August 3, 2005

2nd District (OH) Congressional Election: Final Questions

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 11:02 pm

Does anyone out there seriously think that Bob McEwen or Pat DeWine could have beaten Paul Hackett?

McEwen’s worst warts were just beginning to be known a few days before the primary was held. The post-election financial disclosure form, his lobbying efforts, and his suspicious speaking career, combined with the House Bank Scandal history, would have doomed him. And trust me, there was more that never got out in time for the primary that would have received wide distribution in plenty of time for August 2.

The “stay home” and crossover factors for DeWine would have been fatal.

Yes, I believe Brinkman would have defeated Hackett.

Why didn’t COAST protest Jean Schmidt’s record for supporting tax increases the honest way?

It’s oh-so-easy for you jerks (best clean word available) to claim that you suppressed the turnout. Baloney. You proved nothing. If you had the support you claim to have, you would have run a write-in candidate and advocated a protest vote. 5,000 or so votes would have proven that paying attention to you every once in a while is justified. But you know that wouldn’t have happened, and that would have exposed you once and for all as the weaklings with a fax machine and an e-mail list (accompanied by a dormant web site) that you really are.

UPDATE: Oh, you guys are classy. If the announcement at The Whistleblower (go to bottom) is really yours (one can never be 100% sure with The Blower), your use of the b-word that rhymes with witch and describing Schmidt as winning “by the skin of her grimy yellow teeth” will really endear you to the general populace. Who’s your adviser, Dale Carnegie? Your claimed list of scalps is impressive, but your responsibility for their defeats or decisions not to run is questionable at best.

What is the GOP going to do to win back the four eastern counties?

I think it would be a mistake to chalk this up to the eastern counties falling for a military guy, left-over bitterness from Jean Schmidt’s campaign last fall, and supposedly guaranteed better results in a general election. Something else is going on–unemployment is way too high, and economic growth prospects don’t look good. I think Schmidt’s ethanol efforts came across as pandering. The 25-point or so swing in Brown County from Bush 2004 to Schmidt 2005 was especially stunning.

Why are the people who are already imagining that Jean Schmidt is vulnerable in next year’s primary forgetting this?

Barring disaster, when Jean Schmidt campaigns next year, she’ll have the support of a couple of at least mildly influential people: George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Her primary opponents will have …… (crickets chirping). Ask Arlen Specter how important that is (Pennsylvania Senator Specter survived a 2004 primary scare from conservative Pat Toomey primarily because of the backing of Bush and Rick Santorum, PA’s other senator).

I’m not saying Bush/Rove’s loyalty is always a good thing, or that I agree with their occasionally see-no-evil approach. I’m just saying you can count on their support if you are an incumbent Republican.

The Rush Limbaugh “Staff Puke” Controversy

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 7:10 pm

I commented on this at the Reaction Roundup post earlier this afternoon (go to the 2:15 PM section).

Now that Rush has done his daily site update, I wanted to go to the transcripts to get a better handle on the controversy (NOTE: The links will be gone at about 6PM on Thursday, when they will be moved behind Rush’s $40/year subscription wall).

Today (after not posting this content yesterday, unless I somehow missed it, which I doubt), he posted part of the conversation that took place on Election Day, August 2, where the “staff puke” term came up (a few paragraphs from the end of the page; bold mine):

CALLER: “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Isn’t that what they say? That doesn’t mean all those things that you learned… Those things are supposed to stay with you and it doesn’t seem like — he either never had them in the first place or he’s not being true and have any integrity like you’ve already mentioned.

RUSH: Okay, call him a staff puke if that’s what you want, but civilian affairs, staff puke. Bottom line is he’s running a fraudulent, deceptive campaign, and the Democrats are saying this is a bellwether election. We’ve got two instances of huge fraud being perpetrated here, and I’m bound and determined they’re not going to get away with this, whether the guy wins or not, they’re not going to get away with misportraying the results of this when the whole campaign has been one of total fraud and lying and deceit, fooling people.

Remember this. Now lets’ go to today’s show (near the beginning):

CALLER: Did you call him a staff puke?

RUSH: Yeah, I called him a staff puke. I’ll call him a staff puke today.

CALLER: He was on the ground at Fallujah.

RUSH: You had better go talk to people in the military if you want to know what staff puke means. They call each other that. Do you know what Marines call each other? They call them grunts. What if I’d have called him a grunt yesterday? You clueless liberals would have thought I was assuming a lot of things and insulting him. Staff puke, the term has been used by other military people to me. It means person. He’s a staff puke, because that’s what a Navy officer was telling us on the phone.

STOP, THE, TAPE. That last sentence gives you the impression that the NAVY OFFICER was the first person to use the term yesterday (Aug. 2). The previous day’s conversation above shows that RUSH said it first, and in fact was the ONLY person to use the term (the Navy officer NEVER did, even AFTER Rush did).

BOTTOM LINE: Maybe you don’t technically owe anybody an apology, Rush, but it’s really crass for a guy to use objectionable military jargon only used among military men and women when talking amongst themselves. Your caller yesterday, and soldiers in general, know better than to use terms like those in public. You apparently don’t. You also don’t understand that someone who hasn’t been in the military (as I haven’t, and I believe as you haven’t) should not be throwing those terms around as if they’re “one of the boys (and girls)”–Remember, YOU said it first, and you were the only one who said it. Finally, you either don’t know or don’t care what the impact of using unfamiliar terms like “staff puke” might be on people who have never been in the military. That’s amazingly weak for a supposedly great communicator.

2nd District Congressional Election Reaction Roundup

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 12:05 pm

Local, Regional, and National Reaction:


1:30 PM:

  • The indispensable Media Research Center details the network TV news coverage reaction (no surprises here).
  • Project Logic has “congrats” for Hackett and what is so far the quote of the day (read the whole thing-this is only one of many astute observations):

    But no matter how he did it, Paul Hackett deserves some credit. He took Howard Dean’s rhetoric, wrapped it up in John Kerry’s resume, and then somehow scored major points out of an area that dislikes both of them. Kudos Mr Hackett, and here’s to making sure it never happens again.

  • The aforementioned Project Logic and Yankee Red, who discusses the reasons the GOP base is going blase, deserve major league accolades for being there on the front lines during the campaign.

2:00 PM:

  • Little Green Footballs through Environmental Republican notes that Daily Kos has a perfect record for supporting Democrat candidates: a perfect losing record.
  • Hedgehog, whose readers worked very hard at overloading BizzyBlog last night, and actually succeeded for a brief time (seriously, thanks for the interest, folks; I thought I was bulletproof, and will investigate why I’m not), notes that special elections like these are not necessarily good predictors for the next big November contests.

2:15 PM:

  • Hugh Hewitt points to PoliPundit’s take as “exactly right.” Well, Hugh, it’s okay, but Project Logic above on fumes runs circles around it, as would be expected from someone who was involved and who paid attention–something you guys didn’t do, and should have done. National center-right blog apathy almost cost conservatives a seat in the House (please hold the snark on Schmidt not being a conservative).
  • Rush is disappointing today. His excuse is that yesterday’s characterization of Hackett as a “staff puke” is something a soldier would use in normal conversation with another soldier. So? You aren’t talking to soldiers, Rush, you’re talking to the nation. Maybe you could get a pass if you had explained how soldiers converse among themselves when you used the term, but you didn’t. As it was, your use of the term was reckless (you probably didn’t know at the time that Hackett has faced enemy fire; I’ll bet you do now), and it motivated the Democratic base here to an extent that I believe outweighed the benefits of your exposure of the two faces of Paul Hackett.

3:30 PM:

  • Michael Meckler catches something I didn’t (or more accurately, couldn’t, because the ridiculous way Hamilton County aggregated the votes made this impossible to determine)–Hackett LOST Hamilton County by 4,000 1,400 (corrected, Hackett loss still unexpected) votes. Meckler gives credit to the Hamilton County GOP machinery, which appeared to be moving towards irrelevance after the Pat DeWine debacle in the primary, for stepping up bigtime for Schmidt.

3:45 PM:

  • Powerline’s first post on the race was at 9:30 last night, 2 hours after the polls closed. Not, really, useful.
  • Look, I’m not saying this because I expect the center-rights to be knee-jerk shills in ever race. By any reasonable measure there was real news happening here, both during the primary and through August 2, and it was ignored. So you can see how I would consider Wizbang’s justification for ignoring the race weak (to give Wiz his due, he did a post on McEwen when BizzyBlog lodged his first objection to McEwen’s candidacy, and [updated 8/4] blogged on the combat controversy in the week before the election).

4:10 PM:

  • diarist Adam C. says the Ohio GOP needs to wake up … NOW.
  • It took about 6 hours, but AP went into full Democrat spin mode with their supposedly “objective” wire service story. Notice how the “She is the first woman ever elected to Congress from the 2nd District” language that was in this earlier version of the story dropped off the page once Democrat Rahm Emmanuel’s talking points got assembled.

7:15 PM (final entry):

  • Speaking of AP, here’s a prize excerpt from their coverage of Paul Hackett’s concession (HT Best of the Web):

    Hackett complained about politicians who “use the war to wrap themselves in the American flag” and called the administration’s approach to using the military to fight on several fronts simultaneously–in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans–while cutting taxes “irrational” and “patriotism light.” . . .

    In his concession speech, Hackett made a veiled reference to his criticisms of Bush: “Chickens are a very interesting bird, not to be confused with birds of prey.” He earlier had called Bush, who had a noncombat role in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, a “chicken hawk S.O.B.”

    “I meant it, I said it and I stand by it,” Hackett said.

    That’s really nice, Paul. And I’ll make sure to remember it.


UPDATE, August 4, 11AM Here’s a perfect example of why Media Research Center is a precious national resource (bolds are mine):

“If elected, Paul Hackett would become the first lawmaker to have served in the Iraq war,” ABC anchor Terry Moran trumpeted on Sunday’s World News Tonight. But on Wednesday night, after the Democratic Marine reservist lost to Republican Jean Schmidt for the Southwestern Ohio U.S. House seat, World News Tonight didn’t utter a word about Hackett’s loss.

CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell had hyped how the contest “is shaping up as a referendum on Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy,” yet when, apparently, that referendum went the wrong way, CBS fell silent, not mentioning the outcome on Wednesday’s Evening News.

NBC Nightly News provided a brief update on the race, but anchor Campbell Brown touted how “Paul Hackett, a Democrat, made a stronger than expected showing.” Over on CNN, Inside Politics anchor Joe Johns described a “surprisingly tight election that caught national attention” before Bill Schneider insisted Schmidt had “barely” won, “which is why the Democrats are celebrating.” In fact, Schneider forwarded the proposition that “the losers have more to celebrate than the winners.”


UPDATE 2, August 4, 6PM: Hackett’s turning into the gift that keeps on giving. In an interview on the Pacfica radio network, Hackett was in full-defiance mode:

And to the chicken-hawks out there that think that what I say about this administration is not representative to some large degree in the military, I say that this was only a shot over the bow. You had better wake up and smell the coffee, because we are minting young Democrats day by day in Iraq, and maybe it didn’t happen in this election, but it’s going to happen in many elections in the future.

Uh-huh. Keep talking, Paul. Please.

UPDATE 3, August 9: Howard Dean didn’t mean to, but he beat up on Paul Hackett’s stealth approach today (HT Best of the Web):

“What the propagandists on the right have done is make people afraid to say they are Democrats. We have to be out there. We have to be vocal. We have to be pushing our version of the facts because their version of the facts is very unfactual.”

Hackett, in the mean time, in a approach guaranteed to make him a moonbat darling but simultaneously less electable, went after Rush Limbaugh (HT OH02):

That’s typical for that fatass drug addict to come up with something like that. There’s a guy … I didn’t hear this, but actually when I was on drill this weekend, I’ve got to tell you, he lost a lot of Republican supporters with his comments. Because they were coming up to me, telling me, “I can’t believe he said that! Besides that, he called you a soldier. He doesn’t know the difference between a soldier and a marine!”

So generally, the consensus is Rush doesn’t know squat about patriotism. He’s typical of the new Republican. He’s got a lot of lip and he doesn’t walk the walk. The fact of the matter is, I went to Iraq to serve my country. I left my nice house, my nice wife by my choice because I thought it was the right thing to do. And man, if I was good enough to be able to see into the future that Rob Portman was going to step down from Congress, I mean I should actually be running for something a lot more than Congress. I went to Iraq because I wanted to serve my country and be with my Marines.

I think it probably says more about Rush Limbaugh than it does anybody else that he comes up with those thought processes. And I think it’s indicative of today’s Republican party, which is patriotic lite translated to anybody who serves their country who truly who truly serves their country and demonstrates it by their actions as opposed to their flapping gums.

They want to attack us. But the fact of the matter is they can attack me, but I punch back just as hard as I get. Ask Rush how come he wasn’t taking phone calls for the two days when he was on the attack with me. Ask him why his phone lines were clogged up. That’s because he was getting thousands of calls from veterans from this war and other wars who were clogging up his phone lines, giving him an earful.

The chances that he will go back to Iraq as promised appear to grow dimmer with each passing day, and each additional rant. (August 13–Dan at The Other Corner reacts to the anti-Rush rant.)

UPDATE 4, August 11: Speaking of Howard Dean, Hackett channeled him on Wednesday night’s Hardball on MSNBC (HT Weapons of Mass Discussion):

I don’t necessarily believe the United States is better off today now that Saddam Hussein is gone…Saddam Hussein is an evil guy. And my question is, who appointed us to be the police force of the world?”

The collection of quotes virtually assuring unelectability continues to grow.

UPDATE 5, August 21: (HT Eric Minamyer and Crooks & Liars) It just never ends with Hackett. He was a last-minute replacement for anti-war radical mom Cincy Sheehan on Bill Maher’s HBO show on August 19. BizzyBlog has saved the video. Highlights: Debate over whether Bush is ignorant or stupid, a bizarre bit on “anal” something or other (not kidding), and a wrap at the end essentially saying we should come home now regardless of the situation (a COMPLETE repudiation of the pretend-hawk pretend-Republican video). Crooks & Liars hopes other OIF vets will run for office–so do I, C&L, because they will mostly be the polar opposite of Hackett.

2nd District Congressional Race (OH): It’s Over (for about 6 months)

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 3:52 am

Ohio’s 2006 primary is probably in early May (UPDATED: May 2, as indicated on many other sites). Back up 90 days, and you’re in early February. That’s roughly when the campaigning begins anew. Whoever said there’s no rest for the wicked must think politicians and the people who follow their doings are pretty wicked.

So here are some thoughts about people and races I hopefully won’t feel compelled to blog about next year (this blog is supposed to be primarily about business and personal finance, so a less ridiculous political atmosphere, instead of one that makes feel like I can’t just sit by without “doing something,” would be most welcome).

To Congresswoman-Elect Jean Schmidt:

You say you don’t look over your shoulder during marathons. Good. Don’t look over your shoulder in Congress during the next six months. Vote your conscience (please, not always your party), and get some kind of national record to run on.

Oh, and give a little more respect to bloggers, some of whom (ahem) made at least minor digital “contributions” (have to be careful with that word with the Federal Election Commission watching) to your achieving your new position.

To Potential 2006 GOP Primary Opponents:

Two words to you-all-know-who-you-are (unless Jean Schmidt botches it in Washington, which I consider highly doubtful): Please, don’t.

To Paul Hackett:

Go back to Iraq. I’m not saying that as a victory-dance taunt. What I’m saying is: Keep your promise (in this NY Times article [requires registration], you’re already talking about “probably” returning–Zheesh). It’s going to be tempting to hear the desperate Democrat party bigs suggest that you stick around for another run at Jean Schmidt, or try to take out Mike DeWine for Senator, or even run for governor. I’ve seen too many politicians break their promises that they would term-limit themselves, or that they wouldn’t run for the next office while they’re trying to keep their current one. If you don’t go back to Iraq, you’ll prove once and for all that you’re the same as all the rest of them (and I might have to break out the political blog machinery again–save us both, or I’ll bring back the guest cartoonists [that should convince him]).

To the People at COAST Who Suggested We All Stay Home:

Move to Hades. Then YOU stay home.

To the Club for Growth:

Leave Jean Schmidt alone. Waste your 100 grand in a losing effort somewhere else.

To the Values Kingmakers (Dobson, Perkins, Wildmon, et al):

Either support local candidates you know something about, or stay away. Far, far away.

Special Suggestion for Bob McEwen:

Stay in Virginia (for both our sakes). You really don’t want to run for office in Ohio again.

2nd OH Congressional Race Wrap: 20 Reasons Why Jean Schmidt Should Have Lost (But STILL Didn’t)

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 2:10 am

Her party and so-called friends:
1. Schmidt’s primary opponents, with rare exception, gave her lukewarm backing. Bob McEwen high-tailed it back to Virginia, Pat DeWine disappeared (okay, maybe that’s just as well), and Tom Brinkman was invisible. I’m guessing a bit here–That disinterest by the primary losers extended to their folks on the ground, and is one reason why the national GOP had to shore things up in the final days.
2. The evangelicals (Dobson, Perkins, Wildmon, et al) who unethically supported Bob McEwen’s parachute candidacy, even though there was little difference on their key “values” issues among the various primary candidates, disappeared on June 15th, even though Paul Hackett is about as opposed to them on these issues as any Democrat can be.
3. A semi-influential anti-tax group spent a fair chunk of change telling voters to stay home. (Question: How would you justify yourselves to people in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq who have risked their very lives for the precious right to vote in the past year or so?)
4. The national GOP was late, and almost too late, in responding to the national Democratic challenge, and the nationally influential center-right blogs were almost entirely AWOL.

The sorry state of Ohio:
5. Ohio’s governor has a 17% popularity rating.
6. Most of the Republican Party leadership in Columbus is scandal-plagued, corrupt, and a disgrace.
7. Ohio’s Republican Party is fiscally governing the state like the Democratic party would.
8. Ohio’s economy therefore significantly lags that of the rest of the nation, with higher taxes, higher unemployment, and slower growth.

The candidate’s conduct:
9. She mistakenly thought that she could apply the “lesson” from her primary victory over opponents from her own party (“don’t go negative”) to the special election when the opponent is from the other party (where stating the truth about your opponent, whether or not perceived as “negative,” is necessary).
10. Schmidt chose to spend too much time in Washington after her primary win, and began to look like she was taking victory for granted.
11. She got caught in a real dumb and sort-of ethical violation involving (of all things) Bengals tickets that were supposedly gifts from an ex-player, but really weren’t.
12. In one of the debates Jean Schmidt, the President of Right to Life Cincinnati, choked (no other way to describe it) and told the audience she isn’t 100% prolife.
13. She concentrated way too much “energy” and attention on a minor and mostly boring issue (ethanol) and nowhere near enough on the biggies (war on terror, the improving national econony, prolife issues).

The opposition:
14. Her opponent pulled a daring (but deceptive and breathtakingly dishonest) radio and TV advertising ploy that placed sole emphasis on his military resume, totally faked support for George Bush, and failed to mention his party affiliation. Despite the belated howls from the (mostly local) right-wing blogs and talk radio, it essentially worked. It didn’t offend Hackett’s base, and it clearly anesthetized and/or fooled a portion of the GOP base.
15. Hackett aroused his (still) victory-starved base, both locally in his personal appearances, and nationally in the left-wing blogosphere, with his “SOB,” “chicken hawk,” and “greatest threat” comments, and made it clear to them that they could ignore those Bush-supporting and patriotic TV ads. I believe the detailed results will show a much higher percentage turnout among registered Democrats than Republicans.
16. Her opposition brought in star power (Carville, Cleland, Glenn, and others) never before seen in this district.
17. Her opposition was successful in picking fights with people associated with her, or who they imagined were associated with her.
18. With no other race to cover, the national press, particularly the television networks, got to a lot of swing voters in the district by focusing entirely on Hackett’s “would be the first congressman who served in Iraq” angle and conveniently ignoring his stands on the issues.

The closing days:
19. The final-day attack on Paul Hackett’s accurate claim to be the first congressman to have served in Iraq if he won was incorrect on a factual basis, and would have been ill-advised even if it wasn’t incorrect.
20. The disgraceful characterization by Rush Limbaugh of Paul Hackett as a “staff puke,” apparently several times, in his Tuesday broadcast, in my opinion did more to get angry Dems to the polls than his mentioning of the race to a supposedly Republican radio audience (bad assumption–it’s at least 30% liberal, and liberals who listen are VERY motivated liberals) did.

But…With those twenty things going against her, Jean Schmidt still won.

Very few of the 20 things noted above will be working against her fifteen short months from now. I especially cannot imagine that Jean Schmidt will allow herself to make the same campaigning mistakes twice. Of course, there is something in the way before November 2006 comes along. I’ll cover that and a few other matters in another post.