October 10, 2006

Ted Strickland’s 1999 ‘Present’ Vote on H CON RES 107 — Part 1: Why It’s Being Brought Up

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:09 am

Other posts in the series:
Index — What It Means, Why It Matters, and Overview
Part 2 — The Resolution, and Strickland’s Floor Speech
Part 3 — The Reason Why He Said He Opposed It (and My Conversation with Him about It)
Part 4 — What It Reveals about How He Might Govern

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Part 1: Why It’s Being Brought Up

In March, when Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Brian Flannery first brought up opponent Ted Strickland’s 1999 “Present” vote on H CON RES 107, I thought it was out of line.

When there were rumblings inside the center-right blogosphere some months ago that Strickland’s 1999 vote should be emphasized during the general-election campaign for governor, I suggested in several places that it would not be a good idea. Part of my reasoning was that his congressional opponent in 2000 tried to make an issue of Strickland’s vote, to very little effect.

Now, having observed how Ted Strickland has conducted himself during the primary and general-election campaigns, and having seen the hypocrisy on display in Washington since Mark Foley resigned, I am forced to admit that I have been wrong.

As to the candidate himself — Ted Strickland is conducting the stealthiest gubernatorial campaign I have seen in the 30-plus years I have been following Ohio politics. And I am not the only one who is of this opinion — Three of Ohio’s newspapers launched an initiative on September 10 to get candidates’ views on their three hot-button issues: kids, college, and jobs. In what one of the papers’ officials called “(arguably) the most important gubernatorial election Ohio’s ever had,” their frustration with the “state of the state” and the responsiveness of one of the candidates was, and I suspect still is, palpable.

Their frustration came primarily from Ted Strickland’s galling lack of specifics up to that point. Whine if you will about where this link is coming from, but whining won’t change the fact that the eleven cited quotes from mainstream Ohio journalists, who you would ordinarily expect to be predisposed to support him, all reflect impatience with Strickland’s vagueness on the issues. This vagueness bordering on evasiveness (masquerading as “vision”), starkly contrasts with his Republican and Libertarian opponents’ detailed proposals.

Nothing has changed since the newspaper initiative. Just one example — In a remarkable video clip from late September, Strickland was unable to answer a question about what a reporter who was questioning him called “a major part of your ‘Turnaround Ohio’ program.”

It has become very clear that Ted Strickland has no intention of taking off the mask between now and November 7. So, to get some kind of clue as to what kind of governor he will be if he gets his stealth act past us four weeks from now, what are we as voters to do except study what he has done and how he has conducted himself in the past?

Then there are the recent events inside the Beltway — If Strickland’s close-to-the-vest campaign isn’t reason enough to start looking elsewhere for character and conduct clues, the parade of hypocrisy we’re seeing out of Washington during the past two weeks seals the deal. At the linked post, just compare the resigned-in-disgrace Mark Foley, IM pervert and pursuer of gay sex with of-age partners, to Mel Reynolds, convicted child molester (“convicted [in 1995] on 12 counts of [underage] sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography,” and who by the way was re-elected after his 1994 indictment on those charges), and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and add to that the fact that Reynolds was among those pardoned by Bill Clinton for other crimes just before he left office in 2001.

The selective Foley outrage on the part of Ted Strickland’s fellow party members puts an evaluation of his 1999 vote fairly, and squarely, on the agenda. Thanks to the actions and statements of HIS party, it’s impossible for his outlook on related matters NOT to be fair game now. So if Ted Strickland is looking for anyone to blame for this turn of events, he should look at his Democrat colleagues ….. and, as you’ll see in Part 2, in the mirror.

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4 Comments

  1. Your contention that Ted Strickland’s (and other Republican and Democratic member of Congress’) outrage over Republican congressional misconduct in not taking action against Mark Foley’s repeated unwanted sexual advances towards several congressional pages over many years in some way contradicts his lack of public comment on Mel Reynolds equally abhorrent affair with an underage campaign volunteer is disingenuous at best. The current clamor isn’t over Foley’s actions; he resigned. The problem is the willful disregard for pages’ safety exercised by the Republican leadership in the interests of retaining control of Congress. Nobody was ever accused of lying or covering up facts to protect Reynolds. He did all the lying himself.

    I do agree, however, that Strickland has not provided details about his plans for Ohio that Ohioans want and expect. And yet he has consistently led Blackwell in polls by double-digits. This is more an indication of the utter distaste Ohians have for Blackwell.
    Nice try though.

    Comment by tw — October 10, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

  2. #1, no, yours is the nice try, but you did not make the sale.

    Nobody was ever accused of lying or covering up facts to protect Reynolds. He did all the lying himself.

    Democrats did not tell Reynolds to resign when he was charged in 1994 with sex crimes against minors. If allowing him to represent their party in the face of those indictments during an election is not protecting him, what is?

    Democrats did not demand resignation Reynolds until AFTER his conviction, even though there had to plenty of indicators that he was going to get hammered in court (contrast this to Duke Cunningham being forced out well before his conviction).

    And finally, Bill Clinton went to the trouble of pardoning Reyolds on other crimes in 2001.

    Reynolds currently works for the Rainbow Coalition. After the crimes he has committed, and even though (as far as I know) there is not anything in place at the RC that I am aware of to shield kids from exposure to Reynolds, who is a registered sex offender (I guess there are a few things that cannot be pardoned away). The presence of Reynolds at RC is just another example of Democrats protecting (finding jobs for) their own.

    I am not making any contention about what STRICKLAND thinks of the current situation. If he has said anything, I do not know of it. I will not defend Foley, but I do not and will not accept that any underage pages were physically harmed or physically abused as a result of him until I see information showing that. Meanwhile, Gary Studds did have physical contact and an affair with a page, and is a Dem hero.

    In Foleygate, there is also the unpleasant matter of the informers refusing to hand over authentic unaltered documents (IM messages, etc.) as reported by the Washington Post and refusing under questioning by the FBI to reveal where there info came from. The FBI/DOJ can get subpoenas, and there is no justification I can see for claiming confidentiality. This cannot help but lead to concerns that the Foley matter was an orchestrated smear by people who ALSO knew of whatever problem existed and ALSO covered it up for many months until the timing was right.

    The hypocrisy charge stands, and you sure as heck did not make the sale. And I can\’t help but thinking that if Foley were a Dem in identical circumstances, he\’d be lionized and promoted.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 10, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  3. I notice that, while you were able to paste my line about nobody lying for Reynolds in cool italics, you didn’t bother to refute it. Reynolds maintened his innocence, and (maybe foolishly) his contemporaries gave him the benefit of the doubt. Reynolds should have resigned prior to his trial, but that is on him. You like to note that Clinton pardoned Reynolds, but neglect to note that he served his 2.5 year sentence for sexual misconduct, and was 3.5 years into another term for bank fraud – that was the offense to which he was pardoned. And if you have a problem with the Rainbow Coalition, take it up with Jesse Jackson.

    I see where you are going, trying to draw correlations between Foley and Studds. The difference is: a – Both Studds and the page agreed that it was a consentual relationship. b – The page was not underage (although still far too close in my opinion), and c – Studds wasn’t hiding his sexuality for fear of alienating his own party. Is Studds a hero? No, but he isn’t the predator that Foley is either.
    Now, it may come to pass that the allegations against Mark Foley are unfounded, that is yet to be seen. But I know that I would feel the same way about the Democratic leadership if they had protected somebody in the same circumtances.
    I do, however, find it interesting that you need to somehow make this somebody else’s fault. It is a running theme in the GOP – if you can’t hide it or lie about it, blame somebody else.

    Comment by tw — October 11, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

  4. #3, My recall is that the evidence on Reynolds was so obvious (12 counts) that only a fool (or a party worried about losing their majority, as occurred in 1994 anyway) would give have given him him the benefit of the doubt.

    I noted that Clinton pardoned Reynolds on other charges, so that criticism is off-base.

    I am not seeing evidence of physical contact between Foley and underage pages yet…waiting. And given that it is obvious that the Foley IMs were being shopped months ago, those who were doing the shopping and allowing whatever Foley was doing to continue are equally culpable, period.

    I am totally through belaboring the dreadfully obvious.

    And besides, this post is primarily about Ted Strickland and how he and his party handle things, and Strickland\’s fitness to be Gov, and not at all about the GOP. YOU changed the subject, and it will not happen again on this post.

    The Dems are the ones who lionized Studds, and plenty of them thought he was hero enough to promote him and give him a committee chairmanship.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 11, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

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