Wednesday, November 3, 2010


All the screaming, crying, kicking, mud-slinging, lying, shading the truth, spinning the facts and trying to drown out other viewpoints is over.

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:

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,

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