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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    And the winner is...all of us 

    Let's not pussyfoot around.

    Who won the first of three president debates? Democrat John Kerry.

    What difference does it make? Not one bit.

    Kerry supporters saw the man they admire. He answered the questions in a straightforward manner (for him). He didn't equivocate. He kept it within the time limit imposed. He wasn't arrogant but he was assertive.

    President Bush's supporters saw the man they admire. He never showed a moment of doubt about any of his decisions, including going to war in Iraq. (How many times did he say that Kerry could not lead the armed forces because he has termed Iraq the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time? Two hundred? Three hundred? It seemed like it.) He was a leader's leader, unwavering, resolute, sure that Iraq and Afghanistan can become beacons of democracy that will light the entire Mid East.

    The most important moment in the 90-minute debate occurred relatively late, after President Bush had responded to a question from moderator Jim Lehrer as to whether there were any underlying character issues that would prevent Sen. Kerry from being a good president. Bush praised Kerry's service in the Vietnam war (I wonder if the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were tuned in), complimented his family and generally made nicey-nice before returning to his recurring point that a person cannot send mixed messages and lead the United States and the rest of the free world.

    ``It is,'' Kerry responded, ``one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and wrong.'' He said that when the best leaders get new facts, they use them to make their policies right. Earlier in the debate Kerry had cited the example of a Republican doing this. Abraham Lincoln had been at one time opposed to emancipation. He changed his mind, becoming, I suppose, a flip-flopper. (Maybe we should get him off Mount Rushmore.)

    This was a debate filled with as much substance as this form and these circumstances allow. As I type this, the TV is on in the other room and the commentators continue to debate the debate. Elsewhere out there in the blogosphere, others have been writing and will continue the assessments into the small hours. The discussion will go on in homes and offices tomorrow and throughout the weekend. To paraphrase MCSNBC's Chris Matthews: Citizenship began tonight. The candidates did their parts. Now it is up to the potential voters who are undecided or those people who just aren't convinced that democracy is worth the trouble of getting to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 2.

    There will be two more debates. The second on Friday, Oct. 8, a town hall forum, and the third on Wednesday, Oct. 13, about domestic issues. Then we'll decide. In between, the candidates will be in Ohio, including the vice presidential candidates, Republican incumbent Dick Cheney and Democratic challenger John Edwards, who will debate Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Maybe they can address the fact that their debate will be taking pace in one of the nicer areas of the most poverty-wracked city in the country. Or, maybe not.

    The president will be back on familiar ground Saturday afternoon in Cuyahoga Falls, where the audience will be controlled, the message canned. It wasn't quite that easy Thursday night in Coral Gables, Fla.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:33 PM

    Click on after you've tuned in 

    Ohioblog will return later today or early tomorrow with instant reaction to tonight's presidential debate on foreign policy. For a more thorough analysis from the Ohio point of view, click back later on Friday.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:16 AM

    Pomp and circumstances 

    Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart gets his reward Saturday for being the loyal soldier in Good King Alex Arshinkoff's Summit County Republican army. George W. Bush will become the first sitting president to visit Robart's city. The president could, of course, have visited Democratic Akron, home of U.S. Conference of Mayors'
    president, Don Plusquellic. It might have been enlightening to have the president discuss how he might help to improve the nation's economic engines - its larger cities - during a second term.

    Instead, Bush will visit the new natatorium in the Falls, displacing a Senior Expo that had been scheduled and, with the presence of the Falls' Octoberfest celebration, creating logistical problems that would have been minimized at other Summit County sites.

    Once, Cuyahoga Falls was a workingperson's city that would not have warmly embraced a campaigning Republican president. Circumstances have changed. Robart has dominated city politics. Republicans control city council. And Saturday, George W. Bush will recognize by his presence the greatest success story of Arshinkoff, Summit County Republican Party chairman and Bush fundraiser.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:13 AM

    Get the guy with the video cam 

    As they always are, the Secret Service will be a presence when President Bush visits Cuyahoga Falls Saturday. They will be alert to those with items not allowed at the campaign event, including umbrellas, food, flags, banners, signs, radios, video cameras and weapons. Wonder if this is their list or the Bush campaign's? Food fights can be dangerous. The president could slip on a banana peel. And a person wouldn't want someone with a weapon attending, though it certainly is OK with the Ohio legislature if Ohioans carry concealed weapons. The interesting banned item is the video camera. Is the Bush campaign fearful that someone might film something the campaign does not want to be filmed? Bet Paris Hilton wishes she had had Secret Service protection.

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

    Hitting it out of the park 

    Did you catch U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown's commentary on National Public Radio's Morning Edition? Brown, the Lorain Democrat who represents a portion of Akron, came up with a name for Washington's new baseball team that ``reflects the city's heart.'' Sherrod would call the team the Lobbyists, and it would be able to play the game in a in a manner typical of Washington, rewriting the rules when it desired, gaining victory through lobbying. Pretty funny stuff. Ohioblog thinks Sherrod's wife, Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer's excellent columnist, must be writing his material.

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

    If at first you don't direct, issue another directive 

    Give Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell this much - if he doesn't get it right the first time, he'll keep trying if enough people yell at him and threaten lawsuits. Blackwell blew it when it issued a directive to the state's county boards of election that required them to consider ``Any Ohio (registration) form not printed on this (80-pound) paper weight is considered to be an application for a registration form. Your board should mail the appropriate form to the person listed on the application.'' An application for an application? Stupid. Just plain stupid. The idea is to make it easier for people to register to vote. So Blackwell has backtracked. Boards of election may process any valid registration on any weight of paper. That is a heavyweight decision. (Don't forget that the registration deadline is Monday. And no, you still may not register on a cocktail napkin.)

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:08 AM

    Swingers no more? 

    R. W. Apple, The New York Times' old star from Akron, visited swing state Missouri and has written a story from which a reader could infer that President Bush has showed the Show Me state. Apple, however,learned this description of Missouri in Ohio: ``Neither wholly Southern nor wholly Northern, fully Eastern nor fully Western, it is America writ small. Most of its demographic characteristics - its residents' age, marital status, income and educational levels - mirror the nation's.'' The President's lead over John Kerry in the Missouri polls is similar to his lead in Ohio - 7 or 8 percentage points, not safely beyond the margin of error but a significant tilt in the Bush direction.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:03 AM

    Wednesday, September 29, 2004

    A debate about the debaters 

    Everyone is giving John Kerry advice about Thursday night's presidential campaign debate, the first of three. It's no wonder. As former Vermont Gov. and previous presidential candidate Howard Dean said on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, the debate isn't about President Bush. It's about John Kerry. Can people trust him enough in dangerous times to replace Bush?

    Al Gore has written an op-ed piece titled ``How to debate George Bush'' for The New York Times. Gore should know. Even when he got the better of Bush early on in the 2000 debates, he lost because the Bush team won the post-debate debate. The media, as columnist Paul Krugman puts it, put swagger ahead of substance.

    Gore would have Kerry hone in on a Bush performance in office that ``amounts to a catastophic failure.''

    ``The biggest single difference between the debates this year and four years ago,'' Gore writes, ``is that President Bush cannot simply make promises. He has a record.''

    Like 1960 and 1980, this is a year when the debates should matter. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 61 percent of those polled intended to watch the debates compared with 43 percent who said they would watch in 2000.

    ``Historically,'' the Pew Center reported, ``two factors distinguish those debates that have proven decisive in the election outcome. First, debates have had the greatest impact in close races, or in campaigns where the lead switched back and forth. Second, debates have been most influential in campaigns with unresolved questions about the personal character of one, or both, of the candidates. The upcoming Bush-Kerry debates would appear to fill the bill on both counts.''

    As the debate on the debates continues, Jim Lehrer, host of the News Hour on PBS, reprised interviews about the value of the debates that he did with former presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton. All of the former presidents saw value in the debates except George H.W. Bush.

    ``Generally,'' Lehrer asked Bush, ``what kind of expericne was it for you?''

    ``Ugly,'' Bush Sr. said. ``I don't like them...I wasn't too good at them. Secondly, there's some of it's contrived - show business. There's a certain artificiality to it, lack of spontaneity to it.''

    Maybe Kerry should ask to face the senior Bush instead of Brash Bubba Bush, king of the debaters.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:28 AM

    Nay to Nader 

    Ohio Democrats won't have independent Ralph Nader on whom to blame this swing state's outcome. Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has ruled Nader will not appear on the Ohio ballot because of irregularities in collecting the necessary 5,000 signatures. Nader didn't cost Al Gore Ohio in 2000. But the Dems are nervous and challenged Nader's qualifications to be on the ballot. Nader supporters say they will appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. If the court backs Blackwell, the Dems will have to look into their mirrors to find the reason they can't win a statewide race in Ohio.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:25 AM

    Polls and polls on the pols 

    Two of the latest polls confirm what the previous polls have told us: President Bush is winning this baby despite the fact that people don't like the direction of the war in Iraq and they remain concerned about the economy. Even The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which had the President and challenger John Kerry in a deadheat while others had recognized Bush's lead, now calls it 48 percent for Bush, 40 percent for Kerry. Dan Balz and Vanessa Williams of the Washington Post sum up the seemingly contradictory concerns and voting plans of people by explaining that the president is seen as ``a stronger leader with a clearer vision.'' In other words, he can sell it and Kerry can't.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:24 AM

    Just spell our name right 

    Compared with that of other states, Ohio's economy stinks. John Kerry hammers the loss of more than 200,000 jobs over the past four years. Even President Bush concedes there are (empty?) pockets of concern in this swing state. This recurring message could scare away potential employers fears Linda Siefkas, senior vice president for business advocacy at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Cincinnati Enquirer\reporter Carl Weiser discovered most officials aren't worried. They're taking the attitude that any attention can be good. ``All over the world, they're hearing `Ohio, swing state, the president cares; the presidential candidates are there all the time,'' State Development Director Bruce Johnson told Weiser. It would be better if fewer candidates and more businesspeople were drawn to the state.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:22 AM

    Call us or we'll call you 

    Ohioblog seems always to be reporting job losses. Just this week the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown announced that it was eliminating 37 jobs because of inadequate state funding. There is better news today. West Teleservices Corp., announced plans to hire about 880 customer service repretatives in a Niles call center that MCI abandoned earlier this year. In addition, Akron's Famous Distribution Inc., distributor of heating, cooling and other products to contracts, will add 30 jobs to its Sebring facility 40 miles southeast of Youngstown. The West deal is contingent on negotiating a less on the MCI building and getting an abatement from Niles and Trumbull County. Ohio used to make things out of steel and rubber. Now, we call people and answer calls. The only similarity is that it is dirty work, but someone has to do it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:20 AM

    This gives new meaning to getting out the vote 

    Oberlin Votes! wants to go into the Lorain County Jail and register the guests after giving them information about their voting rights. The group could turn Ohio into a swinging-bars state if Sheriff Phil Stammitti would allow it. He won't. Phil is a crank. ``This is not a playground. This is a jail,'' the sheriff told The Plain Dealer's Catherine Gabe. Inmates can register to vote if they are serving time for a misdemeanor or awaiting any type of trial. Convicted felons may re-register after their release from prison. Oberlin Votes! is a nonpartisan coalition trying to register every eligible voter - even those behind bars. The Racial Fairness Project has been allowed to register inmates in municipal jails in Cleveland, Bedford Heights and Maple Heights. It won't happen in Lorain County, though. ``I'm not not doing it. I'm not changing my mind. This is my jail,'' he said. Actually, sheriff, it is the people's jail. You just work there.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:17 AM

    Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    The grandest of grandstanders is at it again 

    So Alex Arshinkoff, Summit County Republican Party chairman, is excercized about the United Way's poor judgment in including John Kerry headquarters in a scavanger hunt. Get
    over it, Alex. One of the great political grandstanders, Arshinkoff threatens to lead a boycott of support for United Way's worthwhile agencies unless an apology is forthcoming. Well, Alex, do you read the newspaper? Ohioblog knows you do, if for no other reason than to fume. There were amble apologizes and mea culpas in the Akron Beacon Journal's Tuesday story. Accept them and move on. Party is not more important than community. (Maybe you should help United Way with its fundraising instead of threatening the agency. No one is a better fundraiser.)

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 7:46 PM

    The new, improved, Cizmarized Ohioblog 

    Good pitchers need a change-up. Something different. Something unexpected. So forget finding a blog voice and sticking with it, which is what those who make the big time - Wonkette, Daily Kos, Instapundit, Talking Points Memo, Kaus - have done.

    The old Ohioblog didn't cut it. I know this because blog and all-around expert Martin Cizmar told me. Too long, the Ciz says. Not edgy enough, the Ciz says. Not...well...just not, the Ciz says.

    So here's to you, Ciz...

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:52 AM

    First, you gotta know your blogs 

    Anyone who wants to understand blogs - if not bloggers - should read Matthew Klam's ``Fear and laptops on the campaign trail'' in the New York Times or Farhad Manjoo's ``How the Internet turned everyone into James Carville'' on Even Elizabeth
    blogs. David Broder does not blog, but he has much to say in ``The media, losing their way'' about what as gone wrong with print and electronic journalism and, by implication, blogging. Ohioblog agrees. But not everyone does, including Jeff Taylor at Reason.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:51 AM

    Maybe he was otherwise occupied 

    Gosh, not pithy enough. OK, how about this: Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Madison, stood up Capri Cafaro, his Democratic challenger for Ohio's 14th District Congressional seat, at what was supposed to be an Akron Press Club debate.

    ``I can't speculate why Mr. LaTourette isn't here,'' Cafaro said.

    Maybe he had another date.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:50 AM

    A new line for the big crowd 

    President Bush's supporters showed up in campaign-record numbers for what host Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester called ``the largest political event held in Ohio.'' West Chester Police Chief John Bruce said more than 50,000 people were present at Voice of America Park, near Cincinnati. The president focused on education, and could say that no child had been left behind because school was canceled for about 17,000 Butler County students. Those who didn't ditch the rally got to hear one new Bush line about his preparation for his Thursday night with Democratic opponent John Kerry. ``It's been a little tough to prepare for the debate becasue he keeps changing positions,'' the president said. ``I think he could spend the 90 minutes debating himself.''

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:49 AM

    Some new political `f' words 

    John Kerry's so-called flip-flops on issues have been constant Bush campaign targets. They evoke chants of ``flip-flop, flip-flop'' from the president's partisans. On Monday, another corner was heard from when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, spoke at George Washington University and called Bush ``the world record-holder for flip-flops'' and added that ``No matter how many rhetorical double-twisting flips Presidnt Bush performs, his disingenuous claim that the (Iraq) war has made America safer is wrong, and may well be catastrophically wrong.''

    Kennedy called the war in Iraq ``a toxic mix of ignorance, arrogance and stubborn ideology.''

    Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean might give Teddy a 9.9 on that assessment of double-twisters. Dean, promoting his new book, You Have the Power, agreed with Kennedy (what did you expect?): ``You know that stuff on (John Kerry) flip-flopping - George Bush has had more flip-flops in four years than John Kerry has had in 20.''
    Dean, who failed in his bid for the Democratic nomination, gave the president his own f-ing title. He calls him the ``flim-flam man.''

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

    The funny men will be history together 

    Do you think it is a coincidence that Jay Leno will be retire from
    The Tonight Show just when President Bush's second term would end? Leno isn't dumb. When his best material goes in 2009, so does he.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:46 AM

    This is a fine mess, J. Kenneth 

    J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, had a goal for this election: Don't let this swing state be embarrassed as Florida was in the 2000 president election. Blackwell has failed. Just ask Chris Bowers who titled his reaction on ``Holy F---ing Jim Crow. Blackwell also got himself sued in federal court Monday by Ohio Democrats who do not like the secretary's instruction that provision ballots will not be given to voters who appear at the
    wrong precinct on Election Day. The lawsuit contends that the Help America Vote Act of 2002 was supposed to allow voters to cast provisional ballots. 11In 2004, Ohio can become the Florida of 2000,'' Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman told The Plain Dealer. ``Provision voting can become the next `chad.''' Thank you, J. Kenneth.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:45 AM

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Too bad he can't vote 

    The Akron Beacon Journal's Stephen Dyer reports that President Bush may have the support of disgraced former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, the Democrat who represented the Mahoning Valley in Congress before going off to federal prison in Ray Brook, N.Y.

    Traficant supposedly wrote a letter to Web site saying that Bush is on the right track.

    The crook Congressman may have something there. Bush always has been tough on crime. Look at Bush's record on executions when he was governor of Texas. Guess there will be no presidential pardon for Traficant's conviction on bribery an corruption charges.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:37 AM

    Sinking to a new low 

    Ohio voters dislike the political ads that President Bush, John kerry and their supporters are airing - and they haven't even seen the worst ad of all.

    Progress for America Voter Fund has placed an ad in Wisconsin and Iowa that causes the Swift Boat Veterans' attacks on Democrat Kerry to pale in comparison. How to put this: the ad is the lowest form of political scum.

    ``It's the Willie Horton ad of 2004,'' Kerry spokesman Phil Singer told Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media critic.

    George H.W. Bush's campaign used the racially charged Horton ad in 1988 against Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, implying that if he became president he would loose convicted murderers such as Horton on America as he supposedly did on Massachusetts.

    The Progress for America ad features Osama bin Laden, hijacker Mohamed Atta, the Madrid bombers, Russian hostage-takers and the World Trade Center. It says: ``These people want to kill us. They killed hundreds of innocent children in Russia, 200 innocent commuters in Spain and 3,000 innocent Americans. John Kerry has a 30-year record of supporting cuts in defense and intelligence and endlessly changing positions in Iraq. Would you trust Kerry against the fanatic killers? President Bush didn't start this war, but he will finish it.''

    Forget that Progress for America isn't directly tied to the Bush campaign. (It is backed by two Bush fundraisers.) The Bush camp loves the ad. It goes to the heart of the Bush appeal to so-called ``security moms.'' (Make 'em afraid to come out - except to vote.)

    Kerry, whose staff says he has supported $4.4 trillion in defense spending since 1985, has countered with an ad that calls this ``an un-American way to campaign'' and asks that Bush ``stop dividing America.'' Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards accused the Bush-Cheney campaign of exploitation.

    ``They are,'' Edwards said, ``trying to exploit one of our greatest tragedies for personal gain.''

    Will voters make a similar judgment? They have yet to do so.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:09 AM

    Another poll not to believe 

    There's another Ohio poll (lower-case `p') to weigh, this one from Fox News. Conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation on Sept. 21-22 by surveying about 800 Ohioans, the Fox poll follows form with other recent polls, showing President Bush leading Democrat John Kerry by 4 percentage points, 48-44.

    Daily Kos has a round-up of the latest polls. Take a look, but don't take the results to heart. Mary Beth Cahill hasn't. Kerry's campaign manager, speaking on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, said she remains convinced that her candidate is going to take back Ohio from President Bush.

    ``I wouldn't believe every poll you read,'' she said.

    Or every campaign manager, for that matter.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:03 AM

    It was good enough for Al 

    From Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo:

    ``Don Rumsfeld said (the other day) that elections in `three-quarters or four-fifths of' Iraq might be good enough. In other words, run the place on Florida rules.''

    Al Gore could oversee the voting. He's not busy, is he? Come to think of it, when was the last time we saw or heard from the winner of the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:41 AM

    Sunday, September 26, 2004

    The debates of our lifetime 

    Ohio voters and those elsewhere don't want talk about a better America. They want to make one.

    This week, however, talk is what the two presidential candidates have to offer as they begin under odd circumstances a series of three debates. President Bush, who can be dismayingly inarticulate, doesn't lose debates. He simply doesn't. He whipped Ann Richards. He whipped Al Gore. And by all rights, he'll whip John Kerry.

    This man who has trouble with his native (and very own) tongue is nonetheless a helluva talker.

    The president can talk in soundbites. Challenger John Kerry talks in sound mouthfuls. The president can stay on message. John Kerry can become lost in the verbal wilderness. The president can make the audience like him even when it doesn't
    like the things he is saying. This is John Kerry's last stand.

    Count on an aggressive Kerry who is in command of the minutest details of policy. That's what Texas Gov. Richards and Vice President Gore had going for them, too, points out David Von Drehle of the Washington Post.

    The Commission on Presidential Debates has been unable to reach final agreement with the two campaign camps for Thursday's first debate on foreign policy. ABC News has said a senior commission official puts the blame squarely on the Bush campaign. Don't worry. W will show up. The one sure way he can lose the debate, and perhaps the election, is not to debate.

    Debates are not supposed to matter. We remember gaffes and signs, sweat shining through five-o'clock-shadows and bullying. None of this changes an election's outcome, the empirical data suggest.

    Robert V. Friedenberg, a Miami University professor of communications who has worked as a speechwriter for many Republican candidates, explained to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Greg Korte why debates don't affect elections.

    ``One of the principal effects of political debates,'' Friedenberg said, ``is they tend to reinforce existing attitudes. Bush supporters and kerry supporters are likely to see in the performance of their candidate what they want to see.''

    So that brings us back to the small percentage of undecided voters in this most polarized of elections. Bush will try to win them with his daunting self-confidence, a man sure of the course he has chartered for a country to which polls attribute more ambivalence. Kerry will counter as the classically trained debater he showed himself to be in a 1996 Senate campaign showdown against Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld. Kerry may have learned to debate in prep school and at Yale but he learned to fight in tougher environs, including during his unfairly criticized Vietnam service.

    If they weren't so important to the course of the nation, the debates might even be considered great entertainment.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:32 PM

    And you thought no one noticed 

    Mike Needs received kudos on Daily for allowing Akron Beacon Journal readers to become exorcised over coverage of Iraq they deemed negative.

    At issue in particular was a Saturday story headlined: ``Untold tragedy of Iraq'' in which Nancy A. Youssef detailed the killing of Iraqis by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police. Needs, public editor of the newspaper, heard from readers who would prefer the tragedy of Iraq remain untold.

    Needs explained that painful to read and difficult to accept stories are exactly what a free press should be offering its readers because those people surely want to make informed decisions about such things as the war in Iraq - don't they?

    The Daily Kos entry (not without its own opinion) by DemFromCT observed: ``Everything Bush is telling the American people about Iraq is crap. It's politically motivated fog, a smokescreen to obfuscate until after the election. The media needs to fact-check Bush's people all the time, every day about everything. And we need to make sure they do. Kudos to the Beacon Journal for acting like a free press.''

    Public editors have impossible jobs. They are in the middle between those who report the news and those who consume it. When the news goes down hard, it is the public editor who gets slapped with the readers' indignation. It's a thankless job - except for today.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:29 PM

    Hope the mileage reimbursement is good 

    Willie Nelson should be playing on the CD or tape deck, because the media's on the road again.

    - The Akron Beacon Journal's David Giffels is in Hicksville, in on the northwest edge of Ohio. (Ohioblog figured once a person had been to Spencer, W.Va., Hicksville would be redundant. Guess the media can't go to West Virginia to ask how Ohio is going to vote - though it is not a bad idea.)

    - The Toledo Blade's James Drew is out there on U.S. 40, the National Highway which once was the major east-west highway through the center of Ohio and touches 10. Interstate 70 offers a faster trip through the heart of Ohio but not a better understanding of what's in it five weeks before Election Day.

    - The Columbus Dispatch's Joe Hallett and Jonathan Riskind are in Wisconsin on a Real People Tour (what, as opposed to zombies?), sizing up things in one of Ohio's sister swing states on the heels of the newspaper's extended tour of Ohio.

    - And The Plain Dealer, which earlier did a compelling series of assessments of The Five Ohios, is back out in the northwest Ohio Farm Belt, tilling the Ohioans closest to the land for more about how this election will tip.

    The PD conclusion is that the ``state is tilting, but the fight's not over.'' This determination should make Ohioans see the difference between putting trust in their own closer-to-ground media than in listening to the drums of the more distant forecasters. A number of national news organizations have given Ohio to President Bush, who won here in 2000 by less than 4 percentage points.

    The Plain Dealer turned, as so many do, to the John Green, director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute for Applied Politics, for a response to those who would serve up Ohio's 20 electoral votes to the president too soon.

    ``An 8-point lead is not safe, certainly not in Ohio," Green said.

    Ohioblog's experience suggests the same cautionary note, and if the race is not over, the PD concludes ``the Farm Belt is emerging as a decisive theater.''

    People there - and elsewhere in the state - still want specifics on how the candidates will improve the economy, resolve the war in Iraq and keep America safe - and they want them before Willie Nelson stops singing and the reporters come off the road.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:54 AM

    Ohio's real battleground 

    Thursday's debate may be in doubt (don't worry, W will show), but Malone College's 30-7 victory over St. Francis (Ill.) was not. Malone quarterback Brad Reifsnyder didn't address it with the Canton Repository's John Seaburn, but he didn't feel as if he played that well. Understandable. Reifsnyder's capable of completing more than 50 percent of his passes, and he didn't (14 of 29 for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one of 61 yards). There were complications: Malone couldn't run early-on so St. Francis could concentrate on its pass rush (blitzing two linebackers) and locking onto the Pioneer receivers; Malone tried to run when it should have just put the ball in Reifsnyder's hands, and his receivers dropped a couple of balls that should have been caught.

    What should please Reifsnyder, who transferred back to Stark County from Clarion University, is that the Malone offense continued to mature, including his connection with Cleveland Heights freshman Alphanso Owen (3 catches for 95 yards and 2 TDs). The offensive line created a cacoon for its QB, the defense played better than during a loss at St. Xavier the week before) and so the stage is set for Saturday's showdown with North Canton's Walsh University (2-1 after a last-second 23-21 loss to Trinity University.)

    If President Bush and challenger John Kerry want to understand Ohio and be a part of a real battleground, they should drop in at Fawcett Stadium at noon on Saturday. They would get the real flavor of Ohio, this swing state so important to them.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:47 AM

    Saturday, September 25, 2004

    Time out for Ohio's other sport 

    President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have taken a break from the campaign trail to prepare for the first of their three debates. It will be held Thursday in Coral Gables, Fla.

    Ohioblog is also taking a break.

    Instead of studying for the debate, however, Ohioblog is off to do what any self-respecting observer of Ohio political games does on Friday and/or Saturday, which is to pay attention to this swing state's other important sport - football.

    I'm off to watch North Canton's Brad Reifsnyder throw touchdown passes for Malone College against St. Francis (Ill.) at Fawcett Stadium. Enjoy your weekend.

    - Steve Love

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

    For some executives, employees do matter 

    James Griffith, president and chief executive officer of Canton's Timken Co., put a smiley face on business in the bellwether county of this swing state when he spoke Friday at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's CEO Forum.

    It was the right audience for Griffith's ``Competing to Win'' message. These people understand what needs to be done at the top in order for their global organizations not only to survive but also to prosper. There might get a different response from the bottom of the company ladder, down where live those in the blue-collar bearing-making jobs that the United Steelworkers of America are trying to save.

    Timken and the Steelworkers are negotiating the fate of 1,150 jobs that Timken has said may have to be eliminated, even as the company adds professional, white-collar jobs.

    Demand has been high for Timken bearings, Griffith said, but ``in the end, it's the customers that determine if a facility survives.'' Not to mention the analysts who tell the shareholders what they should expect.

    Once, when those who ran Northeast Ohio's strongest and best companies were less answerable to analysts and shareholders, or maybe they just had more guts and the character to try to do the right thing by everyone, shareholder and customer demands were but parts of the larger equation.

    Ohioblog prefers the philosophy to which former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. President Robert Mercer, hewed. ``I've never bought the idea that the shareholder is owner of the company,'' Mercer said in Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron. ``They own a piece of paper with the company's name on it, and they'll get rid of that paper at the drop of an eighth of a point in the stock price.

    ``Our employees, whether union or otherwise, have a wife or husband and kids and years invested in the company, and they're looking at investing more years. First and foremost, you have an obligation to your customers. But you have to do the right thing by your employees. Then you have an obligation to your suppliers and to your community.... If you do all the other things right, the shareholder is going to make out like a bandit.''

    There aren't many like Mercer any more, not in Ohio, not in America. If there were, Ohioblog would vote for them.

    - Steve Love

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

    What the French and Ohioans have in common 

    The Iraq war has strained U.S. relations with France. Americans (not Ohioans, we hope) call the French ingrates because the United States helped to give the French back their country during World War II and now the French balk at supporting the war in Iraq as a part of a larger war on terrorism.

    If there are Ohioans who are upset with the French, Ohioblog is not among them.

    In fact, Ohioblog was reminded upon reading about the death of author Francoise Sagan of why the French should be admired, especially by those of us
    who live in Ohio, not only a swing state in the presidential election but also the state with more excellent libraries than any other. (Unfortunately, Ohio's libraries rank No. 1 in the nation because of their longtime foundation and the willingness of communities such as Akron, North Canton, Twinsburg, Stow, Orrville and many others to sustain them, not on the wisdom and foresight of the Ohio legislature.)

    What struck Ohioblog in the obituaries of Sagan, best known for her novel Bonjour Tristesse, were not only the kind words about Sagan's life but also who had stepped up to say these things.

    In a statement, President Jacques Chirac said: ``With her death, France loses one of its most brilliant and most sensitive writers - an eminent figure of our literary life.''

    Even better was Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who called Sagan ``a smile - one that was melancholy, enigmatic, distant yet joyous.''

    When did an American president or member of his cabinet last comment on the nation's loss upon death of a renown author, much less offer us something as insightful and eloquent as Raffarin's assessment of Sagan? Sounds as if Raffarin actually had read Sagan's work. It would be nice to have a president like that.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:36 AM

    Friday, September 24, 2004

    Scum is as scum sticks 

    John Kerry is the scum of the Iraq war. So says the New York Post. It compares him to Toyko Rose and Axis Sally.

    Glenn Reynold's Instapundit isn't much more reasoned. Ohioblog may have to reassess his estimate of Instapundit. Conservative is fine. For Bush is fine. But even an law school
    professor should recognize the fallacy in these arguments.

    Here's an archived Instapundit:

    A SMALL REACTION TO A BIG SPEECH: The Belgravia Dispatch is deeply unimpressed with Kerry's response to Allawi's speech:

    Kerry looks, er, very small today. I mean, was this statement for real? In its discombobulation, utter lack of grace (all but calling Allawi a liar), near absurdities ("Let me tell you, if the 4th Infantry Division and the diplomacy had
    been done (ed. note: whatever "done" means) with Turkey, you wouldn't have had a Fallujah"), pleading tone ("And ask the military leaders. Go ask the military leaders")--it reads more like a bona fide Deanian (or Goreian?) meltdown than a
    serious policy statement/press conference. What I don't get is that Kerry's big claim is that he'll get us allies, but it seems that whenever you turn around he's dissing somebody on our side. Last week it was Australia, and then there were those remarks about a ``fraudulent coalition'' in Iraq.

    This seems to me to be no way to win friends, though I suspect that it may influence

    UPDATE: Roger Simon asks: "[W]hat if Kerry wins using this rhetoric? What will he do when confronted with decisions to make on Iraq?" You know, the more I look at the new, Dean-channeling Kerry, the more I think that he doesn't expect to win. He's given up trying to convince swing voters that he's serious on the war. I think this
    is about firing up the base to protect down-ticket candidates as much as possible.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Jason Van Steenwyk, recently returned from Iraq, is also unimpressed with Kerry's remarks. "Ok. So you want other nations' leaders to expend political capital and treasure and send their lads to risk their lives . . . . So why don't you act like it? Why aren't you trying to sell the deal?"

    Related item from Ralph Peters here: Ouch.

    Ouch, indeed. Come on, Glenn. You're smarter than this.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:53 PM

    Scene editor takes the gloves off 

    President Bush is a girlie man. This is the conclusion of a manly man Ohio columnist, Pete Kotz of Scene, one of two Cleveland alternative weeklies.

    In the interest of full disclosure, Ohioblog was told by Kotz's boss that Kotz would be in touch about possible writing assignments. Ohioblog is still desperately waiting for Kotz's call. As much as anything, Ohioblog wanted to meet the man who threatened to punch out the editor of his competition, David Eden.

    Kotz is now picking on someone more his size, the president of the United States. Got to admire the guy's big ones, and in this case, he is right on with what he writes.

    ``Unfortunately, Bush, like so many others, confuses attitude with masculinity,'' Kotz writes.

    For Ohioblog all questions of masculinity became mute when President Bush made the same choice as Ohioblog and joined the National Guard to avoid the war in Vietnam.(Ohioblog at least fulfilled his 6-year obligation fully and served with a militarypolice unit when, during the ealry 1970s, it was not the most pleasant to assignments.) Manly men went to Vietnam. The rest of us stayed home.

    Please read Pete Kotz's column. It's a treat.

    ``If Bush was a real man,'' Kotz writes, he'd know there's no honor in being a country club tough guy, one who beleives that work of men is to rattle their lips, then play another round of golf.''

    Fore, anyone?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:22 PM

    The race in Ohio may be over 

    The constitutional amendment to block same-sex marriages in Ohio will almost certainly be on the Nov. 2 ballot. Even the opposition's Alan Melamed, campaign manager for Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, concedes as much.

    If it is on the ballot, the measure is a lock to pass. It also will provide President Bush with an even larger base of conservative voters who feel compelled to go to the polls. It should be enough to guarantee that Bush wins Ohio again and is re-elected.

    The gay marriage ban is the domino in the chain of this election, and no one explains this more intelligently or comprehensively than WKSU's Vivian Goodman. Don't miss her report.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:50 AM

    They're no Clarke Gable 

    The outcome of the president election remains uncertain in Ohio and elsewhere, but regardless of which candidate wins, the loser may have a future in film.

    First, Michael Moore proved in Fahrenheit 9/11 what an interesting leading man George W. Bush can be. Now, Director George Butler's Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry is about to do the same for the Democratic presidential contender.

    The feature-length documentary is loosely based on the best-selling book Tour of Duty by Douglas Brinkley. The film is sure to spark protests from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who would prefer that Kerry, their former comrade, be left up a creek without a paddle.

    The movie will open Friday, Oct. 1, at one of the cinema complexes in Montrose. Watch for the listings.

    - Steve Love

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

    Now THIS is an election 

    While Ohioblog values his vote in the Nov. 2 election, the voting in which he really wishes he could participate is that for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The candidates are better.

    Chrissie Hynde and her band, the Pretenders, are among the 15 nominees for induction next year, and when it comes to putting the politics of loss in Northeast Ohio to words, no one has ever been better than Akron's Chrissie Hynde.

    She has told John Soeder, The Plain Dealer's pop music critic, that when it comes to such awards, even the capstone award of a career, that she ``could give that a miss,''

    Chrissie's wishes notwithstanding, she belongs in the Hall of Fame. The foundation of her London band, she has seen it through good times and bad, a female rocker with both the heart for the music and the endurance for the long haul. (Canton's O'Jays also are on the ballot and another group deserving of serious consideration.)

    Only about 1,000 rock experts have a vote in this election, with performers receiving the highest number of voters, and more than 50 percent of the vote, inducted. If Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders are not among the chosen, someone has both the ear and heart of the Tin Man.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:44 AM

    Thursday, September 23, 2004

    Flying high while keeping the public in the dark 

    Vice President Dick Cheney has spent so many days in Ohio, especially the state's small towns, that Ohioblog has lost track of the number. That isn't so bad, as it turns out. The big-time media reporters have lost track of Cheney himself.

    Of course, this is as Cheney intended it.

    The vice president is not cuddly. Lynne Cheney, , cannot turn a grump into lovable gramps. About the only time during this campaign when Cheney has revealed any compassion for those with beliefs different from his was when he acknowledged that he and Lynne have a gay daughter and that he believes she has a right to find happiness in a union of her choosing.

    Nina Totenberg on National Public Radio's Morning Edition Thursday aired a piece on all things Cheney, including further insight into the vice president's closed-door, closed-mouth way of doing the people's business.

    During the course of the campaign, NPR reporters, as well as those from Knight Ridder Newspapers, of which the Akron Beacon Journal is a part, and The New York Times have been excluded from flying on Air Force Two with Cheney. This is not merely a travel inconvenience such as we all experience. The exclusion makes it nearly impossible for the reporters of these major news outlets (Knight Ridder has a readership of 12 million) to keep up (hee, hee - now you're getting the idea) when Cheney is flying into and out of small communities in Ohio and the rest of America.

    It has turned Times reporter Rick Lyman into a self-admitted stalker, flying commercial flights and trying to stay one step ahead just to get to at least one small-town stop a day.

    ``The truth is,'' Lyman reports, ``it's a weird kind of gift to a reporter. I may not spend a whole lot of time in the small towns and state fairs that the vice president visits, but I spend a lot more than he does, or that members of the press on the plane do. I talk to people everywhere, and not just the supporters who got tickets to his sanctioned events. I listen to local radio stations, get lost on local roads.''

    Regardless the unintended benefits Lyman finds, Cheney's decision, as Totenberg points out, ``inevitably refocuses attention on his role in the administration as the chief architect and spokesman for limiting information to the public.'' For instance, Cheney refused to share what role energy executives played in developing the administration's energy policy. And, when Vermont Sen. Frank Leahy, criticized this and other administration actions, Cheney told Leahy to go f--- himself.

    All of which leads Ohioblog to the realization that should he and President Bush fail to win re-election, the Cheneys should consider moving to Ohio, where the vice president could get a public job keeping public records private, as has been the practice too often in this state.

    - Steve Love

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

    CBS and Rather can't hold a candle to CNN 

    CBS and its managing editor, longtime news anchor Dan Rather, have given the media another black eye because they were not properly skeptical of documents used on 60 Minutes to again question President Bush's performance in the Texas Air National Guard.

    CBS News should have known better and now it has appointed Dick Thornburgh, former Republican attorney general, and Louis Boccardi, retired chief executive officer of the Associated Press, to tell it so in an independent investigation.

    It's all very proper, but the Akron Beacon Journal's Rich Heldenfels could have saved CBS the trouble: ``The chase for scoops, no matter how flimsy their sourcing, will continue - and allegations will be presented as being valid as facts. The desire for commentators to pass judgment before all the facts are in will also go on. That will be part of the ongoing perception by views and readers, that news is valid only when it reflects the audiences' opinions. Anything else will be suspect somewhere.''

    The more egregious violation of public trust by the media in this campaign season has been CNN's continued employment of James Carville and Paul Begala as hosts on Crossfire after they joined Democrat John Kerry's campaign staff as advisers.

    This mockery of the canons of journalism is so blatant that it has brought even The New York Times' Frank Rich and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly under the same critical tent.

    CNN should be proud of itself. It has out-Foxed Fox.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:41 AM

    Watch where you kick back, Mr. President 

    President Bush swaggers and smirks and cuts a generally tough image. But, as he noted when accepted the Republican nomination, it is his mother who really kicks Bush and takes names.

    George H.W. Bush, speaking in Columbus in support of his son's re-election, shared an illustrative annecdote.

    Shortly after winning election four years ago, the president had returned to the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, from a jog and had propped his feet up on a table, according to his father.

    `` `George, get your feet off the table!' '' Barbara Bush told her son.

    ``Barb,'' the elder Bush reminded his wife, ``he's the president of the United States.''

    `` `Then he should know better than that.' ''

    Isn't it interesting how little things can tell you a lot about a person?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:06 AM

    The cat should keep his tongue 

    Sen. John Kerry has found a way to stay on message and avoid the accusations that he flip-flops on issues.

    He lost his voice - or close enough to it that he announced he was canceling a Thursday campaign appearance in Columbus. In

    the end, he appeared. And talked, with neither flip nor flop.

    - Steve Love

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

    Back to the future 

    George H.W. Bush, president No. 41, spoke on behalf of George W. Bush, president No. 43, Wednesday in Columbus, and, according to Alan Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch, emphasized, in his folksy way, talking father and son rather than national and international issues about which No. 41 admits he ``just doesn't give a damn anymore.''

    ``He's a good son,'' No. 41 told 300 supporters. ``Work hard and see that he's re-elected.''

    Among Republicans who aren't exactly rushing to follow 41's advice is Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who recently said on CNN's Inside
    he might vote for Bush – by writing in George H.W. Bush.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:37 AM

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    There is a time and a place 

    Applause sends one message.Silence sends another. On Tuesday, the messages were the same at the Cleveland City Club and in New York at the United Nations.

    Something is wrong in Iraq.

    This isn't the message that President Bush brought when he spoke to the U.N. General Assembly. Ignoring reports from his own intelligence operatives on the state of the war in Iraq, Bush painted a rosy picture of a country progressing in a new democracy. The U.N. delegates listened in respectful silence.

    All those miles away in Cleveland, Sen. John Edwards, the Democrats' vice presidential candidate, spent most of his time presenting specifics of how a Kerry-Edwards administration would try to create more jobs for Ohioans and others Americans but drew the strongest response when he criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the war.

    ``Bush and Cheney are the last people in America who believe they have made no mistakes in Iraq,'' Edwards said.

    Cheney, also campaigning in Ohio, characterizes the administration as steadfast compared with Kerry who ``seems to adopt a new position every day.'' Cheney may have to alter his assessment. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page, ardent admirer of President Bush, recognizes that Kerry has become the anti-war candidate, an oversimplification but maybe one that is required for people to understand the differences between the president's Iraq view and that of his challenger.

    U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan continues to question the legality of the war in Iraq and the commitment of some nations to the rule of law.

    Through the applause and the silence of these events, there was too little statesmenship and too much campaigning going on.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:01 PM

    Ohio Poll gives Ohioblog a bad name 

    If this continues, Ohioblog is going to have to change its subtitle to: Swing state? What swing state?

    After a series of Ohio polls, including one from Knight Ridder-MSNBC, revealing that President Bush has seized a substantial lead over challenger John Kerry in the state comes further confirmation from the Ohio Poll.

    As Ohio Poll will tell you, it has something of an official status since the University of Cincinnati's Institute of Policy Research has registered the name with the Ohio Secretary of State.

    In a random sample of 456 likely voters taken from Sept. 12 through Sept. 18, President Bush received 54 percent of the support and Sen. Kerry 43 percent. Independent Ralph Nader got one percent (so why bother fighting over whether he is
    on the ballot?). This compares with Kerry leading by two percentage points following the Democratic National Convention.

    Kerry's campaign staff don't believe the numbers.

    ``We think the race is closer than that,'' spokeswoman Jennifer Palimieri told the Cincinnati Enquirer's Carl Weiser.

    ``I just don't trust the polling this year,'' Bill Burga, head of the Ohio AFL-CIO, also told the Enquirer.

    Burga isn't referring to the Ohio Poll's plus or minus 4.6 percent margin of error. People naturally question how these admitted snapshots in time can reflect an entire state's population from such a small sample. Frank Newport, president of the Gallup Organization, addressed the issue with Steve Inskeep, a host of Morning Edition on National Public Radio.

    Polling, Newport said, works on the same principle that a doctor applies when blood is drawn to test for cholesterol: A small sample provides the large picture.

    There are a couple of interesting arguments in The Hill, one from Mark Mellman and the other from Dr. David Hill. Among the issues is whether the ``likely voter'' model preferred by Gallup is better
    than the surveys of ``all registered voters'' done by others.

    This much is certain: On Nov. 2 the two models will become one.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:39 AM

    Basket-case Ohio: Off and on critical lists 

    How far has Ohio fallen? According to Jules Witcover, a columnist with the Baltimore Sun, there is one state that Sen. John Kerry cannot afford to lose among the swing states - and it isn't Ohio.

    Would you believe Michigan?

    Actually, Ohioblog would believe Michigan. The state up north still has the strong labor base compared with that which has been eroded in Ohio. The Democrats in Michigan also have a statewide party that functions. So to lose Michigan would be
    the end of the end for Kerry, who continues to lead in the state by six percentage points, 47 to 41 (Knight Ridder-MSNBC).

    Ohioblog has used Longaberger as the poster company for the state's basket-case economy, and the Longaberger has not let us down. In its third major reduction in employees in 12 days, Longaberger announced this week that it is ending its basket-making operation at Hartville as of Jan. 3. In addition, 650 workers at its Frazeysburg plant will be furloughed fromm Oct. 4 through Nov. 12.

    The good news is Hartville will still have 90 workers doing long preparation, veneering and wood-processing operations, and that 76 Hartville basket-makers can transfer to Frazeysburg and 34 who will be laid off will be able to apply for future openings. Get out your Ohio map, however, and check the drive from the Hartville area to Frazeysburg, which is northeast of Newark. It will not be enjoyable in January.

    - Steve Love

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

    Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    What's golf got to do with it? 

    The splendid arrogance of Americans came through loud, white and blue during the Ryder Cup. Golf, national politics, international statesmanship - it doesn't matter: Americans are convinced their way is the way.

    Ask them what Jesus would do - a popular question to get at what is the right thing to do - and they would say: He would do what Americans do.

    I'm not so sure.

    Golf may seem to have little to do with America's foreign policy or its presidential election. Again, I'm not so sure. I think the attitudes are exactly alike.

    Americans go it alone. On the golf course. In making war. In whatever they deem important.

    As you may know (or not, given this is a blog dealing with Ohio's status as a swing state in the president election and not sports), Europe defeated the United States, 18 1/2 to 9 1/2, in the Ryder Cup matches on the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich. Americans had never fared so miserably.

    U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton attributed his favored team's humiliation to being unable to develop the proper charism to compete successfully against a team filled with men who played not only for themselves but also for one another. The Europeans were a concensus. The Americans were Armies of One.

    ``The U.S. is like the bully in day care who gets sent home with the note that says `doesn't play well with others','' Bud Shaw, columnist for The Plain Dealer concluded.

    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the best of the best, went out together and couldn't win. Tiger doesn't like Phil. Phil doesn't like Tiger. Tiger cares about his place in golf history. That, he as much as told everyone, is secured by winning major championships, not Ryder Cup matches or even Ryder Cups.

    And Mickelson? What can be said about Mickelson? He had just completed a summer during which he won over a reluctant public and then made the crass decision to change his equipment (for money) immediately for the Cup. It was all about Phil.

    So when all was said and putted, Spain's Sergio Garcia was not shy about pointing out that people who are not Americans actually do play golf and play it well and may have something to contribute when it comes to how the game should be played.

    Which brings us full circle, to the the U.S.'s unwillingness to listen to others before attacking Iraq, a country that clearly was no imminent threat to the United States and had no direct connections to Osama bin Laden and Al Quaeda, those who conceived and executed the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

    Like American golfers, leaders in the Bush administration are not team builders. Sure, they recruited some support but not enough. Not longtime allies such as France and Germany. Not the United Nations. And the score in Iraq is not much different from that in the Ryder Cup. We're losing because we didn't plan well enough what to do once the mission was accomplished, the war ``won''.

    Capt. Hal knows something about that. But unlike his presidential counterpart, Sutton had the grace to say in defeat: ``Obvioiusly, the pairings sent out didn't create any charism. I made mistakes. I take full responsibility.''

    What a sweet and seldom heard phrase from an American leader of any stripe...I made mistakes.

    On Monday, the day after the American golfers' Waterloo, President Bush spoke to the United Nations and appealed for support. When we begin to listen to others, to recognize they too might know know something. we might even win such support.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:28 PM

    This is just the ticket 

    Want a free ticket to a hot movie? Ohioblog thought so. Ohioans love free stuff.

    Ohioblog is ineligible for one of the 125 giveaway tickets to see Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's not-so-affectionate look at President Bush, commander-in-chief. Moviegoers between the ages of 18 and 30 are invited to a 4:45 p.m. Thursday screening at the Cedar Lee Theater (Cedar and Lee Roads in Cleveland Heights), courtesy of two anonymous donors, one of whom is 84, about Ohioblog's age.

    The flick also is popular in, of all places, Iraq. The Christian Science Monitor's Ann Scott Tyson reports that many service personnel are seeing the movie.

    ``Everyone's watching it,'' a Marine corporal in Ramadi told Tyson. ``It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush.''

    The corporal's movie venue isn't exactly the Cedar Lee. He is stationed at an outpost that is being mortared by insurgents daily.

    In addition, he did not receive at his viewing, as will Cedar Lee's 125 young guests, free popcorn and soft drinks, also courtesy of the anonymous donors.

    Oh, to be young again and Fahrenheit 9/11 eligible.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:24 AM

    Well, maybe Iraq isn't critical in the war on terror after all 

    President Bush repeats again and again that he will not cut and run in Iraq, that U.S. troops will stay until the country is safe for democracy (or at least for oil extraction).

    Not so, says Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times columnist.

    At the moment when Democrat John Kerry has begun to spellout the details of what he would do with the Iraq war if elected president - including beginning to bring troops home by summer 2005 - Novak suggests that ``well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out'' of Iraq after a post-election reassessment.

    Take this trial balloon for what it is worth. Novak, remember, is the guy who outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, a blotch on responsible journalism that makes Dan Rather look like Edward R. Murrow.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:22 AM

    Let's ban the technicality-o-crats 

    If backers of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages have the additional valid signatures they believe they have, Issue 1
    will be on the ballot Nov. 2, and it doesn't matter that the initiative failed to meet all the legal requirements.

    Cynthia C. Lazarus, Donna Bowman and Lisa Brown, three judges of the Franklin County Court of Appeals have ruled 3-0 that it makes no difference that circulated petitions did not include a certified summary, as required by state law.

    Hey, folks, feel free to make up your own rules. Those pesky technicalities mean nothing. This is Ohio.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:57 AM

    Good leaders and bad, Northeast Ohio has got 'em 

    Northeast Ohio always has had extremes in political leadership, from the responsible performers by such as U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) to the laughable former Congressman James Traficant, current jailbird.

    The same holds true in local politics. On Monday the Akron City Council passed a resolution supporting the city playing host in October to the Leadership Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic serves as president.

    The flip side of the accomplished Plusquellic, possible candidate for governor in 2006, is former Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne. Coyne was sentenced in Rocky River Monday to 10 days in jail as a result of going on a drunk that left him ``passed out
    and lying nearly naked in a North Olmsted driveway,'' reports The Plain Dealer's Michael O'Malley.

    Coyne, who recently returned from 30 days of treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic near Palm Springs, Calif., also was ordered by Rocky River Municipal Court Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons to attend daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, to which responded: ``I'm probably the only alcoholic in Northeast Ohio who is not anonymous.''

    Not exactly what Dr. Bob had in mind.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:36 AM

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    Ohioblog 101 

    Since Mike Needs, the Akron Beacon Journal's public editor, was kind enough to mention Ohioblog in his Sunday column and to encourage visits here, it seems appropriate to welcome newcomers and to explain what this blog attempts to do.

    Editors at the Beacon Journal conceived this blog and, after some discussion,turned it over to me. The idea: put an Ohiocentric slant on this important presidential election in what may be the most critical of battleground states.

    I fall into a category in the blogosphere that might be called the enemy camp. I come from mainstream journalism, and, Dan Rather, Jayson Blair and a few others others aside, respect the craft and those who perform it. Many bloggers, working with neither a journalist's constrictions nor conscience, can and do write opinions unsupportable by either fact or, I think, experience.

    Experience I have: more than 20 years at the Beacon Journal, more than 35 years in journalism. I bring to these daily mini-essays a background in politics and editorial writing, in repoting on and forming opinions for columns about sports,
    books, culture and almost every other conceivable subject. I may not always know what I'm talking about, but I can usually sound as if I do.

    My habit is to scour Ohio's newspapers, a number of others from around the nation, hit a few of the blogs I find reliable and interesting and share with Ohioblog readers the best of what I've found and that which is most pertinent, in my opinion, to Ohio and this election. I fall short of being nonpartisan, but I try to be fair and point out the bright lights and the dim bulbs on both sides. I have opinions, and I don't keep them to myself, though I do try to soft-pedal them more than I might in a traditional column.

    Though blogging requires a substantial amount of time glued to a chair in front of a computer screen, I do get out. I advice the Buchtelite, the independent (that means the staff does not have to take my advice) college newspaper at the University of Akron. I also sell books at Barnes & Noble Booksellers (I've even written some of those I sell).

    These ventures put me in touch with people in a personal way, but the odd thing is, so does Ohioblog. I know you're out there, even if I can't see you.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:39 AM

    Initiatives could change everything 

    Organizers who want to put a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages on the Nov. 2 ballot have one week to get more signatures or live with the current law, which accomplishes virtually the same thing.

    If the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage succeeds in coming up with the additional valid signatures, Ohio would become one of more than 30 states with a social or legal issue placed on the ballot by voter initiative. (Ohioblog will tell you another day what he thinks of most such initiatives.)

    Phil Burress, chairman of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, told the Dayton Daily News that the group has another 144,000 signatures to augment 391,794 turned in. To get on the ballot, 322,899 signatures of Ohio registered voters is required.

    If the gay marriage ban, which also would prohibit state and local governments from recognizing civil unions, is on the ballot, it could facilitate the re-election of President Bush, who, like 56 percent of Ohioans, opposes gay marriage and wants such unions constitutionally banned.

    Such state proposals have become commonplace in the wake of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decison to allow same-sex marriages.

    What is not common among initiatives are those similar to one in Colorado that would amend Colorado's constitution and make it the first state to award electoral votes based on the percentage of popular vote each candidate wins.

    Jo Becker of the Washington Post reports: ``It means (John) Kerry could lose the state but still win four of its nine electoral votes, according to Democratic backers and Republican opponents. That prospect has prompted the GOP to mount a fierce challenge to the initiative even as they prepare for a possible post-Election Day legal showdown.''

    In other words, Colorado could be the next Florida - and here we thought Ohio might be.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:03 AM

    At least Fingerhut's winning one race 

    Before U.S. Senate candidate Eric Fingerhut walked 300 miles to take his Democratic message to Ohioans, he trailed incumbent Sen. George Voinovich by 31 percentage points, 55-24.

    Now, according to The Plain Dealer's new statewide poll, Fingerhut trails by only 26 percentage points, 58-32.

    ``One reason he walked across the state was to reach out to voters,'' Raquel Whiting, Fingerhut's campaign manager, told PD politics writer Mark Naymik. ``Every day he is out there talking to voters, and we believe that will make this a winnable race.''

    Even if Fingerhut does not hit the political marathoner's wall, the race is not winnable. It never was. Ohio Democrats are incapable of winning a statewide office.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:31 AM

    You call those priorities? 

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the road most traveled from West Virginia to Akron and economic hope was State Route 21. Its sister road, coming out of another part of Appalachia and beelining north, though Columbus and on into the
    industrial powerhouse that has been Toledo, is U.S. 23. It's a good road to take when searching for Ohio's political pulse.

    James Drew, The (Toledo) Blade's Columbus bureau chief struck out on Route 23 on Route 23 recently and collected a series of anecdotes from which he reached not so much a conclusion as to whether President Bush is going to win Ohio again and keep Democratic John Kerry from unseating him as a geographical one, which is:

    ``North of Columbus, most people interviewed raised two issues: the economy and the
    U.S. military's continued role in Iraq.

    ``South of Columbus, more people talked about their support for gun rights and their
    opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.''

    Makes Ohioblog proud to live north of Ohio's equivalent of the Mason-Dixon Line.

    - Steve Love

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

    Sunday, September 19, 2004

    Time to slink off or speak up 

    John Kerry is going to lose Ohio, and he is going to lose it because he cannot talk a good game.

    The polls say so. Ohioblog says so.

    Two new polls confirm what has been becoming more and more obvious as the weeks pass: Kerry can't sell it. He has a warrior's heart, as he has provedon the battfield. Yet he cannot convince Ohioans that he is as much to be trusted with their safety as President Bush.

    Bush, on the other hand, can sell it. He talks tough, acts tough and will start a war against the wrong guy to prove his point: He will protect America every time.

    What kind of America the president is protecting should be a question that resonates in Ohio, where the economy is as bad as any place in the country. But Kerry can't even sell it to out-of-work Ohioans, the number of whom increased more in August than in any other

    Both a Knight Ridder-MSBNBC Ohio poll in the Akron Beacon Journal and a Plain Dealer Ohio poll give Bush a commanding but not invincible lead with six weeks to election day. The Knight Ridder-MSNBC poll puts Bush ahead by 7 percentage points, 49-42, while the Plain Dealer has it at 8 percentage points, 50-42, up from a 6 percentage point lead in May.

    The Columbus Dispatch agrees that the determining factors in Ohio are whether Ohioans believe the most important issues are terrorism and leadership or the economy and health care.

    ``The question really becomes which issues motivate people,'' John Green, director of the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics, told the Dispatch. ``Is it terrorism and moral questions, or is it jobs and social welfare?''

    A recent Gallop Poll found that 87 percent of Ohioans believe Bush can handle terrorism better than Kerry (9 percent), but Kerry does better on the economy (61 percent believe he could best handle it) and health care (58 percent).

    In earlier polls, Ohioans ranked the economy as their greatest concern. In the Knight Ridder-MSNBC survey, the economy finished second to terrorism, with moral issues and family values (another Bush strength) third. In other words, Ohioans are more afraid of being attacked than they are of being out of work.

    Kerry has not found a way to address this fact, but in The Sunday New York Times there was no shortage of knowledgable Democrats who stood ready to help him: There was Leon Panetta and Donna Brazile,Bob Kerrey and Paul Glastris.

    These strategists want Kerry to trust his gut (Brazile), pick a message (Panetta), bring the battle to the president (Glastris) and open a new front, with an issue important to Ohio.

    ``I would love to see Sen. Kerry announce that if elected he will immediately convene a summit meeting on international trade and globalism to be held in Columbus, Ohio,'' said Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator who is president of
    the New University School. ``He should announce that the meeting will be an annual event and that he intends to invite American business, political and education leaders to join (them) a venue at which they can reacy concensus on trade and globalism. With the damage being done by trade deficits, inadequate savings and investment and the growing numbers of poor, uninsured Americans, it is vitally important for this consensus to be found.''

    Ohioblog has suggested before that the Democrats have the wrong Kerry running for president. The right one is Bob Kerrey - or perhaps even the John Kerry who testified to the U.S. Senate against the war he had fought so bravely. He told
    stories told to him by other veterans of atrocities committed in Vietnam in the name of building a democracy (sound familiar today?).

    As a reader of James Taranto's The Best of the Web on
    suggested, Kerry's testimony ``was unequivocal, clear, and direct; even today, almost two generations later, no listern can be left with a doubt about what he meant,'' said Fernando Colina. ``To my knowledge this is the last time he ever talked like that.''

    Neither Taranto nor Colina are fans of Kerry. The point, though, is perfect.

    The young Kerry believed the United States should not be in Vietnam. He sold this belief for all he was worth. He sold it with such passion that some of his fellow veterans believe that he was selling them out and hate him to this day.

    The important thing is, Kerry sold it. His chances to do this again are few, the debates (three are proposed but Bush has agreed to none) are his best chance.

    Ohioans will be watching to see which Kerry shows up, the one who can sell it or the one who has been running for president.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:22 PM

    Intolerance: Revenge of the sign snatchers 

    In neighboring West Virginia, Akron's sister state, 3-year-old Sophia Parlock became a symbol for the intolerance and lack of civility that plagues this campaign, in particular, and our nation, as a whole.

    Her story has been all over the blogosphere, introduced by the Drudge Report, and followed up (responsibly, we might add) by Jim Ross at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington.

    The incident occurred when Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards arrived at Hunington's Tri-State Airport at the end of a two-day campaign swing through one of the most closely contested of battleground states.

    Reports of the incident vary but the essence is that someone ripped away a Bush-Cheney campaign sign from Sophia and tore it to pieces. A news photographer captured the little girl's upset. The AP photo sparked the Washington Times' interest and soon was up on the Internet.

    Many news outlets and talk shows phoned Sophia's father, Phil, to discuss signgate and Parlock obliged. Bush Internet supporters seized upon the incident, and Kerry backers responded by looking into Parlock's background. They learned Parlock had claimed to have been assaulted at Democratic events in 2000 and 1996.

    Accusations have flown back and forth through the blogosphere. Could the event have been staged? Was the sign-snatcher, who was wearing an International Union of Painters and Allied Trades T-shirt, Parlock's son? None of this goes to the point, which is tolerance of others and their viewpoints.

    Parlock knew giving his daughter the sign was asking for trouble. Signs were banned, except for those disputed by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. In a public setting such as an airport, such controls are difficult to enforce. The Bush-Cheney regularly screens those at its events, excluding opponents. And so it goes.

    We listen only those who echo our own beliefs, and they so sound right and good. Don't they?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:50 AM

    More intolerance: A poor man's Zell Miller 

    Tom Terez of Columbus has been receiving, according to one of Ohioblog's sources, some of the ``nastiest e-mails imaginable.'' What did Tom do to merit this electronic abuse? He created a Web site called and has been explaining why he supports Democrat John Kerry instead of his own party's man, President Bush.

    The response has not dissuaded Terez from his personal campaign. In fact, he has a new thoughtful memo posted in which he tries to help Kerry and others who support him understand better what they must do to win Ohio and the election.

    Read Tom's blog and answer this question: How can anyone hate a man who cares this much about something? Even if you disagree is there should be room to respect passion. I mean, didn't Republicans respond fervently to Sen. Zell Miller, the Democrat who has no bridges left to his own party because he burned them all as keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:35 AM

    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    Taft: Republican anchor man 

    Grover Norquest, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is not about to retract the strong words he had for Gov. Bob Taft, President Bush's Ohio albatross.

    Norquist told the Dayton Daily News that if ``Bush lost Ohio, it would not be because of anything Bush did. It would be because he is paddling upstream against the problems created by Taft. It's always toughter to run with a boat anchor attached to you ankle. And Taft's record is a boat anchor.''

    Ohioblog has always said Gov. Bob is a drag.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:02 PM

    Blogging on Ohio's bogged down economy 

    This is so typical of Ohio: The state lost more jobs than any other in the country during August (at least we're No. 1 in something). During a month in which jobs were expected to increase, they instead fell by nearly 12,000.

    ``We're just not having much movement in the job market,'' Keith Ewald, chief of the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information, told The Columbus Dispatch.

    There are many reasons that Ohio's unemployment rose from 6 percent to 6.3 percent, from Gov. Bob Taft's failed economic leadership to - and here's the irony - the fact that Ohioans have gotten too good at what they do.

    Among the industries slow to add jobs, the slowest is Ohio's important automotive manufacturing base. Why? It isn't just sales that keep the automakers and their many Ohio suppliers from hiring. It's productivity. Companies and their workers have become so productive they DON'T NEED MORE WORKERS.

    More productive workers and longer-lasting products helped to kill tiremaking in Akron. Now, the conundrum infects all of Ohio.

    There are 237,400 fewer jobs in Ohio than when President Bush took office, 173,000 of them stripped from manufacturing. The president claims to have answers yet none work. His challenger, John Kerry, talks about going after ``good-paying jobs (with incentives to companies to keep them in the United States)and helping the middle class first.'' But the details of how this might be accomplished remain scarce.

    What is not scarce is the truth found in plants such as Reichert Stamping Co., in Sylvania Township near Toledo. Reichert told its workers Friday that the 80-year-old company that makes automotive parts will close by early November. That will add 50 hourly and 15 salaried workers to Ohio's unemployed.

    The most most recent Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, found that the economy was of greater concern to Ohio voters than any other.

    ``It is the weakest state economy in the country,'' Mark Zandi, chief economist for told The Dispatch, ``and I don't think this will get much better before the election and into next year.''

    And so back to where we began: So typical Ohio.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:41 PM

    Seeing through the smoke in Central Ohio 

    In its Battleground Ohio series, The Columbus Dispatch has been reporting on anomalies that make Ohio so politically interesting. The most recent stop on the Dispatch's statewide tour is Central Ohio:

    This is another story of a section of Ohio in which the big-city county (Columbus and Franklin County) votes at odds with the rest of the region. Al Gore won Franklin County but lost to President Bush every other county in this 20-county region. The margin wasn't even close, an overall 11 percent.

    Jon Craig, who previously reported for the Akron Beacon Journal, discovered that what is odd is that the single most important driver in this election in Ohio - the economy - is comparatively good in Franklin County but not so good in counties such as Morgan. And it makes not one bit of difference in Morgan County.

    Among the Ohioans who taught this to Craig was Rob Foreman. He is 53. He lost his job at Gould Electronics in McConnelsville, when the firm was purchased by a Japanese company and then closed, the work sent to the Philippines. Foreman has a new job at Morgan Ace Hardware.

    ``It seems like everyone I talk to is starting a (new) job making half of what they did when they left their last one,'' Foreman told Craig.

    Foreman sounds like a potential John Kerry voter, but he isn't. Morgan County always votes Republican (unless the Republican was Barry Goldwater), and Foreman is a Morgan County kind of guy.

    In much of Central Ohio, social values outweigh all else. And so it isn't difficult for voters like Foreman to stick with President Bush. Foreman says that when it comes to attracting jobs to Ohio and providing health care, both the president and Democrat John Kerry are ``just blowing smoke.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:31 PM

    Does Jimmy Carter know about this? 

    Ohio has been the battleground among swing states. Now, we've upgraded. Ohio has become an observed state.

    Ohio is one of five states being visted by international observers from the human rights group Global Exchange. In addition to Ohio, Global Exchange's lawyers, former elected officials, election specialists and activists will visit Florida (suprise!), Arizona, Missouri and Georgia.

    After the initial visits, smaller groups will return for what Global Exchange officials believe is ``the first large-scale effort by a nongovernment group to monitor U.S. election processes.''

    ``The presence of an international group really gives confidence to voters,'' explained Brigalia Bam, chairwoman of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission.

    Isn't this what U.S. observers are asked to do for other countries because our democratic election process has long been the world's example? What happened?

    Oh yeah, Florida 2000.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:50 AM

    Ohioblog will take an aisle seat on the counter 

    More from Presidential (Mis)Speak: The Very Curious Language of George W. Bush:

    ``I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.''

    George W. Bush
    Oct. 3, 2001, announcing the re-openikng of Ronald Reason Airport three weeks afer 9/11

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:19 AM

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    A Stern lesson in democracy 

    Ohioblog is not on Howard Stern's wavelength. Maybe it should be, suggests Jim Arnold, site senior producer at, Ohioblog's own home sweet home.

    ``Yo, 'Blog,'' Arnold said, ``I'm not sure if you ever listen, but I'm sure you've read that Howard Stern has spent the past few months bashing George Bush and telling his listeners to vote for John Kerry. Howard is huge in Northeast Ohio among a large group that may never have voted. Could Stern have an effect on the Ohio election?''

    'Blog is more a Don Imus man, but it appreciates the free-speech issues Stern has raised as his show has been targeted by federal officals and removed from markets by some of the giant radio conglomerates. 'Blog may not like what Stern says or how he says it, but 'Blog likes the fact that he has a right to say it.

    Through his show and on his Web site, Stern is trying to facilitate voter registration and get voters to the polls. If this increases Kerry's margin in areas such as Cleveland and Akron, which he will win, Stern could indeed affect the election.

    Stern, in a note on his Web site, says he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican but someone who has ``always spoken openly about my support for Bill Clinton, the great (New York) Gov. Geroge Pataki, Christy Todd Whitman, Sen. D'Amato and Mayor Guilliani.''

    ``The show,'' Stern goes on, ``is under siege. Stem cell research is stifled. Free speech is endangered. The enironment is being ruined. Court appointments, the freedom to have an abortion and everything that makes our country great are about to be compromised for the next four years.''

    Stern's message won't appeal to many Ohioans, but his call to action, while not without its self-serving elements, is

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:59 AM

    Error in margins 

    One of these pollsters has to have its margin wrong. Take your pick.

    The Gallup Poll finds that President Bush has built a substantial lead over challenger John Kerry, 55 to 42 percent.

    At the same time, the Pew Reseaerch Center for the People & the Press comes up with the same leader but the president's margin is only one percent, 47-46.

    In either case, President Bush isn't like to become overconfident since four years he trailed Al Gore by 10 points in early October and won. (Well, sort of.) His opponent this time is a acknowledged fast closer.

    ``Sen. Kerry is like Seabiscuit,'' Donna Brazile, Gore's campaign manager told USA Today. ``He runs better from behind.''

    - Steve Love

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

    Welcome to a perfect corner of Ohio 

    As Ohioblog trots along behind The Columbus Dispatch as it tours Swing State Ohio, we arrive today in Northwest Ohio, which not only has picked 10 of 10 Ohio presidential winners since 1964 but also has done it, as Senior Editor Joe Hallett notes, ``with uncanny accuracy.''

    The ``difference between the statewide presidential results and those in northwestern Ohio,'' Hallett reports, ``was less than 0.5 percentage points'' in the 10 elections since '64 combined. That does not, however, mean this 12-county corner
    of Ohio is predictable.

    Lucas County, with Toledo as its core, will vote for Democrat John Kerry, while the 11 surrounding counties will vote for President Bush. ``I like to say that Lucas County is a Democratic oasis in the
    middle of a Republican desert,'' former chairman of the Lucas County and Ohio Democratic parties James Ruvolo told Hallett.

    Ruvolo, who is directing Kerry's Ohio campaign, is targeting close-to-urban Ottawa and Wood counties as those that could help his candidate win Northwest Ohio and, as a consequence, Ohio and the nation.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:51 AM

     Latest posts

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       •  July 2004
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