Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Despite the fact the future of political Web blogs is assured, Ohioblog has none. Blog is kaput. Thanks for sharing.
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:48 AM
The old formula for victory in an Ohio election no longer works. An army of Democratic voters, many of the first-timers, stormed the polls and voted for Sen. John Kerry, particularly in and around Ohio's largest cities, including Akron, Cleveland and Canton. It didn't matter. What did matter, what any Democrat who ever wants to win in Ohio must
address, is what exit polls reveal drove Ohioans' decision. It wasn't their jobs (or, in too many cases, lack of them). It wasn't fear of terrorists. It wasn't anger over the war in Iraq and its human and financial cost. It was something deeper, earthier. It was their lives - or rather, how they live their lives and the values that guide them.
John C. Green , who heads the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron, told The Washington Post that one piece of campaign literature from President Bush evoked the message that battallions of Republican Party workers were delivering in person around the state. The Bush mailer was illustrated with a beautiful church and a traditional nuclear (can you say nu-QUE-lar?) family. It's print message was: ``George W. Bush shares your values. Marriage. Life. Faith.'' It was perfect. ``It could not have been clearer if it had quoted from the Bible,'' Green told The Post.
Kerry had a unified, aggressive, well-funded campaign. He didn't give up on Ohio, as Al Gore did. He, in fact won more Ohio votes (2,659,664 so far) than any Democrat in history and still lost by 136,483 votes (and counting). ``There's going to be a lot of political scientists studying this election for years,'' Jo Ann Davidson, chairwoman of the Ohio
Valley Region of the Bush-Cheney campaign, told The Plain Dealer.
What they will find is an Ohio that is, as it has always been, a microcosm of the United States, but, if Davidson is correct, one shifting from five district regions, or Five Ohios, to the one of suburgan/rural counties and urban counties. Even in urban counties such as Summit, where Kerry, won 56 percent of the vote, the principal influence of voters in suburban/rural counties is at work: moral values.
Or, religion. Ohioblog tried to explain the depth and importance of religion in and around Akron in The Sunday School of Akron (and Ohio) politics. Blog's failing was this conclusion: Religion still counts in Akron, but it isn't the only thing that counts on the first Tuesday of November in presidential election years. Religion or moral principals was the only thing that counted with the majority and as Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley puts it: ``The Democratic Party better get some religion.''
It isn't that Democratics don't have deep-seated beliefs and values. It's just that they aren't shared by the majority. Democrats believe in helping the weakest among us, of recognizing and honoring our diversity, including different lifestyles, and not forcing these beliefs on others. Most Ohioans, based on the passage of Issue 1 banning gay marriages, believe only in heterosexual marriage and in the other parts of the Bush agenda, including the right to bear arms but not to choose an abortion. These themes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told The New York Times, fit into ``a center-right governing majority.''
Governing, of course, is the question. ``Despite an utterly incompetent war performance in Iraq and a stagnant economy, Mr. Bush held onto the same basic core of states that he won four years ago - as if nothing had happened,'' assessed The New York Times' columnist Thomas L. Friedman. ``It seemed as if people were not voting on his performance. It seemed as if they were voting for what team they were on.'' Friedman's assessment was titled: ``Two Nations Under God.''
A Toledo Blade editorial headline writer got it right: ``Divided we stand.'' This is Ohio and the nation today. President Bush said it isn't the way it has to be, that we can all work together, that he will reach across the aisle with a welcoming hand. That would be the sort of leadership that Texans say Bush provided as governor. It is the kind of unifier that the president promised to be when he first sought the office. It is the kind of leadership people are seeking.
There is a difference between talking about coalition building and the real building of them. During the campaign, Sen. Kerry occasionally quoted the Bible about the difference between words and acts. The good act of caring about what others think and finding some common ground with them is a may not be part of the moral agenda but would be of real value.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:31 AM
If voters were customers, Ohio election officials would be looking for new jobs, their business shut down by consumer revolt. Customers don't stand in line for four or five hours. They demand service. Often loudly. CAN YOU HEAR THIS? OHIOBLOG IS SHOUTING. (BLOG FEELS LIKE DAVE BARRY WITH ALL THESE STUPID CAPITAL LETTERS.) Beyond the usual individual problems, Election Day, with a record Ohio turnout of 5.6 milliion, made it clear that Ohio needs to alter how it votes and join much of the rest of the country in allowing early voting. Ohio is among only 19 states that do not allow early voting. So Ohioans stood in line for hours to vote. There still might have been lines in some locations at peak voting periods. But nothing like Ohio experienced Tuesday. Florida used early ``no-excuse'' (as in you don't
need one as a voter does with an absentee ballot) and one-sixth of the state's 6 million voters took advantage of the opportunity. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio secretary of state, has proposed mail-in ballots, weekend voting and a two-day voting period. The General Assembly, naturally, said no. (It says no to almost all good ideas, including funding Ohio's schools adequately.) In the wake of this election, however, Gov. Bob Taft said in a news conference that Ohio might consider alternative voting. It is past time.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:55 AM
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Sen. John Kerry saved Ohioans from at least 10 more days of Ohioblog. He saved the nation from 10 more days of Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. All he had to do was give up on hiw two-campaign to become president. Good decision. President Bush owes Ohio some jobs since its voters saved his. He will soon begin filling positions for his second term. There should be many for those who enjoy wearing camo (John? instead of geese, you could hunt terrorists). Blog will close shop in the next day or so, tie together a few loose issues and try to figure out what's next here in under-employment-ville. Until then...
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:34 PM
Ohioans' opinions shot up in value The Morning After, and National Public Radio's Morning Edition was buying. The program passed a cellphone around Cafe Momus on Brown Street in Akron to get the takes of people on the presidential election that will not end. The voters were split, with two backers of President Bush and three for Sen. John Kerry, appropriate since Kerry won Summit County, as Al Gore did four years ago. The voters also were split as to whether being the linchpin in this election had merit or was a liability. In any case, Ohioans will not be able to eat breakfast in peace until our 15 minutes of fame is up.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:37 AM
Diebold Inc. stock began the morning up almost 2 percent at $49.59. No wonder. The Green company's voting machines functioned well while some of their competitors - including Danaher Controls' touch-screens - experienced problems. Makes an Ohioblog wonder about the judgment of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who blocked the machines from being installed by counties that wanted to use them. (Of course, Ohioblog is always wondering about Ken's judgment.) Voting without a paper trail worries people. Electronic voting machine makers are addressing this. They promised retrofits for machines purchased and used in this election. That wasn't good enough to halt the political infighting, so Ohioans once again voted mostly with outdated punchcards. Unlike Floridians in 2000, Ohioans had their chad together, and there were no significant problems.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:15 AM
Ohioans joined voters in 10 other states in telling gays where they should go - which is not here, at least not if they want their relationships to be be recognized in a legal - or generous - way. By 3-to-2, Ohioans followed the lead of Cincinnatian Phil Burress and the Citizens for Community Values and voted to amend Ohio's constitution with the most far-reaching anti-gay marriage language in the country. And Burress, a former pornography addict gone straight, isn't finished. He told Bill Cohen of Ohio Public Radio's Statehouse News Bureau: ``We the people are the ones who run this country,'' Burress said. ``We the people are the ones who determine in this state what marriage ought to look like. Activist judges will have a day when they will pay. We have a database now in the hundreds of thousands and that database is not going to go to waste. We will be holding candidates accountable in the future on the moral issues here in the state of Ohio, whether it is right to life, the homosexual agenda or whatever it may be.'' If this is still a nation of laws in Ohio they are made by moralists.
Meanwhile, in the No. 1 moralist's backyard...
Talk about mixed messages. In Phil Burress' hometown of Cincinnati, voters by 65,082 to 55,934 repealed an article of the city's charter that fails to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination such as losing their jobs or being denied housing because they are gay. This clears the way for the Cincinnati City Council to pass a law protecting gays. How could this happen? Burress told The Enquirer in Cincinnati that the voters must have been confused. Someone is.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:47 AM
J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, has the floor. He isn't likely to yield it anytime soon. Democratic Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards want every vote counted. That could take awhile. Counting of provisional ballots may not begin until after 10 days of scrutiny to determine whether the some 175,000 ballots were cast by properly registered voters. Because there was question about their status, these voters were given provisional ballots. With President Bush holding a 136,221 vote lead (2,794,346 to 2,658,125), Ohioblog isn't buying that Kerry still has a chance. But unless Kerry concedes, the process will continue. ``Take a deep breath and relax,'' Blackwell told reporters. ``If it takes two hours, two days or two weeks.'' And oh yeah - keep that spotlight on Ken. He loves it.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:33 AM
Mike Hanke knows Stark County. But after picking every president since 1960, Stark County reflects neither Ohio nor the nation. Hanke, the general manager of the The Repository in Canton, predicted Kerry would win this Ohio county considered a bellwether for the nation. Kerry did, 51 percent to 49 percent in what proved a record turnout of at least 186,252 voters. Hanke had predicted a Kerry would receive 52 to 53 percent of the vote. Stark County didn't get it right because it has been hit harder than most economically. It has lost the headquarters of the Hoover Co., one of its foundation companies. It faces the possible loss of more than 1,000 workers at the Timken Co.'s bearings plant
(though the company has added salaried positions). The jobs that have been generated tend to pay less than the ones that have been lost. So a significant number of Stark Countians voted on economic issues and in Ohio and across the country those voters tipped toward Kerry.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:06 AM
Go to bed for four hours and this is what happens: Ohio is still standing - the new Florida, as Ohioblog had anticipated. With a 140,000-vote lead, President Bush appears to have won but with some 200,000 provisional ballots remaining to counted was unwilling to say he had won. Sen. John Kerry has refused to concede, and until Ohio is officially decided, the president has only 254 of the 270 electoral
votes he needs. This is the morning after, and the president, with more votes than any president, is, according to his staff, considering this a mandate. But then, he considered a 500,000-vote loss in 2000 to be a mandate.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:20 AM
President Bush paints a clear line of demarcation. He says the world changed on 9/11. Thousands of Americans died that day at the hand of terrorists. More than a thousand others have died in a faraway land fighting a war the president has tied to 9/11 like a can to the tail of a dog. But the president is wrong about one thing: Not everything in the world changed on 9/11. If you look at the electoral map with its red Republican states and blue Democratic states, it looks at this hour much as it did four years ago when Ohio fell into place for George W. Bush and he went on to win the a contested presidency in Florida. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. At 1 a.m., MSNBC projected that President Bush would win Ohio. Alaska followed quickly and that, if MSNBC is correct, guaranteed the president a minimum of 269 electoral votes and a tie for the presidency, which he would win on a vote of the Republican House of Representatives. Ohio, as we Ohioans had expected, made the difference. MSNBC's exit polls indicated that this was because moral values count more than anything else with voters, and Evangelical Christians turned out in large numbers and voted almost exclusively for the president, even if they didn't like everything about the way he runs the country and what it has meant for Ohio's incredible shrunken economy of 260,000 lost jobs. People like the way President Bush runs his life, and that is enough for them. Ohioans have shown themselves to people of the spirit more than of the mind. George W. Bush is their man and their president.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:35 AM
Just as was the case in 2000, whoever wins the presidency will receive nothing close to a mandate. The country remains as deeply divided as it was four years ago and afflicted with even more bitterness. A president can govern without acknowledging this fact. One has for the past four years. He just cannot govern well without a sense of and striving for some small patch of common ground held by both those who voted for him and the nearly 50 percent of Americans who spurned him on Election Day.
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:28 AM
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Issue 1, the ban on gay marriage, has passed. Ohio is now the proud owner of the most socially conservative, anti-gay, anti-any-union-but-heterosexual-marriage constitutional amendment of any state in the country. Makes Blog want to pack up and move to Vermont tomorrow.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:27 PM
Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's former press secretary for and now an aide to Sen. John Kerry, needs to work on his Ohio geography. While running down the areas in which Al Gore fared well in 2000 and thus Kerry may do the same, Lockhart mentioned Summit County and then preceded to connect it with Warren, where Kerry held a recent rally. Close Joe, but no cigar (forgive the reference; it probably creates bad memories for Clintonites). Warren is located in Trumbull County, which is part of the broader Mahoning Valley. If Ohio is going to be the difference for Kerry, his aides must commit these facts to memory. That, or hire Ohioblog as a consultant. When the election is over in hours or days or weeks, Blog will be available, a free agent on the political commentary market.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:19 PM
As anticipated, Ohio is a voting mess. Reports of long lines at polling places in Cuyahoga (189,440 new registrants) and Franklin (124,324) counties, lawsuits for redress and judicial response ordering the issuance of paper ballots, which, of course, will prompt more lawsuits. While all sides were fighting over whether the new registratants in Ohio were real, they turned up at the polls and election officials were unprepared. It is an embarrassement and could have been avoided. The boards of election knew where the new voters lived – even if the
Republicans didn't believe they existed. It is not a proud day for these Ohio's election officials, and that begins at the top with Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:42 PM
The polls will close in Ohio in two hours. It took Ohioblog 25 minutes to get through the longest line Blog has seen in almost 25 years at Green's Precinct 2-D. Most of the mid-morning voters were older, but some of Blog's student journalists at the Buchtelite, the University of Akron's independent student newspaper, waited more than an hour to vote. Don't tell Blog that these students don't care. They do. After they had voted, they returned to the Buchtelite office and argued so loudly about their politics that Blog had to close his office door and eventually abandon the place to get some peace and quiet. There were no challengers at Blog's polling place, where the much smaller Green 2-E precinct also votes. None was needed. As Blog mentioned, these were mostly older voters, many of them unchallengeable, longtime Green residents. When Ms. Blog voted around noon, she experienced much grousing among the poll workers who, frankly, aren't used to working so hard and steadily. They were complaining they hadn't even been able to get up and have coffee. Hey, what did you expect? Few are staying home, sitting on their hands. We came out in the rain. We checked our chad. Now, we wait. This is important - to us, to the nation.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:42 PM
The polls open in Ohio in a few minutes. Ohioblog will be closed during Election Day so that Blog can do some investigative voting (someone has to see what's going on at the polls since U.S. District Judge Paul Matia of Cleveland denied the media access). Ohioblog will reopen tonight or early tomorrow as results warrant.
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 6:09 AM
Monday, November 01, 2004
No one knows Stark County better than Michael E. Hanke, general manager of The Repository in Canton. That's why this is important: Hanke says in his Monday column that ``John Kerry wins Stark County with 52 percent to 53 percent of the vote because Stark Countians, like much of the country, aren’t happy with the economy. And, if Kerry wins Stark County, Kerry wins the country because Stark County’s bellwether status is about how the nation votes, and only coincidentally how Ohio votes.'' Exactly. When a person wants to know about Ohio, listen to Ohioans, especially those as grounded here as Hanke.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 PM
Ohio has lived up to its early campaign promise. The election will likely turn on what Ohioans do tomorrow. The candidates, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, came early and often and stayed late. Kerry, in fact, won't bail out the state until tonight after he is joined by rocker Bruce Springsteen in Cleveland for an election-eve rally. The world is watching. And what it may see is a state poised with its provisional ballots to make a mess of its voting and gain the ultimate Election Day prominence - even over that of Florida.
Court decisions were being issued in the final hours and appeals readied. Both U.S. District Judges John Adams in Akron and Susan Dlott in Cincinnati barred political parties' challenges from the polls. Dlott said such challenges are unconstitution, and Adams explained that, ``In light of these extraordinary circumstances, and the contentious nature of the imminent election, the court cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the substantial likelihood that significant harm will result not only to voters, but also to the voting process itself, if appointed challengers are permitted at the polls.'' With the clock ticking, Republicans promised to appeal immediately.
On another legal front, the Akron Beacon Journal sued to gain normal media access to the polls, which Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has blocked. The guy should change his name to Blackheart based on this and other election decisions.
Although most acknowledge that turnout is nearly impossible to predict, Democrats and Republicans are working frantically to get their voters to the polls in an election that has been a deadheat between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry for weeks. The effort to mobilize voters, in Ohio and elsewhere, has been unprecedented. In Ohio, the two sides claim to have more than 150,000 field workers and volunteers on the ground today.
If the Democrats are successful, they could give Kerry an edge. As Darrel Rowland and Jonathan Riskind report in The Columbus Dispatch ``substantially more (of the 1 million new Ohio registrants) come from areas that strongly supported Democrat Al Gore four years ago than those that ardently backed George W. Bush.''
This isn't 2000, however. As the president points out, the world has changed since then. The questions Ohioans and the rest of the nation's voters will be answering in a few hours is whether, as political commentator and former Clinton operative David Gergen told the Washington Post, want Kerry's ``fact-based'' or Bush's ``intuition-based'' style of leadership. Despite all the details (and sometimes lack of them), no one can know all the particulars that play a part in a presidency. What a person can know is the decision-making process that produces the best results for the majority.
And if we cannot decide...
If Ohio is unable to sway the result of this presidential election to one side or the other, if in the days ahead we find the electoral teeter-totter balanced perfectly on 269-269, this will help you understand how we got there. There are, according to a Washington Post computer analysis, 33 ways the election could end in a tie.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:00 AM
Since this is final Ohioblog before Election Day, the Blog wants to commend a piece to you written for The Christian Science Monitor by Lee Hamilton, director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, former Democratic congressman from Indiana, and, most recently, vice chair of the 9/11 Commission. Hamilton suggests that we must select leaders who ``aren't just in it for themselves.'' But in seeking virtue in our leaders, the American people ``must be virtuous, in the civic sense that the Founders had in mind.'' This requires the
American people ``to pay attention, to educate oneself, to discern insincerity and reject misinformation, to enter the voting booth prepared to set aside one's own self-interest and focus on the good of the country. None of this is easy.'' And the difficulty is compounded in a country in which so many people can look at the same facts and come to opposite conclusions. The Blog expects we'll fall short of the Founders' and Hamilton's ideal tomorrow, but at least we can still reach for it.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:56 AM
John Tierney of The New York Times has put together a final exam for those following the presidential election, which, of course, we Ohioans have been. Any test that continues these multiple choices to one question meets Ohioblog's criterion for a great test: Al Quaeda, Al Dente, Al Qaqaa, Al Qaselzur and Al Roker (a former Ohioan, we might add).
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:54 AM
Ohioblog's poll boycott remains in effect, with a deviation. It should be noted that USA Today/CNN/Gallup and the Des Moines Register find early voters in Florida and Iowa supporting Sen. John Kerry. This isn't a poll in the strictest sense. These are voter-reported early results - not whom they will vote for but whom they have voted for. In Florida: Kerry 51 percent, President Bush 43 percent. In Iowa: Kerry 52 percent, Bush 41 percent. The Blog sends those who must have numbers that matter less to RealClearPolitics.com and to DailyKos.com.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:17 AM
Tom Shales, Washington Post television columnist, was not impressed by the way either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry used the medium that became the message in the hands of such TV titans as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Shales finds, ``George W. Bush, the recumbent incumbent, about as exciting on TV as a sock puppet...'' and ``John Kerry, a man with less channelable charisma than Wolf Blitzer.''...So ``whatever happens on Election Day, we can't realy blame television. Not this time. The fault is in our stars, dear Brustus - not the glass screen through which we see them.''
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:15 AM
Here's an update, courtesy of Editor&Publisher and its exclusive tally of newspaper endorsements (not including the Youngstown Vindicator). E&P's more or less final count has Sen. John Kerry receiving 208 endorsements to President Bush's 169. Kerry won the final Sunday of endorsements, 22 to 18, but the president picked up the New York Daily News, which endorsed Al Gore in 2000. Greg Mitchell reports that ``election-year surveys in recent decades concluded by giving an overall edge to the Republican candidate for president, except in one of Bill Clinton's races. In the past, major metros tended to split right down the middle, but Kerry has carried them by about a 5-3 margin this year. That gives him an edge in the circulation of papers backing him of about 20 million to 14 million.''
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:12 AM
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