While political action committees like MCDAC can organize to support political candidates of any political party, their existence is not formally recognized under the Ohio Revised Code.
Only elected precinct committee persons get to vote at the organizational meeting of the Central Committee. This means that 61 people elected to precinct committee positions during the March primary will basically decide who governs the party during the next four years. The Ohio Revised Code does not require that there be any more meetings of the Central Committee after the organizational meeting. Traditionally, in Medina County, there have not been such meetings between the organizational meetings held every four years.
The Ohio Revised Code does provide, however, that the names of county party officials be sent to the board of elections for that county. The ORC also requires that the by-laws of the party be filed with the local board of elections.
Consequently, the members of the Executive Committee at their monthly meetings run the party. They control how money is raised, how it is spent, and they plan party functions. Their decisions effect how candidates are recruited, what, if any, financial support they get, and how resources are allocated. They are, for all practical purposes, the Medina County Democratic Party.
One additional power that the Executive Committee has under the Medina County Democratic Party by-laws is that it can appoint people to vacant positions in the Central Committee once its members have been elected by the Central Committee. The by-laws require that the Chair of the Central Committee forward to the Executive Committee the names of people being considered for such appointment and the Executive Committee then makes the appointment.
Medina County Democrats interested in knowing more about their party and its leaders can visit www.medinadems.org to learn more about the leadership and structure of the Medina County Democratic Party.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Total Vote in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary in Medina County-15799
Total Vote in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary in Medina County-32687
Gain of 16888 from 2004 to 2008
Percentage gain of 106.8% from 2004 to 2008
Total vote in the 2004 Republican presidential primary in Medina County-21327
Total vote in the 2008 Republican presidential primary in Medina County-23111
Gain of 1784 from 2004 to 2008
Percentage gain of 8.3% from 2004 to 2008.
While on the evening of March 4, 2008, Centner's dream of becoming Sheriff, at least in 2009, came to an abrupt end. Centner lost to Hassinger by 5264 to 12504. In percentage terms that was a loss of 29.63% to 70.37%. It is hard to see the Republican Party turning around and nominating Centner in 2012, assuming that Hassinger doesn't seek re-election after such a convincing rejection by Republican voters this year.
The irony referred to in our entry title is that supposedly David Centner was a Democrat, but switched registration several years ago. Had he run for Sheriff as a Democrat he would be the Democratic nominee today, and wouldn't have had to face Neil Hassinger in a contested Republican primary. Would he have won as a Democrat? Who knows, but there is evidence that 2008 is going to be a Democratic year.
To be clear, we haven't verified that Centner was a Democrat and switched parties. We have, though, heard this from more than one person. We have also seen a computerized voting history of Centner, though, showing that he has only voted in one Republican primary since 1998. This means that he skipped the Republican primary in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, before he voted a Republican ballot in 2006. If that computerized history is true, it obviously indicates that Centner wasn't a very committed Republican.
By way of contrast, Neil Hassinger voted in all of the Republican primaries listed above. Centner's voting history suggests that he was not a very partisan Republican. Not a good trait to have in a contested Republican primary when your opponent has been the successful Republican nominee for Sheriff three times prior to the 2008 Republican primary.
These are our parting words: If you are a Democrat, or for that matter a Republican, and want to run for political office, maybe you are better off sticking with your own party, and congratulations to Sheriff Neil Hassinger on a resounding victory.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
– The New Deal Campaign of 1932, authored by Senate Associate Historian Donald Ritchie.
Don Ritchie recently appeared on C-Span2’s BookTV to discuss his new book, which can now be viewed as a podcast. The events of this historic campaign have relevance to what is happening, and may happen in the current 2008 campaign. Why should one want to hear this history? Consider the Will Rogers quotation, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes”. There are some rhymes that are in play in 2008. For example, in 1932 the Democratic and Republican campaigns each had a message that could be characterized by a four letter word. Are those words being used in 2008?
Before listening to the podcast, a short review of the conditions in the U.S. in 1932 can be found at: http://www.infoplease.com:80/year/1932.html
Secondly, see a review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s biography at: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0760616.html
Now enjoy an enlightening talk by Don Ritchie at:
As the information below shows, the 1980s were the most successful decade for the Medina County Democratic Party since 1970. From 1980 to 1990, the Medina County Democratic Party picked up four county offices and elected three judges.
In the 1990s, however, the Democratic Party lost re-election campaigns involving both seats on the Board of County Commissioners and also lost the Sheriff's office. During the 1990s, the Medina County Democratic Party only picked up one office held by a Republican, a Common Pleas Judgeship won by Judge Kimbler following Judge Baird's retirement. That win, however, was offset by the loss of the Common Pleas Court held by Judge Cross when she retired in 1998.
In 2000, Judge Mary Kovack picked up the Medina County Domestic Relations Judgeship, defeating an appointed Republican incumbent. Since 2000, no Democrat has lost re-election to a county office or as judge, but the Medina County Democratic Party has not defeated an elected Republican incumbent since 1992.
Democrats who defeated elected Republican incumbents have had a harder time holding the office they won than Democrats who defeated appointed Republican incumbents. Former Sheriff Neil Gray defeated an elected incumbent Republican in 1976, but resigned from office in 1979. Former Greg Happ defeated an elected incumbent Republican in 1980, but was then defeated in 1984. Ferris Brown, who had defeated an elected Republican incumbent for Commissioner, after winning two re-election campaigns for Auditor, was then defeated in 1996, although by a very narrow margin. The only Medina County Democrat who has defeated an elected Republican incumbent and then won re-election is County Prosecutor Dean Holman, who has been re-elected four times, twice without opposition.
Democrats who defeated appointed Republican incumbents, however, have been much more successful at retaining office. Such Democrats are John Happ, who defeated an appointed Republican incumbent and then won re-election twice; Ferris Brown, who defeated an appointed Republican incumbent and then won re-election as County Auditor twice; and Judge Kovack, who defeated an appointed Republican incumbent and then won re-election in 2006.
From all of this, the following conclusions can be drawn:
1. Democrats who are elected to either a county-wide office or as judge in Medina County can, and usually do, win re-election.
2. Democrats who defeat appointed Republican incumbents have an easier time winning re-election than Democrats who defeat elected Republican incumbents.
3. The hardest offices to retain for Democrats have been County Commissioner and, prior to Dean Holman's election in 1980, County Prosecutor.
4. The easiest office to retain have been judicial offices. Since 1987, no incumbent Democratic judge has been defeated for re-election and one such judge, Judge James Kimbler, has changed courts, going from the Wadsworth Municipal Court to the Medina County Common Pleas Court in 1996.
Democratic Victories for County Offices 1970-1980
County Commissioner-John Oberholtzer in 1970 and re-elected in 1974
County Sheriff-Neil Gray in 1976, but resigned in 1979.
Democratic Controlled County Offices & Courts in 1980
Sheriff-John Ribar who was appointed in 1979 when Neil Gray resigned.
Democratic Victories in County and Judicial Offices 1980-1994
Sheriff-John Ribar in 1980, 1984, 1998, and 1992.
Commissioner-John Happ in 1980, 1984, and 1988.
Commissioner-Ferris Brown in 1992.
Prosecutor-Greg Happ in 1980.
Prosecutor-Dean Holman in 1988 and 1992.
Auditor-Ferris Brown in 1982, 1986, and 1990.
Auditor-Mike Kovack in 1994 and 1998.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge-Judith Cross in 1986 and 1992.
Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge-James Kimbler in 1987 and 1993.
Medina Municipal Court Judge-Dale Chase in 1987 and 1993.
Democratic Controlled Offices Lost 1980-1993
Prosecutor in 1984.
County Commissioner in 1992.
Democratic Controlled Offices Successfully Defended 1980-1993
Medina County Commissioner in 1984 and 1988.
Medina County Sheriff in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992.
Medina County Auditor in 1986 and 1990.
Medina County Prosecutor in 1988.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge in 1992.
Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge in 1987 and 1993.
Medina Municipal Court Judge in 1993.
Democratic Controlled County Offices & Courts in 1993
Commissioner Ferris Brown
Prosecutor Dean Holman
General Division Judge Judith Cross
Auditor Mike Kovack
Sheriff John Ribar
Coroner Neil Grabenstetter
Wadsworth Judge James Kimbler
Medina Judge Dale Chase
Democratic Controlled Offices & Courts in 2007
General Division Judge
Domestic Relations Judge
Democratic Controlled Offices & Judicial Offices Won 1992-2007
DR Court Judge-2000
Common Pleas Court, General Division-1996
Democratic Controlled Offices & Judicial Offices Lost 1992-2007
Wadsworth Judge 1997
Democratic Controlled Offices & Judicial Offices Successfully Defended 1992-2007
Common Pleas General Division Judge
Domestic Relations Judge
Democratic Elected Officials Who Won Re-Election 1974 to 2008
Medina County Commissioner John Oberholtzer in 1974
Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman-re-elected in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004
Medina County Sheriff John Ribar in 1984, 1988, and 1992.
Medina County Coroner Neil Grabenstetter in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. (Dr. Grabenstetter in running unopposed in 2008.)
Medina County Commissioner John Happ in 1984 and 1988.
Medina County Auditor Ferris Brown in 1986 and 1990.
Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack in 1998, 2002, and 2006.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge Judy Cross in 1992.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler in 2002 and 2008. (Judge Kimbler is unopposed in the 2008 election.)
Medina County Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack in 2006.
Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge James Kimbler in 1993.
Medina Municipal Court Judge Dale Chase in 1993, 1999, and 2005.
Number of times that Democratic officials have been re-elected to county offices and courts: 28.
Democratic County Officials Who Defeated Republican Incumbents in Elections for County Offices & Judicial Offices from 1976 to 2007
Neil Gray-elected Sheriff in 1976.
John Happ-elected Commissioner in 1980.
Greg Happ-elected Prosecutor in 1980.
Ferris Brown-elected Auditor in 1982.
Dean Holman-elected Prosecutor in 1988.
Ferris Brown-elected Commissioner in 1992.
Mary Kovack-elected Domestic Relations Judge in 2000.