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News and Notes on Politics and Public Affairs
Ohio Daily Blog will be offline for site renovation from 12:00 am on Sunday, September 30th until 9:00 am on Monday, October 1st.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich officially cancelled the idea of entering the presidentialrace today, after figuring out that he can't both explore a bid for president and remain as head of his tax exempt organization, American Solutions (for Winning the Future).
Today was the final day for filing election petitions in Wood County for the November 6th special primary elections in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. Subject to verification of petition signatures, the candidate list looks like this (h/t CQ Politics):
In a new national poll just out from Fox News, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has a big (and growing) lead over three major GOP contenders in head-to-head matchups (parenthetical numbers are from July):
I've been trying to keep track as the number of Democrats calling on Republicans to condemn Rush Limbaugh's reprehensible remark on Wednesday that U.S. military personnel returned from Iraq who criticize the war are "phony soldiers." (Limbaugh also called Vietnam veteran Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) "Senator Betrayus" back in January.) Here is a scorecard:
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the DCCC - "It minimizes the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and their families are making and has no place in the public discourse. Rush Limbaugh owes our military and their families an apology for his hurtful comments that minimize their service to our country."And the number of blogs calling for Democrats in Congress to introduce a resolution condemning Limbaugh is also growing:
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), a veteran of the Vietnam War - "[It is a] disgusting attack. ... [Limbaugh] is an embarrassment to his party, and I expect the Republicans who flock to his microphone will now condemn this indefensible statement.”
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq War veteran - "Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do."
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) - "I wonder if Republicans who showed so much outrage towards MoveOn.org yesterday will hold Rush Limbaugh to the same standard, and I wouldn’t hold your breath," he said.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) - "It's ironic, if not remotely surprising, that Rush Limbaugh - who makes his living shooting his mouth off - would impugn the patriotism and service of American troops simply because they have voiced their opposition to this failed policy. It's clear that he has no idea what the brave men and women of our armed forces are ostensibly fighting for."
Yesterday the Senate joined the House in approving the compromise bill to extend and expand the SCHIP program, which in 2006 helped provide health insurance for 6.6 million children nationwide and 218,000 children in Ohio. The Senate vote was by a veto-proof 68-31, while the House vote fell some two dozen votes short of that goal. Industry groups such as American's Health Insurance Plans and the Federation of American Hospitals hailed the vote.
“Soon after moving into the White House, President Bush pledged to leave no child behind. What about uninsured ones? To do well in school and thrive outside of it, children need the right care, at the right time, from the right provider – and they need our president to do the right thing. If President Bush truly wants to leave no child behind, instead of vetoing this bill he will champion it.I searched the internet but could find not any statement from Sen. George Voinovich (R) explaining his vote against the legislation. I am waiting for a return call from his press secretary.
“I wish the president could meet the children and parents I talk to in Ohio. He wants private insurers to cover these children. So do I. But wishful thinking doesn’t cover kids, and neither does indifference. We have an opportunity to help millions of children to receive preventive care in the doctor’s office instead of acute care in the emergency room, and we should grab it.”
A screening committee of the Ohio House Republican Caucus has approved attorney Robert Mecklenborg (R-Green Township) to replace State Rep. Bill Seitz (R) in the 30th Ohio House District. Seitz will be appointed to the Ohio Senate on October 10th to replace retiring term-limited incumbent Patricia Clancy (R-Cincinnati), so that Seitz can run for the office in 2008 as an incumbent.
A few days ago Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) joined a group of 24 House members in signing a "bipartisan compact on the Iraq debate," which they call a pledge designed to reduce political infighting and promote a "bipartisan solution." Among other things, the document states that cutting funding for troops in Iraq would endanger service members, future military involvement in Iraq requires a "clearly defined and measurable mission," the Iraqi government must steer Iraq's future course, and U.S. troops must have adequate recuperation between deployments.
"I agree that bipartisan efforts are the only way we are going to get our troops out of harm's way. But this compact appears to be nothing more than empty words in lieu of action - an attempt to put a happy face on what has become a foreign policy disaster.
"It's hard to take Rep. LaTourette seriously when his record simply doesn't match up to his words.
"The compact requires that our troops have adequate recuperation periods between deployments. But last month Rep. LaTourette voted against a bipartisan bill that would have done just that (H.R. 3159). The compact requires a mission that is 'clearly defined and measurable' – and I applaud that goal. But Rep. LaTourette has consistently voted against measures to require accountability in Iraq.
"It is intellectually dishonest to suggest that defunding this war places our troops in peril. The truth is that funding without benchmarks is precisely what has placed our troops in peril over the past four years.
"This bipartisan compact is nothing more than a political stunt. And our men and women in Iraq deserve so much better."
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network has learned through focus groups around that state that personal finances are the most compelling reason preventing battered women from leaving an abusive situation. Finances made it harder for 89 percent of women to leave, compared to 77 percent who indicated they were concerned for the well-being of their children, and 67 percent who said they feared for the lives of themselves or others.
An article published yesterday by McClatchy Newspapers' Washington Bureau says that new voting laws in Ohio and Florida could dampen Democratic voting in 2008, and the part about Ohio contains a hair-raising warning from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D).
Backers of the new laws say they're aimed at curbing vote fraud. But the statutes also could facilitate a controversial Republican tactic known as "vote caging," which the GOP tried in Ohio and Florida in 2004 before public disclosures foiled the efforts, said Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief in the Bush administration who's now with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.Later it gets into the comments by Brunner:
Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges.
In Ohio, which swung the 2004 election to Bush, new Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said in a phone interview that an election law passed last year and signed by former Republican Gov. Bob Taft effectively "institutionalized" vote caging.Just having a Democratic Secretary of State isn't going to prevent GOP attempts at voter suppression, not when she's constrained by an election law that helps them out.
The law requires that the state's 88 county election boards send non-forwardable, pre-election notices to all 7.8 million registered Ohio voters at least 60 days before the election.
Undelivered letters are public record, she said, meaning that effectively, "now the counties are paying for" the data needed to compile challenge lists.
In addition, Brunner said, the law toughened voter ID requirements and "took away rights of some voters to be heard about whether or not their registration was valid."
In the past, Ohio voters were entitled to an official notice and a hearing before an election board could declare them ineligible, but the new law says the board can make that decision without notice. A disqualified voter who shows up at the polls must demonstrate that he's fixed any eligibility problem or opt for filing a provisional ballot that may not count.
Brunner said the new law has left her feeling "like being in a sword fight with one hand behind your back."
She said she's sought, "while working within the framework of preventing fraud," to make it "as easy as possible for people who are eligible to participate."
The helpful blog Ohio Health Policy Review notes today that the Ohio Department of Insurance has created a new website to promote Gov. Ted Strickland's Healthcare Coverage Reform Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to provide access to affordable health insurance coverage to all uninsured Ohioans, with an initial goal of providing coverage to 500,000 more Ohioans by 2011. To that end, Strickland has asked for a bi-partisan, inclusive, transparent process to develop reforms tailored to Ohio. From the OHPR blog:
"The website brings together the different work being done under this initiative, including Ohio's participation in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Coverage Initiative, which allows people from the Governor's administration, Ohio General Assembly, and key stakeholders to work with leaders and experts from around the country on how to cover Ohio's uninsured residents. Another aspect of the initiative is the Governor's Healthcare Coverage Initiative Advisory Committee, an advisory group to provide guidance in developing reforms.This initiative is the larger framework into which the expansion of SCHIP to provide Medicaid coverage to uninsured children fits.
"According to the Health Coverage Reform Initiative website, 'stakeholder groups are currently being formed to share information that will shape plans to cover Ohio’s uninsured residents.' Anyone desiring to join one one of these stakeholder groups should go the 'Public Input' section of the website and provide their contact information and group preference."
Kudos to Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) and Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township) for continuing to take the lead on legislation to address the continuing mortgage crisis.
Salon's Washington Bureau Chief Walter Shapiro has an article out that explains in straight-forward terms why Democrats in Congress can't end the war -- they don't have enough votes to override a veto, and Republicans won't join them in opposing it. Here is the end of the article, the last paragraph of which really jumped out at me:
With Congress slated to adjourn in mid-November, the clock is fast running out on legislative efforts to reshape the war. Symbolic gestures like "sense of the Senate" resolutions and toothless withdrawal plans -- even if they survive a filibuster -- are unlikely to cow the administration, especially next year when Bush has less than a year left in the Oval Office. Democrats in swing districts will be even more reluctant to engage in a scorched-earth battle with the administration over war funding as the congressional elections draw near.
But the date that is most important to keep in mind is Feb. 6, the morning after the Super-Duper Party-Pooper orgy of primaries when both parties are likely to have de facto presidential nominees. The victorious Democrat in particular will want nothing to happen in Congress that could possibly jeopardize winning back the White House. And congressional leaders (along with most back-benchers) will be shrewd enough to understand that electing a Democratic president is the only surefire route to ending this debilitating war.
That is why angry antiwar activists should realize that their targets are no longer skittish congressional Democrats and Beltway insiders who are their counselors in caution. This is not the moment for guerrilla theater and mau-mauing the moderates. For the true struggle on the home front to end the Iraq war is no longer going to be waged in the chambers of Congress. The coming battleground instead is the familiar terrain of Ohio and Florida -- and the hearts and minds of the swing voters who will decide the 2008 election.
A reader in Wood County informs me that Tiffin University administrator Mike Grandillo (D-Tiffin) has decided against running in the special primary election. However, petitions have been filed by Dr. Earl Campbell (D-Perrysburg), and there are reports that George F. Mays (D-Norwalk) may also file, so it appears that there will be a Democratic primary.
There have been four or five potential Republican candidates under discussion in the comment thread to this post, but meanwhile the Toledo Blade has reported that on two new announced candidates, neither of them a familiar name. Michael J. Reynolds (R-Columbus Grove) is a retiree who misspelled the deceased Congressman's name as "Gilmore" in his campaign announcement, and Mike Smitly (R-Van Wert) is a business consultant who is actually a Libertarian.
What's going on today in the state whose width (220 miles) is the same as its height (220 miles):
“Our board believes the governor’s proposal is in the best interest of Ohio’s farmers, households and businesses,” said John C. (Jack) Fisher, OFBF executive vice president. He added, “We appreciate Governor Strickland’s willingness to listen to our members’ ideas as he created a plan to address many of the important energy issues that face our state and nation.”Marc notes that hearings on the plan start today.
Of immediate concern to Farm Bureau is that Ohio’s electric rate stabilization plan expires at the end of 2008.
Democratic primary challenger Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) lost no time in lambasting Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) for his mystifying vote against extension and expansion of SCHIP health insurance coverage for children:
I was appalled by Congressman Kucinich’s vote against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program on the House floor tonight. This bill would have expanded an already successful program to provide health insurance to millions of children across the country. It takes some twisted logic for someone who claims to support health care coverage for all to oppose this necessary and overdue move in the right direction.
On one hand, President Bush vows to veto the bill, and on the other, Dennis Kucinich votes against it because he doesn’t think it is perfect. This is a perfect example of what is presently wrong with Washington decision-making. Polarizing positions work against functional compromise resulting in a government that cannot serve in the nation’s best interest. While fringe politicians like President Bush and Congressman Kucinich rant like petulant children, the nation remains stagnant and desperately needing effective leadership. Unfortunately, children in Northeast Ohio and around the country will pay the price for their obstinate actions.
The House-Senate compromise bill to extend and expand SCHIP (H.R. 976, House Vote #906) passed tonight by a broad bipartisan majority of 265-159, with 45 Republicans voting "Yes" and 8 Democrats voting "No." Unfortunately, that is 24 votes short of the 2/3 majority needed to override the threatened presidential veto.
Some interesting news items from the state whose highest point is Campbell Hill, 1550 feet above sea level:
When I came to Congress one of the things we were focusing on was trying to make life better for the people we represent. This legislation is an important opportunity for me to cast a vote that will do just that. I think that we have a moral imperative to make sure that children regardless of economic situation have the health care they need so they don’t start their lives on the wrong foot or, God forbid, they run the risk of not ever reaching adulthood.Dann Pressuring Facebook on Child Safety - I received an email last night from Attorney general Marc Dann (D), confirming that he has been investigating Facebook.com:
Passage of this bill means that we’re one step closer to ensuring that, just in Ohio, the existing 145,000 children who are covered will not lose coverage at the end of this month.
One thing that should be noted is that this compromise bill contains no changes in Medicare payments, it is simply about children.
The President has announced his intentions to seemingly veto this legislation once it’s passed. I find that not just disappointing, but disgraceful. He is threatening, through his veto, to eliminate coverage that currently exists now for 6.6 million children. The President’s proposal, which is to invest 5 billion into this program, if that were enacted, would take insurance away from almost a million children that are currently covered, 800,000.
He’s turning our children into a political issue and again I find it both disgusting and unconscionable.
As I have made clear, those running Web sites that are marketed to children and teen-agers had better do so responsibly. If Web sites put our children at risk, I will pursue every available avenue to stop them.Bill Sloat at the Daily Bellwether has more, linking Dann's efforts to those of New York Attorney Andrew General Cuomo (D). The Daily Briefing also has more, including quotes from former blogger Chris Geidner, now Dann's counsel.
For the past month, my staff has been investigating the Facebook Web site, culminating in a meeting last week with representatives of Facebook and several attorneys general’s offices [at which I] expressed serious concerns about the current availability of inappropriate material on Facebook, as well as the dangers of sexual predators seeking out children on the site. At the same time, I also expressed my hope that we could work with Facebook to seek creative solutions to protect our children."
"Everybody knows the global trading system is broken. Last November, my constituents and the American people across the country cast their ballots seeking a new direction on trade. They are counting on this new Congress to fix this broken trading system so that it no longer leaves American workers and businesses at a disadvantage. The American people are counting on this Democratic majority to provide a trade model that will truly allow for fair competition, because we know that if given a fair playing field, we'll excel in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, passing the Peru Free Trade Act is not consistent with our responsibility as a Congress and it is not consistent with the needs of the people who elected us.”Oh, The Irony: Comparing Chabot and Schmidt Fund-Raising - Howard Wilkinson has a post up at the Cincinnati Enquirer political blog Politics Extra that compares the fund-raising situations of Cincinnati-area House members Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland). Chabot has no primary opponent and is sitting on a campaign fund of $413,932 (as of June 30th), but he is charging $1,000 per ticket for his fundraising breakfast at the Queen City Club next Monday. Schmidt is facing GOP opposition from Phil Heimlich (and perhaps others) and has only $85,169 in the bank (and $309,126 in debts, both as of June 30th), yet tickets for her Queen City Club fundraising breakfast on Friday are going for only $250.
Today's the day to rattle the phone lines and put pressure on Ohio's House members to extend SCHIP, the program that extends Medicaid insurance to children in lower-to-middle class working families who can't otherwise afford it. A number of GOP legislators are leaning toward supporting it, so calls to them are critical:
Steve Chabot (R-OH-1)
Phone: (202) 225-2216
Main District Office:
Phone: (513) 684-2723
Jean Schmidt (R-OH 2)
Phone: (202) 225-3164
Main District Office:
Phone: (513) 791-0381)
Michael Turner (R-OH 3)
Phone: (202) 225-6465
Main District Office:
Phone: (937) 225-2843
Jim Jordan (R-OH 4th)
Phone: (202) 225-2676
Fax: (202) 226-0577
Main District Office:
Phone: (419) 522-5757
David Hobson (R-OH 7)
Phone: (202) 225-4324
Main District Office:
Phone: (937) 325-0474
John A. Boehner (R-OH 8)
Fax: (202) 225-0704
Main District Office:
Phone: (513) 779-5400
Patrick J. Tiberi (R-OH 12)
Phone: (202) 225-5355
Main District Office:
Phone: (614) 523-2555
Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH 14)
Phone: (202) 225-5731
Main District Office:
Phone: (440) 352-3939
Deborah Pryce (R-OH 15)
Phone: (202) 225-2015
Main District Office:
Phone: (614) 469-5614
This is huge. After two weeks of delay, the state controlling board has approved the request by Seccretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) to conduct thorough testing of electronic voting machines in Ohio.
A new poll from Survey USA shows former mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) virtually tied against either Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or former senator John Edwards (D-NC) at 48%-47% in each case, but well ahead of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at 52%-39%. In other matchups, Clinton is virtually tied with former senator Fred Thompson (R-VA) at 48%-47% but ten points ahead of former governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), Edwards is nine points ahead of Thompson and twenty points ahead of Romney, and Obama trails Thompson and Romney each by ten points.
Some of what's happening today in the state that fought a boundary war with Michigan in 1835 over the "Toledo Strip":
Starting today, I join three other Ohio political bloggers as regular contributors to a new group blog, sponsored by Cleveland.com and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, called "Wide Open." The name builds on the name of the Cleveland.com politics page ("Open"), and is meant to convey that the site is reaching out to the Ohio blogosphere.
In a piece in the Washington Post by Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray yesterday, the authors include Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) and Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) in a list of six GOP House members "who might bow out over the coming weeks and months." They also comment that "the sudden recent death of Rep. Paul Gillmor, a 20-year home-state colleague, could help tip the balance for" Hobson, and that Regula's "primary opponent invited Regula supporters to an upcoming fundraiser."
It's Sunday evening and I thought I'd clear out the feed reader - so here's a sampling of what's going on in the state whose name is derived from the Seneca word ohi:yo', meaning beautiful river:
For 16 years, we had attorneys general who did the bare minimum, which is representing the state when it was sued but doing very little else to use the authority of the office. The attorney general should be acting in the public interest. That's why we have a separately elected attorney general. If the attorney general was only supposed to represent the state when it was sued, the Constitution would say so.Ohio Observes "National Employ Older Workers Week" - That's right, the proportion of the available workforce who are over 45 is increasing (it will be 40% by 2008) and worker shortages are expected. “Americans age 55 or older are a dedicated and experienced core of our workforce,” says Barbara E. Riley, Director of the Ohio Department of Aging. Employers rate older workers high on factors such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance and punctuality. Mature workers include retired folks who want second careers, people working beyond age 65, and people wanting part-time work to supplement their retirement income. Ohio helps low-income older adults find employment through the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP). Later this fall, Governor Strickland and the Department of Aging will convene a group of business leaders and human resources professionals at the Governor’s Conference on Aging. Read more in the press release posted by Mark Kovac at Capital Blog.
5th District. North Central Ohio (Ashland, Crawford, Defiance,
I have received an email from a reader in the eastern part of the 5th Congressional District who confirms an anonymous commenter's report that former State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) has decided not to run. He goes on to say that because of that decision, and a local desire to have a candidate from the eastern portion of the district, there is a movement underway to get one of the following three people to jump into the race:
* State Rep. Jeff Wagner (R-Sycamore), a farmer, who can only run one more time due to term limits;Any of these candidates would have an uphill battle in the primary, but would carry a lot of votes in the eastern part of the district, and that could tilt the race from State Rep. Bob Latta (centrally located in Bowling Green) toward State Sen. Steve Buehrer (from the western town of Delta).
* Mayor Terry Overmyer (R-Fremont), a businessman who is the longest-serving mayor in Fremont's history; and,
* Three-term Sandusky County Commissioner Brad Smith (R-Fremont), an attorney, who worked for the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee under JoAnn Davidson and has served as a City Councilman and an prosecutor.
House and Senate leaders are negotiating a compromise bill to extend and expand the S-CHIP program, which allows children in certain low-to-middle income families to enroll in Medicaid. (The popular program will expire in ten days without Congressional renewal.) The compromise bill reportedly would permit states to extend the program to families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level, sufficient to permit Ohio to go ahead with the plans reflected in the recently passed state budget.
Republicans reacted angrily yesterday to President Bush's promise to veto a bill that would renew and expand the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program, raising the likelihood of significant GOP defections when the package comes to a vote next week.Also cited in the article are Rep. Ra LaHood (R-IL), who says he is trying to get 20 to 30 House Republicans to vote for the compromise, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who when asked if he would override a veto said "You bet your sweet bippy I will."
"I'm disappointed by the president's comments," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who urged Bush, in an early-morning telephone conversation yesterday, to support the emerging bipartisan compromise. "Drawing lines in the sand at this stage isn't constructive. . . . I wish he would engage Congress in a bill that he could sign instead of threatening a veto.
"I'm very, very disappointed," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). "I'm going to be voting for it."
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), quoted in a piece by blogger Taylor Marsh, says what I wish Democratic leaders would say:
"I commend MoveOn for their ad and for speaking truth to power," said Stark. "Up is not down, the earth is not flat, and the surge is not working. General Petraeus betrayed his own reputation by standing with George Bush in opposition to the timely withdrawal of all of our brave men and women from Iraq. I thank MoveOn for their patriotic ad and call on Petraeus to help Bush end a war the President should have never started."And I simply love this comment left on a CNN.com news item today by an ex-military man from Lansing, Michigan:
I am an ex-military man. I do not support the sentiments voiced by the moveon.org ad. However, the following needs be said:Hoo-ah, indeed.
1) General Petraeus is a big boy; they certainly don't give four stars and a bronze star with a 'v' for shrinking violets. As any flag officer knows, life is very political at that level and sometimes people just aren't nice. They should be ignored.
2) We have something in this country - something I was proud to contribute to - called freedom of speech. I may not like what a lot of people say (I try not to think of a lot of people out there spewing their bilge, on the right just as much as the left) - but I do feel strongly about the right to say it. if you don't like it, say something back, or better still, just ignore it.
3) Hasn't the senate got anything better to do with their time? Granted, they are often inept and hopelessly divided, but I can't help thinking that ignoring this ad would have been a better use of their limited brainpower and infinite ability to keep talking.
With all this, I believe it is obvious what the proper response to the ad SHOULD have been.
I have given a son to this country. My brother, my father, my uncle have all served honorably and bravely. I am a loyal American. I am outraged and sick to death of the tactics this administration uses to try to silence dissent to a war that is unjust, built and maintained on lies, political power, and greed. I was content to let others fight more loudly, but no more.
–Sharyn W., NC
I am a prior soldier who served in Iraq for 13 months, and am now an expecting mom with a husband who is deployed in Baghdad. I don't think I can ever forgive the Bush administration for the lies that tricked America into this war and hurt my family so badly. I am ashamed of those American politicians who would condemn an organization for practicing the Freedom of Speech that so many soldiers have died for.
–Danielle B., OH
As a US Navy veteran and an Iraq war veteran of over a year I want to ask, What has happened to us? What has happened to our voice? Where is this country going with stopping free speech and free press? ... Every time I think of the long nights I had in Anbar remembering what I was fighting for, well here it is....
–Ahmad H., LA
A few weeks ago I spoke with Michael Todd (D-Medina Township) about his campaign for the 22nd Ohio Senate seat of term-limited Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster). Todd is an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Summit County and a Township Trustee for Medina Township. He is also a member of the Ohio Democratic Party State Central Committee. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He will face the winner of the GOP primary, for which State Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) and State Rep. Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster) are declared candidates.
This is a good bit from the campaign of challenger Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) today about incumbent/presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland). Noting that Kucinich intends to visit Westlake, California tomorrow as part of a west coast presidential campaign trip, Palmer has released a "top ten" list that differentiates Westlake, California from Westlake, Ohio:
#10. Westlake, CA has a population of 8,368. Westlake, OH has 31,760 residents.
#9. Westlake, CA is home to YogaWorks, an eco-friendly spa. Westlake, OH is a short two-mile drive from Bath and Body Works, a scented candle and lotion store.
#8. Westlake, CA is known for its coastal equestrian trails. Westlake, OH has bike and pedestrian trails.
#7. Westlake, CA has a Four Seasons Hotel. Westlake, OH has two seasons - winter and everything else.
#6. Westlake, CA is home to Cuba Gooding Jr. Westlake, OH is home to Kellen Winslow II.
#5. Westlake, OH is served by St. John Westshore Hospital. Westlake, CA is served by The Southern California Oral and Facial Surgery Group.
#4. Westlake, CA features gated communities. Westlake, OH features real working-class neighborhoods.
#3. On September 22, Dennis Kucinich will campaign in Westlake, CA. Rosemary Palmer will campaign in Westlake, OH.
#2. Westlake, CA is represented in Congress by two Congressman. Westlake OH is "represented" by only one.
#1. Westlake, CA has three congressman this weekend. Westlake, OH has none.
Windustrious.org is a web site created by Sarah Taylor and Dennis Yurich to promote the concept of wind turbines in Lake Erie, off the shore of Cleveland:
Cleveland [could] become, not only the first city in the U.S. to install an off-shore wind farm, but the first city in the world to install a wind turbine farm in fresh water. Wind turbines will eventually be constructed in lakes, including Lake Erie. The branding and marketing potential of being able to boast that we have created the first one on the planet, with the associated international recognition, would surely be enormous. It would translate into a powerful image of Cleveland as a progressive, productive, jobs-creating city, with a bubbling business climate, a place where young professionals will want to come and stay, and a very interesting tourist destination.In support of this effort, the site hosts this very fun video:
We can lead the way, or we can simply follow along, after the trend has gathered momentum elsewhere. Given our assets in infrastructure, location and historically-grounded expertise in relevant industries, one could say we had an actual responsibility, an obligation, to be at the forefront. By acting now, we could reap the tremendous business opportunities of being in the vanguard of research, development and production of the equipment that the rest of the country, and the world, will inevitably be demanding. If we reject this opportunity, and build turbines out on the lake only after others have taken the initiative somewhere else, we will be consciously throwing away not just that free marketing asset, but the economic advantages of taking a leadership role in this new technology.
I have finished updating my list of candidates, linked on the sidebar (and here). In many ways this list is the backbone of Ohio Daily Blog, as my efforts to keep the list current lead me to many news items about (and personal contacts with) the candidates.
The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reported yesterday that Karen Gillmor (R-Dublin), widow of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R), will not run in the special election in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. However, the same item reports that State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) is circulating petitions, and Right Angle Blog posted an announcement from Wachtmann yesterday that he is making an announcement today in Henry County, followed by stops in five other counties in the district,
Last nights special comment from Keith Olbermann on MSNBC was very good:
I'm "turning over the mic" to a reader who sent me this message about yesterday's political stunt by the GOP:
[T]he reason this has caused me to taste my own bile so bitterly this afternoon is it shows that this is the kind of pathetic b*llsh*t that our Senate has time for--perhaps being of the view that we have no domestic or international policy problems that we should actually be worried about.Yup. A majority of Americans want our country to withdraw from Iraq, but the group that advocates that majority view most vociferously is merely some lunatic fringe. And anyone who disparages the military should be thrown out of the country. Let's see, does that include the Republicans who wore purple band-aids at the 2004 GOP National Convention to mock Lt. John Kerry, USN?
The Senate today approved a non-binding resolution as an amendment to the FY 2008 DoD appropriation bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, H.R. 1585. Those who voted for the amendment include 72 of our 100 senators, including every Republican and a lot of Democrats, including Dems that we're supposed to like, like Diane Feinstein and Jim Webb.
The relevant text of the amendment says:
". . . . (8) A recent attack through a full-page advertisement in the New York Times by the liberal activist group, Moveon.org, impugns the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces. (b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate . . . . (2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces . . . ."
That's right, folks, the Senate of the United States doesn't have the time to pass virtually any meaningful legislative initiative, but it does have time to agree, as a matter of almost sort-of law, that a particular political organization is a "liberal activist group." The statement in the Congressional Record by the sponsor of the resolution, John Cornyn of Texas, repeatedly states that MoveOn.org is to blame for genuine wrong-doing.
The ad that MoveOn ran in the NYT is here. For what it's worth, they give cites to support for the claims in the ad on this page. And both they and other bloggers give some evidence that the there has been a bit of a vast, right-wing conspiracy afoot to attack MoveOn.
Among other things, as a part of this backlash John McCain has publicly said that MoveOn--presumably like that now fairly significant majority of Americans who oppose the war--"ought to be thrown out of the country." That's right, you heard me. He said those words. We all "ought to be thrown out of the country."
This is absurd and outrageous. In an act of ideological posturing, the GOP has engineered a Senate resolution condemning MoveOn.org for an act of pure political speech, i.e., its newspaper ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus on the eve of his Congressional testimony in support of staying the course in Iraq. Sen. George Voinovich (R) voted in favor of the resolution, of course.
The folks at Open Left may be targeting Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) with their misguided "Bushdog" campaign, based on his votes for funding Iraq without a withdrawal deadline and for amending FISA, but he can definitely count on my support. Space comes out strong on many critical progressive issues relating to the economy, health care, and energy policy, and this reaction to Bush's threatened veto of Congressional action to continue and expand the S-CHIP program (which provides Medicaid coverage to children in middle-to-lower income families that don't qualify for Medicaid directly) is a great example:
“Instead of doing the right thing by signing the legislation and protecting the coverage of millions of children, President Bush is compromising the health and safety of our children just as they are starting their lives. The President has essentially told them that they must start their lives on the wrong foot.As Space notes in his press release, 145,000 Ohio children are covered under S-CHIP. Without Congressional reauthorization the program will expire on September 30th.
“I never thought I would see a day when a president would veto legislation because it gave health insurance to too many children. This action is truly a tragedy for America’s children.”
Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) and State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) have officially announced that they are running in the special election in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. From Weirauch's campaign site:
Pledging to uphold conservative values, State Sen. Steve Buehrer launched a congressional campaign for Ohio's Fifth District this morning at the Fulton County Courthouse.UPDATE: For the record, Buehrer is an extreme fiscal and social conservative. He enjoys enthusiastic support from the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth along with right-to-life and gun groups. He defeated then-State Rep. Jim Hoops (R) in a bitter primary in 2006, with each candidate accusing the other of being insufficiently anti-tax based on a single Taft-sponsored bill that one supported and the other opposed (whether the complicated legislation was a tax increase or a tax reduction was a matter of interpretation).
"The solutions to our problems are not far away in marble buildings in Washington," Mr. Buehrer said. "They are here in the common sense wisdom of the heartland."
On the issue of Iraq, Mr. Buehrer said Congress should not attempt to "armchair quarterback" the war but allow the generals on the ground to implement their strategies.
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley) has sent out a press release with more from her floor speech in support of H.R. 1852, passed by the House on Tuesday. The legislation would "revitalize" the Federal Housing Administration by increasing the range of borrowers eligible for FHA mortgage reinsurance and making other changes, including providing for financial counseling for borrowers and emergency housing grants. As Sutton notes, 1 in 10 Ohio homeowners with a mortgage is at least a month behind on payments, and 1 in 4 with a subprime loan is delinquent or in foreclosure. Here are her remarks on the floor:
The American Dream is in peril for many families in this country as foreclosures rise and dreams shatter. The American Dream means owning a home, belonging to a community, and being able to provide a safe and stable place for our families. But for too many families, that dream can be a nightmare when predatory lending practices and a complacent government get in the way. We in Congress can help working families take steps toward achieving the American dream, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) has also taken the lead on the mortgage crisis, supporting H.R. 1852 and introducing legislation that would limit the "foreclosure tax" (i.e, when a borrower goes into foreclosure and the house is sold below market value, the difference is treated as taxable "income" received by the distressed former homeowner). Space's press release offers this helpful summary of additional provisions of H.R. 1852 (it is a very long and complicated bill):
My home state of Ohio has been rocked by problems with the national economy. In difficult times, the thing Ohioans should be able to count on is their homes. And yet Ohio has the highest rate of mortgages that were seriously delinquent or in foreclosure in the nation. While my constituents faced the horrible sinking mortgage market, the FHA was missing in action. This bill provides the help that should have been available years ago.
This country was built by working men and women. It is unacceptable that the American Dream should be constantly moved out of reach of the very people who make it possible. The Federal Housing Administration should be able to help those working families deal with predatory lenders and turbulent mortgage markets.
The Expanding American Homeownership Act raises loan limits for FHA-backed loans, boosts loan limits in high-cost areas, allows the agency to vary the premiums it charges borrowers based on their credit risk, modifies disclosure requirements to provide more information concerning mortgage choices, and allows for lower monthly payments for borrowers who make on-time payments for the first five years of a loan. It also extends the maximum loan term on FHA single-family loans to 40 years from 35 years.In support of H.R. 1852, Space had this to say:
This legislation is a step in the right direction toward righting the problems of our nation's current housing market. Instead of borrowers turning to predatory lenders who are looking to profit off of others' misfortunes, families can finance their mortgages through the FHA. The FHA can serve subprime borrowers at better rates and provide fairer mortgage opportunities than predatory lenders. FHA mortgages are a safer bet and could prevent foreclosure in many cases. I am also very pleased this legislation contains provisions to make sure legal Americans are the only people who can take advantage of this program.
Just as the Republican noise machine and complicit beltway pundits have worked themselves into a lather over MoveOn.org calling Gen. Petraeus "Gen. Betray-Us" in a newspaper ad last week, it could be they will try to stoke up a similar furor over Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) jokingly referring to Vice President Dick Cheney (R) last night at a fundraiser as "Darth Vader."
Ohio's place in the forefront of the mortgage foreclosure crisis highlights the larger issue of predatory lending in general. Abusive practices by lenders can lure or steer borrowers into loans with unnecessarily high interest rates or unfavorable terms, and some of the terms that lenders stick into loans simply ought to be banned.
For too long, on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures around the country, the advocate members of AFFIL have been lone voices for consumer protection. For too long, politicians have ignored your voices, listening instead to the wishes of lenders and their lobbyists. Today I am proud to lend my voice in support of AFFIL’s principles for fairness in lending, and to let you know that when I am president, I will listen – and together, we will end the game.Prof. Cathy Lesser Mansfield, Chair of the Board of AFFIL, said:
Since the 1980s, the federal government has moved quietly to virtually deregulate the lending industry in America – from fanciful mortgages that grossly overstate property values and borrowers’ ability to pay, to credit cards and payday loans with astronomic fees and interest rates designed to trap consumers in never-ending spirals of debt. We are asking all of the presidential candidates to articulate a clear position on these issues – do they stand for reasonable protection for consumers, or for polices that provide unfettered profits to banks and other lenders while impoverishing American families and neighborhoods?The six principles are stated here.
AFFIL’s principles were developed before the subprime lending crisis, but that house of cards, which has fallen in on millions of consumers around the country, illustrates why a return to reasonable oversight and regulation of lending is long overdue in America. Allowing lenders to police themselves, as the current administration and some presidential candidates seem to favor, is like waiting for bears to clean their own cages. It isn’t going to happen.
Wow. Evan Smith and Paul Burka of Texas Monthly have each posted notes on comments made by Mark Halperin in Austin, Texas two nights ago. Halperin was political director at ABC News and creator of the insanely popular (among political junkies, anyway) internet site "The Note." Halperin was full of ideas and insights about the presidential race, so you have to go and read the full posts, but here are a few tidbits:
* Fred Thompson is toast. McCain, by contrast, should not be written off yet.Halperin is the author of The Way to Win and the forthcoming Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President.
* Clinton's strength as a candidate is that she's learned from both her husband and George W. how to run a campaign.
* If Clinton wins Iowa, she runs the table and wins the Democratic nomination. If Obama wins Iowa -- less likely, but not impossible -- he runs the table and wins the Democratic nomination. John Edwards could win Iowa and still not be the nominee.
* For Republicans this is an extraordinary election because they always seemed to have an annointed frontrunner with establishment support, fundraising, polling, buzz. This year, it's divided: McCain started out with the establishment support. Romney has been the most successful in fundraising. Giuliani is leading in the polls. Fred Thompson has the buzz. It's so divided that it's impossible to know at this point who is going to win.
* What is the country looking for? Change. This is a change election. This favors the Democrats. Of the Republicans, McCain can credibly talk about change.
* A few months ago Obama was on a trajectory to beat Clinton in Iowa and win the nomination. He made mistakes, she didn't. The thing he said about not using nuclear weapons was a rookie mistake. He's not ready to be president. Oprah's endorsement probably hurts more than it helps. He needs to be seen as ready to be president.
Sen. George Voinovich has repeatedly talked the talk on changing the Bush administration's stay the course/endless war handling of Iraq, but once again he rejected an opportunity to vote where his mouth is. Last night he joined all but six Republican members of the U.S. Senate in obstructing a proposed amendment by Sen. James Webb (D-VA) that would have required troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I just received an email from the office of Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), indicating that Gov. Ted Strickland has presented to the Senate Clerk his energy bill:
The bill will be introduced “by request” sometime in the next several days. Energy, Jobs and Progress provides much-needed transparency, accountability and consumer protections to Ohio’s system of electric utility oversight. The proposal also will stimulate job growth and protect Ohio’s air and water by generating 25% of electricity consumed by Ohioans through alternative sources, such as wind, solar and clean coal by the year 2025.I'm going to try to round up the text of the bill and will have more to say about it.
In response to the Governor presenting the Senate with his Energy, Jobs and Progress Bill, Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) issued the following statement:
“The Governor set forth his plan for Energy, Jobs and Progress last month, and this bill is a clear presentation of that vision. I hope that the Senate and House work together in a timely manner to debate and pass the Governor’s bill in a responsible, expedited manner. Our families, farmers and small businesses need to know they are protected from any sudden increases in their utility bills. We owe it to them to place politics on the back burner, and our Governor has done a great job involving all parties in the process thus far. We now have a bill that should be well received by members on both sides of the aisle because it is good for Ohio’s citizens, economy and future well-being.”
Just returned from a five-day trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St.Clairsville) didn't see anything to change his mind about calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within six months. In fact, Wilson told the Youngstown Vindicator that Iraq is a "surreal situation":
While traveling in Baghdad, Wilson said there were deep craters in the roads caused by explosives. Also, he said, the number of suicide bombers is on the rise.Quoted in a related article, Wilson adds:
“There’s a real sense you have to be on guard in Iraq,” he said.
Wilson went to Iraq to see if there is any progress being made and to see if there’s a reason for a continued presence there of U.S. troops. Wilson couldn’t find a reason to continue to put U.S. soldiers in a dangerous and deadly situation.
Wilson estimates it would take at least 10 years to restore order to Iraq.
“That’s 10 years too long,” he said.
"...We don't have the time or the resources [to remain in Iraq.] The president is calling for more money and more patience, but there's no political progress. There's no reason to do this for another 10 years."Wilson voted for troop withdrawal in April, and will have another opportunity to do so shortly.
A Strategic Vision poll released today shows former mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) with a 13 point lead over newly announced rival and former senator Fred Thompson (R-VA):
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 1852, a measure that would modernize and expand the role of the Federal Housing Administration in guaranteeing mortgage loans. Under the new rules, the FHA could guarantee refinanced mortgages loans for tens of thousands of borrowers who face delinquency due to interests rates resetting to sharply higher levels under adjustable rate mortgage loans with low introductory "teaser" rates:
"The American dream is in peril for many families in this country as foreclosures rise and dreams shatter," Rep. Betty Sutton, a Democrat from Ohio, a state particularly hard-hit by the default wave, declared in House debate on the measure.This is the first stand-alone bill by Congress in response to the mortgage lending crisis. In addition to changing the formula for determining eligibility for FHA mortgage insurance, it would also make funds available for financial counseling and provide grants for affordable housing. It also eliminates the statutory ceiling on the number of reverse mortgages that the FHA can guarantee.
She called the legislation, which backers say could help an estimated 250,000 families, "a bold step forward on what is going to be a long road to fix this broken system."
Hoping to build a bipartisan consensus, Sen. George Voinovich (R) will announce this afternoon what he considers a compromise plan for Iraq. His draft resolution calls for a "responsible reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq" but states that "the withdrawal of U.S. troops cannot be precipitous and the U.S. will be engaged in Iraq for the foreseeable future." In other words, a few soldiers come home but basically the occupation continues indefinitely. Substantively, the measure mandates only the minimal reduction of 30,000 troops by next summer that was proposed by Gen. Petraeus (which merely reverses the "surge," and does so at the pace dictated by logistical limitations anyway). Otherwise, there are only vague calls for reductions and plans: a "responsible reduction" within 120 days of enactment, a "plan" for redeploying troops in Iraq and the Middle East within 180 days, and a "plan" for reducing instability in Iraq as our forces are reduced.
A few months before last year's election, Sherrod Brown (D) dismayed his progressive supporters by voting for the Military Commissions Act. Subsequently, and to his great credit, he has acknowledged that the vote was a mistake. This week he has a chance to help rectify the error by voting for S. 185, the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act, which will restore the right of habeas corpus to non-citizens caught up in the Bush administration's program of indefinite detention of persons declared to be enemy combatants. This move is essential to restore our moral standing in the world and to protect against the erosion of our fundamental constitutional rights.
The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that a group has filed the necessary documentation (with 1,000 signatures) in order to begin circulating signature petitions to get a lead paint referendum on the November ballot.
I am currently working on a comprehensive list of 2008 Ohio candidates, from any party and with district information and campaign sites indicated. The list includes presidential, Congressional, Ohio Senate, and Ohio House races. I have posted the beginnings of that list on my server, and there is now a link on the sidebar. However, please note that I am barely started on the Ohio House portion of the list. I will be working on finishing that portion by the end of the week.
In the wake of news that over 200 absentee ballots arrived at the Summit County Board of Elections too late to be counted in last week's primary election, State Rep. Stephen Dyer (D-Green) announced today that he will introduce legislation that would require all absentee ballot postmarked before Election Day to be counted without regard to date of receipt.
The mayoral campaign of Mike Coleman (D-Columbus) has sent out an email announcing the launch of his campaign site and the release of his first TV ad, which can be viewed at the site.
ANNCR: It’s been a tough time for our country, especially Ohio. But we‘ve pulled together to keep Columbus strong,No mention of Coleman's opponent, Bill Todd (R-Columbus).
Coleman: By revitalizing our neighborhoods with housing, parks, sidewalks and jobs.
Coleman voiceover: Our First Responders are ranked among the nations best… with new tools and training facilities.
Coleman voiceover: And we’ve kept the lid on spending… maintaining the highest possible financial rating.
Coleman: We’ve come a long way but we still have work to do. Together we will make Columbus the best place to live.
ANNCR: Mayor Mike Coleman. Leadership that works for Columbus.
Hat-tip to Jerid at BSB for this item:
Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown said Friday evening that he decided to not run for the seat previously held by Paul Gillmor after viewing comments posted on Columbus-based Web sites targeting Brown’s sexual orientation. One such blog asks if Northwest Ohioans are ready to have a gay congressman.In the article, Brown acknowledges that he is gay and makes some comments that the GOP base does not like to hear:
“Potential adversaries who look at life in a different manner have decided to attack me on a personal basis,” Brown said. “These things should have no place in the political process.”
[L]ate Thursday night, a Republican colleague told Brown of the anonymous blog attacks. It was then that Brown realized raising adequate funds would be impossible. It was also then that he decided to publicly talk about his sexual orientation.It is very telling that Brown's sexual orientation was not an issue in his campaigns for county commissioner, but arrived as a preemptive strike before he could even enter the Congressional race. Something tells me that this episode may well set the tone for the contest, and if so it is going to be ugly.
“This is how I was born,” he said. “This is an orientation.”
Brown realizes that some people will view him as a “gay commissioner,” instead of a “commissioner who happens to be gay.”
In some ways, the decision to openly discuss his orientation came as a relief, Brown said, since he has wondered in the past how political adversaries might use it against him.
“I am comfortable with my orientation and have the full support of my family and friends,” he said. “It is not a secret, it is a personal matter to me and I intend to keep it that way.”
Brown emphasized that his sexual orientation in no way diminishes his effectiveness as county commissioner.
I spoke to Ben Krompak, campaign manager for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), who indicated that her official campaign kickoff is
Partisan candidates must file Declarations of Candidacy or Intent to be a Write-In by September 28 by 4:00 pm for the Special Congressional Primary Election. Independent candidates must file Nominating Petitions or Intent to be a Write-In by November 5 by 4:00 pm for the Special Congressional General Election. Voter registration deadlines are October 9, 2007 for the Special Congressional Primary Election and November 13, 2007 for the Special Congressional General Election.So, we should know the official primary candidates for the two major parties no later than a week from Friday.
On Saturday the presidential campaign of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) sent out an email to supporters, complaining bitterly that Iowa Democratic leaders are "rigging the game" by excluding him from two events: yesterday's Democratic Steak Fry in Indianola hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and the forum on health care and financial security to be hosted on Thursday in Davenport by the AARP and Iowa Public Television. Event organizers claim that Kucinich does not have a sufficiently "active organization" in Iowa, but Kucinich correctly notes that at about 3% he actually leads event participants Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) in most Iowa polls.
The untimely demise of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R) has produced a blizzard of actual and potential candidates for his former Congressional seat. It is anticipated that primaries will be held on General Election Day (November 6th) and the special election will occur within a few weeks thereafter. The far-flung Northwest Ohio district stretches through Ashland, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot Counties. Bush won 61% of the vote in this conservative district in 2004.
Rep. John Boehner (R-West Chester) said on CNN today that the thousands of American soldiers killed and billions of U.S. dollars spent in the Iraq War are really a "small price to pay" and a "good investment" if the fantasy of stabilizing the Middle East and "stopping Al Qaeda here" comes true:
There is an AP news story out based on an interview with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, confirming that the Democratic party is targeting five U.S. House races in Ohio. Here are my notes on those five contests:
1st District SW Ohio (Hamilton, Butler Counties). Includes part of Cincinnati and western suburbs. Cook PVI R+1. Bush won 50% of the vote in 2004. Incumbent Steve Chabot defeated second-time challenger Councilman John Cranley by 53% to 47% in 2006.Regula and Schuring are in italics because it is unclear who will be running. There is no GOP candidate in the 15th because nobody has yet stepped forward, although apparently Rev. Aaron Wheeler (R-Worthington), an African-American former Democrat, is moving toward jumping in.
14th District NE Ohio (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Summit, Trumbull Counties). Includes northeast suburbs of Akron, Willoughby, Mentor, Ashtabula. Cook PVI R+2. Bush won 52% in 2004. Incumbent Steve LaTourette defeated law professor Lew Katz (D) by 58% to 39% in 2006.
- Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland)
- Former County Commissioner Phil Heimlich(R)
- Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin (D-Indian Hill)
- Steve Black (D-Indian Hill)
- Jeff Sinnard (D)
15th District Central Ohio (Franklin, Madison, Union Counties). Includes part of Columbus and northwestern suburbs, Hilliard, Marysville. Cook PVI R+1. Bush won 50% in 2004. Retiring incumbent Deborah Pryce defeated Mary Jo Kilroy by just over 1,000 votes (50% to 50%) in 2006.
- Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Chagrin Falls)
- Former State Appellate Judge William O'Neill (D-South Russell)
16th District NE Ohio (Ashland, Medina, Stark, Wayne Counties). Includes Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Wadsworth, Medina, Wooster, Ashland. Cook PVI R+4. Bush won 54% in 2004. Incumbent Ralph Regula, rumored to be retiring, defeated novice Rev. Tom Shaw (D) by 59% to 41% in 2006.
- Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus)
CQ Politics columnist Craig Crawford is convinced that with George Bush "around the corner" on keeping control of his Iraq policy, he can "move on to his other military target: Iran," which Crawford expects "he will probably do before the year is out." Crawford notes that Democrats in Congress have not moved forward on legislation that would tie Bush's hands on attacking Iran, that recent diplomatic moves by Europeans are playing into Bush's hands, and that Britain recently agreed to move troops to the Iranian border. Iranian lack of cooperation in the matter of missing former FBI agent Robert Levinson provides a convenient provocation.
Attorney General Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) took a tough step against failing charter schools today, and bully for him. This afternoon he filed lawsuits against two schools in Montgomery County, home turf of Ohio House Speaker and charter school champion State Rep. Jon Husted (R-Kettering), alleging that they are failed charitable trusts and should be closed. The schools in question are Colin Powell Leadership Academy in Dayton and the New Choices Community School in Englewood.
There are lots of charter schools in this state that serve great purposes and do what charter schools were designed to do…we don't want to interfere with that. But certainly there are 30 or more that scream out for this kind of attention. Whether I can get to all of those I don't know.Ohio Senate Minority Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) was quick to praise the action, saying in a press release today:
I am very pleased that Attorney General Dann is taking decisive action to send a message that persistent failure by charter schools will no longer be tolerated. It is important for charter schools to know that failure is no longer a choice for our children.In addition, according to the Dispatch, Dann's action "prompted Ohio's largest teachers union to drop a lawsuit against the state that alleged education officials were failing to monitor the privately operated, tax-funded schools."
This type of strong action has been sorely missing the past several years despite my persistent calls for stronger academic and financial accountability for charter schools. I am glad that we have a new sheriff in town who will no longer turn a blind eye when charter schools betray the public’s trust.
Joe Hallett reports in the Columbus Dispatch blog "The Daily Briefing" that the Ohio Republican Party has canceled its state dinner planned for Friday and will instead have an afternoon of training sessions for county chairmen and other party activists.
The 82nd Carnival of Ohio Politics is up and it's terrific. Great job, Lisa Renee! Love the space station emblem.
This interesting article in the Athens News indicates that city council member Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) will indeed renew her bid for the 92nd Ohio House District seat, being vacated by State Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany) in order to run for the 20th Ohio Senate seat of retiring State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton). Phillips is quoted as saying that she will make a formal announcement in the company of Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the next few weeks.
Judging by the initial reactions of Ohio members of Congress to the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, we won't be seeing many defections in either direction from the pro-war and anti-war camps. After stating in the spring that their continued support for the surge depended on a showing of success by September, Reps. John Boehner (R-West Chester), Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington), and Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township) have all told the Columbus Dispatch that they are persuaded to support Petraeus' recommendations on the basis that there has been some military progress on the ground in Iraq. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urban) likewise expressed satisfaction with the military progress and also asserts that there has been "some progress . . . socially and politically as well," although where that wishful thinking comes from is not clear.
On this, the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States, I am sad, proud, and angry.
Pundits and analysts have begun treating the Democratic presidential candidates as being pretty much alike in their stance on the war, but Gov. Bill Richardson vehemently disagrees. In an op-ed to run in tomorrow's Washington Post he calls on everyone to "stop pretending that all Democratic plans are similar." Americans deserve precise answers from candidates about their Iraq plans, he says, "rather than allowing them to continue saying, 'We are against the war . . . but please don't read the small print.'" Here's how he describes his own position:
Those who think we need to keep troops in Iraq misunderstand the Middle East. I have met and negotiated successfully with many regional leaders [and am] convinced that only a complete withdrawal can sufficiently shift the politics of Iraq and its neighbors to break the deadlock . . .Countering objections to his position, he writes that his plan is realistic because:
Our troops have done everything they were asked to do with courage and professionalism, but they cannot win someone else's civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay [ending the violence and] prevents us from using diplomacy to bring in other nations to help stabilize and . . .
The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda. It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq's oil and repressing Muslims. The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country. . . .
Logistically, it would be possible to withdraw in six to eight months. We moved as many as 240,000 troops into and out of Iraq through Kuwait in as little as a three-month period during major troop rotations. After the Persian Gulf War, we redeployed nearly a half-million troops in a few months. . . .
As our withdrawal begins, we will gain diplomatic leverage. Iraqis will start seeing us as brokers, not occupiers. Iraq's neighbors will face the reality that if they don't help with stabilization, they will face the consequences of Iraq's collapse -- including even greater refugee flows over their borders and possible war.
The United States can facilitate Iraqi reconciliation and regional cooperation by holding a conference similar to that which brought peace to Bosnia. . . . [This cannot] happen until we remove the biggest obstacle to diplomacy: the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq.
* It is less risky. Leaving forces behind leaves them vulnerable. . . .Richardson's credentials and his distinctive reasoning deserve a lot more attention than they are getting, all because he is behind the front three candidates in fund-raising and the polls. Hopefully this op-ed will help him start getting more attention on the war issue.
* It gets our troops out of the quagmire and strengthens us for our real challenges. It is foolish to think that 20,000 to 75,000 troops could bring peace to Iraq when 160,000 have not. We need to get our troops out of the crossfire in Iraq so that we can defeat the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11.
* By hastening the peace process, the likelihood of prolonged bloodshed is reduced. President Richard Nixon withdrew U.S. forces slowly from Vietnam -- with disastrous consequences. Over the seven years it took to get our troops out, 21,000 more Americans and perhaps a million Vietnamese, most of them civilians, died. [Despite those deaths,] the communists took over as soon as we left.
Stuart Rothenberg reports that Karen Gillmor, widow of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R), has decided not to enter the special election to fill the 5th Ohio Congressional District vacancy. Rothenberg says that State Rep. Bob Latta (R) is likely in, and State Sen. Randy Gardner (R) is also being mentioned:
Latta served in the state senate (1997-2000) and ran for the 5th District back in 1988, but lost to Paul Gillmor in the primary by 27 votes. Latta was running for the open seat vacated by his father, Delbert Latta (R), who served in Congress for three decades beginning in 1958. (Congressman Latta served briefly on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment.)Rothenberg also thinks Robin Weirauch (D) will jump into the special. She ran against Gillmor in 2004 and 2006, and the second time won a respectable 43% of the vote. Bush won 60% of the vote in this district in 2004, but both Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) carried it in 2006.
Bob Latta is term-limited and represents similar territory in the Bowling Green area with state Sen. Randy Gardner (R), who is also mentioned as a potential candidate.
I will not be posting much, if anything, until next Tuesday, September 5th, while I attend to some family matters. Meanwhile, some good things to note:
Dave Harding at ProgressOhio.org calls our attention to this Quinnipiac poll out today, which registers a significant shift in Ohio regarding the presidential race. As the pollster puts it, Ohio "is turning blue in the 2008 campaign, with Democratic candidates winning 11 of 12 matchups with Republican contenders." Here are intra-party results, which show Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) consolidating her lead over Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) but Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) slipping somewhat against Fred Thompson (R-VA)(parenthetical numbers are from August 8):
Big doings beyond the borders of the Buckeye State:
A lot is going on today in the first state admitted to the Union under the Northwest Ordinance:
“I am saddened by the loss of U.S. Congressman Paul Gillmor. I offer my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Paul was a dedicated public servant, serving in the Ohio Senate for 22 years and rising to President of the Senate. The energy and hard work he contributed to serving the people of Ohio will be missed.”UPDATE: Members of the Ohio Congressional Delegates will offer tributes to Gillmor on the floor of Congress at 4:00 pm today.
At a press conference this morning, Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) challenged Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) to participate in five debates:
A new Quinnipiac Poll shows that Gov. Ted. Strickland (D) is strongly approved by a broad cross-section of Ohioans. His approval rating is 58% favorable/18 unfavorable, down slightly from his 61%/15% rating on July 11 but still very, very good. The numbers among Republicans are also good (54%/19%), and interestingly are quite similar to independents (55%/21%).
Like the body that refuses to quietly disappear in the Hitchcock classic, the scandal involving Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) and what he did or did not solicit in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport simply will not go away. Roll Call has the audio of a voicemail message that Craig inadvertently left at a wrong number on his way to the Saturday news conference to announce his resignation. In the call, Craig implores Billy (whoever that is) to make "as bold a statement as you are comfortable with" to show that Craig is "willing to fight and [has] quality people out there fighting in [his] defense." Craig states that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is "now willing to come out in [Craig's] defense" and acknowledge that based on everything Specter knows, Craig "has been railroaded." Craig asks Billy to call Mike
If you make a contribution between now and midnight on Friday, you just might win lunch with the candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Love or or hate her, either way ... wouldn't you just love to do lunch? I would. I think it's well worth the $10 minimum donation just to have the chance. However, I won't be holding my breath. Only a single contributor gets lunch!
Some items of interest from the state that's round on the ends and "hi" in the middle:
Amazing. Sen. Craig (R-ID) is indicating through a spokesperson that perhaps he isn't really going to resign after all.
"We're still preparing as if Senator Craig will resign September 30, but the outcome of the legal case in Minnesota and the ethics investigation will have an impact on whether we're able to stay in the fight -- and stay in the Senate."Does this mean that Craig will actually remain in the Senate?
ED in 08 is a campaign to raise public awareness of education as an issue in the 2008 election cycle. It is run by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and is funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation. Rapper and record producer Kanye West, whose hit albums include The College Dropout and Late Registration, stars in this catchy video to help promote their campaign:
Dave Woolever (D-Stoutsville), owner and operator of Peppy's Pizza in Circleville, Ohio, has announced that he will challenge Rep Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) in the 7th Ohio Congressional District. Pledging to focus his campaign on the war in Iraq, the economy, and constituent services, Woolever says that "as a small business owner and a life long resident of this district, I know the challenges faced by those who are the life blood of this country. This campaign will be all about a change in direction for the seventh district, the State of Ohio and the nation." Calling Hobson a "rubberstamp for lobbyists," Woolever points out on his web site that Hobson has received $136,7220 from the oil and gas industry and $171, 815 from the drug companies and asks, "What have they gotten for their money?"