Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Have the Statehouse Dems already endorsed Strickland?

Just as the President is the titular head of his or her party nationally, the Governor is (except Taft) normally considered the titular head of the state party. But during a contested primary election, most elected party members don't start taking their cues from a gubernatorial candidate. But given the statements and actions of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, you have to wonder: have they already decided to support Strickland over Coleman? Consider the following:

On whether Gov. Bob Taft should be forced from office:

Strickland said he is "not prepared to call for (Taft) to step down unless something more damaging comes to light than already has been revealed- U.S. Rep. Strickland on 8/21/05 as quoted in Monday's Columbus Dispatch.

If there is evidence that Mr. Taft knew before April 3 about the rare-coin investment that Mr. Noe controlled and the governor says he didn't remember it, then "the drumbeat will grow louder and louder for the governor to take full responsibility for this scandal,'' Ohio House Minority Leader Chris Redfern said in today's Toledo Blade.

Amazingly, this is the view of some on the Republican leadership as well:

Ohio House Speaker John Husted (R): "Husted said, however, that unless new information is "brought to light, there would be no need for impeachment." Husted, in today's Dayton Daily News.

So while Coleman (and I) pushed our fellow Democrats to move for Taft's removal, the caucus seemed to follow Strickland's lead. But unless there is context I am missing, it appears it doesn't end there.

On what should be done in response to Coingate:

Coleman: There ought to be an ethics prosecutor (apparently ignoring for the moment the Office of the Inspector General).

Strickland: There ought to be a bipartisan commission with equal partisan representation and subpoena power to investigate Coingate.

Ohio House Minority Leader Redfern: "Mr. Redfern continued to push for a legislative commission - with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans - to investigate the scandals swirling around Mr. Noe, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and the governor's office." In today's Toledo Blade.

In the same article, Senate Minority Leader C.J. Prentiss said a "Watergate-like" commission should investigate the "pay-to-play" culture in the State.

Has any Democratic member of the General Assembly endorsed, let alone, introduced Coleman's legislation?

Republican House Speaker Husted seems to be willing to consider such a commission:
"Husted said he and Redfern are discussing a new committee that would examine ways to craft legislation that would make it easier for lobbyists and legislators to comply with ethics laws." today's Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Although Coleman's campaign boasted when the Akron Beacon Journal endorsed his anti-corrupt plans, it chose Strickland's response to Taft's conviction over Coleman's when in today's editorial it said:
Michael Coleman, the Columbus mayor and a Democratic candidate for governor, has called for Taft to resign. He cited the confusion about when Taft learned that Thomas Noe (Republican bad boy) invested rare coins for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, the governor saying one thing, Noe another. U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (the second Democrat in the governor's race) noted the lack of concrete answers about what the governor knew. He rightly resisted playing the resignation card. Democrats would also be wise to dump the talk of impeachment.

It's nowhere close to the primary season, and it seems that Strickland has taken a position acceptable by both parties, showing the ability to govern. But more troubling for the Coleman campaign, it looks like the Democratic members of the Ohio General Assembly are already starting to play from the Strickland playbook.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Rep. Redfern: Let the Sunshine in & Impeach Taft


The governor, judges, and all state officers, may be impeached for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the authority of this state. The party impeached, whether convicted or not, shall be liable to indictment, trial, and judgment, according to law.

--Art. II, Sec. 24 of the Ohio Constitution
Dear Ohio House Minority Leader Redfern:

Contextually, there is no question that impeachment is a discretionary power of the legislative branch, as no situation requires the legislature to impeach a public official. Furthermore, there is no question that Gov. Taft's recent criminal conviction is sufficient grounds for impeachment. The constitution says that the Legislative may impeach members of the Judiciary or Executive branches whenever such a member commits a misdeed in office. The framers use of the term "misdemeanor" was likely meant to mean "misdeed" as opposed to the more modern legal definition that means all categories of crimes not constituting a felony. It would be axiomatic to say the Constitution permits impeachment when the Governor commits a misdemeanor, but not a felony. Regardless there is no question as to whether the Governor's criminal acts constitute a misdeed committed "in office" as the offense could not be committed outside the scope of his official capacity.

For the following reasons, the Ohio House of Representatives should publicly debate articles of impeachment against Governor Bob Taft:

What does the Democratic Party stand for?
If the Democratic Party has any interest in being a governing party again, it must show Ohioans a vision for governing, especially for the legislature. My biggest complaint about this early process is that it is being done in closed doors with a small segment of the legislature attending (a closed-door caucus meeting I believe). I have no qualms or am naive to believe that caucus meetings should not be conducted by closed-door, but on this issue, I think it's misguided.

Let the Sunlight in
What issue is more important to the State than the seemingly endless ethics problems of the State leadership? As part of the opposition, we have seen press quote after quote about how the GOP's practice of closed door dealing has hurt Ohio. Let this be an opportunity to show how differently Democrats would govern by being public and deliberative. Let's show that the House of Representatives is not just a voting body, but the deliberative body it was intended to be before the first stone was laid on Capitol Square. Of course, the issue as to whether the Governor's actions should constitute an impeachable offense is a debatable issue. But good governing requires that debate to be had on the record and in the open public. I believe that's why we built y'all a House chamber and gave you those microphones, t.v. cameras, and nifty electronic voting machines with the cool screens showing the roll call on each side. I'm still trying to figure out the laptops, though....

Failure is not introducing an article of impeachment and having it fail. Failure is the status quo. Let the issues regarding impeachment be discussed on the floor of the House, with members of both parties discussing it, and let the decision be rendered by a roll call vote for all of Ohio to see. That is democracy, and that is where our party name derives.

Impeachment v. Resignation
Several members of the other party have suggested that Taft should step down. The Governor has indicated an unwillingness to do so. One cannot make the case that a public official should resign for misconduct, but if that official refuses, then nothing further should be done. One cannot argue on one hand for resignation but then vote against impeachment. Like resignation, impeachment is a declaration that a public official's misconduct has caused that official to lose their moral authority to act on behalf of the State. That should be the standard in which the Governor should be judged.

Are the gifts Gov. Taft failed to disclose any less than what former Connecticut Governor John Rowland received? At least most of Gov. Rowland's gifts came from state employees, not campaign contributors who were government contractors (although some of them did.)

Distinguish yourself from the opposition
The Speaker's comments regarding your request to the LSC to present information regarding impeachment was telling. It shows that the majority leadership of the House has completely abdicated its responsible as officers of the House to enforce the Ohio Constitution or display any leadership for Ohio whatsoever. His "wait-and-see" attitude gives the House Democratic caucus a prime opportunity to show that while Republicans issue lofty press releases deploring the Governor's actions, the House Democrats are ready with a serious mind to discuss forcing the House to live up to its constitutional obligation to take action.

If the Republicans refuse to show any real leadership, why shouldn't the Democrats? What better opportunity to show Ohioans the contrasting leadership ability of the two caucuses?

Gov. Taft has genuinely done much to try and set a moral and ethical tone for his administration. But it is obvious that his ethical leadership has been woefully (or should I say, Noefully) inadequate. By forcing a debate on impeachment, the Democrats have an opportunity to set the ethical bar higher than it's been for over a decade, indeed higher than it has ever been. That can never be a bad thing.

Think history, not the future
This is a historic moment, but only if action is taken. The issue should not be whether the Governor is more of a political asset for the Democrats in office until 2006 or not. The issue is about setting the record straight for history. It's about setting a precedent, even if that precedent is to decide against impeachment.

Let's force the Republicans, and ourselves, to go on the record on this issue. Let's debate it thoroughly. And then let's take that debate to the people of Ohio. Our state is strong enough to handle a little democracy now and then.

Sincerely-
The Modern Esq.

P.S.- I commend you for making the House Democratic Caucus more available and open for outside input through your website. I hope you can reveal details about the meeting publicly tomorrow.

Why are our soldiers dying?

It's a simple question that deserves a straight forward answer. Cindy Sheehan is a mother who has ignited a firestorm with that question based on her single-minded mission to get an answer from the only person in the world who can answer it: President Bush.

As we all know now, Cindy lost her son, U.S. Army Spc. Casey Sheehan on April 4, 2004 while he served our country in Iraq. While the President has been enjoying his five-week long vacation in Crawford, Ms. Sheehan has been there, along with other members of Gold Star Mothers for Peace, to ask the President one simple question: Why did soldiers like her son have to die?

In all the partisan bickering and posturing in the nation, it's the one unanswered question that hangs over the debate over Iraq. Even today, the President was in Utah attempting to give the same rote answer to that very question. His answer is Sept. 11 and terrorism. Increasingly, the American public, like Cindy Sheehan, has been demanding a better answer.

As part of her peace vigil, Ms. Sheehan and her fellow demonstrators have erected a memorial to all of the fallen soldiers in Iraq. A simple, makeshift wooden cross, painted white with an individual soldiers name hand painted on each cross. The crosses don't stand as an endorsement of Ms. Sheehan's political views by the deceased service men and women of Iraq. They are a reminder of the over 1,800 brave men and women who gave their own lives in service of the country in Iraq. Each pure white cross ask the purest of questions: We know why our children were willing to go, but only you, Mr. President, can answer why they were sent.

We all know why they went. They went because they believe in freedom, and they wanted to defend it with their own lives. Now, the price for freedom they paid is being passed around like a bad check.

Unable to give an answer to Ms. Sheehan's question, and after numerous attempts to discredit her, from calling her a peacenik, attention whore to belittling her loss (Rush Limbaugh astutely pointed out that we all "lose things,") they are left to deconstruct her memorial that was ironically created in memory of those who valued and understood freedom more than those left behind.

Today, on a radio talk show, I heard a conservative host gleefully and profusely thank and praise a father of a killed serviceman who called down to the police in Crawford, Texas to demand that the police there remove any cross with his son's name on it. Let me say that again, he wanted the government to remove any reference of his son from a memorial created by peaceful and lawful demonstrators exercising that most valued of freedoms- the free exercise of political speech.

While protected by our First Amendment, the right to free speech was not created so people could watch porn and millionaires could donate as much money to their personal politicians. The right of free speech was born out of a simple revolutionary thought. If the leaders are to lead the people, then the people should have the right to always ask, "why."

Don't get me wrong. Nobody likes the idea of a dead relative being used in political speech that deceased may have vehemently disagreed with, but nobody bats an eye when the pro-life movement erects memorials for aborted fetuses without the permission of those who have had abortions. Nor do we consider whether the families of slain police officers gave their permission before the memory of their family member's sacrifice is used to pass a new gun control or crime bill.

Freedom of speech requires the ability of society to express ideas different from your own, no matter how repugnant to your own they may be. No reasonable person would view that memorial as an endorsement of Ms. Sheehan's political views by our fallen heroes. There's no false light or invasion of privacy claim here. The names of our dead soldiers is, and should be, public information. For far too long, this Administration has tried to hide images of flag-drapped caskets and mourning families. It's time we take a hard look and ask ourselves- why?

What right does any police officer have to disturb this peaceful and lawful demonstration, and what right does any private citizen have to demand the police do so?

No amount of Clint Black concerts, yellow magnetic ribbons, or invocations of past "great" wars and past great horrors, like Sept. 11, can justify the loss of one U.S. soldier. Even if the President never talked to Ms. Sheehan again, I hope he comes back for his vacation with an answer to as to "why." It's the only thing that can truly be done to honor the sacrifice so many have made.

But no matter what happens in Iraq, only one thing can happen that can truly mean these soldiers died in vain, and that is if we begin to lose sight of the very freedoms they readily agreed to risk their lives to protect. And there is no greater insult to their memory than trashing those freedoms in their name.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Some GOP legislators call on Taft to resign; Dems decline to call

At least three Republicans have publicly called for Taft's resignation: state Rep. Jim Trakas of Independence, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann and state Sen. Jay Hottinger of Newark. Trakas and Hartmann have shown an interest in running for secretary of state next year.

No Democrats have publicly sought Taft's resignation. The issue was discussed in party circles and most thought it was a bad idea, said Gabrielle Williamson, spokeswoman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

"It's our feeling that it should be up to Taft and his own conscience," Williamson said. "The other reason is there are enough Republicans demanding his resignation."
I just found that quote from the Ohio Democratic Party funny. You can tell they are enjoying this moment of political relevance.

Of course, State Rep. Trakes, as a member of the House, could introduce a resolution for the impeachment of the Governor. It seems the fair question is: If Taft declines to resign, would State Rep. Trakas seek his impeachment? It doesn't seem consistent to say yes to resignation, but no to impeachment.

For those of us involved in observing statewide politics for the last ten years, it's amazing to see the unbreakable party discipline created by Bob Bennett (who, despite being a Republican, is an unquestionably talented state party chair) crumbling.

We haven't really heard anything from the GOP Gubernatorial candidates on what the party should do regarding Taft. I'm amazed they haven't been pressed on the issue more. But then again, it's only been two days since the criminal charges have been made.

Will they simply say, "Gov. Taft made a mistake, which he has acknowledged and taken full responsibility for, and has 'paid his debt to society?'" Or will they sing, "Hit the Road, Taft?"

While it may look like the Governor will be able to weather this political storm, it could be premature to diagnosis the body politic of the Governor as fully recovered. If, as is expected, more members of the Governor's inner circle are charged and more revelations emerge from the BWC investments, Taft's now admitted transgressions could lay the groundwork for his premature outster.

Judge Roberts: Misogynist who wanted national ID cards in the 1980s

"Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide." - Judge Roberts in a July 31, 1985 memo as assistant White House counsel.

Judge Roberts also called the idea of pay equity for women "anti-capitalist."

Judge Roberts earlier writings also indicated that he supported a national ID to prove U.S. citizenship as a means to deal with illegal immigration.

Judge Roberts' writings also indicate a heartfelt desire to overturn the Court's precedents of the last 60 years regarding the separation of church and state and indicates a hostility to affirmative action.

Roberts' comment about homemakers startled women across the ideological spectrum. Phyllis Schlafly, president of the conservative Eagle Forum who entered law school when she was 51, said, "It kind of sounds like a smart alecky comment," and noted that Roberts was "a young bachelor and hadn't seen a whole lot of life at that point."

Schlafly said, "I knew Lyn Arey. She is a fine woman." But she added, "I don't think that disqualifies him. I think he got married to a feminist, he's learned a lot."
Well, if Phyllis Schlafly says he's married to a feminist now, I guess that should change everything??

Oh, and did I mention, possibly racist? I wonder how this is going to go over with the Latino vote:

In a Sept. 30, 1983, memo, regarding an upcoming presidential interview with a newspaper, Spanish Today, Roberts suggested that the president, in answer to a potential question concerning illegal immigrants, note that proposed immigration reform legislation would allow some immigrants to be legalized.

"I think this audience would be pleased that we are trying to grant legal status to their illegal amigos," Roberts wrote.
On religion, Roberts believes that the Court's rulings regarding posting the Ten Commandments in schools demonstrates a policy of hostility to religion that Roberts said is "not demanded by the constitution."

There are even more writings of Judge Roberts, but the White House will not release them. Please consider this and sign the DNC's public records request for those documents.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Congressman Strickland Reacts to Taft Plea on Ethic Charges

I think this just about sums it up as best as it can be:

"Ohioans deserve state leaders who will put the interests of the people ahead of the interests of their golfing partners. I am fighting every day to provide that leadership to rebuild our economy, revive our schools and restore honor and integrity to our government."

"Those of us honored to serve this state must never forget that we're here to respond to the hopes and dreams of Ohio's families, not the moods and whims of high-dollar donors. The depth, breadth and magnitude of this scandal show that the majority party is failing that test."

"I continue to believe we need to establish a completely bipartisan commission to investigate and hold public hearings on this growing scandal in order to restore Ohioans' trust in their state government," said Strickland.

Please sign Congressman Strickland's petition for an independant commission, today!

Taft pleads "no contest" to all four counts, fined $4,000 with no jail sentence

So, ends the shortest lived criminal case against a sitting Governor. Now the question is, what, if any, will be the political price?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Taft to be charged with four counts

All are the same charge and are misdemeanors in the first degree (the highest severity of misdemeanor before you get into felony-land).

Also, according to Art. II, sec. 24 of the Ohio Constitution, "The governor, judges, and all state officers, may be impeached for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the authority of this state. The party impeached, whether convicted or not, shall be liable to indictment, trial, and judgment, according to law." (emphasis added)

So unlike with the case of impeaching the President, textually you could make the argument that the standard of conduct triggering the impeachment of the Governor is less severe than the misconduct necessary to impeach the President.

Since I just recently realized this, it may change my take. Taft is so unpopular with Republicans right now, they may jump on this opportunity to publicly disavow themselves with what they view as their biggest political liability going into 2006. Nothing purges the impure political soul like impeachment of a member of your own party. Although the GOP still paid an election price after Nixon resigned.

If impeachment does occur, it's very similar to the federal process. It must begin in the Ohio House of Representatives which must approve articles of impeachment by simple majority vote. Then it takes over 2/3 of the State Senate to convict. There are 99 State House members and 33 State Senate members, both chambers have significant Republican majorities.

Bob Taft: Governor or Criminal?

According to media reports, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien will announce this afternoon his decision as to whether to formally criminally charge Ohio Governor Bob Taft for violation of Ohio's elected officials' ethics laws by not disclosing gifts such as golf outings, etc.

If charged, the offenses would only be a misdemeanor with little chance of jail time. But, it would be the first time a sitting Governor in Ohio has been charged for committing criminal acts in scope of his official office.

I'll post more thoughts on the case later today if a decision to prosecute is announced. For now, I will say that with Taft's low approval rating, nearly unanimous high disdain among Republicans for Taft, and with Democrats energies about the 2006 Governor's race, Taft is probably going to find this molehill turn into K-2 quick.

With support like his, any reason to push him out early will do.

Taft is going to find the friend cupboard woefully hollow soon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Internal GOP poll shows Strickland as our next Governor

Over at the conservative-community blog RedState.org (not to be confused with Michael Meckler's Ohio political blog, RedState.com, which covers Ohio politics, I found an interesting post regarding the GOP's take on the upcoming 2006 Ohio Gubernatorial race.

Now, remember, there's been no real advertisements, we haven't had a debate, and we haven't even had the primary elections yet, so it's too early to say for sure.

However, according to the conservative diarist at RedState.org, he has seen some internal GOP polling data on the race. And it shows Congressman Ted Strickland, as an "old style pro-gun, union-loving economic populist Democrat would win almost any contest in a walk right now."

Surprisingly, some of the comments suggest on the post that the Democrats cannot win again until they have a strong candidate from Cleveland. Ironically, I've argued since 1994 that Democrats need quite the opposite.

Despite the sage advice of the Portsmouth Daily Times, it seems that the Hackett race does show a political storm brewing for Republicans in 2006.

If true, the fact that Strickland is polling better than GOP candidates who have served in statewide offices for the last 12 years is remarkable. Ted Strickland probably doesn't have much name recognition yet outside of southern Ohio, but the GOP candidates should be largely well-known. If Strickland can neutralize the GOP fundraising advantage (with $1 Million in the bank he is one his way) and run his usually well-disciplined and hard-working campaign, he's likely to be the first Democrat to win a statewide election since 1992 (save Clinton).

And the Republican's strategy to pull off a victory? Well, if the diarist is any indication, they want to redraw the state lines. Permanent majority, indeed.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ted Strickland for Governor website launches

The official Ted Strickland for Governor website has finally been launched. I've also added it to the list of links on the left.

Portsmouth Daily Times: What happens when rookies try to act as politicals sages

In case the link expires before you have a chance to read this post, here's the editorial at issue in today's Portsmouth Daily Times, a daily newspaper in the Second Congressional District:

Race has little impact
PDT Editorial Staff
The Issue: Schmidt’s victory in 2nd District race
Our View: Race not necessarily barometer for mid-term

Republican Jean Schmidt’s victory over Democrat Paul Hackett in Tuesday’s election for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District seat is sure to be dissected and overanalyzed.

Republicans will claim Schmidt’s victory is a clear indication that the values of people in Ohio more closely reflect those of the Republican Party. Democrats will claim Hackett’s near upset in the traditionally strong Republican district is an indication of a desire for change.

Baloney.

There is no question Hackett benefited from an investment scandal that has reached the governor’s office and has consumed the Republicans. Likewise, Schmidt clearly won the race because registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by about a 3-to-1 margin in the 2nd District.

So what does all that mean when it comes to next year’s mid-term elections? Not much.

The Schmidt-Hackett race was overbilled as an indicator for what may lay ahead. It was really just a race with its own dynamic and all the mid-term elections will have their own dynamics.

Although there may be some shift in attitudes about Ohio’s Republican Party, it comes about because of the widely publicized scandal and state’s dismal financial condition. It does not have anything to do with Jean Schmidt or Paul Hackett.

It cannot be determined with any certainty that Hackett voters gave him the nod because of those factors. They may have simply believed he was a stronger candidate.

What the race did indicate is that Democrats are going to take full advantage of the Republicans’ vulnerability and may not utter a single sentence during the campaigns without the words “investment scandal.” Gov. Taft is clearly a political liability and the Republicans will struggle to offset the scandal’s impact.

And that was going to be the case regardless of who won in the 2nd District.


Apparently, the fine editorial staff doesn't know what it means when a race is called a barometer for future elections. In case any of them read this, a barometer race is one whre the result shows a public attitude to larger issues and perceptions beyond the candidates themselves. So a result which shows a shifting attitude about the Republican party because of the financial scandals in the state IS, by definition, a barometer race.

Editorial writers should know that when you write, you should express an opinion, not multiple, contradictory ones. Right after saying the race had nothing to do with the candidates, then the Times apologists attempt to say the race actually had more to do with the dynamic of the candidates themselves.

Sadly for the Times, their opinion is not the view taken from significant segments of the Republican Party. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, "Clearly, there's a pretty strong signal for Republicans thinking about 2006 that they need to do some very serious planning and not just assume that everything is going to be automatically OK."

But maybe that's just the out-of-touch, long distance view of national Republicans. Perhaps, the Times has the view of the Ohio Republican Party in mind.

"To the extent that voters in that district were sending a message to the Republican Party at the state or national level, we have heard that message and we will continue to listen to their concerns," said Ohio Republican Party Political Director Jason Mauk.

Since every GOP statewide candidate is currently and unescapably tied to the Taft Administration, the special election was indeed a warning bell. After all, these same Republicans used special elections in 1993 to claim a forecast of a brewing political storm in 1994. They were right, then, yes?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hackett for U.S. Senate '06

As I was helping my Republican friend move today, he had 700 WLW on which is one of the largest AM talk radio stations in the nation and just happens to be here in Cincinnati. Andy Cunnigham, the voice of the (conservative) American people was on. And what he said shocked me:

He endorsed Paul Hackett for U.S. Senate against U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine.

Of course this reveals two things:
1) Wow, conservatives really hate Mike DeWine...., and
2) Hmm, conservatives really seemed to take a liking to a candidate like Paul Hackett as a Democrat.

I also learned later:
* Taft, the Republican brand name of Ohio politics, is now as toxic as candidates named OBL.
* Schmidt even said Taft was toxic and brazenly tried to say that linking her to Taft is like trying to link Hackett (a Marine) to Abu Ghraib.

I mean is it really unfair to link a state legislator to votes she made IN FAVOR of the unpopular Governor's even more unpopular tax plan? Is that really like linking every serviceperson to the horrors of Iraqi prisoner abuse? Give me a break, Congresswoman. My conservative friend also remarked that he, too, thought the DCCC ads were very effective and was surprised at the result. I'm surprised the few precincts left in Clinton County affected the result so drastically. But then again, it was her home base. What isn't getting commented on is how Hackett picked up the majority of the counties in the district including Adams and Brown counties which are generally considered reliably Republican (Scioto leans GOP; Pike is probably the most Democratic county in the 2nd Congressional District.)

Of course, Hackett and his family deserve some time in privacy. They have been through a very grueling ordeal. Also, Hackett faces the prospect of returning to Iraq on the heels of the news today that 20 Marines from Ohio have been killed in the past 48 hours. So, Hackett has more pressing concerns in his life right now than a statewide campaign next year. I wish him and his family the best, and my gratitude and prayers are with the families of those Marines. May God be with them as they deal with their loss.

This race should vindicate Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Tim Burke. Some in the area blogged that Burke was wrong to have the county party endorse Hackett before the primary. However, by forming a consensus on a candidate, the party was able to spend what little time there was in the special election introducing Hackett instead of the noise of countless candidates, one of which is the why Portman had been receiving 70% of the vote in his past few campaigns.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Paul Hackett for Statewide in '06?

Even though the result is not yet official, there is enough to say this:

Tonight, Paul Hackett shocked the nation.

Jean Schmidt has pure conservative creditals. She is a solid pro-lifer. She ran in one of the most solidly Republican districts in Ohio. The primary was supposed to be the election. The GOP nominee was supposed to run away with the election. And with a special election, the turnout was expect to heavily favor GOP. After all, the primary election had a 3-to-1 GOP to Dem ratio.

Tonight, Paul Hackett came close to pulling a huge upset. In a district that twice elected President Bush with a larger than statewide number, Hackett called the President a SOB. Tonight, Hackett won four of the seven counties. While Schmidt may win, it was far closer than anyone expected to be.

Hackett's loss is not an empty or pyrrhic victory. Although not victorious, what Hackett did tonight is going to have national implications. And the most upset person has to be Ohio GOP chairman Bob Bennett. The only reason this race is this close is because the poor job the GOP has been doing in the state. Hackett was an unknown, Coleman and Strickland are not.

So, what's next for Paul Hackett? Well, first, he needs to spend time with his family and thank his volunteers. Then he can consider the next step. Rematch in 2006? Or take his new found politically celebrity and run for statewide?

Hackett for Secretary of State?

Strickland-Hackett in '06?

We'll just have to see.

Watching Jean Schmidt's victory speech. You'd almost think the result was a resounding endorsement of President Bush. I wouldn't say that. With only a few points victory, Jean Schmidt is now instantly a vulnerable incumbent.

Ohio Democratic governor hopefuls fundraising strong

When Bob Taft ran for re-election, the Democrats nominee only raised $1.5 million during the entire course of the election. Both Coleman and Strickland have raised over a million, and it's still almost a year away until the primary election. Strickland outraised Coleman over the 80 days since he joined the race. None of that money came from Strickland's congressional campaign.

However, both Democrats lag behind the financial warchests of the Republican candidates. Blackwell, the late entry of the GOP race, raised $100k more than Strickland over that same period. State Auditor Betty Montgomery has $1.5 million on hand; AG Jim Petro has $3 million on the hand.

Blackwell is largely viewed as the frontrunner. Despite being one of the longest statewide office-holders, Betty Montgomery is the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2006 GOP Gubernatorial primary. She can't get any respect.

"She's weak on the issues, and she appears to be weak in fund-raising," [Petro] spokesman Matt Cox said.
Although Strickland cannot transfer leftover funds from his congressional campaign fund to his gubernatorial campaign, all of the other candidates can. No word yet on how much, if any, of those leftover campaign funds are padding the candidates figures.

Final Thoughts on Paul Hackett

Tonight we learn the results of the 2nd Congressional District. Tomorrow, the results will be debated.

I'm not going on a limb to say that Paul Hackett will not win tonight, but he has secured himself as a regional player and given some hidden hints on how to make strides in traditionally Republican areas. Generall, I loathe to use anything in the conservative Cincinnati Enquirer as a source, but they might have been onto something in their editorial endorsing Jean Schmidt.

If there was any weakness to the Paul Hackett campaign, it was that he seemed larger than the district. His platform was largely a national platform on Iraq and provided a necessary dialogue to that issue. The drawback was that most Ohioans look for their Congressional representatives to be district workers. Apparently, Schmidt sold herself to the Cincinnati Enquirer as not just sharing Congressman Portman's partisan philosophy, but also his representative philosophy about using the position to aid the district. This model is hardly novel, and is very bipartisan. Indeed, as Ted Strickland can attest, a Democrat can do well in a Republican district by paying attention to the district needs of your constituents that the federal government can address.

One district's pork project, is another district's strong representation in Congress. Indeed, the biggest problem Congressman John Boehner has had, if any, is that some in his district resent that he has not used his political influence to better aid the district. Other Ohio Congressional representatives are able to keep their districts happy with services while not living in their districts.

The fact that Paul Hackett forced the national GOP to pay attention and pay money in the race is an amazing achievement. For national Dem bloggers to characterize Hackett as a blog-born candidate that forced a hesitate DCCC to support him is yet again another example of liberals who rather fight other members of the party rather than Republicans. While Hackett definately benefitted from the national bloggers, to say they are forced the DCCC to do anything is ego run amok.

Instead, some of those very bloggers should go back and read some of the local blogs back during the primary. If they did, they'd find local blogging activists criticizing the party leadership and DCCC for pushing Hackett as the anointed candidate.

Ironic, ain't it? For once, it seemed both the top and grassroots level of the party focused making a contest out of the race. But Jean Schmidt is a candidate runnning in a district where just having the word "Republican" gets you a win. To add that she has been a high-level activist of the right-to-life community in this district and a former elected official makes her almost impossible to beat by anyone.

Regardless of the result, I congratulate Paul Hackett and his supporters for a hard-fought campaign. They stood against the odds and made a race out of a non-race. In a perfect world, he would be in Congress tomorrow. But then again, in a perfect world, Bush would have lost in 2000.

I'm back

So much for posting like mad the second I got out of the Ohio bar exam. (Sorry.)

Now, it's only 87 days until I find out if I passed. I don't want to bore you with details about the bar exam, except to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Although apparently I was more stressed about the exam than I realized as my body was still recovering until today. That, and after two months of amazing self-discipline, I decided to spend some quality time on the coach playing the X-box, watching bad television (why did I watch even half of an episode of the Lifetime-esque reality show "Starting Over"?), and eating even more poorly than usual.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm moving this weekend? Of course, I hadn't done really any work before the move. And I did absolutely nothing yesterday but attempted to figure out a way to mail back my Barbri books back so I can get my deposit without getting off my couch.

Today I was more productive. I booked movers, changed all the utilities, contacted every business, bank, and civic group that mails me to give the new address. I even notified the BMV, 'cause Ohio is crazy like that. Of course, now I worry that they might try to call my new phone number before it's activated next week and they freak.

Not only am I moving, but the firm is opening a new office for us as well. On the way back to the bar, I stopped by and got to see my new office. Although it's not the first time I had an office (of the non-cubicle variety), this is the first time I have a window office, or one this size. Now if we can do something about the mint-green walls, which the senior partner said I could have it painted. Any color suggestions?