May 3, 2006

Well, What Have We Learned from Ohio’s 2006 Primary?

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:42 pm

NOTE: This post originally appeared at 1:00 a.m. and will stay at the top for the rest of the day.

Linkovers, 10:30 a.m. — Welcome to readers of ABC’s “The Note”, and to Right Angle Blog, whose coverage of Ohio center-right politics is second to none. 4:30 p.m. — Also linking over — OH02, Buckeye State Blog. 8:30 p.m.Right on the Right, Club for Growth.

You can tell by this list that even though I got one thing I really wanted (a McEwen loss), didn’t get another one (a Pierce win), and got a couple of consolation prizes (Sandy O’Brien’s win for Treasurer, plus another one that’s too parochial to be relevant to this blog’s readers), I didn’t consider it a particularly good night.

Even though numbered, these points are in no particular order. We have learned in 2006′s primary election and the campaign that preceded it:

  1. That the “Christian Right” can be taken in by clever messengers who say the right things and are successful at not revealing their true selves. Yes, that goes for David Smith and Bob McEwen. Yes, that makes me hesitant to jump up and down for joy about Ken Blackwell, because I believe his close alignment with the Ohio Restoration Project is causing an ugly strain of condescension and a bit of a detachment from reality to emerge in him, and I never thought I’d say either thing (though I will vote for him, given the alternative).
  2. That you can pick up a lot of votes by hiding your resume, by creating name recognition through illegal campaign sign placement, and by making up poll numbers and convincing people they’re real — enough to enable you to garner a few thousand more votes than a more principled candidate in an otherwise similar situation. Wow, Mr. Smith, I’m sooooo impressed — y’all got real close to that 29% you were touting to your gullible Christian friends, didn’t you? Update: And that 41% for DeWine was really close too, wasn’t it? Your made-up poll showed your guy within 12, and he lost by 57.
  3. That the state GOP cares more about protecting its incumbents than the party’s principles, and will do anything on behalf of the former even if it sells out most of the latter.
  4. That a knock-down, drag-out, no-limits campaign of personal destruction against an average candidate could succeed in the right circumstances (luckily, the Second District congressional race wasn’t one of them).
  5. That there is widespread discontent with the establishments of both parties. Two candidates with little money took about 29% 28.2% of the vote from Senate incumbent Mike Dewine. One candidate probably would have taken about 10% more, but voters who had never heard of Bill Pierce or David Smith most likely decided to stay with the devil they knew once they saw two alternatives instead of one. On the Democrat side, Merrill Keiser took an astounding 23% or so 22% from Sherrod Brown. I’m not even going to attempt to describe his politics because I’m not sure I can stay civil while doing so. I’m guessing he got about 50% of his vote from people still angry about Paul Hackett being forced out of the race and the other 50% from traditional blue-collar Democrats unhappy with Brown’s far-left views.
  6. That the establishments of both parties don’t care about that widespread discontent, and seem to be doing everything they can to discourage their principled members. On the left, we had the betrayal of Paul Hackett by the Washington Democrat establishment, and on the right we have the stubborn clinging to failed Taft-era thinking.
  7. That both party establishments expect their faithful to nevertheless dutifully vote for their mediocre candidates, no matter the cost in principles sold down the river.
  8. That both parties will be stunned at the apathy in this fall’s Ohio Senate race. I can tell you that Mike DeWine will be shocked by the number of non-votes from conservatives who believe in the Second Amendment, and I can also tell you that there are many Paul Hackett fans who will not under any circumstance vote for Sherrod Brown.
  9. That electoral turnouts will continue to trend downward because of Items 5 through 8. One example: At this hour it looks like the number of votes in the 2006 GOP Senatorial primary will be about 800,000 was about 770,000, about 180,000 fewer than 12 years ago. Here’s another: Total turnout (based on the combined governor’s race totals) looks like it will be about 300,000 less than the 1.9 million originally estimated, or a miserable 21% of registered voters. Update: The Gov race totals are about 1.6 million, but total turnout was 1.8 million. This means that a stunning (to me) 11% or over 200,000 voters said “none of the above” to all of the gubernatorial candidates, and over 300,000 (17%) did not cast a vote for any US Senate candidate. Apathy anyone? Or is it antagonism?
  10. That at least on the Republican side, a statewide campaign strategy of wearing out shoe leather meeting with party loyalists combined with online blog and other support is not ready for prime time. Memo to George Voinovich: Perhaps by 2010 it will be. For starters, imagine an opponent who can do daily videos like those Michelle Malkin is doing at Hot Air and who figures out a way to call attention to them. (I still think, with his name recognition, that Paul Hackett might have made a similar low-budget strategy work after his national party betrayal, but the thought of attempting it apparently never even occurred to him.)
  11. That the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as The Mainstream Media) will studiously ignore challengers to incumbents, even when those challengers draw blood on the campaign trail. Is it laziness, or is there more to it than that? I don’t know.
  12. That incumbents and the parties that front them will continue their go-along, get-along ways until voters get motivated enough to change things.

I’m just relieved that I won’t be dealing with electoral politics heavily for at least the next five months or so.

UPDATE: A bonus lesson, and a definitely favorable trend — The Club for Growth (CFG) has become a force to be reckoned with. The 4th District GOP Congressional Primary was considered close, but despite the large amount of personal money the second-place finisher put into the race, Club-endorsed Jim Jordan won going away by 20 points. We need more of this. As long as the fundamentalists in the party continue to prove that they have awful political instincts (see David Smith and Bob McEwen), pro-growth and pro-prosperity groups like CFG will need to hone theirs (as they have) and gain more clout to counter them.

UPDATE 2: Tim Russo on the other side of the aisle agrees on what has been learned, especially about both party establishments.

Positivity: A Canadian Police Department Cites Three Members of an Illinois Family

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 2:41 pm

Not a citation, though; instead, it’s a commendation:


Productivity Continuing Its Impressive Run

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:28 am

While the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to Most as The Mainstream Media) continue to focus on high gas prices, the economic good news continues (this is a future-report peg, so this post will be updated when the actual report is released–Update: It came in at 3.2%, beating analysts’ consensus 2.8% expectation):

Productivity Roars Back

For the past five years, productivity – a measure of employee efficiency – raced ahead at an annual rate of 3.3%, almost double the clip of the previous quarter century. Based on past expansions, that trend should be about played out by now, as companies run out of ways to wring more output from their workforces. Instead, after falling for the first time in five years at the end of 2005, productivity came roaring back in the first quarter, economists expect a Labor Department report this week to show. And the pace may last another 10 years, according to research published in April by Harvard University economist Dale Jorgenson.

I wouldn’t take the 10-year prediction too seriously, but the past five years of productivity growth has been undeniably impressive, and is largely due to the Bush-era tax cuts giving businesses enough reason to invest in productivity enhancing equipment, from machinery on the shop floor to computers in the offices.

We’ve Always Been ‘Running Out’ of Energy Sources; We’re Always Finding More

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:51 am

Kevin Roeten recounts a bit of history of energy estimates. It’s a good thing folks in those eras didn’t believe the estimates, or doubt their ability to find alternatives, or they might have stopped developing and growing, as today’s Peak Oil advocates would have us do (HT Right Winged):

Many believe in M.K. Hubbert’s theory of “peak oil.” It says that production will peak and then decline while demand increases. Proponents theorize that oil is a fossil fuel from decaying forests and dinosaurs, and we are running out. But another theory argues that the science of oil is an “abiotic” (lifeless) natural product that the earth generates on a constant basis, and may well be a renewable resource.

To predict a correct theory is difficult at best. But recorded data is as follows:

  • 1885; U.S. Geologic Survey — “Little or no chance of oil in California.”
  • 1891; U.S. Geologic Survey — Same prophesy for Kansas and Texas.
  • 1914; U.S. Bureau of Mines – Total future production limit of 5.7 billion barrels of oil; at most a 10-year supply remaining.
  • 1939; Dept. of Interior — Oil reserves in the United States exhausted in 13 years.
  • 1951; Oil and Gas Division — Oil reserves to be exhausted in 13 years.
  • 2005; Energy Information Administration — proven worldwide reserves of oil at 1.28 trillion barrels.

Message to Peak Oilers (not that you’ll listen): Don’t worry. Be happy.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (050306)

Free Links:

  • Internet Explorer Problems Multiply, Even on Fully Updated PCs.
  • Reported “Major” Layoffs Are Very Low.
  • A French Watergate? Here’s some perspective on it.
  • Chutzpah Award — Radical groups Code Pink and Global Exchange try to claim that women in Iraq are now worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein. Independent Women’s Forum’s Director of International Policy begs to differ.
  • Big German Mistake: Raising income taxes on the wealthy (the article refers to it as a wealth tax, but it’s really on upper incomes).
  • Psst, don’t tell anyone — the Dow hit another 6-year high yesterday.

Not Exactly Leaving With Class

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 2:00 am

A 3,700-vote loser trailing by 5% of the vote wants to challenge the results.

I wasn’t going to do this again, but now I will.

Please follow this advice, Mr. McEwen.