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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    Ohioans are smart. They can think of their own questions 

    President George Bush will return to Ohio almost immediately after accepting the Republican nomination Thursday night.

    Among other campaign activities, Bush will participate in an ``Ask the President'' session in Cleveland.
    These events usually include a handpicked audience of supporters who will not ask the president questions he doesn't want to address.

    For once, could we ask the president to live dangerously and open the doors not only to Republicans, not only to supporters who don't mind being scripted but also to Ohioans who have tough questions and the courage to stand up to the most powerful mind in the world and ask them, politely of course?

    The president visits Columbus on Wednesday on his way to his party coronation. When he returns Saturday, it will be for his 11th Ohio visit this campaign season and 24th since taking office in 2001.

    You'd think with this long association with Ohioans that the president would trust us enough to let us ask a civil, intelligent question on education, on the economy or on any of the preeminent issues in this battleground where the election could be won or lost.

    Maybe the president we are supposed to trust doesn't trust us.

    - Steve Love

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

    Mr. Pot, please meet Mr. Kettle 

    Rudolph Giuliani, former New York mayor, knows a flip-flopper when he hears one. He said so during the first night of the Republican National Convention.

    ``John Kerry's record - John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence that he'll pursue such a determined, difficult course.''

    Inconsistencies such as those found in statements collected here:

    On Sept. 12, 2001 - This battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: We will win.

    In 2002 - We will win, because of what we love. We will win because we're determined and strong. We will win because we're a nation which holds values dear to our heart. And we refuse to be intimidated by anybody, at any place, at any time. We will win because we want to uphold our duty and obligation to leave America intact and free, so future generations of people, Hispanic or otherwise, can realize dreams, can succeed, can realize their God-given talents. That's what this is all about.

    In 2003 - We will prevail. We will win because our cause is just. We will win because we will stay on the offensive. And we will win because you're part of the finest military ever assembled. And we will prevail because the Iraqis want their freedom.

    In 2004 - We will win this test of wills, and overcome every challenge, because the cause of freedom and security is worth our struggle.

    On Aug. 30, 2004 - Can we win (the war on terror)? I don't think we can win it.

    ``Yes, people in public office at times change their minds, or they realize they're wrong,'' Giuliani acknowledged. ``I have, others have, or circumstances change.''

    The circumstance that changed here is that these are George W. Bush's words, not John Kerry's.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:58 AM

    Zee Empire State Building? She is zat away 

    So Republican convention delegates are encountering the occasional rude person in New York. Imagine that.
    Ohioblog believes this is a conspiracy to make New Yorkers look bad. So dear Republicans, please follow this procedure when someone tells you where to go and points you in that direction with one finger:

    Ask to see identification. A driver's license, a passport, whatever.

    These people may not be Democrats. They may be French.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:55 AM

    With friends like these... 

    It was fight night at the Garden again.

    Rudy Giuliani, tough guy former mayor of New York City, boxed John Kerry's ears pretty good. Rocky woulda been proud.

    Maybe Giuliani didn't bother listening to Arizona Sen. John McCain, a pretty tough guy himself. McCain preceded Giuliani in the opening-night lineup of the Republican National Convention primetime speakers at Madison Square Garden.

    They each had their jobs to do. McCain's was to tie Saddam Hussein into the larger war on terror, weapons of mass destruction or no weapons of mass destruction. McCain did a soft-spoken, heart-felt job of it that would have been the right case to make for war in Iraq. Unfortunately, President George W. Bush and his buds have failed to make it.

    McCain knows more about tough and war than either President George W. Bush, the commander in chief, or Giuliani, who won a suffering nation's respect with his steadiness on 9/11 and in the days to follow. McCain spent five years in a North Vietnamese prison, two of those in isolation.

    When McCain talks about war, people listen. Interestingly, McCain listens, too. It is a unique quality in these days of partisan politics.

    McCain, for instance, listened when his fellow Vietnam veteran John Kerry came under attack from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He stood by Kerry, just, like the good soldier he still is, he stood by his president Monday night and made Bush's argument more eloquently than Bush ever has.

    And though he took a couple of potshots at liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who was in the Garden, McCain sold the idea that even in these contentious times, the these arguments are among friends.

    McCain should have followed Giuliani, whose stories about New York construction workers were a hoot even if the manner in which he belittled Kerry was not.

    It was the same old accusation: Kerry is inconsistent and lacks a taste for the fight. (This on the day when the Bush campaign spent much of its time trying to explain why the president seemed to reverse himself by saying that the war on terror cannot be won.)

    Giuliani could have carried the president's water without torching Kerry. But he didn't.

    So much for arguments among friends.

    - Steve Love

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

    For a moment there, we were all together again 

    Madison Square Garden, site of the Republican National Convention, has played host to many dramatic moments. (Sorry, LeBron James' first game doesn't qualify, not even from a parochial standpoint.) None, however, was more touching than when three family members of 9/11 victims opened their hearts and let a nation see the pain and pride inside.

    Tara Stackpole shared her Timmy, a New York Fire Dept. captain, even as she is about to send their son, Kevin, off to war in Iraq.

    Debra Burlingame took everyone door to door with her 9-year-old Cub Scout brother, Chick, who grew up to be the pilot of the plane that crashed into Pentagon.

    And Deena Burnett reiterated the message that her husband Tom left by his actions abroad Flight 93. Tom Burnett and other passengers and crew members crashed the plane into the Pennsylvania countryside rather than allow it to reach its rendezvous with death in Washington, D.C.

    Burnett called his wife four times from the plane. His message was simple yet profound: ``The were going to do something.''

    The Republicans did something with these 9/11 moments. Some will object, even some families of other 9/11 victims.
    But for a moment there, when the lights went down in the Garden and former New York City policemen Daniel Rodriquez's beautiful voice cut through the darkness with the haunting strains of Amazing Grace, for just a moment there it seemed as if we were all Americans again. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. Just Americans.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:08 AM

    Bob? Gov. Bob? Anyone seen Gov. Bob? 

    U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce of Upper Arlington played a role opening night at the Republican National Convention in
    New York City. Deputy Convention Co-Chairwoman Pryce was considerably more conspicuous than the leader of Ohio's Republicans, Gov. Bob Taft, who got only a daytime slot as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association and, as usual, said nothing worth repeating.

    At best, Taft is yesterday's news. If honesty applies, he has never been the news, even as he twice won the governorship. In what may be the most important swing state in the country, Taft serves no useful purpose in helping President George W. Bush win a second term.

    So while Ohio's valuable delegation is front-and-center at Madison Square Garden, don't expect to see Taft. Don't expect to see much of Attorney General Jim Petro, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell or Auditor Betty Montgomery, either. They all want to replace Taft. So no one gets the push that Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama got by making a stirring keynote address during the Democratic National Convention.

    In this state, the game isn't Where's Waldo? It's where's Bobby?

    And that is among Ohio's many problems.

    -Steve Love

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

    Monday, August 30, 2004

    More proof the vice president has a heart 

    Until this week, it might have seemed the only way to prove Vice President Dick Cheney has a heart was by the fact he has had more than his share of heart problems. That changed when Cheney publicly took his lesbian daughter's side over that of his party.

    This didn't impress the protesters at the Republican National Convention in New York City. They plastered Cheney's mug all over their protest signs.

    They're either cynics or multidimensional voters or both. They fall into the E. J. Dionne camp. The Washington Post columnist found it a little too convenient that the day Cheney's fellow Republicans wrote into their platform formal support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the vice president chose love over lifestyle, blood over bludgeoning those different from himself.

    Don't expect Cheney to stand up to his party at its convention and tell delegates that people ``ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to'' and that states, not the federal government, should decide the issue of gay unions. (Ohio intends to do just that on Nov. 2 when voters will have the chance to ban any union other than that between a man and woman.)

    Cheney's daughter, Mary, isn't likely to move to Ohio any time soon. She is a lesbian. Cheney has acknowledged this before but never as supportively as he did last week. He said that ``freedom means freedom for everyone,'' gay Americans and heterosexuals alike, ``to enter any kind of relationship they want.''

    Social conservatives, who dominate the Republican Party platform committee, did not celebrate Cheney's commitment to diversity (at least on this topic). President Bush is their man, and he supports the constitutional ban on gay marriage.

    Cheney, no Tin Man of a Republican, is Ohioblog's man.

    A Columbus Dispatch poll -- the one that says it's a dead heat in Ohio right now -- included results Monday showing 62 percent of Ohioans support a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, with 26 against and 12 percent undecided. (Margin of error 2 percent, conducted Aug. 18-27.)

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:16 PM

    Polls: Close, closer, closest 

    The Columbus Dispatch Poll (link requires subscription) puts President Bush and challenger John Kerry in a dead heat in Ohio. Each candidate owns 46 percent of the vote, with two percent for independent Ralph Nader. (The margin of error is two percentage points.)

    Those numbers tell less than the full story. They are, writes Thomas Lang of Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign, the ``margin of ignorance.''

    To get most accurate picture of where the race stands, study the ``internal numbers.'' In the case of the Dispatch Poll, those numbers would include the responses of the undecided six percent to questions asking whether the country is on the right track and whether they approve of the president's handling of the economy.

    The answer: ``72 percent say the country is on the wrong track and 75 percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy (carped with 54 percent of all respondents to both questions.''

    ``That group,'' the Dispatch's Darrel Rowland points out, ``hardly seems poised to vote for Bush.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:15 PM

    We're No. 1 

    President George W. Bush toured the western Ohio countryside this past weekend, going places few presidents have gone before -- Troy, for instance, where campaign officials say a turnout of 22,000 was the best for the president in Ohio this year.

    Bush should know every nook and cranny of Ohio by now. When he is 60, he will qualify for a Golden Buckeye Card. The president has visited the state 22 times since taking office. He will return to Columbus on Wednesday as he makes his way to New York City to accept his party's nomination for a second term. He will be back in the state almost before he finishes the speech Thursday night accepting the nomination.

    The Saturday trip will include Cleveland, newly acknowledge poorest city in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ohio has more than its share of other poor urban areas. It would be useful if both Bush and John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, could specifically address why nearly a third of Cleveland residents live in poverty and almost half of its children and what they can do about it.

    Urban woes receive too little federal or state attention despite the fact they are the economic engines of Ohio and the nation. Editorials in both the Akron Beacon Journal and The Plain Dealer address the plight and promise of cities, a message that Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic has been homing and hammering on as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

    Republicans are in America's greatest city for their convention. They will remember the tragedy of 9/11 and talk about the leadership provided by President Bush in the wake of that terrorist attack. There is a more elemental terrorism. It's poverty and the inability to escape it. When the lights go out in New York and Bush comes to Cleveland on Saturday, someone should point out to him that he has come to the U.S. capital of that terrorism.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:14 PM

    Republicans 1, Dems 0 

    After one day of protests involving 200,000, score one for the Republicans in knowing how to pick a convention city. Unlike Boston, where the Democrats met, New York City has enough faith in its police not to pen up protesters.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:08 PM

    Fellow Republicans, start your engines 

    ``We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.'' -- George W. Bush, speaking in Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002, as recorded on Presidential (Mis)Speak: The Very Curious Language of George W. Bush.

    The Republican National Convention should offer stunning examples of the conspicuous version.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:05 PM

    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    So close together yet so far apart 

    New York City and the Republican National Convention had nothing on Akron this past weekend except tens of thousands of protesters.

    Outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Akron suburb of Montrose, a dozen protesters (additional protesters probably were out looking for jobs) stood watch over their memories of Vietnam. Inside the bookstore, hundreds of buyers stood in line to have copies of Unfit for Command signed by co-author Jerry Corsi, a former Ohioan with very different memories from those of the protesters.

    The closest these opponents -- and that is what they are in a nation deeply divided both by today's issues and those of a long ago yesterday -- came to common ground occurred when a woman without a copy of Corsi's and John O'Neill's book walked up to the table where Corsi sat and explained, politely, that she believed he should be outside addressing the questions of protesting veterans and Kerry supporters.

    She was wrong. This was a book signing, not a debate.

    The book, like many in this political season, generates more heat than light. Illumination will wait for the historians. This manifesto's goal is the discrediting the Vietnam service that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerr, has made the centerpiece of his campaign. The book claims, based on the memories and opinions of those who served in Vietnam on the Swift boats but with little or no documentation, that Kerry has lied about his Silver-Star, Bronze-Star and Purple Heart service and thus is unfit to command U.S. Armed Forces now serving and dying in Iraq.

    Many of those buying Unfit for Command thanked Corsi for exposing the truth. That is a problem. Can this man who joined old friend O'Neill, a former Swift boat commander, in going after Kerry, be believed himself. As a person listens to Corsi interact with people, he hears a polite, intelligent man who is kind to and generous with people. It is hard to imagine this same Corsi is also known for writing online slurs about Catholics, Jews, Muslims, women ... and the list goes on and on.

    In a chat room on, Corsi once wrote: "Islam is a peaceful religion just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed."

    Of John Kerry, Corsi wrote: "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

    And on the possibility that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton might one day be a candidate for president: "Let the FAT HOG run!!!"

    There's more, but you get the idea.

    Corsi says he was just kidding when he wrote these slurs and, besides, his words were taken out of context. "I don't stand by any of those comments," he has told the Associated Press, "and I apologize if they offended anybody."

    He repeated as much to Denise Grollmus, an Akron Beacon Journal reporter who talked with Corsi during the signing at Barnes & Noble. "It's an old issue," Corsi told Grollmus. "These were comments I posted on a message board and were meant as satire. They were taken out of context, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone."

    Offended? How could anyone be offended? How could anyone protest this guy and his truths?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:34 PM

    Despite what it might seem, there really is only one version of the truth 

    Can't let this one slide: During Jerry Corsi's Unfit for Command signing at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Montrose, one book buyer waiting in line launched into an attack on Vietnam military service. He not only condemned the service of John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, but that of former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, whose legs and one arm were blown off by a grenade.

    The war service critic said Cleland suffered his injuries ``while playing around with his own grenade.” Now, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story:

    Just days after Capt. Cleland, a U.S. Army communications officer, at the battle of Khe Sahn had ``exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades…assist injured personnel to covered positions (and) organized his men …to repair the battalion communications equipment damaged by enemy fire,” Cleland, disembarking from a transport helicopter, retrieved a grenade he believed had fallen from his web gear. The grenade actually had been dropped by a soldier new to the war who had improperly prepared it for easy detonation.”

    And the grenade did what it was prepared to do, changing life forever for a man just ``playing around.”

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:10 PM

    The final word (one can hope) 

    ``I'm sick and tired of re-fighting the Vietnam War. And most importantly, I'm sick and tired of opening the wounds of the Vietnam War, which I've spent the last 30 years trying to heal.'' – Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Prisoner of War.

    If more people had listened to McCain in 2000 when he sought the Republican presidential nomination that George W. Bush won, this issue would not exist.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:54 PM

    Saturday, August 28, 2004

    And that ain't all 

    A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll (why does it take three organizations to conduct one poll?) agrees with the Los Angeles Times: President Bush has pulled ahead of challenger John Kerry, 48 percent to 46 percent, and this is before the Karl Rove-engineered Republican National Conventional bounce.

    Bush dominated in the ``honesty and trustworthy'' category, and it didn't seem to matter that 63 percent of respondents believe that Kerry is ``definitely or probably telling the truth about his military service.'' (The Naval records support Kerry, and if they are wrong why hasn't someone challenged them successfully?)

    Still other polls: check this.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:42 PM

    Yeah, but what do these guys know about the economy? 

    Here's an endorsement Ohioans should find of interest: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is being supported by 10 Nobel Prize-winning economists. They've written a letter to the American Public charging that ``President Bush and his administration have embarked on a reckless and extreme course that endangers the long-term economic health of our nation.''

    The economists suggest that ill-conceived tax cuts that benefit the rich the most have created a deficit when the country should be saving to pay the social security and medicare bills of the Baby Boomer generation (that would include Ohioblog).

    ``The differences between President Bush and Kerry with respect to leadership on the economy are wider than in any other Presidential election in our experience,'' charge the Nobel economists, including MIT's Paul Samuelson.

    Ignore the smart men at your and the country's financial peril.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:04 PM

    Bellwether or bell cow -- it's all moos to Ohioblog 

    As Ohioblog has noted until it is almost blogged out, all eyes are on Ohio, the swing state of swing states, and to reduce this to the finest focus, on Stark County, Or, at least that is what Ohioblog thought before reading Rick Farmer's comments in Lisa A. Abraham's cogent Akron Beacon Journal analysis of the possible effect of job losses in Stark County, particularly at the Timken Co., which has close ties to President George W. Bush.

    Farmer, a fellow at the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, suggests that if Stark County begins setting the tone for the election (especially in Ohio) that it no longer can serve as an adequate reflection of the state or nation as a whole.

    Said Farmer: ``The Timken announcement (that 1,300 factory jobs could be eliminated) may cause Stark to vote Democratic. But there's not a Timken in every county in America, so it's no longer reflective.”

    Farmer's right. There isn't a Timken in every county in America. There never was. But once, there were more Timkens and Hoovers and other places that made things. Now, there's a McDonald's in nearly every county in America. Let 'em make burgers.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 4:13 PM

    Friday, August 27, 2004

    The news has never been this funny (because it isn't) 

    Politics can be a laugh a minute. OK, let's revise that. If your news program is
    Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it better be a laugh every five seconds. That's TV hyper-pace and its demand if you want to take up space on the couch next to Stewart.

    When Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry appeared on The Daily Show, the first presidential candidate to do so, he received less than warm reviews from some of Ohioblog's colleagues.

    Dana Stevens, surfergirl blogger, concluded that ``Kerry's charisma was less than zero: It was negative,'' that ``he was a dessicated husk, a tin man who really didn't have a heart'' and that ``his utter dearth of sex appeal made Al Gore look like Charo.''

    The Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web blogger, James Taranto, didn't appreciate what is becoming a Kerry trademark -- the exit salute. Taranto

    says Stevens' take on his departure from Stewart's show -- ``Lieutenant Kerry, your first order is to stop saluting the audience. It makes you look like a total tool'' -- is too mild.

    Ohioblog's colleagues are hyperventilating. Kerry did OK. Not great, but OK. He ``don't'' talk as funny as ol' W. But on what other news show would Kerry have exposed what presidential candidates can expect to happen to them in the men's restroom?

    The really funny thing about a presidential candidate appearing on The Daily Show with a self-described ``fake journalist'' is that many people will take it more seriously than they do real journalism.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:56 PM

    Oops, he miscounted those pesky Americas 

    John Edwards campaigned for president and became the Democrats' vice
    presidential nominee, in part, on the fact there are two Americas --
    the haves and the have-nots -- and he didn't like it.

    Edwards, a senator from North Carolina and a multi-millionaire former
    defense attorney, knows how the other half lives. He grew up the son
    of a mill worker. He does not, however, know first-hand the life of
    the urban have-nots, a population with a unique set of problems.

    He's learning, though. During a campaign stop in Cleveland Edwards met
    with community activists, ministers and public housing residents. They
    asked how Edwards and Kerry would help felons, including those with
    drug problems and those who cannot find jobs when they have served
    their time.

    Edwards took a page out of the Bush playbook: He proposed preemptive
    action, programs that will help the urban poor stay out of trouble as
    they try to get a foot on the economic ladder. Edwards also lessoned
    and responded positively to black leaders who explained the need for
    decent housing.

    "I didn't come here to talk to you today," Plain Dealer politics
    writer Mark Naymik reported Edwards saying. "I came to hear from you
    what your concerns are."

    Edwards got an earful of an Ohio too often unheard.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:50 PM

    Speaking of listening to the urban poor... 

    In 2000, Republicans trotted out at their National Convention as many
    minorities as possible to show the party's big-tent appeal. Wouldn't
    it be interesting if those who appeared at the convention returned and
    were required to answer (honestly?): Have your concerns been addressed
    satisfactorily during the last four years?

    Probably wouldn't be too many gays and lesbians on the invitation list.

    - Steve Love

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

    Yo, you obviously know nothing about state-side service 

    The stupidest comparison on the Internet of John Kerry's Vietnam service vs.
    George W. Bush's state-side service can be found on Idler Yet. This
    clown knows nothing, but read it and make your own judgment.

    (For the record, Ohioblog
    served in a number of National Guard and Army Reserve units from 1968
    to 1974, including a military police unit in Des Moines, Iowa, during
    the Kent State period when campus and urban riots were common and
    addressed by the MPs. Ohioblog showed up for every drill, every summer
    camp and every riot for which his unit was called to intercede.
    Ohioblog did nothing compared to John Kerry but a helluva lot more
    than George W. Bush. Doubts? And as Yogi Berra has always said: You
    can look it up. Be Ohioblog's guest.)
    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:48 PM

    So that's why we're talking about Vietnam and not Iraq 

    OK, Ohioblog ain't stupid, like the preceding Idler
    Ohioblog has been around. It knows the war of the moment is Iraq (which like Vietnam was entered into under false pretences -- look up the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and say hey to LBJ -- which prompts this question:
    Are all of the biggest liars Texans?) Nevertheless, we are on top of this Kerry is-a-liar debate. So check
    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:44 PM

    Or, for that matter, in Hudson 

    Ohioblog tracks job loss because as Bill Clinton always said: It's the economy, stupid. (Actually, it is the stupid economy.) Erika D. Smith, a Beacon Journal business writer, has another of those stories no one wants to see. Allstate Corp. might send 150 jobs from its Hudson call center to Northern Ireland. Is that near New Delhi?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:11 PM

    This is what they think of you undecideds quotes a Glenn Fishbine thusly:

    "You know, the drifting percentage of undecideds, mostly those who can neither read nor write,
    will determine the outcome of this election based on their mood on Nov. 2. Those of
    us with strong opinions, pro or con, will not be swayed further in this partisan contest
    of hype, distortion and abfuscation."

    Fishbine goes on to plus his new book, Children of Usher: Growing up in Los Alamos.
    Maybe that is why he is so intolerant of those still trying to sort through this election:
    His brain glows in the dark.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:45 PM

    Quote-Unquote: So that's what throwing himself into that hole was all about 

    "The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein,
    the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself."

    --George W. Bush

    Jan. 29, 2003

    Grand Rapids, Mich.

    From Presidential (Mis)Speak: the Very Curious Language of George W. Bush

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:41 PM

    No wonder they had to hire off-duty cops to provide protection 

    Speaking of clowning around: When funny-man Jerry Corsi, co-author of the attack book Unfit for Command, signs his work Saturday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Montrose (11 a.m.) and at Borders on The Strip in Jackson Township (3 p.m.), book-buyers might want to ask the author to share of few of his jokes.

    Before Unfit for Command made him (in)famous, Corsi was better known for writing online slurs about Catholics, Jews, Muslims, women... Well, the list just goes on and on.

    In a chat room on, Corsi wrote: ``Islam is a peaceful religion just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed.''

    Of John Kerry, the man whom Corsi and co-author John O'Neill say is unfit to serve as commander in chief, Corsi wrote: ``After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?''

    And on the possibility that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton might one day be a candidate for president: ``Let the FAT HOG run!!!''

    There's more, but you get the idea.

    Corsi says he was just kidding and, besides, his words were taken out of context. ``I don't stand by any of those comments,'' he has told the Associated Press, ``and I apologize if they offended anybody.''

    Offended? How could anyone be offended?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:02 PM

    The question unasked  

    Ohioblog took exception with the approach taken in a Paula Zahn Now town hall meeting in Canton. Pete Schaeffer of Massillon had a similar response. Schaeffer is among the 500 Hoover Co. salaried employees who have lost or will lose their jobs by the end of the year as a result of parent Maytag reorganizing its business.

    ``If I had been invited to the Canton town meeting and had gotten a chance to speak, I would like to have made the following observation and asked a question,'' Schaeffer wrote.

    ``The observation: I'm tired of politicians of all strips telling us how they'll fight for (fill in the blank). I think all this fighting is what's fundamentally wrong with our political system (especially on the national level) today. Whatever happened to the concept of the loyal opposition? That's how we won World War II for crying out loud!!

    ``The question: Mr. Candidate, how will you work collaboratively with Congress and foreign governments to reintroduce the concept of fair trade versus free trade? What can you and Congress do, in concert, to stop the outflow of jobs from the USA? After all, the foundation of the U.S. economy is that U.S. farmers grow and sell food and U.S. workers make things that others want to buy. There aren't enough good jobs in the ‘service economy' -- especially when many of those can be outsourced. As an example, when I had a hiccup with my new computer, the help desk techie I spoke with was in New Delhi. Why not in Palo Alto (Calif.)?''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 12:06 PM

    Polls: President Bush takes the lead for the first time in LA Times survey 

    Even before the Republican National Convention begins, President George W. Bush has seized the national lead in the presidential race, according to a Los Angeles Times survey.

    The reason, The Times concludes, is that Democrat John Kerry has been hurt by attacks on his Vietnam service, a central point of Kerry's campaign.

    This evidence differs from the opinion of John Edwards, Democratic vice president nominee. During a rally in Warren, Edwards attempted to make the point that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads were hurting Bush, because his supporters are paying for them.

    Contrary to Edwards' belief, the L.A. Times found that 49 percent of registered voters favor the president compared with 46 percent for Kerry. This is the first time Bush has led in a Times survey. Before the Democratic National Convention a month ago, Kerry led by 2 percent.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:14 AM

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    We knew that  

    In his column this week, Brendan Miniter, assistant editor of, points out the obvious - that neither Bush nor Kerry will be wasting any time or money in the 32 states where the November outcome is regarded as assured.

    ``This year,'' Miniter writes, ``you are a swing state or you're nothing.''

    Ohio is something because it, along with Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, ``old-economy states being wrenched into the information age.''

    ``They may become safe states again if workers find a way to mine data instead of ore,'' Miniter concludes.

    Do you have to wear a hard hat with a light for that?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:54 PM

    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    We'll leave the light on for you 

    It has been another busy week of Ohio visits for the candidates and their surrogates.

    • Laura Bush helped to dedicate the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
    • Teresa Heinz Kerry addressed the Coalition of Labor Union Women in Columbus.
    • Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards raised money in Cleveland and spoke to an Ohio AFL-CIO gathering in Columbus.
    • And come the weekend, President Bush will be traveling Northwest Ohio looking for votes in smaller Ohio communities.
    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:57 PM

    Mr. Mayor, where did you say that pass is from? 

    Youngstown embraces weird, maverick politicos. Before he got himself sent to prison, James A. Traficant represented the area in Congress. (We use "represented" in the loosest possible terms.)

    So it comes as no shock that Youngstown Mayor George M. McKelvey has assumed the Traficant buffoon role and endorsed the re-election of President George W. Bush. This is big news. McKelvey is a lifelong Democrat and says he will remain a donkey. Of that, Ohioblog has no doubt.

    ``I have a 24-hour pass,'' McKelvey told Joe Gorman of the Warren Tribune Chronicle.

    McKelvey said at a press conference that he would spend a day next week at the Republican National Convention, speak if asked, appear in ads with the president and just generally make a total fool of himself and the heavily Democratic Mahoning Valley.

    ``What an amazing piece of work he is,'' Lisa Antonini, Mahoning County Democratic chairwoman,
    told David Skolnick of the Youngstown Vindicator.

    McKelvey and the president have been playing nicey-nicey for some time. Bush even played
    his own version of "Guess who's coming to dinner?" recently, inviting McKelvey
    to the White House.

    Among the reasons McKelvey gave for his decision is that the Democrats have failed to
    deliver the economic beef to the Mahoning Valley. ``We don't even get the bun,'' McKelvey said.

    The eighth largest city in Ohio, Youngstown has the state's highest unemployment. Yet among the attributes McKelvey finds appealing about the president is his economic policy.

    As the Beacon Journal suggested in an editorial, ``the far wiser course for McKelvey would have been to work with (Akron Mayor and U.S. Conference of Mayors president Don) Plusquellic to change the course of federal policies.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:41 PM

    Talk about baaaaaaddddddd 

    For Kerry, the month of August has truly been the dog days. If you doubt Ohioblog, check out Chris Lynch's day-by-day chronicle of missteps, miscalculations and misadventures.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:52 PM

    Good yapping, bad yapping 

    President Bush continues his campaign against the attack ads of independent groups - but that does not mean, say his White House interpreters, that he condemns specifically the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's fusillade against Kerry.

    Classic good cop, bad cop.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:47 PM

    Giving new meaning to `day job' 

    Do not despair: There are jobs available in Ohio. In fact, Ohioblog can tell you months in advance the exact day you can get one of these jobs. The day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

    With the aging of poll workers, boards of election are looking for one-day employees. The pay is modest ($95) and the hours (about 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) stink, but the reward can be civic as much as monetary.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Mitch McKenney at 9:30 AM

    Ohio is an economic basket case 

    Add this bit of cheery news to Ohio's economic larder:
    The Longaberger Co . - 784 employees "laid off" (that means adios, baby, more than likely forever). The layoffs come at its Hartville (73) and Frazeyburg manufacturing plants rather than at the Big Basket headquarters in Newark.

    The good news is that the cuts are fewer than the 970 that had been anticipated in July because 116 employees (link requires subscription) retired, took jobs elsewhere or decided to pursue other interests.

    Ohio Edison - 205 employees of parent FirstEnergy terminated, including at its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. (Will the last person out please turn off the reactor?)

    Meanwhile, more Northeast Ohio public companies are reporting improved earnings, and Ohio actually gained jobs (don't ask what kind and what they pay) in July. These economic plusses aren't as ironic as they might seem.
    "Much of the improvement came from past cost-cutting," concluded Thomas W. Gerdel of The Plain Dealer. "Companies reduced workforces, closed and consolidated plants and operations, cut inventories and implemented lean business methods."

    In the 16 swing states, where both President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry are concentrating their campaigns, 315,900 jobs have been lost since Bush became president in January 2001.

    John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, was in Ohio Tuesday. He asked those attending an Ohio AFL-CIO convention in Columbus if they were really going to re-elect someone whose policies had contributed to the loss of 230,000 jobs in Ohio? The union members seemed disinclined to do so.

    Of all the swing states, only Michigan is worse off than Ohio. Michigan's employment is down 245,200 since January 2001 while Ohio's is off precisely 229,600.

    During the Republican National Convention next week, President Bush is expected to respond to what he says are improving economic circumstances with pockets (Ohio, Michigan) of resistance. At least part of this response will be the Bush "ownership agenda":

    In ads already on the air, the president says: "One of the most important parts of a reform agenda is to encourage people to own something: own their own home, own their own business, own they own health care plan or own a piece of their retirement."

    Ohioans know about ownership.

    "For 90 percent of the population, ownership is nice but a job is what matters," chief economist Bill Cheney at MFC Global Investment Management in Boston explained to Warren Vieth of the Los Angeles Times.

    Too often what Ohioans own these days is a pink slip.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Mitch McKenney at 7:46 AM

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    The straight poop 

    President George W. Bush wasn't the only one sharing his thoughts this week about attack ads of groups not directly associated with the campaigns. As the president spoke to reporters at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, Barney, the president's black Scottie, shared his feelings nearby in a more explicit form.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:00 PM

    Monday, August 23, 2004

    Testimony no one will forget 

    Want to know why Swift Boat Veterans for Truth hate John Kerry, their fellow veteran and Democratic presidential candidate? Much of it goes back not to what he did or did not do in Vietnam but what he told the Senate in April 1971 that his fellow American troops were doing. You can read it here.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:17 PM

    Now whom do you believe? 

    The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have run aground, beached on the sandbar of their own, bitter self-serving verbal bile. Though the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads and the book, Unfit for Command, also serve President Bush, he remains at a distance from the battlefield that has become Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam War record. It is familiar ground for a president whose own Vietnam-era service consisted of a spotty attendance record in the Texas Air National Guard.

    Kerry, his accusers claim, got out of Vietnam early as a result of questionable wounds. (They don't mention that Bush bugged out of the Guard early to attend graduate school.)

    All of this is too familiar. It is the same attack tactic Bush's political minder Karl Rove employed against Sen. John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary campaign and that other Republican operatives used to defeat Sen. Max Cleland in Georgia in 2002. As Joe Hallett (link requires subscription), The Columbus Dispatch's senior editor, points out: We all have forgotten this recent history ``and once again underestimated how good Karl Rove & Co. are at winning elections.'' ``As Bush scores with voters by lauding the heroism of troops he sends to war,'' Hallett correctly notes, ``his allies systematically tear down old war heroes for political gain.''

    Many bloggers express skepticism of the mainstream media's ability to ferret out the Swift boat truth. And, even if the media were successful, would they know the truth if they stumbled over it, given such high-profile failures of honesty as The New York Times and its disreputable reporter Jayson Blair.

    Ohioblog's advice: Use all of the resources available and make your own decision. In the process, factor in this: The facts, especially those 35 years old and melded from the furor of war, are not always black or white. And, as the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs suggests, they are further colored in this situation ``by the bitterly partisan nature of the presidential campaign.''

    In addition to the Post, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have done work that further illuminates the claims and counter-claims. The most striking account of one of the incidents -- Kerry's Swift boat strategy of engaging the Viet Cong directly which led to his Silver Star -- comes from fellow Swift boat commander William
    , now an editor at the Chicago Tribune.

    Unlike some of The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who have been trying for more than 30 years to bring down Kerry with their story, Rood never wanted to tell his. He did so at Kerry's request and after listening to the attacks on his fellow commander. Rood's story is compelling and supports the official version in U.S. Navy records. (Kerry, by the way, should release ALL of those records for scrutiny.)

    For another opinion, turn to Joseph L. Galloway, Knight Ridder Newspapers' military affairs columnist and the only journalist to receive a Bronze Star in Vietnam for his bravery. Galloway concluded: ``Military records back John Kerry's account of his service in Vietnam and have backed at least two of his accusers into a corner.''

    In that corner with George Elliott, Kerry's commanding officer in Vietnam, and Larry Thurlow, another Swift boat commander, are blogs such as Captain's Quarters, Hugh Hewitt and The Right Coast.

    Kerry made his service the centerpiece of his campaign to become the next commander and chief. In turn, it has become the target of Rove, who, by no coincidence, is a political intimate of the ads' primary financial backer, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry.

    This furor over something that occurred 35 years ago may seem overblown (and it is) to Ohioans, especially those whose concerns are more about jobs and the current war in Iraq. Yet in the tangle of tales lies truths about both of the men who would be president for the next four years. They are worth sorting out.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 12:03 PM

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