Monday, January 30, 2006

In Which Pho Meets Capri Cafaro

As noted, a number of candidates attended the Sherrod Brown event, including Capri Cafaro. She was chatting with SCPD members outside the auditorium afterwards while I was in a long discussion with the very nice young man who is running against Kevin Coughlin.

Finally I could delay it no longer, so I went over and introduced myself as "that mean blogger." She knew who I was immediately because she fired back with "I hope you are satisfied with meeting Youngstown's Victoria Gotti." Assuring her that I didn't write or approve of the Victoria Gotti comment didn't immediately placate her, but eventually she settled down and asked if I had any questions.

The ensuing discussion was, well . . . I read an Op-Ed recently in which the writer deftly analogized his subject to an episode from Dickens. Would that I was well-read enough to analogize from great literature. Instead, take it JK:

"Are you sure it's a real spell?" said the girl. "Well, it's not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard -- I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it's enough -- I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?"
She said it all very fast.
Yes, Capri Cafaro is pretty much a policy wonk version of Hermione. I'd be curious to know if anyone has an actual conversation with her as opposed to watching her pinball about from topic to topic, eventually slowing down long enough for a flipper of a question to send her pinging away again. Meanwhile, my virus-compromised self was about done for the night, so I certainly wasn't going to break in.

All of which would make me absolutely love her if I wasn't so put off by her not actually living in Ohio until it suited her.

I first posed the question "Why," then immediately replaced it with "Why not take on LaTourette again?" For that I got a long tale of what she thought about doing after 2004 and maybe she would run in this seat in '06 and set her self up for that seat in '08 but then this union guy called her and that person set up this thing, but meanwhile she was dealing with actual issues that are important to her, but then someone else called and much much much later we came to why she was running for Congress.

Me: "So the answer to why not run against LaTourette is . . . that you were recruited to run here?
Cafaro: "Well, yeah."

By appearances Cafaro is a wonk's wonk with a heart of gold, extravagent command of the issues and a burgeoning collection of endorsements, including some from people I respect. I wish to Hell I could like her.

You never know, though. If we end up battling a Mountain Troll together, it could all work out.


Jill said...

HI Pho - Thanks for this - you sure know how to feed a person.

Well, you know, I said this about Hackett and I feel similarly here, and I accept it as my idiosyncrisy and that I'm only one person. Nevertheless: I strongly prefer candidates who WANT the job. Now, I will say that Chris Redfern told me last week, when I said that it bothered me that Paul Hackett tells the story of how he got asked to run for the Senate and so he's running and that that bothered me, that many (he may even have said most, I don't recall) candidates run because they've been asked.

Now, I've read reports about how few women run for office and that those who do often run as a result of being asked. Ok. I'm trying to be naive here.

But there's a nonchalance about it that bothers me. I said to Redfern, well, Jennifer Brunner - she wants this job (Sec'y of State) and he says, She was asked to run. Hmm, okay. Well, if that's true (and I'm not going to go on the record as doubting the ODP Chair at this point), okay then. Maybe I'm looking at this issue all wrong.

But at least with Brunner, she's done so much that's consistent with SOS - for goodness sakes, she worked in the SOS office, she's practiced election law. It makes sense.

Now, Hackett's a lawyer and was in Iraq. Cafaro has been a policy wonk. Maybe getting asked to run IS all there is to it.

But there's still a remnant of me that says, shouldn't a person WANT to run? WANT to represent a particular constituency with which it's familiar?

Obviously I have vestigial feelings on this issue, though I've moved a bit from my original position.

So thanks again for your report. Very interesting. (Btw, my Stanford grad friends tell me that Ms. Cafaro's Stanford online info says she graduated in 1996 with an AB in American Studies. My friend's comment: "She is there as a graduate but there is absolutely no other info like most people have."

That's it for my sleuthing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Pho. Redhorse is starting to get the feeling that you had better learn to like her.

Nothing definitive that I can quite point out yet, but I'm starting to see her winning.

Anonymous said...

I have met her a few times and have not been impressed, especially with the overly bleached hair. She would be a nobody if she wasn't born into money. She's simply using her inherited wealth to force her way through in a district she has absolutely no connection to.

I have a real problem with that.

I was not born into a wealthy family with political connections. I have had to work and scrap for everything so far. Capri can just barge right into my district and claim she represents me? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I dont think that bleached hair can disqualify someone as a candidate, nor do I think that being rich disqualifies you either. Everyone gets criticized for money: having too much or not enough. Either way, you are doomed. Money is the root of all evil and it is our job not to let that principal define all of us, rich or poor.

If people continue to say the same arguments about intruding in the district, then Cafaro, Sutton, and Sawyer should not be running. Can anyone else talk about real pointers, like what we're going to do about the rising tuition? Or where out future judical system lies with the hour-ago confirmation of Alito?

Anonymous said...


Obviously you're Harry Potter in this scenario with you, Capri, and the Mountain Troll. Don't ask me why, but you just are. Maybe it's the scar on your forehead.

Anyway, the crucial question remains: If Capri is Hermione, and you're the Liberal-who-Lived, then who's Ron Weasley?

Anonymous said...

Egads! I can't even remember the name of my website. That's a bit sad. Hopefully my campaign manager didn't see that.

Scott Piepho said...


I'm afraid I agree with you. I was talking on the phone with one of my contacts today, trying to divine Labor's attraction to her. The only thing I can come up with is that they like the bank she brings to the festivities.

Joe and Anon:

I agree that the color of her hair is an irrelevant consideration (tho I happen to think she'd look better as a brunette.)

I also disagree that she would be nothing if not raised on money. Girlfriend has crazy game. Her talent is not at issue. Her sincerity and her electiblity are.

On the other hand, I vehemently disagree that the circumstances of Cafaro, Sawyer and Sutton are identical. Sawyer and Sutton both represented large parts of Ohio-13 at one time. They are both from this area and know the area. Sawyer still lives in Akron for Gawd's sake, just the part that was ripped into Ohio 17, not 13.

Cafaro has. not. live. in. Ohio. As an adult. I could have forgiven it in '04 -- especially since she was taking on an incumbent Republican. But the combination of moving away and coming back to run and running in an open Democratic seat just rubs me raw.

Frankly, seeing this trope -- Sawyer Sutton, Cafaro . . . same thing! --constantly trotted out is starting to feel Rovian to me. Find another argument already.

Anonymous said...

If only half an hour conversations to see if she really is intelligent made a difference in elections... Unfortunately 2 million in RCCC tv saying "took federal immunity to testify in father's bribery trial" actually wins elections.

If she wins this primary Democrats have no one to blame but ourselves for putting the 13th in play.

Anonymous said...

The RCCC and those commercials would a GOP dominated district...not changing my vote to GOP candidate no matter who wins...not in this lifetime. Republicans in Ohio are the root of all evil and the biggest cronies out of any state delegation to this administration. Too bad a democrat can't win in the 4th or 14th district.

Anonymous said...

Why bring Youngstowns mob style of politics to your area? The title her campaign represents is "The Saprano's go to Washington".

You should also realize she was given immunity to testify in the TrafiCANT trial. What did she do to deserve an immunity agreement. Just more crookedYoungstown politics coming your way.