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.