Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Misleading Statewide Issues

Okay, I am going to make some endorsements on the statewide ballot issues since they aren't Republican and Democratic issues.

ON ISSUE 2: Minimum wage: I support the constitutional amendment to increase the minimum wage and then tied it to inflation. If Members of Congress can get an annual raise for their six-figure salaries and having them automatically adjusted for inflation without wrecking our economy, why shouldn't those working in our service industries? Nobody talks about the economic cost to taxpayers which shows how overstated the arguments are made by the opposition. The attack based on personal information is a red herring.

ON ISSUE 3: Ohio Learn & Earn:If there's been a more dishonest issue campaign in Ohio than this one, I can't recall it. First, there's the allegations that petitioners mislead voters into signing the Ohio Learn & Earn petitions that it was solely about creating college scholarships, and not about legalizing slot machines. Then there was the above-average number of signatures that were invalidated because they were fraudulent. Then, it's been the several month long paid media campaign that talked only about the scholarships, and didn't mention the issue about slot machines until the last few weeks. Now, seeing the popularity of Issue 2 & seeing the opposition to Issue 2 on its own, the campaign is now running ads promoting both issues as if they are both about creating jobs. Hogwash.

First, the campaign has been caught flat out lying about how much money it will exactly generate. Then, it lied about the support (they oppose it) of the Ohio Board of Regents. Now here's what the Issue 3 campaign doesn't tell. Whether you support legalized casino gambling or not, this is about our constitution. And this amendment to our constitution that creates an industry gambling monopoly to a select few. Then, it mandates that a certain percentage of the proceeds from the gambling goes to subsize the purse prize money offered by Ohio's horseracing tracks. So, it's corporate welfare. Third, it mandates that the owners of slot machines get a certain percentage of the proceeds generated from the slot machines, and that the money kept by the race track owners and other slot machine operators get to keep that money FREE FROM STATE TAXATION!!! So you have a state-created monopoly with a mandated corporate welfare provision and a sweetheart tax-exemption for the entire monopology. Got that? It's not about the scholarships or creating jobs. It's about saving the horse racing tracks with a constitutional monopoly, corporate subsidies, and tax-emption enshrined by our Constitution.

ISSUE 4: Smoke Less Ohio The fact that Issue 3 is more intellectually dishonest than Issue 4 is a testament that the Issue 3 campaign is more intellectually dishonest than the tobacco-industry supported Issue 4. Despite it's advertisement, Issue 4 does not feature common sense smoking regulations. It actually takes away the ability for local governments to set limits on public smoking that current exist and allow more smoking than currently accepted. If it and Issue 5 passes, Issue 4 overrides it as it is a constitutional amendment and Issue 5 would enact a statute. Issue 4 is less public health protection and, like Issue 3, enshrines these limits in the state constitution, making repeal more difficult.

ISSUE 5: Smoke-Free Ohio This is the initative supported by the American Cancer Association. 'Nuff said. This initiative doesn't radically change the availability of public smoking, but takes it further. For those who think it doesn't allow smoking in restaurants, it doesn't. It just requires the smoking section to be in separate area where smoke doesn't drift into the non-smoking area and limits how much space can be dedicated to the smoking area.

Vote for Issues 2 & 5, and against Issues 3 & 4.

Final predictions for Ohio's elections

I'm not going to do a last minute endorsement piece, because I think everyone who reads this blog knows I'm a Democrat. Therefore, it would be hardly shocking to find that I'm endorsing a straight statewide Democratic ticket. I will, however, try to make some objective predictions as to the races which includes the potential for some Republican surprise upsets.

  1. Governor: Ted Strickland wins in a landslide. After a year of polling data, the best Ken Blackwell can say is that "polls are just a snapshot in time, and elections are about closing on a one-day sale." What Blackwell doesn't say is that if you took all those "snapshots" in chronological order and flipped through them fast enough, you'd see an animated Strickland campaign go from the low 40s up into the 60s while Blackwell looks like a mime running in place in the mid-30s. For a politician that has won three straight statewide campaigns by significant margins, the fact that Blackwell is behind, by most measures, by twenty points means that GOTV isn't going affect the outcome of this race.

  2. U.S. Senate: This race is over. Brown wins over DeWine, but I predict it'll by the margin in the low teens, not twenty-point margins recently predicted in Rasmussen's latest poll. Nobody shows this race within the margins. DeWine could only win if the polls seriously have the turnout makeup wrong, or DeWine's latest attacks about a former Brown employee from twenty years ago is more relevant in voter's minds than I think they are.

  3. Attorney General: This is probably one of the tougher races to measure. Betty Montgomery has been the prohibitive front-runner for so long both in the polls and in fundraising, it's hard to imagine the race has tightened. But it's an inescapable conclusion that the race has tightened remarkedly. First, we heard rumors reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer of an internal Montgomery poll showing Dann slightly behind, but within the margins, of Montgomery. Then, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's own poll, conducted by the nationally respected Mason-Dixon poll firm, showed the race tied at 44% each. Today's Columbus Dispatch poll reports Dann winning by ten-points 55%-44%, but this poll is a mail-in response poll which had a heavier response rate among Democrats than typically seen in actual voter turnout. Does this mean that Democratic voters are more energized than Republicans? Could be.

    Although Montgomery is currently State Auditor, the fact that she used to be State Attorney General and has been in statewide office since 1994, I am applying the rules regarding polling usually used on incumbents. And that rule is that when an incumbent is polling in the mid-40s shortly before the election, that candidate is in trouble, especially when their opponent is polling at or near the same level. By that measure, regardless of which poll numbers you believe is accurate, the picture becomes clearer. Undecided voters over the past month have been overwhelmingly breaking towards Dann as Dann began to introduce himself to voters with his ads highlighting his newspaper endorsements and attacks on Montgomery's as being "asleep at the switch" in regards to Tom Noe, a political contributor of Montgomery's who currently is being tried in the Coingate scandal.

    What's interesting is that you can take the Plain Dealer poll, which reflects more of the partisan turnout from the 2004 Presidential election, and look at the Dispatch poll which may reflect a more Democratic favored turnout in 2006, and you'll see Montgomery polling in the mid-40s in both. It's clear that Mongtomery's campaign has lost their swagger as the teflon has worn off, and are genuinely concerned. If Dann wins, it looks like Strickland's lopsided victory affected the turnout enough to help Dann surpass Montgomery. If I were the Ohio Democratic Party, I hope they dumped a ton of money to get Dann's ads in heavier rotation. They clearly have had more of an impact than hers which have been criticized by current Attorney General Jim Petro and the Ohio State Bar Association for insinuating that Dann was unqualified to be Attorney General because he represented accused child molesters.

  4. State Treasurer: This race has been exciting to predict as any race for State Treasurer can be when the front-runner is a former Jeopardy champion. Rich Cordray has run an impressive campaign both on the ground and in fundraising, Cordray is uniquely qualified, and his opponent is the complete opposite of Cordray in just about every aspect. It's two days before the election, and Cordray has been on the air for a few weeks, including with an ad with former U.S. Senator/American hero John Glenn. Remember that memorable ad by his opponent? Remember her name? Yeah, I don't either.

  5. State Auditor: I promised a Republican upset, and this is it. I predict that Republican Mary Taylor will win the State Auditor's race if Strickland doesn't create an overwhelming Democratic tsunami. Taylor's use of being a CPA has framed the race about qualifications. Lately, Democrats have accused Taylor was engaged in a "pay-to-play" scandal where she lobbied for state appropriations for a project based on its desire by Republican donors who then donated to Taylor shortly after sending the letter. It turns out that the funding project may or may not involve Taylor's husband's company that Taylor herself had earlier claimed to have a financial interest in? Get that? Yeah, and most voters haven't heard about it, either.

    Taylor gets the edge because her ads are effective (as regards to framing the campaign on experience) and are in heavy rotation. If Sykes has ads in Southwestern Ohio airing, I am somehow missing them completely.

  6. Secretary of State: What's good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words, just as I think the experience issue gives Taylor an edge, so does it give Jennifer Brunner an advantage. Again, the Plain Dealer/Mason-Dixon poll gives Brunner a nine-point lead 41%-32%. The Dispatch poll shows Brunner winning 58%-37%. Again, comparing the two polls shows that differences in turnout doesn't help her opponent, but that Brunner could be safely elected in a high Democratic turnout. The PD poll makes it closer, but has a 25% undecided rate. That also explains the huge difference between the two polls.

    Hartmann's ads have been hitting Brunner solely on some her sentencing decisions while a Franklin County Common Pleas judge. Most observers don't how that criticism is relevant to her becoming Secretary of State, and apparently, neither do the voters. In fact, the ads have a side benefit for Brunner, as it reinforces that she is a former judge, a qualification that voters probably tend view as someone who is objective, independent, and highly qualified. Her opponent's ads also repeatedly use Brunner's name. In fact, you'll hear Jennifer Brunner's name in her opponent's ads more than you'll hear his. I'd bet you'd even hear her name even more than in her own ads.

  7. Congressional races: This is probably the most unpredictable part of the night. Currently, Republicans have a 2:1 edge in Ohio's Congressional delegation. There are, at least, four seats that national pundits say in Ohio are hotly contested races which could change hands, and all seats are currently held by Republicans. If Democrats win three of those seats, then the Ohio Congressional delegation will be evenly split between Republican and Democrats. If Democrats pull off a complete sweep, then Ohio's Congressional delegation will have a Democratic majority. The four races are: OH-18 (Ney) Padgett vs. Space; OH-15 (Pryce) against Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy; OH-01 (Chabot) against Cincinnati City Councilman/U.C. Law Prof. John Cranley; and OH-02 (Schmidt) against Dr. Victoria Wulsin.

    OH-15:The conventional wisdom seems to suggest that Democrats are likely to take OH-15 and OH-18, which would be historic. Deborah Pryce is the fourth ranking Republican in Congress, but her district has grown more and more Democratic each year. Kilroy is a popular County Commissioner from the most populous county of the district, and ran a great campaign. Pryce has gotten so desperate that she's actually stalked her opponent to challenger her to more debates, not the actions of an incumbent who's ahead.

    OH-18: The Padgett-Space race is very surprising to me. During the gubernatorial primaries, Joy Padgett was Jim Petro's running mate, and many credited Padgett being on the ticket as being the reason why Petro carried the counties in OH-18. When Padgett won the special election, everyone expected that Space would fall behind because he didn't have Bob Ney's corruption anymore, and the district is a Republican district. Padgett's personal bankruptcy, and questions about it and a SBA loan Padgett just got shortly before the bankruptcy, became issues. Also, Padgett got tagged as Bob Ney's "hand picked" successor. To top it off, Bob Ney pled guilty to the very corruption he repeatedly denied to his constituents. And in what can only be described as the final kiss my arse to the Ohio Republican Party, Ney waited until this weekend to resign his House seat, infuriating Republicans who knew the story would hit the final news cycle before the final weekend of the campaign. The RNCC dropped its financial support a few weeks ago, and several stories suggested that they hung in as long as they did simply to force the DCCC to continue to spend money in the race. Space wins, but he enters Congress with a big target on his back.

    OH-01: John Cranley leads the most recent polls in the race, but Steve Chabot has made a career of surviving races while be the most heavily challenged Ohio Republican in Congress over his career. The only thing that might make this race different is the toxic environment overall for Republicans, and the fact that the traditionally Republican reliable Cincinnati Enquirer actually endorsed Cranley in this race. History favors Chabot, but the current environment favors Cranley. Whomever wins, it's a tight victory.

    OH-02:I want to write that Victoria Wulsin wins. The reports on the ground suggests that Victoria Wulsin is getting a good response in the district, and Jean Schmidt is about the most politically toxic politician in the Ohio delegation. One year after winning a closer than expected special election to replace hugely popular Rob Portman, Schmidt may have actually lost ground. Her attack on Murtha makes her a cause celeb among movement conservatives, but turns off moderate Republicans, independents, and fires up Democrats. Her public support of turning parts of her district into a "toxic waste" dump (for spent nuclear fuel recycling) has had an immediate impact on the eastern part of the district where Paul Hackett carried, and will likely have a huge turnout for Strickland since those counties mostly comprise of Strickland's old Sixth Congressional. Vic Wulsin will carry those counties by wider margins than Hackett. If she wins there, and decisively in Hamilton County, it may overcome Schmidt's advantages in Clermont and Warren counties. If the Republican candidate was anyone other than Schmidt, this race wouldn't be on anyone's radar. I believe Wulsin has a real chance, but she needs a stiff Democratic breeze to her back in the district to win. If she does win, she's the Republican's top target in 2008 nationally.

  8. Ohio General Assembly: I don't predict either houses to change hands, but I must note that recent news suggests that a Democratic takeover of the Ohio House could be possible for details, see my post on Buckeye State Blog. I believe that a Democratic takeover is improbable, but on the outer limits of the possible. The State Senate will remain in Republican hands.

So, Democrats will likely win almost all of the statewide races, but I predict a tradeoff of upsets with Marc Dann squeaking by Betty Montgomery but Mary Taylor doing the same over Sykes. Worst case scenerio I can see is Montgomery and Taylor both winning, but I think a complete Democratic sweep is more likely. I predict that Democrats will pick up three Congressional seats in Ohio leading to a parity in Ohio's Congressional representation. A fourth pickup is more possible than a two-seat pickup because I predict turnout strongly favors Democrats because of the weakness on the top of the ticket. If Democrats don't pick up at least those two seats, then it suggests the prediction of a Democratic wave was overstated.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marc Dann for Attorney General

As a proud defense attorney and a strong believer in our due process rights as guaranteed to all citizens under the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, I am appalled at Betty Montgomery's attack against her opponent. Representing the rights of the accused does not disqualify someone to serve as our Attorney General, and current Attorney General Jim Petro and the Ohio State Bar Association was correct in condemning this line of attack.

Watch Marc Dann's latest campaign commercial and spread the word. Five days to go!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nice final ad.

Sorry for the lack of posting, but you can always find me over at Buckeye State Blog.

This is the final ad for the Strickland campaign. I like the plea to the voters to support him so that Strickland can bring Ohio together and address Ohio's problems. One component of leadership that has been in short supply that voters have been wanting are politicians who can bring people together and develop common-ground solutions.

Blackwell doesn't even proport to offer that. His leadership style is more reflected by opportunism, inflexible dogma, and leadership by edict. I think voters have seen enough of that type of leadership in Washington and don't want to see more of it in Ohio.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congrats Ohio Bar passers

Being one year removed from today's announcement of the July Bar results, I remember what a great day (crappy weather aside) this is.

Tip O' the Hat: When I was deciding on law schools, I was torn between the University of Cincinnati and the University of Toledo (who offered me a conditional full-ride.) I chose U.C. Glad to see both law schools had the highest bar passage rate among Ohio law schools for first-time takers this summer at a record 93% passage rate, beating The Ohio State University which has traditionally single-handedly held that distinction for the past few years, but drops to a tie in third place with Cleveland State University behind Case Western Reserve University.

Wag O' the Finger: The University of Dayton cannot be proud that their July bar passage rate for first-time takers was 78%, behind Ohio Northern's 81%. The overall bar passage rate for first-time bar examiners in July was 85%, which means these two Ohio schools did worse than average on getting their students to pass the Ohio bar exam than students did from law schools outside of Ohio.

I know I'll take alot of heat for this, but I think it's ridiculous that Ohio has nine law schools.

But congratulations to the 1,000 soon-to-be newly minted Ohio-licensed attorneys!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The national Republicans *HAVE* abandoned the DeWine campaign

It's been nearly a week since the RNC Chairman denied the New York Times report that the party was pulling the financial plug on Mike DeWine's campaign. Scott Pullins and RAB derided the story and pointed out a Federal Election Commission Report showing the RNC making a $727k ad buy (the RNC publicly committed to spending at least another million on the race.)

So now that we're 14 days until the election, what has the RNC and the NRSC done with its money since then?

Well, according to the available FEC reports, the two groups have spent money on four different Senate races: Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Since the RNC's last paid media purchase for DeWine, the RNC has had to report six separate notices of expenditures in Missouri, three in Tennessee, and one in Ohio. The NRSC has filed two notices of expenditures in Missouri, one in Tennessee, three in Rhode Island, and ZERO in Ohio.

Now, what's the dollar figures?

Well, again, since the RNC's last ad buy for DeWine, the RNC has spent an additional $1.9M in the Missouri race, over half a million in the Tennessee race, and less than $8,000 in Ohio. The RNC has spent nothing in the Rhode Island race lately.

And the NRSC? Well, they've spent nothing on DeWine's race. Over $87k in MO, almost $120k in Tennessee, and a little over $215k in Rhode Island.

So national Republican Party spending on Senate races since the RNC's last ad buy for DeWine looks like this:

  • Missouri: $2,030,106.21
  • Tennessee: $673,856.85
  • Rhode Island: $215,057.86
  • Ohio: $7,964.74
    (Source: 24-Hour Notices filed by the RNC and NRSC as of close of business 10/23/06.)

If I were Senator DeWine, I wouldn't be waiting by the mailbox for that check to come in...

R.I.P.- "Stay the Course" Campaign '04-10/22/2006

"Success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan." -President John F. Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

May peace find you during your eternal rest, "Stay the course," we hardly knew ye.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blackwell's campaign is sliding backwards

Don't blame me, that's the lede in the weekend Blackwell campaign road report from the Associated Press:

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio - Ken Blackwell is campaigning backward.

In the two weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 election, the Republican candidate for governor is concentrating on his base after weeks of trying to cut into Democratic leads in Ohio's urban counties. The move comes amid reports that conservatives have grown weary of the GOP in light of scandals in Washington and Columbus.

On Saturday, he rallied the faithful in Logan County, which voted better than 2-1 for President Bush in 2004. Over the weekend, he also visited Marion, Findlay, St. Marys and other GOP strongholds, as well as a couple of Columbus churches.

Recent polls have found Blackwell trailing Democrat Ted Strickland by double digits. The winner will give his party an edge in the 2008 presidential race in the state that gave Bush the push he needed to win re-election in 2004.

Blackwell is running in a difficult year for Republicans, with scandals surrounding U.S. Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Mark Foley of Florida and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft. Recent reports have Republicans worried about turnout, especially among Christian conservatives who were instrumental in Bush's success in Ohio and elsewhere two years ago.

Blackwell gave a motivational speech to Logan County Republicans on Saturday, telling his troops that polls have been wrong before. Indeed, in a late October poll in 1994, when he ran his first statewide campaign for treasurer, Blackwell trailed his opponent by 5 percentage points. He won that election with 54 percent of the vote.

To see why Blackwell's tale of 1994 is misleading (Some would say, a lie, be sure to read this story I posted on Buckeye State Blog.

"People don't understand your neighbor-to-neighbor, church member-to-church member, family member-to-family-member networking," Blackwell told the crowd of about 100 at Logan County Republican headquarters. "Once again, the pundits are saying it's a miserable year for the GOP."

He said he wasn't making any special pitch to religious conservatives, as he did in his primary victory over Attorney General Jim Petro. He typically winds up campaigns reminding Republicans of the importance of getting out the vote, he said.

"My strategy in all my campaigns has been to work back to my strength," he said.

However, some party stalwarts have noticed a difference.

"There is no doubt in Ohio that we have been kind of kicked down," said David Knight, 63, who is unopposed for re-election as a Logan County commissioner. "That notwithstanding, what we're about is the future, not the past."

It's not just Ohio Republicans who are getting kicked. National Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman was compelled to send a pick-me-up e-mail to supporters and the media last week after reports that the GOP's conservative base is less than enthusiastic about campaigns this year.

"Despite the media hype, an examination of all the facts makes it clear: the Republican base is active and engaged," Mehlman wrote.

Religious conservatives in Ohio have less enthusiasm for the ticket this year than in 2004 because Bush is not running and Taft's approval rating has sunk to the low teens, said John Green, a senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Strickland also has made some headway with those voters because of his status as an ordained United Methodist minister, Green said.

"He (Blackwell) has worked very hard in appealing to religious voters, but the political winds are blowing in the Democrats' direction," Green said. "It's not as easy as it was in 2004 and 2002."

Blackwell discounts the notion that his base is restless.

"As I've crisscrossed the state over the last three weeks ..., we've had record turnouts. So it's news to me that we've lost any intensity or enthusiasm. It's even more than we saw in 2004," Blackwell said after his speech.

Does anyone believe this? After national exposure of his upcoming rally in Cincinnati, Blackwell only got roughly 200 people to show up. Did Bush ever have a crowd that small in Ohio in 2004? And do I need to remind everyone of this post, too?

Strickland plans to wind up by visiting 72 of Ohio's 88 counties over the next two weeks. He spent Sunday in GOP-rich rural Ohio.

"One of the things that gives me hope for having an effective administration if I win is the fact I've received so much support from Republicans. Ohioans want someone who will be a unifying force instead of a divisive force," Strickland said Sunday by telephone en route from Delaware to Newark in central Ohio.

So to recap, both nominees are running in heavily Republican areas. Blackwell it trying to tell folks that this is just like 1994, except polling showed him ahead at the time. And Strickland is going to visit 81% of the counties in Ohio during the remaining weeks. This is not a campaign that is letting up at all.

I'm a Democrat

Best political ad that hasn't been aired:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Which campaign do you think is in better shape?

Blackwell's campaign rally:

Strickland campaign rally:

I report, you decide. (But to me, I don't think the Republicans "legendary" GOTV efforts can turn the tide on this race.)

Canton Repo Endorses Strickland

"Ted Strickland is The Repository’s choice to be the next Ohio governor. We urge readers to elect him on Nov. 7.

"Ohio has been through a lot in recent years. An anemic Democratic party has contributed to one-party Republican rule. Too much of one thing for too long led to sloppiness, excess and criminality. The scandals in state government were the result. The same could have happened under one-party rule by Democrats. It is a function of too much unchecked power.

"Voters have a sense for knowing when enough is enough. That is why public opinion favors so many Democrats in their races for statewide office. Heading this change is Strickland, a veteran U.S. congressman who has a good record of accomplishment by cooperating with Republicans, the majority party in the Congress, to solve problems for his district.

"This ability will serve him well if he becomes governor and has to work with a legislature that probably will remain in Republican control.

"Strickland’s opponent, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, is a hard partisan with extreme views, often about the control he should be able to exert over local matters. His Tax Expenditure Limitation amendment, which might have been on the Ohio ballot this fall if his fellow Republicans had not saved Blackwell from himself, is an example. Not only would it have limited Ohio state government spending, but it also would have imposed a straitjacket on local governments.

"Fortunately, knowing that TEL would be a political catastrophe, the Legislature gave Blackwell his controls on the state but declined to impose spending limits on townships and villages and school boards. Blackwell withdrew TEL.

"More ideas involving exercise of state power over local matters are in Blackwell’s briefcase. One of them is his assertion that 65 percent of every school dollar should be spent in classrooms. In many cases, the percentage already exceeds 65 percent, yet elected school boards, not education bureaucrats in Columbus or Blackwell, ought to make local spending decisions.

"Blackwell’s ties to the religious-political right wing of his party, in Ohio and nationally, make us nervous. Strickland, while an ordained minister, doesn’t flaunt his faith or exploit the political fringes. We think Ohio is fed up with that kind of politics anyway.

"This is a time when Ohioans need to be invited toward a moderate middle place where the extremes don’t dominate debate and serious people of good will can solve the state’s education, economic and social problems. Strickland is the leader for this effort."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Does Deborah Pryce love pedophiles?

I must admit that I am amused by the conservative movement's sudden and recent outrage (again) over the re-discovery (for the tenth time) of Congressman Ted Strickland's "present" vote in 1999 on House Concurrent Resolution 107 "Expressing the Sense of Congress Concerning the sexual relationships between adults and children." To hear the conservatives phrase it, this piece of congressional legislation earns a spot next to the Civil Rights Acts, Title IX, ADA, and the PATRIOT Act. Frankly, anything that comes out of Congress claiming the Congress has the sense of anything, common or otherwise, is a farce. And so is this legislation.

Like so much of what Congress has been "legislating" this very Congress, H. Con. R. 107 in 1999 was all fury, signifying nothing. What, other than create a political attack that Republicans have been using against Strickland for the past seven years, did passage of this resolution achieve? Did it provide any additional counseling to victims of pedophelia? Did it strengthen any criminal penalities for pedophelia or even child pornagraphy? Can anyone truly say with a somber face that by passing this resolution Congress had done something to protect our children?

Would it matter if I pointed out that while Mark Foley was likely in between sending House pages instant messages "grooming" them to be his next sexual conquest, he bothered to take a long enough break to go down to the House floor and vote in FAVOR of this resolution? Does his vote on this resolution make anyone think any better of Mr. Foley?

Which gets me to Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, fourth ranking Republican in Congress, who, just a month ago. told a Columbus magazine that Mark Foley was one of her closest friends in Washington. Deb Pryce, who now, suddenly says that with all her facetime with Foley she had absolutely no forewarning of Foley's predatory habits of House pages despite the fact that apparently Tom Reynolds knew, his staff knew, the Speaker's staff knew, John Boehner knew, Congressman Kolbe knew in 2000, the Republican chairman of the Page Board knew, and the past House Clerk all knew for quite some time. Apparently, so many Republicans knew for so long of Foley's "inappropriate activities" that they have just assumed, without any evidence, that the Democrats by now knew, too, and waited to pounce on it at the opportune political time. Oh, and Congressman Alexander knew, too.

If Ted Strickland's "present" vote makes him "soft" on pedophilia, what's Deborah Pryce's relationship and lack of leadership on Mark Foley make her? Are we to believe that in all the time Pryce and Foley hung out, she not once heard any rumor of her good friend's drunken late-night vists to the pages' dorms? She didn't see once some vaguely young familiar face with the Congressman? That in all of those leadership meetings, not once did she hear any discussion about the issue? That in all those flights back from Washington, D.C. she and Boehner not once talked about it?

The manufactured blustering and outrage over Strickland's vote in 1999 would seem more realistic if the bombastic conservatives had enough present mind not to direct it solely to Strickland alone and included one of their own for similar outrage. After all, if this legislation truly was a watermark day in history when politicians were forced to either stand up for or against pedophelia, then what do you say about Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, who didn't even bother to show up to vote at all on H. Con. R. 107.

Where's the conservatives bluster and outrage that one of their own leaders is not only a close personal friend of Congressman Foley, but didn't even bother to show up to work to take a stand on this vital piece of legislation? And not only Deborah Pryce failed the victims of pedophelia, mind you, countless other Republican leaders at the time didn't even bother to vote on this resolution. In fact, although several other members who were not present for the vote later placed their votes into the Congressional record, here we are, some seven years since, and we still don't know where these Republicans stand on this vital issue for Ohioans.

Here's the list of the Republican Wall of Infamy, remember their shame well:

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Congressman (and Clinton Impeachment manager) Bob Barr, Sonny Bono, Helen Chenoweth, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Congressman (and now disgraced Kentucky Governor) Ernie Fletcher, Paul Gilmor, (Fox News Host) John Kasich, and as I mentioned, Deborah Pryce.

Burn their dishonored names into your brain!

I look forward to Matt Dole (Lincoln Logs), Tom Blumer (Bizzy Blog), and Matt Hurley's call that Deborah Pryce immediately resign her leadership position in Congress and not wait until the election for her to do so. The children of American cannot permit a coddler of pedophiles a place of such vital leadership in the people's House. After all, as Tom Blumer said, "[t]here’s a big difference between serving 600,000 people in Congress and governing an entire state of 11 million people." Deborah Pryce is seeking to serve 300 million people of the United States as a leader of Congress!

I know they'll do the right thing. It's not like their "outrage" over this seven-year old resolution is one of political expediency.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blackwell campaign attempted to use phony journalist to shape media coverage

Apparently, an attempted dirty trick by the Blackwell campaign has further called the presently scheduled fourth gubernatorial debate in doubt. Here's the story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Openers blog:

Moments later, Strickland sounded like he wasn't willing to face Blackwell again as he accused his opponent's campaign of "breaking faith" and "engaging in behavior that is unacceptable" at last week's debate in Cincinnati by sneaking a Blackwell supporter into the post-debate "spin room" reserved for media members only.

The unidentified Blackwell supporter who posed as a reporter was removed by security at the Cincinnati event, according to reporters who attended.

"It's just the fact that when you make an agreement you ought to honor that agreement, " sniffed Strickland.

Ken Blackwell's campaign has gotten so desperate that they've been reduced to trying to plant their own supporters as phony journalists at press conferences to shape the coverage they want.

Is it any wonder why people don't trust Ken Blackwell?

Monday, October 09, 2006

National Republican Organization ditches Blackwell

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Openers blog, the Republican Governors Association, the national Republican Party organization dedicated to electing Republican Governors, is no longer focusing their efforts in Ohio.

In other words, the RGA has decided that Ken Blackwell's campaign is a lost cause. He's not turning the corner, but like a true Bushite, he's stayed the course to defeat.

In recent email to supporters, RGA chairman and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney urges volunteers to work in critical battleground states in the final four to six days before the election.

“The lesson of the 2002 and 2004 Republican victories is that volunteer efforts the weekend prior to election day will make the difference between winning and losing close elections,” Romney writes.

Romney, who helped Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell with his health-care plan, recommends six states.

And Ohio is not one of them.

Strickland has consistently led Blackwell by double-digit leads. In a Rasmussen poll published last week -- the most favorable of the recent surveys -- Blackwell trails by 12 points.

About the six states – Iowa, Maine, Oregon, Illinois, Arkansas, and Michigan – Romney writes: “All of them are states where a strong Republican '72 Hour' get-out-the-vote effort can make the difference between winning and losing.”

So it would appear that as far as the RGA is concerned, the Republicans '72 Hour' GOTV effort is not the difference between winning and losing.

This is an embarassment to the conservative wing of the party. Ken Blackwell was supposed to be a sign of a new kind of conservative Republican emerging on the national scene. As one of only three African-American Republicans running in statewide contests, Blackwell was supposed to symbolize a turning point in Republican racial politics. During the primaries, Blackwell supporters crowed about how Blackwell was a national figure in the Republican Party of such influence that he would automatically be on the short list for running mate of any serious Republican contender in the 2008 Presidential election.

In the end, Ken Blackwell will be remembered like T.O. was this weekend in Philly: All mouth, no real delivery.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

[UPDATED] For Ken Blackwell, it's the worst week ever

Here's the week in review of what matters in the Ohio Governor's race. All in all, it's a bad week for Blackwell with precious little time left to change things around.

Foley: It has to be said. Has there ever been a major party candidate in Ohio who has built his campaign strategy relying on turning out the evangelical conservative vote more than Blackwell (perhaps Bush/Cheney '04). Having Bob Woodward's book suggest that the President called Blackwell a "nut," and have the Foley scandal erupt leading many to believe that the evangelical vote will stay home aren't the kind of things the Blackwell campaign wanted to see.

Money race: The September fundraising figures came out earlier this week, and it showed yet another month where Strickland's fundraising has continued to be solid while Blackwell's ability to raise money has continued to drop off. Blackwell raised nearly half a million dollars less in September than he did in August. Strickland, on the other hand, raised $2.5 Million, thus raising over twice what Blackwell did. As I've said, this is the second consecutive month showing Blackwell's fundraising has been dropping. It should also be noted that if it weren't for in-kind and monetary donations from the Ohio Republican Party. Blackwell's fundraising would look actually much worst.

Strickland goes into the last few weeks of the campaign with a multi-million dollar cash advantage, so he can counter Blackwell's message. Also, Blackwell's drop in fundraising suggests that national leaders and other outside conservative groups probably won't be coming into the district to help Blackwell out. The people who write the checks for Republican candidates have increasingly decided that their money would be better spent in other races, such as Ohio's closer Senate race.

Ad buys: During this phase of the campaign, retail politics takes a back seat to paid media. This is the time period where the air campaign is at its climax. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Blackwell campaign is "lagging in the polls, money raised and crucial television advertising time purchased," and therefore, is "losing momentum."

Blackwell, it appears, is currently been running a small TV buy in his political base of SW Ohio (which, if true, demonstrates that Blackwell's campaign is more concerned about protecting his strong showing in SWO than becoming more competitive elsewhere in the state. This is the actions of a defensive campaign looking to avoid embarassment on election night, not a campaign on the march to victory.) Strickland is buying up ad time like he's the one who gets the commission. He's buying roughly $40,000 per T.V. station in Columbus for the final month.

Blackwell's campaign has bought no ad time for much of October in Columbus, which is normally a battleground. He's spending 80% of his entire general election paid media budget in the final week of the campaign in Columbus. Blackwell will run 272 commercials during that week in Columbus compared to Strickland's 186.

Strickland also bought TV time throughout the end of September and October, and nearly doubled the amount spent by Blackwell for TV ads for the entire fall campaign. While it's true that the Republican Governors Association is running ads in northern Ohio, those ads are on gay marriage, and have been largely panned as ineffective to reshape the race to make it more competitive.

Debates: The debate on the economy earlier this week in Cincinnati may be the final debate, unless a sponsor for the already scheduled Columbus debate can be agreed upon in time. Although the third debate, this was the only one which occurred after business hours, and therefore, was probably the most watched debate.

The debates were supposed to be where Blackwell would turn the race around. He hasn't, and his campaign knows that it didn't. Sure, they did the usual press release praising the race. But when your campaign blog's only comment on the debate is a self-congratulations on how well the Ohio College Republicans was able to stage a "rally" of College Republicans from across Ohio, you know that they don't believe what actually occurred at the debate helped their cause.

Polls: Rasmussen latest poll shows that Blackwell has closed the gap, but it still shows Strickland with a double-digit lead over 50%. It also shows that over a third of voters have a highly unfavorable opinion of Blackwell. While 48% have an unfavorable opinion. That creates a strong amount of resistance for Blackwell to break into victory while Strickland's popularity is very strong. In the end, the poll may suggest that the results in August were too optimistic, and this is a correction as they tend to follow the numbers throughout the campaign since the primary.

The more significant poll comes from the Ohio Poll of the University of Cincinnati which shows that likely voters give Democrats double digit leads on which party can be trusted to improve Ohio's economy, create jobs, and improve public education. In fact, Democrats have advantages with voters on tax and controlling government spending issues as well, traditionally Republican issues.

Endorsements: A month ago, Strickland got the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, a traditionally expected endorsement for Republicans. Strickland also got endorsed by the Ohio Associated of General Contractors, another traditional Republican endorsement. Blackwell hasn't gotten any endorsements that Republicans aren't expected to always get (unless you're radioactive like Mark Foley.)

Today, Strickland was endorsed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch. Remember the last time the Dispatch endorsed a Democrat for Governor? Me neither, and that's the bigger point.

Here are the highlights.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

"[Ohio]requires a governor who can work with red and blue Ohioans, who can cool the fever of partisanship with moderation and common sense. Between Strickland, who currently represents Ohio's 6th Congressional District, and Republican candidate and Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Strickland is the one who has exhibited these qualities to a much greater degree. Blackwell has proclaimed that he is the candidate of bold ideas. That's true. But his ideas alarm a significant portion of the electorate, including many in his own party. Boldness is not the test of leadership; sound judgment is.

"His proposed constitutional amendment to limit government taxing and spending spoke to Ohioans' frustrations with the state's outdated tax structure. But as people began to examine the measure closely, they could see it meant devastating cuts to police, fire, education and other local services.

'The weaknesses were so obvious that fellow Republicans in the General Assembly rushed through legislation to remove the embarrassment from the ballot and replace it with a face-saving but toothless statutory replica.

"Because this plan was not a careful, thoughtful piece of work, it calls into question the thoughtfulness and care of its creator. Blackwell's suport for the so-called 65 percent solution, which proposes to fix problems in the state's schools by ordering every district to devote 65 percent of its budget to classroom instruction, is a similar big idea that simply brushes aside the details, such as the myriad differences in need among more than 600 Ohio school districts.

"Strickland acknowledges that his ideas lack the flash of Blackwell’s. But they are more carefully conceived. Strickland proposes to continue and to expand some of the best policies to come out of the governor’s office and the legislature in recent years. He has endorsed Gov. Bob Taft’s Third Frontier proposal, which uses state money to nurture 21st-century technologies and proposes to expand such efforts. He also wants to allow the tax reform passed last year to play out until its effects can be judged. He pledges that all of his initiatives, including changes in health care, contain the means to pay for them and do not require tax increases.

"On K-12 education, Strickland proposes to lead an effort to reach a consensus solution on how to retool funding. Yes, this could become just another go-nowhere, blue-ribbon commission, but given the emphasis each candidate has put on this issue, Strickland would be held accountable if he fails to follow through as governor.

"Of course, anything the next governor proposes will require the cooperation of the General Assembly, and on that score, too, Strickland has the edge. Blackwell is a polarizing figure, even within his own party, and his bull-in-the-china-shop approach to politics is as likely to alienate the legislature as win it over. Strickland's moderation and consensus-building style are more likely to be effective regardless of the legislature's political makeup.

"Strickland also has the superior running mate. Lee Fisher, who served well as Ohio attorney general, state senator and 1998 Democratic nominee for governor, is experienced and knowledgeable. Tom Raga, Blackwell's running mate, is a third-term state representative who is bright and promising but untested at this level.

"Ohio's future will be built one brick at a time and will require all hands. Strickland is best equipped to lead the state forward."

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Blackwell reeks of recklessness. His long record in public office suggests that he would freely engage in the exploration of potentially destructive ideas, even as he uses the governorship to make political mischief and sow social division on a grander scale than ever.

"The deep contrasts in their temperaments and level of political maturity should make Strickland's election a fairly easy call. Besides, the ideas Strickland has been willing to advance so far are solid, and we are relatively confident he will continue to surround himself with smart people who can help him implement and expand upon them.

"The same cannot be said of Blackwell.

"We believe Strickland has a better chance to accomplish good things for Ohio because he and his running mate, Lee Fisher, understand the state's needs better than their Republican opponents. Fisher is an urban Democrat from Greater Cleveland who has long championed the needs of cities and knows the challenges of job creation. Strickland, a product of Appalachia, has lived the struggles of rural Ohio and grasps the troubles of the poor.

"Together, these men have a chance to take the helm of a state that has become known for too many of the wrong economic indicators. Doing so will require active political imagination, keen economic vision - and a certain amount of care.

"The question before Ohioans is, which candidate for governor is best equipped to carry the state forward without dropping it. The only answer, then, is Ted Strickland."

[UPDATED:] I apparently missed the Toledo Blade's endorsement of Strickland today as well. The editorial basically writes off Blackwell's attempts to claim that he is a Republican outsider from a Republican Party that has lead this state for the past twelve years with Blackwell on the ticket.

He truly would be a governor from the “Other Ohio,” and it’s about time. Moreover, his running mate, Lee Fisher, is extraordinarily qualified to serve as governor if ever needed.

We certainly understand how difficult it is for many Ohioans, and many good Republicans, to accept what has become of their party. They put their faith in Republicans for 16 years, and that faith was badly abused.

Here in Ohio, the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Noe. For the Republicans, the Three C’s have become “Complacency, Corruption, and Coingate.” Ohio is enduring a true crisis of ethics, and it can only be fixed by change.

Forget about party labels. Democrats, Republicans, and independents should understand that they have a greater calling than partisanship this time. They need to join together to give their state a fresh start.

They can do that by electing Ted Strickland as Ohio’s 68th governor on Nov. 7.

Although the Akron Beacon Journal hasn't made it's endorsement in this race. Today's editorial regarding Ken Blackwell tax platform is as much of an indictment against his candidacy as the endorsements were. The ABJ calls Blackwell's part of his "easy answers" which proposes to do something that states which also lag behind the rest of the nation in economic growth do.

Blackwell's plan would lead to eventual tax increases on the middle class and require nearly a billion of dollars in cuts in state spending (which Blackwell has yet to explain where he would make those, nor the spending cuts he would need to make for the promised increase of the percentage of general revenue funds dedicated to public education.)

With only four weeks left, Blackwell can't afford a week when his campaign is described as floundering, his ability to govern questioned, and his platform highly criticized as a stealth tax increase on the middle class.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Republican bloggers' legal malpractice

Cross-posted at BSB:

First, Lincoln Logs recycles the same evidence he was using three months ago about the Stricklands claiming a property tax credit for their condo in Franklin County as a "new development." Then, he tried to whip the entire right-wing blogsphere in a frenzy over a complaint being filed in Columbiana County over Strickland's voting registration in Lisbon, where the Stricklands also reside in an apartment. (By the way, despite assurances to the contrary for months now, nobody has offered any evidence that the Stricklands do not also reside in their Lisbon apartment.)

Second, despite Matt's assurances to the contrary, the person objecting is hardly the "objective" Democrat he claims:

"[Columbiana GOP county chair] Johnson said he was pleased with the actions of Ms. Long, whose son, Larry Long Jr., is an outspoken supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell."
The person's complaint would have seemed less partisan if it was immediately joined by a press release from the Columbiana County Republican Party and pushed by Matt at Lincoln Logs, RAB, Weapons of Mass Destruciton, and then by the Blackwell's campaign blog.

The article also establishes that Strickland, in fact, frequently stays at the Lisbon apartment:

Dennis Johnson said the elections board will give the complaint a fair hearing, but he said anyone who lives in Lisbon can tell you that Strickland stays at his apartment when in this part of the district, especially the employees at the Steel Trolley Diner, which he frequents.“You can talk to the people at the diner who would see him late at night” when Strickland stopped in for a piece of pie, he said.


Matt then asserts, with no legal authority, that Strickland is guilty either of voting fraud or tax fraud simply because Strickland applied for a tax credit for the condo as an owner-occupied home. Dole asserts that the form shows that the Franklin County property is Strickland's primary residence. However, Ohio election law doesn't require you to vote from your "primary residence." In fact, there's nothing in the Ohio Revised Code that comes anywhere near the term "primary residence" for voting purposes.

Also, apparently Matt doesn't know the definition of "residence," or else he'd know that a person can have only one domicile, but can have more than one residence.

So for the purposes of the uneducated, here's the difference between the two:

Residence: Bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place.

Domicile: Bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place with the intention of staying permanently. [Source: Black's Law Dictionary, 7th ed.]

The Ohio Revised Code provision that lays out the standard for voting residency, R.C. 3503.02, states that a residence is a person's habitation which is fixed and, whenever the person is absent, has the intention of returning. Note, it doesn't say the place where the person intends to permanently live. The Stricklands said they bought their Columbus condo to have a place to stay whenever they were traveling outside of the district while he was in Congress. Since Strickland will not be in Congress much longer, I'd say his stays in Columbus is pretty temporary. Also, as the article above points out, Strickland does return to the Lisbon apartment quite often. Statute satisifed.

In State, ex rel. Lakes v. Young, (1954), 161 Ohio St. 341, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a candidate, whose wife and child lived in Dayton, received mail in Dayton, and a registered letter address to his voting address could not be delivered, and the fact that other people were currently renting his voting residence, was not sufficient to find that candidate was not eligible to run for office in the precinct where he was registered to vote. The candidate ate, slept, and received visits from his wife within the precinct, and planned to return to the premises after the current tenants moved out. In that case, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned a Board of Elections decision to remove the candidate from the ballot.

In State, ex rel. Klink v. Eyrich (1952), 157 Ohio St. 338, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Hamilton County Board of Elections' decision to affirm the right of a candidate to run for office from his contested voting residence. The Court affirmed the Board decision. In his concurrence, one noted justice of the Supreme Court found that the evidence in the case required the conclusion that the "place where . . . [his] family . . . resides is in Franklin County." However, the justice noted that the question still remained if Franklin County was the only place where the candidate could vote.

The justice wrote:

"[T]hat very evidence discloses that, whenever [the candidate] is away, even when he is in Cincinnati, he has the intention of returning to Franklin County. On the other hand, [R.C. 3503.02] represents a modification of paragraph a of that statute. Admittedly, [the candidate] at one time fixed his habitation in Cincinnati.

There is also substantial evidence of [the candidate's] intention eventually to return from Franklin County to Cincinnati. Also, there is evidence that he has not gone to Franklin County for permanent purposes. If the antithesis of 'permanent purposes' is 'temporary purposes, and the words in [subsection] c of the statute tent to indicate then the rule stated in [subsection] b of the statute would support the board's position."

The justice then looked at what is now R.C. 3503.02(F) which states "if a person removes from this state and continuously resides outside this state for a period of four years or more, the person shall be considered to have lost the person's residence in this state, notwithstanding the fact that the person may entertain an intention to return at some future period."

The justice wrote:

"This paragraph provides only for the effect of 'remaining . . . an indefinite time' where there is removal 'to another state,' not to another part of the state. There is no similar provision [to R.C. 3503.02(H) which holds that a person loses their Ohio residency upon exercising their right to vote in another state] about losing a residence in one part of the state because of going into another part and voting there. Therefore, even if [the candidate] could have voted in Franklin County, it would not follow, under the words of paragraphs f and h of the statute, that he could not later vote in Cincinnati, even though he was living in Frnaklin County for an indefinite period.

"In making provision for the place where an elector may vote, the General Assembly has not specified that he may vote only at his place of domicile. Instead the words "resident" . . . and "residence" . . . have been used. A man may have more than one residence although he can have only one domicile.

"The mere fact that the ordinary meaning of the provisions of the applicable statutes may give a particular individual a choice of more than one place as his voting residence is no reason for determining that those statutes should be so construed as not to permit that. Obviously, such individual can vote only once at the same election.

"Apparently, the General Assembly, in providing for voting at the residence and setting forth rules for determination of such residence, recognized that there would be instances in which it would be difficult for an individual to determine where his domicile was or what his only voting residence was, if no leeway was given him to determine that for himself within certain limitations. The rules which the General Assembly specifed were apparently intended to enable an individual in such a situation to select as his residence some place which fairly conformed with one or more of the several rules specified, even though it might not conform with some of the other rules so specified or might not be his domicile."

And who was that Justice? None other than Justice Kingsley A. Taft. (Poor Ken Blackwell. The Taft family is a curse upon him!)

Oh, and before the Republicans think that even if their challenge succeeds means that Ted Strickland won't be able to vote in four weeks, they really should have read R.C. 3503.30 which states:

"When by mistake a qualified elector has caused himself to be registered in a precinct which was not his place of residence, the board of elections, on full and satisfactory proof that such error was committed by mistake, may, on his personal application and proof of his true residence, correct his registration form. The board may correct all errors occurring in the registration of electors when it finds that the errors subject to corrections were not of fraudulent intent."

No wonder the Cleveland Plain Dealer has already called Lincoln Logs legal malpractice "lame."

Poor Matt Dole, he's been wrong about Bob Ney's innocence, Chuck Blasdel's electibility, the NRCC's promise to pump paid media dollars in OH-06, and this (yet again.)

Can't imagine what he'll say when this complaint fails. And I sure as heck hope Matt and all these other Republicans never voted absentee while away from college. Unless, they intended to move back home with his parents after college, they're guilty of a fourth degree felony under their radical interpretation of this statute which has already been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Shouldn't let Blackwell be Blackwell

When the first polls in the gubernatorial race came out, they showed Secretary of State Ken Blackwell winning the nomination, but doing poorer against Congressman Ted Strickland in the general election. But you can't count on polls seven months out, said the Republicans. And once people get to know Strickland and his record.

When the first polls came out after the May primary, they showed Congressman Ted Strickland with a healthy six-point lead over Ken Blackwell. But you can't count on polls six months out, and once people get to know Strickland and his record . . .

Over the summer, as Strickland began making himself known to Ohioans and launching his Turnaround Ohio plan, his lead in the polls doubled. But you can't count on polls three months out before the campaign starts in earnest after Labor Day, and once people people get to know Strickland and his record . . .

Now, it's post-Labor Day, and the Blackwell campaign and its allies have spent millions advertising on their version of Ted Strickland's record. In the past week, we've seen six different polls which all show Strickland with an average 18-point lead. For awhile, the right-wing blogsphere discounted any poll that wasn't the Ohio Poll (until it became "unreliable" upon showing a double-digit lead.) Show us Mason-Dixon polling, so we can show the non-believers the true nature of the race . . .

And not only does the Mason-Dixon poll show Strickland with a crushing seventeen point lead and confirms the basic finding of just about every other poll, but it confirms last week's Columbus Dispatch poll showing Blackwell dragging the entire ticket down. But you can't on polls . . .

Six weeks out, and it's difficult to imagine a scenerio in which Blackwell can win. He still has an unfavorability rating nearing 50% and substantially higher than his favorability rating. He's losing nearly a quarter of the Republican vote while Strickland has his base and the independent vote solidly behind him. Blackwell's effort to threaten Strickland's hold on his base by getting the African-American vote never materialized.

Now the why. Blackwell was able to win statewide elections handily for the past twelve years. What's the difference? Well, this is the first time we've truly seen Blackwell the open social conservative run. While some think the Blackwell is having trouble with his parties base because he's an extremist, I believe a bigger problem is he's an opportunist. Blackwell likes to talk about himself in Reaganesque terms, but nobody has violated Reagan's 11th Commandment of not speaking ill of another Republican than Blackwell. Whenever it was politically expedient for Blackwell to do so, he was more than happy to push another Republican under the bus, whether it was Governor Bob Taft or primary opponent Attorney General Jim Petro.

You can't push that many people from your party under the bus and not get some payback. And, also, his positions are outside the mainstream of a significant segment of his own party. Together, that makes it very unlikely that there was anything Blackwell could do to get his base back. If there was, he would have done it by now.

And second, and this can't be said enough, Blackwell was more myth than an actually strong candidate. Before his statewide tenure, Blackwell wass mreore successful getting political appointments than winning elections. At best, he was able to win open seat races for Cincinnati City Council, but he lost more races than he won.

I have no idea where Blackwell the Closer ever came from. If there's evidence that Blackwell is able to be a strong closer and come from behind in a race, I'm not aware of such a campaign. And, second, Blackwell the Communicator has turned out to be an overstated characterization of Blackwell's political strengths. So long as the gubernatorial races remain a draw, Blackwell loses, and it doesn't appear that Blackwell is the Debate Heavyweight his supporters made him out to seem. His campaign has been uninspiring and has not had an effective communication strategy since winning the primary (an achievement that Blackwell has been plotting for the past twelve years.)

Blackwell must have assumed that the Democratic Party would be in no position to mount a strong campaign this cycle. He must have assumed that the winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary would coast to an easy win in the general. After all, the 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002 gubernatorial elections would all bear it out. Unfortunately, this election cycle is a break from that 16-year trend. Ted Strickland is no Robert Birch or Tim Hagan. And 2004 is nothing like 1998. How else do you explain Blackwell's "go for broke, win the primary at all costs" strategy?

Blackwell clearly thought winning the primary and throwing Taft under the bus would be enough to guarantee him an election. It wasn't as people can't ignore Blackwell's history with Tom Noe and the Ohio Republican Party, and not even Republicans can ignore what lengths Blackwell would go to win. In the end, it's not which candidate has the "right" position for the moment, or even which has the best plans for Ohio. In the end, it's a matter of character. And in five weeks, the people of Ohio will end this campaign with a verdict. It should be a short night.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


How big was the Cincinnati Bengals victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers today? Consider this: If Baltimore kicker Matt Stover missed his 52-yard field gold with 20 seconds left to play, Pittsburgh would have gone into their bye week a quarter into the season sitting last in the AFC North (although Cleveland and Pittsburgh's overall records would have been tied, the divisional record would have given Cleveland the number 3 spot.)

After the 9-0 loss last Monday to Jacksonville, the Super Bowl champs find themselves 1-2 and two games behind two caliber teams in their division. It's starting to appear that those who predicted that the losses Pittsburgh incurred since last season was going to have a more noticeable impact in the super-competitive AFC and AFC North division were right.

I'm concerned at the lack of protection Carson had this game. The line must protect the blitz and pass rush better than they did today. I did not see what I was encouraged to see against Kansas City. However, that's probably because I was seeing a Pittsburgh defense instead of the Chiefs defense, which is still retooling under their new head coach this season.

Can Cincinnati beat New England? Psychologically they need to win against both New England and the Colts this season. But with a revitialized Ravens franchise that is have a franchise record start and an improving Cleveland team, the AFC North race is so tight that every division game is going to be so tight with such profound consequences.

I predict that we're going to read a lot of "loss of luster" about the Steelers and questions about whether this team has the maturity and depth to become a dynasty and not a one-hit wonder.

Why 2010 may be a more important election for Ohio than 2008

Some have said that this election is so important because whomever wins the Gubernatorial race will be a necessary asset for their party to win Ohio as a swing state for the 2008 Presidential race. Notice I said "some" as I am not one of those people who actually believe it. I can't think of a single swing state in 2004 that was decided based on who was Governor (with perhaps the exception of Florida, but that had more to do with a family connection to the candidate than which party was in control.)

Instead, if the predictions are correct, the present election could make the 2010 elections far more political important. First, the news update: Five polls were released in the past week, and all showed Ted Strickland with monster leads over Ken Blackwell (Rasmussen, Survey USA, The Ohio Poll, Quinnipiac University Poll, and the Columbus Dispatch):

SurveyUSA 9/21
Strickland 56% Blackwell 35%

Rasmussen Reports 9/20
Strickland 54% Blackwell 35%

Ohio Poll 9/20
Strickland 50% Blackwell 38%

Quinnipiac University Poll 9/19
Strickland 55% Blackwell 34%

Columbus Dispatch 9/24
Strickland 52% Blackwell 33%

These poll all show Strickland with large advantage in almost all demographic groups, and a significant advantage among women voters. Some polls shows that Strickland is now competitive within Blackwell's home base of southwestern Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch polling shows that not only is a Strickland victory likely, but that Democrats are favored in capturing the office of State Treasurer, Auditor, and Secretary of State, leaving only Betty Montgomery's campaign to retake her former office as Attorney General as the only favored statewide race for Republicans now. If these numbers bear out on Election Day, some six weeks hence, then not only will the Republicans 12-year monopoly be broken, but it would be a partisan turnover of the Executive Branch we have not seen since, 1994.

However, if Betty Montgomery wins her election, she becomes the prohibitive favorite to challenge Ted Strickland's re-election in 2010. As a challenger, Montgomery doesn't come to race with the extremist baggage that Blackwell voluntarily brought into the race. As a moderate, Montgomery could pose a problem for Strickland. As the first female gubernatorial candidate, Montgomery's challenge for female voters could prove more problematic than Blackwell's ineffective play for the African-American group, a much smaller voting group of the electorate.

The 2010 race is important because as Ohio law stands now, which party wins those statewide offices will dictate the partisan composition of the bodies which draw the new state legislative and congressional districts for Ohio after the 2010 Census. Under current Ohio law, the Ohio State House and Senate districts are redrawn by a body comprised of one legislative member from both parties, the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Auditor. Therefore, if Strickland, Sykes, and Brunner all win in 2006 and are re-elected in 2010 (or Democrats win those races in 2010), then Democrats will have the ability to redraw the legislative districts of the General Assembly, making it possible that the Democrats could compete in enough districts to take over the state legislature as well.

Sound too far-fetched? Well, just remember that it was the victories of George Voinovich for Governor and Bob Taft for Secretary of State in 1990 that gave the Republicans a 3-2 majority of the Apportionment Board. That Board redrew lines that lead to the Republican majorities in the General Assembly in subsequent elections which, in turned, changed the national perception of Ohio as a Democratic leaning state to a solid Republican state.

With the potentional of Democratic majorities in both the Executive and Legislative branches by 2012, the Ohio Republicand Party (which will likely see a change in leadership before the 2008 elections) may find itself with as thin of a bench for the 2012 statewide elections that the Democratic Party found itself in in the disasterous 1994 election (and every election until 2006.)

That's why the 2010 election is more important to the Democratic Party than 2008. Whomever the Democratic Presidential candidate is, he or she will need to win Ohio on their own. A Gov. Strickland doesn't give that candidate any home field advantage.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blackwell's support is soft (and other things the Right doesn't want to see in a poll with only 7 weeks left)

Cross-posted at: BSB.

The conventional wisdom on the gubernatorial race both on the left and right is that with Blackwell's higher name identification, Strickland's support is soft as he is an unknown and with an effective Blackwell offensive "branding" Strickland's identity in voters' minds, Blackwell still has room to close the gap. After spending what must have been millions this month attacking Strickland (who, apparently, has decided to sit on his money for now,) a recent poll has shown that the hopes of RAB of Strickland's support being soft and easily peeled away is pure bunk.

A Quinnpiac poll released today (showing Strickland with a 21-point lead of 55-34. See a pattern?) shows that it is Blackwell's support that is soft:
Among Strickland supporters, 84 percent say their mind is made up, with 78 percent of Blackwell supporters saying they are locked in.

Also, the poll shows that Blackwell's ads aren't doing much to scare Republican voters back home under his banner. This poll is also the first poll, I believe, to show that Blackwell has a gender gap problem. (Yep, that Ted is smooth with the ladies...)

Rep. Strickland leads 88 - 6 percent among Democratic likely voters, and 54 - 31 percent among independent voters, while Blackwell leads 71 - 18 percent among Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. Men favor the Democrat 51 - 40 percent, while women back Strickland 60 - 28 percent.

So Strickland enjoys a solid lead among indpendents, has his base strongly behind him, and has three times the partisan cross-over vote than Blackwell. I've been saying all summer that for Blackwell to win, he'd need to fundamentally alter these demographics by uniting his party and blunting Strickland's advantages with independents and reducing Strickland's cross-over appeal.
This is the first poll to show that corruption is a significant issue for Ohio voters, and in that Strickland has a huge advantage:

By a 48 - 29 percent margin, Ohio voters think Strickland would do a better job ending corruption in state government. A total of 83 percent say the issue of
political corruption is "extremely important" or "very important" in deciding their vote. Among Democrats, 85 percent say the corruption is "extremely important" or "very important," with 79 percent among Republicans.

This probably explains Strickland's appeal to Republican voters. Voters just don't believe that Blackwell is going to stand up to the culture of corruption in Columbus after being there for twelve years. Also, for all of you who questioned the wisdom of Strickland advertising on Christian radio stations a few months ago:

The Republican leads Strickland, a minister, 53 - 40 percent among self-described white evangelical Christians, normally an overwhelmingly Republican voting bloc. In 2004, for example, President Bush received 76 percent of the white evangelical vote in Ohio, according to the exit polls.
Reformation Project? Dead.

Also, have I mentioned enough that Blackwell's biggest problem in improving his numbers is that people just don't like him and love Strickland?

Blackwell has a negative 27 - 32 percent favorability rating, with 24 percent mixed and 15 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

"Rep. Strickland's lead is solid and uniform. He is ahead among men and women and the critical independent voters. And his supporters are more likely to say they won't change their mind than are Secretary of State Blackwell's," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Given that the vast majority of voters say they have made up their minds, Blackwell has a steep hill to climb. More Ohioans view him unfavorably than favorably and changing a voters' mind is a difficult task for candidates once the voter has formed an opinion."

"It is hard to win an election when more voters don't like you than do," said Brown.

By comparison, Strickland gets a 41 - 13 percent favorability, with 22 percent mixed and 22 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

Couldn't have said it better myself! SEVEN MORE WEEKS!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thank goodness the Ohio Democratic Party didn't think like this in 1994...

Recently, Congressman Ted Strickland's gubernatorial campaign launched "Republicans for Strickland." At the kick-off of the new group last week, Congressman Strickland was joined by former Republican AG candidate Charles "Rocky" Saxbe, former Mason Mayor Betty Davis, and Columbus Developer Daniel Slane.

With polls already showing that Blackwell has less than average support within his own party (nearly a quarter of identified Republican voters in polls are supporting Ted Strickland), the Blackwell's campaign and Ohio GOP response was toxic. Within minutes they had a Bullwinkle cartoon with Bullwinkle Ted pulling Rocky Saxbe out of the "Ohio Corruption Tax" hat. (Nevermind that Rocky has represented Secretary Blackwell and other statewide candidates and Republican causes for decades. Now that he's supporting Strickland, he's a corrupt attorney!)

Now, this was an endorsement by just three Republicans. That's it. Instead of finding three Democrats to publicly endorse Blackwell or to downplay the significance of the endorsements, the Blackwell campaign decides to give the story even more legs and media play.

Bowling Green State University political scientist Tom Wiseman suggests that such negative attacks against these Republicans by Blackwell and the ORP has a significant chance to backfire:
"It's self-preservation from the party's point of view, preservation of the organization," he said. "They needed to take a strong stand on this, but sometimes less is accomplished with a negative approach than one might hope."

On top of that, Blackwell's attack of the group just highlights his biggest fundamental weakness in the election right now, not even his political base is united behind him:

Wiseman said the moderate Republicans Saxbe represents seem to be trending toward Strickland, which is bad news for Blackwell.

"It's not so uncommon to see individuals from the other side supporting the other candidate from time to time, but this appears to be a movement with direction," Wiseman said.

And to make matters worse for Blackwell, he's spokeman responds with the most vitrolic response of them all: Any Republican not supporting Blackwell is no longer a Republican.

"As far as we're concerned, he's no longer a member of this party. He decided that yesterday," LoParo said the day after Saxbe's event.

Saxbe sees it differently.

"I think they're making the case against themselves with these attacks," he said. "I think it's unfortunate that the message the party is sending out to Republicans is if you don't agree with these fairly radical beliefs of Ken Blackwell then you're scum."

Not the message you want to be sending in the last seven weeks of the campaign. I'm surprised the Blackwell campaign allowed itself to get so distracted and off message and consciously decided to do something that actually highlighted their candidate's biggest political problem during this campaign.

In other news, the latest Rasmussen Report poll for September shows Congressman Strickland
with a strong nineteen-point lead going into the final seven weeks of the campaign. While the Blackwell campaign can claim they've swung the race six points since the August 27 poll, they can't be too ecstatic about this swing.

First, because the change is well within the margin of error, it's statistically possible there's been absolutely no change whatsoever. Second, the Blackwell campaign has been spending considerable amount of money running ads attacking Ted Strickland while it appears the Strickland campaign has been sitting on their cash-on-hand advantage this month. For Strickland to still be solidly in the mid-50s and Blackwell still stuck in the mid-30s with only seven weeks left, Blackwell would need to continue to get the same swing he's gotten over the past month every two weeks for the rest of the election in order to close the gap. In other words, Blackwell needs to not only continue to get a swing in the polls, but needs to get double the swing he got this past month for the next two.

That's a tall order against an opponent who already had more cash-on-hand, has been consistently outfundraising Blackwell, and has not yet begun their paid media campaign, especially when you consider that Blackwell has appeared to have a 39% ceiling in most of these polls. If Blackwell continues to attack in his divisive manner in which only those that agree with him can call themselves Republicans, he's bound to lose even more Republican support, let alone begin to chip into Strickland's overwhelming advantage with independent voters.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How's Blackwell going to create jobs? (Taxes)

A screen shot from his own campaign blog:

That just about wraps up this race. Over the weekend, several state newspapers noted that Blackwell's promised increase spending for education could not possibly paid by "savings" in Medicaid, even if such savings included such luxury items such as coverage for nursing homes, prescription medication, hospitials and coverage for children.

Gee, I wonder where Blackwell would come up with the rest of the money?

Monday, September 11, 2006

On a national day of reflection, unity, and mourning, Bush tries to peddle his political wares

I remember 9/11.

I remember that morning all too well.

It was a beautiful morning as I drove into work at one of Congressman Strickland's district offices. It had been a quiet morning. Until Ted's district scheduler had called and told all the district offices that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We got on the Internet and tried to find out what was happening. I had just left my apartment from watching the "Today" show. New York looked beautiful, so weather couldn't have been a factor. At the time, I thought it was a single engine Cessna, not a powerful, lumbering passenger jet liner.

We turned on the T.V., and like so many of us in the country, collectively wondered how could a plane accidentally hit such an imposing building. And then, my stomach sank, as I saw a plane. God, it looked like it was crawling. At first, I thought it was just some flight passing through the airspace, but then I realized, I've never seen the WTC flying in to NYC or Newark. It was at that precise moment, we all realized. We were under attack. Our phones never stopped ringing the rest of the day as it seemed like everyone in the district collectively had our office number on speed dial. The D.C. office calls and people reported hearing the explosion at the Pentagon. Then, later, someone in the office announces that the D.C. office called again and was told to evaculate the office building, but they hung up before they told us where they were evacuating to. We learned later even they didn't know at the time, but we quickly learned that no phone tree of D.C. staff cell phones was going to get us the answer anytime soon. But even if we had gotten a hold of someone, nobody knew where they were supposed to go.

The phone rings. I pick it up. It's Frances, she's worried and can't get a hold of Ted. I tell her that the D.C. office just called and said they had to evacuate.

"To where?"
"I don't know."
"I can't get a hold of Ted on his cell, either. Where was he?"
"I don't know." And I feel a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. All I can think to do is to transfer Frances to our district director in the hopes he knows more than I.

Every Strickland relative I've ever met calls. We know nothing, and we're the only people anyone can reach. The constituent calls are frantic. "Is it Saddam?" "We've heard that there was a car bomb that exploded near the Capitol." "Is the uranium enrichment plant safe from attack?" These are just the conversations I can reprint. I remember anger, fear, and hatred like I've never heard.

Before I know it, the phone calls start to taper off. It's late evening, well after hours. I drive home and it's like I'm the only person left in town. I've never noticed the air traffic above before, but I feel its emptiness and silence now. Everyone is inside their homes glued to their radios and TVs. I come home and watch lines of people pouring out of Manhattan. And I see people forming lines to give blood. At a time when we all felt we needed to do something, it was all that anybody could suggest was needed. The response was amazing. In a day I had seen the worst and best humanity can offer. I remember how odd it was that the President of the United States was AWOL and the comfort we took from Mayor Giuliani. He was our comforter-in-chief.

Five years later, the chief architect of that vicious attack is still alive, still plotting, still operational. And the President of the United States, in remembrance of this day of mourning and unity, uses a primetime speech to the nation to give a partisan, political address that despite the fact that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and had no relationship with the planning or execution of the 9/11 attacks (something his Vice-President seemed to continue to maintain on "Meet the Press" just yesterday,) Saddam was still a significant enough threat to justify pulling our soldiers from Afghanistan prematurely. While it's nice for the President, some three years later, to admit that Iraq was not cooperating with the terrorists who attacked us and did not have WMD to supply to them, that is not the message the President told us to get Americans to support his decision to go into Iraq.

Now, we are lectured as if we are the cowards hiding from the terrorists and that we cannot dare change course. Unfortunately, President Bush is right, but for the wrong reasons. You cannot change the course of a ship once the captain has already run it aground. "Stay the course" is not a mantra of leadership, a sign of unwavering principle as much it is a concession of the obvious. "I broke it, so America bought it," President Bush is essentially saying, quoting the ignored sage warning of his then Secretary of State Colin Powell who, unlike most people in this Administration, knew a little something about winning a military campaign in the region.

President Bush took this austere and sober occasion and tried to capitalize on it for political gain. And, yet again, he tried to justify his failed Iraq policies with a plethora of false choices. In the fight against terrorists, the President lectures us, we must either fight them overseas or on our homefront, as if the War on Terror can be won or lost on the President's pretended power to choose the war's venue. As if terrorists cannot fight their side of the war on multiple fronts. Our choice to fight the terrorists wasn't, as the President has so often suggested, a choice between fighting them in Iraq or here in the United States. It was a choice between Iraq, where they weren't, and Afghanistan, where they were, where they trained, where they plotted, where they had safe haven. And the President chose Iraq.

It's like if Marvin Lewis told the Bengals that his strategy to beat the Browns this weekend is not to play them at home, nor in Cleveland, but in Toronto, and keep playing until they decide to show up. Despite no WMD, evidence that there was no relationship between Iraq and 9/11, tonight the President tells us that Saddam was a clear threat that posed "a risk the world could not afford to take." I ask why, Mr. President? How, with no connection to 9/11, no capability or apparently willingness to arm those who actually did attack us, was Iraq a risk we could not afford to take, and yet, apparently, Iran, Lebanon, and North Korea are?

The President says we are in a fight for freedom, but which side is he on really in this fight? After his comments tonight, of his Vice-President yesterday, and his Secretary of Defense last week, I get no sense that they have any real sense of what a free society truly means. For in their minds, and in their very public words, they apparently define "free society" as where one has the freedom to agree and unite behind their country's leadership and unfalteringly support their leaders as infallible beings. It has not been the terrorists who have suggested that America is weak because citizens question the wisdom and need for American sacrifices in Iraq. It is your Administration, Mr. President, that has done that. The terrorists have not called American dissent as a sign of weakness or appeasement, but your own Administration.

Liberty has no meaning if the powerless have no right to demand accountability and responsibility from the powerful, especially when the powerful ask the powerless to make all the sacrifices in this fight. To your Administration, public dissent is our greatest weakness. To me, it's our most sacred right from God.

How dare you, Mr. President, use the loss of life of 9/11 as a political prop to shield you from criticism and to question the moral courage and resolve of those who want to finish the fight with Osama Bin Laden. We don't just want our troops to come from Iraq; we want them to finish the job in Afghanistan and bring OBL to justice. And because of your choices, you have allowed the trail of OBL to grow "stone cold." You demand our loyalty and our unity, and yet we read:

Terrorism has been a potent political issue for Republicans, and they hope to capitalize on it in the elections. GOP lawmakers are anxious about holding control of both houses of Congress.
For yet another election, your party has decided that your only hope of holding onto power is to use our fears from 9/11 to divide us and seeks ways use our fear of our enemies to consolidate your party's power at the expense of unity. Only half of the 41 recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to improve homeland security have been implemented. And yet, your party claims only it can make America safer.

In a free society, unity and loyalty from the people to their democratically elected leaders is earned, Mr. President, it cannot be imposed, not even with the memory of over 3,000 dead Americans. If you do not learn that lesson, Mr. President, then, sadly, the terrorist will have already won.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prof. Larry Sabato's Crystall Ball foresees Governor Strickland

Cross-posted at Buckeye State Blog:

In the latest edition of University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball" Report, Professor Sabato changes the Ohio Governor's race from Leaning Democratic to Likely Democratic, making Congressman Ted Strickland as likely to take the governorship as New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer will take the NY Governorship.

Professor Sabato writes:
"At this point, it appears to be less a matter of whether Democrat Ted Strickland will win, than by what kind of margin he will triumph. Will he win by enough to also carry in liberal Democrat Sherrod Brown for the U.S. Senate? Will he be able to generate coattails for some of the Democratic House candidates in an exceptionally rough year for the GOP in Ohio? Republican nominee Ken Blackwell simply has too many burdens that are too heavy to prevail in this year, absent a miracle."
Well said, Professor. (Sherrod Brown's race is still considered a toss-up as both it and the House races don't appear to have been updated as recently as the Governor's race.)

Tort reformer Blackwell caught in his own frivolous complaint, then laughs off suit to force him to enforce Ohio's campaign finance laws

Ken Blackwell hypocracy knows no limits. He accuses his opponent of "political schizophernia," yet he's the one to abandoned his own platform from the primary, reverse his position on prevailing wage and "Right to Work" laws. Ken Blackwell's platform for economic development calls for tort reform to "reduce the amount of frivolous claims that are clogging our courts and hurting our economy." And, yet, what has Ken Blackwell done recently?

A week ago, Blackwell filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission alleging that Congressman Ted Strickland's ad criticizing Blackwell's mandatory health insurance proposal will be too costly to Ohio's families was false and misleading. The second Blackwell announced he was going to file this complaint, the Ohio conservative blogsphere jumped on the Blackwell bandwagon and opened their choiral hymnals to condemn Strickland's honesty and integrity in feined indigination.

Here are some of the posts regarding Blackwell's complaints in the past week:

And what did the Ohio Elections Commission rule on Blackwell's claims that Strickland's ad contained false and misleading information? In an unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Ohio Elections Commission ruled that there was not even probable cause for the Commission to investigate Blackwell's complaint, and so, they dismissed it. The short-hand word for that: Blackwell's claims were frivolous. Perhaps before enacting yet another round of tort reforms, Secretary Blackwell should institute reform to prevent candidates from filing frivolous complaints that their opponents are lying when, in reality, they're telling the truth.

But Blackwell's hypocracy goes even further. After pledging for years that "transparency" and "disclosures" are mandatory components of a healthy election, Blackwell now is utterly silent on the issue now that a group called "Common Sense Ohio" has used a campaign finance loophole to hide its contributors (and therefore, their compliance with Ohio's campaign contribution laws) from public scrutiny.

[If you're already familiar with the "Common Sense Ohio" fundraising scheme, skip to the next paragraph.] Here's how Common Sense Ohio's fundraising scheme (one could say it's the political equivalent of campaign finance money laundering) works. A group of Ken Blackwell supporters decides that they want to financially help elect Ken Blackwell as Governor, but they don't want to be limited to the $10,000-a-person contribution limit, or worse, control entities like corporations that they can't use to legally make a direct donation, or they just don't want people to publicly know that they are financially supporting an attack group's identity. So they create two organizations: one is a 501(c)(4) IRS non-profit entity designed to "promote social welfare" (think labor unions, Planned Parenthood, or Chamber of Commerce entities.) These groups don't have any donation limits, public reporting requirements, or prohibition from receiving corporate donors. Then they create a separate organization that will do all of the "electioneering" activities (they actually pay for the attack ads against Congressman Strickland while praising Ken Blackwell). The "electioneering" group is subject to campaign finance disclosures, but it can accept money from the first group and does. So, when the "electioneering" group reports it's donors, all it has to report is that it's received donations from the first group, and nobody has to report where the first group received its funds to donate to the electioneering group. The second group "discloses" the first group as it's sole donor while nobody really knows who is donating to the donor group and whether its all a scam to circumvent the contribution limits in Ohio's campaign finance system. Got that?

So, here's what Secretary of State Blackwell has said in the past about the need for full disclosure and transparency in campaign finance: "Without knowing who is behind these ads, voters are forced to make decisions without being fully informed,” Blackwell told lawmakers considering campaign reforms in November 2002. “The secrecy surrounding the funding of these advertisements contributes to the erosion of voter confidence in the political process."

Here's what Ken Blackwell has said now that he's the beneficiary of over $1.6 M in paid campaign advertisements in his favor by Common Sense Ohio: Nada.

As has been reported at Buckeye State Blog and now, finally, The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"The legal architect behind Common Sense Ohio and Common Sense 2006 is Columbus attorney Bill Todd, the brilliant master of the campaign-finance loophole. Todd also did the legal work for Citizens for a Strong Ohio, the group that ran the brutal "Lady Justice" attack ads against Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick, and Informed Citizens of Ohio, the secretive nonprofit that former House Speaker Larry Householder used to drive public policy."
The situation has gotten so bad that today the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in the Ohio Supreme Court asking the court to issue a writ of mandamus to compel Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to take action in order to get actual disclosure of who is funding Common Sense Ohio. And what has Ken Blackwell's response been to this obvious fraudulent scheme to circumvent Ohio's campaign finance disclosure laws after spending years championing that every dime used in a political campaign be disclosed? He laughed it off.

In one day, Blackwell is revealed to have filed one false claim against his opponent and shrugged off a genuine complaint about an intentional circumventing of Ohio's campaign finance laws because it politically benefits his desire for higher office. This is a testament of Ken Blackwell's true character, and it's not one fit to be our Governor for the next four years. We don't need a politican with no true values other than a self-absorbed sense of political self-perservation and ambition. We deserve better than that from our next Governor.