Columbus-based political writer John Spinelli has an article today about something a lot of us have been talking about: the surge in prominence of women in the Ohio Democratic Party.
Four years ago this time, there was a lot of discontent among Ohio Democratic women activists.
We were still several days away from the withdrawal of Jennifer Garrison from the secretary of state race after more than six months in which key Democratic women in the state had talked themselves blue to party staff and officials about the unacceptability of such an anti-choice candidate.
The process of getting her off the ticket and naming a replacement left many women even more disillusioned. That was added to the feeling many of them had that Jennifer Brunner’s campaign for U.S. Senate was never taken seriously by party insiders, and that she was being pressured into stepping aside for Lee Fisher and trotting back to the SoS race like a good little girl, taking a hit to help the party.
There was a lot of conversation among Democratic women (I still have the emails) about tokenism in the party that was barely mollified by Governor Ted Strickland’s choice of Yvette McGee Brown a few weeks earlier to replace Fisher as his lieutenant governor.
Garrison was replaced with another woman — the highly qualified and much more politically acceptable Franklin County clerk of courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy. But by then, the discontent was hardening, also driven by a sense that the party was less than fully behind Mary Jane Trapp’s candidacy for state supreme court and what was perceived as a dismissive attitude among certain male staffers at the ODP. I personally perceived this from a now-moved-on staffer.
Now Ohio Democratics have a historic ticket. It doesn’t feature one token woman — women comprise half the ticket.
Sharen Neuhardt is going to prove a huge asset to Ohio's statewide Democratic ticket.
She's already demonstrating her ability to articulate Democratic values clearly and concisely in ways that are easy to understand. It's no wonder that Democratic activist women are just over the moon about this pick of gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald to be his running mate.
An article in today's Youngstown Vindicator describes her presentation at a campaign stop in the Mahoning Valley yesterday.
"Women's issues more than abortion."
You'd better believe it — and the GOP is wrong on all of them.
“Women’s issues are Ohio economic issues,” Neuhardt said during a campaign stop Saturday at Cafe 422. “When we reduce every woman’s issue to abortion, we do a disservice to the women of this state.”
She pointed out how the actions of the Republicans who dominate our legislature thanks to gerrymandering have hurt women across the state.
“They callously disregarded the needs of women,” said Neuhardt, who is pro-choice and a former board member of Planned Parenthood. “None of these services where they cut funding are related to abortion.”
They don't care — it's as simple as that. They don't care if women are less healthy and more impoverished, yet forced to give birth to children they can't support. They don't care if women's life choices are severely constricted, preventing them from giving a child what she needs to flourish.
Sharen Neuhardt is already making a difference. And it's one the Republicans won't be able to counteract by trotting out long-disappeared lieutenant governor Mary Taylor to prattle about what a disaster the Affordable Care Act is and lie some more about it.
So… we have Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine using our tax dollars to appeal a court decision limiting the ability of Ohio Republicans to keep third-party candidates off the ballot.
We also have our secretary of voter suppress … I mean STATE … Jon Husted setting “uniform” early voting hours for all of Ohio’s 88 counties — hours which offer disproportionate difficulties to working people by failing to provide any significant evening or weekend hours.
The two of them fought like crazy to block or limit the most popular early voting period, the three days before an election.
Now we’ve learned of another outrageous situation down in Hamilton County.
Currently its board of elections is located in downtown Cincinnati. And it’s looking to move. It’s eying a location about 10 miles out of downtown. It’s also looking to move its early voting location there — the only early voting location in the county. And, this being Ohio, where we don’t fund such things, it’s dauntingly difficult and time-consuming to reach by public transit.
The four BoE board members — twp Republicans and two Democrats — will vote on this move tomorrow. It’s not unlikely the vote will deadlock — with Republicans favoring this move and Democrats opposing it. That means Husted would break the tie. All eyes on Husted …
Democratic Council member P.G. Sittenfeld told WLWT that elected leaders will hold a press conference at 8 a.m. Monday before the board’s 8:30 a.m. vote on the move.
Sittenfeld said he and others believe the move will disproportionately affect voting access to women, minorities, seniors and low-income voters. It could also limit early voting.
Well, we all know who doesn't: the right-wing Republican zealots in the Ohio legislature and Governor John Kasich who is such a wimp he won't even take a bold, strong stand, ducking and dodging and then murmuring vaguely that he's "pro-life," which he isn't considering that he's made it much more difficult for people in Ohio to have quality of life.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, who just picked the strongly pro-choice Sharen Neuhardt as his running mate, does. He's as straightforward as Kasich is cowardly and evasive.
Today on the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe V. Wade decision, he told reporters candidly what is going on: that the effect of the increased abortion restrictions hammers poorer women while more affluent women still have the ability to control their own reproduction.
Referencing the closing of a CIncinnati abortion clinic on a catch-22 technicality, FitzGerald told reporters,
That’s where you’re going to get more and more, when it comes to health care, in a situation of haves and have nots. Because for individuals in the Greater Cincinnati area that have economic resources to travel, it may not be much of a burden on them. But for women who are middle class or working class or the poor, those are the people who are going to have their options restricted.
Precisely. And of course, our legislature is also making it infinitely more difficult for those less affluent women to house, clothe, and educate the children the state wants to force them to have. That's anti-life, not pro-life. (And of course, none of these radical misogynists in the legislature has expressed any outrage about the infant mortality rates in some poor urban neighborhoods in Ohio).
Today is the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that's probably best known to the public — Roe v. Wade, the decision that assured woman the right to choose abortion if that was the best option for her.
That right has been under attack ever since, a parental notification law here, a waiting period there. For instance, the just-ended (thank god!) session of the Ohio legislature found right-wing zealots jamming a bunch of extraneous anti-choice measures into the budget bill — with no debate, no hearings, no nothing.
And then it was signed by Governor Kasich late on a Sunday evening, a low-attention news surrounded by six other middle-aged white men and no women. Despite pleas from thousands around the state that he line-item veto these provisions that had no business in the budget bill, he did not do so (although he managed to veto a provision pertaining to the private ownership of monkeys). The constitutionality of using the budget bill in this manner is being challenged in a lawsuit by the ACLU on behalf of Preterm Cleveland.
The secretive and hurried passage warded off the public outcry that took place around the passage anti-choice legislation in Texas — blowback that has turned state legislator Wendy Davis into being a viable candidate for governor of Texas.
Now some Ohio legislators are now proposing even more stringent restrictions, taking away women’s choices in increments. This approach is especially malicious because it has most impact on poor and working women — by making abortion costlier and more time-consuming, requiring travel, time off from work, or expensive, medically unnecessary, testing. These stipulations don't have as much impact on affluent women. Earlier this week, a clinic in Cincinnati was shut down by the state, thanks to a technicality set up by the provisions in the budget bill.
As we've discussed before, Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine has wasted our tax dollars on, among other things, court cases appealing for the state to be able to limit voter rights and voting opportunities.
This is an abuse of his office, using his position to push partisan initiatives intended to make voting more difficult for those least likely to vote Republican.
So it's very significant that his Democratic opponent David Pepper used the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King Day to issue a position statement on voter protection and voter rights. You can read it here, and I urge you to do so:
As he reminds us,
Over the past three years, Ohio’s legislature and/or statewide office holders have repeatedly curtailed this most important right—whether it was by terminating early voting hours for most Ohioans, disqualifying voters who were victims of poll worker error, or limiting ballot access for Libertarians and other third party candidates.
And through case after case, appeal after appeal, courts have consistently ruled that these lawmakers violated the constitutional rights of the very people who put them in office.
He's laid out a very specific plan for how he will handle voting issues when he is attorney general.
Among other things, he says he will create a voting rights unit in the office's civil rights division to work with the secretary of state — hopefully Nina Turner — to investigate ANY attempts to subvert the voting process, including the GOP's favor fantasy, voter fraud. Since REAL cases of voter fraud are very few, that won't take much of their time. But they'll also deal with complaints of voter suppression and intimidation.
Some extraordinarily good news this morning as Ed FitzGerald names Sharen Neuhardt as his choice for running mate.
One thing that jumps out for many of us women is how historic this is. In the past, party slatemakers have cast around for that "token" woman to put on the ticket, for instance, Barbara Sykes in 2006 (alas, the only Democratic statewide candidate not to win that year). In 2010, we made progress — there were two (lieutenant governor candidate Yvette McGee Brown and secretary of state candidate Maryellen O'Shaughnessy).
With the addition of Sharen to the ticket, it's now split evenly between men and women. You know — like the WORLD.
Those of us who have gotten to know Sharen during her two runs for Congress know exactly how good this news is. Despite uphill runs in very Republican districts, she worked tirelessly and never gave up, never phoned it in, raising a considerable amount of money. Alas, in 2012, she faced the inexplicably popular long-time incumbent Mike "Who?" Turner, whose invisibility seems to work in his favor.
More recently, just this past October, Sharen was the speaker who introduced the program during the "We Won't Go Back" rally for women in Columbus at the Statehouse.
And in a little-known and now largely forgotten episode, in 2010, when the state Democratic Party was pushing the anti-choice, anti-gay Jennifer Garrison for secretary of state and telling women who complained to them that the party wasn't supporting anyone (suuuuuuuure) and that we should just go out and recruit our own candidate, Sharen answered our call to step up.
What are the duties of a state attorney general?
If you listened to campaign ad propaganda, it's all about pursuing high-profile rape and sexual abuse cases, particularly putting pedophiles behind bars.
Don't listen to that. That's stuff that plays well in campaign ads, but it's police work. It's not really the role of the attorney general.
At its most basic, his job is to defend the state in lawsuits. Beyond that, he can do many things to protect the state from wrongdoers. Our last attorney general Rich Cordray, for instance, sued underhanded mortgage brokers who cheated Ohio citizens, and won a boatload of money back for taxpayers.
Then there's our current AG, Mike DeWine.
He has a different vision. Sure, he's grandstanding over some of that high-profile stuff. But he's also been using the office — and our tax dollars — to promote his personal ideology. And that ideology doesn't involve defending the rights of Ohioans — it involves taking them away.
Wrong direction, Mikey.
In 2012, when Jon Husted was hot to shut down voting the three days before the election — the heaviest early voting days — and eager to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court, DeWine could have been the cooler head that prevailed, giving Husted the legal advice that this fight wasn't worth the time and money. Instead they pursued it, and the Supreme Court rejected their case, keeping those early voting days intact.
But DeWine really racked up a record of using tax dollars to deprive law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of their rights last year.
It apparently wasn't enough for Ohio's GOP zealots to pass new abortion restrictions. DeWine fought for the right of private, non-religion-related businesses to deny women contraceptive coverage. Never mind that that would increase abortions.
Then he fought to deprive a pair of men married in another state, one of whom was dying, to have their marriage recognized on his Ohio death certificate. How compassionate!
So at virtually the last minute, Hamilton County commissioner Todd Portune has decided that maybe he just might enter the Democratic primary campaign for governor.
This after Cuyahoga county executive Ed FitzGerald has spent more than a year traveling around the state getting to know key activists, nailing down key endorsements form Democratic leaders and progressive organizations, and laying the groundwork for a wider campaign. Ed announced his run last April.
Why is Portune running? That’s anyone’s guess. He said something about being upset that Ed dropped Cincinnati state senator Eric Kearney as his running mate after the Republicans and the media whipped up a frenzy over Kearney’s tax issues, a controversy you KNOW they weren’t going to let die. Ed and Eric apparently took a look at the shit storm and decided it would be best for all concerned if Kearney stepped aside. I don’t know what brilliant ideas Portune had for making this go away.
Portune starts in a very weak position. Like Ed a year ago, he’s totally unknown outside his home county. And although Ed’s recognition among the general public is still low, he’s made himself known over the last year to the party faithful — the people who carry the message to the general public. Now Portune apparently thinks he can do this same work in a mere four months.
Good luck with that. It reminds me a little of the position Maryellen O’Shaugnessy was in back in 2010 when she was tapped for the secretary of state slot in February 2010 after rising objections within the party forced it to dump its previous candidate Jennifer Garrison. Maryellen was a dynamo, but she just couldn’t overcome having to raise her name recognition outside of HER base of Franklin County in that time.
Yesterday, Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern announced that the ODP has named Liz Walters as its new executive director, replacing Kyle McDermott.
McDermott, who had been executive director since April 2011, left the party in October to go to work for Columbus-based progressive consulting firm JVA Campaigns. Since then, the party's deputy executive director Liz Brown had held the position as an interim, but she too had announced her intentions to move on.
The party had mounted a national search for McDermott's replacement and found her in-house: Liz is currently the ODP's political director. Before coming to the party she was involved in the campaign to repeal union-busting SB 5 and also worked for former congresswoman Betty Sutton, who represented the Akron area where Liz hails from.
Those of us who have interacted with Liz in the two years she's been with the ODP have seen how dynamic, articulate, and strong she is. She'll definitely be an asset in the campaign to retake the statewide offices this coming November.
In addition, it's going to be a plus to have a woman in the party's top position. That'll help shed the lingering perception — which in the past has too often been justified — that the ODP isn't appreciative of its women foot soldiers and activists and too often has treated women's interests as if they are mere side issues.
This was certainly a factor in 2010, when the party brushed off concerns about secretary of state candidate Jennifer Garrison's anti-choice positions as not terribly relevant. Unfortunately, they were relevant to many women in the state Democratic base whose enthusiasm for the campaign as a result was less than it might have been.
Good luck, Liz!
So I was reading a Cleveland.com article about Brenda Mack, person who is slated to be a Lt. Governor candidate running to primary John Kasich.
I ventured down into the comment section of the article mainly to see what the right-wing weirdos had to say about the race. While I didn't see a lot of comments at the beginning about the race, I was still treated to some very bizarre comments. Take this guy who goes by the moniker, Wherreismarciafudge1. Please notice the guy can't even spell "where" correctly. His comment...
"Oh, and I ask again, when will this paper publish a story regarding the fact that the Kenyan village idiot that is laughingly referred to as a President, release from prison the fat, stupid cow that represented the "blind sheik" when he was prosecuted for the 1996 World Trade Center bombing? You remember this gem. She used lawyer / client privilege to pass money and strategic information along to the sheik's terror group, thus endangering American Citizens. Tell me that this pile of dung does not have it in for this country. As for the cow, she lives in Brooklyn NY. Hopefully someone there will do their patriotic duty. God knows that the Kenyan village idiot won't."
This story is on Brenda Mack, and her past tax problems.
Seriously, how screwed up do you have to be to write something like that? It's almost a compulsion where he's so brainwashed he can't help it.
Further down in the article this person discloses that he ran for a seat on Cuyahoga County Council. Surprisingly he lost.
What's wrong this country? I read stuff like that and I just really don't know.
The Examiner.com has a story about how Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party had masterminded a major laundering scheme. The Examiner writes...
"It is not widely known by party regulars that Matt Borges was the mastermind of a scheme to put Ohio tax dollars in the hands of infamous thief Frank Gruttadauria in return for a large campaign contribution to Borges' boss at the time, Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters. Borges pleaded guilty to a public corruption charge for his plot to conceal the campaign contribution by directing the funds to the Hamilton County Republican Party, which laundered the money for Deters."
The article continues...
"While Borges' record has been expunged, his character has not been cleansed by contrition. Within minutes of the guilty plea, Borges was complaining of being the victim of a prosecutorial witch hunt."
This guy heads the Ohio Republican Party. The party that screams "personal responsibility!"
Talk about a hypocrite - - while I'm no fan of the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party at least he's not an out right criminal.
Seriously Ohio Republicans that's just plain sad. Do any of you really stand for anything? I guess it is appropriate that he is your chairman, because he's a joke, and that seems to be your party.
By-the-way, Frank Gruttadauria, worked for Lehman Brothers... who else worked for Lehman Brothers?...
Todd Portune = idiot
Who is this guy? And who's putting him up to run for governor?
The Plain Dealer reports that he held a press conference today to announce his interest in running for governor as a Democrat. His main reason he gave for running... because his "friend" Eric Kearney was dropped from the ticket.
"But he told NEOMG he began having second thoughts when state Sen. Eric Kearney, a friend and fellow Cincinnatian, was dumped from the FitzGerald ticket. Kearney stepped aside over questions surrounding personal financial problems."
What kind of campaign platform is that? Vote for me, cause my buddy got dropped from the ticket.
It would be nice if he talk about his concerns regarding issues facing everyday Ohioans. But he can't, because it's obvious that's not why he's running.
It makes me think though, if Eric Kearney is such a good friend, and he thinks it was so wrong that he got dropped from the ticket, why doesn't Todd Portune pick him as a running mate?
...Well, it's probably because Todd Portune, is full of shit.
Todd Portune, stated at his press conference that he will travel the state in January to see if there's support for him. I'll put this as simple as possible - don't bother. There is no support for an opportunist piece of shit. Get lost.
So, no sooner do we get the news that Ohio is first in job loss and near the bottom (46) in job creation — thanks a lot, "Jobs Governor," now officially known as the "No-Jobs Governor" — we get this honor bestowed on our beleaguered state:
"The 9 Worst States for Reproductive Rights in 2013"
And Ohio makes the list, right behind Texas and North Dakota. Yippeeeee!
While 2011 went down in history as the worst year for women's reproductive rights, 2013 has officially become the second worst, as Republican state lawmakers passed 70 new abortion restrictions into law across the United States.
How depressing and sad for this country. This is what happens when you put woman-hating right-wingers in charge. They love to flap their jaws about "freedom" and "liberty" and fling those words around copiously when naming their little Tea Party groups. But in fact, there's little they like less than freedom and liberty — when they apply equally to all, including women.
And this is even scarier:
"They aren't scraping the bottom of the barrel yet," said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and advocacy organization. "There are numerous restrictions that can still be enacted in states, despite the fact that so many have become law over the past three years.
And one of those states is Ohio.
Because it wasn't enough for our governor and legislature to stuff provisions limiting women's freedom inappropriately into the state budget bill at the last minute. No, they're talking about even more punitive restrictions, including ones based on flat-out lies. Apparently, there is no attack on women too extreme for these radicals.
Our posting has been light here lately, as the last election cycle is over and the year winds down.
Never fear! We are not abandoning you readers (We have continued to update our Facebook page with relevant headines and story links). It's just that we've been out of town, busy, and need an occasional break. And there's no better time to do that than now, when most people's attention is not yet focused on next year's elections, and even our candidates, who have mostly been out on the road all year, are slowing down a bit.
But we'll be back in the thick of things next year for what is promising to be an interesting, hard-fought and probably close election.
Incredibly, I'm still hearing from the doomsters out there who believe Kasich has the election all locked up and we might as well give up now because Ed FitzGerald is such a shitty candidate and why can't we find a candidate with 90% name recognition and almost as high approval to swoop in and save us?
We have hard begun to fight and polls are showing either the race almost tied — some have FitzGerald in the lead while others show him eating away at Kasich's margin. And we have hardly begun to fight. People are not paying attention yet. Just wait until they are.
There's been a lot of doomy talk around Eric Kearney. The media loves crap like this. They love to write handwringing pieces about how Fitzgerald's path to election has now gotten so much steeper and ... who's Eric Kearney, most everyone you know is asking?
Right. Precisely. He came and he went. His tax problems were unfortunate and overblown by the media. But he is not going to be remembered come January — few who are not political obsessives will recall that FitzGerald's lieutenant governor pick had to step down because of the fuss surrounding his back taxes.
Last week, Equality Ohio announced that it was hiring Michael Premo as campaign manager to direct its campaign toward marriage equality. Interestingly, it's a campaign the group has said doesn't quite actually formally exist yet except as a fledgingly educational and outreach effort called "Why Marriage Matters.
According to their email,
Veteran political strategist Michael Premo, who most recently led the successful campaign to win marriage equality in New Jersey, now leads Why Marriage Matters Ohio’s historic efforts to move marriage forward right here in the Buckeye State.
There's more background at Equality Ohio's website, Premo says,
I’m responsible for managing our outstanding team of to ensure that all marriages in Ohio are respected. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the campaign (making sure the lights stay on), I’m working to hone and deliver our message in the press, raise the money we need, and give our organizers all the support they need as they educate the people of Ohio of the importance of allowing all loving and committed couples the freedom to marry.
This is good news. Many have pointed to the part about raising money as a key sticking point in the campaign — a campaign that in Ohio has far pre-dated Equality Ohio's involvement.
In fact, that campaign, dubbed FreedomOhio, was launched nearly two years ago now by a couple of political consultants as a grassroots effort. Its volunteers have been on the ground since then, collecting signatures to put the repeal of Ohio's 2004 anti-marriage equality amendment on the ballot and doing exactly the sort of educational work Equality Ohio points to as essential.
There is an outdoor, open air shopping center in a suburb of Cleveland called Crocker Park. It's a cheesy place to shop. It's designed to, I guess, give a feeling of shopping in a downtown city area. Its pho architecture could only give the shallowest minded of people an idea that they were anywhere near a community space. Well, for some reason these creators of corporate controlled space have found that people actually want to live in their fake-scape. They are going to build apartments for people to live in their mall.
The owners of Crocker Park have spared no expense in their fakeness stating they will build new fake warehouses to emulate old real warehouses. They're going to make trendy loft apartments for their small minded cheesy clientele. According to the Plain Dealer...
"One of the buildings is designed to evoke the feeling of lofts in a converted warehouse with a water tower on the roof and a floor-to-ceiling glass clock face at one end of the top floor that will be the focal point of someone's apartment."
Right. Or people could just live downtown in a real loft apartment, with a real water tower, living by real people, surrounded by real old buildings and a real cityscape.
This is what we've become...
So apparently the GOP tweeted out that racism ended when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus.
Wow, I hadn't realized that! Someone should tell Trayvon Martin. Oh wait, you can't do that... he's dead.
Huffington Post has the story...
Well, that's what the doomsters keep telling me. They keep saying the black community won't get behind him, it's a sign of disaster for his campaign that Marcia Fudge hasn't endorsed him yet etc etc.
Hey, what's this in my email box? Hmmmm....
CONGRESSWOMAN MARCIA FUDGE JOINS ED FITZGERALD FOR SPECIAL CAMPAIGN EVENT IN CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND – Tomorrow morning, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will join Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic candidate for Governor Ed FitzGerald for a special campaign announcement in Cleveland. Congresswoman Fudge, who has served the greater Cleveland area in Congress since 2008, is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Details of the event are as follows:
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald
Special Campaign Announcement
17109 Lake Shore Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44110
TOMORROW, November 29th 10:00 AM EST
Maybe she's just announcing she's going to loan him some staplers and paper clips from her office. I guess we'll see.
I think one of the things the doomsters aren't getting is just how damned early it is in this campaign. In 2006, we did not come close to having a candidate yet. People take their time and do things in their own way.
And with 33% of the state ticket African-American, there's plenty for that community to get excited about.
Polls differ on who's leading and by how much. But taken together, the bottom line of all the polls is that the governor's race next year is going to be close and hard fought, and nobody — NOBODY — is a "shoo-in" right now. Ed's got just as good a chance of being our next governor as Kasich does of retaining his job. (oh and speaking of jobs, Kasich ... yeah, I know,never mind)
It depends on you and me. So go to his website — donate, volunteer.
Ed FitzGerald just wrapped up a two-day barnstorming tour of the major Ohio markets, introducing his newly named running mater, state senator Eric Kearney.
They stopped in Cleveland at Laborers' Hall this afternoon where they were greeted enthusiastically by local Democratic activists. Kearney said he got a warmer welcome than he got in Cincinnati, although he was probably joking.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who was in town for an early morning arts forum at the Beck Center in Lakewood and a late morning ceremony honoring John F. Kennedy at the Irish Cultural Garden in Rockefeller Park, stopped by and introduced Ed who introduced his running mate.
Secretary of state candidate Nina Turner was there, and of course, there's no way you want to leave her in the audience — they called her up to join them on stage.
Here's Ed chatting with activist Wynne Antonio:
Here's the crowd:
Ed FitzGerald's campaign sent out an email yesterday about another "big announcement" today in Cincinnati.
But this one turned out not to be an endorsement, but a really early announcement of his running mate. He tapped state senator Eric Kearney from the Cincinnati area.
By comparison, Ted Strickland announced both his running mates, Lee Fisher in 2006 and Yvette McGee Brown in 2010, in January. (Kasich picked Mary Taylor in January too).
That's in keeping with the Democrats' getting a running head start on next year's campaign; the entire ticket was solidified after John Patrick Carney officially announced his run for state auditor after Labor Day (although it was common knowledge a couple of months prior that he was going for it).
It's an interesting choice, one that seems to be drawing a lot of praise. It means the ticket has two African-Americans out of six candidates. It also includes two women. That's as diverse as an Ohio statewide ticket has ever been. By contrast, the entire GOP ticket — the incumbents — is white men, except for Taylor, and who knows where she is these days. They've pretty much disappeared her. They'll probably trot her out for the campaign.
Also interesting is the geography of the ticket — a radical shift from 2010. That year, five of the six candidates were from Columbus. One — David Pepper, then running for auditor — was from Cincinnati. None was from northeast Ohio, although the U.S. Senate candidate, Lee Fisher, was. And he underperformed most of the ticket in his own home county.
I landed in the middle of a thread online about (of all things) boycotting Austin music conference SXSW because of Texas' backward, rightwing policies. It ended with one of a couple of ranting rightwingers proclaiming dogmatically "Abortion is murder!"
Now, from NARAL Pro-Choice ohio, we get this release about an Ohio state legislator who undoubtedly would claim he believes "abortion is murder" because what other possible reason could there be for this other than sheer depraved meanness:
Yesterday, State Representative John Becker (R-Union Twp.) introduced legislation that would ban both public and private health insurance policies (including Medicaid) from covering abortion care and many of the most commonly used forms of contraception. Health insurance plans would only be permitted to cover abortion care in the cases ectopic pregnancies. Insurance coverage for abortion care in the case of rape or incest, fetal anomalies or to protect a woman’s health or life would be illegal.
This legislator wants government to put restrictions on what PRIVATE insurance can cover, no matter what the demand for the service. What could his justification be for such big-government intrusion into private decisions? Well, it would have to be that "abortion is murder," otherwise why would a "small government" Republican want to do this?
On top of this, he wants an exception ONLY for ectopic pregnancies — far from the only situation in which a pregnant woman's life could be in danger.
At least brutally punishing women who have been raped, or are suffering health crisis or might give birth to a severely deformed fetus that has no chance at life is somewhat consistent with this ultra-extreme belief.
Well. Well. Well. Someone isn't excited about our state treasurer, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. A lot of someones actually.
You know that PPP polling I wrote about in my last post?
They also polled the treasurers race. And Connie Pillich continues to lead Mandel.
Pillich leads Mandel by four points, 47-43. She earns more of the GOP vote, at 18%, than Mandel does of Democrats (12%), part of the reason she holds her party together (85%) considerably more than Mandel does his (72%). Pillich has a 12-point lead with women (50-38), helping to counteract Mandel’s slight lead with men (48-45).
While the numbers are close and there are obviously still a lot of undecideds, I don't think I'd like to be in Mandel's position. It seems like in all the previous polls we've seen, including last year's Senate race, that the more name recognition Mandel gains, the more people disapprove of him. To know him is to not like him.
If I were Mandel (and thank goodness I'm not), I wouldn't be too comforted by having Connie as my opponent. She's more dynamic, more energetic, a much better speaker, has clearer and more appealing positions on issues, and she has more military experience and a higher rank.
That means he's got to find something to build his campaign around other than "I was a Marine." Based on his record, you know what that's going to be: his old reliables — smear and lies.
This week, Public Policy Polling (PPP) released the results of their latest polling of the Ohio governor's race. It shows our governor, Taxin' John Kasich tied with Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald 41-41.
Like PPP's last poll of the race in August, which had FitzGerald with a slight lead at 38/35 with a huge number of undecideds, it showed a competitive race too close to call.
FitzGerald is still relatively unknown. The race is a year away, plenty of time for people to feel the sting of Kasich's policies and for more scandal to ooze out of JobsOhio, as it inevitably will.
And while some in the state media are making a big deal out of how this poll was commissioned by the Ohio Democratic Party, PPP has a track record of accuracy and what it's showing intuitively feels right: that right now, there is no clear leader in this race and anything could happen. There's little to back up the doomsters, like the person (a Democrat) who announced online last week that Kasich was a "shoo-in" for reelection. That's bunk. Clearly, no one is a "shoo-in."
The poll also showed a drop of five points of approval for Kasich, although the doomsters like to fixate on the old June poll that showed his approval in temporary resurgence.
So here's the thing of it: as things look now, either Kasich or FitzGerald could win next November. That means we have work to do — lots of it — unless we want a governor who will continue attacks on women, voters, labor, taxpayers, public schools, local governments, and government transparency and accountability.
Tomorrow, Wednesday November 13, Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, two of her House colleagues, and three U.S. Senators will be holding a press conference in Washington to announce the Women's Health Protection Act.
Maybe it should be called the "Stop Politicians From Practicing Medicine Act."
So are all the Republicans screaming about getting government out of health care going to support this?
Uh — no. I don't think so.
According to the press release,
The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by preempting restrictive regulations and laws—such as those in place in states including Texas and Wisconsin—intended to curtail reproductive health services for women. This legislation would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to women’s health such as requiring doctors to perform tests and procedures that doctors deemed unnecessary in their professional opinion.
Yay! Not allowing politicians to dictate what tests and procedures a woman should have simply to shame and inconvenience her because she doesn't adhere to your ideology? Priceless!
Not that this is going anywhere for now. John Boehner will be locking his office doors. He's not going to allow this anywhere near the floor of the House, no how, no way. Just one more reason we have to work our butts off to take back the House next year, even though it's a long shot.
Meanwhile, if you are in the Cleveland area, come out to the First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights next Tuesday November 19 at 7 pm. The Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus is hosting a panel of the ACLU/Preterm challenge to the anti-choice legislation that's been passed by our legislature and signed by our governor.
Go here for more info and to RSVP. It's free and open to all.