Friday, October 27, 2006

Shamansky news from around the blogosphere

Bob Shamansky debated Pat Tiberi at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday. I weighed in with my impressions. A blogger at The Ohio Conservative was also at the debate and gave his take on events. Strangely enough in these modern times, the liberal (me), the conservative (TOC), and the nominally neutral and dispassionate journalist (JH at the Dispatch), all saw pretty much the same debate. Pat Tiberi is a Republican. Bob Shamansky is a Democrat. Because of this, I thought Bob came across much better than Pat, TOC thought vice-versa, and the headlines blared "civil."

Under these circumstances, though, you've got to give Bob the edge. The three analyses I'm discussing are by watchers of politics and government, and it looks like the judges are scoring it a draw. Especially this year, though, a tie in the debate is a loss for the incumbent. For Jane Q. Public this year, the only thing stopping her from voting her dissatisfaction with Republican incumbents is the worry that the Democratic challengers may not be credible candidates or Congressional material. That fear is gone now.

A more interesting discussion of fear and the OH-12 debate was brought up at Buckeye State Blog, where folks captured the Tiberi quote about being attacked by blogs and websites:

As I said in the comments to that post, I couldn't help but think he must be in part referring to (ahem) Blue Bexley. Although I truly respect and have been inspired by the work that Eric has done at Plunderbund before moving up to ProgressOhio, and the work that Brian was doing full-time at OH-12.US before taking over much of Brian's work at Plunderbund, I think I've spent more time mocking Pa(rro)t than anyone else over the last two months.

Of course, when I first started trying to find blogs covering the 12th district, people at DailyKos pointed me toward Licking County Pro-Active Citizens. And like DailyKos, LiCoPAC has recently become more active once again in discussing the race, including a post aggregating info on several ways to get involved with Bob Shamansky's campaign, including this morning's 9am Consortium for Good Government Candidate Forum in Bexley's backyard at the JCC, along with some of the volunteer opportunities distributed by the campaign.

They also report on Charlie Cook's statement that the Shamansky-Tiberi race is 50-50. The 10/25 Cook Report doesn't reflect that assessment, but perhaps Charlie knows something that he isn't sharing. And for all of you folks who are getting to Blue Bexley by searching on 'Shamansky Tiberi Polling Data' or variations on that theme, I must confess that I'm just as curious as y'all. My very amateurish reasoning leads me to believe that if Tiberi's internals had him up by double digits, that would have been leaked. If Bob's internals had the margin at 6 or below, that would've leaked. So my best out-of-my-rear-end-guess would be 47-40 with 13% undecided. Under that type of scenario, Tiberi is definitely vulnerable, but it would require undecideds breaking our way and really good Franklin County turnout. So, even though there is little reason beyond my musings to assume the accuracy of that assessment, if you've read this far and still put any credibility into my guess at all, you'll get a yard sign, bring up how funny Bob Shamansky's rubber stamp ad is, and ask if anyone has seen his new Iraq ad when the cheesy ads from other races are coming on while you watch the Buckeyes with your friends tomorrow. Then you'll pitch in an hour of your time during one of the opportunities afforded to you.

Because we're up against this.

Or you could just shut me up with any real poll numbers that I may have missed.

And best of luck to the Bexley Lions, who can wrap up one of their best football regular seasons in years and launch themselves into the playoffs with a victory tonight at Columbus Academy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And Again, Shamansky Campaign hits it out of the park.

Jennifer Brunner's got great fans

  • Fans of Jennifer Brunner are linking to a video explaining Greg Hartmann's incompetence regarding the release of Social Security numbers and other data.

  • I personally think the video should be cut down to one minute, but definitely keeping the entire (quite amusing) screen capture sequence. I'm not about to start criticizing Brunner fans, though, as at least some of them have donated money through the ActBlue Page. You can rent my goodwill as well.

  • One of these video-linking fans is Cindy, from As Ohio Goes..., who also clued me in to Fantasy Congress. I play fantasy football and fantasy hockey, and write a political blog. I have absolutely no business adding more politics or fantasy sports to my already stretched thin time, but... My league is called GeeksCaucus, and it is completely unlocked and public if you'd like to join me (join and draft anytime, but Congress is in recess and scoring won't go live until after Election Day. Until then there are better uses of your time).

Wow. Suburban News Publications (Bexley News) comes out strong for Kreider, Shamansky, and Campbell

I have written on a number of occasions that there is more direct coverage of local campaigns in the local weekly newspapers. I was just tipped off that one of the two major weekly news publishers in Columbus (the one not owned by Dispatch Media) has come out with their endorsements:

3rd Senate District

In the Ohio Senate 3rd District race, the News endorses the candidacy of Democratic challenger Emily Kreider over incumbent David Goodman (R-New Albany).

Kreider, 36, a small business owner from Westerville, is a refreshing and thoughtful first-time candidate. She holds a master's degree in social work, and is committed to fighting for the needs of the 3rd District's working families -- which she has assessed by knocking on more than 6,000 doors in the district since the launch of her candidacy.

Goodman, 39, an attorney, has been at the Statehouse for eight years. He was first appointed and then elected to a term in the House, then appointed and elected to a term in the Senate. He unsuccessfully sought to leave the Senate in a campaign for Franklin County commissioner in 2004.

"Leadership for a Change" is Goodman's campaign slogan but it rings incredibly hollow after his long tenure at Broad and High, and in light of the continuing struggles of local school districts during that time -- due to the legislature's failure to address the fundamental aspects of the DeRolph decision.

Elect Kreider in the 3rd Senate District.


Forget the pork: Congress needs new blood now

If you think the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld administration has our nation on the right track in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Iran, in North Korea, in Darfur and the world's other trouble spots, then by all means vote to send Pryce and Tiberi back to Washington. If you think Bush's trillion-dollar deficits and gargantuan appropriations bills are making our economy stronger, vote for Pryce and Tiberi. You'll get two more years of the same.

If, on the other hand, you believe that it's time for a change -- time for a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to rein in the Bush administration's excesses and check its wrong-headed policies -- then you should join Suburban News Publications in supporting challengers Mary Jo Kilroy in the 15th District and Bob Shamansky in the 12th District.


In the race for Ohio House 20th District, the News urges voters to elect Democrat challenger Bev Campbell.


Although this is her first bid for public office, the News believes she can be an effective advocate on the issues she identifies as important -- the access of health care, reform of Ohio's tax system and improvements to Ohio's water and air quality -- based on her newness to the position.

Campbell's opponent, incumbent state Rep. Jim McGregor (R-Gahanna), the former mayor of Gahanna who was appointed to the seat in 2001, and won elections to keep it in 2002 and 2004.

McGregor, 57, has served on several committees throughout his terms. Although on the surface this appears to be commendable, he has been part of a legislature which has been largely unresponsive to things such as the DeRolph ruling, job losses and the spiraling costs of higher education.

This November, voters have the opportunity to push for change at the state level.

Click the links to read the whole text of the endorsement(s), it's well worth it.

I think I Now Get David Goodman's Higher Education Position

One of the points that baffled me amongst the Dispatch's stated reasons for their endorsement of Goodman over Democratic Challenger Emily Kreider in the 3rd District Senate race was their repetition of the Goodman talking point that reform was needed to reduce wasteful duplication and competition in Ohio colleges.

What in the heck does that mean? I complained that the lack of specifics made it difficult to argue against, although I could make up some ridiculous, but consistent proposals, and argue against them.

It turns out my hyperbolic imaginations are closer to the truth than any such things should ever be. I know this because a post on Plunderbund jogged my memory and sent me off to re-read the following:


There is a need to devote new attention
to the efficiency of back office operations.
way to cut costs and streamline functions
is by consolidating common university

functions such as housing, admissions and
food services. This allows more in-classroom
and innovation spending.
Another avenue
deserving of exploration is lifting the ban on

one prime contractor for construction projects.
Finally, it is time for an expansion in the
flexibility of prevailing wages.

There is a redundancy in the services offered
by two- and four-year institutions.
there are not enough positions available for
Ohioans who graduate from specialized fields
such as law, medicine and education. Not only
does this cause a loss in
these individuals’
investments through financing their education,
it causes a decline in
population growth as well
as in the tax base. In order to stymie this
problem, a results-driven
approach to identify
redundancies and unproductive programs will
produce solutions to maximize efficiency.

In case you didn't recognize it, it's from the Blackwell Plan for Transforming Education in Ohio. David Goodman doesn't need to name specifics. He just has to wait for Ken Blackwell to come up with a specific plan to eliminate Medical Schools, etc. and then work with Ken Blackwell to implement it.

Race Update: Today's Dispatch has an article on state legislature races, and how the Dems are doing well despite the over whelming edge the Republicans have in buying TV ads. The article gives a nice shout out to our House candidate Bev Campbell, but spends more time talking with Emily:

No Democrat in central Ohio has been more swamped by ads than Emily Kreider, a business consultant who is challenging Sen. David Goodman, R-New Albany, in the 3 rd District, covering eastern and northern Franklin County.

"It’s pretty much David and Goliath, although this time the Goliath is David," Kreider said.

While she spent $15,000 on a cable television ad a few weeks ago, the Ohio Republican Senate Campaign Committee is expected to spend more than $1 million on Goodman’s ads.

Those recent spots have focused on Kreider’s failure to vote at the polls. Kreider said the ads leave viewers with the impression that she held elected office and didn’t vote for school issues.

Kreider countered Tuesday with 50,000 automated calls to voters, but she knows she can’t reach everyone. While some early polls had the race at a dead heat, GOP officials are now talking more confidently that Goodman will be re-elected.

"The Democratic caucus and the Ohio party never expected me to be doing as well as I am," Kreider said. "So I don’t know that there was ever any intention to buy television time."

You can donate money to Emily Kreider through my ActBlue link, or volunteer by contacting her campaign.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shamansky v. Tiberi play by play in the Dispatch

So, in my continuing distinction of my opinion of the Dispatch as purveyors of opinion as opposed to my opinion on them as purveyors of fact, let me bring up Joe Hallet's play-by-play of last night's debate. Mr. Hallet shows up in a number of venues other than in simple print reporting. You may have seen him on TV as a debate panelist or encountered him during internet chats. In those contexts, I must admit, I have sometimes found him irritating. But like his colleague Catherine Candisky (one of last night's panelists), his by-line keeps showing up when I go back to check who wrote a particularly impressive story.

I would have to think that both candidates would be happy with the summary, which hits the high points of substantive issue differences and the clarification of the high-profile claims made by the Republican Party as to Bob Shamansky's residence.

As such, I feel free to offer more impression and less summary, and I refer y'all to Hallet if you want the post-game sports report version.

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.

Free Stickers

The Dispatch Editorial board might not be my favorite people right now, but in general, I actually like the paper. For instance, they did a great article on Tigereye Designs, an Ohio company that does a national business in campaign promotional materials.

I got an email today encouraging folks to get free Sherrod Brown and/or Ted Strickland stickers direct from Tigereye at

If you're so inclined, have at it.

and BTW, for those of you planning to watch or attend tonight's debate between Bob Shamansky and Pat Tiberi, be aware that problems have arisen at the Arena Grand Theatre, possibly forcing a change of venue. I'll let you know if I hear anything more.

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.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Updates

I'm trying to get back into the loop. I was out of town this weekend, flitting back and forth between Melissa Bean's district and Denny Hastert's district in Northern Illinois. My In-Laws said that the political ads there were crazy mean and pretty much constant, but I only saw a couple of NRCC attacks on Bean. It's nothing like Central Ohio. I showed them some of our ads. By the way, if you go to YouTube, you'll find that the sum total of all views of videos produced to benefit the Tiberi Campaign is (as of post-time) 613.

The total # of views for just the Bob Shamansky 'Anvil' ad is 15,431.

And I'm not sure, but I think a bunch of Pat's traffic comes from this site, anyway.

If you are looking for more substantive differences between the candidates to play up when chatting with friends and family, there will be a debate tomorrow night at 7pm, to be broadcast live on ONN (rumor has it C-SPAN will pick it up, as well). If you miss it, I will of course be giving post-debate commentary right here, for whatever that's worth to anyone.

And by the way, I missed a much better LTE that came out at the same time as the sock-puppetry in the Bexley News, this one in This Week: Bexley.

And oh yeah, the Lions are 8-1 heading into the regular season finale with Columbus Academy.