Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Shamansky and Tiberi Debate - First Thoughts.

I actually have to catch up on other stuff tonight, but if you can catch the debate tonight, it's being re-broadcast on ONN at 11pm tonight. Beyond that, I haven't heard. If you'd rather just take my word for stuff, I'll be talking about it for a few days.

I managed to get tickets through the kindness of strangers and make it to the new venue in the Nationwide Arena Concourse before seating was cut off. My first thought when the candidates took the stage was "Hmmm... it's gonna look like Orville Redenbacher vs. Mob Boss Tiberi to the folks watching at home. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

Bob got the first opening statement, and it was a good one, talking about his hundred-year-old family roots in the district, despite what you may have guessed from watching TV ads. I think Pat's opening statement went over fairly well, but I missed most of it because we were supposed to remain totally silent, and Pat's obsequious thanking of the moderator ("And thank you, John, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here tonight) had given me a serious case of the giggles to suppress.

Bob started off kind of nervous, and I thought that he was giving the audience too much credit for knowledge of the issues and the back-and-forth of the campaign so far. He was talking in shorthand phrases reminiscent of a Cheney-Load of bird-shot that were plenty enough for those of us on both sides of the audience (and those on the panel), but Pat would counter with simple, easy to understand statements.

Well, simple and easy-to-misunderstand. Voters won't punish him for Republican Ethics Scandals because just as many Democrats as Republicans have ethical problems. You can trust him on the minimum wage because he actually voted to increase the minimum wage, and because he once made the minimum wage when he was sixteen and had a job at McDonald's.

He believes that Ohio's biggest problem isn't job-loss to foreign countries, but job-loss to Southern states. That's in part because Ohio 'can't compete on labor costs.' Pat knows all about these things because his Dad once lost his job as a steelworker. I wonder if Pat ever looked his Dad in the eye and said: "If you and your union buddies weren't so damn greedy, you'd still have a job."

And this is where I start to lose it. I can't watch these things. Republicans lie and distort the truth. They know they are lying and distorting the truth. There is not a single Republican who really believes that Bob Shamansky was intending to cast fraudulent votes in elections, or that he was not entitled to the tax credits granted to Miranova owners. They don't care. Pat says that there isn't a family of a 9/11 victim out there who wouldn't want the President to be able to listen in on Terrorists calling the United States. In a trivial way, he's right. If the president can meet the very low burden of probable cause and get a warrant at some point from the FISA court, everyone wants the President to strap on a set of earphones and stay put. Republicans know this. They refuse to defend their votes on the merits.

Pat defended the outrageous levels of government deficit spending by saying how much worse it would have been if the Republican majority hadn't voted down 45 Billion in discretionary spending proposed by Democrats. Pause and think on that for a moment.

Pat Tiberi said that his opponent, Bob Shamansky, started off the negative campaigning by releasing an ad that lied about Tiberi on Sept. 28, to which his campaign responded on Sept. 30.

This is the ad that the Shamansky Campaign released that weekend:

More than anything, this is what tells me everything I need to know about Republicans. This is what has driven me to such partisanship. They lie and lie and lie and mislead and smear, and they have absolutely no shame. Seriously. They will tell you that it's just politics, and that Democrats are just as guilty. And perhaps they believe it, but most likely they know it's not true and it's simply another dishonest smear (think of the ten most dishonest/misleading ads that you've seen or heard this cycle. If more than one of them is in support of a Dem, we're definitely not watching the same media outlets). I don't think that it's mainly done out of insecurity with their own policies, shame over the immorality of their policies, or simple thirst for power, although for some these things do play a role. My guess is that they do it because they hold voters in contempt. They think that we are too self-centered and stupid to actually care about the facts, and that we aren't worth the time it would take to convince us on the merits of the arguments.

But they need votes so they give you a cheesy smile, make a tired cliche of a reference to Reagan, and say whatever they think will help them win.

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