Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Return of the SMH

She's baaaack. Jill first told us that Shopping Mall Heiress Capri Cafaro is in the mix for succeeding State Senator Marc Dann who was elected Attorney General. The party chairs for the two districts that comprise the district – Trumbull and Ashtabula – will turn in names to the Senate Dem Caucus which will make the ultimate decision.

Dann has endorsed Cafaro giving her the inside track. Interesting because as recently as two days ago he was quoted in the Ashtabula paper as saying he would stay out of the fray. A rival for the post, Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood, says that Dann promised his endorsement would go to whoever helped his campaign the most. Um, Ms. Harwood, that would fall under the category of Statements Everyone Knows to Be True but Nobody Wants Said Out Loud.

Apparently I’m supposed to be annoyed by this. I’m not. First off, it would be pretty dickheaded of me to condemn Cafaro getting to the Statehouse since my position in the 13th Primary was that Cafaro should get her feet wet in the Statehouse before making a run at Congress. Avoiding dickheadedness is never a sufficient reason for me to hew to a position, but it’ll do for a makeweight.

Mostly I’m good with it because I think Capri would make a good legislator. She is smart, hard working and has a fair swatch of varied experience. Her flame burns too brightly to imagine her toiling as a researcher at a think tank or serving as a Legislative Assistant somewhere. If, as she says, she really desires a career in public service, it’s time to give her the chance.

The question remains whether this is a good move electorally. Only a fool would predict the climate in 2008, but safe to say it will not be the skating party for Democrats that the past election season was. Rivals are making dark noises about her father’s corruption conviction and association with Traficant. That’s not good, and probably is worse in Trumbull and Ashtabula than it would be in Mahoning where Traficant was more beloved and tolerated, and worse than in Lorain where he was just a guy people read about.

In addition, some of her comments in the paper suggest that Capri is not past the combative prickliness that turned so many around here off. No, she hasn’t threatened to sue anyone yet but her responses to charges that money plays a part in the decision have been shrill and petulant.

The district collectively went 59.4% for Kerry in ’04. It should be a safe seat. Cafaro is absolutely done if she gets appointed and loses it. She’ll have to work hard to keep it. If she’s smart, she’ll start a permanent campaign as soon as she’s appointed.

My guess: This is already wired. The Warren paper has a good rundown of the Family Cafaro’s generosity toward the various individuals and entities that will be making the decision. Capri may object to charges that the seat is being bought for her, but the seat is being bought for her. It just happens that she brings real talent to the job. Appointments going to contributors is a longstanding fact of politics. We’re big boys and girls; we can handle that. We're just happy when a patronage appointment goes to someone with actual ability.

The only remaining question – if the seat goes to Stabile Harwood instead of Cafaro, will Cafaro get the resulting vacant House seat?


Anonymous said...

Good analysis! Lots of questions, many of which I should be concerned with, but, being in distant Trumbull County (somewhere out there beyond the dark side of the moon), I'm not too concerned with. In the past you've pointed out Cafaro's less than shiny past, but I strongly believe that the sins of the father should never be held against their offspring.

And perhaps in a few years if she wants to run for congressional office again, she'll have a resume to present to the voters this time...

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't be held against her?

She admitted to have helped bribe a Congressman and a US Senator. She wrote and signed the bribe checks! Yes, they bribed by check. Idiots.

This is great. The party that is supposed to end corruption now welcomes it into the family.

This is not the way for the Dems to start things off.

Tim Ferris said...

I tend to agree with Mike. There are just certain things a decent community doesn't do.

Anonymous said...

All you need to know about Trumbull and mahoning County politics can be found in the novel SWAP by Sam Moffie.