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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    The Fat Lady sings for Blog 

    Despite the fact the future of political Web blogs is assured, Ohioblog has none. Blog is kaput. Thanks for sharing.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:48 AM

    Values-added governing 

    The old formula for victory in an Ohio election no longer works. An army of Democratic voters, many of the first-timers, stormed the polls and voted for Sen. John Kerry, particularly in and around Ohio's largest cities, including Akron, Cleveland and Canton. It didn't matter. What did matter, what any Democrat who ever wants to win in Ohio must
    address, is what exit polls reveal drove Ohioans' decision. It wasn't their jobs (or, in too many cases, lack of them). It wasn't fear of terrorists. It wasn't anger over the war in Iraq and its human and financial cost. It was something deeper, earthier. It was their lives - or rather, how they live their lives and the values that guide them.

    John C. Green , who heads the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron, told The Washington Post that one piece of campaign literature from President Bush evoked the message that battallions of Republican Party workers were delivering in person around the state. The Bush mailer was illustrated with a beautiful church and a traditional nuclear (can you say nu-QUE-lar?) family. It's print message was: ``George W. Bush shares your values. Marriage. Life. Faith.'' It was perfect. ``It could not have been clearer if it had quoted from the Bible,'' Green told The Post.

    Kerry had a unified, aggressive, well-funded campaign. He didn't give up on Ohio, as Al Gore did. He, in fact won more Ohio votes (2,659,664 so far) than any Democrat in history and still lost by 136,483 votes (and counting). ``There's going to be a lot of political scientists studying this election for years,'' Jo Ann Davidson, chairwoman of the Ohio
    Valley Region of the Bush-Cheney campaign, told The Plain Dealer.

    What they will find is an Ohio that is, as it has always been, a microcosm of the United States, but, if Davidson is correct, one shifting from five district regions, or Five Ohios, to the one of suburgan/rural counties and urban counties. Even in urban counties such as Summit, where Kerry, won 56 percent of the vote, the principal influence of voters in suburban/rural counties is at work: moral values.
    Or, religion. Ohioblog tried to explain the depth and importance of religion in and around Akron in The Sunday School of Akron (and Ohio) politics. Blog's failing was this conclusion: Religion still counts in Akron, but it isn't the only thing that counts on the first Tuesday of November in presidential election years. Religion or moral principals was the only thing that counted with the majority and as Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley puts it: ``The Democratic Party better get some religion.''

    It isn't that Democratics don't have deep-seated beliefs and values. It's just that they aren't shared by the majority. Democrats believe in helping the weakest among us, of recognizing and honoring our diversity, including different lifestyles, and not forcing these beliefs on others. Most Ohioans, based on the passage of Issue 1 banning gay marriages, believe only in heterosexual marriage and in the other parts of the Bush agenda, including the right to bear arms but not to choose an abortion. These themes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told The New York Times, fit into ``a center-right governing majority.''

    Governing, of course, is the question. ``Despite an utterly incompetent war performance in Iraq and a stagnant economy, Mr. Bush held onto the same basic core of states that he won four years ago - as if nothing had happened,'' assessed The New York Times' columnist Thomas L. Friedman. ``It seemed as if people were not voting on his performance. It seemed as if they were voting for what team they were on.'' Friedman's assessment was titled: ``Two Nations Under God.''

    A Toledo Blade editorial headline writer got it right: ``Divided we stand.'' This is Ohio and the nation today. President Bush said it isn't the way it has to be, that we can all work together, that he will reach across the aisle with a welcoming hand. That would be the sort of leadership that Texans say Bush provided as governor. It is the kind of unifier that the president promised to be when he first sought the office. It is the kind of leadership people are seeking.

    There is a difference between talking about coalition building and the real building of them. During the campaign, Sen. Kerry occasionally quoted the Bible about the difference between words and acts. The good act of caring about what others think and finding some common ground with them is a may not be part of the moral agenda but would be of real value.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:31 AM

    Is this any way to run an election? 

    If voters were customers, Ohio election officials would be looking for new jobs, their business shut down by consumer revolt. Customers don't stand in line for four or five hours. They demand service. Often loudly. CAN YOU HEAR THIS? OHIOBLOG IS SHOUTING. (BLOG FEELS LIKE DAVE BARRY WITH ALL THESE STUPID CAPITAL LETTERS.) Beyond the usual individual problems, Election Day, with a record Ohio turnout of 5.6 milliion, made it clear that Ohio needs to alter how it votes and join much of the rest of the country in allowing early voting. Ohio is among only 19 states that do not allow early voting. So Ohioans stood in line for hours to vote. There still might have been lines in some locations at peak voting periods. But nothing like Ohio experienced Tuesday. Florida used early ``no-excuse'' (as in you don't
    need one as a voter does with an absentee ballot) and one-sixth of the state's 6 million voters took advantage of the opportunity. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio secretary of state, has proposed mail-in ballots, weekend voting and a two-day voting period. The General Assembly, naturally, said no. (It says no to almost all good ideas, including funding Ohio's schools adequately.) In the wake of this election, however, Gov. Bob Taft said in a news conference that Ohio might consider alternative voting. It is past time.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:55 AM

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    John Kerry: Ohioblog medal of honor winner 

    Sen. John Kerry saved Ohioans from at least 10 more days of Ohioblog. He saved the nation from 10 more days of Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. All he had to do was give up on hiw two-campaign to become president. Good decision. President Bush owes Ohio some jobs since its voters saved his. He will soon begin filling positions for his second term. There should be many for those who enjoy wearing camo (John? instead of geese, you could hunt terrorists). Blog will close shop in the next day or so, tie together a few loose issues and try to figure out what's next here in under-employment-ville. Until then...
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:34 PM

    When Ohioans speak, the world listens 

    Ohioans' opinions shot up in value The Morning After, and National Public Radio's Morning Edition was buying. The program passed a cellphone around Cafe Momus on Brown Street in Akron to get the takes of people on the presidential election that will not end. The voters were split, with two backers of President Bush and three for Sen. John Kerry, appropriate since Kerry won Summit County, as Al Gore did four years ago. The voters also were split as to whether being the linchpin in this election had merit or was a liability. In any case, Ohioans will not be able to eat breakfast in peace until our 15 minutes of fame is up.
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:37 AM

    Could we join Diebold in the 21st century now? 

    Diebold Inc. stock began the morning up almost 2 percent at $49.59. No wonder. The Green company's voting machines functioned well while some of their competitors - including Danaher Controls' touch-screens - experienced problems. Makes an Ohioblog wonder about the judgment of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who blocked the machines from being installed by counties that wanted to use them. (Of course, Ohioblog is always wondering about Ken's judgment.) Voting without a paper trail worries people. Electronic voting machine makers are addressing this. They promised retrofits for machines purchased and used in this election. That wasn't good enough to halt the political infighting, so Ohioans once again voted mostly with outdated punchcards. Unlike Floridians in 2000, Ohioans had their chad together, and there were no significant problems.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:15 AM

    Moral values? We're No. 1! 

    Ohioans joined voters in 10 other states in telling gays where they should go - which is not here, at least not if they want their relationships to be be recognized in a legal - or generous - way. By 3-to-2, Ohioans followed the lead of Cincinnatian Phil Burress and the Citizens for Community Values and voted to amend Ohio's constitution with the most far-reaching anti-gay marriage language in the country. And Burress, a former pornography addict gone straight, isn't finished. He told Bill Cohen of Ohio Public Radio's Statehouse News Bureau: ``We the people are the ones who run this country,'' Burress said. ``We the people are the ones who determine in this state what marriage ought to look like. Activist judges will have a day when they will pay. We have a database now in the hundreds of thousands and that database is not going to go to waste. We will be holding candidates accountable in the future on the moral issues here in the state of Ohio, whether it is right to life, the homosexual agenda or whatever it may be.'' If this is still a nation of laws in Ohio they are made by moralists.

    Meanwhile, in the No. 1 moralist's backyard...

    Talk about mixed messages. In Phil Burress' hometown of Cincinnati, voters by 65,082 to 55,934 repealed an article of the city's charter that fails to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination such as losing their jobs or being denied housing because they are gay. This clears the way for the Cincinnati City Council to pass a law protecting gays. How could this happen? Burress told The Enquirer in Cincinnati that the voters must have been confused. Someone is.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:47 AM

    Oh no! Not 10 more days of Mr. Blackwell 

    J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, has the floor. He isn't likely to yield it anytime soon. Democratic Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards want every vote counted. That could take awhile. Counting of provisional ballots may not begin until after 10 days of scrutiny to determine whether the some 175,000 ballots were cast by properly registered voters. Because there was question about their status, these voters were given provisional ballots. With President Bush holding a 136,221 vote lead (2,794,346 to 2,658,125), Ohioblog isn't buying that Kerry still has a chance. But unless Kerry concedes, the process will continue. ``Take a deep breath and relax,'' Blackwell told reporters. ``If it takes two hours, two days or two weeks.'' And oh yeah - keep that spotlight on Ken. He loves it.
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:33 AM

    It was the economy, stupid 

    Mike Hanke knows Stark County. But after picking every president since 1960, Stark County reflects neither Ohio nor the nation. Hanke, the general manager of the The Repository in Canton, predicted Kerry would win this Ohio county considered a bellwether for the nation. Kerry did, 51 percent to 49 percent in what proved a record turnout of at least 186,252 voters. Hanke had predicted a Kerry would receive 52 to 53 percent of the vote. Stark County didn't get it right because it has been hit harder than most economically. It has lost the headquarters of the Hoover Co., one of its foundation companies. It faces the possible loss of more than 1,000 workers at the Timken Co.'s bearings plant
    (though the company has added salaried positions). The jobs that have been generated tend to pay less than the ones that have been lost. So a significant number of Stark Countians voted on economic issues and in Ohio and across the country those voters tipped toward Kerry.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:06 AM

    Oops. Still waiting. And it's still Ohio 

    Go to bed for four hours and this is what happens: Ohio is still standing - the new Florida, as Ohioblog had anticipated. With a 140,000-vote lead, President Bush appears to have won but with some 200,000 provisional ballots remaining to counted was unwilling to say he had won. Sen. John Kerry has refused to concede, and until Ohio is officially decided, the president has only 254 of the 270 electoral
    votes he needs. This is the morning after, and the president, with more votes than any president, is, according to his staff, considering this a mandate. But then, he considered a 500,000-vote loss in 2000 to be a mandate.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:20 AM

    The more things change, the more they remain the same 

    President Bush paints a clear line of demarcation. He says the world changed on 9/11. Thousands of Americans died that day at the hand of terrorists. More than a thousand others have died in a faraway land fighting a war the president has tied to 9/11 like a can to the tail of a dog. But the president is wrong about one thing: Not everything in the world changed on 9/11. If you look at the electoral map with its red Republican states and blue Democratic states, it looks at this hour much as it did four years ago when Ohio fell into place for George W. Bush and he went on to win the a contested presidency in Florida. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. At 1 a.m., MSNBC projected that President Bush would win Ohio. Alaska followed quickly and that, if MSNBC is correct, guaranteed the president a minimum of 269 electoral votes and a tie for the presidency, which he would win on a vote of the Republican House of Representatives. Ohio, as we Ohioans had expected, made the difference. MSNBC's exit polls indicated that this was because moral values count more than anything else with voters, and Evangelical Christians turned out in large numbers and voted almost exclusively for the president, even if they didn't like everything about the way he runs the country and what it has meant for Ohio's incredible shrunken economy of 260,000 lost jobs. People like the way President Bush runs his life, and that is enough for them. Ohioans have shown themselves to people of the spirit more than of the mind. George W. Bush is their man and their president.
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:35 AM

    It's called governing from the center 

    Just as was the case in 2000, whoever wins the presidency will receive nothing close to a mandate. The country remains as deeply divided as it was four years ago and afflicted with even more bitterness. A president can govern without acknowledging this fact. One has for the past four years. He just cannot govern well without a sense of and striving for some small patch of common ground held by both those who voted for him and the nearly 50 percent of Americans who spurned him on Election Day.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:28 AM

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    Howard Dean, here Blog comes 

    Issue 1, the ban on gay marriage, has passed. Ohio is now the proud owner of the most socially conservative, anti-gay, anti-any-union-but-heterosexual-marriage constitutional amendment of any state in the country. Makes Blog want to pack up and move to Vermont tomorrow.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:27 PM

    Leave the Ohio geography to Blog 

    Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's former press secretary for and now an aide to Sen. John Kerry, needs to work on his Ohio geography. While running down the areas in which Al Gore fared well in 2000 and thus Kerry may do the same, Lockhart mentioned Summit County and then preceded to connect it with Warren, where Kerry held a recent rally. Close Joe, but no cigar (forgive the reference; it probably creates bad memories for Clintonites). Warren is located in Trumbull County, which is part of the broader Mahoning Valley. If Ohio is going to be the difference for Kerry, his aides must commit these facts to memory. That, or hire Ohioblog as a consultant. When the election is over in hours or days or weeks, Blog will be available, a free agent on the political commentary market.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:19 PM

    Could we have that paper ballot to go, please? 

    As anticipated, Ohio is a voting mess. Reports of long lines at polling places in Cuyahoga (189,440 new registrants) and Franklin (124,324) counties, lawsuits for redress and judicial response ordering the issuance of paper ballots, which, of course, will prompt more lawsuits. While all sides were fighting over whether the new registratants in Ohio were real, they turned up at the polls and election officials were unprepared. It is an embarrassement and could have been avoided. The boards of election knew where the new voters lived – even if the
    Republicans didn't believe they existed. It is not a proud day for these Ohio's election officials, and that begins at the top with Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:42 PM

    In Northeast Ohio the voting is hot and heavy 

    The polls will close in Ohio in two hours. It took Ohioblog 25 minutes to get through the longest line Blog has seen in almost 25 years at Green's Precinct 2-D. Most of the mid-morning voters were older, but some of Blog's student journalists at the Buchtelite, the University of Akron's independent student newspaper, waited more than an hour to vote. Don't tell Blog that these students don't care. They do. After they had voted, they returned to the Buchtelite office and argued so loudly about their politics that Blog had to close his office door and eventually abandon the place to get some peace and quiet. There were no challengers at Blog's polling place, where the much smaller Green 2-E precinct also votes. None was needed. As Blog mentioned, these were mostly older voters, many of them unchallengeable, longtime Green residents. When Ms. Blog voted around noon, she experienced much grousing among the poll workers who, frankly, aren't used to working so hard and steadily. They were complaining they hadn't even been able to get up and have coffee. Hey, what did you expect? Few are staying home, sitting on their hands. We came out in the rain. We checked our chad. Now, we wait. This is important - to us, to the nation.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:42 PM

    Vote thoughtfully. The country you save may be your own 

    The polls open in Ohio in a few minutes. Ohioblog will be closed during Election Day so that Blog can do some investigative voting (someone has to see what's going on at the polls since U.S. District Judge Paul Matia of Cleveland denied the media access). Ohioblog will reopen tonight or early tomorrow as results warrant.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:09 AM

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    Kerry wins Stark County and the country 

    No one knows Stark County better than Michael E. Hanke, general manager of The Repository in Canton. That's why this is important: Hanke says in his Monday column that ``John Kerry wins Stark County with 52 percent to 53 percent of the vote because Stark Countians, like much of the country, aren’t happy with the economy. And, if Kerry wins Stark County, Kerry wins the country because Stark County’s bellwether status is about how the nation votes, and only coincidentally how Ohio votes.'' Exactly. When a person wants to know about Ohio, listen to Ohioans, especially those as grounded here as Hanke.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 PM

    And now, Ohio's final decision (maybe) 

    Ohio has lived up to its early campaign promise. The election will likely turn on what Ohioans do tomorrow. The candidates, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, came early and often and stayed late. Kerry, in fact, won't bail out the state until tonight after he is joined by rocker Bruce Springsteen in Cleveland for an election-eve rally. The world is watching. And what it may see is a state poised with its provisional ballots to make a mess of its voting and gain the ultimate Election Day prominence - even over that of Florida.

    Court decisions were being issued in the final hours and appeals readied. Both U.S. District Judges John Adams in Akron and Susan Dlott in Cincinnati barred political parties' challenges from the polls. Dlott said such challenges are unconstitution, and Adams explained that, ``In light of these extraordinary circumstances, and the contentious nature of the imminent election, the court cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the substantial likelihood that significant harm will result not only to voters, but also to the voting process itself, if appointed challengers are permitted at the polls.'' With the clock ticking, Republicans promised to appeal immediately.

    On another legal front, the Akron Beacon Journal sued to gain normal media access to the polls, which Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has blocked. The guy should change his name to Blackheart based on this and other election decisions.

    Although most acknowledge that turnout is nearly impossible to predict, Democrats and Republicans are working frantically to get their voters to the polls in an election that has been a deadheat between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry for weeks. The effort to mobilize voters, in Ohio and elsewhere, has been unprecedented. In Ohio, the two sides claim to have more than 150,000 field workers and volunteers on the ground today.

    If the Democrats are successful, they could give Kerry an edge. As Darrel Rowland and Jonathan Riskind report in The Columbus Dispatch ``substantially more (of the 1 million new Ohio registrants) come from areas that strongly supported Democrat Al Gore four years ago than those that ardently backed George W. Bush.''

    This isn't 2000, however. As the president points out, the world has changed since then. The questions Ohioans and the rest of the nation's voters will be answering in a few hours is whether, as political commentator and former Clinton operative David Gergen told the Washington Post, want Kerry's ``fact-based'' or Bush's ``intuition-based'' style of leadership. Despite all the details (and sometimes lack of them), no one can know all the particulars that play a part in a presidency. What a person can know is the decision-making process that produces the best results for the majority.

    And if we cannot decide...

    If Ohio is unable to sway the result of this presidential election to one side or the other, if in the days ahead we find the electoral teeter-totter balanced perfectly on 269-269, this will help you understand how we got there. There are, according to a Washington Post computer analysis, 33 ways the election could end in a tie.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:00 AM

    By virtue of being an American... 

    Since this is final Ohioblog before Election Day, the Blog wants to commend a piece to you written for The Christian Science Monitor by Lee Hamilton, director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, former Democratic congressman from Indiana, and, most recently, vice chair of the 9/11 Commission. Hamilton suggests that we must select leaders who ``aren't just in it for themselves.'' But in seeking virtue in our leaders, the American people ``must be virtuous, in the civic sense that the Founders had in mind.'' This requires the
    American people ``to pay attention, to educate oneself, to discern insincerity and reject misinformation, to enter the voting booth prepared to set aside one's own self-interest and focus on the good of the country. None of this is easy.'' And the difficulty is compounded in a country in which so many people can look at the same facts and come to opposite conclusions. The Blog expects we'll fall short of the Founders' and Hamilton's ideal tomorrow, but at least we can still reach for it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:56 AM

    Calling all Als. This is the test for you 

    John Tierney of The New York Times has put together a final exam for those following the presidential election, which, of course, we Ohioans have been. Any test that continues these multiple choices to one question meets Ohioblog's criterion for a great test: Al Quaeda, Al Dente, Al Qaqaa, Al Qaselzur and Al Roker (a former Ohioan, we might add).
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:54 AM

    Here are some leading indicators in other swing states 

    Ohioblog's poll boycott remains in effect, with a deviation. It should be noted that USA Today/CNN/Gallup and the Des Moines Register find early voters in Florida and Iowa supporting Sen. John Kerry. This isn't a poll in the strictest sense. These are voter-reported early results - not whom they will vote for but whom they have voted for. In Florida: Kerry 51 percent, President Bush 43 percent. In Iowa: Kerry 52 percent, Bush 41 percent. The Blog sends those who must have numbers that matter less to and to

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:17 AM

    You guys are no Martin Sheen 

    Tom Shales, Washington Post television columnist, was not impressed by the way either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry used the medium that became the message in the hands of such TV titans as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Shales finds, ``George W. Bush, the recumbent incumbent, about as exciting on TV as a sock puppet...'' and ``John Kerry, a man with less channelable charisma than Wolf Blitzer.''...So ``whatever happens on Election Day, we can't realy blame television. Not this time. The fault is in our stars, dear Brustus - not the glass screen through which we see them.''

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:15 AM

    Endorsements update: Kerry 208, Bush 169 

    Here's an update, courtesy of Editor&Publisher and its exclusive tally of newspaper endorsements (not including the Youngstown Vindicator). E&P's more or less final count has Sen. John Kerry receiving 208 endorsements to President Bush's 169. Kerry won the final Sunday of endorsements, 22 to 18, but the president picked up the New York Daily News, which endorsed Al Gore in 2000. Greg Mitchell reports that ``election-year surveys in recent decades concluded by giving an overall edge to the Republican candidate for president, except in one of Bill Clinton's races. In the past, major metros tended to split right down the middle, but Kerry has carried them by about a 5-3 margin this year. That gives him an edge in the circulation of papers backing him of about 20 million to 14 million.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:12 AM

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    UA doesn't belong to the profs. It belongs to all of us 

    [{[; is a brave teacher. She must have tenure. She is responsible for what may be the first play at the University of Akron featuring an all-black cast. (There seems to be some debate about whether this is the first. Suffice it to say, it is a rare event.) She deserves our admiration for putting on August Wilson's Fences, winner of the 1987 Pulitizer Prize, and standing firm in the wake of criticism from some white theater students. None of those student had the courage to put his or her name behind this ridiculous whining when the Buchtelite, the independent student newspaper at UA, broke the story on which the Akron Beacon Journal followed up. Speers should have stopped while she was ahead.

    Saturday, she brought filmmaker Michael Moore to the university, purportedly to address film's influence on society. Speers told the Beacon Journal's Madelin Ewquivel that this was a ruse to get free use of UA's Knight Auditorium where Moore appeared before about 400 people.

    Here's the rub: this is a facility funded by taxpayers. It should not be used, even by dedicated faculty, for essentially one-sided political purposes without payment. Speers paid out of her own pocket for security guard out of her own pocket. That doesn't negate the issue. Moore clearly came to UA for political purposes, much as he made Fahrenheit 9/11 for political purposes. He wants to send President Bush home to Crawford, Texas, where even the local newspaper won't endorse him.

    If the Buchtelite knows what it's doing, it will investigate the use of university facilities under false pretenses. In fact, Ohioblog would advise the newspaper to do so. But then, the Buchtelite doesn't always listen to advice from the Blog - or anyone else.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:49 PM

    Oh, you bad, bad Oh-Flor-id-io-ians 

    Flordians have a love/hate relationship with snowbirds. Ohioblog knows because Blog once was one - a Floridian, not a snowbird. Floridians love the fact that snowbirds feather their state's economic nest, but they dislike the ancilliary problems such as traffic that snowbirds bring during the winter months when it is cold in places such as Ohio. Now, Ohioans also have a reason to add snowbirds to their lists of birdbrain-pains-in-the-butt.

    The Plain Dealer's Scott Hiaasen (whose father is the renown author and Miami Herald columnist, Carl Hiaasen), Dave Davis and Julie Carr Smyth have documented that more than 27,000 voters are double-registered in Ohio and Florida and that as many as 400 people voted in Ohio and Florida in the same election over the past four years.

    Nice reporting. Bad snowbirds. These people have taken the notion of Ohio as the next Florida to a new level - they're making it happen.

    Maybe these bozos think because they live in both places that they should be able to vote in both places. Wrong. A person must live for more than six months (even if it is one day more) to establish that place as a primary residence and Blog would bet the farm that the overwhelming majority of snowbirds from Ohio make Florida their primary residence so as to take advantage of the fact Florida has no state income tax. Other newspapers, the PD reports, have written similar stories documenting the illegal voting registration, if not actual voting, of their snowbirds, and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. (There are no new stories; just good ones borrowed when the situation such as this warrants.)

    Cuyahoga County (6,946) ranks first in Ohio among double-registered voters, with Stark County (2,010) fourth and Summit County (1,321) eighth. The bellwether county of Stark, given its population (378,098) compared with Cuyahoga (1,393,978, is offering the country another election example - though not one to follow.

    Yeah, but what about the double-uncounted?

    Maybe Ohio snowbirds aren't such bad birds, after all. They could only be protecting themselves from the Ohio's (and Florida's) inability to count the votes they cast. The Akron Beacon Journal's Dennis J. Willard and Doug Oplinger report that in 15 precincts in Summit County in the 2000 presidential election at least 10 percent of the votes weren't counted. The punch-card system is the problem. Ohio had $132 million
    from the Help America Vote Act to put toward correcting this with electronic machines. Ohioans wanted to worry about the lack of a paper trail so virtually nothing was done. Now they can follow the paper trail again this week. It will be marked by those little chad from punch cards. Mark another up for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

    Yes, and they would be from whose justice department

    Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta has filed a document with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott in Cincinnati supporting the right of Ohioans to challenge their fellow voters at the polls. Both Dlott and U.S. District Court Judge John Adams in Akron have before them requests from Democrats to declare such challenges to be intimidation and to block their use. For the record: Acosta works for Attorney General John Ashcroft who works for President George W. Bush who, the last time Ohioblog checked, works for the American people, including Ohioans who could be challenged at the polls on Tuesday. What's wrong with this circle of responsibility?

    Voter beware

    Ohioans cannot count on anyone except themselves to protect their right to vote. Go to the polls prepared. Read this. It will help.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:08 PM

    Perchance to dream and win 

    Every statewide Democratic officeholder should put Associate Editor Michael Douglas's column from the Akron Beacon Journal about example-setter Eric Fingerhut on the wall. Oops, Democrats hold no statewide offices so they have no offices and no walls. OK, next best thing: You Dems put this baby under the pillow at night. At least you can dream.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:06 PM

    Endorsement MIA: The Vindy 

    The Youngstown Vindicator was to be the last of Ohio's larger newspapers to endorse. It is not, however, available on, the newpaper's two-tier Web site, one part available to freeloaders such as Ohioblog, the other locked and open only to those who are (paid - $5.05 per month) members. So let Blog get this straight: newspapers want to share their opinion on the most important issue of the day but they do not make that opinion available to as many people as possible (on the Internet). Seems counterproductive. In any case, I'll pass the endorsement along when I locate it. Meanwhile, thanks to Greg Mitchell at Editor&Publisher, the newspaper industry magazine, and Erin Olson and Teresa LaLoggia, who have sent endorsements to E&P, here are the overall totals for President Bush and Sen. John Kerry and the breakdown on Ohio endorsements. (It should be noted that some endorsements from groups of newspapers such as Copley's Ohio group, The Repository in Canton, The Independent in Massillon and The Times Reporter in New Philadelphia, are the product of group think.)

    138 newspapers total
    12,068,720 daily circulation

    OHIO (11)
    The Columbus Dispatch (B): 371,551
    The Cincinnati Enquirer (B): 216,509
    The Repository (Canton) (B): 66,014
    The News-Herald (Lake County-Willoughby): 45,366
    The Cincinnati Post (B): 40,618
    News Journal (Mansfield): 32,641
    The Times Reporter (New Philadelphia): 23,956
    The Courier (Findlay) (B): 22,319
    The Advocate (Newark): 22,217
    Chillicothe Gazette: 16,018
    The Independent (Massillon): 12,932

    175 newspapers total
    18,757,511 daily circulation

    OHIO (4)
    Dayton Daily News (G): 183,175
    The Blade (Toledo) (G): 139,293
    Akron Beacon Journal (G): 139,220
    Times Recorder (Zanesville): 21,329

    (The ``B'' and ``G'' following the newspaper name indicates whom the newspaper endorsed in 2000: George W. Bush or Al Gore.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:02 AM

    Ho, ho, ho - Santa defeats Archie the Snowman 

    Want a break from politics? Try David Giffels' column in the Akron Beacon Journal. David exposes the demise of Archie the talking Snowman, a 35-year tradition at Akron's Chapel Hill Mall. Come to think of it, this isn't much of a break. This is the politics of seasonal marketing and, with Richard Buchholozer no longer in charge, the ordinariness of Santa Claus has won. Ohioblog hopes Chapel Hill follows David's advice and donates Archie to the community. Of course, there is a risk. Archie might outdraw Santa.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:33 AM

    Polls have outlived their usefulness in this campaign 

    Ohioblog's poll boycott continues, despite the fact that Blog's sponsor, the Akron Beacon Journal, is out with the final Knight-Ridder/MSNBC series of its battleground state polls. While I would agree that polls have their use (you'll notice that they've appeared in Ohioblog through the summer and into the fall), they've reached their point of uselessness. Snapshots in time are irrelevant now. This is the time.

    Which Ohioans have the pollsters polled?

    The numbers tell us nothing. Ohio is statistically tied. It has been for
    weeks, maybe months. What does mean something is what the
    Knight-Ridder/MSBBC poll lists as the state's top issue: terrorism,
    homeland security. There are many Ohios and in some - the central Ohio
    dominated by Columbus - this may be the case. In other areas, and this
    would include Northeast Ohio, the economy is, if not a singular top
    issue, is at least on the list.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:21 AM

    Saturday, October 30, 2004

    Voting: a full-contact sport in Ohio 

    Pity the federal judiciary in Ohio. They're working this weekend (hmmm, seems as if Ohioblog has been doing the very same thing) to decide whether we can get in one another's faces at the polls come Tuesday. Between the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott
    in Cincinnati and boards of election such as Summit's which threw out unsupportable Republican challenges to voter regisitrations the pre-election challenges have been halted. Wise decision. The Republicans painted with too broad a brush and couldn't support - or didn't even bother to try - their allegations. They looked bad in the process.

    They could look worse Tuesday, depending on rulings from U.S. District Judge John Adams in Akron and Dlott in Cincinnati, who are considering whether a decades-old law that allows challenges at the polls is constitutional.

    Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell attempted the role of peacemaker Friday, asking that the political parties call off their poll challengers, while seeking legal support from Attorney General Jim Petro. Petro, who will be running against Blackwell for governor in 2006, said he couldn't support Blackwell's no-challengers plea in court.

    Whatever and whenver the rulings, Election Day could be the most interesting in Ohio history. There are more registered voters (7.98) million than ever before, and Blackwell is predicting a turnout of 5.8 million, which would exceed by 750,000 the number who voted in 1992 when President Bush's father George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot were on the ballot. Arm yourself - with knowledge - before you go to the polls. You may need it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:38 AM

    Oh good, another political commercial 

    Tired of the political ads yet? They are wall to wall, and for every three from President Bush there are four from the camp of Sen. John Kerry. The Democratic challenger husbanded his advertising money, going
    dark on TV screens in August, just for this moment. Kerry is about to find out if there can be too much of a good (bad?) thing in this crucial swing state.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:36 AM

    Is there anything to learn from a mass murderer? 

    President Bush happened to be in Ohio - what are the chances? - when he responded to Osama bin Laden's election good wishes and assorted vague terrorism threats. Both he and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, made it clear that Americans stand together on this issue, if not at the polls. There was little difference in their responses, though David Brooks, The New York Times columnist, would disagree.

    Wonkette, and no doubt others, have been unable to interpret whether bin Laden's criticism of the president's initial response to the 9/11 attacks was meant as subtle endorsement of Kerry or reverse strategy. Ohioblog agrees with NPR's senior analyst Daniel Schorr who concluded on Weekend Edition Saturday that ``anything that says Iraq, helps Kerry; anything that says terrorism helps Bush - so this probably helped Bush.''

    Analysts, both security and those who study al Qaeda, are examining the message and trying to understand its implications. They're the pros, but it would seem that one question both men who want to be president might ask is whether there is a way this seeming you-leave-us-alone, we'll-leave-you-alone message would allow the United States to support Israel, defend itself and accommodate other cultures whose beliefs and goals differ from ours.

    One thing was unmistakeable, however. Bin Laden admitted responsibility for 9/11 and even explained when he began thinking about taking down the twin towers. The United States does not bargin with mass murders, but it is not impossible for intelligent U.S. leaders to learn something from those who would kill us that could this a safer world.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:05 AM

    Weather prediction: It will be darkest after the new dawn 

    Eventually this election will be over. Then what? Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, is not optimistic about what the next president will face: ``Whoever wins the presidency is going to face the toughest, most rancorous and most divisive governing climate in modern times.''

    Unlike 2000, the contentiousness will not go turn into unity in the aftermath of tragedy. For President Bush's ability to govern, 9/11 was an important moment. Most people had been willing to give him chance. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, more were. Those feelings have dissipated.

    ``This time,'' Ornstein predicts, ``the propostion of voters who will refuse to accept the outcome if their side loses will be much higher. The situation in Congress (where relations between the minority and majority parties are poisonous) will become worse.''

    There is hope, however. It lies ultimately, Ornstein suggests, in a new generation of leaders (We Baby Boomers have botched it so far, with one president damaging the office by his personal behavior and the other by his professional incompetence.) and in a few good public servants. ``...Our best hope for creating some kind of governing center rests with 15 to 20 instutional-minded centrists in the Senate, such as John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) - people who can, if they have the fortitude, force Senate action to the middle and away from the partisan destructiveness, and can challenge the House if it continues to exacerbate divisions by excluding Democrats from conference committees.''

    Ornstein believes this construct will be difficult to achieve. Ohioblog believes Ornstein is a sunny optimist in a day even darker than he paints.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:11 AM

    This would have been beautiful trouble 

    Hurry and you still might get to see and hear Michael Moore at noon today in the Knight Auditorium in Leigh Hall at the University of Akron. Theater professor Susan Speers is playing host to Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 has been among the many controversies of the presidential campaign. On Sunday, TV conservative talker Sean Hannity will appear at the John S. Knight Center but all the tickets are gone. Hannity will be joined by turncoat Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and former Education Secretary William Bennett. Too bad the two events - and crowds - could not have been combined. Ohioblog would have paid to see that one.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 AM

    More stupid polls to ignore 

    The Ohioblog poll boycott remains in place. Four days to go. If you must have a numbers fix, RealClearPolitics has so many that they could cause math anxiety. Deciphered, they all say this: After lo these many campaign days, no one knows with any degree of certainty whether President Bush will win re-election or be unseated by Sen. John Kerry. That's why they hold an actual election.

    More of the same but closer to home

    The Plain Dealer is out with what Ohioblog presumes is its last poll before Tuesday's vote. (One can hope.) Same as above.
    Statistical tie.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:53 AM

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    So, if we're a joke, what's the punch line? 

    If the Ohio Republican Party's voter challenges around the state are similar to the 976 thrown out in Summit County, Ohio deserves to be regarded as this election's national joke. All a person needs to know about the farce that occurred at the Summit County Board of Elections is that Alex Arshinkoff, chairman of the country Republican Party, sought to distance himself from this insult to voters perpetrated by his party's state organization. And then the Ohio Republican Party did not even bother to show up. It left it to the four pitiful stalking horses who had filed challenges because someone told them to and with no personal knowledge of any wrongdoing. Move over Florida. Here we come. This is unmitigated attempt to intimidate voters. If the challengers - Barbara Miller, Howard Calhoun, Madge Doerler and Louis Wray - are not held legally accountable for making false claims on the challenge forms, they should be subjected to the public ridicule they so richly deserve.

    Speaking of which...

    Chairman Arshinkoff has had to hire a security service to guard his Bush-Cheney yard sign over which there is a legal fight with Hudson. (The city says it is too large. Arshinkoff, wife Karen and the ACLU say it is just right because it is not about the dimensions of the physical materials but about the breadth of the right of free speech.) He should just turn the job over to these Republican pitbulls, Miller, Calhoun, Doerler and Wray. Maybe they'd have more teeth as sign security than they had as voter challengers.

    And elsewhere in the State of Challenges...

    The Plain Dealer thinks ``Confusion reigns over Ohio voting,'' but it hasn't seen nothin' yet. (Hey, we thought the PD was sitting this one out; isn't that what you guys announced?) As Ohioblog buddy Greg Korte reports in The Enquirer, the federal courthouse in Cincinnati has taken ``center stage for two nationally watched pre-election battles over who has the right to vote - and whether a political party has the right to challenge potential voters at the polls on Election Day.'' Summit County Democrats have jumped into the middle of the fray with their federal lawsuit objecting to poll challengers who will confront questionable voters on Election Day. Ohioblog hopes one of them comes to Green Precinct 2-D looking for the Blog, cause Blog is ready to rumble.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:30 AM

    Throwing the senator a curveball 

    The Boston Red Sox's Curt Schilling, who pitched until the stiched-together tendons in his right foot bled through his sock, has gone to bat for President Bush. Doesn't he know that Sen. John Kerry is the real Red Sox fan, not Bush, former owner of the Texas Rangers?

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:17 AM

    What we need is our old political system 

    Akron/Canton has been Focus Group Central for The Boston Globe as it has sought to understand Ohio and its voters. Yvonne Abraham writes about a final pre-election dinner with six voters, who were part of The Globe's larger focus group, recruited with help from the Center for Policy Studies at the University of Akron. Of the six voters, two had chosen President Bush during the summer and of the four undecideds two have have opted for Sen. John Kerry, one for Bush and the other remains uncertain. More important, though, is this from Abraham: ``The relentlessness of the 2004 presidential campaign has most of the group longing for big changes: a general election process that begins a few months before Election Day, for starters. And maybe a return to the old closed-door system where parties elevated their best and brightest to the top of the heap, so that smarts and wisdom might have an opportunity to trump posturing and glitz.'' Throw Ohioblog's log on that fire. And if all Akron/Canton voters are as smart as these, we'll be OK.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 AM

    A different sort of Brown-out 

    Here's a stupid rule: The Plain Dealer reports that U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, who represents a hunk of Summit County cannot serve as an elector for Sen. John Kerry should Kerry win Ohio. Seems the U.S. Constitution bars federal officeholders from serving this function. The ban may have made sense when the Founding Fathers thought of electors as representatives who picked a president from among several choices but as the position has evolved into more ceremony than substance, the antiquated restriction seems out of place. Sherrod's tough, though. He'll get over it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:42 AM

    Saving economic face 

    Beyond the good economic news that Akron will retain jobs in the rubber industry, the diligence of the city's economic team has saved its face. Akron is the heart of polymer knowledge, of which rubber is just one. That heart has become centered at the University of Akron and its colleges of colleges of polymer science and polymer engineering. Beyond that, however, there are scores of operations in this area with polymer knowledge applied practically each day. RCA Co., maker of transit and commercial floring products, is one and it has decided to remain so, retaining 200 jobs in Akron and adding 26 more as it consolidates its operations here. What would it have said about Akron's claim as a place where polymers are a happening to have lost RCA to Pulaski, Tenn., the company's other consideration? Ohio's economy is an election issue. Federal recognition of Ohio's problems is important. State involvement in creation of a friendly business atmosphere is also important. But what is critical is local initiative such as that of Bob Bowman, Akron deputy mayor of economic development, and his staff. They kept Akron from having egg - or is it rubber? - on its face.

    Better there than here in Ohio

    ``If you really wanted to bring Iraq to its knees, all you really had to do is send the Bush economic team over there.'' - Sen. John Kerry.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:11 AM

    Attention fraud ferreters: Here's on offer you can't refuse 

    HypoSpeak is putting its money where its blog is. Now that the Summit County challenges have been deep-sixed, HypoSpeak is seeking proof of the Kerry campaign's ```massive and systematic voter fraud' that...Bob Bennett and the Ohio Republican Party have so regularly claimed in the past two weeks.'' It will hand over a $100 reward to anyone in the press who can provide the same. Ethics (yep, journalists have 'em) would not allow acceptance of the money, but clearly the gauntlet has been thrown down. Anyone want to do something about it? If so, So here are HypoSpeak's rules:

    1. You must be a full or part time journalist/reporter with a daily circulation or listenship greater than 25,000 (or the equivalent for weeklies).
    2. There must be substantial evidence that (the fraud) was initiated in Ohio.
    3. There must be substantial evidence that it occurred in Ohio.
    4. This is about ``massive fraud,'' not the work of some deranged loner. A few anecdotes won't make the cut.
    5. This is about ``systematic'' fraud - that means it is rooted in a known organization and evidence exists that some one in a paid position of significant authority in the organization was aware of it. This excludes the work of front line volunteers and temps. In other words, you can't collect the reward by reporting on the isolated work of a few idiots
    (read ``Defiance crack heads'').
    6. This is about fraud for political gain, not the schemes of con men who worm their way into a job with some campaign or 527 or PAC for personal gain.
    7. You must report on the evidence and claims in your publication or on your show.
    8. The reward will be paid via a $100 gift certificate to Trader Joes.
    9. Any disputes will be settled by the Chair of the Journalism Department of the Ohio State University (whoever he or she may be - we haven't a clue.)
    10. Deadline for submitting a claim for the reward is midnight Nov. 2, 2005 (this is not a typo).

    Does this mean that HypoSpeak expects the election to still be unsettled a year from now? George Washington help us all.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:01 AM

    Undecided? Kristin has something for you 

    Ohioblog leads a double life. When I'm not blogging to death my few remaining brain cells to bring you the best of Ohiocentric election notes and commentary, I'm at the Buchtelite, the University of Akron's independent student newspapers. One of the more independent and talented voices at the Buchtelite belongs to Kristin Snowberger,
    senior writer and former news editor. Kristin is especially adept at commentary, though I'm not sure her grandfather would concur. She grew up in a strong Republican family in the Philadelphia suburbs and even today is a registered Republican. There was no choice in her family. It was Republican or, well, Republican. ``But you could vote for whom you wanted,'' Kristin says. She also takes a position in her writing that she says has been inspired by her animus for George W. Bush's presidency. Read her commentary concerning undecided voters, but be warned: if you are still undecided it would be wise to read this after getting into the position resulting from the exercise we were taught in the 1950s during another kind of war. It's called duck and cover.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 7:53 AM

     Latest posts

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