March 11, 2013

USA Bad: Per AFP, Brad Wenstrup Is Among Ohio’s Worst GOP Congressmen in Early Roll Calls

Filed under: Activism,OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

Y’know, it’s early, and it’s not totally fair to judge a guy’s performance by his first roughly 45 days.

So I was tempted to hold off on posting about what fellow blogger and TIB All-Star Matt Hurley noted a couple of weeks ago, namely that Ohio Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup had to that point earned a 50% score from Americans for Prosperity.

That temptation ended when I saw that COAST, a local good-government and spending-control advocacy group, put up a celebratory post on Wednesday, March 6, the anniversary of Wenstrup’s GOP primary defeat of incumbent Jean Schmidt.

Demonstrating the same total lack of anything resembling perspective the group exhibited during Schmidt’s seven-plus years in Congress, the post opens by characterizing Schmidt’s defeat as “perhaps the greatest day in political history.” Really. I never knew that Ronald Reagan’s triumph over Jimmy Carter in 1980 was so unimportant.

Please note that the post went up at least a week after AFP released its scores.

Let’s also note where Wenstrup stands within Ohio’s Republican Congressional delegation:

  • 100% — Boehner, Chabot, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Latta, Renacci, Stivers.
  • 50% — Joyce, Wenstrup, Tiberi
  • 0% — Turner

All four Democrats in Ohio’s congressional delegation received 0% scores.

It would appear that AFP’s rating is based on only four roll call votes, so as I said it’s premature to claim that Wenstrup is on a path to consistently disappoint and betray his constituents. But it’s not premature to say that he’s off to a weak start.

It’s also not premature to say that COAST is failing to ride herd on Wenstrup the way it did on Schmidt — who, by the way, received a lifetime 88% rating from AFP (click on the “112th” tab near the top right at the AFP link). Instead, on February 26, in a post mentioning Boehner (100%), Chabot (100%), and Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (50%), COAST encouranged Wenstrup to “keep up the fight.”

If COAST was really paying attention, it would have asked Wenstrup and Massie to join the fight and chilled its embarrassing end zone dance nine days later.

Let’s hope that COAST does a much better job of opposing the City of Cincinnati’s disastrous parking deal than it has thus far in monitoring the performance of Brad Wenstrup.

______________________________________

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: In Massie’s defense, he is one of the 10 members of what Erick Erickson called “the conservative fight club” on March 6 (of all days). These are “members of the House Republican Conference who voted against the (recent) rule on the continuing resolution and voted against John Boehner for Speaker.”

January 23, 2013

Brad Wenstrup (R, OH-02) Votes to Increase the Debt Ceiling

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:17 pm

I’m not going to be instantly unfair to the guy and say that Brad Wenstrup’s vote to raise the debt ceiling today was a wrong vote.

I AM going to say that freshman congressman just did what he criticized his predecessor for doing.

Wenstrup today voted to increase the country’s debt ceiling after acting during last winter’s GOP primary as if EVER-EVER-EVER voting to do so is an automatically and unconditionally bad thing.

The roll call vote was 285-144, with Republicans supporting by a 199-33 margin and Dems opposing 86-111.

That breakout seems comforting until you see some of the truly conservative GOP names in opposition:

  • Bachmann (MN) — to be clear, I criticized her for her opposition to any form of debt ceiling increase in 2011 (see Update 3 here), but the issue is whether the conditions imposed in the House bill, primarily the pretense that congresspersons’ salaries won’t get paid if there’s no deal, are sufficient to meaningfully rein in the government. If she thinks not, that’s worthy of note. If she won’t vote to raise it for any reason under any circumstance, that’s just unrealistically foolish.
  • Gohmert (TX)
  • Huelskamp (KS)
  • King (IA)
  • McClintock (CA)
  • Massie (KY, i.e., Northern Kentucky Tea Party favorite who replaced the retiring Geoff Davis)
  • Rohrbacher (CA)

One would have expected based on Wenstrup’s huffing and puffing last year that if these seven voted against John Boehner’s latest gambit, he would have voted “no” as well. But he didn’t.

I would suggest that Mr. Wenstrup’s constituents (of which I am not one) deserve an explanation so they can evaluate his thought process, if any (so does Steve Chabot in OH-01, as I am now one of his constituents). “John Boehner said it was a good idea” is not a thought process, and silence is not acceptable.

The big story, though, is that Wenstrup has done something he clearly indicated he would never do a year ago as he was dishonestly tarring his opponent.

December 27, 2012

Jean Schmidt’s Finest Hour

Filed under: Economy,OH-02 US House,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:54 pm

I had no intention of bringing up outgoing congresswoman Jean Schmidt again before her career ends in just days.

But then I came across an item by Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator’s Spectacle blog, which in turn led me to search on Ronald Reagan’s last name at COAST’s blog and find an item (“Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?”) from March of last year.

COAST, which worked mightily to defeat Schmidt for almost seven years, even when her opponents were among some of the most pathetic individuals ever to appear on a congressional ballot — including someone who inarguably voted illegally as an absentee for several years (really) — finally got its way in early March when Brad Wenstrup defeated her in the 2012 GOP primary.

COAST argued in late March why, in their view, Schmidt’s defeat several weeks earlier was important (bolds are mine throughout this post):

However, within that spectrum, we have seen the policy and political disasters wrought by unprincipled GOP politicians from George W. Bush (and George H.W. Bush) to Bob Taft, to Jean Schmidt and Kevin DeWine. And we have seen dramatic successes written on the walls of history by those who have followed the lead of Ronald Reagan.

With respect and kindness towards our Republican brothers who all-too-consistently back the more centrist elements in the GOP, and in many cases the unsavory and corrupt elements in the Party, we ask: Do you want to continue to remain on the wrong side of history?

The invocation of Reagan, and the in-essence casting of Schmidt as the anti-Reagan, doesn’t exactly square with Schmidt’s voting record, which includes a 100% rating from the tough graders at the Club For Growth in 2010.

COAST’s false take also doesn’t square with what Schmidt did last week (some paragraph breaks were removed):

Reagan’s House Heroes Stop Plan B

Call it a Reykjavik Moment. An Air Traffic Controllers Moment. Both of which were Reagan Moments.

Moments in American history when, under extreme pressure, Ronald Reagan simply refused to buckle. Against all the chorus shouted from the media and congressional bleachers — that he had failed by walking out on a bad deal with Gorbachev or recklessly fired striking air traffic controllers who were striking against federal law — Ronald Reagan never blinked. And the fact that he didn’t blink made America — and the world — an infinitely better place.

Thursday night 13 conservative House Republicans defeated the Rule for the vote on Speaker Boehner’s highly controversial “Plan B.”

Those conservatives, by name (an asterisk denoting those who will not be returning to Congress next year) are: Justin Amash of MI, Paul Broun of GA, Trent Franks of AZ, Louie Gohmert of TX, Tim Huelskamp of KS, Walter Jones of NC, Jim Jordan of OH, Andy Harris of MD, Jeff Landry of LA*, Thomas Massie of KY, Ron Paul of TX*, Jean Schmidt of OH*, Joe Walsh of IL*

… What is the take away here?

This was a botched GOP House Leadership issue. It is exactly what happens when the governing principle is deal making and not principle.

House GOP Members began to realize that, intended or not, they were perceived as trashing the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Three cheers for those thirteen GOP House conservatives for standing up, Reagan-style, for principle.

They had a Reykjavik Moment. An Air Traffic Controllers Moment. They had a Reagan Moment.

And whatever happens next, the Reagan Thirteen are heroes.

Which means that Jean Schmidt, in one of her final acts as a Congresswoman, is a heroine. (Update: This sentence was changed because Congress may be reconvening over the weekend.)

Schmidt’s principled stance on Plan B when it counted — she could easily have mailed it in and sold out to John Boehner’s poorly thought-through maneuvering, but didn’t — shows how big the shoes are which Brad Wenstrup must fill.

On balance, and though far from perfect, Jean Schmidt was much more often than not part of the solution.

Is COAST up to congratulating Schmidt on her “Reagan Moment,” or will it stay spiteful to the bitter end?

Is Brad Wenstrup going to be part of the problem, or part of the solution? We’ll have to see. I certainly hope for the latter.

Going forward, will COAST call out Wenstrup’s screwups, or is it so vested in his success that it will ignore and/or excuse them? We’ll have to see about that too.

December 1, 2012

Positivity: Thank You, Jean Schmidt

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:09 am

Before getting to her letter, I want to personally thank Ms. Schmidt’s staff for their determined and compassionate involvement in a matter than was of utmost importance to our family. I am not able to discuss its details, but I can assure readers that her staff’s work was critical to its resolution, and I will never forget how well it was handled.

From departing Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, in the type of email I suspect most defeated congresspersons don’t even think about composing:

The two case workers in my office estimate that they have received a total of about 6,300 requests for constituent services since I came to Congress in 2005. That’s not counting the hundreds of questions that the case workers have answered each year for constituents without having to open case files.

Responding to the needs of the people who live in the seven counties that make up Ohio’s Second Congressional District has been one of my top priorities as your representative in Washington over the last 7½ years.

My current term will conclude January 3. My Hamilton County and Adams County offices are wrapping up several cases involving constituent services, but future requests for such help will be referred to the offices of Ohio’s two senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.

My staff has done an extraordinary job of navigating the federal bureaucracy on behalf of the thousands of people who have telephoned or written to request help over the years.

Some cases, such as requests to expedite passports or visas, can be handled in a few days or weeks. More complex matters, such as those involving immigration, can take six months to three years to resolve. “It can be frustrating at times, but it’s always rewarding,” one of my case workers said.

Many times, my office has been the last hope for people facing financial difficulties. Common issues have included delays by the Internal Revenue Service in processing tax refunds, or demands for additional paperwork to process the payment of Medicare bills. In one case, we helped a constituent get long-overdue Social Security benefits that totaled $68,000.

Other times, my office has helped veterans or their families obtain the medals earned years ago for military service. My office has also cut through red tape to help veterans or their widows obtain tens of thousands of dollars in overdue VA benefits. Other times, my office intervened to help resolve pay or retirement issues for active-duty members of the military.

My case workers also have helped constituents with claims involving thousands of dollars in compensation and medical benefits related to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

People who have waited on claims for months or even years have been amazed that something could be done to speed things up once a congressional office made a phone call or sent an email.

… I’ve gone to battle for farmers in Southern Ohio, opposing undue regulations and pushing for programs that ensure that our nation has the safest and most stable food supply in the world.

I’ve pushed for reforms for the food stamp program, but argued against drastic cuts that would force many Americans to go hungry. Child-nutrition issues have been a major concern of mine.

I also have championed many projects related to jobs and getting our economy back on track, including the lengthy fight to prod the administration of President Obama to support the USEC uranium-enrichment plant in Pike County.

The importance of constituent services is something I recognized long before becoming the first woman to represent Southern Ohio in Congress. Previously, I spent four years as a state representative in the Ohio House, and I was a Miami Township trustee in my native Clermont County for 11 years.

For each of those 22 years, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you.

August 5, 2012

This Has to Be What ‘COAST’ Really Stands For

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:44 am

Surprised I didn’t think of it sooner: “COAST = Constantly Obsessing About Schmidt Totally.”

Proof:

COASTtweetsOnSchmidt080512

Yeah, the very first thing I would think of when reading a post about media avoidance of applying a “Democrat” tag to a former Alabama governor about to go back to jail is Jean Schmidt. (/sarc)

O … M … G. Guys, give it a rest.

July 13, 2012

Defeated Jean Schmidt OH’s third most conservative congressperson

Note: This item went up late Thursday, with a slightly different headline and minor revisions, at Watchdog.org.

An email I received Wednesday evening from the Ohio Liberty Coalition contained a collection of the ratings of 17 of Ohio’s congresspersons by five leading conservative vote-tracking groups. (John Boehner’s record was excluded because as Speaker of the House he sometimes must cast votes for procedural instead of principled reasons.)

The results presented made me wonder why so many people in southwestern Ohio made it their obsessive mission to get rid of Second District Republican Jean Schmidt in this past spring’s primary. They were “successful” — if you want to call ousting the third most conservative member of the Ohio delegation a “success.”

As expected, the voting records of Republicans Jim Jordan and Steve Chabot were the most conservative, earning average ratings of 95.6 percent and 91.0 percent from the five organizations involved: the National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Club for Growth, Feet to the Fire, and Heritage Action for America. Though a somewhat distant third with an average of 80.6 percent, Schmidt nonetheless edged out Bob Latta (78.2 percent) and Bill Johnson (75.8 percent), two gentlemen who have generally been tea party favorites, while leaving the rest of her Republicans in the dust by anywhere from 11 to 22 points.

It’s true that a congressperson’s voting record doesn’t paint the whole picture. To name just one example, because it never came to a House floor vote, Chabot got no demerits from any of the vote-tracking groups (and deserved them) for his odious sponsorship of the freedom-threatening Stop Online Piracy Act. But there’s no denying that Schmidt’s record bordered on the exceptional. Unfortunately, I had to use the past tense in the previous sentence because she was defeated in Ohio’s March primary by Brad Wenstrup, who somehow became the favorite of local activist and statewide tea party groups, even though has never held elected political office, was handily defeated when he ran for Cincinnati mayor in 2009 and showed alarming support for Planned Parenthood as a member of the Cincinnati Board of Health.

Schmidt’s conservative (or so they claim) political enemies spent nearly seven years stewing over what happened in 2005 when Rob Portman, another conservative darling who doesn’t deserve his status, left his Second District congressional seat to join the Bush administration. Schmidt emerged victorious from a crowded GOP primary field in June of that year after the three other frontrunners turned off voters with intensely negative mudslinging. Two months later, after a very poorly run campaign, and despite being in one of the most conservative districts in the nation, she only narrowly defeated Democrat Paul Hackett thanks to major assists from local bloggers, national talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and much more money than the national Republican Party wanted to spend.

Despite her voting record, which started out pretty good and gradually improved to the near stellar level seen in 2011, Schmidt faced and survived significant primary challenges during her next three reelection efforts, something I daresay very few if any GOP incumbents anywhere in the country had to endure. Her general election victories in 2006 and 2008 were also far narrower than one would have expected.

Schmidt’s enemies finally got their way four months ago. There is strong reason to doubt that her successor’s voting record will be as strongly conservative. I wonder what her detractors will have to say if it indeed isn’t?

March 20, 2012

Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Makes Me Think of Jean Schmidt

Filed under: Economy,OH-02 US House,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:16 pm

Here’s a graphical depiction of Paul Ryan’s budget, introduced today (found at James Pethokoukis’s blog):

ObamaVsRyan

It is fully thought through, well-presented, understandable, and of course necessary.

It’s perfectly obvious that any sensible conservative (redundant term) would be positively thrilled to have fiscal hero Paul Ryan as their Congressperson, right? Why, if COAST, Anderson Township Republicans, and local Tea Party groups found out that Ryan was moving into Ohio’s Second District, they’d have an all-day parade on Beechmont Avenue, insist on clearing the GOP primary field for him, and work tirelessly on his campaign.

So why does this make me think of Jean Schmidt? I mean, after all, she’s just been a RINO all these years, posing as a conservative while betraying us in Washington, right?

Then someone needs to explain this:

  • Club for Growth 2011 Scorecard: Schmidt 80%, Ryan … (wait for it) 73%.
  • Club for Growth 2010 Scorecard: Schmidt 100%, Ryan 97%.
  • Club for Growth 2009 Scorecard: Schmidt 91%, Ryan 93%.

Since the year of the TARP vote over which lots of people gave Jean Schmidt endless grief (full disclosure: including for a time yours truly, who voted for her challenger in the 2010 primary — a vote that in hindsight was mistaken), Jean Schmidt has scored higher than conservative icon Paul Ryan twice, and barely trailed him in 2009.

Look, I get that Schmidt didn’t do a good job of defending herself against the smears (and they WERE smears, some of them disgracefully and inexcusably misogynist and all of them fundamentally dishonest), that her public-speaking skills seemed to deteriorate (she was so much better at the candidates’ forum in June 2005 than she was at Rick Santorum’s February 2012 Brown County visit that I began wondering if I was watching the same person), and that she may have paid disproportionate attention to the district’s rural counties, especially after redistricting gave her a lot of new ground in Hamilton. So yes, she gets about half the blame for her defeat.

But the other half goes to people who would feel like they died and went to heaven if Paul Ryan were their congressperson, and who simply refused to recognize Schmidt’s genuine conservatism.

That includes COAST and ARTC, who never got over years-old grudges. Unfortunately, I expected that. But I didn’t expect the Ohio Liberty Council to endorse her opponent and completely ignore the facts. But they did. Most of those who supported her opponent don’t live in the district and from what I can tell were relying on her 2005 Saturday Night Live caricature far more than on anything substantive. So, although it took over six years, it looks like the liberal media and entertainment industry won again. You guys should be embarrassed. Wenstrup v. Schmidt was NOT a victory for Tea Party conservatism.

Oh, and I almost forgot (no, not really, this is my argument-ending closer) — Guess who voted for both TARP AND the initial GM-Chrysler bailout loans in 2008?

Answer: Paul Ryan, and not Jean Schmidt (full 2008 CFG scorecard) –

SchmidtPaulRyanTARPautoVotes2008

Schmidt voted for TARP, but so did Ryan. Schmidt voted against the auto bailout, but Ryan voted for it. And Jean Schmidt’s supposed to be the villainess.

When people say that Tea Party activists are losing their way, their endorsement of Brad Wenstrup over Jean Schmidt is Exhibit A. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves, folks, for not even doing the most basic homework, and for ignoring drop-dead obvious red flags and serious flaws in Brad Wenstrup’s record.

Based on her record during the past three years, the Second District has lost a proven conservative congressperson. Whether one will arrive in her place is yet to be seen — but if he does, we can virtually guarantee that he won’t be more conservative in his votes — which at the end of the day is the most important thing a congressperson does — than Jean Schmidt has been.

February 17, 2012

A Despicable Brad Wenstrup Ad in the OH-02 GOP Primary

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:20 pm

I heard this Brad Wentstrup radio ad attacking Second District Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, whom Wenstrup is challenging in the Ohio primary, earlier this afternoon:

Lowlights:

Narrator 1 (“Bob”): Members of Congress are now greeting the President. There’s someone kissing the President. Who’s that?

Narrator 2: Looks like Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.

Bob: Ah, Congresswoman Schmidt. Is she a Democrat? She seems very close with the President.

Narrator 2: No Bob, she’s a longtime Republican politician, but she did vote for the Wall Street bailout. And she voted for the President’s debt-limit increase.

Bob: Seems that when you vote with the President so many times, he smiles when you kiss him.

… Brad Wenstrup: I’m Brad Wenstrup, and I approve this message.

Really, Brad? You approve of this borderline (actually, on the wrong side of the border) misogynistic crap?

And you want to serve in Congress?

Sadly, I see the influence of COAST in this outrageous ad. Every time it seems that the group might deserve the benefit of the doubt, it goes off the rails and does stupid things like endorsing Wenstrup over mostly solid and growing more solid conservative Jean Schmidt.

For the record, and to avoid writing a book:

  • Schmidt opposed ObamaCare, and advocates its repeal (later in the ad, Wenstrup says he also favors repeal, making it look as if Schmidt doesn’t).
  • Schmidt’s economic and fiscal rating at the Club for Growth in 2010 was 100%. In 2009, it was 91%. Her 2008 TARP vote was a mistake, but let’s not forget that it was made under conditions of outright blackmail (to be clear, she should still have voted “no,” but the pressure from business executives and bankers in her district was enormous). She also received a 100% rating from Americans for Prosperity.
  • Schmidt’s rating from the National Right to Life is 100%, as it is at Gary Bauer’s Campaign for Working Families and Family Research Council (HTs to Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion). Speaking of Mark, he has chronicled Mr. Wenstrup’s prolife values-betraying agreement to give money to Planned Parenthood and grant administration weaknesses which have cost the City of Cincinnati a state grant which it had been receiving for decades.

If Brad Wenstrup had an ounce of decency, he’d pull and denounce this despicable ad. Betcha that he won’t, which will force me to conclude that he doesn’t.

February 2, 2012

More on State Employment: Looking at the Private Sector

Filed under: Economy,OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:30 pm

Let’s compare the increase in private sector employment in states with Republican vs. Democratic governors, right to work and non-right to work states, and the various combinations of the two:

StatePrivateJobGrowthByCategory2011.png

Everything is as expected except perhaps the Democrat-RTW category, which only has two states, and was dragged down by the disaster in North Carolina known as Beverly Perdue.

Differences of 0.3% to 0.4% between GOP- and Dem-governed states and right to work vs. non-right to work states many not seem like much, but it’s what has been happening consistently for a couple of decades, and explains why a lot of the Midwest, whose income and standard of living used to exceed the South by miles, no longer really does.

The difference between the sum of the states and the national report may (emphasis may) indicate a downside surprise in prior-month revisions when tomorrow’s Employment Situation report is released, or possibly an increase in the state numbers when the next related state report is released later this month.

Now let’s look at the top 15 private sector performers, which is deep enough to pick up the great State of Ohio:

StatePrivateJobGrowthTop152011

Several points:

  • Louisiana, as indicated in my column earlier this week, has done very well considering the barriers the Obama administration has put in the way of full Gulf drilling resumption.
  • Texas’s performance in the private sector compared to overall (where it placed sixth) directly contradicts the silly claim made late last year by a Democratic hack who said that Rick Perry as governor had overseen big growth in public sector employment.
  • Of the top 15, ten are GOP-governed. Eight of those ten are right to work states. Of the five Democrat-governed states, two (KY and WV) are arguably governed relatively conservatively, and DC keeps growing because of Uncle Sam. Washington State is the only real star performer of the bunch.
December 5, 2011

Wenstrup v. Schmidt in OH-02 GOP Primary: Why?

Filed under: Life-Based News,OH-02 US House — Tom @ 10:12 am

This (issues page at Brad Wenstrup’s site) doesn’t explain it.

If Jean Schmidt isn’t sufficiently conservative for Mr. Wenstrup, he needs to say how and why he would be different and better. He hasn’t. At least Mike Kilburn articulated a couple of genuine beefs in 2010 and had a decent political track record.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wenstrup has a “funny” way of demonstrating that he is “prolife” — except that those who believe in the sanctity of life aren’t laughing.

Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion has been all over this:

  • Nov. 29 — Supposed Pro Life Conservative Brad Wenstrup Approves of Giving Kids Birth Control Without Parental Consent
  • Nov. 28 — Wenstrup Doesn’t Get His Pro Abort Excuse Timeline Right….
  • Nov. 23 — Greater Cincinnati Right to Life Doesn’t Agree with Dr. Wenstrup
  • Nov. 23 — While Wenstrup Gives Grants to Child Rape Cover Up Artists at Planned Parenthood, Jean Schmidt is recognized as actually being pro life
  • Nov. 23 — Supposed “Strong Conservative” Wenstrup Uses Soros Attack Dogs to Smear Jean Schmidt. That would be CREW, which pretends to be bipartisan but “somehow” goes after conservatives far more often than libs for ethical lapses.
  • Nov. 21 — COAST Chooses Vendetta over Its Own Principles…
  • Nov. 14 — Dr. Wenstrup Has a Funny Way of Being “Pro”-Life
  • Nov. 17 (my sum-up, quoting Mark) “This ‘doctor’ who claims to be pro life and is running against incumbent Jean Schmidt, who actually is pro life, by the way, voted to give money to an organization that openly violated the law.”

That organization would be Planned Parenthood, which routinely flouts the law when it comes to killing preborn babies carried by minors as a result of adult-child sex (aka “statutory rape”) by failing to report it to authorities as required, and which therefore — even proaborts should agree with this (but they don’t in practice, because killing preborn babies trumps all other considerations with them) — should be getting no public money of any kind for any reason, “targeted” or not.

Look, I get it if you think Jean Schmidt, despite her strong conservative ratings from the likes of Club for Growth (100% in 2010) and others, has made some mistakes, and that perhaps someone else could do better.

But if you do — yeah, I’m talking to you, COAST, and you, Anderson Township Republicans — you need to come up with that “someone” who has demonstrated that he or she could and would do better. Brad Wenstrup isn’t that guy.

In the meantime, could you please stop acting as if Jean Schmidt is evil incarnate, and that anybody with a pulse would be preferable? That six-year routine in the face of Schmidt’s consistent voting record as a solid conservative has moved from embarrassing to disgraceful. Please — Let the anciently-based, long since proven baseless bitterness go.

September 14, 2011

NY-09 ≠ OH-02: After 88-Year Drought, Republican Breaks Through

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:24 am

Those of us who remember the epic OH-02 special election battle featuring Democrat Paul Hackett vs. Republican Jean Schmidt in the summer of 2005 saw a lot of parallels in the NY-09 special election between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin conducted yesterday — but not in the final result.

In each case, it was supposed to be a safe district for the incumbent party. OH-02 has been Republican since 1964. NY-09 had been held by Democratic demagogues like Chuck Schumer, Anthony Weiner, and others since 1923.

OH-02 was supposed to be a referendum on the popularity of George W. Bush and the Iraq War, even though Democrat Hackett pretended to be an Iraq War supporter in his ads on the home front while cursing the commander in chief in front of out-of-town supporters and reporters. NY-09 was a referendum primarily on the performance of Barack Obama, especially on the economy.

Note how I’m using the past tense in NY-09. That’s because, unlike in OH-02, where Republican Schmidt held on to win by a 3-point margin, Bob Turner last night broke the Democrat stranglehold on NY-09 and won, by a convincing margin (54-46 with 86% of the district counted). (Update: The New York Daily News’s headline: “Turner Trounces Weprin In NY-9 Showdown”)

Democrats declared that Hackett’s close OH-02 loss obtained under obviously false pretenses supposedly meant that the Iraq War was unpopular and that “no Republican seat is safe.” Today they claim that Turner’s historic win achieved without equivocation on where he stands and what he believes doesn’t mean much.

The heck it doesn’t. It’s a direct rebuke to the President and his party, and a huge win refuting the claim that a candidate’s Tea Party sympathies represent a liability.

If Democrats can’t win in NY-09, they may not be guaranteed of congressional wins anywhere. One would expect that they will have to dedicate significant resources to holding districts they would normally be able to leave alone.

May 23, 2011

If Mr. Kucinich Goes to Washington (State), Would He Retain His Seniority?

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:06 pm

398px-Dennis_Kucinich_Official_PhotoFor those who are unaware, because of redistricting in Ohio, which is losing two congressional seats as a result of the 2010 census, longtime Buckeye State Congressman and 2004/2008 unserious Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is considering a run for Congress in Washington State, some 2,000 miles from his current Cleveland digs.

In his coverage of Kucinich’s recent northwestern travels, Carl Hulse at the New York Times characterized the possible long-distance congressional pursuit by the former Boy Mayor, who mismanaged Cleveland to the brink of bankruptcy in the late-1970s, thusly: “It is a somewhat novel idea that could be summed up as: Have seniority, will travel.”

Hulse didn’t follow up on his seniority assertion, but it would appear that if Kucinich were somehow to triumph in an Evergreen State congressional contest, he would retain his status as ranking Democratic member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and his relatively lofty status at the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Unfortunately, that’s not surprising. Although not directly analogous, in 2005, former six-term Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen, who had resided in Virginia during almost all of the previous 12 years after being ousted in 1992, came close to winning a 2005 special GOP primary for the Buckeye State’s Second Congressional District necessitated by Rob Portman’s departure for the Bush administration. One of McEwen’s major arguments was that, unlike his opponents, he would rejoin the Rules Committee with his years of seniority intact. McEwen lost, and his claim was never tested. But there is nothing I have found in discussions with others or in limited research that would lead me to believe that Dennis Kucinich would lose his seniority if he were to grab the carpetbag and somehow win election as a Washington State congressman.

This strikes me as unfair, especially to longtime Washingtonians who might have to run against Kucinich, and to other House members who have remained loyal to their states but would still have to wait their turn to move up the seniority ladder.

But there it is.

Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner Opinion Zone.

__________________________________________

BizzyBlog Update: Gosh, I just realized that today is the sixth anniversary of this post, which changed the nature of this blog forever, and was the beginning of an ultimately successful effort (with lots of help from other quarters) which kept a certain former congressman from again becoming “my” congressman.