I can proudly say I have been to every single Rootscamp since the event launched in ... was it 2006? 2007? Whenever.
This is a FREE event that all Ohio progressives should think about attending — and this year, they made it easier for us not-morning people. The one drawback for me has always been getting up before sunrise to begin the long, dreary, cold drive from Cleveland to Columbus.
This year, registration starts at 12:15 p.m. and the first session is at 1. It runs until 7 p.m. and dinner will be served instead of lunch. It happens on Saturday, January 12, at the same place it's been for the last three years: the Ohio Civil Service Employees Union office at 390 Worthington Rd, Westerville, just off I-71 north of Columbus. It's easy to get to and the space has proved ideal for the event.
Rootscamp attracts progressives of all stripes from aspiring and former candidates to elected officials, from teachers to union leaders, from food bank volunteers to Planned Parenthood organizers to peace activists. It's an opportunity to get outside your bubble and meet people from other parts of the state, to learn what issues engage people in their areas and what challenges they face.
The actual content of Rootscamp is determined by the attendees. A large board is placed in the lobby with a grid featuring the time slots and rooms available. Anyone can place their panel, forum or roundtable in one of those slots. Attendees can participate in anything they find there for as long as it engages them. Last year, I attended many exceptional discussions, including one led by education blogger Greg Mild and attended by many teachers who aired their issues and ideas, and one on women's rights led by a 19-year-old male OSU student. I've hosted a few discussions myself.
It's a great opportunity to meet new people, share energy and ideas, and hopefully create some momentum to help us purge Republicans from statewide office in 2014.
Here's where to go to sign up:
[Well, it appears the link to the free version is shut down. The film is still available for $2.99 via this link: http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=WliQIyXxGVA&feature=mv_sr. Sorry about the error]
Confused about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
Are you searching for an explanation about why we have some much gun violence in our society?
If you really care, if you really want to get to the root cause, then take just a little bit of your time and watch Michael Moore’s film. It does provide some answers. Just click on this link, the movie will start right away and again, it’s
People in the wider community and the national progressive community think I'm dreaming when I say that I believe marriage equality will be on the Ohio ballot next year and that I would not bet big on it not passing. (Hey Mitt, about that $10,000 wager ...)
But I have good reason to think this. I've watched as the movement grew from a conversation between a handful of individuals in the Columbus LGBT community early this year to volunteers all over the state collecting tens of thousands of signatures to put it on the ballot. (You may recall that attorney general Mike DeWine rejected the initial language for the petitions but it was rewritten and petition circulators hit the streets in April.)
As the movement — now named Freedom Ohio — became more organized, it pulled back from aiming for this year's ballot to spend more time educating and organizing for a better shot at passing the issue once it got on the ballot. Some of the more traditional LGBT folks were reluctant at first, thinking "it's not time yet." But the energy has snowballed and the movement is heading toward an inexorable conclusion of equal rights for everybody whether next year or some other time in the near future.
The group has now announced that the Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed its initiative.
This is a good move for both sides. Obviously, having the endorsement of a major political party provides some establishment cred. (What a shame that the GOP doesn't recognize that equality takes nothing away from anyone, merely puts every citizen on the same footing.)
It's long been an article of faith in politics that you don't want to get the National "Rifle" Association — the lobbying group for gun manufacturers and dealers — riled up agains you. Their power to influence an election has been taken for granted. When a Democrat like Ted Strickland gets their endorsement, it's considered a huge plus.
The group has long since ceased to be a real voice for gun OWNERS. And its constantly more extreme standards — that anybody should be able to own any gun and take it anywhere without any checks or permits or anything — have provoked backlash in groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
And me. I never cared much about this issue. I was surprised to see how much passion there was on the sane gun control side when I went to a forum back in 2005 with the two candidates then running for Ohio governor on the Democratic side, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Ted Strickland. It was at a suburban Cleveland synagogue, and Strickland was grilled repeatedly about his NRA-friendly stances. It was clear Coleman was the favorite.
More and more, I think it's well past time to take their guns away, just as they fear.
And it's also time for politicians to stop tiptoeing around the issue of sane gun control and backing down when the voices on the right bellow that it's wrong to "politicize" a shooting tragedy by talking about it, when in fact there's no better time.
It's time for politicians and everyone else to look at this:
I posted this link a few weeks ago when I talked about how successful the pro-choice groups had been in electing the officials they backed in November. Planned Parenthood had one of the highest success rates.
If you've ever browsed right-wing websites or subscribed to their newsletters (I'm lucky enough to be on both Newt Gingrich's and GOPUSA's lists!), you know that they love to attach the words "freedom" and "liberty' to everything. It's a safe better that if an organization's name includes the word "freedom," it's a right-wing group.
But all their talk about "freedom" (and right now it's a lot of talk about all the "freedom" that the unfairly reelected socialist commie Kenyan president is going to take away from you) rarely examines what that so-called "freedom" involves.
What would "freedom" entail for the average person? Having a job with enough money to pay bills and not have to worry about hunger, homelessness, or going bankrupt from an illness or accident? I'd say that's a good start, but they clearly aren't interested in THAT kind of "freedom" for the suckers they're playing to, the ones Charles and David Koch are mocking behind their backs.That's pretty much a pipe dream anymore, considering the direction the economy's been going for the 99%.
No, the "freedom" they usually sell to their suckers is the "freedom" to own as many guns of any type as one desires. This crew usually acts as if the constitution begins and ends with the Second Amendment — and they don't actually know what it says.
Naturally, with a new mass shooting tragedy happening today, we're getting the usual round of canned statements about our hearts going out to the victims and their families and blah blah blah, just a bunch more handwringing. And naturally we get the right-wing shills instantly politicizing the tragedy for their own gain by announcing that guns had nothing to do with it and we can't politicize the tragedy by talking about sane gun control laws. After all, this is our "freedom" we're talking about.
Why are we talking about 2016? Of the various news outlets I read during the day, I’ve been a little disappointed to see how many of the stories have been about Hilary Clinton, and if she’ll run. Or another story basically stated that she had to run. If she didn’t run, the Democrats would lose in 2016; there was just no question.
Why are we talking about this? Barack Obama hasn’t even been sworn in for his second term. Shouldn’t there be a little more focus on what he wants to do in the next four years?
The truth is 2016 is a long way off. Hilary Clinton, is a logical choice for right here and right now, but who knows what we will be facing in four years. After the 2008 elections it didn’t seem like the Republicans would have much success in 2010 and look how that turned out.
Some very smart people have warned us about the “permanent campaign.” How can anything get done if we’re always in campaign mode? But these warnings seem to be of no avail. We can’t seem to help ourselves, to stop ourselves, even if it means saving ourselves.
What happens to a losing congressional candidate who ran a strong, energetic, positive campaign after the election? If you're Angela Zimmann, who ran against Bob "Who?" Latta in heavily Republican northwestern Ohio, your campaign opens a whole new door. The Bowling Green State University professor and Lutheran Minister will be heading to Palestine in February with her husband, the Rev. Martin Zimmann, where they will co-pastor the CHurch of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Zimmann told the Toledo Blade,
... part of the reason they called me was because of my political involvement. They saw the campaign, they liked what they saw, they felt like this is a person who could serve in this capacity. ... they said ‘she lost well.' They said, 'We saw a lot of grace under pressure, we saw fortitude.’
Yeah, too bad the voters of the 5th district didn't feel the same way or, more likely, were just oblivious and prone to voting party ID, as opposed to who could best serve their interests. That certainly isn't the lackluster Latta, a typical GOP water carrier for corporate interests.
I’m going there to be of service, and I don’t know what that’s going to mean. There’s pain there; what small piece can I be in the puzzle that alleviates it, not just there but internationally? For me, it’s an issue of social justice and the poor, because in my religion Jesus showed preferential treatment for the poor, and so the poor and the oppressed are the ones that need to have a special focus. To me, it seems as if that’s happening in the Middle East, and I want to go and find out what’s really happening and be there.
Earlier today I was among a number of people copied on an email sent by area activist/blogger/videographer and long-time OhioDaily Blog front pager Tim Russo to Plain Dealer publisher Terrance Egger and editor Deborah Simmons. Tim, whose video of Occupy Cleveland's activities you may have seen posted here last year, calls out the Cleveland daily for its belated coverage of the dismissal by the th district court of appeals of charges against Occupiers Lea Tolls and Erin McCardle stemming from a sit-down on Public Square last October, when Occupiers refused to honor their eviction from the square by the city.
See what a threat to Cleveland citizens Lea (in plaid pants, left) and Erin (in polka-dot boots, right) are by exercising their First Amendment rights!
Mr. Egger, Ms Simmons,
As a daily newspaper facing extinction, guardians of the First Amendment in Cleveland, your 3 day late coverage of the Thursday decision by the Ohio Court of Appeals declaring the October 21, 2011 arrests of Occupy Cleveland unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds is a disgrace.
Even on a crass profit/loss analysis, your readership has shown an insatiable interest in the Occupy movement, largely from your core readership, older readers who cannot stand that Occupy exists, who descend upon every mention of Occupy to attack it. At this moment, when revenue seems to drive every decision you make, burying this story on Metro page B3, three days after the decision was published, is odd to say the least.
I wouldn't want to be a Republican strategist right now (fat chance!)
Their party is disintegrating. As it spins further and further to the extreme right, it's shed sanity, support, voters, and members.
I wrote earlier this week about how "moderate" (i.e. hardcore conservative but not batshit insane) congresswoman from Missouri Jo Ann Emerson has joined northeast Ohio fake "moderate" Steve LaTourette in retirement.
Two more stories broke at the end of this week that demonstrate what a hard time the GOP is having keeping itself together. They come from opposite ends of the Republican spectrum.
One is that former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who had already left the GOP to become an independent, officially became a Democrat, not a huge surprise or a big stretch.
We can officially stop speculating on whether the 56-year-old Crist, who finally got married three years ago after numerous "engagements" (Floridians like to joke that he got engaged every time he ran for office and broke it up immediately after the election) is gay. Crist has never personally been anti-gay; now he doesn't belong to the party pushing the persecution of LGBT people. I always say if you're not part of the group trying to regulate other people's private lives, there's no reason to be interested in yours.
At the far, far, far, far other end of the ideological spectrum, we have soon-to-be former U.S. Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint. Ugh. I'd rather not have him — and luckily, we won't, at least not in the U.S. Senate. He's stepping down from his seat to head right- wing "think" tank the Heritage Foundation.
If you're on any progressive mailing lists, you probably that they're trying to rally supporters to contact their elected representatives regarding the upcoming budget negotiations.
For instance, tomorrow, Friday, at 1:15 p.m. you can join state representative Mike Foley, state senator Nina Turner, and AFL-CIO executive secretary Harriet Applegate outside the Cleveland office of Senator Rob Portman to talk how a miniscule tax increase for the wealthiest people in the country — a position that earns positive approval even from right-wingers — is the best way to solve the deficit problem Republicans started wailing about the minute President Obama took office (never mind that President Bush created it), rather than cuts to safety-net programs.
Portman's office is at 1240 E. 9th St., # 3061, in downtown Cleveland.
Ohio has two senators. Why are they going to Portman's office?
Well, yesterday, Senator Sherrod Brown sent out a newsletter that said, among other things,
We can reduce our nation’s deficit and avoid onerous tax increases on middle class Americans. Last July, the Senate voted to extend tax cuts for 99 percent of Ohioans—the working families and the middle class tax payers who need relief the most. Yet today, this bill that ends tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 still languishes in the House of Representatives.
Middle class Ohioans have always worked hard and played by the rules—now it’s time that the wealthiest Americans paid their fair share too. That means it’s also time for the House of Representatives to act.
In other words, he's already on board.
I know we were all sweating this: especially the president. But, Kid Rock, has let the president know that he has no hard feelings over his re-election. In a chance encounter during the Kennedy Center Honors, Kid Rock, was able to personally tell him this.
Mr. Rock also conveyed some words of advice as to why he took such a strong stand against the president. He stated…
”I believe if you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for nothing.”
I think he was trying to convey the adage…
”Those who stand for nothing: fall for anything”
But Mr. Rock’s rendition sounds so much wiser, don’t you think?
The fact that Mr. Romney had the support of people like Mr. Rock, makes it even more of a mystery as to why he lost.
Journalism website Poynter.org has a story up today that confirms one of the rumors that's been in the wind about the Cleveland Plain Dealer's future. It says the paper has told the Guild it will cut the newsroom staff by a third.
To say I have mixed feelings about this is putting it mildly.
Clevelanders are aware — others around the state may not be — that big changes are in the paper's future, although the paper's management and ownership has been cagy about saying exactly what they are. But Advance, the paper's owner, has shrunk its dailies in other markets to three days a week, most prominently the New Orleans Times Picayune.
It has given a lot of lip service to making coverage more immediate by pushing more of it online — this despite a corporately imposed template for all its papers' websites that is ugly, confusing, and difficult to navigate. It's so terrible that Louisiana Senator David Vitter sent its publisher a letter mocking the site — perhaps the only time I have ever agreed with Vitter on anything.
The Plain Dealer, of course, is spinning this as a heightened commitment to serve its readers and its market, as demonstrated by this laughable open letter to readers published in the paper a couple of weeks ago:
Among other things, it said,
We also have a chance to be even more useful and responsive to an audience that in recent years has migrated to digital platforms — looking online, on mobile devices and tablets for news and information we previously provided only in print.
They've had that chance for years now, and they've blown it.
Josh Mandel is writing your campaign commercials even as we speak!
And his spokesperson laughably says that efficiencies in his office and failing to damage the treasury (probably because bureaucrats were doing all the work while Joshie ran around the country raising money for his Senate race) justify his hiring on still MORE cronies — an allegation that was the cornerstone of his attacks on former treasurer Kevin Boyce (and in that case, untrue).
But if you're Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel, completely devoid of ethics, this just makes perfect sense.
Finally, slowly, the media narrative that "both sides" have contributed to the stalemate in Congress and "both sides' need to compromise is dying.
And things like this help kick it into the grave:
According to today's Kansas City Star, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, a Missouri Republican, has announced her retirement from the House after recently being reelected in a landslide.
Although she hasn't said anything, it sounds like it could be another case of a reality-based Republican like Steve LaTourette taking a look around and deciding that today's GOP is filled with landmines for anyone who isn't batshit crazy.
Emerson is considered one of the most moderate members of the Republican caucus. Her departure reflects the continued polarization of the House, some observers said.
“This is not a comfortable body any more for people like Jo Ann Emerson,” said Norm Ornstein, a political scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. “So leaving for a good job outside Congress is a logical, if depressing, step.”
She probably understood that while sanity may help in a general election, it's not a desirable quality in a Republican primary — and no doubt she was looking at the plethora of likely Tea Party challengers in her future.
And today's Republican Party is not only unfriendly to the sane, it's especially hostile to women. In the just-past election, the Democrats, who already have more women in Congress than the Republicans, elected 13 new ones. The Republicans? Three.
About three weeks ago, I wrote about the last-minute directive issued by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on the Friday evening before the election. It demanded that provisional votes not count if the voter didn't fill in a form of ID in the top section, a job that apparently was the responsibility of the poll worker.
His directive was challenged in court, then overturned, then reinstated. Who knows how much tax money was spent on this legal maneuvering.
I was a little confused at the time because the envelope does appear to say the voter is supposed to fill this in, and in our early voting room at the board of elections, the pollworkers were carefully explaining to the voters that there were three essential things they needed to fill in: their printed name, their form of ID and their signature.
I said in my previous post, "It's likely that of Ohio's 200,000 provisionals, only a handful have this particular defect."
Once I found out what it was, I was even more confident of this. I spent almost two weeks doing post-election provisional processing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. In the initial processing, I probably handled almost 1,000 envelopes. In the second verification, where we were specifically looking to make sure each envelope had those three pieces of information, I probably handled another 1,000 or so. I may have had one or two pass through my hands that lacked ID in the proper place, I can't recall. (I do recall several that lacked a signature).
So guess how many of the nearly 32,000 provisionals cast in Cuyahoga lacked ID in the proper place?
That's right. FIFTY EIGHT. Not enough to sway even the closest races.
That means it's unlikely there were even 1,000 provisionals statewide that didn't have the form of ID written in the correct space.
Defeat has apparently not dampened the unbridled ambition and outsized arrogance of Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel.
"Mandel insists loss hasn’t ended career, plans re-election run"
This article contains too many laughable moments to summarize them all. The gist of it is that l'il Joshie thinks his losing race for U.S. Senate has set him up for the future, starting with his reelection to the position of Ohio treasurer in 2014.
Two years from now when I’m on the ballot for re-election, I think voters will judge me based on my performance in the treasurer’s office and will recognize that we increased the bond rating, increased security of tax dollars, and cut the [treasurer’s operating] budget in a volatile economic environment, and I’m confident they will see that as a record they want to continue."
Well, Joshie, we're going to be doing our best to see that they will judge you based on FACTS, not your fantasies. That includes facts like hiring a raft of unqualified cronies in top positions, while bureaucrats basically maintained the status quo (no, under you the treasurer's office did NOT perform any amazing magic and you wouldn't know if they did unless you read the self-congratulatory press releases because you were never there), and being repeatedly absent from the office after launching a senate campaign about a month after being sworn in. It includes skipping 14 straight boards of deposit meetings and at one point taking a day off every week while taxpayers were paying your salary to campaign and raise money for that other race.
Yes, we will be working to have voters judge you on THOSE facts, Joshie.
But self-delusion and self-glorification have always been this Empty Suit's hallmarks.
Salons' Iris Carmon has a piece up today called "What's Next for the Anti-Abortion Movement?" It focuses on the recent maneuvrering in the Ohio legislature on bills to defund Planned Parenthood and to enact the "Heartbeat" Bill, which were being shoved through by the Ohio House but dead-ended at the Senate.
She warns that some anti-choice activists think the problem isn't with their beliefs, which were rudely exposed this year — in their sudden war against contraception — to be based not in any concern for "unborn babies" but in their hostility toward women. Rather, they think they need to double down on them. She quotes anti-choice activist Marjorie Dannenfelser, who is distressed at "the fate of countless innocent unborn babies and vulnerable women" under "the most pro-abortion president in America's history" and suggests,
“1) Our candidates must be better trained to articulate their pro-life position. 2) We need more women candidates.”
Sorry, Marjorie, that won't work. Your party — the Republican Party — doesn't like to have the womenfolk in positions of power. And don't even THINK about running anti-choice women in the Democratic Party. Seriously — don't go there.
And as for candidates "better trained to articulate the pro-life position," that's going to be an uphill battle too I'm presuming here she means not saying the sort of stupid things that lost Missouri's Todd Akin and Indiana's Richard Mourdock U.S. Senate seats they were expected to win — in other words, concealing the movement's true feelings and intentions.
We got this email from the Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus:
By now you may have heard that, thanks to all of your emails, phone calls, and non-stop protests, Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus has decided that H.B. 298 (which would effectively de-fund Planned Parenthood in Ohio) and H.B. 125 (the "heartbeat bill") will not be considered during the remainder of the current legislative session.
We were successful in making our voices heard. Our actions led to results. We can all breathe a sigh of relief -- for now. We must continue to watch Columbus very, very closely.
That last sentence is particularly accurate. It seems like it's impossible to overestimate how much our legislators in Columbus hate women and how far they will go and how much they will risk to manifest that hatred. They made a strong statement by convening only a week after the election — elections which unexpectedly ejected several candidates who had made outrageously anti-woman statements — to take up hearing these bills, which were emergencies by no stretch of the imagination.
Maybe they were appealing to their base. But the base that wants these extreme measures is rapidly shrinking. And the pro-choice base has grown and become more active and energized, thanks to these constant attacks on women.
In addition, the consistent rejection of sane, rational measures — such as access to affordable contraception — that actually WOULD reduce the number of abortions as well as others, such as strengthened access to maternity care that would improve the health of both mother and baby, has long since exposed as hypocrisy any claims these legislators might make about their concern for "unborn life."
First of all, I want to congratulate Ohio Daily Blog’s long-time friend, Judge Bill O’Neill, for his election as an associate justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. I want to make it clear that I consider this to be an unmitigated positive. While some people I know have griped about their perception that he is not pro-choice, challenges to any anti-choice bills passed by our legislature and signed by our governor are going to the federal courts, not the state supreme court.
The biggest unbalance on the Ohio Supreme Court is one that Bill referred to in his campaign slogan — “Money and judges don’t mix.” It’s the overwhelming tendency of that court in recent years to strongly prefer the rights of big corporate interests, especially those who have donated to their campaigns, to the rights of ordinary citizens. With his refusal to accept any campaign donations and his long history as an advocate for labor, O’Neill brings to the court the ability to balance the interests of average working people and small businesses with those of the big money that funds state supreme court campaigns.
Unfortunately, he’ll be doing it pretty much alone.
Yvette McGee Brown, who was appointed to the court in January 2011 by former Governor Ted Strickland, lost her bid for retention to a grossly underqualifed candidate who was rated Not Qualified by the bar associations. But her name is Sharon Kennedy. It’s clear to me from having looked at a lot of voted ballots while working at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections that many voters assumed a candidate named Kennedy was the Democrat. (Judicial candidates are not identified by party). That leaves the state supreme court still 6-1 Republican.
Apparently preparing for his re-election campaign in 2014, our gov has started to run ads in Ohio boasting what a big success his privatized Department of Development Replacement, JobsOhio, has been.
This Dispatch article should properly have been labeled p.r. since it is essentially a press release from the governor's office and presents no balanced viewpoints.Shame on you, Dispatch.
There are a couple of problems here. First of all, it's very hard to tie the slowly improving economy of Ohio to anything JobsOhio did. So far, it seems like it's mostly given money to Kasich cronies. It's hard to tell how many jobs they actually created. It's more likely that the recovering economy is due to national factors that Kasich resisted, such as the auto industry bailout. It's unclear that the shaky JobsOhio has had any impact at all. If anything, the governor's policies have fought against Ohio's economic comeback, as his cuts to local governments and public schools have forced layoffs in some communities. His bragging is extremely unseemly.
And at taxpayer expense,
a new state TV ad ... will start airing on Sunday as part of a $1.4 million marketing campaign designed to highlight job growth in Ohio and keep the momentum going. ...The campaign also will include ads in the state’s major newspapers, including The Dispatch, starting on Sunday, as well as ads in the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Wall Street Journal.
The story says that a JobsOhio shill claims this campaign is to attract new business to the state, which doesn't explain why ads are running in state and in the Dispatch (hmmm ... conflict of interest there?)
Now that the media can’t talk any longer about how the presidential race is “tied” and “too close to call” —something it nattered about long after an avalanche of evidence contradicted them, there’s a new myth floating around out there.
It's being pushed by Republicans as well as some "wise pundits." They're saying that the public did not actually say it was fed up with Republican ideas and policies and that the president and Democrats have no mandate for their policies because the election didn't change the balance of power in Washington. The president was reelected, the Senate stayed in Democratic hands, and the House stayed in Republican hands. So the people clearly were speaking for fearful, penurious “centrism,” right?
In fact, voters were speaking pretty loudly. In reelecting the president in difficult economic times, they were saying they didn’t trust any of the Republicans’ vague proposals on the economy, which mainly consisted of ginning up false panic about the national debt and the deficit and demanding that the wealthy not sacrifice to pay for it.
The electorate said, that’s bullshit.
And after all the talk about how President Obama might get an electoral college majority but lose the popular vote (you could practically see the media salivating over the possibility of this controversial scenario), he won decisively.
The Democrats also increased their majority in the Senate to an effective 55-45. If you think picking up two seats is fairly routine, then you didn’t know the map. 2012 was long anticipated with anxiety by those interested in electing Democrats to the Senate because Democrats would be defending twice as many seats as Republicans, leading to fewer pick-up opportunities and more energy and resources spent on defense.
Then the teabaggers roared.
"On Election Day, Republicans Suffered Consequences of Voter Suppression Strategy"
On Election Day, voters stood with determination in unconscionably long lines, some that stretched for up to seven hours. Though some voters were elderly, frail, missing work, or simply exhausted, theyrefused to leave, undeterred by the line and in fact galvanized by the bad intent.
Donna Brazile and Will Crossley, who have led Democratic Party initiatives to guarantee the right to vote, details the result of the GOP's voter disenfranchisement onslaught of the last two years. Upon coming to power in states across the country in 20210 — including Ohio — Republicans in those states — including Ohio — moved with lightning speed to work on legislation that would hopefully (in their opinion) depress voter turnout among minorities, seniors, students and the poor in 2012.
We all remember HB 194 — an omnibus bill of voter discouragement tactics. We collected the signatures to put a repeal on the ballot. The GOP, still smarting from the recent repeal of SB 5, pulled a sneaky legislative move and repealed it themselves — but not before passing another bill while kept HB 194's ban of in-person early voting the three days before the election.
Anyone out there remember Carlo LoParo, Ken Blackwell's spokesperson both at his secretary of state office an in his ill-fated gubernatorial campaign of 2006? The guy always exuded a condescending arrogance and a contemptuous disregard for reality that blazed a trail for Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. The guy telegraphed that he was a complete liar and he just didn't care, screw you.
LoParo has returned in a job he's perfect for: spokesperson for the deceptively named Protect Your Vote Ohio, the lying bunch that opposed Issue 2 — fair nonpartisan redistricting. There's no valid argument against the plan so LoParo mocks supporters with this upside-down lie, quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Carlo LoParo of Protect Your Vote Ohio, a group that placed television and direct mail ads against Issue 2, said its changes still would have allowed one party to manipulate the process for its own gain, and allowed no mechanism for bipartisan agreement. He noted it was rejected in 86 out of 88 Ohio counties, and said Democratic groups funded the initiative.
As anyone with a functioning brain cell knows, the current system WAS manipulated beyond all reason by one party — LoParo's own Republican Party. it rendered the voice of voters totally irrelevant in electing the Ohio legislature and its congressional delegation. And LoParo is either a braindead idiot or a smirking liar to claim that Issue 2 "allowed no mechanism for bipartisan agreement." (I'm thinking the latter). That is ALL it was about. OK, not actually BIpartisan. It was more about NONpartisan agreement since it gave equal voice to independents and minor party members, something the current system will never, ever do.
I suspect LoParo knows all of that perfectly well, and being the weasel he is, finds enjoyment in deliberately lying about the redistricting process.
There's been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of January 2010, which unleashed the flood of unlimited billionaire money funding SuperPacs and other secretive groups attempting to influence elections. This year has been the first full election cycle —and the first presidential election — that that money has been free to try to buy elections.
So how successful were these groups?
It turns out not very. Maybe you've seen the news stories in the last week about all the recriminations from the right directed at Karl Rove, who was supposedly both the face of and the genius behind organizing this flood of money for maximum impact. In state after state, in Senate race after Senate race, this money he directed came up empty. We saw it in Ohio: not even a massively funded campaign paid for by god only knows who was able to elect an inferior candidate like josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. Only in Nevada were Rove's benefactors able to send a candidate to the senate.
The Sunshine Foundation has published a fascinating breakdown of who spent what on what races, and the success percentages each had.
I'm especially fascinated by the fact that the NRA's $10 million has so little impact. One of its PACs had a less than 1% success rate. Yet candidates treat the NRA like a big fearsome monster that cannot be crossed. It looks more like a paper tiger now, making itself feel more manly by waving guns around, just like some of its members.
On the opposite end, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund had an almost 98% success rate in electing the candidates it backed, a message clearly going unheard by Ohio's state legislators. But seeing this led me to wonder if there isn't a motive behind the message similar to union-busting SB 5.
Our secretary of state Jon Husted was excoriated yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley over the last-minute directive Husted snuck out after business hours the Friday before the election, forbidding Ohio's county boards of election from counting provisional ballots when pollworkers failed to enter some ID information on an accompanying piece of paperwork, which was clearly THEIR job.
Marbley said in his opinion,
The General Assembly made the policy judgment to place the duty to record the identification of a provisional voter with a trained election official. The Secretary may not second guess that decision. If the Secretary could arbitrarily shift any duties of an election official to an individual voter, the Secretary could ensure no error would ever be the fault of a poll worker simply by reassigning all of the poll worker's duties to the voter. This result is not contemplated by Ohio law or permitted by the Constitution.
Husted's saying it's about preventing voter fraud, but the information to do so is already available to those processing provisionals. And it's likely that of Ohio's 200,000 provisionals, only a handful have this particular defect, and of those, it's likely that a miniscule number will have issues that suggest a voter was trying to pull something sneaky.
Secretary of State Jon Husted promptly said his office would appeal the ruling to the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
He'll probably end up spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for every potential "fraudulent" voter — almost all of whom would be caught in the regular processing of provisionals. So basically, it's ALL money wasted.