Sunday, June 18, 2006

Catching Up with the Governor’s Race

First up, this week Chris Cillizza’s Friday Line took on the governor’s races. On Cillizza’s list of governorships most likely to change party hands, Ohio remains at number 2.

Cillizza does mention, consistent with the “Hope for Republicans” headline, that Blackwell did well in the Cincinnati poll. He neglected to mention that the Cincinati poll is something of an outlier – the other polls have consistently shown Strickland with a double-digit lead. Moreover, HypoSpeak points out and illustrates that the trend in the Rasmussen poll is currently grim – Blackwell is static and Strickland is rising.

Callahan has started blogging about Blackwell’s Lease-the-Turnpike idea. As a political strategy, it worries me. I’m all for breaking it down and talking about why it won’t work, but before going in depth about why it is a bad idea, we need to acknowledge a few things:

  • It gives Blackwell a hypothetical pot of money to pay for his campaign promises

  • His campaign promises include spending big bucks on inner-city renewal projects.

  • People who would benefit from those projects will not care that the money is borrowed from future generations.
Blackwell is mortgaging the house to buy votes. Buying votes is one of the easiest ways to get them. Just ask Ralph Regula.

Today’s Dispatch interviews a bunch of folks in an independent-heavy, Republican-voting precinct in Columbus. Yes, wading into one of these street scene pieces is fraught with hazard. It’s been said that the plural of anecdote is data. Perhaps, but the sincular of “data” is “statistically insignificant factoid with a huge sampling error.” Not as pithy, but you get the point.

Nonetheless, let’s look at some of the potentially portentous data points unearthed by the Dispatch.

  • Plenty of die-hard Republicans will vote for Ken, even though they have reservations.

  • Some Republicans are so put off by a) corruption and b) Iraq that they are considering a party switch this year.

  • Blue collar Republicans (represented by the barber) are feeling the squeeze of a Republican economy.
    • Before anyone takes any comfort in this, recall how many Republicans and right-leaning independents talked like this in 2004 before the actual campaign started.

      I don’t know why, but the Ohio blogosphere seems to be feeling a little nervous about the race. How else to explain Strickland getting pretty much no blogosphere grief over his vote in favor of the COPE act with its net discrimination provisions intact. He and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones were the only Ohio Dems to do so. As Callahan noted, Brown voted “No” despite entreaties from his friends in the Communications Workers of America. After Ted voted the bill out of committee the netroots erupted in vitriol. This time, nary a peep.

      Staff at Buckeye State did take time to write a thoughtful piece on the Blackwell persona that basically set down much of what I had been thinking. Namely, that Blackwell’s apparent flip-flopping is not a matter of indecision but of political expedience. Truth be told, I don’t think Blackwell himself buys half of what he is selling. He just runs ideas out, sees what sticks, backs away from what doesn’t

      Finally, I’m a little worried about the silence of late from Camp Strickland. The Blackwell switchback on the voting rules should have prompted insufferably smug and celebratory emails. Instead, I got happy talk pieces about the grand opening of the Shaker Heights HQ – your chance to hear Lee Fisher quote rock lyrics in person – and an odd invitation to send a tribute to my dad to Ted’s website.

      Let’s keep our heads in the game, guys.

      3 comments:

      Helen said...

      Your site is thoughtful and interesting--a nice addition to dialogue about important issues in NE Ohio.

      If you're interested in meeting some other online Akronites who care about some of the same issues (although they may tend to talk about them in a somewhat less sophisticated way), check out www.coolpeoplefromakron.com.

      dirtgirl said...

      i know this is an old post, but i am curious what you think abuot the political calculus of the turnpike proposal.

      A central argument against the lease plan is that tolls will go up. A lot. To make the economics of the deal work they have to. And that is going to impact drivers and independent truckers and small business owners in northern Ohio. It's also going to drive a lot of the heavy truck traffic off the turnpike and onto local roads and through small towns of northern Ohio. Not to mention the fact that turnpike users will be subsidizing foreign operators and non-transportation projects in the rest of the state.

      So he's clearly gambling that he'll pick up more votes in the cities than he'll lose in other parts of NE and NW Ohio as a result of the plan. I'm not sure he's right. Wonder what you think.

      Pho said...

      DirtGirl:

      From what I've read, you've pretty well summarized it the downside of the lease. Basically you are selling off an asset for a bunch of projects to buy votes.

      My guess is that his calculus is that adding a fistful of urban voters to his base (who won't desert him no matter what) will get him the election. The other part of the calculus is that if he can pull in urban blacks, he's the man nationally, which ultimately is what drives him, I believe.

      That's one side. The other side it what is done with the money. I'm drafting a post on that now. The headline: these are government programs from a putatively small government conservative. Just because they aren't paid for by tax money doesn't make them any different.