Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pre-Decision 2006 Postmortem PT. 1: Ohio 13

It’s terribly late, but as soon as I go to bed, I will be stricken with anxieties about what the levy failure will do to my city, so I’ll blog for a bit more.

I went to the Sutton victory party after the declaration of unvictory at the school party. I’ve never been to a post election victory party that was actually about victory, so that in itself was refreshing. I tried to get an interview with Betty, but believe it or not, the Akron Pages is not first in the media line. We started, then she got called away. I talked to her campaign manager for a while, but when we got to the tricky stuff, she wanted some time to think and, you know, actually sleep a while.

What we were talking about in a minute. First, the wherefores.

One question I did get to ask Betty was “Just like you planned it?” She laughed, thought then said, “Yes. We knew where the votes were and went out and got them.” In other words, this was a victory about ground game. Sutton's beat Cafaro's and Sawyer didn't have one.

So why didn’t the person with the money to spend win the ground game? Some time ago someone, I believe it was Redhorse, averred that Cafaro had hit her peak. That was when she was at about 23 points. And indeed. Capri Cafaro just isn’t a terribly appealing candidate. I’m not the only one whose bullshit detector goes off when she speaks.

For anyone with deep misgivings about the result, consider this: With the money she laid out, the media she bought and the staff she should have been able to hire, she should have won going away. The fact that she couldn’t win against a fallen soldier with no war chest and a nearly unknown running a flawed campaign gives the final proof that she was the weakest candidate for the general.

So back to my line of questioning. As I went through the day, it occurred to me that, given the last couple weeks of this primary, I would be writing one of those Let the Healing Begin posts. And it occurred to me that it would be hardest to write such a post if Sutton won. Like Redhorse, I find the EMILY’s List mail campaign difficult to defend. As such, it’s much harder for me to say “Gee, let’s put it all behind us now,” than it would be to say “Well, you won fair and square and I’ll put it all behind me know.”

So I posited to both Betty and her manager that she has some work to do to build credibility with the sorts of people who live around me, hang out with me and read my blog. While politically sophisticated Democrats might not be the most important demographic in the race, our offense is reflected, among other places, on the newspaper ed-boards. What can bring folks like my friends around is also what can garner a few endorsements in the primary.

The one definitive I got was that the campaign would not distance itself from EMILY’s List. I get that, but it puts Betty in a difficult position. I don’t think much of what Betty herself did was that offensive, but pretty much only political junkies will draw a distinction between a campaign and a 527 campaigning behind it. And frankly, I don’t want it to be any other way. As much as the 527’s trouble me, I hope campaigns get burned a few times and learn to keep them at a distance. I’d just rather that didn’t happen to campaigns for people I like.

I’ll be interested in hearing more from the Sutton campaign about how they go about Letting the Healing Begin, especially here in the Merriman corridor. At one point it was pointed out that the people I’m talking about are particularly sophisticated. Exactly. That’s why I do this – so people who think like this have a place to find this sort of discourse and someone who’s in the position to press for answers to these sorts of questions. Stay Tuned.


AkronZip00 said...

Now that I've had some time to think about it, Sutton strikes me as the forgettable biology teacher I had in high school whose lectures either put most of her students to sleep, or didn't discourage them much from gossiping, goofing-off and passing notes.

In short, she's not terribly interesting, and is probably the weakest congressional candidate I've ever seen enter the general election for the Dems in this region. I just hope that she can grow some charisma, and that her GOP challenger is even more milquetoast in this regard.

Jill said...

Pho - wonderful post. When we're so tired, it seems more honest, you know? Easier and less jargon.

Anyway - I'm so sorry about the Akron levy. VERY sorry. That totally sucks.

I look forward to reading what you post about it.

Good luck getting rest today.

Anonymous said...

Foltin isn't that charismatic, I think betty will do fine, I too am very sad about the APS levy failing.

Anonymous said...

After all is said and done, I think I finally understand Cafaro.

She's like a guy at a strip club who thinks the girls like dancing for him.

Someone really ought to tell her to stop spending all her dad's cash to buy (not enough) votes and go get a life.

Hopefully, we've heard the last from her.

This election was a mixed bag.

The loss on the school tax is just about the worst thing I've heard from my former home town in a long time. I went to Essex and I hear that it is one of the schools that's been rumored for the chopping block.

Akron hurt itself with that vote in ways from which it may not ever recover. The city needs to attract new businesses and stop fantasizing about an anti-trade agenda that will never be this country's agenda.

Closing schools and firing teachers is how you kill towns.

Dying towns attract candidates like Capri Cafaro , a bottom feeding demagogue carrying the stench of corruption.

Congratualtions on rejecting her. I'd advise not getting too down on Sutton. Cafaro sparked a fight for the soul of the district with her money.

Sutton responded with sharp knives instead of tears in order to get the votes she needed. She shredded Sawyer to pry loose some ABC votes. Kudos. Dems should pay attention. Had SMH won, the seat would have gone to Repubs. Of that, there is no doubt in my mind.

I like Sawyer and I'm sure we can all agree that, on a personal level, he didn't deserve it.

But I don't care. Dems need every seat and shredding Sawyer - a lackluster candidate - was a small price to pay for the overall good.

OhioExile said...

I hadn't really started thinking about Betty being vulnerable because it was so clear that Capri was by far, the most vulnerable candidate. However, I think there are some things that have occured in her campaign that have yet to come back and hit her.

1: Emily's list and their five finger photo discounts. I would be surprised if in the next 6 months, that is not brought up by the MSM.

2: Betty's obsession with junkets. The only problem is her trip to Poland. I think that could come back to bite her.

I'm sure there are others, but I don't think she is going to have the easiest (compared to someone like Sawyer or Grace) in getting elected. Thats not to say that she won't or isn't the frontrunner by far, but run a bad race, and she could lose.

Yellow Dog Sammy said...

The levy was a bitter, bitter loss - I feel for you and for the kids.

Anonymous said...

You know, the levy loss doesn't have to be that bad. I voted for it. My son is involved in sports. But I think they can make a lot more deeper cuts behind the scenes before they start affecting students. I'm talking administrative cuts. The worst thing they can do is start cutting sports (spring sports was mentioned in the paper) or have the superintendent start with the hand wringing. I'd rather see him roll up his shirt sleeves instead!

Pho said...

To the last Anon:

First, thanks for voting for the levy. I know it wasn't easy for you.

I wish you were right about the administrative cuts. In fact, the Board has cut administrative staff to the bone over the last few years to stay off the ballot. Unfortunately the latest state budget was the last straw.

They will accelerate building closings and let go some more staff that way, but talking to two of the members last night (who are good guys that I trust), they say it won't be enough to save the programs. I only hope that people see that this is real, stop talking out their asses and vote to turn this around in the fall.

TKE House said...

I honestly felt kind of sorry for Tom Sawyer. You and I worked together for him back in 94 and he was an entirely different candidate back then. This time around, he just looked lost. It kind of reminded me of those athletes that give it one last try, long after their prime, and end up looking entirely hapless.

I was glad that fast-talking, carpetbagging, charicature of a Muppet, Capri Cafaro, failed to buy her way into the general election. I was also happy to see Bryan "I am the real Rudy" Flannery get completely flogged by Strickland. Hopefully, the next stop for these two reprobates is the proverbial political graveyard.