Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What the ^%@#?!?! Dispatch gives expected, but frustratingly twisted endorsement to Goodman

While I would have been thrilled with a Dispatch endorsement of Emily Kreider, the Dispatch overwhelmingly endorses Republicans, and overwhelmingly endorses incumbents. Normally their job is easiest when they happen to have a Republican incumbent to get behind. Sometimes, though, it just seems to create a more difficult job for them, as they have to actually come up with reasons to justify the endorsement.

I am not above a bit of partisan hyperbole, and I will return to my regularly scheduled election season agitprop after this post. But this endorsement comes from the most read, hypothetically objective bit of print media in the district, and deserves a first response in that vein.

• In five years as a senator, David Goodman has worked with energy to reform Ohio’s tax structure and strengthen its economy.

Fine. I disagree with the approach, but like a good Republican, he has worked on "tax reform," and I'll even take him at his word that he (along with the Dispatch editorial board) believes that this is a course of action that will strengthen Ohio's economy.

He favors greater funding for higher education, which is sorely needed,

Does he have a funding source in mind? It's not a necessity at this point, but unlike shifting K-12 funding from property taxes to a new system, this proposal actually requires spending cuts or a net increase in the overall tax burden of Ohioans. This contradicts the general position that led to the original reason for endorsement above.

as well as the equally important movement to give the state more authority over colleges and universities.

He favors more government control and intrusion? I am sincerely confused. Is this code for something? It sounds more than a bit like a veiled threat to academic freedom on campuses, a la David Horowitz, but before I jump to any conclusions, it would be nice to know what the legislature (with the support of the Dispatch) thinks it can do better than the current infrastructure of oversight and administration.

He rightly believes that colleges are inefficiently competing for market share

My liberal head is spinning. Competition is bad?!?!?

by duplicating programs, rather than working together to consolidate resources to produce stronger programs.

Once again, some specifics would be nice. Perhaps if you want to study literature and history, you should have to commute between Bowling Green and Athens? Football really only needs to be happening in Columbus, because athletics shouldn't be duplicated?? I promised to be straightforward in my response, but this really sounds wrong-headed in the abstract, and too vague in its current formulation.

Acknowledging that Ohio’s economy still falters,

Despite years of one party rule

Goodman calls the state’s recovery "a work in progress"

Meaning what? That the electorate may be under the false impression that the recovery is complete? Things aren't as good as we think they are? Or is this just a banal statement of the obvious, meant to defuse legitimate concerns both with the party in power and the individual incumbents within that party?

and declared that, since his days serving on the Bexley City Council and in the House of Representatives, he has remained unsatisfied, driven by the desire to make a positive difference.

I'm not sure if this means he left the the Bexley City Council and the House of Representatives because he was in danger of becoming satisfied, because there was no more satisfaction to be gained from staying, or because he was unable to make a positive difference. Once again, I don't mean to be too terribly snide here. I think that, again, this is a statement that is supposed to have some air of hard work and dedication to a principle, without actually having a coherent meaning.

In the continuing debate over how best to pay for elementary and secondary education, Goodman has been careful to bear in mind the interests of suburban school districts such as those whose residents he represents.

The interests of the suburban school districts are represented to the point of unconstitutionality in this debate. Specifically, Goodman keeps saying that the state is doing enough to fund poorer districts, and that suburbs should be able to voluntarily provide more funding to their own schools. That is the status quo. The Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the status quo is unacceptable. Goodman has taken the truly contorted position that taxes are bad when they go to serve Ohio generally, but taxes paid by the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy are good (at least if enough people in the wealthy community think so). I moved from Columbus to Bexley for many reasons, but the number one reason is that I will not be sending my daughter to Columbus Public Schools. It is not my job as an individual to take on the reform of the Columbus Public School District, to bring about equity in the school funding system, and it is not my responsibility to single-handedly make my child's school a better place for my neighbor's child to learn. It would perhaps be noble and beautiful if I were to take these things on, but I've got enough on my plate and my first responsibility in this arena is to my family.

This is what a government is for.

His opponent, Internet business consultant Emily Kreider, is new to politics. She appears sincere in her desire to help improve education funding, but her ideas are simplistic and her attacks against Goodman on that and other issues have been shrill and sometimes ill-considered.

By simplistic, I think they mean coy. Emily has stated that she will work with Ted Strickland to develop a plan, and support the plan he comes up with. Given that Mr. Strickland is poised to get two votes for every one cast for his opponent, it looks like she's not alone in trusting Ted to come up with a better plan than Republicans have managed.

That's not what makes me upset about this paragraph though.

I challenge the Dispatch or the Goodman campaign to name one shrill attack she or her staff has made against Goodman regarding school funding. One. I know there are a number of Goodman supporters who read this blog. If there is such an attack out there, point me to it. I think that I've been more attuned to every piece of public information in this campaign than anyone, including the Dispatch editorial board, and I can't think of one. They state that there have been 'attacks' (plural). I won't call them out as blatant liars if someone can point out just one single shrill or ill-considered attack that I've missed.

Voters should return Goodman to the Senate.

Even if they are not welcome to their own facts, they are welcome to their own opinion.

My beef here is primarily with the Dispatch. I don't fault the Goodman team for having campaign talking points, I blame the Dispatch for writing something that sounds like it came (to paraphrase one of the more apropos recent criticisms of one of my pieces) from a clueless high-schooler. I've gotten some more direct hits against the Goodman campaign in my email from folks upset about this endorsement. I'll get into those later when regularly scheduled programming resumes.

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