- The 527 Media tilted at least two Senate elections in the Dem direction, maybe three. In Virgina, the George Allen macaca story, plus the n-word story (aided in its spread by a “political consultant,” Larry Sabato, who didn’t even hear what Allen supposedly said) both monopolized the WaPo for days. Meanwhile, Jim Webb’s lewd novel-writing habits and general incoherence got little notice. Missouri got stolen thanks to Michael Fox’s lying about Amendment 2, and about Jim Talent’s supposedly opposition “stem cell research.” No, Talent supported the kind (adult) that is getting results, but his opponents who have now successfully enshrined cloning in a state’s constitution wouldn’t let a little thing like the truth get in their way. I would also argue that the WaPo’s passive/aggressive approach to Steele (strident editorial opposition while studiously ignoring the support he picked up in the AfrAm pastoral community) may have also made the difference in Maryland.
- The Republicans as a party learned that if you don’t govern as advertised, you eventually pay. John Boehner did what he could to engineer a recovery, and did as well as anybody could in the circumstances. He should be named Minority Leader, NOW.
- We can thank McCain-Feingold and Campaign Finance Reform for keeping independent voices in support of and opposed to candidates off the stage, and giving the 527 Media virtually free reign. Hewitt’s right; John McCain should not run for President. McCain probably won’t listen.
- The 527 Media’s influence may be slowly but surely waning, but its open advocacy is at least offsetting that decline for now. If you though 2006 was bad, wait until you see what’s in store for 2008; the financial reverses, which will surely continue, will not prevent that. But how bad does the bias have to get before they fall of the cliff?
- Taft, Taft, Taft — He should have resigned. He didn’t. Very few people called for it (for what little it’s worth, I did). Bob Taft’s possibly second-last legacy is that Ohio is for all practical purposes a somewhat Blue State that needs to be turned red again; his final legacy is that Ohio’s turn in 2006 may be all that a Hillary Clinton needs to become president in 2008. Even if the next three problems I’ll go over didn’t exist, Taft’s failure to leave, in retrospect, doomed the GOP from the very start. I guess they thought if it could work for Bill Clinton, it would work in Ohio. Uh, dummies: It didn’t work for Bill Clinton; Al Gore lost.
- Guns, guns, guns — Strickland neutralized what would ordinarily be a 10% advantage (at least 5% went to Strickland and got taken away from what would normally go to Blackwell on that issue alone). DeWine surely lost a few hundred thousand votes (no-shows and non-votes) based on his anti-2nd Amendment positions.
- Ohio’s 527 Media did its part for both Dem candidates by failing to challenge their pasts, and in Strickland’s case, failing to report his 3-1/2 year residency scam that would have had them salivating at their computers had a Republican done similar things.
- The rest of last night’s poor showing can be laid to the Ohio Republican Party’s failure to maturely handle Ken Blackwell’s primary victory. They should have aggressively defined Strickland starting on May 3, and essentially let the summer go by without acting. There were openings; they weren’t taken.
There’s one thing the General Assembly and Taft can do for this state before they go — lower the state income tax as much as eventually promised, but do it NOW. The state’s running a comfy surplus, and could use a shot in the arm. It will prevent the new governor from deciding that “we can’t afford it” (which is about as certain as the sun rising in the east). It will establish an appropriately low tax baseline for evaluating what the new governor does. It may save us from some of the awful effects of Issue 2′s passage. Will they do this? They’re probably not even thinking about it.
The fact that only Bob Ney’s old seat was lost out of the Ohio’s GOP congressional delegation has to be seen as a near miracle.
- The passage of Issue 2, especially with its escalator clause, is a very sad event in a state that has never fully bounced back economically. It has the potential to hold Ohio back from what it could be for years to come.
- Issue 3′s repudiation is a definite bright spot. What a mess that would have been.
- All of the local GOP Congresspersons survived (Turner, Chabot, Boehner, Schmidt, and Davis in KY). Chabot and Schmidt were closer than they should have been. More on Schmidt in a bit.
- State Rep. Tom Brinkman survived a stiff challenge from a strong Democratic opponent and (I am told) people on the right who tried to undercut him, setting up a probable 2008 Clash of the Titans with Michelle Schneider for the Ohio Senate.
- In Hamilton County, Phil Heimlich lost a County Commission seat, thank to “help” from the same people whose mission in life has been to make Jean Schmidt’s life difficult. The county gets less red, and more blue, with each passing election. The slash-and-burners are accelerating the process.
Now to Schmidt:
Let’s see –
- She won an 11-person special election primary in June 2005 where the Christian Right’s fair-haired voting scofflaw tried to parachute in for a quick victory.
- She survived a nationally-focused special election in August 2005 where her Iraq War vet opponent pretended to be a Bush-supporting Republican on TV while cursing her in personal appearances.
- She survived a challenge in May 2006 from the same voting scofflaw who accepted the help of slash-and-burn artists while pretending to be “dignified” himself.
- And finally, she has survived an opponent who got the help of a gullible (or co-conspiring) newspaper and, I believe, the active assistance of a write-in candidate who (as of this moment) received less than half of votes the non-illustrious David “Mr. 362″ Smith did in 2005 (with 4 times as many votes cast). With their help, she dishonestly played the nuclear NIMBY card in the 2nd District’s easternmost counties. For this reason, and others (here and here), Vic Wulsin, and not Jean Schmidt, should be the one wearing the “TLB” tag.
Memo to all those afflicted with SDS (Schmidt Derangement Syndrome): She’s still standing. You ….. aren’t.
If SOB Alliance members have helped Jean Schmidt get or save her job four times (of course, who can ever know?), I for one am glad to have contributed to it. Now, after four elections in 17 months, the last three against opponents whose victories would have been disasters, it’s up to Schmidt to prove herself worthy of something more than defense against the undeserving. Is it too much to ask that the SDSers let her do her job for the next 14 or so months, and THEN decide whether she deserves a primary challenge? Unfortunately, it probably is. But before you guys hatch your next grand scheme, consider this: If yesterday taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a safe seat. We saw nationally what happens when a party starts believing that control is its birthright and starts to believe it’s untouchable. That goes for the 2nd District as well as the nation. The GOP does not own it.
Jean Schmidt’s unhinged right-wing opponents have disgracefully played with fire in two general elections in a row, first by encouraging conservatives to stay at home in August 2005, and this time by encouraging, if not sponsoring, a write-in candidate whose only mission was to disrupt her campaign and cause her defeat. Folks, by undermining Schmidt, YOU have put the 2nd District in play, while the other side rubs its hands in anticipation of the next favor you’re planning to do for them. Just stop; if the District is ever lost, there is no guarantee it will ever come back. If you think she should be opposed in May 2008, at least find a worthy challenger.
UPDATE, Nov. 12: Re Blackwell-Strickland, this comment I made at NixGuy back on August 23 was unfortunately prophetic:
Iâ€™ll have to admit to not following the gov race as close as others, but maybe thatâ€™s an advantage in the following comments.
I get the distinct impression that the Buckeye media intends to ignore this race except for the most unimportant of details â€” things like where the candidates were and how many babies they kissed, etc.
Why? They think Tedâ€™s winning, and they want Ted to win. The less said about Ted, the less likely his lib tendencies will be exposed. The less said about Blackwell, the less reasonable he will seem, as their meme is that heâ€™s a right-wing religious wacko extremist.
I think Ted is going to have the most invisible campaign by a competitive candidate in memory, in hopes that he isnâ€™t exposed for what he is and that he can preserve his perceived lead. Blackwell is going to have to go around the media in a very, very big way to get his true self known.