Friday, August 18, 2006

What Every Republican Is Wearing This Season

As I drafted this post (waiting for the cherubs to return from a playdate), I was listining to the Sklar Brothers guest hosting on the Jim Rome Show. As is their want, they developed a couple of running jokes and invited the audience to contribute. One joke was: Derek Jeter has a new cologne called "Driven." What other jocks should come out with colognes emblamatic of themselves.

For example, Kenny Rodgers’ cologne is called “Aggression." It smells like dirt and camera lens. Like that.

Since the Tribe totally sucks right now, I've been ignoring sports in favor of politics, but I can make this fit the political news of late. So. The Ohio Republicans’ cologne is “Desperation.” It smells like old coins, elephant sweat and a donkey in a landslide. And by the way, you can smell it everywhere.

David Broder sounds that theme in his column today focusing on Ohio, but gleaning trends from other Midwestern states. He starts by noting Blackwell’s predicament:

    When the Columbus Dispatch's respected poll recently reported that Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was trailing Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland by 20 points in the race for governor of Ohio, there was dismay but no shock among his fellow Republicans.
Let’s put that 20 points in perspective. Blackwell could gain a point a week from now until the election – which would be a damned impressive gap-closing – and still stand for a 9 point drubbing on Election Day.

Broder continues:
    I had dinner one night with a group of Ohio Republicans, all with many years of experience in state politics and none directly engaged in this year's gubernatorial race. One of them said, ``I'm afraid this could be another 1982,'' a year when recession pushed unemployment to 15 percent and cost the Republicans the governorship.

    Another said, ``I'd settle right now for another 1982. I'm afraid it will be another 1974,'' the post-Watergate election when Democrats swept everything in sight.

    Ohio may be particularly vulnerable because the economy in parts of the state where the auto industry remains vital has been hurt by layoffs, and because a series of scandals have left retiring Gov. Bob Taft with approval ratings in the teens.

    But similar concerns are voiced across the Midwest.
The tactics of the Blackwll campaign increasingly reek of Desperation®. The latest is nicely summarized by Modern Esquire’s headline on Buckeye State – Latest GOP Attack on Strickland: He works in a bipartisan manner to successful protect Ohio's manufacturing jobs – though the whole post is worth reading. Add this to an erstwhile staffer falling on his sword for spreading the Ted is Gay rumor, and it’s clear Blackwell has little to say to anyone but his right flank

An even more fervent embrace of Desperation® -- the move from aftershave to body spray, if you will – is the move from simple distortion to actual dirty pool. The latest candidate to be shocked shocked the conduct of his staff is Ohio 13 hopeful Craig Foltin whose staffer – on an alleged frolic of his own – tried to embed himself in Betty Sutton’s campaign. Open and Psychobilly have the details. I especially like the fact that said staffer tipped his hand in part because he used his actual email account instead of setting up a free dummy. You would think that after Foltin’s experience being recorded that he and his people would be a little more savvy to covering their electronic foot prints.

So Republicans are wearing Desperation®; should we stand pat? Certainly not. For one thing, J.Ken shying from the media indicates he is once again campaigning underground through church networks. He’s following the ’04 strategy – putting everything into turnout. Well turnout with a little suppression on the side. The point is, Dems have to get the voters to the polls. If they do, Ted should win barring some unexpected turn.