Monday, May 01, 2006

The Case Against Cafaro: Back to Basics

With all the endgame noise flying around, it’s easy to get distracted. Yesterday I got a robo-call from County Fiscal Officer John (not an accountant) Donofrio on behalf of Capri Cafaro. He supports her because he thinks her SAW plan would be good for Summit County. I don’t know who a Cafaro nomination would be good for, but I feel pretty confident Donofrio doesn’t really support her because of SAW.

But it made me want, one more time, to lay out the case against Capri. I’ve been pretty consistent in saying the Traficant mess doesn’t mean much to me. I’m grossed out by the Betty Sutton Weak on Pot ad, but Sutton and EM-List haven’t been completely forthright either.

Convention dictates that at this point I say something like “it’s nothing personal, but . . .” Well, it is kind of personal. When Cafaro decided to lie about me and this blog on air to make political points, it became personal. That being said, here are the big three reasons to vote against Capri Cafaro, whether or not you find her as personally distasteful as I.

1. We Can’t Trust Her to Represent Our Interests.

I’ve made much about Cafaro’s district shopping. When I look at the last two years of her life – running in the 14th, heading to New York to set up her PR shop, then coming back here to run, it doesn’t just feel like district shopping. It also evinces a certain disdain for living in Northeast Ohio. I understand – when I was 28 living on the East Coast, didn’t want to come back here either. Things changed and now I love living in Akron. But when I was 28, I did not have the feel for this place necessary to truly represent the people here.

What’s more, to the extent she has learned anything about the 13th District, she’s learned about Lorain Co. I have seen nothing in her campaign, in the Cafaromercials, in her MTB appearance that suggests to me she has made any attempt to understand where the Summit County is going and how to craft a legislative strategy to clear that road. Recently I drove through Barberton – the last truly rust-belt community in Summit. It’s also the only place I’ve seen a proliferation of Cafaro signs. Maybe it was just attacking Sutton at her base, but it also feels like Cafaro’s mentality is purely rustbelt, purely mid-80’s protectionism.

2. SAW is a Tool for Pandering.

One of the few positives I’ve heard about Capri that makes any sense is that her wealth makes her beholden to no one. Well, it certainly doesn’t look that way. It looks like she will say anything to get the love of Old Labor. The SAW plan is so fundamentally silly, her supporters don’t so much support it as make excuses for it – that’s why Donofrio’s call was so jarring. Why spend 55 billion dollars to maintain the status quo? Because spending $56 billion would be stupid.

I suspect that SAW exists primarily as a pretext for running on a platform of junking the entire trade regime – the ultimate sop to the unions. And of course, the fact that all this has exactly zero chance of actually becoming law makes this the very definition of a pander: An insincere proposal to appeal to the hopes and fears of the base. Cafaro’s stance on trade verges on demagoguery.

3. Cafaro is Vulnerable.

What I want in the 13th is not a nail biter, not an uphill battle, not a race where the party is reacting every day to a new presser from the Republican. I want the 13th to have a candidate who can phone it in and ride on the natural Dem advantage in the district. Cafaro guarantees the former, not the latter.

First off, I’m not the only Summit County resident who finds the Tour of Districts Not Held by Tim Ryan to be distasteful. I would probably vote for her – probably – in the general for the sake of working toward gaining power in Congress, but I certainly wouldn’t lift a finger to help and, trust me, she will need many lifted fingers. If she thinks EM-List’s mailings were harsh, wait till the RCCC’s machine starts rolling. All that stuff I say shouldn’t play in – immunity, drug rehab, bad dye jobs – will be flogged relentlessly in mailings, robocalls, megachurch “voter guides” and WNIR.

Meanwhile her extreme retrograde stance on trade will mobilize the SummitCo. business community to drop on the Republican candidate all the money they can. And they will tell all their employees what’s at stake. I’ve talked to friends more liberal than I who are appalled by her platform – because they work for tech firms like Goodyear or AES.

A smart, moderate, pro-business Republican will sweep the Republican voters, and take an overwhelming majority of Independents. From there, it doesn’t take a lot of moderate Dems crossing over to swing the election.

Capri doesn’t just have a bad idea, she is a bad idea.


Anonymous said...

fantastic blog post-I was talking to my in-laws, who are both registered dems, who will vote foltin if Cafaro is the nominee, my wife & mother, who are independents but usually vote dems feel the same way

FamineHorse said...

Pho, you nailed it. Plain & simple. I also know MANY active Dems who will vote Foltin if she wins because they cannot stomach SMH.

Lord help the Ohio Dems if she wins tomorrow...

staff said...

and therein this post lies the problem. You're not advocating for anyone - it's all negativity which i understand.

I also know what it's like to be lied about by a candidate - so i know that feeling completely.

I do think you are mistaken though on the trade demagoguery. Just look who they are all running to replace - the ultimate anti trader Sherrod Brown.

All the scare tactics in the world doesnt change the fact this is a safe district for Dems whoever wins - yeah it's probably closer if its cafaro, but she still wins. there are no serious election handicappers who put this district in play - just the over emotional ABC contingent.

Sawyer was the guy to back - but all those trade demagogues in leadership just couldnt forgive and forget.

Those pissed off dems will come around in 6 months time - just like the Hackett folks will.

FamineHorse said...

If SMH wins, she can be knocked off by Foltin. I have no doubt about this. The baggage she carries is immense. Just wait 'till the GOP throw lots of dirt on her. Will she threaten to sue then???

Pho is dead solid perfect in this post. ABC baby. ABC.

Anonymous said...

Re: The safety of the district: From what I understand this district is made up of Lorain county and part of Summitt county. In a head-to-head match-up between Kerry and Bush (third party votes being thrown out) Kerry received only about 56% in Lorain county and 57% in Summitt. That is still within shooting distance for a Republican pick-up, especially if you consider that Craig Foltain has support in Lorain county.

Mister Gloom (from Dailykos), not in the district

Anonymous said...

Staff, I'm going to put this charitably. You're an idiot. I say this not because we disagree, which we do, but for two reasons. One, nothing you say about Capri being able to win the general in November is supported by facts. Two, everything you say about Capri being able to win in November is directly contradicted by all available facts we do have.

As anon above me pointed out the 13th leans 8 to 10 points D. As you know the 14th is almost 50/50. In 2004 Capri Cafaro got roughly 10 percent less of the vote than John Kerry. Its a simple fact that out of every 5 Kerry voters, one choose Steve Latourrette over Capri. That's not just in his home base, which was even worse, that's district wide.

Craig Foltin on the other hand has proven his ability to get D votes. He won his last election in a heavily democratic area.

Basically Capri runs as the weakest D on the ballot and Craig runs as the strongest R. That's not idle speculation, its PROVEN FACT. IT HAPPENED IN THE LAST ELECTION.

So to Summarize, take Capri's crap performance last election minus the same number of Kerry voters, add the addittional D voters Foltin's won before and the 13th is competetive.

If you have anything more substantial, like actual voting results, I'd like to see it. But every single actual election result involving these candidates and this district backs me up. You have absolutely no evidence to support your claims.

redhorse said...

She's beholden to JJ, don't forget that.

scott bakalar said...

The people of Lorain dislike Craig Foltin tremendously. He has run their city into the ground. Foltin is an ex-democrat RINO who was elected to two terms, because his Democratic opponent (same guy both times) really pissed off the Senior Citizens of our town.

The Lorain Mayoral vote for Foltin was more a vote against his opponent.

As a local observer, to make hay with the "Foltin gets democratic cross-over votes" argument is silly.
Yes, he did get those votes, but they weren't for him.

He will not get crossover from the City of Lorain again, trust me on this...

Anonymous said...

Even if Foltin just gets R's Capri's proven inability to get D's still makes the district competetive.

Pho said...

Don't know why I feel compelled to defend against RussellPounderStaff's increasingly strident and churlish attacks, but here goes. I've posted three times; count 'em, one, two, three; about why I like Betty Sutton. I didn't do more because I'm not you. You might disagree with me, but don't pretend I've only been negative against Capri.

I don't mind people arguing against me -- Hell, I welcome it. But argue. Don't just pretend my posts don't exist.

Pho said...


Thanks for your post. I'm curious -- will Foltin have enough R support to win the nomination? The prevailing wisdom is that he's the guy, but McGrew is making his presence felt here and Summit has somewhat more of the voters in the district than Lorain and certainly more of the R's.

scott bakalar said...

Hey Pho -
Foltin's campaign has been..has been...has he actually done any campaigning?

From what I've read and heard and seen - he's done nothing but rest on the fact that he's the GOP's annointed one. He won't debate his rivals, he won't do MTB - he's taken on the embattled incumbent demeanor and as YDS says is, "running out the clock".

From your comment McGrew seems to be doing well in Summit. I've seen about as many McGrew signs out my way as Foltins.

Paul Burtzlaff is doing well in Lorain County - in the signage department, he has Foltin by at least 50 - 1, and he did MTB (a good guy) He also has an internal poll that has Paul beating Craig 35 - 24%
(poll is at

Ortega has great commercials - compares Foltin to Taft - Ouch! and uses his record as Lorain Mayor against him - which is what I've been touting all along.


So to answer your question finally - thank you for letting me blog here by the way - I think Foltin is way vulnerable, and not the shoe-in the MSM portrays him to be. My guess is that he's done squat in Summit.

Coventional Wisdom says "Foltin".
Reality of the "battlefield" says maybe not.

I predict that Foltin, if he can take Lorain County - that's if - will do so by less that 2% over Burtzlaff/McGrew. Not quite a mandate for a homeboy.

It's late and I'm here again!

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican. I am pulling a Democratic ballot today just to vote for Capri Cafaro. Other people in my club are doing the same, because she represents our interests with the NRA. Craig Foltin is very weak, and Scott, you are right. No one would vote for that fake ever if he did win. It has been a Cafaro lovefest in Lorain County all weekend. I have never heard of Betty Sutton or seen a sign until this last week. Shows how much she cares. I know Capri is not from here, and neither is Betty. The difference is, that Cafaro woman has wroked her tail off in this election in my hometown. We will take her now, and we will take her in November.

Craig Wentz, Northe Ridgeville

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