Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Updated from Nielsen 4:32p: TV viewers in the Cleveland market were exposed to the highest proportion of political TV ads (23.4%) over the last month. Ohio’s capital city Columbus placed a very close second in the ranking with an estimated 23.37% of paid ads bought by political entities. Columbus, Portland, Sacramento, and Seattle rounded out the top five.
We need more grown-ups in the process. Ones who understand there's life after an election and flaming the crap out of an opponent only destroys the process because it makes voters want to vomit.
It's time to hold the frat boys (and girls) who dream up these stupid campaigns accountable. In some sense, that's what happened Tuesday in at least two of the Summit County state representative races.
Brian Williams is and has been an honorable, thoughtful community leader and politician. So has Lynn Slaby. Kristina Daley Roegner cares about her community and wants to work to make it better. So does Mike Moran.
So why can't they articulate the vision instead of spending all their resources to re-define their opponent?
Case in point: the ads targeting Lynn Slaby as pro-NAFTA, can't-wait to unload American jobs overseas, and frothing at the mouth to layoff 40,000 teachers.
The problem with these Columbus-originated attack ads -- remarkably in line with the aggressive personal slash-and-burn "f-bomb" style of Ohio Democratic Party chief Chris Redfern -- is that Summit County voters were already familiar with Slaby. It was common to hear voters both Democrat and Republican observe that the Summit County Prosecutor and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had little to do with NAFTA when it was passed seventeen years ago.
This would have been the time for an adult to step up and remind the out-of-town creative advertising geniuses that voters really aren't that dumb, and they were going after someone people had voted for before, not a blank slate where "defining your opponent" would work.
Do negative attack ads work? Sometimes. Governor Strickland, handicapped by the worst economy in generations, had little choice but to present Congressman Kasich as a Wall Street insider. Where that strategy went astray is when Kasich re-defined the definition by pointing out the Lehman office wasn't on Wall Street but Columbus -- and then hammered his positive "morning in Ohio" message while standing at a crossroads.
Josh Mandel correctly earned the scorn heaped upon him for the despicable ads against Kevin Boyce in the campaign for State Treasurer, misleading voters to think Boyce was Muslim. The outrage -- across the board, mind you -- put Mandel on the defensive personally but he coasted in the election. Did he need to stoop so low to win against such an underfunded competitor? I worry that Mandel -- who led the statewide executive offices with the more than two million votes and the widest margin of victory -- won't heed the danger of just how much he hurt himself in the eyes of people who expected better. The electorate has a long memory when it comes to judging personal character, and in Mandel's case he's already disappointed and demeaned himself in a cakewalk. What would he be like when the contest is truly competitive? Mandel won, but at a cost of defining himself as a candidate who couldn't control his own message at a time when he didn't need to muddy himself or his opponent.
Here's the take Mandel had on the ad in October:
Look to the U.S. Senate contest. Rob Portman didn't need to attack Lee Fisher on a personal level, and set a higher standard in his advertising. Highlight Ohio's job creation record under Fisher was fair game because it reflected on policy and the record. Fisher himself, far behind with nothing to lose by going extreme negative, instead took a higher role even in defeat by staying on issue, tying Portman to trade policies that two years ago would have worked. But he remained on message and even employed humor in the closing days. Lee Fisher may have lost the race, but at least he could look at himself in the mirror the next morning with honor intact.
Would the three Akron issues that lost -- 11, 16 and 17 -- have had a better chance if supporters, funded mostly by Akron's corporations, concentrated not on getting even with opponents but presenting their reasoning to reasonable people? Or has the political discourse sunk to the level where only personal attacks and vituperative rhetoric cuts through the clutter of the voter's mindset to set the issue?
According to their campaign finance filing, Citizens for Akron spent money that came largely from Akron's corporate interests -- led by FirstEnergy, GOJO, Goodyear, Roetzel and Andress, Brouse McDowell, Thomarios -- amassing $86,000 to get that message across. There's an irony that increasing campaign spending limits was helped largely by a campaign funded almost exclusively by corporate campaign contributions.
I can't imagine any of those companies using a similar strategy marketing a new product or service to their customers. In the realm of community service and public debate, however, they willingly underwrote the smear strategy targeting the usual group of critics. Think this type of campaign is employed by these companies when their own names are on the ad?
The Beacon Journal was right, in it's "Covered In Mud" editorial of November 1, to point out:
"It is most disappointing, then, that Citizens for Akron, a group promoting the amendments, has chosen the very low road of personal attacks. In a mailing, ''Busted,'' it dishes dirt on a group of opponents dubbed a ''gang of scoundrels.''
In a political season that has produced its share of tripe and worse, ''Busted'' ranks among the lowest. It is classless. It is cheap. It is irrelevant to the pros and cons of the issues at stake. It does not advance the worthy cause it seeks to promote.We in the media need to do a better job of holding the political ad fraternity to task for these ads. Voters need to do a better job of holding the candidates and political parties -- and yes, the companies and individuals who write the checks used to slime somebody accountable for smear strategies.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Now comes the hard part.
The campaigning itself isn't evil -- it's just what people do with it. Millions upon millions spent on vapid commercials, mailbox stuffers, pre-recorded phone calls got us to November 2.
Now it's November 3, and time to figure out just where the hell we go now with a deficit in the billions (yes, Billions with a B) forecast in Columbus and the ongoing deficit in the trillions (yes, Trillions with a T) in Washington likely to dominate every public policy discussion for at least the next five months.
Why five months? Because between now and swearing-in January, politics is about the transition, measuring office space, sending out resumes for political appointments if you've got an R tagged to your name and sending out resumes for real jobs if you've got a D tagged to your name.
Give both sides a couple more months to puff and fluff and do the positioning dance, then they'll be ready to start doing business by the time spring baseball season starts. So how exactly does one go about doing the right thing with the wounds of that hatchet in the back still fresh?
By taking the high road, of course, and following the advice of more seasoned hands who've both won and lost before. Put it behind us. Be true to who we are, but re-introduce the respect we expect from others into our dealings with our political enemies -- remembering people with differing viewpoints are still our fellow citizens, even friends, likely neighbors and certainly interested in making life in Ohio and America better for us, ours, you and yours.
I liked this email that came out of yesterday's election results. Brian Rothenberg heads up Ohio's Progressives -- they go further than the standard Democrat positions. He rightfully doesn't apologize for what he believes, but he does at least dial back the usual hyperbole pre-election and helps set the tone for what a loyal opposition should be doing: respecting the process the owners of the country use to set a direction, while still making sure their voices and observations are part of the debate.
Well done, Brian.
- - -
Over the haze of coffee this morning, surveying the news and election results, I did find someone who had it worse:
- A Zimbabwean has been killed by a pride of lions while he was showering in a camp in the country's north.
So, fellow progressives, there were winners and losers yesterday, but we live another day. The guy in Zimbabwe had it much, much worse.
We'll leave analysis to others for now. Instead we ask our new Governor-elect to help answer these 10 lingering questions we have, as we move forward as Ohioans, Americans and citizens:
10. Redistricting: Many leaders, including Chairman Kevin DeWine and Secretary of State-elect Jon Husted, have long championed a fair and balanced approach to redistricting. Now that the GOP has control of the Apportionment Board, will you and Secretary Husted advocate for those issues in a consistent manner?
9. Reaching Out: Much was made about the tone of the campaign. Victory however was both narrow and sweeping. Will you reach out to the minority caucuses in the legislature? Will you reach out to ideological opponents? In short, will you govern to bring Ohioans into the room or perpetuate the politics of exclusion that has permeated Washington, D.C.?
8. Presidential Politics: Obviously there is now split government between Ohio's Statehouse and the Obama White House. Will the coming presidential campaign interfere with solutions in the face of national politics?
7. Higher Education: Much has been made of the Third Frontier Program and the work of Universities and private businesses in creating jobs. Will you continue the Third Frontier? Will you create measurable goals? Will you provide adequate ethical and administrative oversight of job development money in the University structure?
6. Primary Education: You've indicated we'll be increasing the role of charter schools in the state. Will you keep the Race to the Top money? Will you keep or increase the oversight of charter schools, particularly for-profit schools, in order to protect the usage of our state money? What other education issues are your
5. LGBT Rights: You have long been open as a conservative to some social issues. Will you continue the Governor's executive order about LGBT discrimination in executive departments? And will you champion legislation in this area to provide LGBT anti-discrimination provisions in Ohio code?
4. Business-Friendly: Ohio is now 'open for business.' What does that mean? What ethical and legal parameters will you put in place to make sure that being business friendly doesn't veer off into Noe-land?
3. Renewable Energy: You have indicated support for Governor Strickland's renewable energy programs after first expressing concerns. However, you've also come out for drilling in Lake Erie. Do you see Ohio being a leader in the clean energy field? What, if anything, will you do to emphasize job development in that sector?
2. Privatization: You have hinted at privatization. What exactly are we selling/leasing/shedding? Can you assure us these aren't one-time fixes that will cost us more in the long run? Which leads us to'¦
1. The Budget: Ok, you've said there will be no new taxes to fill the $8 billion budget hole. Now that the election is over, we need to know, how are you going to fix it?
Will individuals continue to bear so much of the tax burden compared to businesses? Will you use one time funds, including federal funds? Will you maintain needed services at the state level and not just shift government and tax burdens to the local level?
You are now in the same boat as Barack Obama was two years ago. You've won a long, difficult campaign and have large majorities in both bodies of legislature. Unemployment, the budget, education, and all of the other problems facing our great state lie squarely at your feet.
We stand ready, willing and able to work with you.
Where we disagree with you, it is our right and our duty to voice our concerns. Where we can find common ground for the good of our State '“ and yes there will be moments of common ground '“ we will seize those moments.
In the end we are all Ohioans who live breath, work and dream together. Let our role be a productive one, and let us hope for all of us, that advocacy and understanding can lead to a better place for all of us.Brian Rothenberg
Executive Director, ProgressOhio.org