Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Surprisingly, a number of blogs, Buckeye State Blog and Ohio Daily Blog are trying to downplay the significance of this development. Yes, of course, offline donations will be a far greater share of campaign donations than online ones.
Yes, it's early.
But you know why online donations matter? Well, do you know what kind of person donates online? Nobody, that's who. The nobody who is willing to take a weekend to go door-to-door without being asked. The nobody that talks to his or her friends and neighbors about a candidate. A nobody is someone who donates to someone and expects nothing personally in return. Which is why all the conventional wisdom is to say all this attention is undeserved. Nobody warrants this kind of attention. Nobody cares about nobody.
You know what kind of person writes a check for the maximum donation within the first month of campaign. Well, that's a somebody. But a somebody is too important to do GOTV, or talk to his country club set. A someobody's notion of sacrifice is overpaying for a chicken dinner to hear the same tired stump speech and dinner jokes from the same candidates year after year. A somebody is someone who donates to someone and expects something personally in return.
There's something good about being a part of a campaign of nobodies. And that's why online donations matter.
Monday, March 30, 2009
As the first FEC reporting deadline since Brunner and Fisher announced their candidacies approaches, both campaigns are quickly trying to bring in as much cash as they can for their first campaign report.
Since David's post, Brunner has gone on an online fundraising tear. In the past week alone, Brunner has more than doubled the number of donors to her campaign (over an additional 130 online donors; Fisher has gotten thirty additional donors during the past week.)
What had been over a 2:1 fundraising advantage for Fisher has been totally erased. Fisher's fundraising advantage wasn't a flash in the pan either. I've been monitoring both candidates' ActBlue pages and Fisher had his online advantage for nearly two weeks. Last Monday, Fisher had raised over $23k more online than Brunner. Today, that cash advantage is down to only over $1k.
While online fundraising is still a small part of overall fundraising, and I still expect Fisher to show substantial advantage fundraising, the fact is that Brunner has doubled her grassroots fundraising in just the past week compared to what she raised over the prior month is very impressive.
Earlier today, Brunner sent an email to her donors stating a goal of 250. Six hours later, she exceed that goal sooner than the campaign's stated deadline of the following day.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
BizzyBlog claims today's housing market news is evidence market is recovering on its own... EPIC FAIL.
And as if right on cue:
Sigh. So there's absolutely no way today's news about a better-than-expected rise in 22% increase in new housing starts and an increase in durable good orders by 3.4% last month could have anything to do with the Democratic leadership in Washington? (Both of which were expected to show DECREASES by 3 and 2% respectively.)
The above good-news cites are examples of the economy attempting a recovery on its own, thanks largely to lower energy prices and lower mortgage rates.
Certainly no one can legitimately claim any stimulus/Porkulus-related impact on the above results. Based on estimates of when the mislabeled “stimulus” money will actually be spent, no one will be able to do so until sometime this fall, if even then.
Absolutely none, Bizzy? Is that your FINAL answer?
So, I guess the housing bill that the Democrats passed over Bush's veto threat last July might not having anything to do with today's news, then? Not only did that bill restore investor confidence in housing lenders FannieMae and FreddyMac by bailing them out and forcing significant reforms in their operations and oversight, the bill also:
- "Provided some $15 billion in housing-related tax incentives, including a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers who meet certain income qualifications.
- Permanently increased the so-called conforming-loan limit, which typically qualifies mortgages for lower rates, to $625,500 in the nation’s most expensive housing markets.
- Granted authority for state and local housing agencies to issue $11 billion in tax-exempt bonds to refinance bad mortgages,
- Called for stricter oversight of mortgage brokers; and
- Set new disclosure requirements to make loan terms more transparent.
Of course, Bizzy stated in his blog post that nobody could claim the recent stimulus package passed by Congress this year was responsible for it. But that's a strawman's argument. Because nobody has claimed that the most recent stimulus package was responsible. However, whether the Democratic housing bill passed last summer is responsible is not so easily dismissed.
The fact that last month's stimulus bill couldn't be responsible for today's positive economic news doesn't mean that recent positive economic signs are not the result of earlier, less recent government actions. Let's not forget that the FannieMae/FreddieMac bailouts in July predate even the TARP program enacted in October.
Much like the stimulus package, the Democratic housing bill was passed despite widespread Republican opposition that it would not help the housing market improve. Opposition dittoed by idiots with keyboards like.... you guessed it, Bizzyblog! People who would have preferred a further paralysis of the housing market by allowing Fannie/Freddy to fail, but now applaud the news of a post-bailout housing market in recovery as evidence of the free market at work!
Bizzy will continue to delude himself and his tiny band of sheeplike readers that when the economy is bad, Obama is to blame, but when it's good, it's not Obama we should thank. What's utterly sad is to see such a delusional mind twist and contort itself to try to make sense in an economy that continues to debunk him.
After being a recession-denier, Bizzy now has added bailout-denier to his opus.
But Nick drives me nuts when he takes a rather benign quote from Brunner and tries to label it as unfair, below-the-belt criticism of Lee Fisher.
Here's what Brunner said:
Some Democrats, including Governor Ted Strickland, have indicated they'd prefer that Brunner stand down so that Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher can be the Democratic nominee without a contested primary.
"Take one for the team?," Brunner responded. "Even if the other guy can't win? I don't think that makes sense."
Lee Fisher has won only one statewide election in his career. And that was by only 1,200 votes. And by the time the 2010 elections roll around, it will have been twenty years since that victory.
To not point that out is political malpractice. Lee Fisher is hardly a Democratic statewide juggernaut. There's a reason that despite being tied to the hip of the most popular politician in the State (Governor Strickland) polls still show Fisher in a neck-to-neck race among Democratic primary voters where the race is clearly up for grabs. More Democratic candidates announced they were running after Fisher announced. There's a reason for that, too.
But Nick apparently never watched his own video (maybe he let the campaign film it, too.) If he had, he would remembered that it was FISHER that said the reason Brunner supported Chairman Redfern's idea of keeping ODP neutral and not issuing an endorsement was not because of opposition to strong-armed political machine boss politics, but because she couldn't possible GET the endorsement of her own political party. Nick has yet to write that "tut-tut/shame on Lee" post on that one.
It's not amazing that Nick can't see where Brunner says Fisher can't win. He's young, and wasn't involved in Ohio Democratic politics during the 1990s. Brunner was. I was. Tim Russo was. And we all know the Lee Fisher campaign script: come out of the gate looking strong, tire easily, starting making missteps and lose in a squeaker.
I'm more than willing to write-off Fisher's loss in 1994 as no Democratic could be expected to win in that political environment and the top of the ticket was a disaster. However, 1998? That was hardly a pro-Republican year. Sure, Republicans swept all the statewide offices in Ohio, but that's because of the incredibly weak bench the Democratic ticket presented. A ticket lead by Lee Fisher.
Why did Lee lose in 1998? Why did we get Bob Taft as our Governor? Nobody has explained it to me except to suggest that neither candidate really ignited the passions of the electorate.
Nick's post is ironic because while he's denouncing potshots against the Democratic candidates, he continues to engage in them.
What was the context of the question that lead Brunner to suggest Fisher can't win?:
Some Democrats, including Governor Ted Strickland, have indicated they'd prefer that Brunner stand down so that Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher can be the Democratic nominee without a contested primary.
Well, first of all, that's not true. Governor Strickland has never said, publicly at least, that he'd prefer Brunner to stand down so that Fisher would have an uncontested primary. All Governor Strickland has said is that while he admires both Fisher and Brunner, he's giving his full support to Fisher. Brunner has publicly stated, and Governor Strickland has not denied it, that Governor Strickland has never tried to dissaude her from running. After the "out-of-line" Brunner quote, Nick reprints the blog post that criticizes Brunner's candidacy for putting the Apportionment Board seat vulnerable if her replacement is not able to win election.
Nick then repeats the "pot shot" again:
Two, I think Brunner owes it to Ohio Democrats everywhere to seek the best possible candidate for SOS, no matter their gender, since her candidacy does put at risk Democratic control of the apportionment board. Obviously, Brunner would have the advantage of incumbency if she were to run for SOS in 2010, and her replacement won't have that luxury in a race against Slick Jonny Husted.
Nick thinks it's apparently inappropriate to point out Fisher's less than impressive statewide win/loss record. But it's completely appropriate to attack Brunner as being somehow "selfish" that she's running for the U.S. Senate instead of "taking one for the team" by staying put as Secretary of State in order to give the Democrats the best chance of getting control over the Apportionment Board. (Never mind that just today, Brunner announced her support for her replacement as Secretary of State, Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.)
That seems to be more of a pot shot than anything Brunner said, Nick.
And what about the "selfishness" of Lee Fisher, who resigned as the Director of the Ohio Department of Development in the middle of one of the greatest economic/unemployment crises in Ohio history, so he could run for Senator? Yeah, that's would be a pot shot, I guess.
Which is going to matter more to the average voter: that Jennifer Brunner, after doing a terrfic job of cleaning up Ohio's broken electoral system is seeking a promotion, or that Lee Fisher is willing to go AWOL during an economic crisis so he can try to improve his win/loss record?
There's a reason, Nick, that alot of folks who were involved in Democratic politics in the 1990s are rather gun-shy about Fisher's candidacy. We've seen that show before. If Lee Fisher couldn't beat Bob Taft, how's he going to beat Rob Portman?
Monday, March 23, 2009
In response to my request to prove that this isn't a baseline he's using purely for his partisan motives, Blumer claims that the markets began to fall in October 2008 (why then, use June? Don't ask me, or Tom, he still hasn't answered that) because a new Democratic budget began at time in which government spending increased by 9 to 11 percent (I believe this was actually only discretionary spending that increased that much. I'm still looking into it.)
If you believe that President Obama is entirely responsible for the DOW (A rather hypocritical position made by Blumer who apparently believes the President is not responsible for the DOW when he's a Republican) since Obama took office, the DOW has lost 6% of its value since it's most recent close before Obama's inauguration. Given that it lost over 25% of its value in the preceeding three months, that's actually an improvement. Today alone, the DOW regained nearly half the value it lost today.
Why? In part because of continuing news that the housing market is rebounding. The second reason is approval from Wall Street with the announcement by the Obama Administration about what it intends to do about the toxic assets which have frozen the global credit market.
But Blumer can't bring himself to mention that. He still believes that the Gingrich revolution of 1994 was responsible for economity prosperity during the 1990s even though it was President Clinton, against the uniform opposition of Congressional Republicans, who began stimulating the economy by introducing additional spending and targeted middle-class tax cuts. It was Clinton's first budget, that Republicans opposed, that began bringing the federal budget in balance leading to surpluses that President Bush, aided and abetted by Congressional Republicans, turned into massive deficit spending that wasn't even offered as being done to stimulate the economy. It just happened.
Blumer lives in a conservative fantasy world where only Democratic officeholders can be blamed for the economy when it's bad, and only Republican officeholders can be held responsible when it's good. Unfortunately, history has shown Blumer to be wrong (flunking both economics and history, Tom may want to considered new subjects). By most economic standards, the national economy historically does better when Democrats are in control, and worse when Republicans are.
While Blumer is furiously trying to blame Obama for the problem, he's also laying the groundwork to say that the economy will recover in spite of Obama's policies in order to deny Obama any credit now that the economy is starting to show promising signs of an economy in recovery by the end of the year. Here's been the essential themes of every Bizzyblog post for the past four months:
1. Everything bad about the economy is Obama-Pelosi-Reid's fault because they control the national economy before Obama was even the Democratic nominee for President. (Please ignore the prior four months when I continually posted that everything in the economy was fine, and that there was liberal media/pro-Obama conspiracy to scare Americans into falsely believing there is something wrong with the economy.)
2. Obama is trying to push through all these things to fix the economy before the economy fixes itself. (Because deficit spending is bad, unless it's done by a Republican like Ronald Reagan.)
3. Even though I said Obama's powerful enough to wreck the economy before he's even President, he's not powerful enough as President to be credited for the economy when it approves. (And this makes perfect logical sense to me.)
I think the "South Park" Election 2008 episode is more plausible than Blumer. (Boom, baby!)
He's nothing more than a partisan hack who's lost all credibility on this issue with his transparent attempt to paint Obama as this mythical all-powerful creature who can do anything to the economy, except, of course, fix it.
I don't even know why I bother writing about him. His approval of obvious racist, white supremacist theories as to why "Multicult" newspapers are dying was disturbing enough. But he's constant drive to try to convince the small-minded conservatives that everything is Obama's fault, and that's why we oppose him is no different than the "Big Lie" theory of political messenging.
When the best defense Tom Blumer can give is that he's "not in a courtroom," and therefore, isn't bound to prove his assertions (even the central thesis of most of his posting), you know you're dealing with a crackpot who knows he's a hack. He's just afraid his readers might actually start catching on to the farce.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Matt Hurley over at Weapon of Mass Destruction has lost all sense of sanity left trying to thread the needle of attacking the AIG bonuses while justifying John Boehner's unpopular (even among his fellow Congressional Republicans like Jean Schmidt) vote against recapturing the bonuses.
Matt can disrespect the office of the President and use his juvenile name-calling all he wants on his blog. All it does is reveal the immature mind.
While Matt has been busy slandering veterans like John Boccieri while praising corporate shills like John Boehner. He's revealed another troubling aspect of his defense. The Republic bill that John Boehner and Matt Hurley swear would have recouped the AIG bonuses within the year simply wouldn't. There's no reason to believe it. All the bill did was require the Secretary of Treasury to do whatever he could (and since the Secretary, prior to the Democratic tax bill, had no legal authority to recapture it) to get it back. It was essentially a mandate with no real power. In fact, if Geithner wasn't able to get the bonus money back, there was no consequence. It was completely toothless. And yet, John Boehner and Matt Hurley are trying to accuse the Democrats of being too soft on this issue while making claims about their bill that simply are untrue.
But, ironically, why the Republicans try to label the Democratic bill as unconstitutional, the amazing thing is those constitutional arguments fit the Republican alternative far better. The Republican bill targeted the AIG bonuses by identity. It was clearly designed to be punitive. It had none of the careful considerations that the Bloomberg article make clear. In other words, on constitutional grounds, the House Republican alternative was the offensive bill, not the Democratic bill that passed.
Matt Hurley and John Boehner can try to portray that this is why they opposed the stimulus bill all along. But that's all nonsense. The Republican alternative had nothing on such bonuses. Not once did a single Congressional Republican say at the time that they opposed the stimulus because of the bonus language. Not once.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So, naturally, Matt Hurley at the conservative Weapons of Mass Discussion then attacks Congressman John Boccieri for voting to "block a bill that would have helped the government recoup the taxpayer-funded bonuses AIG executives received!" Naturally, that's what makes sense. . . to nobody but partisan hacks like Matt Hurley.
What Boccieri voted to table was a toothless resolution that merely demanded that the Treasury Secretary "recoup" the bonuses somehow (the Republican resolution actually gave the Treasury no real power or authority to do so, it just mandated it). What he voted FOR, and what actually passed was a bill that gave the Treasury Department the means to forceibly recoup the money by creating a tax on the bonus.
I think Matt must have gotten his Johns confused. Naturally, there's no criticism of John Boehner who voted against giving the Treasury Department the authority to recover this money by taxing it, or condemning it. No, because although John Boehner never wore a military uniform, he's a "great American;" but John Boccieri, an Iraqi Freedom vet who served our country with honor in uniform overseas in a combat zone, he's "anti-American."
I'm starting to wonder if Matt Hurley comes from the Bizarro World. Because the truth seems to always be the opposite of what he says.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I'll admit that I'm a lecture nerd. Find me a good topic, and I'm hooked. On April 1, at 5:30 p.m., the Ohio Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society are hosting a lecture from Notre Dame Associate History Professor Linda Przybyszewski regarding the "Cincinnati Bible Wars."
The video gives a good overview of how a fight over the requirement of the teaching of the Protestant Bible in a heavily Catholic city at the Cincinnati Public Schools lead to one of the groundbreaking decisions that has been the foundation of the constitutional jurisprudence on separation of church and state.
How many people knew it wasn't the athiests that got the Bible out of the public classroom, but because the school districts couldn't decide whether they should teach the Catholic or the King James Bible?
This remains me of a story about when I graduated from high school. Along with our hood and gown, all the graduating students at our high school got a slip of paper (this is 1993, btw), asking us whether we wanted a copy of the Old Testament or the New Testament as our graduation gift from the members of the school board (in a totally unofficial capacity, I'm sure.) So, I asked, why did we have to choose between the Testaments? I was told that they offered the Old Testament for any Jewish students we might have so not to offend anyone (although I don't think we had a single Jewish student in our school... ever.)
So, I wrote in my vote... the Koran. I was called to the principal's office the next day. The principal knew I was the President of the youth group at the local Methodist Church. I was told I'd be getting the New Testament, and I should cut out the pranks if I wanted to graduate at the end of the week.
Anyway, for more information on the "Cincinnati Bible Wars," including how to register to attend, click here. If I were in Columbus, I'd definately go. Sounds like it could be a really interesting presentation.
So despite the fact that Democrats now have a near monopoly on statewide, non-judicial offices, control half of the General Assembly, and in parity in Congressional representation, the media is still wired to report with a strong Republican perspective. The Dispatch's coverage of the Quinny poll is indemic of that outdated political wiring for media to gather spin on stories. That, and reporting on conflict is exciting. Telling the truth that Strickland looks incredibly strong for re-election and the GOP looks politically irrelevant in stopping Strickland from re-election just doesn't sell newspapers.
Here's my takeaway from this, after six months of pushing the potential candidacies of former Senator Mike DeWine and former Congressman John Kasich as messiahs to guide the Ohio GOP out of the political wilderness, the Ohio GOP finds itself with potential matchups that, to date, would do worse than Ken Blackwell did in 2006. Undecideds rarely break monlithically to the challenger, particularly when the incumbent has nearly 2:1 favorability/unfavorability and approval/disapproval job ratings. Yet, even if every undecided voter broke for the Republicans, Strickland would STILL win re-election comfortably against either candidate.
Strickland would easily beat either DeWine or Kasich by sixteen to twenty points respectively. (Given DeWine, high voter identification numbers, I'd suggest that DeWine might represent the ceiling for any Republican candidate for Governor.) Either candidate is presently polling worse that the vote Ken Blackwell got in 2006. Right now, after hearing the list of the potential Republican candidates for Governor, even Republicans favor "I don't know/No Answer" by a five-point margin. That's what the Dispatch failed to report.
Also, incumbents with above 50% favorability and approval ratings simply don't lose elections. They don't. Period. End of analysis. He is not doomed. Nor does this portray a troubling trend. Strickland's favorability rating was actually below 50% back in December 2008. So even though it's dropped a little from its recent high last month, it's still above his most recent and historic low. Strickland's only sub-50% job approval rating was back in February 2007. Since then, Strickland has consistently fluctuated between the mid 50s and low 60s on job approval. Guess what the next poll will show? I bet a Strickland improvement. It's becoming statistical noise.
The real takeaway from this poll is that while there are areas where Strickland is politically vulnerable, the overall favorable political environment for Strickland appears to be static. And as much damage as the Republicans think they might be able to inflict, so long as they are required to run a candidate in opposition, they're very likely to lose as not even Republicans are showing much excitement for their options. Incidentially, to the extent DeWine might have thought that announcing his candidacy might dissaude Kasich from actually running, the mushy, softness of the Republican vote with its high undecideds suggests this is a wide open race where anyone (but Coughlin) has a legitimate shot on being the GOP nominee. That again, was another story the Dispatch failed to report in regards to this poll yesterday.
What's not getting reported at all is the chatter among conservatives who are getting frustrated of Kasich's "is he, or is he not" actually running. Kasich sees in these numbers an opening, but it also says that the GOP very likely cannot bloody Strickland up enough to make him vulnerable. And when running for Governor would require a massive paycut, you start to understand exactly why the Kasich for Governor campaign hasn't yet launched.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The DOW Jones Industrial is in its second week of rallying. Inflation is well under control. New home construction and inflation is both favorably beating expectations. And yet, this rationale is why Tom Blumer at Bizzyblog wants to write as explaining why the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is going out of print?:
The Seatte PI (and the Times) are filled with columns by Black nationalists, Asian nationalists, Mexican nationalists, Jewish nationalists, Hindu nationalists Muslim nationalists and drip with hatred for the European-American middle class who buy the newspapers.
Gang rights, Gay rights, Illegal Immigrant rights…. celebrations of gang attacks on European-Americans…. and censorship, censorship, censorship….….. And so why did so few people buy the Seattle PI?
Because we, as a community, despise the PI, and everything it stands for. We, as a community, have killed this Multicult hate organ and it dies a deserved death. May all its minions rot in Hell. May it begin for them with unemployment.
The Death of each such Multicult [sic] organ is a blow for freedom. [Ed. note: I added the link to sites that use similar rhetoric. The link was not in the original.]
Okkkay... Did Tom not realize that this email is from an obvious white supremacist? People who talk about European-Americans being attacked by minority "nationalist" is the language and m.o. of a white supremacist world view, especially the intentional use of the phrase "Multicult." The whole email suggests that the Seattle paper folded because of its multicultural values and censorship of the "European-American" world view.
It's not just the term "European-American," that makes this so obviously racists. Its the ranting of multiculturalism, the attacks of other minorities as "nationalists," and the notion that "white" Americans are censored by political correctness fueled by multiculturalism.
This is why the Seattle paper failed? Because it was liberal? In Seattle? So the conservative former national news weekly "U.S. News & World Report" did the same thing because??? The Christian Science Monitor? The New York Sun? Is multicultural liberal bias why the Chicago Sun-Times is on a death watch? The weekly conservative Sacramento Union folded earlier this month. (I guess conservative Internet media company Pajamas Media also failed because of its devotion to the "Multicult," Bizzy?)
The American Spectator, a conservative publication in high circulations in the 1990s is a shell of its former self. Ruppert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal was largely because the current ownership wanted to shed its stake in a publication that was losing value rapidly. News Corp., Murdoch's flagship and THE company of conservative media, reported a $6.4 billion loss(!) fueled mostly from it having to massive write-down in the value of its assets, namely the WSJ just last month.
The newspaper industry isn't dying because of bias. It's dying because it's outdated technology. People get their news 24 hours a day from the Internet and cable news networks. That's why most of the papers, like in the case in Seattle, are coming back as solely Internet publications.
The fact that Blumer would rather focus on the ranting of an obviously racist mindset as justification for an industry who is simply outdated for today's IT environment rather than focus on the actual, pardon the irony, "news" in the economy is telling. Blumer doesn't want to admit that the actual Obama-Pelosi-Reid economy is showing a comeback from the Bush economy. He'd rather write a ditto to a guy who sees a white economic rebellion behind newspapers failing rather than the fact that newspapers are losing classified ad revenues to craigslist and news circulations to blogs. Hopefully, for the sake of the Republic, not to blogs like Blumer's.
Say it with me: the recession we are dealing with is deflationary, not inflationary. That's exactly why government spending that puts pressure to keep prices from dropping out-of-control is a GOOD thing.
Inflation is safely in check, and we're seeing the bottoming out of deflation. The housing market and even some financial companies are starting to show signs of strength. The Dow gained 10% in last week, and has shown continued growth this week. It's what we'd call a sustained rally. While conservatives have been screaming to blame the roughly 1,500 points the Dow has lost this year on Obama, the market is showing a rebound. There's still the roughly 5,000 points that the market lost during the Bush Administration to make up that almost nobody points out in comparison.
Now that the Obama Administration, particularly Treasury Secretary Geithner, are finally cracking down on short sellers, we can expect a continued rally in the market, especially once uncertainty about the fate of trouble banks is resolved.
I'm actually getting rather upbeat about the economy. Maybe it's the extra coin in my pocket and signs of an economic rally. But I bet the Republicans who went all-in on betting Obama to fail are beginning to feel a little queasy right now. Because if you bet your party's remaining political fortunes that the economy wouldn't rebound in time for the 2010 elections, you better be right. Otherwise, well, it's going to be a long hard political winter for the Republicans if they're wrong (again.)
The Executive Secretary even told me I had more on my check because of the "Obama tax cuts." Gotta luv that.
And, no, I don't think a single one of them is going to send the extra money to pay down the debt in protest.
Funny how quickly political rhetoric breaks down once you start to see a personal benefit of the thing you were just attacking. I'm just sayin'.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion (an ironically named blog that has rare, if any, discussion at all) sees no problem with the new policy. Matt betrays his supposed conservative philosophy in doing so.
First, a clarification. Mike Fox, who has virtually no training or experience in matters of child custody. He has, to my knowledge, no background in social work. After the tragic death of Marcus Fiesel, Fox resigned as Butler County Commissioner to be appointed the new Director of the Butler County Children Services agency. The agency is responsible for largely enforcing state law regarding the treatment and assistance for abused, neglected or dependent children. The jurisdiction and responsibilities of agencies such as Butler County Children Services is spelled out in state statutes. On top of policy set by the popularly elected state legislature, the local policies of the agency are also set by the elected county commissioners or by a board appointed by elected officials (county commissioners and juvenile court judges).
With no public notice, Mike Fox, upon learning that his agency had approved an adoption of a child to his same-sex foster parents, decided to change the agency's policies to create a preference of heterosexual married couples over single-parent and same-sex couples. The county commissioners were, apparently, never told or consented to the creation of such a policy. As far as anyone knows, Butler County is the only county in Ohio where such a policy exists. Fox's policies make the county ripe for equal protection and due process lawsuits.
Mike Fox is an unelected bureaucrat who defends this policy by claiming its backed up by various studies and objective data. However, Mike Fox has never revealed what studies and data he's referring to, nor did he ever soliticit or permit anyone in the public to offer review of these studies or present contrary evidence.
If Ohio wants children services to prefer placing abandoned, neglected, or abused children with heterosexual, married couples, then that should be the verdict of the elected General Assembly. It has not done so, and it's unconsciousable and likely unconstitutional for a county bureaucrat to make such a profound determination that creates a different standard for adoption in one county versus another.
Regardless, such a policy should be made in an open and transparent process that permits others to present all the evidence. As opposed to a secretive, unknown process that by all accounts appeared to be "create the policy first, justify it later."
Conservatives scream when elected and politically-appointed judges "make the law." But at least the judiciary is a creature found in the constitution. Where are the bureacrats in the Constitution? If Fox is a member of the Executive branch, then his job is to "execute" the law created by the legislative. If he's legislating, then he needs some legislative authority that suggests that the legislative intended such rule-making to be made by the unelected bureacrats. No such legislative deferment exists, however.
Mike Fox rode the death of Marcus Fiesel to garnish headlines and to justify his career switch. (It didn't hurt that Mike Fox also got a nice raise that he needed to help pay for mounting legal fees incurred as a result of a still pending FBI corruption probe regarding Fox's tenure as county commissioner.) Fox was hired over candidates who actually had experience running such an agency. On both the education and experience front, Fox was sadly lacking.
Fox's policy is puzzling because it was the death of Marcus Fiesel that led Fox to head this agency. But Marcus Fiesel died in the custody of married couple. To date, I am unaware of any child dying in the care of a same-sex couple in Butler County. Fox paints a policy with a wide brush that seems to whitewash over that fundamental fact. And he did so with no public notice or input. I wonder what Mike Fox the former state legislature would make of Mike Fox the unelected bureaucrat if he were still in the legislature?
There's nothing grandiose about these protests. The whole reference to the "Boston Tea Party" is nothing more than to take a partisan, ideological whine and hide it in the American flag. As a historical analogy, there is nothing similiar to these protests and the actual Boston Tea Party. The fact that they seem to have Republicans speakers lined up like former Congressman/rumored '10 Congressional candidate Steve Chabot (who also voted for TARP and every Bush budget), Jean Schmidt and John Boehner at the ready all suggests that this is nothing more than ideological whining from a group threatened with political extinction.
The Boston Tea Party was a protest by the willful destruction of crates of tea that were subject to new taxes enacted by the British Parliament to raise revenues to pay for debts England incurred in defending the British colonies during the French-American wars. Since the American colonists were the biggest benefactors of that war, the English reasoned that America should be the primary payer of the war debt.
The taxes and scope of the taxes occurred at a time when the Crown was also trying to scale back the quasi-automony that the early colonial governments had developed as well. The tea tax, in part, was also enacted to promote the use of tea shipped by the British East India Tea Company over its foreign rivals. So, there was a monopolistic, protectionist angle as well.
Because English political thought at the time didn't conceptualize that a MP from London wasn't any less able to represent the views of the colonial lords than an MP from Richmond (at the time, there was still nothing "common" about the House of Commons, parliamentary elections were only decided by the white, landed gentry class), the English missed seeing that to the colonists, the depowering of the colonial governments and the lack of representation tied to the colonies themselves (the gentleman class of colonists were still viewed to be representated by the terrorities in England where they haled) lead to a widespread feeling that the colonists had all the liabilities of being a citizen with none of the civil liberties that came with it. So they revolted. The goal of the Tea Party was to foster a growing boycott of all the goods being taxed. It was marginally successful.
What does that have to do with TARP and the stimulus package? Not a damn thing.
But that didn't stop Screamin' Mean Jean Schmidt and John "I'm a man of the people because I've played on a public golf course before" Boehner from joining in the 4,000 "tea protestors" in decrying government spending (the Enquirer notes that the turn out was several thousand below expectation. Most of the camera shots and interviews suggests that many of the protestors were nothing more than young children dragged to an event that they have no understanding about.)
Now, from everything I can gather in the press coverage in these tea events, the general messages is opposition to government bailout of the banks. The protestors, in particular, say they'd prefer that the government let these banks fail rather than "rewarding" them with taxpayer money raised from people that did nothing wrong. Even John Boehner seems to understand this:
Except, of course, both John Boehner and Jean Schmidt voted FOR the TARP bailout package. The stimulus package is not a government bailout; TARP is. That means to the extent that these Tea Parties are protesting government bailouts, then they're protesting Jean Schmidt and John Boehner's votes in Congress!
Not since Maria Antoinette offer desserts to starving rioters in Paris has a political figure been so disconnected from the political message of a crowd it tried to embrace. Antionette offered dessert; the crowd took her head instead. History is silent as to the fate of the royal pastries themselves.
If tax cuts coupled with massive government spending on infrastructure and energy projects is socialism, then Barack Obama is Adam Smith compared to what Boehner and Schmidt supported during the Bush years. And if using taxpayer dollars to bail out failing banks and the financial sector is communism, then John Boehner's next column should be in Pravada, not the Wall Street Journal.
If this crowd is upset about AIG executives obscene bonuses while getting a bailout, then someone should warn John Boehner and Jean Schmidt that the money for those bonuses came from the TARP bill they supported, not the stimulus package they opposed.
But tosses a few teabags is a meaningless sacrifice (the real Tea Party dumped an estimated 90,000 pounds of the stuff.) If the Tea Party protestors really want to boycott government spending because of concerns about the growing federal debt, then the stimulus bill gives them an opportunity to do something about it. Simply mail your federal and state tax refunds to the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt:
Attn Dept G; Bureau Of the Public Debt; P. O. Box 2188;Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
Then you can say you've done your part to reduce the debt, now Congress should do the same! Or heck, just calculate how much of the tax cut you're getting from the stimulus package, and just send that in. I know Congressman Strickland used to send in all of his Congressional raises to the Bureau of Public Debit. I think he even did that with the Bush tax cuts.
So do what our Founding Fathers did. If 1770s tea is equivalent to 2009 Obama tax cuts, then boycott the tax cuts, I say! Put your money where your mouth is!