Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Off

It's going to be a couple of months before I resume blogging, and it is still up in the air what that will look like. But enough has been happening that I can't keep my mouth shut, so to the folks still subscribed to the RSS/e-mail of Blue Bexley, Here You Go:

1) Blue Bexley endorses Jennifer Brunner for U.S. Senate, as she is easily the Ohio Dem for whom I have the most respect. One of the last statements I made before hibernating was that I anticipated the campaign I'd be most enthusiastic about in 2010 was getting her re-elected as SOS. I'm even more excited about seeing her run against Portman. This is going to be a fairly big referendum on the role of the grassroots and blogosphere in Ohio... The traditional power brokers all favor Lee Fisher as a candidate. There is tremendous support among the younger and activist rank-and-file Dems for Brunner. Unlike most folks, I hope they both stick around 'til the Primary. IMHO, you are less bloodied by winning an election than you are sullied by winning a power struggle.

2) Ted Strickland supports Fisher. A cynic might say that Ted would support any situation which would let him get a new Development Director. But that's not fair. It is fair to bring up that Ted was an early vocal endorser of Hillary Clinton, who went on to take 83 of 88 Ohio Counties in what was kind of the final gasp of her campaign. Naymik at the Plain Dealer has already commented that Brunner seems to be channeling Obama. The question is, would Ted and Lee make a straight-faced attempt to turn Fisher into HRC?

3) Speaking of Ted - from the looks of it, his school funding fix sucks. It brings the state into technical compliance with DeRolph by completely ignoring the spirit of the decision. These newly funded schools will then use the increases or reductions in cash to fund a bunch of evidence-based changes to instruction format and curriculum. It'd be nice if he actually pointed to some of the supposed evidence. In his defense, there would be more money for schools if people would just throw more money away on Keno, which is why spending for marketing campaigns convincing people to gamble in a recession seems to be bucking more general trends in state expenditures.

4) Of course, playing Keno is only marginally less financially harmful than taking out a payday loan. "What?!?!" I hear you asking... Didn't we ban payday lending?!? Well, yes, sort of. It turns out that the lenders have gotten creative about fees, and the APR is still about 200%. I was pretty scared about loopholes that would be exposed if Issue 5 failed, but I wasn't expecting the law to be so easily skirted if it passed. I have to think the Payday Lenders couldn't have foreseen it either, or they may not have spent so much cash on the futile campaign.

5) Obama has been pretty much everything I feared when I refused to support him in the primary, and pretty much everything I hoped for when I supported him in the general. In other words, I'm of the opinion that anybody who has been at all surprised wasn't paying attention.

6) The economy is in free-fall and we've passed a stimulus package. I'm ambivalent. What I find most frustrating is that we should be putting in place a strong social(ist) safety net during times of economic growth, as a way of protecting individuals and lessening the collective impact during times of economic downturn, and when times get tough we should be relaxing barriers to trade and commerce to provide fuel for the natural forces of the market that cause economic growth. Instead, we use economic growth as evidence that social protections and economic regulation are not only unnecessary but harmful, and when the inevitable crash comes, it is magnified and accelerated by the lack of protection and regulation. This is followed by a recession/depression in which people clamor for more government services and public intervention into the private sector, impeding the speed at which the economy can recover. Given that it is too late to properly prepare for an economic crisis, I guess it's better to have stimulated and lost than to never have stimulated at all. And despite the (understandable) preference on the part of conservatives to pull the economy up from the top down rather than attempt the slower and less efficient process of pushing the economy up from the bottom up, it is only defensible when the bottom is stable and sustainable. Until then, government spending trumps tax cuts.

6) Some of you know that there's a non-trivial chance that I'll be leaving the State of Ohio in 2009. If it becomes apparent that that is the case, I'll be shutting down Blue Bexley for good and pursuing other outlets. If, as is more likely, it becomes apparent that I will be sticking around for the foreseeable future, I will most likely be doing a pretty thorough makeover of BB, but still writing about state and local politics as a big chunk of the content. I'll let you know. Thanks for your patience.