Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Tale of Two Races

It’s hard to believe sometimes that the top-of-the-ticket races in Ohio actually come from the same state. The Governor’s race is already a brutal affair pitting as extreme a conservative as has ever run for office in Ohio against a centrist angling for crossover from Gunnutistan. For the Senate we have a genteel contest in which a consummate cross-the-aisle moderate is trying to hold off a wonky but fiery progressive.

It’s a measure of how politics has shifted in Ohio that when I worked against DeWine in ’94 he was considered the standard-bearer for the right wing of Voinovich’s Republicans. This year I’ll be surprised to see Blackwell share a stage with DeWine outside a party-only event.

Catching up with the Governor’s race, T-d S--------d is demonstrating the perils of reaching for crossover by embracing conservative issues. Despite calling for action on a truly disastrous gun nut bill, he’s being criticized as being soft on guns because – wait for it – he doesn’t actually own one. In the interests of disclosure, I should point out that, despite my pro-gay stance, I don’t actually . . . never mind.

In contrast, DeWine actually got the endorsement from The Brady Campaign to End Handgun Violence – surely a Maalox Moment for Mike. It helps him not at all – pro-gun control folks will still vote overwhelmingly for Brown. And it’s pretty much a disaster in Southern Ohio to suggest that perhaps we might want to regulate people killing machines just a little. The wild card is whether enough firearms enthusiasts abandon him for someone like Bill Peirce to give Sherrod a chance.

Meanwhile, DeWine and Brown each sat down for a extended Newsweek interview. DeWine is cool, nonpartisan, moderate – just what you need to be if you are running for Senate in, say, Delaware. He makes it a point that he doesn’t use the phrase “cut and run” to describe the Democrats’ position. How that plays in Ohio, we’ll see.

While DeWine is Mr. Nice, Sherrod is showing the aggressive, angry streak that I’ve heard people fret about. He’s in the reporter’s face twice in as many pages about how the media are covering politics. He goes after DeWine for “not talking about issues,” links him to Karl Rove and Tom Noe in a single paragraph and expresses optimism that the Dems can take both houses.

In the Gubernatorial campaign, on the other hand, we had the whisper campaign about T-d’s family life and the “Who’s Christianer?” debate – don’t get me started.

How does all this play out? I suspect Blackwell helps DeWine far more than DeWine hurts Blackwell. J. Ken will get the base to the polls and they certainly won’t defect to Brown. On the other hand, Blackwell is setting a tone that lets Brown be as aggressive as he wants. No moderate independent who can stomach the governor’s race will be turned off if Brown dials it up.

Correction thanks to Lisa Renee in comments. I shouldn't blog when sleep deprived.


Jill said...

Good post, Scott. I actually understood almost everything you wrote. :)

Lisa Renee said...

Bill Peirce is running for Governor, so I don't understand how his gun stance would help Sherrod.

Lisa Renee said...

Going with out sleep can be wicked, I've done my share of mess ups. Could be worse though, one message board I used to frequent a few posters would hit the board after they had way too much to drink and wrote some stuff they later wished they could delete. To the point we would just write PUI? (Posting under the Infuence)


Daniella said...


It looks like the partial election is not going to be an assured victory for the Democrats although considering all the scandals and other factors logic would dictate a change of leadership.

I think politics is brutal not for the faint of heart.

Anonymous said...

It appears Ohio voters disagree on some of your points. DeWine continues to lose support, while Sherrod gains.

The latest polls from Zogby and SurveyUSA show the trend continues.

Ohio Bloggers need to get over their anger at Sherrod for responding to their attacks on his wife. Why don't you just apologize and get it over with. Its been an unfair campaign that has made the Ohio blogosphere look petty and juvenile.

Pho said...

Anon, a couple of words of advice. First, if you post anonymously on this race, lots of people are going to assume you are astroturfing from the Brown campaign. I don't -- to the extent that may have happened in the past, I think they know better now. But the people you are apparently trying to persuade will discount anything coming from the anonymice. If you aren't pilloried tomorrow on Buckeye State, consider yourself lucky.

Second, know who you are talking to before running your virtual mouth. I've never insulted Sherrod's wife. I've literally mentioned her but once on this blog -- search for "Connie," see for yourself. I was a Sherrod supporter for months, even when it wasn't easy. I've just announced being over my personal snit that he won't sit down and make up with Hackett. I remain one of the few Sherrod-friendly outposts in the 'sphere.

Third, actually read a post before commenting on it. My assessment of the Senate race in this post is one of studied ambivalence. How you could read this as me dissing Brown or poormouthing his chances is a mystery.

To summarize, you've erroneously accused me of being one of those lefty bloggers who dumps on Sherrod and Connie at every opportunity, and of talking down his chances in this post. Since you are so into apologies, I await yours.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you've come around. I don't read your blog regularly, so pardon me for missing your post announcing your decision to cover this race objectively.

You seem to be one of the more talented of Ohio's bloggers and its encouraging to see you are resisting the "groupthink" that seems to be so prevalent.

That said, I doubt I will post as anything other than anonymous. No offense to you, but there are some nasty, vindictive people online who like to harrass those who disagree with them. I think I prefer to keep my posts on all the Ohio blogs anonymous.