Thursday, June 22, 2006

That Was Then, This Is Stupid

OK, I’m trying to let pass an Open item from Tuesday (during my brief internet blackout.) But I can’t. It just makes me too crazy.

The entire argument is that Betty Sutton gave Tom Sawyer a hefty campaign contribution in 1994, then criticized him during the primary. Yes, that’s it. No really. For good measure they get a quote from the Foltin campaign saying this is one more example of Sutton’s hypocrisy. Not sure what the earlier examples were, but . . .

As someone who worked on Sawyer’s campaign in ‘94 this surprises me not at all. Recall ’94 was the year of the Contract with America. Clinton’s approvals were weak, the economy was spinning its wheels, the right-wing noise machine was getting into high gear with nothing to counter it and Hillary had just released the outline of the only conceivable health care plan worse than the one we have. It wasn’t a good year to be a Democrat.

Lynn Slaby was running a fierce campaign against Sawyer. We were working a combined campaign for Sawyer, Joel Hyatt against Dewine and Lee Fisher trying to hold off Betty Montgomery. We watch John Cochran from ABC News do a stand up outside our HQ saying “Democrats are running scared here, in a district they have held for over 50 years.”

There were two kinds of Democrats that year: Those who pretended not to be Democrats and those who worked their butts off to keep the hellhounds at bay. That was the year that gave us the Republican Revolution, Governor George W. Bush, Attorney General Montgomery and Rep. Steve LaTourette. Hell, yes Democrats gave money to Sawyer. The ones who saw it all coming did, anyway.

What’s more, in 1994, no one realized just what a disaster NAFTA would be. It was sold as an eventual win because it would build the Mexican middle class and increase demand for our exports. Instead, it devastated the truck farm economy, drove unprecedented numbers of increasingly desperate people up against our borders and further concentrated the country’s wealth into the hands of an oligarchy. All that took a few more years to play out.

Finally, this was a primary. Primaries are tough. Sutton and Sawyer agree on more than they disagree on, but a candidate has to make contrasts to give voters a reason to vote.

I doubt the Open writer who penned this absurdity is really so dewy-eyed as to believe every campaign contribution is a sign of undying devotion and every campaign position is borne of deep enmity. So why write a post balanced on so thin a reed?

7 comments:

staff said...

"no one realized just what a disaster NAFTA would be."

no one ?

Pho said...

Fair comment, staff; that was an overstatement. I think the idea that NAFTA would cause pain but be a net plus was pretty close to a majority view among registered Dems. Most of the anti push was coming from labor and dismissed as mere self-interest. In any event, support for NAFTA wasn't nearly the black mark in '94 that it was in '00.

Swanny said...

The really funny thing about John Cochran reporting from in front of the coordinated campaign headquarters was that he was wearing a camel sport jacket, shirt and tie along with sweatpants and slippers. At least he was a good enough sport to have a few drinks with us at Bilbo's afterward.

Pho said...

And the jacket, which looked fine on TV, looked about 20 years old in person.

swanny said...

Yes, as I recall, it had more pills on it than Rush Limbaugh's prescription records.

Anonymous said...

Sawyer and Sutton may agree on more than they disagree, but I find it interesting we've heard nothing of Sawyer coming out and endorsing her...

Pho said...

Well, yes. Interesting like the fact that pigs have not flown.