Friday, October 03, 2008

Stop Going to the Well, You Idiots.

I got an email this morning from someone affiliated with the same cause Ann Fisher wrote up in Today's Dispatch: A group trying to protect folks from campaign calls, particularly robo-calls.

Not an unsympathetic cause, but I'm not going to be helping out with that, for a rather ironic reason. Somebody else has pretty much ruined it for them.

I posted several days ago about getting "cause spam" asking me to highlight a campaign against clusterbombs. I did a minimal amount of research, fell for the pitch and posted. Since then, I've gotten the same email plea, practically cut-and-pasted, from a different advocacy group. This afternoon I got an e-mail asking me to embed a poll about "Sara Palin" (sic).

As you may guess, just like the recipients of multiple campaign calls, I've gone from friendly to ticked off. How do I know that this afternoon's mail is from the same people as the two cut-and-paste campaigns? I have already mentioned that I get these solicitations from multiple sources. Well, I know because the weird Palin poll is sponsored by an online PR company who touts their success with the clusterbomb group on their webpage. Blue Bexley is one of the "122 earned media mentions."

That company? Abraham & Harrison.

If you're thinking of hiring Abraham and Harrison, you should be aware that one successful campaign is a whole lot easier than getting bloggers to repeatedly flog for free the stories you're paid to get out. We, meaning I, don't like it one bit. When that happens, bloggers will post every permutation of your name that they can think of, like Abraham/Harrison, Abraham Harrison LLC,, etc. to make sure that your intended audience has an easy time determining whether what they're reading is propaganda.

You'll then have to hire a company like Abraham & Harison, or even Abraham & Harisson or Abraham and Harrisson to clean up your search engine results.

Of course, if they could really do that, you wouldn't be here now, would you?

Though My Lack of Education Never Hurt Me None...

I was doing a bit of quick research on a fun post following up BSB's assertion that Steve Stivers is claiming that MJK is a Socialist, in part because she was in law school at OSU at the same time (1979-1981) as the French Director who made a film about American Socialism was teaching photography at OSU. By that token a certain member of the U.S. House who began studies at OSU in 1981 is also a Socialist. I'm sure Mr. Tiberi's staff will be as surprised as anyone.

That's not the bit I'm concerned about now, however, as something very disturbing (to me at least) came up when I tried to find Ohio Statehouse Reps who had been at OSU during that time period. Not many as it turns out, in part because nearly 30% of them do not actually have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college/university.

Let me say that again. Of the 99 seats currently filled in the Ohio House, 27-29 of them are held by folks without a bachelor's degree, including 33% of Republicans and 22%-26% of Democrats (two reps are unclear as to their degree status).

Perhaps I'm an elitist, but holy cow. When we tell our young people that there are no good jobs for folks without a college degree, we're apparently overlooking "legislator."

Friday Morning

I'm going to my alma mater's homecoming game (against my other alma mater, but undergrad trumps in this sort of thing) this weekend, and I expect that I'll be pretty conflicted over whether or not to blog. For the first time in several years I'm hoping my hotel doesn't have free wi-fi.

I don't spend a lot of time on national politics, but as I threw out some preview for last night's debate, I may as well follow up:

1) I must admit I missed much of the debate. When Toddler-C was not in bed by 9pm we hoped she'd get bored and fall asleep on one of us early in the debate. When that didn't happen it resulted in an attention-seeking machine in the TV room for half-an-hour followed by a not-wanting-to-fall-asleep-daddy-seeking clarion in her bedroom for 45 minutes. I heard a lot more of the debate than I saw, and my wife recapped what I missed in both modalities. Take that into account.

2) Palin came across as a mainstream Republican politician. She didn't have many more cringe-worthy moments than McCain did in his debate. If I'm the GOP, I'm thankful for her performance.

3) Joe Biden was also near the top of his game, and clearly was more engaged in the details without going off into bad college lecture mode.

I'm seeing two possible sources of voter movement as a result:

A) There is a segment of the electorate that was more likely to vote for McCain in the days following his choice of Palin and her address to the RNC. Many of those folks had drifted back into the undecided range over the past few weeks. Some of them may be reassured.

B) It is easy to get distracted by personality in the Presidential race, and it might have been easy to be distracted by personality and rhetorical style in this VP debate. In the absence of the striking personalities at the top of the ticket, and in the absence of many moments that truly drew attention to the VP candidates as candidates, the debate comes down largely to the one thing pundits won't touch with a ten foot pole - the underlying issues being discussed. What should we do in Iraq? What should we do to protect our economy? How do we regain our stature in the world? How do we help the middle class? Right now, more people agree with Democrats on those questions. When those questions are front and center, rather than McCain's temperament or Barack's religion, the choice becomes clearer. I think this moves some people to Obama.

Now let me take off my analyst hat for a second and simply go off on Governor Palin. She thinks that the Vice President has the opportunity to assume more power than even Cheney has assumed? She thinks, and I might not have followed her logic exactly here, but she seems to think that increasing American consumption of gas is good for climate change because it prevents other countries from consuming that gasoline in a less environmentally friendly way. What?!? And I know it's petty, but she said she doesn't attribute man's activities to climate change. Which would mean that she doesn't think that global warming is the major cause of man's activities, which is true but pretty irrelevant. She meant that she doesn't primarily attribute climate change to man's activities. She may be proud to not use words in the way that I or the moderator would like, but you have to wonder how all those English-as-official-language types feel about having a non-speaker potentially a heartbeat away.

Whew. Glad that's off my chest.

Anyway, in other news, the Dispatch has (1 , 2) anti-Tiberi LTE's today. They both take pretty good shots at Pat, and for the most part they're pretty accurate. I will say that I could do without the gratuitous anti-Kilroy point, but more importantly - VOTE FOR DAVID ROBINSON! Just because the Dispatch refused to name Tiberi's opponent is no reason to assume that the Dispatch will refuse to actually print it if you mention it. Those of you reading this post, you already know that Pat is not a moderate, has grown not only more conservative but more mean-spiritedly partisan in the last couple of years, and when it comes to his primary jobs, writing and voting upon legislation as a representative of voters in the 12th District, he has been woefully inadequate. I know this, you know this, the Dispatch letter writers know this, the rabble-rousers in Delaware and Licking County know this... but...

In the absence of a viable alternative, people don't/won't care. And truth be told, I'm under the impression that there are still a substantial number of people who do not realize just how viable of an alternative they have. If you have not gone to Robinson's website and watched some of the videos, or gone to the candidate forums, you might be thinking that Robinson is another Ed Brown. You'd be wrong. David Robinson, would, in fact, be a better Representative than Pat Tiberi. I highly encourage you to tune into the debate sponsored by WBNS/ONN next week, and I encourage you to talk it up to your friends and neighbors in the district. You're going to watch the next presidential debate, right? But how much new information are you really going to get? The second highest office you'll be voting for is the U.S. House of Representatives, and there's still plenty for you to learn in that race.

The case against Tiberi was made pretty well two years ago (I still giggle watching this), but if you're looking for vision, intelligence, and change in Washington, don't stop at the top of the ticket. And if you're throwing another $5 bucks to those guys this morning, what's another $5 where it'll have a bigger impact?

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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tiberi Apparently Some Sort of Prima Donna

I have no idea what to make of this story. The Liberty Voice is an independent paper published in Delaware County with a distinct Libertarian worldview and a growing distribution network. They have also been on fire lately with their opposition to the re-election efforts of Pat Tiberi. Some examples:

Pat Tiberi is endorsed by the Columbus Dispatch Printing Company

A Vote is an Endorsement

Last night, the publisher of The Liberty Voice attended the candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Delaware Gazette, and the Farm Bureau. She intended to make a videorecording of the event to aid her in her reporting. This supposedly had not been a problem in previous forums held by the sponsors, but last night recording devices (even for the working press) were prohibited, a rule agreed to by all participating parties in advance. When the publisher of TLV made a stink, she was allowed to take her video for most of the evening, until it was time for Pat Tiberi to take the stage.

At which point Tiberi apparently refused to come out until all recording devices were shut down.

Tiberi has agreed to two head-to-head debates with David Robinson, including one on October 10th sponsored by 10tv/ONN (Dispatch Media Group) that will obviously be televised, so he can't be so camera-shy that the mere thought of appearing on video gives him the vapors. The press was there and allowed to take notes, so he wasn't planning on making some bizarre secret proposal. So what gives?

I can only think of two things, and both of them have to do with the fact that Congress was obviously in session in D.C. yesterday:

Possibility 1: Getting from the floor of the House to the Delaware Area Career Center in six hours (give or take) doesn't allow a whole lot of time for things like showering and shaving, let alone makeup application. Tiberi doesn't mind showing up like that in person, but heaven forbid the masses see him on a bad hair day.

Possibility 2: He had a long day. His advisers have been around him on a number of long days. The possibility of a Macaca Moment is just too high to risk. Ban the cameras.

Of course, there's the possibility that he was still too shaken by Nancy Pelosi's assault on his delicate sensibilities. Someone should ask him if he was one of the dozen Republican votes John Boehner said that Republican leadership believes "went south" due to hearing Pelosi's speechifying.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tiberi Votes Against Bailout / List of OH-12 Candidate Forums

Me, I would have voted for it. How confused and confusing was this process? This is the Ohio Delegation Breakdown:

For Bailout:

Against Bailout:

Those coalitions have all the surface cohesion of a Keno draw.

I don't know if Pat'll be back in OH in time for the big LWV candidate forum tonight, but I'm certain that David Robinson would be more than happy to answer your questions about Congress's role in our current economic situation:

Tonight, Monday, September 29 – League of Women Voters Candidates Night
o Time: Doors open at 6:00pm; Event starts at 7:00pm
o Location: Delaware Area Career Center/JVS North Auditorium, 1610 St. Rt. 521 (Delaware, 43015)

Tuesday, September 30 – Harlem Township Candidate Night
o Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
o Location: Harlem Township Firehouse, 3883 S. State Route 605 (Galena, 43021)

Thursday, October 2 – Peace Lutheran Church Candidate Forum AND Candidate Forum with the GLBT Community
o Peace Lutheran Church Candidate Forum
§ Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm (David will speak around 8:40pm)
§ Location: 455 Clark State Rd. (Gahanna, 43230)

o Candidate Forum with the GLBT Community
§ Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
§ Location: Stonewall Columbus, 1160 N. High St. (Columbus, 43201)

Friday, October 3 – Jewish Community Center Candidate Forum
o Time: 9:50am
o Location: 1125 College Ave. (Columbus, 43209)

Wednesday, October 8 – Minerva Park Community Association Candidate Forum
o Time: 7:00pm
o Location: Village of Minerva Park Community Building, 2829 Minerva Lake Rd. (Columbus, 43231)

In 2006 I Registered to Vote and Cast a Ballot on the Same Day.

This seems to need repeating.

It may not have gone smoothly, but it was legal, and suggested to me by elections officials. In 2006, Ohio had a Republican governor, a Republican Secretary of State, a Republican Attorney General, a Republican State Senate, and a Republican State House. Franklin County elections were administered by a Republican Director of Elections.

Mike Dewine says "First, 'same-day registration and voting' is simply not the law in Ohio." I like being subtle, and I like being diplomatic, but I've had about all I can take. Mike DeWine is a damned liar. I don't know how else to say it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain and Palin in Bexley

First of all, the McCain website lists the rally location as the corner of Main and Pleasant Ridge in Columbus, OH. That intersection, along with the rest of Capital's main campus, is in Bexley, not Columbus.* Second, that location is so close to my house that getting to work is going to be a pain (they've already blocked off one of the streets I usually take).

Beyond that, I haven't got much to say.

*I know, I know, cut him some slack. He was a POW.