Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In Ohio And DC, Decrepit Democratic Bosses Are Locking Out The Guy Who Is Actually Their Best Senate Bet


Little Chucky Schmucky hasn't even taken over as Senate Democratic Leader yet, but he's already calling the shots. And one of his first shots was to decree that Ohio's Democratic nominee against Republican incumbent Rob Portman shall be Ted Strickland, the other half of the conservative Bobbsey Twins. Strickland is a wretched conservative trying to pass himself off as a progressive for the sake of the primary. But anyone who has watched him amass his putrid record in the House and as Governor, know that Strickland is a Democrat of a couple of generations back, not a progressive. One Ohio activist, pissed that Schumer is trying to shove Strickland down Ohio Democrats' throats mentioned in an e-mail to me today that Strickland "wholeheartedly supported and passed the Castle Law here (the domestic version of Stand Your Ground) and was NRA endorsed over John Kasich, had a terrible 30% rating from NARAL while in Congress, has waffled endlessly on Keystone and "clean" coal, opposed decriminalization of pot and refused to raise taxes on the wealthy during the economic downturn while he was governor, because it would 'harm the economy.' So he instead destroyed our public library and mental health system. Living in Ohio, I'm very engaged in that battle, which the know-it-alls say top vote getter (by far) on the Cincinnati City Council, progressive P.G. Sittenfeld, can't win. Yet P.G.'s not listening to the poobahs; he's barnstorming the state making Strickland look like a decaying statue wherever they both speak (why Strickland won't debate him) and has raised the money he needs to compete."

Yesterday, writing for the Toledo Blade, another prominent Ohio journalist, Keith Burris, warned the Democrats they're making a big mistake in an EpEd, Let P.G. get in the game-- Democrats may be locking out the guy who is actually their best bet. Despite Little Chucky Schmucky and his DSCC goons, Strickland's not going to beat Portman. He's too similar to him and too feeble. "The Democratic Party of Ohio," wrote Burris, "which has an abysmal record of electing people in recent years-- that is, at engaging in political competition-- doesn’t want Mr. Sittenfeld to compete either. Mr. Sittenfeld is running in the Democratic primary, which will be held next March, against former Gov. Ted Strickland. The winner of that primary will face incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, a popular and well financed Republican who casts himself as a moderate in a sea of right-wing zealots and yahoos."
Mr. Portman IS a man of moderate and modest temperament, but his reasonableness seldom seems to manifest itself in significant legislation or as an influence on his party. He is forever forging bipartisan alliances that go precisely nowhere and he seems often irrelevant to D.C. and Ohio.

It’s good to talk softly, but in politics, you have to carry that big stick as well.

...Strickland, so far, is a Senate candidate without a platform. He has largely been silent on guns, on terrorism, on immigration. He does occasionally articulate a vague populism, but, thus far, he seems to be concentrating on fund-raising.

So the two front-runners are two heads of fund-raising juggernauts, with no real grounding or depth in issues. One gets the impression that a race without ideas, or the competition of ideas, is precisely what both men would prefer: Politics reduced big money and 30-second ads.

Pretty uninspiring.

Enter Mr. Sittenfeld. His party, which has endorsed Mr. Strickland, ignores him and even attempts to silence him. Much of the state’s media ignores him too (TV) or puts stories about him on the obit page.

I was skeptical of Mr. Sittenfeld also. Mr. Strickland and Mr. Portman are both vastly more experienced in government. But then I met and interviewed him a few weeks ago. Congress is broken. While his two elders fund-raise and keep silent, Mr. Sittenfeld is like a brisk autumn wind. He tells people where he stands. He has been particularly eloquent on the issues of gun violence and gun control.

Last week he said: “Every time [a mass shooting happens] our reaction is the same. We weep. We mourn. And we say never again. But then nothing changes. Nothing happens. Nothing ever gets done.”

He’s for universal background checks, without loopholes, including time limits on the checks. He’s for reinstating the federal ban on military-style assault weapons. He’s for banning gun sales to the severely mentally ill and those with a criminal record of domestic violence. And something else: microstamping ammunition so the police can trace bullets fired. I know I will hear from NRA friends, but to me, and I think to most Americans, these are hardly radical proposals. They are reasonable; they simply make sense.

Finally, P.G. Sittenfeld just might have a better chance of beating Rob Portman than Ted Strickland does. That’s what Toledoan and former Democratic state party chair Jim Ruvolo believes. He thinks if Mr. Strickland is the nominee the election will be about him and his term as governor, when Ohio was in recession. And Mr. Strickland will have a very hard time winning. But if Mr. Sittenfeld is the nominee, the election will be about the obstructionist and extremist majority in Congress. And Mr. Portman will have a hard time winning.

So, the Democrats may be locking out the guy who is actually their best bet.

Well, dumber things have happened.

“Stand for something,” John Kasich once wrote.

That is the mood of many Americans today: Stand for SOMETHING.

Mr. Sittenfeld should be dealt into the game just because he’s standing for something, especially on guns.
Strickland won't debate Sittenfeld and does all he can to keep from taking stands on contentious issues that voters are entitled to know about. If he's the nominee, Portman will wipe the floor with him-- and the fault will be Little Chucky Schmucky's and a seriously atrophied Ohio Democratic Party. If you'd like to help P.G. win the nomination and take the race to Portman, please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. Sometimes we just have to save the Democratic Party from itself.

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At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a little quibble with "Democrat of a couple of generations back, not a progressive." I recall that a couple of generations back, Ohio was represented in the Senate by the excellent courageous Howard Metzenbaum.


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