Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

  • I was very sad to hear about Tim Russert passing away suddenly on Friday. He was truly fair and balanced. Even though he had once worked for such liberal lions as Mario Cuomo and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he never let his personal political feelings show. He wasn't an arrogant blowhard like Bill O'Reilly or a condescending snob like Keith Olberman, he took the old-fashioned common-sense approach of playing devil's advocate in his questioning of public figures. A happy warrior, politics wasn't personal for him. It was fun. Like sports. And I'm going to miss that infectious enthusiasm of his for the subject than anything else. He was truly irreplaceable.
  • One of the top picks to be McCain's running mate is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. He's a fascinating guy. Young, Indian-American, conservative, Christian, policy wonk on education and healthcare, part of a new breed of technocratic Reform Republicans like Rudy Guiliani who care more about getting things done than anything else. He may be a little too nerdy for McCain, but I like him. Can read an extensive Details magazine profile of him here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fear and Blogging on the Campaign Trail

Hey all, glad to say that I'm back. I have just finished up my final quarter at UC, and on Saturday I will formally become a graduate. Sorry that I have been in derelict of duty on this blog for so long, I have been swamped with work between the job and finishing school as well as the major problem that I had with my PC. I'm happy to see Ron has began to post, and I welcome him as my co-contributor to this blog.

On to the content...

In conjunction with my duties as a cook and as a student, I have been working as field director with Chris Dole's campaign for Hamilton County Commissioner. I have to say that it has been an extremely rewarding experience so far. I have gotten to meet tons of great people from all over the county, as well as catch up with a lot of old friends. I will be blunt; I feel as though it is in my blood to be doing what I am doing right now.

One of the greatest pleasures of this endeavor has been getting to know Chris Dole himself. I can say for a fact that he is the type of guy that I want to represent me in any level of government. He is out almost every night talking to a different club or organization about his campaign for commissioner. After he goes to these meetings he goes on to work the late shift. All of this while still keeping up with his duties as Crosby Township Trustee. It is not the work load that he is willing to take on that impresses me (although that is a great selling point), it is the fact that he is a real guy. He isn't some phony who is running to raid the county treasury to benefit his rich friends; he is an honest hard-working guy with a wonderful family who truly wants to do what is best for Hamilton County.

As this campaign goes on I hope to continue to meet more of the great people who are my neighbors here in Hamilton County. I will definitely see you at this years parades and festivals, and on the campaign trail.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

  • Nathan asked me about Geoff Davis's controversial "That boy's finger does not need to be on the button" comment about Obama. Certainly sounds racist. But whether or not he was thinking that, who knows. Even though he's a KY congressman, he's not a good ole boy. Grew up in Pittsburgh. Moved here after getting out of the military.
  • Shame on the GOP for blocking a windfall profits tax on Big Oil. This is why the party will lose big in November. They care more about protecting their big business benefactors than anything else.
  • A number of pundits (EJ Dionne, Ezra Klein, etc.) are promoting Joe Biden for Obama's VP. I think it's a good idea. He's a political veteran, has lots of foreign policy experience, and makes a great attack dog.
  • A new poll shows Alaska turning blue. The state has long been a GOP stronghold, but thanks to a climate of corruption and cronyism, voters are getting fed up. Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who's been in office for over 38 years, is trailing Democrat Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich 44% to 51%. The state's lone Congressman, Republican Don Young, may not even survive the primary for his re-election. Both are under fire for ties to lobbyists. If they lose, they will join Frank Murkowski, who alienated so many people by unapologetically appointing his daughter to his old Senate seat, that when he ran for re-election as governor he came in third in the primary, barely garnering a pitiful 19%. Does this mean that Alaska will go for Obama? Doubtful. Dubya won the state by over 20 points. Moderate Republican Gov. Sarah Palin is also very popular. She might even end up becoming John McCain's VP. But longterm, the trends certainly don't look good for the GOP. Read more about the poll and Alaska politics here. Watch a funny video making fun of Ted Stevens's comments about the internet here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

  • The Cook Political Report just changed its ranking for Ohio's 1st Congressional District from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up." Steve Chabot has always managed to squeak by in the past, but with Hamilton Co. trending ever more Democratic, a huge African-American turnout for Obama, and a bad election cycle for Republicans overall, he may just get turned out this time. Steve Driehaus is certainly a strong competitor. Can read a little more about it here.
  • Comedian Al Franken won the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat in Minnesota on Saturday. On paper, he's got a good shot. Minnesota tends to slightly trend Democratic. It has a penchant for quirky candidates (remember Jesse Ventura). And Republican Senator Norm Coleman has low approval numbers. He just rubs a lot of folks the wrong way. Comes across as a classic insincere smiling politician. But Franken's very inexperienced. He didn't know what the hell he was doing and stumbled very badly throughout the primary. Basically only got the nomination because nobody else really wanted it. Coleman's a very crafty bugger. Can see him running rings around Franken, hitting him hard and making him slip up. I remember when Nick Clooney ran for Congress, everyone thought he'd win in a landslide. But he just couldn't keep up with his Republican opponent. Completely collapsed. That same fate may very well await Franken. For more information about his weekend nomination, click here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Death Penalty

To answer Mark's question about the death penalty, I'm for it in principle. There are evil people in this world who truly deserve to die for their crimes. The thought of monsters sitting in their nice air-conditioned cells watching cable-tv, corresponding with fans, getting free access to healthcare and education is absolutely disgusting. But at the same time I think the death penalty should be severely limited to the worst of the worst, the most clear-cut cases of pre-meditated first-degree murder. If there's the slightest doubt about guilt, play it safe.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Howdy

Howdy folks, this is your friendly co-contributor Ron here. Sorry for the long delay in introducing myself. For those of ya who don't know me, I'm that rare breed, a gay conservative. I used to be a proud member of the Republican Party, but thanks to gay-bashing, corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, arrogance of party leaders, and mismanagement of the war, among other things, I've pretty much set up shop as a conservative libertarian independent. My views are all over the map. Against abortion but for gay rights. For the death penalty and tough on law and order issues, but very critical of the War on Drugs and iffy on the death penalty. Not exactly fond of taxes, but think that tax cuts for Big Business and the rich are even worse. I believe in anti-poverty programs like food stamps, improved public education, even universal healthcare. But I do think the size of the government is way too large and feel that something needs to be done about out-of-control pork-barrel spending, a return of the line-item veto, perhaps. I supported the Iraq War in principle but have been horrified at how it has turned out and now support gradual phased withdrawal of our troops. Basically, my philosophy is that of the happy warrior. For me, politics is FUN. I'm all for a good ole debate, but I don't believe in arguing for arguing's sake. The angry blowhards on the right and condescending snobs on the left annoy the hell out of me because they make everything so personal. You're a BAD PERSON if you disagree with them. I hate that and hope that this blog will help serve as a haven from that kind of crap. So with that said, have at it folks. I'll happily answer any question ya throw at me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PC Still Down, but I Have an Update

I will be fixing my PC here within this next week, but it is still down, and thus I am still forced to live with limited access.

However, I would like to update about the County Commissioner's race. I spoke alongside of Tim Mara, Tom Luken, Jenny Edwards, and Mike Wood in favor of endorsing independent candidate Chris Dole in the race against Greg Hartmann. As many of you know, the deal between the Hamilton County GOP and Hamilton County Dems gave Greg Hartman, the current Clerk of Courts, no opposition in his race for county commissioner.

Chris Dole managed to get 4700 signatures on a petition so that he could run as an independent against Greg Hartmann. His petitions were certified, and he will now be Mr. Hartmann's sole opposition this fall. Our pro-Dole coalition failed to get the endorsement of the Democratic Party, but I think we were able to convince the Democrats in the room to vote for Dole in the fall.

I will be updating this important race often in this blog, as well as working in some capacity with Chris Dole and his campaign. There is a link to his website in the links section of this blog. I encourage everyone to take the time to read his bio, and possibly contribute money to his campaign. I'm sure that he would appreciate even 1 dollar, which can buy a few stickers or buttons.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blogging will resume shortly

Sorry that I haven't updated lately everyone. My PC has caught a nasty virus, and I haven't been able to use it. As soon as I get it taken care of, blogging will resume.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another international law quietly taken away

The Supreme Court this week handed down a landmark ruling this week that you probably didn't hear about. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled against what amounts to international miranda rights and habeas corpus standards. I actually wrote a paper about the case, Medellin v Dretke last year.

The case involved a Mexican national who was tried and convicted of committing a gang rape and murder of two women in Texas. No doubt that it was a heinous crime, and the petitioner in this case, Jose Medellin, was given his miranda rights and admitted to committing the crime. He was sentanced to death for this rape/murder. So where is the problem?

According the Vienna Conventions, a treaty that the United States is a party to, a foreign national who is accused of a crime must be informed of his right to contact his state of origin's consular's office. Basically, a foreign national is allowed to contact an attourney from their embassy to explain the law to them. Mr. Medellin, claims that despite the fact that he confessed to the crime and was made aware of his miranda rights, the Texas police did not inform him of rights under the Vienna Convention despite the fact that the police were aware of the fact that he was a Mexican national.

There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Medellin is guilty of the crime, and that he is probably trying to find a way out of his capital sentance. But by the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the state of Texas in this case, we may be loosing something important to Americans travelling abroad, as well as overlooking Constitutional law.

Believing that Texas needed to grant Mr. Medellin a new trial based on the Vienna Conventions, President Bush sent a memo requesting that they state courts give him a new trial. The Supreme Court stated in its opinion that Bush was acting in good faith and that what he did was to maintain possitive international relations, but that no federal or state court should be held to a international court ruling. The problem is, that Mr. Medellin's conviction not only offends the ICJ's ruling, but it violates US federal law. According to the Constitution, if a treaty is ratified by 2/3 of the Senate and the President, it is as good as law. President Bush was not only acting in good faith, he was (for once) actually following the law.

So the Supreme Court has ruled that despite the fact that the Constitution gives a detailed description about how treaties are ratified, and that explains in plain word that they are federal law once in place, that they are still non-binding. This ruling comes from the justices who claim to rule by "original intent" such as Justices Scalia and Alito. The application of the Vienna Conventions Treaty is written as plain as day.

Not only is this a sad day for Constitutional law, but it is also a sad day for international civil rights. Now that the Supreme Court has told the world that the US doesn't have to grant its citizens their Vienna rights, what is to stop a foreign state from denying these rights to an American?

Friday, March 21, 2008

More on Red Light Cameras

Turns out, the idea about Red Light Cameras gets worse. A new study from Texas is showing that the cameras don't even generate much revenue. Worse still, while they do reduce the some accidents from people running lights, they cause more rear-end collisions.

So lets review:
  • These cameras are extremely intrusive, and violate the privacy of motorists.
  • The purpose of these cameras is to generate revenue and not advance safety.
  • They seem to cause more rear-end collisions while slightly reducing accidents cause by people running lights
  • The cameras don't even generate much revenue, in fact some cameras don't even pay for themselves.

I believe that the city needs to increase revenue to maintain its budget. It just needs to find another way to do it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cameras and Street Cars

The two big issues this session of city council seem to be red light cameras and street cars. The street car proposal includes an initial line being built between University Hospital and downtown. The red light camera proposal seems to have the sole purpose of generating revenue for the city.

I think that the street car proposal is a great way to connect the city. Any increase in accessible public transportation will do a lot to help with traffic problems, as well as generate revenue for local business. It will encourage people to visit downtown and Clifton, and to check out what these two neighborhoods have to offer. I believe that the tax revenue that will be generated from the increase in business will outweigh the initial cost of creating a streetcar system.

City council is already projecting 1 million dollars in revenue for this fiscal year from the installation of red light cameras. This news comes on the heels of another story that says that red light cameras increase accidents. According to this study, many drivers are more inclined to slam on their breaks when they see a yellow light to avoid a ticket, thus causing drivers behind them to rear end their car.

I haven't heard city council even claiming that there is a need for red light cameras based on public safety concern. This is a cynical money grab, not a legitimate concern for the city. I will be watching closely who votes in favor of the cameras and who doesn't.

So I guess I am giving city council a mixed review so far. I am enthusiastic about the street cars, and I am disappointed about the red light cameras. From what I understand, Chris Finney and the NAACP have taken out petitions already to create a ballot referendum against the cameras.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is the Window of Opportunity to Beat Mean Jean quickly Closing?

This week has not been a good week for the already battle bruised Victoria Wulsin. There has been a group of stories to come out of the race for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District that seem to help Jean Schmidt, and hurt Dr. Wulsin. I wouldn't concede this race just yet, but one thing is becoming clear; it seems like Jean Schmidt is starting to learn how to become a less polarizing and more effective congresswoman.

The first damaging story came from the DCCC who did not include Ohio's Second Congressional District in its "Red to Blue" program. This is a program that focuses money and attention from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to races that they feel are competitive in districts with a GOP incumbent. While Steve Driehaus, Democratic candidate in Ohio's 1st District which neighbors the 2nd District, does appear on the list, Dr. Wulsin does not. The DCCC has said, however, that this is only the first round of anouncements in its 2008 "Red to Blue" program, and that the 2nd District race may very well end up on one of the future lists. Either way, Congresswoman Schmidt is touting this list as evidence that the Democrats will not be trying as diligently as before to unseat her. She narrowly won reelection in 2006 with 50.5% of the vote against a well funded Dr. Wulsin.

The next damaging story comes from Iraq War veteran, Paul Hackett. Paul Hackett was Jean Schmidt's Democratic opponent in the 2005 special election in which she was narrowly picked to replace former Congressman Rob Portman. It was Hackett's strong showing in a reliably GOP district (Bush won 65% of the vote in the 2nd District in 2004) that propelled the DCCC to view Jean Schmidt as a weak incumbent. Hackett, however, this week said that he too believes that the window is closing on the opportunity for the Democrats to beat Jean Schmidt. Hackett cites the improvements that Jean Schmidt has made after two terms in congress. She does seem to have become less abrasive, and less combatant than when she first entered and made the infamous "cowards cut and run" speech on the House floor. Hackett also refers to some of Wulsin's "issues and problems and challenges" as a candidate, possibly referring to the questions surrounding malariotherapy and her work with the Heimlich Institute.

The third story that is hurting Wulsin is the recent story about a bi-partisan bill that Jean Schmidt is working on with Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota. The bill would supply aide to pregnant teenagers who are looking to give up their baby for adoption. It seems to me that this is a good piece of pro-life legislation. I am happy to see a pro-life candidate working on making adoption an easier choice rather than simply attacking abortion rights.

With all of these stories coming out this week, it does force Democrats to wonder if the 2nd District is now a missed opportunity. Please do not think that I am in any way warming up to Jean Schmidt, I still hope that Dr. Wulsin defeats her in November. However, the Wulsin campaign is going to need to pull out all of the stops and really pound ahead this time. I think that if Jean Schmidt is to win this election, her incumbency in the 2nd District is all but entrenched.

Friday, March 14, 2008

RIP Howard Metzenbaum

Former Senator Howard Metzenbaum died today at the age of 90. He was a firebrand liberal, who often held one man filibusters against corperate-friendly legistlation. He fought hard to defend working people, frequently capitalizing on the rules of the Senate to increase his personal power in the chamber.

Relentlessly attacking corperate intrest and special tax breaks, Sen. Metzenbaum established himself as one of the most liberal members of the Senate. It was a label that he didn't shy away from, even as Republicans began to take control of Ohio's executive offices.

Ohio mourns the loss of Sen. Metzenbaum

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We Were Supposed to be Better Than This

I am shocked like most people about the revelation that New York's seemingly squeaky-clean governor was involved with a prostitute. I'm not naive about the philandering of politicians or anything, but I really thought that Gov. Spitzer was a good thing for New York. I stood in awe of his career as New York's Attorney General as he battled corporate crooks. I thought that he was the real deal, and I saw him, as many did, as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Why do smart people do stupid things? I mean, there are one of two roads to take here. If Gov. Spitzer feels that prostitution shouldn't be a crime, then why wouldn't he try to change the law in New York? I mean, he either feels that prostitution is wrong, and is a complete hypocrite, or he feels that it is not a big deal, but never did anything in his capacity as governor to change New York's laws about prostitution. Either way, it's a shitty thing to do.

I feel disappointed by a politician that I had a lot of admiration for. I think that it is time for Gov. Spitzer to step down. This is a hard blow for the people of New York, as well as the Democratic Party. We were supposed to be better than this.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Trouble for GOP in congress?

While yesterday's special election in Illinois was drown out by the news of Obama's victory in Wyoming, there certainly are reasons for the GOP to be scared of their congression prospects this fall. Democrat Bill Foster defeated Republican Jim Oberweis in the special election to replace Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the House. Dennis Hastert announced shortly after the begining of the 110th Congress that he would be retiring, and decided last fall to resign before completing his final term.

The Republicans should be scared about this win for the Democrats for three reasons. This was a reliably GOP district stretching from the western cusp of Chicago to the banks of the Mississippi River. Congressman-elect Foster won this district by a narrow margin of 52% of the vote, but even a narrow margin of victory for a Democrat in a GOP district like this one is impressive. This is a seat that was held for more than twenty years by a staunch conservative. Former Speaker Hastert holds the record of being the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House. This former GOP powerhouse's district has just gone to the Democrats.

The second reason that the GOP should be scared are the issues of the special election. Bill Foster did not run as a conservative Democrat; he ran opposed to the war in Iraq saying that he would be a reliable anti-war vote. Oberweis seemed to counter with a message claiming that the surge is working. John McCain, who lent some of his time and money to this campaign, is running his campaign for president based on the success of the surge and possible victory in Iraq. If this message is no longer resonating in reliable GOP districts, then where will it work on the campaign trail?

The third reason that the Republicans should be scared is that the fundraising advantage that the Democrats already hold in the DCCC will undoubtedly only be bolstered by a victory in GOP territory. Minority leader Boehner has already told his fellow house members to "get off their asses" and start fundraising. Looks like John Boehner's dream of becoming Speaker of the House is slowly slipping through his fingers doesn't it?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Obama Wins in Wyoming

Welcome to the snow day edition of Fear and Blogging!!!

It looks like the Democrats of Wyoming have finally landed a place in presidential politics. Obama has racked up another caucus victory, and a another mountain west victory. The Clinton people were already downplaying the significance of the caucus before it even started, but the fact that the entire Clinton family has been activly campaigning in Wyoming for the past few days is pretty telling about whether they were actually conceding the state or not.

Clinton's people keep saying that she should be the nominee because she is winning in the big states that matter like Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey, etc. Well, it seems like the rhetoric is backfiring on the Clintons; if they don't feel as though the voters in smaller states matter for a Democratic victory in November then those voters aren't going to vote for them. This is sort of a weak argument when faced with the fact that it is unlikely that California or New York will go Republican regardless of who the Democratic nominee is. It also ignores the polls which show Obama winning with more states, and by a larger margin against McCain.

Following Obama's victory in Wyoming the campaign will now shift for a few days to Mississippi. Obama is expected to do well in Mississippi as well, which combine with Wyoming will probably erase the 10-15 net gain in delegates that Clinton won on Tuesday. This leaves a 6 week gap before the final large contest.

My guess is that as of right now Clinton will win Pennsylvania, but not by more than a few points. As of right now she is leading Obama in the polls by 10-15 points, but Sen. Obama seems to be able to dwindle away those leads when he has a good chance to campaign in a state. The demographics of Pennsylvania are similar to those of Ohio, with a similar political situation. PA's governor has endorsed Sen. Clinton. But if Sen. Obama is able to either pull off a win here, or at least narrow Sen. Clinton's margin of victory, I can't see Sen. Clinton winning the remainder of contests following April 22nd.

I'd say that Obama is still the odds on favorite for the Democratic nomination.

Friday, March 7, 2008

What to do about FL and MI

The new war in the Democratic campaign for president is about whether or not to seat the delegates from the states of Florida and Michigan. Florida and Michigan held their primary elections prior to February 5th, thus violating DNC rules. The states are going back and forth with Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee about the controversy. The Clinton and Obama campaigns are also weighing in; Sen. Clinton wants the delegates to be seated while Sen. Obama's campaign would rather hold another primary or caucus.

The tragedy here lies with the disenfranchised voters of each of these states, though the states are to blame. I find it unreasonable to leave out people from the process at the convention, but it also unfair for Sen. Obama suffer for following DNC rules. The only reasonable way to solve this delima seems to be to have another election. I am not saying this simply as an Obama supporter, but out of fairness to both the campaigns and the voters.

Is it fair to seat Michigan's delegates when Sen. Obama's supporters didn't even have a chance to vote for him because his name did not appear on the ballot? Of course not, and in a proportional system for allotting the delegates, it is unreasonable to believe that Obama would not have at least won a portion of Michigan's delegates had there been a real contest. The DNC threatened candidates who campaigned early in Florida, where Clinton also won, so should Obama also suffer for following the rules? Anyone who will take of their Obama or Clinton partisan blinders would be able to see that it is both not fair to leave people out, and it is unfair to punish a candidate for following the rules.

So that leaves one option in the name of fairness; hold a new primary. While each of these states are now complaining that a new primary a caucus will be costly, shouldn't they have considered the implications and or repercussions for their actions? They were warned by the DNC not to hold early primaries. They didn't follow the rules, and now they are turning around and saying that Howard Dean is being irresponsible. Howard Dean is not responsible for disenfranchising the voters of Florida and Michigan, it is their own selfish state legislatures and governors. These states thought that they could have more clout if they voted early, but as it turns out the conventional wisdom about this primary season was wrong. States like Wyoming and Mississippi who elected to hold their votes later are having a bigger impact on this race because of their patience.

The states of Florida and Michigan should have a new vote in the name of fairness. Don't disenfranchise the voters, and don't punish candidates who follow the rules set out by the DNC.

The Rush Limbaugh Strategy

Aparently Rush Limbaugh instructed his listeners to "crossover" and vote in the Democratic primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont last Tuesday. His instructions included the request that his listeners not only vote by Democratic ballot, but also that they vote for Hillary Clinton to keep the Democratic race going. I suppose that a wide open race for the Democrats is supposed to benefit John McCain, the Republican candidate that Rush says he is considering not voting for. So Rush wants to keep the Democratic race wide open so that the guy he is not voting for has a chance to gain ground? Someone better make sure Rush hasn't been popping any pills lately.

I'm not sure I understand the logic behind this strategy. If you watched the coverage of the March 4th primaries, you probably noticed the lopsided coverage as I did. John McCain locked up the Republican nomination, yet the entire night was dedicated to the Obama/Clinton race. So basically, supposing that Rush's listeners were the deal breaker for Clinton on March 4th then wouldn't Rush actually be helping to focus MORE attention on the Democrats? As long as this primary race keeps going, all of the attention will be on the Democrats. This isn't because of the "liberal media bias" that I can already almost hear coming out of Rush's mouth, but because that is where the interest and the story are.

So my advice as a Democrat is this: please let Rush continue to direct his listeners in the remaining primaries. The Democratic party isn't divided, we just havn't picked out who the winner of our version of "Survivor" is. Either way, most of us are happy with who our eventual nominee will be. The GOP, however, could probably use someone to unite them behind McCain. So keep wasting your time by keeping the Democrats and Sens. Obama and Clinton in the news. We will take the free press. Oh yeah, keep bitching about how aweful your candidate with cross-apeal is too. Seems like you've figured out a sure fire formula for loosing in Novemember.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A primary and a petition in Hamilton County

Update:

I have spoken to Chris Dole's campaign about my proposals for the upcoming Democratic County Central Committee meeting, and he has advised me not to propose that the Democratic Party endorse his canidacy for County Commission. He says that it could actually hurt his chances for ballot access because the Board of Elections could claim that he did not file as in independent in good faith. I wrote the Dole campaign back to let them know that I will be available to help them in any capacity that I can. I will continue to update F and B readers about Chris Dole's historic race for County Commission.

First of all, I know I've been a bad blogger, but I assure you that I am back. Hopefully we can get Ron up and rolling here soon too. Now on to the content:

It has now become clear that Sen. Clinton is the winner of the primary in Ohio. While I voted for Obama and will continue to support his candidacy as the primary calander moves on, I congratulate Sen. Clinton on a hard fought victory. It is also aparent now that John McCain has gone from being the presumptive Republican nominee to having enough delegates to be the nominee. It seems as though the help of Gov. Strickland helped Sen. Clinton through Ohio's Apalaichan belt. I could sit here and analize who voted for Clinton and who voted for Obama, but the fact is that Hillary Clinton won more votes than Barack Obama in Ohio.

As for our countywide races, it appears as though Vic Wulsin and Jean Schmidt will get their rematch in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. Vic Wulsin performed very well against Schmidt in 2006, and is poised to maybe gain victory in what is looking to be a very Democratic year. The Democratic primary race has been smeared by mudslinging between Vic Wulsin and her opponent Steve Black. Hopefully 2nd District Democrats can all line up behind Vic now so that she can beat the embarassment that is Jean Schmidt.

The other "primary" that took place in Ohio was candidate Christopher Dole submitting his petitions to the board of elections to appear on the November ballot for the office of County Commissioner. His campaign is reporting that he collected over 4,700 signatures, well over the 2,800 needed. Hopefully his petitions will pass what will probably be the high level of scrutiny leveled against them by Chairmen Burke and Vincent, the local Democratic and GOP chairs who also have seat on the board of elections.

Another primary winner today is me! I know I recieved at least on vote in an unopposed race for Democratic County Central Committee. I plan on introducing a resolution this year to endorse Chris Dole for county comissioner, as well as one to prevent our party from challenging petitions for independent candidates based on the candidate's party registration.

Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this blog since I have let it go inactive for so long, but if you are thank you. Fear and Blogging is back!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Hamilton County Democratic Forum

I attended last night's Hamilton County Democratic Forum to get a sense of how Hamilton County is feeling about both the presidential race and the primary race for the 2nd congressional district. I also collected signatures to place Christopher Dole on the November ballot for the Commissioner's race. I think standing outside made me catch a cold, so I hope Chris knows I'm pulling for him!

The begining of the event was a debate between County Commissioner David Pepper, who was representing the Clinton campaign, and City Councilman David Crowley, who represented Barack Obama. The battle of the Davids was a friendly one. Overall David Pepper seemed much more familiar with the positions of his candidate than did David Crowley. Crowley may have been less prepared because of his recent switch to Obama after John Edwards dropped out of the race last month though.

David Pepper outlined some of the major points of Clinton's candidacy: a 90 moratorium on forclosures, an increase in fuel economy standards on American autos, a 50 billion dollars fund to create green collar jobs. He also made some strong points about Clinton's electability; citing that recent polls show her doing better against McCain than Obama. He also drew a large applause from a line asking the audience if they really want the Republican attack machine selecting our candidate for us based on their hatred for HRC.

David Crowley outlined the way in which Obama was able to reach across party lines in the Illinois State Senate as well as the U.S. Senate. Crowley also contrasted Clinton's healthcare plan with Obama's stating the Clinton would force people to pay for insurance; much in the same way states force motorists to buy auto insurance. Crowley also told the audience ab0ut how Obama will remove combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. Crowley also said that experience doesn't necessarily equate to leadership.

Following the faux presidential debate was a debate between Steve Black and Vic Wulsin, the two candidates for congress in the 2nd congressional district. Mr. Black and Dr. Wulsin spent most of the debate leveling charges against each other; Steve Black referring to an investigation into work Dr. Wulsin did with the Hiemlich Institute, and Wulsin acusing Steve Black of owning millions of dollars in oil company and Halliburton stock. Each of them seemed to feel the same way about the issues, but each claimed that they were the only candidate who can beat incumbent Jean Schmidt in November.

The crowd seemed to be an even split between Dr. Wulsin and Mr. Black, but Hillary Clinton's campaign seemed to out do Barack Obama's as far as visibility is concerned. If one thing came out of this Democratic debate it is this, despite our divisions over candidates this is an energized party in and energized year.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Will the Democrats' split decision help Democrats in November?

The pundits and media are speculating about what exactly will determine who will be the Democratic nominee as it becomes increasingly likely that neither Senator Obama or Senator Clinton will have enough delegates amassed. With the Republicans already having a de facto nominee with John McCain, many worry that the GOP will be able to campaign vigorously while the Democrats do not have a candidate to respond.



The long Democratic campaign for president, however, may actually be helping the Democratic Party. It has forced Democrats to compete for votes in states that have been ignored in the past 2 election cycles. Before Super Tuesday, Sen. Obama held a rally in Idaho. When was the last time a Democratic candidate for president even visited the state of Idaho? The Democrats have basically conceded the giant L shape that cuts through the map of the United States comprised of the Great Plains and Southeast for the past 20 years, while taking support on the West Coast and in the Northeast for granted. The battle for the White House has been fought in the trenches of the midwest.



This split decision primary has forced the two remaining Democratic candidates to compete for every single delegate in every single state and terrirtory. This battle for delegates has forced Democrats to campaign in states that they have written off for years. With the candidates campaigning in these states, and Howard Dean creating a "50 state strategy" for the Democratic Party, many states that are considered in the "red state" column may be in play for Democrats.



I'm not saying that we should count on Idaho or Utah to vote Democrat in November, but I do think that many of the voters in these states apreciate the candidates actually stopping by to spread thier message. It certainly says something for a candidate like Barack Obama when he can turnout nearly 20,000 people in a small conservative state like Idaho to hear him speak.



With primaries scheduled through June, the Democrats may have to battle it out until the end of Spring before we know who will be going to the convention with a majority of pledged delegates. All of these primary dates also include small numbers of states; therefore the candidates can focus exclusively on these contests. Following the big make or break primary for Senator Clinton on March 4th in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island comes states that have been more difficult for Democrats in the past. Sens. Obama and Clinton will likely be campaigning for the support of voters from Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.



This long campaign through unfamiliar terroitory may ultimately help build support for the eventual Democratic nominee. It will at least do something that has not happened for several election cycles; give every voter in every state a voice when it comes to who will be the next president.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Roxanne, You're Gonna Have to Walk the Streets for Money

Facing a major budget shortfall, Cincinnati City Council recently passed a resolution to place red light cameras around major intersections in the city. There was no public safety outcry from the community; this idea was proposed by Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls for the sole purpose of increasing city revenue. These cameras will not only see to it that more motorists recieve tickets for running red lights, but they border on a violation of personal privacy. This Orwellian law enforcement tool will take a picture of the motorist's licence plate number, and use their address based on vehicle registration to send a ticket.

A coalition of groups in Hamilton County have began to gather signatures to place this issue on the November ballot. This coalition is similar to the one created last year to oppose the jail tax; so far it includes the NAACP, the Southwest Ohio Green Party, and COAST. I urge everyone to take time to sign their petitions so that this issue will appear on the November ballot. Then we can all tell City Council that they need to find a less intrusive was to raise money.

Thank you Everyone and Thank You Cincinnati Beacon

I just want to take a little space to thank everyone who has choosen to check out this blog over the past week and a half. We have had a great introduction so far, and I promise Ron will begin contributing as soon as he can! I also would like to thank The Cincinnati Beacon for their review and link to this new blog. Please keep reading, and I promise I will keep posting!!!

Obama Republicans

There seems to be a gowing phenomenon of disaffected Republicans joining the Obama camp. There are two types of Obama Republicans that are emerging in the wake of the inevidable nomination of John McCain.

The first group of Obama Republicans are the right-wing talk show crowd who can't stomach McCain's legislative resume. These are people who want to send the GOP out into the wilderness for 2-4 years so that it can do some soul searching. These people seem to be taking on Obama as their "lesser of evils" candidate. These people hate John McCain, but they despise the Clintons. I think they can even bring themselves to find something inspiring about Obama, despite the fact that he is slightly to the left of Hillary Clinton.

The second group of Obama Republicans are the people of the party who feel disenfranchised by GOP policy for the past 15 years. These are the "post-partisan" group, who aren't looking for ideological discipline, but rather pragmatic solutions to our problems. What these people see in Obama is what many Democrats see, a fresh face with new ideas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who's united, and who's divided?

I keep hearing pundits on the major news networks talk about how the Democrats are "bitterly divided" this election season. Well, one thing is for certain; Democrats ARE divided over who they want to be the nominee. But are they really divided as a party? I don't think so. I haven't heard many Democrats making claims about not voting, or voting for the Repbulicans if their respective candidate looses the nomination. I live in a house that is divided; my wife is leaning towards supporting Hillary Clinton in the upcoming primary and I am leaning towards Barack Obama. We aren't really having any raging battles with each other, we pretty much agree what the issues of importance are in the upcoming election. She just happens to prefer Senator Clinton carrying the Democratic Party message, while I prefer Senator Obama.

The Democratic race is about who, not what. The GOP race, however, is definately much more divided. Though Senator McCain is the presumptive nominee at this point, there are many influential party members who are saying that they would never support him as the Republican candidate. This is mostly a fight over rigid ideology. Senator McCain is disliked by conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and James Dobbson because he does not draconianly adhere to Republican principals. I personally believe that the GOP primary voters have been wise to select McCain for that very reason; he appeals to moderates, independents, and some Democrats. The far right of the Republican Party, however, feels that McCain's major pieces of legislation reach too far to the middle.

There are not major Democratic supporters making drastic claims about Sens. Obama and Clinton. Democratic primary voters seem to be telling us that they like both the candidates, whereas the Republican are lamenting about the guy that they have voted for.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hamilton County Commisioner's race

As many of you may or may not know, the local Hamilton County Democratic and Republican Parties decided to make the voters' choice for them when it comes to many county wide races this fall. The deal struck between the two parties has allowed Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune to run unopposed, while Republican Greg Hartman will run unopposed for the seat being vacated by Pat DeWine. In addition to Democrat Todd Portune being allowed to run without opposition, Democratic County Coroner Odell Owens will run unopposed. Since the Republicans have let these two off the hook, the Democrats have agreed to let Country Prosecutor Joe Deters have another four years, as well as agreeing not to run judges in 10 of 12 contests this fall.

I think all us can agree that this is a bad deal for voters, regardless of which party we support, what our particular ideology is when it comes to politics, or even if we support all of these candidates. The justice system is broken in Hamilton County, yet the Democrats are going to let the same Republicans who have been screwing it up for the past 10 years continue to do so. The reason that I think the Democrats made this concession to Republicans is because of fear of a candidate rising out of the ranks of the strong anti-tax movement who opposed the sales tax increase that Commissioners Portune and Pepper created last year. It was defeated by a ballot initiative in the fall. Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman, made this deal to ensure that the Democratic Party continues to hold a majority in the County's most powerful governing body.

There are a few things we can all do, however, to change the way things are being done. First, there is a man by the name of Chris Dole who plans on running as in independent for Hamilton County Commissioner. He needs to collect 3,000 signatures of registered voters in Hamilton County by 4pm March 3rd in order to appear on the November Ballot. If he succeeds in collecting enough valid signatures, he will be running against Greg Hartmann. You can sign one of his petitions to help him get on the ballot.

Another thing that we can all do is run for precinct executive in the Republican or Democratic Primary. This opportunity, unfortunately, will not be available to any of you who are not already running until 2010. Many precincts don't have anyone serving, and all you have to do is either gather 5 signatures to appear on the ballot, or file a declaration of candidacy to run as a write-in candidate. If you are running unopposed (as nearly all precinct executives do) all you have to do is vote for yourself to win election. As a precinct executive you are responsible for selecting party leadership. I know I will be doing my part to change how the Democratic Party functions this year, I hope everyone reading this will also want to get involved to make their party of choice more respectful of the voters as well.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Super Tuesday review

Well, once again the media's pundits have bequeathed their opinion about what would happen durring the primaries on us, and once again they were pretty much full of shit.

First, the Democratic Party Bullshit:
CNN had all of these fancy pie charts and bar graphs to show the audience that Barack Obama does well with blacks and white men, and Hillary Clinton does well with latinos and women. What I saw was Hillary Clinton winning large urban states and Obama winning the south, the plains, and the midwest. They are also saying that the Democratic Party is a party that is divided; I think that this is pretty ridiculous as well. I haven't heard a lot of Democrats who are saying that they will not vote for the party's eventual nominee if their choice looses. I think that the soul searching is definately on the side of the GOP, and that the Democrats are united, even if they are not united behind a specific candidate.

and the Republican Party Bullshit:
If anyone deserves to be pissed off about how they have been treated by the media it is Mike Huckabee. Governor Huckabee has been treated like he belongs at the back of the pack pretty much since he anounced his candidacy. Even after his suprise victory in Iowa the media was discussing how Iowa definately wasn't going to propel Mike Huckabee to the nomination. I do not believe that Mike Huckabee will be the Republican nominee, but he has certainly showing more relevance than Mitt Romney. So far Romney has only won in states that he has lived in and states where there are lots of Mormons. While Romney has become the darling of right-wing talk radio as the "conservative" alternative to frontrunner John McCain, Mike Huckabee has certainly shown that many social conservatives believe in his message. I am not pretentious (or important by media standards) enough to write anyone's obituary, but I would have to say that if Huckabee was the millionaire in this race, then it would be considered a toss up between himself and McCain. This is a GOP more divided than it has ever been in my lifetime.

BTW, if you believe Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh's bullshit about Romney being some kind of conservative alternative to John McCain watch this. Notice how he talks about how he was an independent durring the Reagan Era (pretty much the equivilent of saying you were an atheist in the time of Christ to a Cristian), he fully supports Roe v. Wade, and that he will do MORE for gay rights than Senator Kennedy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5FGtR0bHkI

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Welcome to Fear and Blogging in Cincinnati

I would like to welcome readers to Fear and Blogging in Cincinnati. This blog is going to serve to report and editorialize on politics in Cincinnati, the state of Ohio, and in the United States. The two authors of this blog will be myself, and Ron Turner. Ron and I will be giving our own independent perspective on the issues, and the candidates that affect all of us in the southwest Ohio/tristate region.

Ron and I decided to put this blog together to make a forum in which we can express our political views as a conservative and a liberal in a respectful manner. This is not going to be a blog about talking points, but rather the real substance of the issues that affect us all. Of course there will be room for humor and a little jabbing, but I want to empahsize rationality. I also hope that our readers who choose to comment on our posts will use the same discretion.

I will let Ron do his own intro, but I would like to introduce myself and explain my views to those of you who may be reading this, but do not know me. My name is Nathan Wissman, and I am a student who is gearing up to graduate this spring from the University of Cincinnati. I will be earning a bachelor's degree in the field of political science. I am a contributing member of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, as well as a member of the Democratic National Committee. I am also an elected precinct executive within the Hamilton County Democratic Party. I am a civil libertarian and a dues paying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. My economic views are mixed as I believe in a capitalist system with a strong welfare state safety net. I am a secular humanist with an agnostic religious view.

I look forward to spirited posts and debates in this blog, and I also look forward to finding common ground with those who share different political views from myself. I feel very fortunate to be able to embark upon this project with Ron, and I hope that we can both enjoy blogging together, and I hope that our readers will enjoy our blogging as well.