Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Can't Keep Up, But... {OH-12, OHSH-20, POTUS, PaydayLenders, FranklinCoCo, SOS}

That's no reason to punt. So here goes:

David Robinson has been given a very enthusiastic endorsement by the most well-liked Democrat in office in Ohio today - Governor Ted Strickland:

"It is my pleasure to endorse David Robinson's candidacy for Ohio's 12th Congressional District. I believe that David possesses the knowledge, the wisdom, and the dedication to serve his community with distinction. I know that he will represent the 12th District admirably, and I am inspired by his energy and dedication to bringing about real change. I look forward to helping David win in November and to working with him as a Congressional representative. I believe David will give the 12th District the kind of leadership that residents deserve. I encourage all residents of the 12th District to support David Robinson."
Incumbent Pat Tiberi voted against the Rescue Package earlier this week. Robinson blasted him for that vote. What happened? Pat became a big fan of the Rescue Package, saying that the Senate changes were exactly what he was looking for. I'd be more likely to swallow this line, if it weren't the exact same thing he did with Children's Health Insurance, wanting to get credit for voting both ways. Fool me once...

If you'd like to see David Robinson debate Pat Tiberi, there are opportunities on Oct. 10 and Oct. 23, in addition to a number of candidate forums that are not head-to-head debate formats. If you'd like to see Pat Tiberi debate Pat Tiberi, it would appear that you can do that at your leisure.

On a side note, I drive on the Rich St. connector (aka Snowden Alley) downtown every morning, and there is a big multi-sign display for Dem candidates up along there. I was pretty annoyed when it first went up, because there were several Kilroy signs in the mix, and no Robinson signs. I have nothing against MJK, and I truly hope she kicks Stivers' booty, but the signs were located in the 12th, not the 15th, and almost everyone driving on that stretch is coming from the 12th (or possibly the 7th) on their way into the city. I felt it would look petty and small if I were to complain about it on the blog, so I let it go. Within a couple of days, however, Robinson's signs had replaced MJK's in the display. I don't know who was responsible, but this proud 12th district resident thanks you.

This race continues to be one of the marquee battles in the race to control the Ohio Statehouse. The Ohio Republican Party is engaged in a coordinated multi-media campaign to smear Nancy Garland, and the Garland campaign is one of the most bustling and visible in Central Ohio. The Dispatch has endorsed McGregor for the most typical of Dispatch endorsement motives - He's the incumbent, he hasn't been a spectacular embarrassment, so keep him. As for me, my standards are a bit higher.

Besides, for readers of this blog, there is a more important endorsement you might have missed. In the comments to my post on this race last week, the woman who should be the incumbent, Bev Campbell, had this to say:
I am unequivocally communicating to any of [my supporters] who read your blog: This is not the time for spoilers, and being a spoiler is NOT what I or my involvement in politics is about. We NEED a majority in the OH House. I have offered to the ODP, the Caucus and to Garland herself, to assist in any way I can.

SO, let's get busy; we have work to do - now and for 2010.

President of the United States
Barack Obama has gotten an unprecedented bump in the polls after the debate last week - nationally, in battleground states generally, and in Ohio. Given that even Obama supporters labeled the debate a draw, this has come as somewhat of a surprise. Many have attributed this bump to Obama achieving a threshhold of credibility that had been the single stumbling block for many voters. This makes me think that the range of potential outcomes from tonight's VP debate are more complex than many people might think. Many people think Sarah Palin is a moron. If she fails to choke on her own tongue and fall down unconscious, some of these folks might revise their opinions upward. Many people think that she has been unfairly attacked by a biased media. If she struggles as badly tonight as she has in her news interviews, some of these folks might concede that putting her a heartbeat away is in fact a deal-breaker. I would look for Palin to repeatedly goad Joe Biden. She wants the clip that gets played over and over to be a she-said/he-said exchange that neither one wins. Media will love it because it won't look 'biased' and the McCain folks will love it because it will put her on 'even footing' with Biden. Please Joe, don't take the bait.

In local POTUS news, I've seen pictures of the "Bexley Families 4 Obama" banner displayed outside the McCain/Palin rally in Bexley. I'm beaming with civic pride. And for the record, I would have supported a decision for the Bexley H.S. band to turn down an invitation to play for Obama had the situation been turned around. The school made the right call in reversing their decision to participate in the McCain/Palin campaign event.

Issue 5
Payday Lenders have submitted an extra 218,000 signatures in their attempt to make the ballot, far exceeding what I called the 'breath-holding threshhold' last week. I'd put their odds at better than even of making the ballot, but I'm not as confident as most others on both sides seem to be. They need better than a 25% validity rate to qualify. That may sound like a "super-low rate," but it isn't far below what the Stripper Bill Referendum got last year, and in fact is about exactly the validity rate those folks got in Franklin County.

I've gotten mixed reviews on my post about the scope of the referendum last week. I currently believe that we'll have a legal mess if the lenders defeat the portion of the bill targeted in the referendum. Just one more reason to vote "YES" on Issue 5 (just in case it actually counts).

BTW, Ohio Public Radio has petition circulators stating on the record that they were trained to emphasize an interest-rate reduction as a reason to sign. Kim Norris, of course, denies this. The misleading pitches that have been caught on tape, however, are just too similar to support the idea that the claims are independent misunderstandings or fabrications. I have no evidence to distinguish between fraud and flawed, but it's become more and more obvious that the training of circulators needed greater attention.

Franklin County Commission

I don't think that Paula Brooks hates @%$$^ unions (the criterion I attributed to the CD before), but the Dispatch decided to say "close enough." I'm not sure they're doing her any favors, but then again, I'm not sure they wanted to. The Dispatch has also endorsed Democrat John O'Grady in the open seat election, which should tell you that there is no reason on Earth not to vote for him.

Secretary of State/Elections in General
The Ohio GOP has tried everything in their power to discredit Jennifer Brunner. They have lost every court case, even when they went in front of the Ohio Supreme Court, which consists entirely of members in good standing of the Ohio GOP. They have repeatedly and blatantly lied about a "new" absentee voter law. They have repeatedly compared her Ken Blackwell in terms of being a partisan, which is not only grossly unfair, but remarkably hypocritical. When Ken Blackwell was SOS, the Ohio GOP had no problem with the SOS being a partisan. They have decided on a conclusion of voter fraud and partisanship, but have been woefully unable to discover or manufacture credible evidence to undergird it.

Certain elements of the Dem base are still easily roused to passion by the notion that Kerry lost Ohio due to voting irregularities and disenfranchisement perpetrated by the GOP and allies. I think the Republicans see this and want in on the action. No matter how clean and decisive any Dem victories are next month, the GOP will stoke a "we were robbed" flame beneath some of their harder core partisans.

I can already tell you which statewide race I'm most likely going to involve myself in during 2010.

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