Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bryan Flannery abortion views changes with the audience

Bryan Flannery at a Christian Coalition event last week was asked if he would support legislation banning all abortions. His response:
"Yes, I would definitely give favorable consideration to legislation that would curb/ban abortions. I do have exceptions to the life of the mother and in cases of incest and rape."
Yet, last month, at a Meet the Bloggers debate with Congressman Ted Strickland, Mr. Flannery told that audience:

Scott Bakalar: The State of Ohio, either through legislation or referendum, outlawing abortion.

Tim Russo: Bryan?

Bryan Flannery: Yeah. Personally, I am opposed to abortion. I am a pro-life person. But, again, I don't want to comment, because that is an issue that you can only cross when you see the specifics and the particulars.

Tim Russo: Would you sign the South Dakota bill?

Bryan Flannery: Most likely, no.
Which is it Mr. Flannery? Are you honestly saying that the only reason you wouldn't sign the South Dakota legislation is because it didn't contain an exception for rape and incest? Don't you think you should have been as forward at Meet the Bloggers as you were with your Christian Coalition pals?

And how many possible Democratic primary voters know that you not only favor teaching intelligent design, but you believe science will one day prove it? Or that you support a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and even civil unions?

With less than a week left, it's no wonder Democratic voters are just now getting to know your views on issues other than education.

Fact that only I care about.....

Last Friday, April 21, was the one-year anniversary of this blog. And given that it went dark for about six months of that year, it's amazing anyone visits it, even it is only two dozen people a day.....

Happy (belated) birthday, blog!

Deaf, mute, & blind: Ohio GOP attacks Strickland for offering assistance to families drowning in the GOP's massive tuition increases

Within the same day that Congressman Strickland released his plan to offer assistance to Ohio families, the GOP is quick to attack of Strickland's $344 million price tag.

According to the Ohio GOP, Strickland's plan to have the state contribute to Ohio families higher education savings plans is "an elaborate scheme to take state tax dollars from Ohio parents and then give them back as a "contribution" to help pay for college tuition."

"This is a classic liberal ploy," said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett. "The taxpayers give money to the state, and the Democrats give it back as a government hand-out. They've been doing it ever since the creation of welfare."

Mr. Bennett is a man of his convictions, and I'm sure he would be quick to criticize a Republican if they were taxing citizens and then returning that money as a government welfare hand-out, right?

But in the defense of Mr. Bennett, financial aid is different, right? It's not like Bush has used the tax code to tax families and then return those tax dollars as a handout to help families pay for higher education, right? Wrong.

Perhaps in Mr. Bennett had spent less time fundraising with Noe, he'd actually learn that thanks to his party, Ohio families need Strickland's help because they're getting double-taxed by the GOP already. First, they pay state taxes, and then, they have to pay college tuition to send their kids to "state" schools.

Thanks to the leadership of the Ohio GOP, Ohio families have seen massive tax increases disguistuitiontuiton at Ohio state schools. Over the years, the advantage of attending an in-state school versus a private school has essentially disappeared as state schools in Ohio have been increasing tuition in the double-digits percent range every year, with no end or relief (until Strickland's plan) in sight.

As a result of GOP's massive tuition increases, Ohio has seen a tremendous "brain drain" as young Ohioans leave the state to attend college and find careers elsewhere causing the state to slide behind the rest of the nation in having a competitive college-educated workforce required for well-paying jobs in the 21st century.

And what is the competing vision that the GOP offers? Given that neither of the GOP candidates has even mention higher education tuition relief, it can only be described as blindness.

So when it comes to higher education relief for working families in Ohio, the GOP has no vision and no voice. Again, time after time, the GOP appears to be the one with no real vision to govern and can offer nothing more than potshots of negativity. They have no vision, and they have no excuses for their poor leadership in governing Ohio.

Chairman Bennett, we've given your party more than enough time to show real leadership in the State. It's time for a change!

Yee-Haw! Strickland stronger than GOP candidates on guns

Congressman Ted Strickland today received the only endorsement from the NRA Political Victory Fund in the Ohio Gubernatorial primary races.

From the Strickland for Governor press release:
During your tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, you have demonstrated a proven commitment to the defense of our Second Amendment rights,"[Chris] Cox
[NRA-PVF chairman] said. "The NRA-PVF urges all NRA members, gun owners and sportsmen to vote for you in Ohio's Democratic primary for governor on May 2,

"I am thankful for this endorsement and the NRA's acknowledgement of my steady and consistent support for sportsmen and gun owners throughout my time in Congress," Strickland said.

"I have always believed that law-abiding citizens have a right to the freedoms outlined in the Second Amendment. As governor, I will continue to fight to protect those rights."

When was the last time you saw a Democratic have stronger support from gun owners than the GOP? Never say never......

While many Democrats respectfully disagree with Strickland's views and record on guns, I do not. Furthermore, I applaud a candidate who's willing to publicly put out what could be a controversial endorsement within his primary voters shortly before the primary election. So even if you disagree with Strickland, you have to give him credit for being upfront and open about these differences. Say, unlike Strickland's challenger, Bryan Flannery, who has yet to list his pro-life endorsements on his website.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Strickland endorsed by the Columbus Dispatch & Youngstown Vindicator

Congressman Ted Strickland received two large newspaper endorsements over the weekend from The Columbus Dispatch and the Youngstown Vindicator.

The endorsements speak for themselves.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

While the GOP race is competitive, the Democratic race is expected to be a runaway. U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland is waging a bona fide statewide race and his opponent, former state Rep. Bryan E. Flannery of Strongsville, is not.

Strickland, an ordained Methodist minister and psychologist who lives in Lisbon, in eastern Ohio, has made improving Ohio's economy and education funding his campaign themes. He rolled out a plan titled Turnaround Ohio, which is intended to make the state more competitive through investments in broadband networks.

In an effort to get traction, Flannery has attacked Strickland personally. This unseemly tactic appears to be born of poll-induced desperation.

From The Vindicator:

Strickland vs. Flannery

Strickland's only opponent in the May 2 primary is Bryan E. Flannery, 38, a Strongsville businessman and former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Flannery left the House when he chose to run for Ohio secretary of state, a race he lost to Kenneth Blackwell, one of two Republicans seeking that party's gubernatorial nomination.

Flannery is focusing his campaign on Ohio's educational funding system, which has been found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court, but hasn't been adequately addressed by the General Assembly. Perhaps Flannery could have best fought that fight had he kept his seat in the House. He chose instead to pursue a losing quest for statewide office.

The campaign he has run so far does not indicate he is any better positioned now to win against Strickland in May or, more importantly for Democrats voting in a primary election, against Blackwell or the other Republican hopeful, Jim Petro, in November.

"Strickland's proposals are Taft's proposal," Flannery says, in an effort to tie the Democratic congressman to Bob Taft, the state's Republican governor whose approval rating is lower than Vice President Dick Cheney's. It would be a damaging accusation in a Democratic primary, if there were a kernel of truth to it. (emphasis added.)

Why Ohio?

Strickland, 64, sees Ohio as a state in decline, with a growing national impression that is not positive and with a need for a break from the past. No doubt, he says, the state is being severely impacted by the global economy, yet so are Michigan and Pennsylvania, but those states are coping better.

Ohio has to trade on its central location and its strong transportation infrastructure, as well as those natural resources that helped make it great — its fresh water and its coal.

He shares Flannery's concerns about education, but takes another direction. He says that even as President Nixon could go to China, while a President Humphrey or McGovern could not have, Strickland believes he is the best candidate to approach public education unions to discuss innovative ways of improving the state's schools.

Both editorials confirm what most political observers have said all along. Congressmen Ted Strickland is the Democrat's best and only hope to take back the governorship and put Ohio back on the right track. It also confirms that Flannery's smears of Congressman Strickland has cost him credibility and legitimacy as an alternative candidate.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Which is it, Anthony Fossaceca?

Flannery/Stams Communication Director Anthony Fossaceca in the March 17, 2005, Dayton Daily News, on whether the Flannery campaign was questioning Congressman Ted Strickland's sexual orientation:

"That was not the intent. That has no place in this campaign at all, period."

Candidate Bryan Flannery in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:

He insinuated that Strickland and the man continue to have an "improper" relationship, contending the man lives "a block or two" away from Strickland and his wife in Washington, D.C.

That's untrue. The man lives in Illinois. [ed. note: And I believe Mrs. Strickland lives in Ohio, not D.C., so Flannery was lying on two counts.]

That's 180-degrees in 31 days. Amazing.

So which is it, Mr. Fossaceca? Were you lying last month when you said that it had no place in a campaign "at all, period," or were you lying when you denied that your intent wasn't to insinuate something false about Congressman Strickland's personal life? You can't be telling the truth on both now.

You either should be fired for making such a reckless, false and "gutter politics" allegation in the first place, or you should resign if you any integrity and meant what you said a month ago. Bryan Flannery has already been caught making numerous lies as he's been trying to push this story. Now, let's see how honest you are. You called the press conference in which your candidate made this insinuation. You either: a) knew he was going to, thus making what you told the Dayton Daily News a lie, or b) utterly shocked and surprised at Mr. Flannery and considering resigning for him doing something that you have publicly stated has absolutely no place in a political campaign. Which is it?

I'm still waiting your reply to my response to your offer to talk about this, but on this issue, it's got to be on the record.

Flannery can't quit.... and can't get his story right

After denying last month that he was insinuating that Strickland might have had an inappropriate relationship with the former staffer that Flannery has apparently decided is his key to the Democratic nomination, Flannery yesterday came out and said that, yes, he was alleging, without proof, that Strickland and the male aide had such a relationship.

He insinuated that Strickland and the man continue to have an "improper" relationship, contending the man lives "a block or two" away from Strickland and his wife in Washington, D.C.

That's untrue. The man lives in Illinois.
(For the record, as far as I know, Frances hasn't lived in D.C. since Ted's 1992-1994 term, and has otherwise lived in the district.)

You can read the story about the bizarre presser in this Plain Dealer article.

To cap it all, not only does Bryan Flannery apparently suffer from paranoia, he has delusions of grandeur as well:

"If, for some reason, he gets through the primary, this issue isn't going away," Flannery said. "He can't win." (emphasis added.)
So Flannery actually thinks he still has a chance despite still polling in the single digits to Strickland's near majority numbers. If his behavior wasn't so bizarre, you'd almost want to cheer for him as the underdog.

I still go back and say that this whole story seems to be the brainchild of Flannery's communication director, Anthony Fossaceca. After all, the press releases come from him, and although Flannery has been in the race since last year (even for the Coleman for Governor campaign, remember that?), his campaign didn't bring up this story until shortly after hiring Fossaceca. One wonders if Mr. Fossaceca unsuccessfully tried to get Eric Fingerhut to push this bogus story as well.

My advice to Mr. Flannery is that if has any interest in restoring his credibility and dignity in the eyes of the Democratic Party, he'd fire Mr. Fossaceca and apologize to his opponent, this former aide, and the legal community of Athens County that he has insulted with his kangaroo court allegations. Flannery could have become a true contender and walked away from this race with real political credibility to do things down the road. Unfortunately, he has decided to take the kamikaze route.

Also, it's safe to say that Mr. Fossaceca's communication company is going to find itself blacklisted in Democratic circles after his rather unprofessional and unexplainable performance in the Flannery campaign.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Flannery beats dead horse for third time....

In the horse race to be the Democratic nominee for Governor, former State Representative and failed Secretary of State candidate Bryan Flannery has apparently decided that he simply hasn't been whipping his dead horse of a campaign enough.

Today, Flannery held a press conference in Columbus to unveil (for the third? fourth? empteenth time?) his "retooled" education plan and again revisited the infamous "missing Athens court records" allegations of a former Strickland staffer. And by former, I don't mean he left recently. I mean he left seven years ago. He actually worked for Strickland for less time than I did.

For those not familiar with the history of Bryan's tin-foil "missing records" conspiracy, you can recap it in its ludicrous greatness from this post.

When announcing today's press conference, Mr. Flannery promised:
new information on the issue of missing records from Athens County related to a former congressional and campaign staff employee of Congressman Ted Strickland.
Instead, apparently all Flannery provided was the "a one-page Athens Police Department report, with four complaint numbers on it, as proof of the incidents."

This is hardly "new information" as this is what Flannery had already provided the media a month ago when he made his ridiculous conspiracy allegation that Strickland and his campaign had illegally erased any record of the incident in question.

Yet again, the poor former staffer's attorney apparently was on hand to provide proof to any media person willing to promise to protect his client's confidentiality that the four criminal allegations lead to a plea to a single, non-sexual crime and the eventual legal expungement of the conviction.
The drama heightened afterward when the convicted offender's Dayton attorney, Jesse R. Lipcius, insisted all records of the 12-year-old incidents have been expunged. Lipcius promised to provide proof of the expungement to anyone guaranteeing his client's confidentiality.

Lipcius said the former Strickland congressional and campaign employee is married with one child, a Christian and wants to get on with his life. He also has not been affiliated with Strickland for six or seven years, Lipcius said. The man was convicted of one fourth-degree misdemeanor, which is not classified as a sex offense, Lipcius added. (Ed. note: emphasis added. A fourth-degree misdemeanor is one degree more serious than a speeding ticket.)

"I'm concerned about my client's privacy,'' Lipcius said. "He hasn't slept in weeks now."
Flannery has yet to explain what relevance a misdemeanor conviction which occurred without Strickland's knowledge and before the individual worked for Strickland which itself was seven years ago has on the current race.

Flannery also has to explain why he feels it necessary to drag a private citizen's expunged misdemeanor conviction from twelve years ago through the mud in order to try to rescue his dying political career. Bryan Flannery should be ashamed of himself and I honestly don't see how he can look any voter in the eye.

After blasting Ken Blackwell for violating his privacy, how can Mr. Flannery honestly justify violating the privacy of this private citizen's sealed record?

In the end, Mr. Flannery has apparently decided the only way he can win is to put new shoes on one dead horse and whip the other even harder. How pathetic.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blackwell flip-flops on his own platform

In a Cleveland Plain Dealer news article about the recent University of Akron poll, we get this latest nugget quote from the Blackwell campaign:

"Ken Blackwell's message is not T-E-L. Ken Blackwell's message is reining in government spending and spurring economic growth in Ohio," LoParo said.
Hat tip: Ted Strickland for Governor blog.

I've seen some amazing political flip-flops in my life, but I've never seen a candidate actually distance himself from his own platform. After all, TEL was an initiative of the Blackwell campaign and been his signature issue. Now, one day after the University of Akron's poll shows it only has 39% support and it's support has been dropping, it's suddenly "not his message."

Looks like TEL is getting orphaned. How sad.

I can hear it now in Blackwell's campaign HQ:

"TEL? TEL? Never heard of it, and no, I don't know how it got in here, either."
Talk about your politicians with their fingers in the wind.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Interesting Must-Read at Michael Meckler's blog

Short post for now, but if you haven't read it yet, Michael Meckler has a very interesting article on his blog about how the 2006 elections parellel events surrounding the 1970s elections.

Particularly this money quote:
Just as 1968 was a bad year for Ohio Democrats, 1970 was a bad year for Ohio Republicans. A scandal involving GOP state treasurer John Herbert's putting state money in a shady investment with campaign contributors -- the Crofters scandal -- led to the defeat of nearly all GOP statewide officeholders. Furthermore, Rhodes had personally been tainted by the Kent State shootings that took place in that year.
Starting to sound like a good year for the Ohio Democratic ticket.