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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    Ohioans have the advantage of good home-grown reporting 

    Ohioans are fortunate. Not only do media from outside the state come here to try to find out what we're thinking about the presidential election but Ohioans also are on the road, reaching out for the wrist of their state, trying to find its political pulse.

    The Akron Beacon Journal has David Giffels on the road. The Plain Dealer's Bill Sloat has ventured over to indecipherable Dayton and Montgomery County. WKSU's Michelle Chayatte is continually gauging Stark County's psyche. Listen long enough and well enough to these people and you won't need a mirror to see yourself.

    The presidential candidates continue to come to us, seeking to find victory's magic bullet. Democrat John Kerry even stopped in Portage County, pickup and gun-rack country, to fire off a few rounds at some skeet the other day. But if what Giffels was hearing in the other corner of Ohio reflects what other Ohioans are thinking, Kerry might as well not waste his ammunition.

    Kerry is a quiet Catholic. His keeps his religious beliefs mostly between himself and his God. President Bush, on the other hand, wears his believes on his sleeve. Faith is his constant companion, which would seem to bode well for him with Catholics come Nov. 2.

    Giffels attended Igi-Fest 2004, an annual celebration at St. Ignatius Catholic Catholic Church in suburban Cincinnati, which he said ``seems (more) close to Ozzfest'' than a church festival. At Igi-Fest, the faithful were handing out a Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics. In it are non-negotiable issues such as abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage. If the recepients abide by the ``non-negotiables,'' nothing John Kerry can say about the economy, the war in Iraq, health care, the $422 billion record deficit should matter.

    It is difficult, however, to know what Ohioans will do when they walk into voting booths Nov. 2. Logic doesn't always apply. Sloat, for instance visited Mike Bailey's machine shop, a small business in Montgomery County of which Dayton is the county seat. Bailey and his employees used to make a good living ``churning out parts for aircraft and autos.'' Now, his father-in-law, to whom Bailey makes payments on his business, wants him to close. Bailey recently had to lay off his 25-year-old daughter, whom he had hoped would succeed him in running the shop.

    Bailey is ripe for Kerry, but he is voting for Bush.

    Sloat calls Montgomery County ``this battleground state's no man's land,'' because Ohio's bad stretch of economic road in what is supposed to be the nation's good economic present and future hasn't turned the county into blue heaven for Democrats.

    There are no guarantees in Stark County, either. It is hemorrhaging jobs from The Hoover Co.'s high-paying salaried positions to the excellent manufacturing positions at the Timken Co., but because of its suburbs and its countryside, the county remains a ``good place to look for the dynamics of the campaign,'' John Green, director of the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics told Chayatte.

    Read and listen to the Ohio media. They are your best for understanding what your neighbor is thinking even before he is allowed to put up a yard sign telling you.

    It is up to you to decide whether those opinions matter.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:22 PM

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