Wednesday, May 03, 2006

[Reverie] Capri Comes Full Circle

posted Nov. 5, 2014

It was a hard-fought campaign, but Capri Cafaro is your Representative in the 13th District. Ironically, she succeeds Betty Sutton who beat her out for the nomination eight years ago in a bitter contest. Unlike that contest, this year when Betty stepped down to become Pres. Bayh’s Dep. Sec. of Labor, the open seat didn’t prompt a mad scramble among Democrats. Everyone knew Capri would be the nominee.

As the founding member of the Hate Capri blog brigade back then, it falls to me to recount how we got here. Back then I had no use for Capri at all, but some friends thought she at least had potential – most notably Jill (BTW, congrats on the Bestseller List).

I would have bet the farm that when she lost the primary in ’06, she would be on the next plane back to NYC, only to resurface two years later in a tempting Congressional district. The first step in her road back to political credibility was staying in Lorain Co. and setting up shop there as a nonprofit consultant. By all accounts she did real good there and helped me with the School Funding Reform Amendment in ’07.

Let’s stop and think about that. Kid Z is now in her Senior year at Firestone in the Visual Arts program. Kid T is tearing it up at the Math/Sci middle school at Inventure Place. As I was reading my ancient Cafaro posts to prepare this one, I was reminded that the same election Cafaro lost, Akron lost a levy by less than a point. Back then, we didn’t even know if APS would survive. I barely remember life before growing mills and enforceable state funding levels.

Anyway, Capri’s stay in Lorain seemed to soften her in a good way. Whether it was living with regular old Midwesterners or being truly independent from her Dad, she became far more likeable. I was actually one of the last holdouts. Mostly it was Scott Bakalar who brought me around. And check it out, Scott and Michelle’s latest disc is #27 on Amazon.

Two years making contacts in Lorain Co. made Capri a credible candidate to take on a freshman Republican in Ohio’s House 58. That was a hell of a fight in a Stone Republican district. She benefited from Gov. Strickland’s gaudy poll numbers and brilliantly showed how her opponent was helping obstruct his most popular policies – rural broadband and universally available pre-K. The NRA endorsement didn’t hurt any in that district.

She had some luck getting in, but her success as a legislator was all her. She cemented her rehabbed rep as a strong independent leader by taking the point on redistricting reform. When her erstwhile union allies objected, she gently reminded them that she had the resources to get by without them, thank you very much, and oh by the way did they really want her to fight for coal gas plants in Lorain? They fell in line and the rest was a done deal.

Now some of you are still pissed that the D’s didn’t get the chance to fully stick it to the R’s in the 2010 redistricting. I still maintain that if the D’s were able to gerrymander a 60/40 advantage in Columbus, they soon would become as indolent and corrupt as the Republicans were when Ted took over. Trust me, it’s better this way.

From there, Capri was able to work on what lit her fire – Senior care, health care, help for displaced workers. In short, she became a shoe-in for the 13th. Of course, if she hadn’t worked so hard on redistricting reform, she’d have had a much easier time of it, but she used that to her advantage in the General.

I was able to sit down with her last week. We laughed about that ’06 race, about the barbs we hurled at each other. Hard to say which of us hated the other more. I told her I was proud to know her. I told her she wasn’t just a better legislator, she was a better person. And I told her I always knew she’d look better as a brunette.

Best of luck in Washington, Capri. Don’t forget where you came from and where you have been.

Meanwhile, Prof. W. is looking forward to retirement and we are still unpacking from our summer in Chincoteague. Hard to put myself back in that 2006 election, before George started syndicating MTB all over the place, before he sold during Internet Bubble 2, making all of us shareholders obscenely grateful. Who’d have thought back then it would end up like this?


scott bakalar said...

Those were the days, old Pho,
weren't they now?

It still seems like yesterday...

George Nemeth said...

Indeed, who would have thought...

Jill said...

That they'd find a cure for the arthritis I developed while I sat in my pjs all those hours I should've been feeding, tending to and disciplining my kids instead of letting them watch - hey, you guys remember Spongebob Pooppants? Or wait, was it Spongebob Squareeyes?


Thanks for ghostwriting that bestseller, Pho. Couldn't have done it with you.

staff said...

Even Bayh ? That's where you lost me. Lord.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a like minded individual from the 14th had similar hopes of her?

Anonymous said...

That was a nice post - as you thanked and tipped your hat to others that followed the race.

We all know she's already booked her trip to the Ocean Club in Paradise Isalnd and her return ticket straight to anywhere but NE Ohio.

I recognize irony and sarcasm when I see it, but Cafaro is not even worthy of the effort to write it.

Don't go soft. A simple "fuck you and leave" is all she deserves.

John Ettorre said...

I enjoy every damn thing you write, Scott, but this was especially fine.

Eliot Ness said...

You are presuming that Capri and her daddy do not do jail time for tax fraud and perjury.