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.

11 comments:

John said...

The thinking on Coleman's Special Prosecutor idea was that this is someone who would be able to begin investigations on their own, not wait for the legislature to request it, as Tom Charles has said.

The prosecutor would be able to bring charges on his own. The inspector general currently can only investigate, then refer their findings to someone else to prosecute (like has happened with Ron O'Brien and Rick Pfeiffer).

I have heard that Sen. Fedor may introduce something similar to Coleman's plan, though you are right that most of his ideas have not been introduced.

obsessivelawstudent said...

I have to agree with Ted on this one, sorry Modern. I don't think it's advantageous to the Democrats to get Taft out of office. If he's still there in 2006, people will link their hatred for him (and there's a lot of hatred for him, in my opinion, that is spread from liberals to conservatives) with the Republican party generally. Impeaching him will not only distract from the other issues we have to deal with, such as education, taxes, and medical coverage, but will also allow the Republicans in the State to try to distance themselves from him even though they were all very much aligned in this whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Publicly, the House and Senate Dems aren't endorsing one candidate over the other, but privately, every House Dem that I know of is promoting Strickland over Coleman. Coleman does not interact well with normal folks working the crowd, nor does he interact well with the other statewide candidates or other officeholders. His stump speech lacks conviction and wouldn't motivate anyone to want to do anything for him. He would also get hammered in the general election for the escalating violent crime rate in Columbus and the candidate is not charismatic enough, nor is the campaign staff bright enough, to deflect the criticism.

Coleman's campaign should consider holding Coleman back from appearing at events with Strickland because the reports from the first two events (Akron and Circleville) did not bode well for Coleman either time.

Modern Esquire said...

John....

There's nothing wrong with giving the IG the independant authority to open and prosecute investigations.

But that's beside the point I was making. Despite Coleman's early entry and despite how early in the preseason it is, it seems that Coleman has largely been ignored as a playcaller. (Sorry, getting psyched about football season.)

The differences between Coleman and Strickland on the issues are generally very similar. But when their differences are highlighted, it seems that Ohio legislators tend to take cues from Strickland, leaving Coleman out in the cold.

The DLC visit to Columbus was simply not the shot in the arm it was portrayed to be. None of the DLC stars (such as Sen. Clinton) discussed the race or Coleman's candidacy. None did fundraising on his behalf or endorse him.

As I've said before, I like Mike Coleman, and I think he's been getting a bum rap, but it's mostly because of his ineffective campaign.

I would prefer to see Coleman take on one of the other state officer campaigns as there doesn't seem to be much of a support or rationale for his continued gubernatorial candidacy.

Modern Esquire said...

obsessivelaw student-

As I explained to red-state.com, I was simply trying to argue a case that nobody seemed to be willing to make publicly.

Again, I think the best way for Democrats to win is to show how they would govern differently, not try to keep Taft on political lifesupport as long as possible.

Because there is no impeachment, nobody has to go on record. State legislators, particular GOP ones, can take the politically confortable position of saying they'd support Taft's resignation although they know he has no intention of ever doing so. By having a vote on impeachment, it forces those lawmakers to go on the record as to whether they support the only effective way of removing Taft from office. Now, they can just shrug their shoulders and say, "Well, we asked, but he wouldn't do it."

Second, what makes you think the GOP candidates haven't already distance themselves? Heck, Blackwell's entire campaign rationale was already that he was a true Republican, unlike Taft. This just lets him do it even more.

And why wouldn't people still hate someone after they were impeached? After all being forceably removed from office has a lot more sting than someone who committed four misdemeanors in office.

Modern Esquire said...

Anonymous-

If you see this, please tell us: What happened in Canton? I've read about the Circleville appearance, but you're the first to suggest something happened in Canton.

Modern Esquire said...

I will permanently remove any comments which are merely spam advertisements.

While I have no problem with other people promoting their own blogs in the comment section, I reserve the right to remove any such comment.

For future reference, I will delete any comment that is spam for a blog that is commercial in nature and covers subject-matter wholly unrelated to the subject-matter of this blog.

In short, find another way to advertise your site about writing classified ads and selling tea dresses! :)

Sincerely-
The Management of The Modern Esquire (i.e.- M.E.)

obsessivelawstudent said...

Modern -

Sorry, missed your comment to redstate (some of us actually work! :) hehe . . . not me, but some of us!). I do agree w/ you re: the best way to recapture the state is to show how we'll govern differently and in a better way (i.e., oh, funding schools constitutionally, or figuring out an appropriate way to bring down the costs of med-mal insurance that doesn't involve screwing over the guy who gets the wrong figure cut off, or . . . well, this list could take up a lot of space, so I'll stop). But, I don't mind if people keep Taft at the front of their minds when assessing the Republicans in a year. Not (just) because Taft is hated by the people of Ohio but because he embodies the way the Republicans have run Ohio for the past 14 years. He is, in essence, the Republican way of governance and this scandal is, sadly, an indication of what our State's come to under Republican leadership and if people need Taft to remind them that its not going to change unless they change and vote Democrat, then let him stay. It would be no different if we impeached him and his L.G. came up or if we followed Taft's impeachement with that of Bruce Johnson's (his L.G.) and then went down the line of Republican leadership.

Anonymous said...

Akron was the first time both candidates had appeared together as candidates, which was at a labor gathering. Last time, it was spun that Strickland was received better because he is supported by labor. In Circleville, The Dispatch claimed it was because Strickland used to represent Pickaway County. I can tell you that I don't think either is the case. Both ignore the fact that people just like Strickland better.

When you hear Coleman speak, you're motivated to vote for him. When you hear Strickland speak, you're motivated to volunteer for his campaign and get everyone you know to vote for him.

Coleman is responsible for any bad rap he is getting. He does not inspire people, he does not like to mingle with every day people and presents himself as being generally aloof. He's been seen, more than once, using dental floss at the head table during other people's speeches at county dinners. The Glenn Beck episode further highlighted the fact that he is out of his league. He should run for State Auditor.

Modern Esquire said...

Gee, I didn't know that Auditor was the position of political abandonment.

Also, I would have a hard time support Coleman as Auditor simply because State House Minority Leader Chris Redfern seems to be the most likely candidate for Auditor.

I believe Redfern has been a visible and good leader for our party, and I would hate to see his influence end due to term limits.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Redfern will not make his decision until after the Nov. 2005 election. If the Reform Ohio Now apportionment board changes pass, the State Auditor's office will no longer be a position of high strategic importance and will be as relevant as the State Treasurer's office, which in Ohio politics is not all that important. If the office's importance is diminished, Redfern would be better off continuing to generate quotes as the House Minority Leader, especially since the Dems are poised to gain at least 2-3 seats in 11/06, which would make them more relevant. He would also be in the position to advance the agenda of Gov. Strickland.