Wednesday, May 31, 2006

RE: The Difference Between the Two Sides of the Blogging Aisle

As I like to say, The Boring Made Dull cannot be bought. However, both short and long term leases are available, but only with a copy of this internet coupon. Just ask for Moe….

On the one hand, the ORP would benefit from positive press by providing journalists comp passes to fundraisers and other events. However, they also need to be ‘choosey’ about who they invite.

From the blogger perspective, independence is a good thing, and it shouldn’t just be a conservative value. Each of us needs to decide, are we primarily conservative bloggers, or Republican bloggers? As the harsh Ohio experience has taught us, the differences can be substantial.

Re: Two Sides of the Blogging Aisle

The Ohio Republican Party would be foolish indeed to ignore the blogging Matts (Dole; Hurley) -- they remain the most loyal and are of the few who can strongly defend the party (and give it a light spanking when deserved.)

Me, I'm more of a Sam Adams type of guy -- got muck? I'll rake it! :)

Noe Pleads Guilty

AP News Alert:
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) A coin dealer and major GOP fundraiser has pleaded guilty to illegally funneling donations to President Bush's re-election campaign.
This guy deserves whatever is coming to him...

I am glad to get this fiasco behind us.

Now, if only Gov. Taft would step aside...

Montgomery Update

This just in from the Montgomery campaign via email:
After several days of positive progress, Ohio Auditor of State Betty Montgomery was transferred over the weekend from The Ohio State University Medical Center's intensive care unit to a standard patient room.

"I'm so thankful for the tremendous outpouring of support I have received," Montgomery said. "And I'm blessed to be receiving the finest care available from the staff at OSU Medical Center. My doctors tell me I'm making great progress. Although I'm focused on my recovery, I look forward to resuming a full work schedule as soon as my doctors give me the green light."

Montgomery was originally admitted to The Ohio State University Medical Center Wednesday, May 17 for complications following a respiratory virus. She was diagnosed with and received treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome, an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves.

Montgomery's office continues to communicate with her daily. "Our office continues to function without interruption and we are hopeful to see her back in the office soon," said Chief of Staff Deb Hackathorn. A full recovery is expected.

The Difference Between the Two Sides of the Blogging Aisle

Right Angle has more from that story that our "Threat" thread originated from and it contains this from John McClelland:
John McClelland, of the Ohio Republican Party, said he hasn’t yet fielded any requests from bloggers for freebies. He, too, is watching and waiting. "They are not the traditional media, but we’ve tried to be open with them in terms of having access to our events, taking phone calls, answering any questions.
What is missing from our "Threat" thread is what the article was about... Apparently, our liberal bretheren have asked their party establishment for some freebies...namely, they wanted complimentary addmission to a fund raiser featuring Barak Obama. I'll agree with conservativeguy from Right Angle who said, "I believe that the conservative position would be to pay to attend an event. I am not a big fan of handouts." It wouldn't have even occured to me to ask the ORP to comp my admission to the unity event or candidate school...

UPDATE: I should also like to point out that I have been impressed with the outreach efforts made on the part of John, Jason Mauk and the ORP.

If the ORP wants bloggers at an event, they'll invite us. Otherwise, we're on our own. That's just the way I see it.

Those chicken dinners suck anyway...

However, I will say this: I think that the ORP is underutilizing the talent that the center-right blogosphere here in Ohio has to offer. One of my goals is to foster a relationship between the ORP and the awesome well of great talent that Ohio has to offer in the blogosphere.

If the ORP would be interested in such a thing, I'd be very interested in being a part of building that relationship. However, I know that such a relationship would be a cautious one, at best; because, as Jason once said to me, bloggers love our independence. And the party has to be about message discipline.

I wouldn't have it any other way...

Candidate School

I just got the information on the candidate school. Email me if you want it and haven't received it from some other better connected person...

Basics: July 15th is the day...$50 is the cost...

I think a dinner with SOBers is well within the realm of possibility...and if there is an excuse to stay overnight at a hotel for some sort of "event" on Sunday, I might be convinced to stay in our state capitol for longer than 24 hours......


Honestly, Steven, what did you expect? There are over 230,000 Cuyahoga Democrats compared to over 68,000 Republicans in that county. Lorain Democrats outnumber Republicans about 2 to 1 (although in significantly smaller numbers). All those Democrats have to have something to complain about when things don't go their way.

Hugh Hewitt wrote a whole book on this subject... If it's not close, they can't cheat... And if the Ohio Democrats can creat a Tammany Hall right here in the Buckeye State, it will happen in Cuyahoga county...

Remember, these are the same people who were screaming for these "reforms" when they lost the 2000 presidential race.

I'm just saying...


The last two "P's" stand for "poor planning."

From The Plain Dealer:

A lot had to happen, on time, for the May 2 primary election to be successful in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.

Both counties were using Diebold's new optical scanners to count absentee ballots, so they had technical challenges to overcome.

Both counties had to modify the machines, wiring them directly into elections computers to bypass the limited capacity in the machines' memory cards.

Both counties also needed big stacks of test ballots to run through the machines to see if they counted accurately.

Both counties needed to test the machines well before Election Day, leaving enough time to fix anything that did not work.

But only one county, Lorain, met the deadline. Cuyahoga was a step behind from the start and never caught up.

The result was that Lorain County voters learned the results of their elections May 2. Cuyahoga voters waited five more days.

If pols can't even run a simple election, do you really expect them to plan for your retirement or educate your children?

A Republican Sex Scandal?

From The Plain Dealer:

The last link to President Warren G. Harding's enduring image as a Roaring '20s politico with an overheated libido has passed away in self-imposed obscurity, and her death leaves unsolved the great riddle of her life.

Was Elizabeth Ann Blaesing really the president's illegitimate daughter?

She arrived in the world Oct. 22, 1919, and left it last Nov. 17. Neither event caused any fanfare, but there was plenty of commotion in between.

Over the decades, tell-alls have circulated that Elizabeth Ann was conceived on a Senate office couch during a frisky night between the married Harding and his mistress, Nan Britton.

Those stories captivated, baffled or infuriated just about everybody, especially in Marion, where Nan idolized the handsome pol from her hometown. Later, she was denounced as a slut, a gold-digger and moral degenerate who tried to blackmail the Harding family for $50,000.

I suppose that Ohio Republicans were just more interesting in the 1920s -- all they seem to do now is play golf.

Re: Threat

They can take my blog from my cold, dead hands...

Give me blog, or give me death...

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the blog.

The cement of this union is the blog of every American.

Where blogs dwell, there is my country.

He loves his country best who blogs to make it best.

My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blogs they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!

Carnival of Ohio Politics #25

Newshound's Carnival of Ohio Politics #25 is up -- check it out.

Was That a Threat?

In a piece by liberal columnist Ann Fisher of The Columbus Dispatch about (lefty) blogs, a quote from Brian Rothenberg, communications director for the Ohio Democratic Party, jumps out at me:

...Rothenberg is troubled, likening bloggers to the pamphleteers of the Revolutionary War period, without form or rules. "In time, they are going to start self-policing or they are going to be policed."

"Policed?" By whom? I am left with the impression that Mr. Rothenberg is quite comfortable with the idea of the government being empowered to regulate the free speech of bloggers -- the "pamphleteers of the Revolutionary War" being a quite apt description.

I am not sure how the Kos' of the world do things, but one of the chief selling points of the conservative blogosphere is its self-correcting nature. Conservatives seem quite happy to offer (and except) constructive criticism and corrections (realizing quite rightly that credibility above all is required for success.)

I will give Mr. Rothenberg the benefit of the doubt, but one wishes that he would have chosen his words more wisely -- King George, after all, was not exactly a big fan of Sam Adams.

Historical Note: Sam Adams, as was his wont, was not above embellishing from time to time, but over 200 years of liberty is a kind judge...

Will TEL be Back?

I'll believe it when I see it.

From the AP via the Akron Beacon Journal:

After all that, the pesky proposal for a constitutional amendment restricting government spending is gone.

The people who advanced the measure have asked to pull it from November's ballot. Those who fought it for nearly a year have snapped up their briefcases and begun planning their summer vacations.

But Ohioans haven't heard the last word about spending caps, a topic that has carried with it implications in the race for governor.

But whether Blackwell wins the governor's race or is defeated by U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, his Democratic rival, few believe the growth cap inserted into state law last week will remain unchanged.

"In the time period we've got left before the November election, obviously it would be difficult to do another constitutional amendment, but I clearly think sometime in the next four years it will happen," said Scott Pullins, executive director of the tax-fighting Ohio Taxpayers Association. "I think Ken will be able to pass it from a much stronger position as governor."

National anti-tax champion and Blackwell ally Grover Norquist hinted as much in a news release he issued the day of the Legislature's vote on the watered-down cap.

While commending Blackwell for his leadership in "an important first step towards fiscal responsibility," Norquist added that "experience has shown that statutory spending caps are easily 'suspended' and tossed out when they become inconvenient for tax and spenders." Statutory caps, those in law rather than in the more-difficult-to-change Ohio Constitution, are precisely what resulted from Blackwell's compromise with lawmakers.

Pullins said he believes Blackwell abandoned the ballot proposal for political reasons.

"I think he was facing a pretty tough opposition -- most of the Republican establishment, all the Democratic establishment -- and it was going to be more of an uphill fight than he or anybody else could handle."

I suppose that Jim Petro isn't the only one who becomes fatigued holding positions.

NOTES: Grover Norquist's press release may be viewed here. Scott Pullins, a member of the State of Ohio Blog Alliance, blogs here. Here's a link to the Ohio Taxpayers Association.

Crain's Cleveland Business: Kick the Bums Out

From an editorial by Crain's Cleveland Business:

Shame on the Republican lawmakers in Columbus who last week put political expediency ahead of good public policy by hurriedly passing legislation to put a spending cap on the state budget. They have given Ohio voters one more reason come November to end more than a decade of one-party rule in the state capital by choosing Democrats to occupy the governor's mansion and the General Assembly.

There was no pretense of debating or contemplating the potential impact of the Tax and Expenditure Limitation measure, which would limit the amount that state government spending can increase over the previous year's budget to 3.5% or the combined rate of inflation and state population growth, whichever is greater. As The Columbus Dispatch reported last Wednesday, the Ohio House and Senate both approved the legislation in less than 26 hours from its time of introduction.

How odd. The party that was behind state budgets in the late 1990s and early part of this decade that were increasing from year to year at twice the rate of inflation suddenly feels compelled to impose a spending cap on itself. Maybe it finally got budgetary religion. More likely, it acted out of political desperation.

Voters shouldn't be fooled. Public policy shouldn't change on a dime. Ohioans need to consider whether they can allow the Republican Party to continue to rule Columbus and to govern the state essentially unchecked. We believe a change is in order.

Does Crain's have the reputation as a liberal publication?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Re: Judicial Nominees

The really irritating thing is that it appears that the White House doesn't want to fight anymore either. There are still vacancies with no can that be tolerable in a second term?

Re: Judicial Nominees

If the Republicans cave on judicial nominees, will they not lose one of the few remaining selling points for conservatives like me who are reluctant to vote for RINO's like Mike DeWine?

DeWine, Hawaii and ANWR

Mary Katherine Ham over at Hugh Hewitt's place tells us that the Akaka Bill is coming back up for discussion. What is it? As MKH puts it:
That's the Native Hawaiian bill, also know as the Akaka bill, also known as the race-based government bill, or the apartheid bill. By any name, it stinks.

The Senate will be taking up the bill right after recess, so we've got to start making some noise about how BAD it is. If not, the senators, as senators are wont to do, will entirely miss the fact that it's a racially divisive travesty of a bill that barely a majority of native Hawaiians support, and they'll end up supporting it in exchange for a History of Antebellum Teapots museum in Pumpkin Patch, N.C.
So what does this have to do with Mike DeWine? We don't know how he'll vote.

Ramesh Ponnuru on The Corner writes:
A new poll for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii finds that only 56 percent of native Hawaiians—the ethnic group for whom the bill would create a new government—favor the bill. Among all Hawaiians, 67 percent oppose the bill. If Congress enacts this bill, D.C. will be imposing racial separatism on a state that doesn't want it.

Most Republican senators will probably vote against taking up this bill. But too many of them are for it. Stevens, Murkowski, Graham, Smith, and Coleman are co-sponsoring it. McCain is said to be leaning in favor. And we haven't heard firm "no"s yet from Allen, Brownback, DeWine, Enzi, Grassley, Hatch, Talent, or Warner. Conservatives shouldn't let their interest in the immigration bill, or the impending vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment, to distract them from opposing this bill with the vigor it deserves.
Emphasis added.

What does this have to do with ANWR? Well, as Ramesh points out, Hawaiians don't want the Akaka Bill; Alaskans do want ANWR opened up. Following that logic, DeWine can be expected to vote for the bill, if for no other reason, he'll be able to use that bargaining chip for some pork project in Ohio.

As an aside, still no word from the Senator, or his staff(s) regarding Majority Leader Boehner's questions on ANWR...

New Member Announcement

Please welcome, from Fairborn Ohio (Greene County), our thirty-first active blog member: Steve the Pirate.

Monday, May 29, 2006

DeWine on the House-Senate Conference Committee

The Canton Repository has the article (I think it used to require a subscription but doesn't any more).

PERRY TWP. - Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville, will serve on a conference committee aimed at hammering out differences between Senate and House bills addressing immigration.

“I voted in favor of the Senate bill,” DeWine said Saturday after the Perry High School Veterans Memorial dedication. “I think it starts with a good provision of establishing a border patrol.”

It includes providing 12,000 new border patrol agents, aerial reconnaissance, National Guard activation by governors in bordering states if necessary, “expedited removal” of illegal immigrants, and identity theft provisions, “which would make it more difficult for people to have forged documents if they try to get a job,” DeWine said.

The Senate bill also includes a “guest worker program” for immigrants who want to work here, and “provisions for bringing the 12 million people who are (illegal) immigrants out of the shadows so we can document who they are,” he said.

Notice the non-mention of the word "wall," or "barrier," or "amnesty," or "entitlement to Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit."

I really resent the attempt at snookering us.

Republicans Caving on Judicial Nominees, Thanks to Gang of 14 Deal

The headline is Patterico's, who has the post.

Bloomberg has the article.

If anyone else gets through the Senate by November, it will be a miracle. There is apparently no political will for a fight on perfectly good nominees.

Thanks, Mike DeWine.

Imperfect Babies being aborted in England

Posted at Conservative Culture:

England’s Daily News is reporting that babies with imperfections are being aborted in England. Babies diagnosed with a club foot and other non-fatal conditions are being aborted.

Why is this arousing a firestorm? Could it be because people can picture a baby with club feet? (Many, including myself, know people with club feet who lead relatively normal lives.)

But why is this story of imperfect-baby abortions receiving worldwide attention? Here in the United States we can abort “perfect” babies.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wouldn't a 4-Day Weekend be Nice?

Damn right -- have a great weekend everybody!

John Kerry with a Gun Endorses Mike Turner's Opponent

This just in from the Studebaker campaign:
Today Ohio Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland announced his endorsement of Dr. Stephanie Studebaker for Congress in the 3rd District. Dr. Studebaker is a mother, veterinarian, and lifelong resident of Ohio committed to fighting for our future. Congressman Strickland was moved to endorse Dr. Studebaker because of obvious signs in the 3rd district that a real change in leadership is needed to improve the quality of life.

Just last year, the largest metro area in the 3rd district experienced the second highest job loss in the nation. Both Ted Strickland and Stephanie Studebaker are committed to expanding opportunities for everyone and bringing new jobs to Ohio.

“I’m happy to support Stephanie,” Congressman Strickland said. “Both Ohio and our nation need people who can bring real change – people like Stephanie – who can step out of their professions, and serve as citizen legislators. As Governor, I look forward to working with Stephanie in Congress to turnaround Ohio and the nation.”
I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find gambling going on in this establishment. A liberal Democrat endorsing a liberal Democrat? What will those crazy kids think of next???

Mike Turner may not be as conservative as I would like, but he is a good man and a smart politician. He is the right choice for the third district.

Lost in Space

This just in from the Ney campaign:
Just hours after the Ney for Congress campaign issued a press release calling attention to a radio interview that 18th District Democrat congressional candidate Zack Space conducted last week with liberal leader and transgender-king Rachel Maddow on the ultra-liberal Air America radio network, Space has removed a reference and link to the interview from his campaign’s website. In the now lost in space interview with Maddow, whose show interestingly enough does not air on any radio station within the 18th Congressional District, Space outlined his “progressive” agenda and said that he did not consider “social issues” to still be “hot button” issues.”

“How can anyone expect Zack Space to fight for the working families of the 18th District when he can’t even fight and defend his own liberal views,” Ney campaign manager Matthew Parker questioned today.

Parker continued, “Apparently, being a ‘progressive’ candidate means not only a support for higher taxes, more abortions and San Francisco politics, but it also means folding when the political winds become too hot. Why doesn’t Zack Space want the people of Ohio’s 18th District to know that he has been pandering to national liberal leaders in an effort to raise campaign cash? Why does he tell people in Ohio that he supports Ohio values, but then goes on an ultra-liberal radio show hosted by a cross-dressing gay rights leader and tell her that “social issues” are not “hot button” issues?”

“Well Congressman Ney has a message for Zack Space – social issues do matter. Fighting against tax hikes on working families is a social issue. Protecting the sanctity of life is a social issue. Defending the Second Amendment is a social issue. Protecting the institution of marriage is a social issue. And most importantly, standing and fighting for what you believe in is a social issue. Yet, while we all know that Zack intends to support Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco for Speaker of the House and with that her agenda of higher taxes, gay rights, more abortions, and more gun control, he apparently doesn’t have the courage to just say so. Instead, what we see is Zack Space pandering to national liberal leaders from around the country and then trying to hide it when he’s called out on it,” Parker concluded.

Boehner Statement on Senate Passage of Immigration Bill

Via email:
"The American people expect Congress to secure our borders and stop the flood of illegal immigration, and House Republicans responded by passing a strong border security bill that re-establishes basic respect for our immigration laws. Now that the Senate has passed a bill, we owe it to the American people to seek common ground on responsible solutions, while always stressing our most important priority is to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration.

"I'm committed to working with Chairman Sensenbrenner, Chairman King, and House Republicans to ensure we produce a strong bill that meets our commitments to the American people. I would urge House Democrats, who have constantly advocated troubling policies that encourage open borders and invite more illegal immigrants into our country, to join us in supporting a strong bill that addresses the concerns of the American people and makes our borders more secure."
As I understand it, the Senate bill would not secure the border first...that is a prerequisite in my book... You can't talk about guest workers or amnesty until we secure the borders.

As Bill Pierce often said; if you have an overflowing sink, which do you do first? Mop the floor or turn off the faucet?


Thursday, May 25, 2006

RE: Home Rule

I think as a matter of law that the a State government can do whatever it wants within the bounds set by the state constitution and not violating civil rights.

That means the state can regulate what a city can or cannot do within that state.

Legally that is. A county government is a state creation, a township is a state creation, as are also charter cities, etc. Now some big cities predate the state government but I think their ability to govern also comes from the state.

Note that the state's ability to govern does not come from the federal government, it's actually the other way. That's why states are states and not provinces. A province is a creation of a state.

I'm not a lawyer, this is just my general sense of how things work.

Now all that being said, as a general conservative principle I believe that each level of government should do only those things that can be practically done at that level. For the federal government that means defense and coining money among other things. For a state that means establishing criminal punishment and a court system, friendly business laws, roads, etc.

Any government function should be pushed to the lowest level of government that can practically accomplish that function. It doesn't make sense to have a statewide zoning board, (or board of education for that matter, but that's another discussion) So on questions of home rule, I'm usually going to side with the locality. Unless (and this is a big unless) the locality is making decisions that affect everyone in the state or everyone in a wide region (such as not policing their criminal element).

well that turned out longer than I thought.

DeWine Votes Against "Guest Worker" Cap (Voinovich for)

From Hot Air:

Sen. Bingaman wants to cap the number of “guest workers” at a mere 650,000 — and McCain flips out, because who are we to impose caps on anyone? It’s positively un-American, he says — which, strictly speaking, in light of the last twenty years of Congressional legislation on this subject, is technically true.

There's a vid at Hot Air (available as big WMV download only) of McCain going unhinged (go to about 11:30 of the vid).

Back to the vote. Bingaman's amendment passed 51-47 (a mini-hurrah in an otherwise pretty bad week).

Voinovch said YEA. DeWine said NO. On this vote, DeWine was to the left of BOTH California Senators Boxer and Feinstein, who as liberal as they are, appear to undestand the implications of being overwhelmed with unskilled workers. Other hard-libs voting YEA included Biden, Dodd, and Mikulski.

Still Fighting the Civil War

It's not just for reenactors anymore.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

State troopers rushed to the Ohio Senate floor last night after a racially tinged confrontation between a black Columbus Democrat and a white Republican from suburban Dayton.

The Senate's sergeant-at-arms was forced to step between Sens. Ray Miller and Jeff Jacobson, who were engaged in an escalating debate over the historical background behind a bill to declare Sept. 22 Emancipation Day in Ohio.

Warren-area Sen. Marc Dann said he feared a physical confrontation between the two, especially after Jacobson strode over to Miller's desk even though a recess had been declared.

"If it were me, (Jacobson) would've been on the floor," said the Democratic nominee for attorney general.

Oh you're so manly Marc -- especially when you wear you leather biker jacket!

Jacobson said he walked over only to tell Miller that he hoped the two could continue their debate over President Lincoln's actual view on slavery -- the floor discussion that led to the confrontation.

"I didn't realize he was as upset as he was. He raised his voice and I never had the chance to say anything," Jacobson said, adding that he didn't regret anything he said during the entire exchange.

Miller said he doesn't think Harris is racist.

"What we have to be care of at all times is not to engage in some action that is racist, whether it is intended in a malicious manner or not," he said.

Miller said he doubted a Jewish member would have been gaveled down during a debate over the historical accuracy of the Holocaust.

Senate Democratic leader C.J. Prentiss, of Cleveland, said: "We absolutely perceived racist behavior. We're not calling Bill Harris a racist, but it was racist behavior."

Democratic senators said they objected to Jacobson's questioning Miller's view on black history, including Lincoln's stance on slavery. And they objected to Harris gaveling Miller out of order but allowing Jacobson to continue, even violating Senate rules by moving from behind his desk to continue the debate.

What a cop-out, C.J.! At least have the guts to call the guy a racist -- you are quite good at swinging such lies.

I am sorry to tell you this, but we are now well into the year 2006. Every time that you perceive a slight, it ain't necessarily racial. You and Ray can't hide behind your skin color every time that you are pressed to prove the wild claims that flow out of your mouth.

Ray Miller used to be "my" senator and I can tell you this: they don't come more racist nor more corrupt.

While black Americans sure bore the brunt of American slavery, blacks have no trump on history nor are allowed to bloviate without being questioned.

It's Emancipation Day -- free your mind!

PS: Lincoln was anti-slavery and became more convicted as time went on. He also believed (correctly in my view) that the Union should be preserved above all else -- both of you are right.

Does 'Home-Rule' Still Exist in Ohio?

I like this definition of Home Rule and I believe that it states the legal principle in the clearest of terms:

Home rule involves the authority of a local government to prevent state government intervention with its operations. The extent of its power, however, is subject to limitations prescribed by state constitutions and statutes.

When a municipality or other political subdivision has the power to decide for itself whether to follow a particular course of action without receiving specific approval from state officials, it acts pursuant to such powers. For example, a town exercises its home rule powers when it puts the issue of allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages within its borders on the ballot.

My question is, as a principle, is it still in effect in Ohio? I want to avoid getting angry over the TEL betrayal so let me use the example of alcohol above to hopefully start a discussion -- I would be a fool not to take advantage of the wonderful minds of both the contributors and readers here at the State of Ohio Blog Alliance.

Two questions:

1. Does the principle even exist? Yes, localities in Ohio have the power to set limits on the sale of alcohol, but if only in accordance to what federal and state officials have already determined ( purchases under 21). If lower levels of government only have domain by grant of some higher power -- does the power of the locality truly exist? Where did the state or the feds for that matter (the 21st Amendment gives the federal government no power to regulate alcohol) get the power to limit sale to those over 21?

It seems to me that the locality, in current practice, has only enough power as they are allowed by higher governments. Since these higher governments have shown no restraint in passing laws regulating myriad actions, are we not left with a few powers, designated to the lower levels of government only until the next congress convenes and passes yet more restrictions on the liberty of the people?

2. Shall conservatives allow our hands to be tied while those who wish to impose government control over citizens are given free reign to run roughshod over the rights of man?

Cities doing everything from requiring citizens that work for them to also live within their boundaries to those localities who wish to regulate cigarette use to those who wish to restrict the people's right to bear arms all cry "home rule" when the Ohio General Assembly ponders enacting protections for the people.

Shall we allow the Democrat Party to selectivly choose their principles as they continue to ignore the liberty of our fellw Ohioans? Are we to stand with only a principle in hand while we lose the very freedoms which that principle was supposed to protect in the first place?

Dear Senator DeWine,

Five quick questions that I would appreciate the answers for and would be delighted to publish your responses to at the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance blog.

Will you support legislation backed by major labor organizations, such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to increase domestic energy supplies and create jobs for their workers?

Will you support environmentally responsible legislation backed by a majority of local Alaskans that allows them to use their own land to create jobs and provide funding for water and sewer systems, health care and schools?

Will you support legislation that will safeguard America's economy by producing 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, roughly equivalent to what we import from Saudi Arabia daily?

Will you support a $728 billion investment in America's economy that will help lower prices at the pump and strengthen America's energy security?

Will you support legislation that will lower energy costs for consumers while providing greater revenues to the federal government?

For the record, these are the same questions that Majority Leader John Boehner has asked of Nancy Pelosi.

'Enron's Skilling, Lay Convicted'

Details here.

I want to know when the politicians who told me that the sales tax increase would be only "temporary" will do the "perp walk."

OH-18 Dem. Candidate Space: "Social Issues" No Longer "Hot Buttons"

This just in from the Ney campaign via email:
The ultra-liberal colors of Ohio's 18th District Democrat Congressional candidate Zack Space keep shining through. At the same time as he was campaigning with failed Presidential candidate and avowed Second Amendment opponent John Kerry in Ohio last week, Zack continued his outreach efforts to the national liberal and gay rights establishment by giving a lengthy radio interview on the liberal Air America network with one of the country's leading gay rights advocates, Rachel Maddow. Interestingly, a major financial sponsor of Air America is , the same liberal organization based in Washington D.C., which Space purports to have no connection with, but which has been funding negative soft-money attacks against Congressman Bob Ney.

Maddow, who lives in New York City with her "partner," questioned Space about a variety of issues popular with the national liberal establishment while acknowledging at one point that she uses a different name when dressed "in drag." But perhaps the most interesting aspect of her interview with Space came at the end with a stunning admission by Space that he doesn't sense "social issues" are still "hot button" issues.

Responding today, Ney Campaign Manager Matthew Parker said, "This is yet another example of Zack Space saying one thing and doing another. When campaigning in the small communities of rural Ohio, Zack Space purports to care about Ohio values but when 18th District voters aren't looking, Zack is pandering to liberal leaders in San Francisco and New York City and telling them that social issues don't matter to folks in Ohio."

Parker continued, "The fact is that a vote for Zack Space this November will be a vote for Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco politics taking over the United States Capitol - a vote for higher taxes, unlimited partial-birth abortions, more gun control laws, and more foreign aid. I just wonder why Zack is sneaking behind the backs of 18 th District voters and giving radio interviews with one of America 's leading liberal advocates and whose radio show does not air on any radio station within the 18th Congressional District."

"Why won't Zack Space be honest with the very people that he hopes to represent instead of pandering to the far-left? Why are social issues not important to Zack Space? One can only surmise that that is because voters in Ohio do not support Zack's far-left beliefs for more abortions, higher taxes, and San Francisco politics," Parker concluded.
UPDATE: Matt from Lincoln Logs has more...

Update: S.O.B. Meet-Up in Columbus

I have it on pretty good authority that the candidate school is going to be an 8 to 6 affair on July 15 which means those of us who are attending would be able to make dinner...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DeWine Insults Our Intelligence Again

E-mailer and former US Senate candidate Bill Pierce tipped me to this Hotline blog piece reporting that Ohio Senator Mike DeWine voted against Mitch McConnell's national voting photo ID amendment. The post further notes that "In A Recent (NBC/Wall Street Journal) Poll, 81% Favored Requiring Voters To Show Valid Photo IDs When They Vote."

Don't blame me, I voted for the guy who sent me the e-mail.

There IS a point at which we should give up on Mr. DeWine, isn't there? How close are we? This playing the part of the abused spouse is no fun.

The above is part of a longer BizzyBlog post:

Even Our Probably-Worst President Is Right Occasionally: Voter ID Should Be Required

'What Would the Founders Do?'

An interview with the wonderful Richard Brookhiser (I'd even donate to PBS if they gave this guy a weekly history show!).

The Founding Fathers are blogging!

Have any of you guys had a chance to read it yet?

Tony Blankley's 'Modest Proposal'

Let the Mexicans have America and let's "immigrate" to Canada!

Sorry, it's too darn cold up there!

It's true there are some pesky French up there. But Americans know how to deal with bothersome local tribes who don't know their place. We'll put the French on reservations and let them run gambling casinos.

Give 'Peace' a Chance

Warning: It ain't pretty.

A Jihadist in Central Ohio?

You be the judge.

Re: Wishful Thinking

The Democrats do wind up sounding petty, but as a Republican, one does wish that Mike DeWine didn't make a habit of dating Democrats.

I am all for convincing Democrats to see the light, but from my experience:

Bipartisanship = Conservatives Losing

Wishful Thinking

Over at Openers, there is a blurb about the Democrats new strategy for winning the US Senate race in Ohio: stop appearing with and co-sponsoring liberal bills with Mike DeWine.
The newspaper, citing unnamed Democratic sources, reported today that Democratic leaders are concerned that displays of bipartisanship could help Republicans in tough reelection races, including DeWine's. That means they want Democrats to stop co-sponsoring bills with DeWine and other Republicans, to stop writing letters together, to stop holding joint events, Roll Call says.
Uhh...there is a lesson in this I think... Remember this the next time you hear a liberal whining about how there isn't enough bipartisanship and how Republicans are "dividers not uniters."

The response was equally entertaining:
DeWine's campaign reacted quickly to the article. "I think it's disappointing that Sherrod Brown's friends in the Senate have decided that partisanship is more important than passing meaningful legislation helpful to Ohioans and the nation," said DeWine campaign spokesman Brian Seitchik.

To which Brown spokeswoman Joanna Kuebler said: Brown has been traveling around Ohio talking about prescription drug prices, "outrageous" gasoline prices and other pocketbook issues. And DeWine has yet to join him.
There is a joke or two in here somewhere...

Re: Another Must Read

Daniel Mount rephrases the question:
Would we be better off replacing the most wishy washy Republicans with fiscally responsible, moderately conservative, pro-life Democrats?
...and answers it with...
On the local level at least, these Democrats do exist.
On the local level, I would agree that these Deomcrats do exist. They will never make it out of city councils or county commissions because those Democrats are not acceptable at the state and national level.

And let's remember, the conservatives seem to be all fired up about the state and national level Republicans. I don't recall hearing a big cry for throwing out the bums in City Hall...but I might have missed it.

Of course, your mileage may vary...

Re: Another Must Read

Matt Hurley raises an interesing question in this post. He quotes from Right Wing News's John Hawkins, who said:
Would we be better off replacing the most wishy washy Republicans with Democrats who believe that taxes are way too low and that Rep. John Murtha would make a fantastic Secretary of Defense?
I agree with his answer:
I think not.
But let me pose a different question:
Would we be better off replacing the most wishy washy Republicans with fiscally responsible, moderately conservative, pro-life Democrats?
On the local level at least, these Democrats do exist.

Another Must Read

Right Wing News' John Hawkins has a regular column in Human Events. He tackles this idea of "sitting it out" in this week's piece. A highlight:
[I]f there’s one thing I’ve learned about politics, it’s that the solution to the GOP’s problems is never, “more Democrats.”
I couldn't have said it better...

Educate the electorate.
Recruit the talent.
Win the election.
Govern with principles.
Rinse and repeat.

UPDATE: The key portion that relates to our debate here in Ohio comes right after the bit I just quoted:
That doesn’t mean that we conservatives should engage in a bunch of fake “rah-rah” or refuse to criticize Republicans if they deserve it, but it does mean that when November rolls around, conservatives should show up at the ballot box and pull the lever for the GOP.

Philosophically, that doesn’t sit well with some conservatives. They believe, with some justification, that if we don’t punish these wayward Republicans, their performance will continue to disappoint. But that’s only half the equation. It’s not about just the Republicans who’d be losing, it’s about the Democrats who’d be taking their place. Would we be better off replacing the most wishy washy Republicans with Democrats who believe that taxes are way too low and that Rep. John Murtha would make a fantastic Secretary of Defense? I think not.
Maybe we should add three more words to the mantra...

Beware the consequences.

Jeb Bush for NFL Commissioner?

But I thought that was Condoleeza's job?

Re: Must Read


You will get no argument from me on the the thesis behind that article, but I have to say that the argument loses some steam in the last paragraph of what you quoted. Explaining the Democrats' problem and saying that is similar to what conservatives are experiencing is not reassuring. What that does is establish the idea that conservatives are some sort of kook fringe and clearly we aren't. Unlike the types, conservatives are a vital part of a coalition that is winning.

This is going to sound a little odd when you consider that we're talking about conservatives, but change doesn't happen overnight. It just doesn't. What the conservative movement needs to get better at is advancing the ball down the field and the way to do that is to call the right plays. We need to recruit quality players with the talent to get in the game. We also need to show up and do our part.

I've been making the whole "principles matter vs. winning the next election" argument for years. Conservatives, as a block, can't win on our own; at least, not yet. That is why I keep harping on recruiting and education. One thing that is new to my approach is that we need to be placing conservatives at all levels of government and the political support structure. It isn't enough to make these speeches every couple of days, we have to take action and make the situation better.

The key word there was "action". Sitting at home would be taking "inaction" and that isn't the way to win.

And let me add that I do think it is important for conservatives to hold our "non-conservative" Republican friends to their agreements. They can't win without us either. That they think so is one concept that needs to be addressed and that will require us reminding them that evangelicals were the difference in the '04; not the Taft Republicans.

My fifteen words:
Educate the electorate.
Recruit the talent.
Win the election.
Govern with principles.
Rinse and repeat.
Hugh Hewitt, eat your heart out.

Must-Read Column

From Cal Thomas in The Columbus Dispatch:

If a party mostly focuses on winning the next election, rather than giving voters a reason to vote for its candidates, the likelihood of success is greatly diminished. Electoral victory, like happiness, is usually a byproduct of something more substantive. If winning the next election becomes the only goal and if one's sole platform is "elect us, because we're not as bad as members of the other party," voters will be turned off and either switch sides or stay home.

Some believe Republicans should lose this fall to show the party bosses that its conservative wing cannot be taken for granted. This is Richard Viguerie's argument in an essay in Sunday's Washington Post. About the prospect that "millions of conservatives" might stay home this November, Viguerie, a veteran of the 1980s "New Right," writes: "And maybe they should. Conservatives are beginning to realize that nothing will change until there's a change in the GOP leadership. If congressional Republicans win this fall, they will see themselves as vindicated, and nothing will get better."

Democrats suffer from a similar affliction. Ultra-left groups such as claim Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., isn't liberal enough, as she cloaks her liberalism with moderate talk for a possible run for president in 2008. The Democratic agenda in Congress is nonexistent. It merely repeats the familiar lines about class and race. Democrats lack new ideas that would benefit the most Americans and move the country forward. The Democratic "policy" in Iraq is to get out. The Democratic economic policy is higher taxes, more spending and bigger government. Republicans aren't much better. Their policy is lower taxes, more spending and bigger government. That's an echo, not a choice.

Conservative ideas, and the policies which they produce, must be debated.

They deserve to be defended, not abandoned.

Columbus Rocks?

Well, if you count air guitar!

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Since ancient times, man has taken up the guitar, practiced methodically and appealed to the masses. Since the late 1960s, with the advent of the electricguitar god, man -- in front of his home stereo, behind the wheel of his car, next to the jukebox, in his arena seat -- has mimed riffs and chords.

Millions are continuing the tradition, although a splinter group of six-stringers is performing sanctioned air-guitar tunes.

One sultan of silence is 23-year-old David "the Rocktopuss" Ayling.

The Columbus resident, whose actual guitar skills "suck," floored three U.S. Air Guitar judges at the Midwestern regionals Saturday in Metro Bar & Grill.

Thanks to a flamboyant stage presence, spot-on ghost-guitar wizardry and the requisite lack of shame, Ayling mimed his way to the U.S. Air Guitar National Championships -- to take place June 22 in New York.

The arthritis that caused me to hang up the six-string alas doesn't even allow me to play the air variety of guitar but ah -- good times!

Out of Iraq - now

Cries The (Toledo) Blade!

Carnival of Ohio Politics #24

Is up over at Newshound's pad -- stop in and check it out.

Hewitt has Faith in Us

Among Hugh Hewitt's reasons why the GOP convention should be in Cleveland instead of Minnesocold is this tidbit:
Ohio's bloggers are much better trivia players.
Heh. Indeed. Glenn Reynolds would say...

UPDATE: Be sure to vote for Cleveland in Radioblogger's (Hugh's producer) poll (in the left sidebar).

UPDATE 2: Minnesocold's Governor is trying to bribe Hugh for his support. Get the audio here and the transcript here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What John Boehner’s E-Mail about ANWR Should Have Said

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.

Boehner sent out a pretty good e-mail today (permalink is here) about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR).

I said it was pretty good. Here is how he should have revised it:
May 23, 2006

Environmentally safe energy production .... (would require) just 2,000 of ANWR's 20 million acres using 21st Century technology. That's just 0.01 percent of the total ANWR acreage. This common sense legislation is aimed at increasing U.S. energy security and independence, safeguarding our economy, and creating new American jobs.

Who supports ANWR energy development?
- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- The International Union of Operating Engineers
- The Laborers International Union of North America
- The AFL-CIO -- Building Trades Department
- The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters
- The Seafarers International Union
- The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Who opposes ANWR energy development?

Senator Mike DeWine, a couple of other supposedly Republican senators, and a band of Capitol Hill Democrats.

Despite its support from organized labor, a consituency whose rank and file the GOP should be actively courting, DeWine has voted AGAINST legislation creating new jobs and bolstering America's supply of energy several times in the last five years alone. In the 1990s, DeWine opposed and President Clinton vetoed legislation calling for ANWR energy development -- energy that could be fueling the American economy today.

So why has DeWine recklessly OPPOSED environmentally safe energy development in ANWR? Because opponents insists ANWR reserves possess "an insignificant amount of oil." But the Energy Information Administration contradicts that notion, saying ANWR would produce nearly 1.5 million barrels a day or more, every day, for roughly 30 years. According to a new study conducted by the National Defense Council Foundation, recovery of these barrels would create more than 1 million new jobs in the United States.

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the issue in his weekly press conference. National Journal's On Call blog includes the text from his remarks.

Boehner also noted one of the political difficulties DeWine faces on the issue, charging DeWine "is on the wrong side of the issue of American energy independence with regards to the policy AND politics. Even their supporters in the labor movement recognize that Democrats and dingaling Republicans like Mike DeWine are standing in the way of increased American energy production."

Capitol Hill Democrats and Mike DeWine appear more beholden to left-wing environmentalists than to American workers. They are single-handedly putting the squeeze on the American energy market, driving up costs, preventing job creation, and boosting profits for oil companies. After thirty years of "NO" action, can we really afford more of the Democrats' and Mike DeWine's chronic negligence?

Majority Leader's Press Office
House Majority Leader John Boehner

Unfortunately, that's not how Boehner's e-mail read. But it should have.

What, we're supposed to be worried about hurting Mike DeWine's feelings? HE should be worried (REALLY worried) about getting our votes.

You see, ANWR has had the votes for passage in the House at least as far back as 1995. It's the Senate, specifically Mike DeWine and a couple of other "chronically negligent" GOP senators, that has held up drilling in ANWR.

The announcement should have been directed to DeWine and his fellow anti-ANWR Senatorial dingalings.

RE: Zero Base Budgeting

I have an overview and some thoughts over at NixGuy, but here's a good summary of conclusions:

A. ZBB wouldn't be on the radar if Petro had won.

B. ZBB has a long track history of successes and failures. If it is to be done, it needs to be done intelligently and can be a good idea, but not a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets.

C. Regarding the TEL deal, Blackwell is getting a lot out of the legislature and he isn't even governor yet. This bodes well.

Legislature Enacts Spending Controls

This just in from the Blackwell campaign via email:
The Ohio General Assembly today enacted a key component of Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Blackwell's economic recovery agenda state government spending controls. The Ohio House and Senate passed provisions limiting state government spending increases to 3.5 percent over the previous state budget. In addition, the new law requires a supermajority vote of the legislature to increase spending beyond the 3.5 percent ceiling.

"Today, Ohio has taken a giant step forward in the fight to reform our tax code, cut taxes and create jobs," said Blackwell. "I thank Speaker Jon Husted and Senate President Bill Harris for joining me in the effort to make Ohio more competitive in the economic marketplace.'

"As governor, I will continue to work with the General Assembly on an economic agenda that encourages entrepreneurship and gets our economy moving again," added Blackwell.
Advancing the ball...that is what it is all about... Sure, if the amendment gets pulled, we won't be able to advance the ball as far as we would have liked, but this is a win in my book.

' and Kilroy -- Three Strikes and You're Out'

From a press release by the Deborah Pryce campaign:

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Deborah Pryce praised the decision of WBNS-10TV to remove from the air the most recent false and misleading advertisement purchased by Mary Jo Kilroy supporter has now been refused or taken down by each station on which it attempted to air its advertisements in Columbus.

"The people of Central Ohio are the true beneficiaries of the responsible actions of Columbus' television stations. No longer will they be inundated by these slanderous negative attack ads run on behalf of my opponent," Pryce said. "Our positive message of lower taxes, job creation and improving access to health care has won out over the lies of my opponent and her friends."

"The fact that Mary Jo Kilroy and believed the people of Central Ohio would be fooled by this negative smear campaign is nothing short of an insult," said Pryce's Campaign Manager, John DeStefano. "Attempting to hide from her record by allowing extreme liberal interest groups to unfairly attack her opponent has sadly become par for the course for the Kilroy campaign.", an extreme liberal wing of the Democrat Party, has a history of producing misleading and inappropriate attack ads. The latest advertisement was part of a nationwide smear campaign focused on four moderate Members of Congress. All Columbus area stations have refused to run advertisements attacking Pryce, and a recent The Virginian-Pilot editorial called the last attack in the campaign "loaded" with "innuendo and half truths" (

Repeat after me: needs to move on -- stop lying about Deborah Pryce!

To the Mary Jo Kilroy campaign: You have the power to halt these lies -- do so!

Previous coverage here and here.

Crossed-posted to Right Angle Blog.

Re: 2008 and Rudy

In his book Leadership, Rudy Guiliani states that he is pro-choice. He also states that in 1998, he advanced pioneering legislation in support of gay rights.

Let us hope that Rudy does not win the primary, because if he does, the social conservatives will definitely sit out the general election. I, for one, cannot in good conscience vote for him. From my perspective, he would be a worse President than Hillary Clinton. Should he win, the Republican Party will become the party of choice for the next eight years. Should he lose, we would have a pro-choice gay-rights president, too, but at least the Republican Party could stay conservative.

Should Guiliani win the primary, I would seriously consider joining what would unquestionably be thousands of other Ohio conservatives in voting for the Constitution Party's candidate. Our move would, without doubt, remove Ohio from the GOP column. That would probably cost the election. But our party would stay true to its principles and would return to fight another day.

Re: 2008 and Rudy

So long as the war on terror is going on, Rudy Guiliani is still a viable candidate for the Republicans.

And there is plenty for a conservative to like about him.

Nobody says "law and order" like Rudy. His putting the "broken glass theory" in to practice produced real results that should be hailed as a success worthy of emulation elsewhere.

My point: conservativism means different things to different people.

Social conservatives will not care for Rudy...but so long as the war goes on, even the social conservatives would support Rudy for POTUS.

Do I think he'd be my "ideal" candidate? Not by a long shot, but conservatives have to look at Rudy the same way liberals have to look at Hillary Clinton...if he wants the job, it's his to lose.

2008: Who should conservatives support for President

The Presidential election will heat up in about a year; in late 2007 the candidates will be in full swing preparing for Iowa and New Hampshire. Conservatives who want to have a reasonable knowledge base from which to select a primary candidate should start studying now.

In that light, I researched a 4-part series on possible Presidential contenders for 2008 and posted it at the Conservative culture blog. I found that John McCain has supported gay civil unions and opposes overturning Roe v. Wade. Mitt Romney has promised to uphold gay rights and has adopted numerous strongly pro-choice positions (though he claimes to be "personally pro-life"). Rudy Guiliani's liberal views on social issues are so well known that I saw no need to cover him in depth; he openly admits to being pro-choice and while mayor of NYC advanced pioneering gay-rights legislation. George Pataki isn't much better. These candidates are RINOs, Bob Tafts in the making.

Some conservatives have been touting George Allen as a viable altnernative. A close examination of his record left me with numerous concerns, among them his support for human cloning, his support for making sodomites a protected class in hate crimes bills, and his support for abortion in a wide array of circumstances.

Sam Brownback would be a viable conservative option if he runs. But as the to-date undeclared candidates jockey for position, Mike Huckabee is quickly becoming the one for conservatives to watch.

S.O.B. Blogger Meet-Up

A number of us are planning to be in Columbus for the "candidate school" anyway on July 15th. What do we think of putting together a meet-up on that day/afternoon/night?

Obviously, we'll need to know more about what sort of time commitments those of us attending "candidate school" are going to have allocated to the day already, but I thought I'd throw it out there and get people thinking...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Will Ohio Adopt 'Zero-Based Budgeting?'

From the AP via ONN:

Seeking to convey they are fiscally disciplined, state lawmakers are poised to add language to state law that will force state agencies back to the drawing board each budget cycle to reevaluate every penny they spend.

It is a practice -- known as "zero-based budgeting" -- employed by former Georgia governor and President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s but ultimately abandoned as less efficient than the incremental year-over-year budgeting Ohio uses now. Among the American territories, only the Mariana Islands still use the practice, according to a 2006 report by the bipartisan National Council of State Legislatures.

House Speaker Jon Husted, a Kettering Republican, said the zero-based budgeting language will be part of a compromise with GOP gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell scheduled to be approved Friday evening. Legislative leaders agreed to put spending limits in state law in exchange for Blackwell pulling his government-limiting constitutional amendment off November's ballot.

But Scott Borgemenke, Husted's chief of staff, said requiring agencies to start at zero when planning each fiscal year wasn't a demand of Blackwell's.

I have never studied Zero-Based Budgeting, guys?

'DeWine goes very, very negative'

Or so says Stephen Koff of the Plain Dealer's Openers blog. IMUHO, "going negative" is accusing your opponent's mother of barbecuing dogs or accusing you opponent of wanting to throw widows out on the street -- and refusing to pave it first!

Let us take a look at some of the claims made in Mike DeWine's fundraising letter and see if Sen. DeWine has "gone negative:"

" a lifelong liberal Democrat Congressman Brown's record on national defense and national security is frightening."

I pick on Mike DeWine a lot (he is so deserving!), but seriously -- have you looked at Sherrod Brown's record? It sends shivers down the spine.

Brown and "many of his left-leaning colleagues...wish to see President Bush fail at every turn..."

Nothing "negative" about pointing out the obvious...

Brown, "marching to the orders of his labor union backers," fought the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Ted Strickland serves the same master. Don't all Democrats?

"Like so many Democrats he can't resist going off on ideological tangents and embracing the agenda espoused by left-wing activists like Howard Dean, Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan."

Mr. Brown can be a little ... uh ... fruity.

Brown "has shrewdly begun to totally bury his liberal record so he can run as a 'moderate' when it comes to national security and defense issues."

"And the liberal media is sure to let him get away with it."

Oh come on, let us be honest about the liberal media.

"It would be refreshing to have Sherrod Brown openly admit that like so many of his Democrat colleagues he wants to decimate our military power, and leave America vulnerable to the terrorists. But that would be too honest."

Brown comes from that wing of the Democrat Party that seems to oppose the military at every turn. This seems a fair charge.

So, did DeWine go "very, very negative?" Well, only if you consider telling the truth about a Democrat "negative," and if you do -- you're probably a Democrat anyway so...

Note: Hmmmm...I just sat here and defended Mike DeWine -- I think that Matt Hurley is rubbing off on me!!! :)

Re: Da Vinci

An interesting column on The Da Vinci Code: Comparing the liberal media's reaction to Islam's anger over the Muhammad cartoons as compared to the hype over The Da Vinci Code.

Hewitt on DeWine

This might have held more weight with me IF he was with us during the primary... You have to care about principles all the time, Hugh.....

Actually, if Hugh wanted to impress me, he'd take Steven's DeWine Challenge.

Corporate Amnesty

You've heard of corporate welfare, now get ready for corporate amnesty.

From The Washington Times:

Among those who will be cleared of past crimes under the Senate's proposed immigration-reform bill would be the businesses that have employed the estimated 10 million illegal aliens eligible for citizenship and that provided the very "magnet" that drew them here in the first place.

Buried in the more than 600 pages of legislation is a section titled "Employer Protections," which states: "Employers of aliens applying for adjustment of status under this section shall not be subject to civil and criminal tax liability relating directly to the employment of such alien."

Supporters of the legislation insist that such provisions do not amount to "amnesty."

"The legislation we are considering today is not amnesty," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said last week. "That is a pejorative term, really a smear term used to denigrate the efforts at comprehensive immigration reform. This is not amnesty because amnesty means a pardon of those who have broken the law."

Yeah, right.

Gas Prices Now An Issue

Of all the silly things to make an issue of, Democrats are making gas prices a campaign issue. that's right, the same people who have obstructed the energy plan are now trying to blame Republicans for what happens in the free market.

And it just might work... People just don't take the time to get educated on this "issue."

What He Said

Matt from Lincoln Logs pretty well sums up my view of the whole "Betty is too sick to run" meme...

It is no secret that I'm not a huge Jim Petro fan, but even I didn't think he would be a vulture. He has more class than that. Particularly with a fellow "moderate."

''Da Vinci Code': The Bible told by Oliver Stone'

Peter Bronson of The Cincinnati Enquirer weighs in.

I have no plans to see the movie (I don't watch Opie's movies anymore), but I'd be interested to hear the take of any of the SOB'ers who have seen the movie -- why the hype?

Where do 'Teens' Come Into the Picture?

From an editorial by the once-conservative Cincinnati Enquirer:

Tobacco companies have found yet another loophole to evade taxes, dodge health restrictions and market their wares to teens. Fortunately, 40 state attorneys general haven't been fooled by attempts to pass off cigarette substitutes, in brown wrappers, as "little cigars."

The attorneys general, including Kentucky's Greg Stumbo, have asked the federal government to reclassify many of these so-called "cigars" as cigarettes. North Carolina, another big tobacco state, also joined in. Ohio did not, because the definition doesn't affect its tobacco settlement money.

The Treasury Department's Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau lets tobacco companies decide for themselves if their product is a cigarette or a cigar. Cigars are taxed at half the price of cigarettes or less, and can be sold in smaller packs, making them more affordable for teens. The attorneys general say many "little cigars" are to all intents and purposes identical in ingredients to cigarettes except for the brown wrapper. TTB should put a stop to this sham that shortchanges tax revenue and often targets underage youth.

HUH? Such demagoguery has no business in this debate and silly "what about the children!" arguments should have gone out of style about ten minutes after "it depends upon your definition if 'is' is" ceased to become a valid excuse.

As for tobacco companies trying to avoid taxes: good for them! The editors of The Enquirer would be surprised how many men in American history have tried such a noble venture; people with names such as Jefferson, Madison...

E.J. Dionne Advises the GOP to Run to the Left

E.J. wants the GOP to retain control I'm sure, but DeWine seems to like his advice!

I Don't Know Which is Worse...

...losing TEL or having to listen to liberal smugness like we get from Joe Hallett of The Columbus Dispatch:

To label a political opponent a flipflopper has become akin to calling him a scoundrel: somebody who is duplicitous, lacks conviction and cannot be trusted.

Politicians get no credit for acting upon the wisdom that comes with experience and study. Greater knowledge often causes a graying of opinions on matters that once appeared to be black or white. Somehow, intractability seems to have replaced open-mindedness as an admirable political trait.

One of our greatest politicians, Thomas Jefferson, discussed the perils of this in a letter to George Washington in 1786:

[censored -- ed.]

Sorry, but no journalist or politician who advocates dozens of policies that Thomas Jefferson would find abhorrent are allowed to quote him -- ever.

Hallett continues:

Jefferson's wisdom is good counsel for the leaders of our institutions. Thus, there is a temptation to give Republican gubernatorial nominee J. Kenneth Blackwell a pass -- indeed, to laud him -- for changing his mind about a constitutional amendment that would prohibit state and local governments from spending more than 3.5 percent more than they spent the previous year.

When Blackwell last week asked Republican legislative leaders for a bill to permit the withdrawal of his socalled Tax and Expenditure Limitation, or TEL, amendment from the Nov. 7 ballot, there should have been cause to celebrate the maturation of a politician who, for all the right reasons, had changed his mind about the signature proposal of his campaign.

He could have said that he had benefited and grown from the learned opinions of political scientists, legal scholars and government officials who almost uniformly forecast disastrous consequences if Ohio voters imbedded the poorly written TEL in the state constitution.

These warnings laid the foundation for Blackwell during his heated primary campaign against Attorney General Jim Petro to back away from the TEL. Blackwell might have said that while he believed in its goal of reducing spending and he would follow that path as governor, the TEL was unintentionally ill-written and could be harmful to Ohio's future.

But Blackwell was boxed in by his own derisive rhetoric against changes of mind. He frequently had labeled Petro a flip-flopper, accusing him of not being able to "hold a position on an issue longer than six months without getting exhausted."

Had Blackwell steeled his spine and kept TEL, and if any Republican who previously opposed TEL took the party line and supported the amendment, Hallett and his pals in and outside of the Democrat Party would be jumping up and down crying "flip-flop" just like the rest of us.

I have yet to see a poll showing TEL support under 60% and many conservatives like myself support the amendment to this day.

You and your Democrat buddies won Hallett, save me the victory dance -- you do not come into this fight with clean hands. Open-mindedness, like "moderation," are in the eye of the beholder.

This tactic from Brown Will Not Fly

Check this out. From Openers:
Brown, a candidate for the Senate, is challenging Republican incumbent Mike DeWine in the fall. Brown is trying to portray him as a stooge of big oil companies, pointing to the more than $300,000 in campaign contributions that DeWine received from oil and gas related interests during his political career.
All DeWine need do is show that he has failed to vote for drilling in ANWR to dodge this silly line of bull from Brown...

More Big Spending By Sen. George Voinovich

No wonder Sen. George Voinovich opposed letting Americans keep more of the money they earned.

From The Ironton Tribune:

Sen. George Voinovich is looking to continue the Appalachian Regional Commission, which some local leaders say could be very good news for our area.

Voinovich sponsored the bill on Thursday that would fund the ARC at $510.9 million over five years.

Since it's inception, the ARC has fostered economic development and improving quality of life for the 23 million people who live and work in Appalachia.

I am not good at math, but pulling out my calculator and dividing 510.9 million by 23 million gets me 22.17 million.

Why don't we just give each of the 23 million people who live in Appalachia a million dollars and save ourselves $487 million?

UPDATE: Like I said, I'm not good at math at all!

Since Phil doesn't suffer from my mathematical affliction and is correct that Voinovich's plan adds up to $22-per-person... :)

Now the media can call me a "deficit hawk!"

Ohio on Immigration

Americans for Better Immigration has put together a report card on the subject and we have a LOT of work to do here in Ohio.

I haven't made it through everybody yet, but Bob Ney looks like he's our best man on this topic. Majority Leader John Boehner fares pretty well too.

Surprisingly, Sherrod Brown is slightly better (he still fails though) than Mike DeWine on this issue. I don't expect Brown to make this a central theme though. In fact, I expect both candidates to try to sweep this one under a rug...

Ted Strickland barely passes... I have no idea what Blackwell's positions are in comparison, but I will attempt to find out.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Legislative v. Initiative TEL

Assuming that Taft does the expected, and SNAFUs up the deal with the legislature, what can be salvaged from the wreckage? It's not going to be pretty - but it's not beyond Taft to complete the ruin of the Republican party as one final, blundering act.

'Nagin will remain Mayor'

If there ever was a bum who deserved to be thrown out more than New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, I surely can't think of one. Mr. Nagin's incompetence did not lead to just crime, poverty and a dying core city -- people died.

Throw the bums out? Yeah -- right.

Re: Local TEL and Spending Control

The politicians who we have been stuck with for the last 100 years or so will never be confused with the founding fathers, but TEL was no more flawed than the school choice law, Taft's tax increases or the immigration bill that is currently slithering its way through congress. We will be stuck with them, yet the protection most needed for the citizens of Ohio now faces legislative oblivion.

Liberals lied about the protection of marriage amendment -- it passed.

Liberals lied about past initiatives in California to limit property taxes as well as eliminating race preferences in schools -- they passed.

Liberalism is a lie. How could the arguments that they made been anything but? TEL was not given that chance and it should have.

I do not fear debate and Blackwell's retreat from fiscal responsibility stopped at least two important debates that we should have had.

One is on the need for local politicians to take account the voters in the decisions that they make. Currently, local politicians are free to tax people who do not even live in their communities. "Vote the bums out" is not enough -- not even close. The idea of constitutional limited government does not scare me; I relish it. No longer shall politicians view citizens are their own personal ATM's.

The second debate revolves around corporations. Who is to say that it is the government's responsibility to remake localities for corporations? Maybe it is fine that upgrades at taxpayers expense occur; I believe that I could be persuaded. I vote for increases of funding for the library all of the time. I voted to give Columbus' COSI tax revenue.

The voter must be given control; politicians can no longer be trusted alone as the stewards of the till. Any idea of "throwing the bums out" as a reasonable solution should be forever eliminated as a solution as my next post should forever prove.

Then again, I suppose that this debate is all academic now -- TEL will probably be removed from the ballot and within a few years -- just a distant memory. I'll ponder the possibility for an instant as I'm sunning myself on some sandy beach around the corner from my house in Florida.

Local TEL and Spending Control

Good points all.

On the local TEL issue -- I'm certainly not saying that a lot of local govts. don't need to be reined in. They do.

But Paul, isn't the solution in Henry County to elect a new slate off commissioners? (I assume they're commissioners and not commisars)

I thinking passing a TEL constitutional amendment through initiiative and trying to fix it would have required another constitutional amendment that legislation alone wouldn't have been permitted to fix.

There may be a way to write a local TEL that can be put up for all state voters, but the one that was written isn't/wasn't it, and I think most voters would have recognized that and taken down the whole thing. The way it was written, no one would want the new plant that Honda is looking to put in, because no one could increase their budget in time to serve the new plant (police, fire, etc.) either during its construction or once it's built. You have to assume a 6-12 month delay in getting the voters' approval for an above-TEL increase, and you can't count on the voters approving what you basically had to promise Honda to get them to build in the first place. Honda could find many places more conducive to industrial development outside of Ohio if that's the scenario they were presented with.

Re: Legislative vs. Initiative TEL

Tom, Steven,

I'd suggest you are BOTH right, at least in part.

The initiative version of TEL had some flaws, particularly relating to local spending and taxation. There were suggestions these could have been fixed legislatively after the fact, but it makes the whole thing look sloppy. Voters who are being asked to restrict the power of elected officials aren't too likely to trust them to fix errors later on, either.

The local portions also invaded home rule authority, there's no doubt. However, for those of us who live in parts of the state with one-party rule - Democrat or Republican - that was a feature, not a flaw.

A local example: Henry County's commissioners passed a sales tax in August 2005. An initiative got a rescission of that tax on the ballot that November, where voters overwhelmingly removed the tax. The commissioners attempted across the board cuts as a response, which further angered voters who wanted prioritization of basic services. There were numerous budget and criminal scandals in the meantime. Nevertheless, the commissioners put the tax on the ballot yet again, where it was soundly defeated May 2. Statements since indicate the commissioners were "heartened" by the couple of percentage points they picked up, and they may try to impose the tax a second time (rather than go to the voters again).

Henry County has two Republicans and one Democrat on the present board (NOTE: Temporarily, one seat is open as a convicted felon chose to step down from his post.). The three have mostly agreed on the shape of county government over the past few years. Debate is only over details.

The point I'm trying to make is this: Local government has too much ability to raise taxes and spending without seeking direct voter approval. While Initiative TEL had its flaws, it addressed a basic cause of Ohio's high tax rates and a sore point with many, many voters. Legislative TEL does not do so. Taxpayers feel they are being pinched at every turn, and local and state officials frankly have been running a "blame racket" where each points fingers at the other for the ever-increasing spending and taxes and neither takes responsibility. Schools, the local entities which have to ask voters for more funds, are usually the ones getting rejected, because they appear on the ballot so often. If the state, counties and municipalities all had to do the same for every tax hike they wanted, you'd see a very different dynamic in Ohio's tax structure.

The bad press, including outright lies, about Initiative TEL doomed it. Blackwell did the most he could and probably kept his gubernatorial campaign afloat because of it. Even so, there are many of us who are very disappointed local governments still can impose their decisions on voters, deflecting taxpayer frustration toward schools. It's a problem that won't just go away.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Re: Legislative vs. Initiative TEL

Suburbanites are taxed by cities -- without representation.

Local government is growing faster than state government.

If the people said the local part would happen -- it would happen.

It's my money! Let the people decide!

Legislative vs. Initiative TEL

The Dispatch chart Steve referred to shows that from 1994 to 2002 the Initiative TEL would have reduced spending by about $16.4 bil over those 9 years, while the legislative version would have reduced it about $11.8 bil.

I've read the article in full. I'm left to assume that the initiative TEL would have reduced local government expenditures by $17.7 bil, the difference between the $34.1 bil grand total cited in the 2nd paragraph and the $16.4 bil state portion just noted, though the article doesn't specifically say that (very sloppy)

I don't know how many times I need to say this:
- The local portion of TEL was misguided and poorly written.
- Colorado has never had a local TEL and has done fine.
- Local communities have to control their own local spending. Mason shouldn't be letting Ashtabula's voters exercise fiscal control for them, and vice-versa.

So as far as I'm concerned, what is at stake is the $4.6 bil difference AT THE STATE LEVEL between the two TELs. The local part was NEVER going to happen.

That said, I think Ken needs to hold firm on the state part, because the legislators will play all sort of games with spending classifications if the entire state budget isn't brought under TEL.

Oh, and Bob Taft can KMA, just inform everyone that he's voting for Strickland, and get out of the way.

The TEL-Tale Heart

Here are some more reasons (22.3 billion of them!) to oppose the legislative "TEL," from The Columbus Dispatch:

A legislative plan to restrict future state government spending won't pack nearly the same punch as the constitutional amendment formerly pushed by J. Kenneth Blackwell, though some groups say it still goes too far.

Had it been in force, the GOP gubernatorial nominee's proposed amendment would have led to $34.1 billion less in state and local government spending from 1994 to 2002, according to the nonpartisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

But the new legislative version of his Tax and Expenditure Limitation would have reduced spending by just $11.8 billion over the same period, a Dispatch analysis shows.

The keys to the $22.3 billion difference: The legislature's proposed cap would not limit local government spending, nor would it apply to several parts of the state budget, such as property-tax reimbursements and funding for local governments.

The $11.8 billion reduction still would represent a lot of money, said Scott Borgemenke, chief of staff for Speaker Jon A. Husted.

"There's no doubt this is less restrictive than the initial proposal," he said. "The point of doing this was to get less restrictive."

I bet it was, Scott -- did you ever stop to think that the tax-payers of Ohio cannot afford a "less restrictive" plan?

My point about runaway local spending has been proven -- the road to serfdom leads through your local city council.

Rip up the floor boards and you find where the "Heart of it All" lies bleeding...

NOTE: It's big and I couldn't figure out how to post it, but this Dispatch graph lays out the particulars -- it ain't pretty.

Montgomery to Keep Fighting

From The Columbus Dispatch:

State Auditor Betty D. Montgomery's hospitalization for a rare nerve disorder will not affect the operation of her office or her political campaign, officials said yesterday.

Montgomery is being treated in the intensive-care unit at Ohio State University Medical Center where on Thursday she was diagnosed as having the syndrome.

The ailment is described as being "friendly fire" from confused antibodies that kill nerves, often causing paralysis and breathing problems.

If Montgomery were unable to continue her campaign for attorney general, she could withdraw as the GOP nominee by Aug. 23. The Ohio Republican Party state central committee would name a replacement for the fall ballot.

She will not get my vote (the extortion of tobacco companies was just too much for me to bear and you'll excuse me for beating a dead horse, but they ain't spending the ill-gotten goods on Medicare -- yet another reason to fight for TEL and distrust the general assembly), but she does have my prayers.

Get well soon!

RE: Taft and Tel

I think Matt is essentially correct when he says that all the Petro folks (and Petro himself) should tell Taft to get in line behind the legislative deal.

But let's give them a little time here, to sort out all the political implications. The news this week has come fast and furious and I'm sure their heads are spinning as fast as ours are.

Also the original article makes it clear that Taft is concerned that the members of the petition committee are not Blackwell and that he wants a commitment from them that he does not currently have.

I think a deal could still be had if Taft gets commitments from the petition committee that they will yank the amendment when the legislative TEL is passed (and approved by Taft).

I also agree that if Taft wants them to yank it before the law is passed, he should be told to go pound sand.

Re: TEL Deal and Taft

If all those anti-TEL and Petro people want to impress me, they shoud send a very clear message to the governor. But they won't do that. Why? Because that wouldn't be the "unity" thing to do.....

The moment Republicans heard that Taft would consider vetoing this deal is the very minute Jim Petro should have gotten on the phone to the governor's office. That is when all of those who oppose the TEL, but are supposedly for fiscal conservatism should have let their voice be heard. Loudly. But they haven't yet...and I don't think they will either. Why? Because they want Blackwell to go down hard. They want to win by losing.

Good luck with that. But please don't take the state of Ohio with you...some of us still want to live here.

Re: TEL Deal? What TEL Deal?

Cross-posted at Conservative Culture

Blackwell made an agreement earlier this week with the leaders of the state legislature that he would pull the TEL Ohio Constitutional Amendment if they would accomplish the same thing (presumably sans local government limits) at the state level.

But Governor Taft wasn't in on the agreement, and he's making that clear. In fact, he says that he won't approve it unless the amendment is withdrawn first. In that case, he would be technically though not ethically free to "change his mind," veto it anyhow, and leave Blackwell with nothing. (Admittedly, ethical concerns might not be a particularly serious concern with the present governor.)

As it is, Blackwell is the one with the options: If the legislature fails to implement TEL-lite, he still has the amendment as a fall-back plan. But Taft wants to have Blackwell at his mercy. That wouldn't be a good place for Blackwell to be. if it weren't for party loyalty, you could probably expect Taft to vote for Strickland this November.

The way things are going, he might end up doing just that.

Friday, May 19, 2006

TEL deal? What TEL deal?

By now we've all heard about the deal between Ken Blackwell and the Republican leaders in the statehouse, in which the proposed TEL amendment is to be replaced by (supposedly) equivalent legislation. But that deal's now in some jeopardy because somebody forgot to scratch the governor's back. Bob Taft won't play ball:

Taft's fellow Republicans in the Legislature agreed earlier in the week to put limits on spending into state law so that GOP governor candidate Kenneth Blackwell can pull his unpopular Tax & Expenditure Limitation Amendment proposal from November's ballot

In exchange, Blackwell pledged to contact Citizens for Tax Reform, the committee that brought the issue, and encourage it to withdraw the proposal.

Taft's office said that's not good enough.

"We are not going to offer our feedback or have further discussions until the governor receives a letter committing to take this off the ballot, signed by every member of the petitioning committee," said Jon Allison, Taft's chief of staff.

The original deal was "legislation first, TEL withdrawal second." Now Bob Tax Taft wants that order reversed. Naturally that leaves Blackwell twisting in the wind, with no choice but to trust in the good faith of the party leaders who've spent years trying to undermine him. Would you trust those land sharks? Yeah, I thought not.

So here's the situation:

  • Taft's approval ratings are atrocious, so normally his veto would be easy to override. But his career is over and his legacy is permanently soiled. By now he has no reason to care if his veto upsets people.

  • The Democrats in the statehouse wouldn't come to Blackwell's aid even if he bathed in lighter fluid, bear-hugged Hillary Clinton and set himself ablaze.

  • Blackwell's fellow Republicans don't like him, either. These folks won't lift a finger to override a Taft veto unless Blackwell makes more concessions.

  • The only weapon Blackwell can use to force the legislators to do his bidding is the TEL amendment, which they hate and fear. But if he gets it taken off the ballot before the "TEL Lite" legislation gets passed, he's got nothing left in his quiver with which to threaten the GOP pigs-at-the-trough.

  • Apparently there's some doubt in Blackwell's mind that the TEL amendment will pass. Otherwise, why bargain it away the first time 'round?

  • No matter how influential Blackwell is among his CTR friends, their committee won't remove the TEL amendment from the ballot as long as there's a real risk that Blackwell's original deal will fall through and leave them without even "TEL Lite."

As I see it, Blackwell has two options:

  1. Find out what Taft wants in return for a promise not to veto the TEL legislation ... other than scrapping the TEL amendment. Perhaps there's something else the governor wants, because he knows Blackwell can't afford to blink first in the TEL vs. "TEL Lite" staredown.

  2. Go back to Square One and push the TEL amendment. Blame Taft for ruining the deal, and resume the mantle of the Anti-Taft.

I'd choose door number two, because doing a deal with Bob Taft would instantly undermine Blackwell's central appeal as a Reaganite conservative outsider. The Democrats will gleefully squeal "flip flop!", but there's no better option available. Time to trust the voters. Time to rally the base and preach turnout, turnout, turnout.

This is gonna be one heck of a ride!


Cross-posted at Brain Shavings