Ohio Countdown 2004

2004 Presidential battleground analyzed by a grizzled campaign veteran and Ohio's Top Targeted Undecided Perfectly Predictive Swing Voter - His Mom.


Giving Blogs a Bad Name

Ever thought bloggers were insane? Here's proof.


First Step - Raze ODP

Before yesterday, the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) was a pathetic joke. We never thought it could get worse. It got worse.

Not only is Ohio responsible for Kerry's loss, as apocalyptic as that may be. Our US Senate candidate received 36% of the vote. We lost every challenge to Republicans in Congress. We lost every state judicial race, including all Ohio Supreme Court races.

The presidency hinges on Ohio, and will continue to do so. Every Democrat in the country has a duty to raise the call, loud and clear. Raze ODP, and start from scratch.

What Happened? A 5 O'Clock Lull

No one's conceding yet, but......

I'm still trying to figure out how you win PA, MI, WI....and lose Ohio?!?!?! Here's one way.

In my circuit of African American polling places in Cleveland on election day, it was clear early in the day that a massive turnout was underway. The morning was so packed, pollworkers were starting to lose it.

As everyone knows, Democrats vote late. If our turnout spiked so high in the morning, the evening rush, 4-7.30, was going to be massive. Exit polls started leaking out about 3, and showed Kerry ahead in Ohio....before our evening rush.

But then the turnout started disappearing. At 5 p.m. I was sitting in an African American precinct surrounded by empty voting machines and tired pollworkers. Just like that....it just fizzled.

Ohio Still Close, GW Dividing Again

The margin as of 8 a.m. is about 135,000 votes. There are about that many provisional ballots outstanding, some counties provisionals not reported, plus overseas abentees.

O.K.....I'm gonna take a deep breath. Here goes.

Yet again, we await some leadership from George W. Bush. If he were a leader, he would make a statement that he plans to wait to see what the certification in Ohio will be, that he asks Senator Kerry to do the same. That would unite the country.

Instead, I fully expect that he will arrogantly declare victory, tell Kerry to concede, and tell everyone to stop counting votes.

So much for being a uniter, not a divider. What a missed opportunity.


Mom Voting For Kerry, Bakes Cookies For Pollworkers

Race is over. Mom's voting for Kerry.

She even spent all day Monday baking pumpkin cookies for the old lady pollworkers, which I will deliver as an election day challenger. Why? Because if it comes down to me with cookies vs. some college republican waving the Ohio Revised Code in the air, who do you think gets the benefit of the doubt?

Ohio Prediction - Kerry by 1.8

Kerry will win Ohio by 1.8 points or more on November 2. How do I get there?

The Columbus Dispatch poll, the only poll that really matters, the one poll in Ohio that is never wrong, had the race at exactly 50-50 on Sunday. Out of a sample of 2,888, Kerry got 8 more votes. Not 8%...8 votes.

That means Kerry wins. Period.

In 1992, the most comparable year, Clinton won Ohio by 1.5%. Democratic GOTV in Ohio in tight presidential years is historically good for at least 2-3 points on the last Dispatch poll. This year, it may be good for more than that. With the higher turnout, both among R's and D's, this will bring the final margin to about 2 points.

Take it to the bank. Your next president is John F. Kerry. Hail to the chief.

Election Day Weather Will Be Complete Crap - STILL WON'T MATTER

The latest forecast for Northeast Ohio on election day is about as bad as it gets. Chilly with heavy rain and strong wind all day. Only way it could be worse is if it was snow.

Guess what...it doesn't matter!

When John Kerry wins Ohio and the presidency on November 2, it will be that much sweeter, because we will be able to say to our Republican friends....

You stole the presidency in 2000.
You were given the most united country of our lifetimes after September 11.
You concocted a war to run on.
You dressed Bush up to play soldier for the sole purpose of a TV commercial.
You kept him away from reporters so he wouldn't embarrass himself.
You drew your dream matchup against a liberal senator from Massachusetts.
You had double digit leads in the polls all year, as late as October.
You tried to steal it AGAIN.
You even had shitty ass weather on election day in the most important states...



PD Only Undecided Voter Left In Ohio

You know how pundits like to say that they can't imagine how anyone, ANYONE AT ALL, could POSSIBLY still be undecided this election year? Apparently that doesn't apply to the Plain Dealer.

In the most un-plain dealing I've ever read in a newspaper, the PD decided today to endorse neither John Kerry, nor George Bush for president. No endorsement. I'm not sure this has ever happened in Cleveland history.

Make whatever conclusion you will about this pussy rollover, irresponsible lilly-livered, yellow bellied, weak in the knees, cowardly, pathetic, idiotic irrelevance...I shall withhold judgment.

But the rumor is that the paper's owner vetoed an ed board decision to endorse Kerry. Why not just report that? That, after all, would be news.


Blog Offline - Blogger On Duty

Apologies for the dusty appearance of the blog lately. I've got better things to do.

Since last week, I've been volunteering with the Kerry campaign's voter protection efforts. It's a full time job trying to prevent electoral manipulation. So the blog is going dark. I guess you can say the OhioCountdown2004 has countdowned to zero.

I might be able to get Mom to post once or twice before the election. We'll see. By the way...she's made up her mind. She's voting for Kerry.

Next entry will be celebrating a Kerry victory. Now get your asses out there and help make it happen.


Jeb Bush & Ohio's Blackwell On Same Page

Republican voter suppression is a national strategy. There has to be a memo somewhere to prove it.

Exhibit A. Jeb Bush's appearance on This Week with George Stephanopolous tipped the Republicans' hand on their national voter suppression strategy. Stephanopolous pressed Jeb on the impression that Florida's vote will be flawed, and in the classic Bush petulance we all know and hate, he alleged all sorts of things have been done to insure a fair vote. Including, (he said this almost under his breath) allowing "provisional voting for voters not on the list but in the right precinct."

It just so happens that Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has hung his voter suppression hat on exactly the same thing...allowing only provisional voting for voters who aren't on the list and can prove they live in the precinct covered by the polling place.

Most people don't know which House district they live in, let alone which precinct. New voters showing up and not being on the list (i.e. without having been sent a voter registration card confirming their polling place and precinct...a regular occurance) are highly unlikely to be turning up in their correct precicnt. Under Jeb's and Blackwell's strategy, they don't get to vote.

This strategy was struck down by a federal court in Toledo. Blackwell is appealling to federal circuit court.

Also, people forget....Ken Blackwell was the black face of Florida 2000. He was on the air constantly as the only black person willing to defend the inevitable march of electoral fraud in Florida in 2000. He is not some innocent attempting to enforce fair election law.

The Springer Interview

At the Starbucks in Cleveland’s warehouse district where Jerry Springer and I sat down to talk, people regularly stopped to wave and ask Jerry when he was going to run for office.

They didn’t mention his TV show.

Perhaps the mere act of publicly considering whether or not to run for office has begun to overcome the most vocal criticism of his potential candidacy; that he is, in fact, Jerry Springer.

“They’re snoots,” Springer notes with a smile of the people who keep harping about the show. “No one brings up the show as I travel the state.” The claim would be hard to believe, except that it held up, at least during my half hour with Springer.

Springer is clearly frustrated by the talk of his TV show, even seems exhausted by having to address his TV persona. He asserts that the only people who care about the TV show are the media and his potential opponents.

We spent the half hour talking about how he gets over that hurdle, even if it might be disappearing. “I start by pleading guilty,” Springer says. “You know what, you’re right. I’m the biggest sleazeball there is. Now let’s talk about how to fix Ohio.”

Springer firmly believes that once he puts his case to the voters, they will make their judgment based on policy not personality. “If I run, the show will have been off the air for almost two years,” said Springer. “Once I start campaigning, there’s no way the average voter will not here my message. And then the people will vote on what’s best for the state.”

He firmly rejects the label of liberal, preferring “populist.” “I’m as much of a populist as Howard Metzenbaum,” he agreed, Metzenbaum being perhaps the most liberal US Senator Ohio ever elected. When asked if he thought Ohio was ready to go back to a Metzenbaum liberal, Springer said, “Ohio’s ready to go back to someone who’s not a politician.”

If elected, Springer plans to get around the Republican Caveman Caucus in the state legislature largely through ballot referendums. “Once I’m governor, we’re gonna hold a referendum on a plan to rebuild Ohio, let the people keep the Republican legislature from destroying the state’s chances of moving forward.”

A confident Springer left the coffee house looking every bit the candidate for governor. And along the way, a guy driving a bus beeped and waved at him. Someone walking by smiled and waved. It’s hard to imagine any of Springer’s potential opponents being even recognized, let alone greeted warmly on the street.


Coming Soon...The Exclusive Springer Interview

OhioCountdown2004 scored an exclusive interview with Jerry Springer, talk show host and soon to be candidate for Ohio Governor in 2006. Stay tuned.

2004 Ohio Voting Already in Federal Appeals Court

Ohio Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell lost his case to prevent provisional voting in Ohio yesterday. Guess what. He appealed to federal circuit court.

Is this depressing or what? We are more than two weeks away from election day, and Republicans are fighting in federal court like a litigious Joseph Stalin to keep people from voting. I don't know whether to be happy that Democrats are fighting back, or heartbroken that we have to.


Mom Watches Debate "on and off", Is Counting Yard Signs

Disengaging as most swing voters probably are, my mom flipped between the final debate and baseball games last night. She still says she isn't gonna vote, but left the door open just a touch, in her own, endearing way.

Mom is counting yard signs in the neighborhood to determine how she will vote. Not an unusual practice.....but somewhat infuriating, nonetheless.

So memo to the Kerry campaign....time to ratchet up the ground war. Get those yard signs out in Middleburg Hts., Ohio!! (especially on Sheldon road between Fry and Engle)


Beating Republican Fraud in 1992

All the talk of the impending electoral manipulation reminded me of a story from my 1992 campaign experience.

File it under, "Warm & Fuzzy Ways to Beat Republican Electoral Fraud."

Five a.m. Election day, November 3, 1992. The AFSCME guys roared into the parking lot like a cavalry in a motorcade of cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, piercing the pre dawn calm. Hearty union handshakes lit the fuse, we got some boxes out of the trunk, smiles all around, more nervous energy, the rattle of keys. G‘morning gentlemen, we brought coffee and donuts! You can always count on union guys for coffee and donuts at five in the morning on election day…very grassroots.

We charged toward the front door, as more cars started pulling into the parking lot. A guy turned the key with a military precision and we marched in, fanning out into the building with purpose, flipping on the lights, dropping our jackets on chairs. Grabbed a hot cup of coffee. Took the first sip on the move, all of us darting straight for a windowless conference room, painted the typical union-hall light lime green gloss with a dingy old grey carpet. Someone snapped on the lights.

Tables were arranged in a rectangle, chairs set behind them facing into the rectangle, and twenty phones placed on them and wired to twenty individual jacks in the walls behind the chairs. A flip chart was in the corner, and a big board with a giant chart hung on the wall listing all 88 counties and 20 congressional districts in the state of Ohio.

A staffer brought in a fax machine and fired it up. Another staffer brought in a computer and printer and had it up and running in seconds. Someone plugged in a few extra mobile phone batteries to charge them for use during the day, a coffee machine was quickly stoked up. Top campaign staff took up space in another office with election lawyers and shut the door behind them. Staff and volunteers soon filled the election day headquarters to capacity as all the phones began ringing well before sunrise, a sunrise no one inside even noticed.

The boiler room was up and running. A location kept secret from everyone except for a few key staff until last night, this temporary nerve center would serve as the campaign headquarters for the day. Anything that happened in the state on election day – a problem, a crisis, good news or bad, rumor or fact - would pass up a chain of command and bubble up through the phones in this room, and instructions for dealing with it would pass down out of it. In the other direction, if Governor Clinton or Senator Gore wanted to talk to the campaign in Ohio, they would call this room.

History had taught the old timers at the head of this operation that things tend to go curiously wrong on election day at the usual headquarters…oddly timed electricity outages, or floods, or jammed phone lines. To avoid this sort of chicanery, it had become tradition to move the entire operation of the statewide campaign, for one day, to a secret location. Many weeks and thousands of dollars had gone into planning the boiler room; it would be empty in 15 hours.

The phones around the room were scheduled to ring periodically throughout the day with reports from the field, which would then be analyzed to guide quick decisions on redeployment of resources like volunteers and phone banks, the ground troops that were the final opportunity to make a difference. Is turnout high? Low? Average? Where? Where can we put more last minute canvassing resources? Is there a group of volunteers who can be redeployed to make a difference somewhere else? Numbers would be reported and plugged into the computer which would churn out projections for the result. Other phones were dedicated to gathering exit polling information from around the country. Was this state becoming more critical? Less? Were we winning? Losing? By how much?

The early adrenalin rush quickly settled into grim determination, the day passing long and slow. Volunteers were scheduled in and out in shifts all day, creating constant traffic. Staff were too busy to leave the room very much. Handling calls, averting crises, collecting information, a break to get outside was rare. So rare that sunlight was novel.

“Hey, sunlight….,” I remarked upon walking out the front door for a stretch, at a time of day only identifiable as not night. “…turned out to be a nice day.” Numb observation was the limit of my capacity to respond to my surroundings in the moments between crises that day; a punch drunk fighter in a daze from which I would jump into action at the sound of a telephone ringing.

It started to get hot in the room after a while, and a fan was brought in to cool the place down, some of us stripped down to our t-shirts, the bitter faint aroma of perspiration constant. Volunteers ferried supplies and food and refreshments in and out. Empty coffee cups and pizza boxes piled up. Papers and notes and office supplies scattered all over. People on phones, talking in a low voice, partly to stay calm, partly out of courtesy, partly out of fatigue. The pain in my left wrist grew from holding the phone to my ear, my right hand propping up my weary head, alternately rubbing my temples or wiping the sweat from my brow, then writing down precinct numbers, turnout figures, phone numbers, the static of the ongoing operation blinking across my fingers like blips on a radar screen, the prospect of a knife edge victory or defeat crackling through every moment.

The sun went down (no one noticed that, either). Reports kept coming in that confirmed it was close…real close. The thick tension was often shattered by the profanity laced tirade of a frustrated staffer, or a stir-crazy period of jokes and laughter. Things were getting thrown against the walls, tempers were flaring. The polls were due to close in less than two hours, and still, no one really knew what the outcome would be in Ohio, or nationally.

When a landslide is underway, campaign staff start winding down early, relaxing, taking off for a shower and change of clothes for the election night party; when it’s a nail biter, campaign staff wind up, the phones never stop ringing, the staff trying to find just one more thing to do, one more angle of activity that might get one or two more voters in line at the end of the day. That evening in 1992 a heavy weight of responsibility kept the boiler room just below boiling point, the presidency of the United States of America most probably in the balance.
Just before the polls closed, I heard someone speaking urgently into his phone across from me.

“Do NOT leave that polling place. You stay there until we can figure out a way to get you some help,” he insisted. “We’ve got over an hour until the polls close so keep those voters there.”

I tried to listen to him while simultaneously taking turnout numbers on another call, when suddenly, he stopped. “What?” The dire tone of the call caught the state field director’s attention as he sat in his chair, looking at turnout figures, and he turned his head to listen.

“You’re fucking joking…...” he lowered his voice to a whisper. “I can’t believe this……did you call the emergency attorney?”

“Let me call you right back,” I said to the guy on the other end of my phone, and hung up. The field director dispatched a volunteer to the room where the attorneys were posted.

Soon all the staffers were listening to the urgent conversation. “What did he say? O.K., stay there. DO NOT LEAVE. Just keep them in line.”

Another staffer on another phone seemed to be having a similar problem. “Calm down, calm down. O.K., now tell me again what happened?” He paused and looked over at the field director. Covering the phone’s mouthpiece with his hand, the staffer said to the field director in a whisper, so the room full of volunteers couldn’t hear.

“You’re not gonna believe this…they’re trying to close a few precincts early. I’ve got a volunteer on the line now at a precinct with dozens of people in line to vote, and the chair is trying to shut it down with more than an hour left.”

“This guy is tellin’ me the same thing.” Adrenalin began pumping again. “This is probably happening all over the state.”

“O.K.,” the field director muttered. “O.K…” A brief pause. “Did they call their election day attorneys?”

“Yeah, but we gotta do something…we gotta do something,” the staffer blurted out. “They can call their attorneys, but that’s not going to keep those people in line.”

The din of 20 people on phones was drowning out the frantic whispers. We all sat there for about 15 seconds, looking at the floor in deep thought and concern. All the staffers were getting more and more nervous waiting for the field director’s instructions, starting to panic.

“Those people aren’t going to last long. It’s cold, it’s windy…..they’re just gonna head home.”

We soon pieced together what was going on. Republican-controlled polling places in every corner of the state, possibly organized statewide, were trying to keep people in line from voting by locking up early. Democrats vote late; especially black Democrats. Every one of the voters in line were likely Clinton/Gore voters. Republican-controlled precincts in black areas attempting to close early would keep out hundreds, maybe thousands of Democrat votes statewide.

It was another confirmation that the result was agonizingly close. They wouldn’t pull this kind of crap if it wasn’t. It also indicated that they were desperate. Which meant that while it was probably close, we were probably winning.

The realization that we might be winning didn’t take long to make it around the boiler room. We’re gonna win. If we keep these people in line, we’re gonna win. We’re gonna fucking win. The field director kept looking at the ground, seated at the head of the rectangular table, not making a move. The staffers around him were all nerves, some pacing, some rubbing their foreheads, some looking at the ground themselves. All we need is one, last, little push…but how? The second hand of the analog clock on the wall ticked off the seconds one by one, audible for the first time. Ok…Ok…..how do we keep a bunch of people in line, standing outside in the cold waiting to vote, how do we keep them there until they actually get in and vote?

With a snap, someone lifted his gaze from the floor, and looked at the field director with a mischievous smile.


“Donuts?” replied the field director. “….donuts….” He began to sit up in his chair.

“Donuts. Donuts and coffee,” I said to myself with a cheesy grin.

“I NEED A VOLUNTEER WITH A CAR RIGHT NOW!” shouted the field director. He waved two volunteers over. The whole staff started smiling uncontrollably, perking up in their chairs while reaching for their phones, half softly singing the word “donuts” to themselves, half singing “we’re gonna win”, as they hurried to relay the instructions to the rest of the state.

The field director stood up, took my hand and slapped a wad of cash into it, got up close to my face, looked me in the eye with a steely determination, and said, “get ‘em out there,” then headed to the room with the attorneys in it. I took the two volunteers aside.

“Take this money,” I said, handing them the cash, “go and buy a bunch of donuts, maybe six dozen or something, and buy coffee too.”

The volunteers looked confused. “Six dozen??” they asked.

“Maybe more. No less. Which precinct are they going to?” I shouted to the staffer in charge of the local organizing, who handed me a slip of paper with addresses on it. “First go to this precinct, then go to this one.” The volunteers took the money and the info in silent puzzlement.

I got right up in their faces, as if instructing them to go over the top of a trench with bayonets fixed. “O.k….There are dozens of people in line at each of these precincts. Your job is to distribute donuts and coffee to the voters in line, and make sure NOT A SINGLE VOTER LEAVES until they vote. It may take a while, you might be there for a couple of hours, but you have to stay there until they vote. Got it?”

The light bulb went on. “Oh, we got it allright,” they confirmed, aggressively turning to get their jackets.

“Dress warm, bundle up, take some stickers, some buttons, wear a bumper sticker on your back, make sure they know who’s bringing the coffee.”

“You got it,” they called back on their way out the door.

The entire room, volunteers and staff, was now barking into the phones, calling coordinators throughout the state with the same instructions. Donuts. Donuts and coffee. NOW. Fast. Don’t leave until they all vote. Every last fucking vote.

In a flurry spanning about ten minutes, hundreds, perhaps thousands of donuts and cups of coffee began heading to hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters standing in lines outside of cold and crowded polling places all over the state of Ohio, as attorneys filed injunctions to keep the polling places open until all those standing in line could vote.

The action was now in the streets; nothing more could be done from the boiler room. Donuts and coffee started to appear in the lobby of the AFSCME office, and as they arrived a team of volunteers would be sent out into the night to a polling place. In no time, the boiler room was empty, papers strewn all over the place, phones unmanned, having stopped ringing because the people who might be calling were all at polling places handing out donuts, too.

Republican Burglars Hit Toledo

Desperation is setting in among Republicans, and their ugly side is starting to show. Democratic HQ in Toledo was broken into yesterday...the thieves stole key computers and ransacked the office.

Ohio Vote Supression 101 - Target The New Voters

The Bush Cheney campaign is taking dead aim at the newly registered voters in Ohio. How? Ohio election law gives them an opening, and Ohio's Republican secretary of state is doing his best Katherine Harris impersonation in order to plow a Mack truck through it.

Like most state election laws, Ohio provides for "challengers" at each polling place, representatives of the political parties who have the right to challenge a voter's eligibility. Challenges may be made on the grounds that the elector is not a citizen, has not been resident for thirty days prior to the election, is not of legal age, or....here's the kicker...is not a resident of the precinct or county where the voter has appeared to vote.

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's recent directive on provisional ballots ties this all together, hinging on the linch pin of precinct residency.

Provisional ballots are special ballots for voters who show up to vote, believe they are registered, but their names do not appear on the precinct list. Such voters are given provisional ballots on which to vote, which are set aside from the normally cast ballots at the precinct and not counted with the other ballots. In the period between election day and the certification of final results, election officials further inspect the ballots to determine if the voters are indeed registered, then the legitimate ballots are counted, the others discarded.

Blackwell's directive orders that provisional ballots will only be given to voters who can prove that, while they are not on the list, they do live in the precinct covered by the polling place. It also orders that if such ballots are cast in spite of the order (Cuyahoga County has said it will ignore this directive), provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct will not be counted.

Over 200,000 new voters have registered in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) since 2000. Most have been in poor black neighborhoods, where people move around a lot. It is likely that many new voters will merely go to the polling place nearest their current address, not necessarily the polling place for the address at which they may have registered one year ago, or even 6 months ago, out of convenience and lack of information.

It is also likely that such voters will be showing up to the precinct with little time on their hands to go and find the correct precinct in which to vote. Most such voters have jobs, children, day care, and other responsibilities, forcing them to squeeze voting into whatever spare minute they have...probably at the end of the day, when polls are about to close.

The gauntlet for new voters doesn't end there. A vague ID requirement for the new voters is still to be clarified - what constitutes valid ID? Driver's license? Utility bills? Who has to provide ID? If you moved and re-registered, does your registration in the new precinct make you a "new" voter, triggering an ID requirement? If you are registered in more than one place (likely, as voter lists are rarely purged in a timely manner), does this make your provisional ballot illegally cast?

With all this vaguery, it's not hard to see how the Bush Cheney operation might work. Challenge every voter's residency, demand ID from everyone, scaring off many of them, and forcing as many voters as possible to cast provisional ballots, knowing that Blackwell will not count them. In this way, they can suppress black turnout during election day, and if there is a recount, thousands of provisional ballots in Cuyahoga County (the Democratic base) will not be counted.

The true irony is that many of the rules being cited to launch such voter suppression operations are from the post-Florida Recount Help America Vote Act (HAVA). You thought No Child Left Behind was a joke...try HAVA on for size, now being used by Republican secretaries of state across america, not just in Ohio, taking wrinkles in registration requirements and working them to supress turnout.

These fuckers are clever, you have to give them that. Fasten your seatbelts.


Mom Losing Interest, May Not Even Vote!

My mother's super predictive voting behavior is sometimes just plain scary. As I expected, she has grown tired of watching the debates...she didn't watch the second Kerry-Bush debate, and says she will not watch the third. Despite getting more mail from ACT, she hasn't commented on it, either here or otherwise. She is disengaging.

Note - this is entirely normal - yes, blogging world, not everyone is obsessed with this election.

But here's the kicker - she says she's so disgusted now, she's not going to vote! This mirrors the commonly held theory that if someone is still undecided at this late date, they may simply not vote.

No worries, though...it may be time for a little puppy-eyed, "c'mon, ma" persuasion from the Democratic son. But in the broader world, one wonders which candidate loses most when voters are so disgusted with the election they simply opt out. My guess is that the incumbent usually suffers most from this.


O Springer Where Art Thou?

If you were one to panic...here's a whopper. Eric Fingerhut, running against Republican George Voinovich, is currently polling at around 34% to Voinovich's 64%. Is it a drag on John Kerry? Who knows. Such numbers, bad as they sound, Ohio D's are used to seeing with depressing regularity.

The pining for Jerry Springer's gubernatorial candidacy in 2006 gets more urgent and desperate the more we hear numbers like these. Save us Obi-wan....I mean Jerry. You're our only hope.


Bloggers Lose Their Minds, Credibility

There's been a lot of talk about how 2004 is the year of the blog, and how bloggers are having this huge effect on the campaign. It's amazing how quickly such influence can be squandered on complete lunacy.

This thing about how the wrinkle in Bush's jacket in the first debate was some kind of wire...are you people insane? You really think that the president of the United Fucking States would go on national television with a communications device hidden in his suit? You people have been watching way too many movies.

It's the old problem that us lefty leaning types have always struggled with...our inner instinct to leap to conspiracy theories and knee jerk silliness overshadows our legitimate arguments.

Fellas. Please. Stop with the nonsense. There are enough good reasons to vote for John Kerry and kick out GW. It's not necessary to create science fiction.


Congressman Ryan givin' 'em hell

Who said that C-SPAN was boring? I can't really recall when I last heard spontaneous applause erupt in the US House chamber, let alone in support of a FRESHMAN...

Tim Ryan, D-OH17 (Traficant's old district), served notice that Democrats, having recently rediscovered their backbone, intend to keep it. Here's Tim on the floor on the Bush administration's promise to not re-instate the draft.



I got tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. You did this and you did this and you didn't do this and you didn't do this.. ... I was board to death... And another thing... Answer the question... Don't go back to the last question... I don't think they are helping me at all to make my decision for what candidate to vote for .


Watering Hole at VP Debate

As a Case Western Reserve University Law School grad, here's hoping that the trial lawyer on campus Tuesday night does us all proud. Note to reporters....best place to get a beer on campus is called the Barking Spider, right behind the coffee house on Juniper. Hard to find, but definitely a can't miss.



The reason I am so undecided is that I like somethings Bush stands for and somethings Kerry stands for. I like that Bush is strong when it comes to terrorists. I like the fact that he stands up to Korea and anyone else who wants a part of the USA.... I believe you have to be that way or these countries will walk all over you.. Be stronger and firm and willing to negotiate.....
Now Kerry comes across as to nonchalant as far as the terrorists are concern.. I know he served somewhat in Viet Nam... But her comes across as a weak leader where terrorist are concerned. He just isn't convincing me he would be strong in that area... I like that he wants to keep jobs in the USA not sent them elsewhere... Just some of the things that make me undecided.....



Both men came across as very knowledgeable and intelligent. I wish I could clone my candidate and take what I like about each and make my own candidate.... Unrealistic! Maybe, but they both are great men and only time will tell who will win and be able to put their plan in motion and succeed at it.....



What do you think this debate about national security is going to prove????? Nothing
The reason I think this is because you would have to know all that is going on and I don 't think we do or should know ... Some things need to be kept quiet and not broadcasted over all the networks. Bush can't tell us everything. And Kerry doesn't know everything....

NY Times Chart Shows how Ohio D's are blowing away Ohio R's on new voter registrations. Posted by Hello


NY Times Confirms Stealth Voters in Ohio

The mainstream media is starting to wake up to the reality on the ground in the swing states. Analyzing Ohio and Florida new voter registrations, the New York Times did a story today which essentially confirms what a lot of us have realized for a very long time...there are more D's than R's out there, and D's are registering to vote in far greater numbers than R's, often at rates more than triple the rate of R registrations.

One of the more startling numbers...D affiliated groups have registered over 300,000 new voters in Ohio...essentially adding a potential D turnout the size of Cleveland's to the voting rolls.

By the way...none of these new voters ever register in any polling.


Cleveland Ranks #1 Again...in Poverty

When you read stuff like this, it's hard to imagine Bush winning Ohio.

In merely the latest mainstream media story about the patheticness of Cleveland (ESPN most tortured sports city designation springs to mind), a new survey found Cleveland to be the nation's poorest big city.


2004 Election Soooo Votergasmic

The election has gone loopy. Votergasm.com asks everyone to pledge to have sex with a voter on election night—and withhold sex from non-voters until the next presidential election.

My favorite quote from the press release...“When we looked at the statistics from the 2000 elections, we were shocked. Millions of young people didn’t vote—and an even larger number did not have sex that night. Never again.” I heartily agree.

They plan to run ads in college newspapers...including, of course, in Ohio.

Corporate cubicle dwellers with monitors watching...be warned. The site is a bit graphic...has the flavor of The Onion .



Saturday evening I received a visit from a Kerry volunteer handing out literature and asking for my vote.... I told her I was still undecided and wished the ticket was reversed, Edwards for President not Kerry... I can't explain it I just don't like Kerry... If Edwards was top man I would be voting for him, Not undecided.....
I looked over the literature she left, strengthening national security, creating jobs, achieving energy independence, improving education, make health care more affordable , and making American safer.... I like what I read...


Watch Out For Ohio Polling Innaccuracy

Wild swings in polls giving you whiplash? Ohio has a recent history of this.

There's been a lot of talk about how accurate polls are this year, (especially the Bush bounce and it's seeming elusiveness)...probably a by-product of the unprecedented number and availability of polling in the public domain.

Saw Joe Klein on PBS NewsHour the other night, he is now arguing that polling today is wildly innaccurate because no one picks up the phone anymore. The argument goes that because of this, every polling sample is essentially self-selecting...with such a large number of people refusing to participate, the numbers simply can't be accurate.

Plus, with all the voter registration efforts out there this year adding tens of thousands of new people to the rolls, is it really possible to get an accurate poll?

Ohio's recent polling debacle? A 2002 congressional primary race...a certain D congressman thought he had a 17 point lead the week before his primary...he ended up losing to the next D congressman by almost the same margin, suggesting that polling is increasingly becoming just so much bullshit. Can anyone name the losing and winning candidates in that race? Anyone at all?


Bush Writes Off Ohio, Blows Smoke Up Elway's Ass

Apparently, GW is writing off Ohio. In Denver the other day, he said after being introduced by John Elway at a rally, and I quote, "I'm proud to be introduced by the man who led The Drive."

See for yourself at http://www.kktv.com/news/headlines/1018936.html (Click on the video link)

I can see the UHaul trucks pulling up to Bush Cheney HQ in Columbus right now.


Kerry Camp Lawyering Up For Possible Recount

The Kerry campaign in Ohio is building its database of volunteer lawyers for...you guessed it...electoral shenanigans on election day. Word is that an army of attorneys will be ready, motions for injunctions in hand, should the shit hit the fan here on November 2.

This isn't a new development...Republicans in Ohio have a history of playing dirty on election day. In 1992, way back when I was just a field pup on the Clinton Gore campaign, attorneys had to get court orders to keep Republican controlled precincts from closing their doors early while people waited in line to vote.

The main difference this year is obvious. Post Florida 2000, no preparation is being left out. And if Ohio is close, it has an automatic recount statute which triggers a statewide recount if the margin of victory is less than one half of one percentage point.

For a good run down on the recount law, check out this site from The Ohio State University School of Law. Feel free to groan, sigh, and be generally horrified by such a prospect.

Testing Mom's Patience With Politics

Someone asked me today why I haven't been able to sway my mother's undecidedness. Good question.

I make a special effort to NOT persuade her, because she is such a perfect focus group, and this information is so rare and valuable, I want the true reaction, the unprompted, impromptu, raw take.

For example...

Last night, I politely asked if Mom would post her thoughts about the assault weapons ban debate on the blog. As you can see, she never got to it.

Like most undecided swing voters, I'm guessing her patience with this punditry-blogging-politics-in-general horse shit is running wafer thin. Let's hope we can get her back soon...especially since I'm again going out of state soon.


NFL on Fox Way Too Busy - Browns Win

Is it just me, or does Fox coverage of the NFL rely way too much on the graphics, bells, and whistles? The swishing noises, the blinking lights on the score updates, the endless other extraneous crap all over the TV screen...is it too much to ask that we just see the games?

By the way, the Browns finally win a seson opener, against hated Baltimore. Yay.

Ike/Kleenex Button Found In Gutter

One of my neighbors found an old "I Like Ike" button in the street in front of my apartment in Tremont. On the back rim was written "Kleenex Tissues '68" on it. Anybody know what this might be? Surely, Ike wasn't running for president in 1968...was it a trinket to be found in Kleenex boxes in 1968?


ACT Hitting Health Care Hard in Direct Mail

Just got a look at Mom's piece from ACT, her second in three weeks from ACT on health care. An Ohio nurse looks plaintively out of the front panel hitting hard, saying, "George Bush had a chance to bring down health care costs, but he gave huge tax cuts to drug companies instead."


Back From DMB Tour

Many thanks to Mom for keeping the blog going while I was out on tour with the Dave Matthews Band registering voters. Our team was great...we enfranchised over 3000 people in our three week tour....and got to see 13 Dave shows thrown in for good measure.

For more info on the project, check out HeadCount's website, and the New Voters Project website.



How about that Democratic speaking at the Republican Convention... He certainly got my attention....... Chaney is very dull, somewhat like Kerry.. . I wish they had nominated Edwards I would not be so undecided yet. We must come across strong and decisive with the terrorists and all who want to take on the USA.........And I believe Bush will do just that, be strong and tolerate no crap from anyone.



How about Arnold? He almost had me convinced to vote for Bush.. But then came the Bush girls. How immature !!! I stopped watching them and came back when Laura Bush was speaking. I like her, she sounded sincere.



In the mail today I received from Act a mailing about (ten by eight size mailing literature) prescription drugs. Asking me to contact my state representative and state senator and tell them to support legislation to allow Ohioans to go to Canada for lower cost prescriptions, and other health care issues..
First, I do not want to have to go or sent my prescriptions to Canada....
We help every other nation for many reasons.... Why can't we help our retired and elderly who are on a fixed income??????
Second , We complain about jobs leaving the USA...Now we are sending our elderly to Canada to purchase prescriptions.. What next?

The mailing had Bush's record and Kerry's plan... I find it easy to have a plan, but to be able to carry it out is another thing...and yes, Bush's record on Medicare leaves a lot to be desired. So WHO do I vote for?...... Big question??? Undecided yet?



Did her tell the truth? Only he and God know the truth... If he did or did not, what difference dose it make, as I said before you have to walk in that persons shoes to judge them, and I believe he served our country by going to fight in V. N. ... All these things from the past , are just that, the past.... We learn from our mistakes. If we all did a lot less judging and a lot more positive thoughts, we all would be better off.



My son wanted to know if I had a candidate for president come to my home if I would ask him in... Yes I would ask him in, and offer him something to drink.. This doesn't mean he would get my vote... Just coming to visit little old me will not get my vote.. Thanks for coming but no vote.
Undecided yet.....

Predictions Please?

Anyone got any predictions for the outcome in Ohio? Particularly interested in Ohioans who know the counties, and care to place a wager on a particular county. My personal prediction to get things started...Mom Russo will stay undecided until Halloween. (also, I think Kerry will win Franklin County.)

Limbaugh Desperation Setting In, Backfire May Be Underway

Being on the road as much as I have lately, in rural western hinterlands, radio options are minimal. Rush Limbaugh is everywhere. You can sense the desperation in his voice, especially on national security issues and Kerry's war record.

As you can tell from Mom's posting, swing voters aren't much interested in the attack on Kerry's war record, but it's the only thing Bush has left to attack. The risk is that it backfires...may be happening right now...on this blog, even!



What is the big deal about any candidates military service? All you people who are concerned about this, should put yourself in their shoes... Until you can walk in their shoes and fight like our military is doing right now in Iraq... I believe your voices fall on deaf ears...


Vote For ME!!!

The Washington Post is running a contest for the Best Political Blogs...VOTE FOR ME! You can nominate my blog at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/marketing/blog/.

I'm nominated in the Best Outside The Beltway category. Put my URL in there.

You have to register for the Washington Post website, but no worries...it's free, and they don't spam, and it's a great paper online.



Would I invite the candidates to my home for a dessert? NO... They should invite me to their homes and make sure I have a way to get to their homes... I am one of the little people who will have to work forever just to pay for my insurance and prescriptions, so I don't have extra..

Ohio Poll On CNN - Mom Considering Invite

Woke up this morning and saw that CNN has Kerry up by 10...hmmm. Not sure this is for real. Such a lead is unusually one-sided this early.

I asked my mother to consider whether or not she would invite both candidates to her house for dessert. Her answer is on the way.


She Slices, She Dices, She's still...undecided.

Mom's great....her general comments below on the election. Someone convince her!

I'm sure she'd be happy to have both candidates over for dessert....



Not one of our candidates has convinced me to vote for them...
One of the richest nations and we can't take care of our own people... We need jobs.... and good paying jobs... we need the work to stay here in the USA ....

Tim On The Road With DMB

Curious why the blog is a bit dusty lately? I'm on the road, baby.

Registered about 260 voters at the Dave Matthews Band Concert in Kansas City last night. I'm on the road with the band for 3 weeks registering voters.

Check out the project at http://www.headcount.org, and my sponsor for the tour, http://www.newvotersproject.org.

BTW, registers last night broke about 2-1 D.



All that President Eisenhower did in his term of office, was play golf...

Eisenhower TV ad, 1952 Posted by Hello

Political Commercials Since 1952 Online

A great site for political junkies with broadband...The Living Room Candidate is an online exhibition by the American Museum of the Moving Image. You can watch every single presidential campaign ad ever...I think. Doesn't appear that they are keeping track of every 527 ad...but hey, nobody's perfect. It's quite a walk through American history.

My personal favorite...The Ike Jingle from 1952 (also happens to be the first presidential campaign ad EVER...)


Mom Methodology

Mom's postings are totally unprompted, unedited, and unscripted...which makes sense, because she's UNdecided. She gets a piece of mail, looks at it, then types what pops into her head. I'll type a bit more on each piece...that technical strategic mumbo jumbo all you political junkies crave.

Her blogs will be identifiable by font color...green...her favorite. Also trying to make sure she writes, "FROM MOM" in each headline.

Questions, comments to Mom are encouraged. Also, feel free to forward Mom's thoughts to the candidates...they claim to be interested.


Mom's First Mail Contact - ACT on Medicare

ACT goes after Bush on the prescription drug plan and other health care issues, with the theme "Ohio Real Stories", featuring a picture of a very Ohio looking middle aged woman on the front who may or may not be from Ohio, but who's been laid off. It also solicits contributions. The piece arrived on Thursday, Aug. 12. It was a square glossy, folded, four panel, full color piece...not cheap. Paid for by ACT.

Targeting could either be at women or geographically based on a ticket splitter index.

If anyone got this piece, please comment. We're also looking for volunteers to scan their Ohio pieces and link to them...scannning was above our pay grade.


It is sad that we Medicare patients have to go to CANADA.... If Bush and Kerry would contribute their campaign money to the prescription plan instead of traveling all over the country we Medicare patients would not have to go to CANADA....

New Series Begins With Arrival of First Direct Mail Piece

Someone must be reading this blog...only days after noting that the perfectly predictive Ohio swing voter, Mom Russo, has yet to see a piece of campaign literature or direct mail, THE FIRST PIECE ARRIVES!

OhioCountdown2004 is taking this opportunity to launch a new series of posts with a new contributor...none other than Mom Russo herself! (we hope...computers and such are not Mom's cup of tea...this could start and end rather quickly)

Mom is going to comment (again, keep your fingers crossed) on all the direct mail that comes to her home, from both campaigns. We may even try to scan them in so you can see them yourselves...technology permitting. If things get real crazy, we'll ask Mom to comment on TV ads, phone bank calls, maybe even door to door campaigners (if they show up).

Meanwhile, though, as we await the first post from our super-swing-voter, some thoughts. It's very early in the game for a persuasion piece to hit; usually these things start going out in October. And a little teaser...it's paid for by America Coming Together (ACT), the granddaddy of all 527's.

New Format

Trying out a new template on the blog...the white background is a bit easier to read and print. Got some complaints that the blue background was unhelpful for printing. Comments welcome.


Keystone Kerry Kops In Cleveland

If the Three Stooges did an episode where Curly ran for President, it would look a lot like the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

We are now three months away from the election, and still, in Cuyahoga County (the Cleveland area), the single most critical county in the state for Democrats, callers to the party office face full and disconnecting voice mail boxes, unanswered phones, unreturned phone calls, and an incompetent paralysis that would be comic if it weren't for the fact that the entire election may be effected by it.

It sure looks like a campaign...the Kerry campaign finally got the hell out of the black hole of the party office and opened it's own office in Shaker Square on Cleveland's east side, complete with new staff, signs, bumper stickers, etc. The phones seem to work there.

But volunteer forms were hard to come by because...you'd better be sitting down for this one...as one volunteer explained it, no one ever calls the volunteers after they fill out the forms anyway, so they might as well not hand out forms to fill out, because when the volunteers fill them out and never get called, they get frustrated and complain about how nothing is going on in Cleveland.

Shoot me now.

Some volunteers do get called...not to do any phone banks, or lit drops, or to call other volunteers...but to show up at a Bush rally and heckle. It seems the only time the volunteer forms see the light of day is when GW Bush is in town.

The sheer weight of endless volunteer walk-ins, their numbers higher than at any time since the 1992 Clinton campaign, does appear to be forcing some activity...a phone bank was sighted. Thank God for the momentum of Bush hatred...it's overcoming organizational incompetence of mind boggling proportion.


OSCE Observers To Whitewash US Election

The Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been invited by the State Department to send an observation mission for the Nov. 2 election in the US. It's tempting to see this as a cave in to pressure from D's in Congress. Think again.

The State Dept. jumped at this because it isn't a threat. Anyone who has participated in any OSCE election observation mission (I've been on three) knows that the verdict of the mission will be written by OSCE member state ambassadors, who have political agendas to grind.

Guess who is the most important member state of the OSCE - the US. Guess who appoints the ambassador to the OSCE - GW Bush.

In January, I wrote a piece for the London Sunday Times on the impending OSCE election observation mission in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, warning of a whitewash (which happened.) It's a good primer on the OSCE's internal processes.

I pasted it here (you can't get it online unless you subscribe to the Sunday Times.)

Georgia vs. the election observers.
By Tim Russo

"You're joking," my British friend whispered to me as he came to a stop after racing into the building with urgency.

We stood at the back of an old auditorium, packed with international press, government officials, embassy staff, and observers of the 1998 presidential election in Armenia. The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) international observation mission sat at a table in the front, calmly reading the delegation's preliminary statement on the conduct of the election the previous day. I looked down at the ground in stunned silence.

"I just got back from my count," my friend said in disbelief.

"Have you even showered?" I asked.

"Haven't showered in a day and a half," he said. "We went to the OSCE office, they told us to come here," he said. "I just got out of the car after an eight hour drive," he finished, panting.
I feared what was coming.

He'd just been an observer at a late night vote count in a remote, mountainous border region where military manipulation of the election was expected, and turned out to be particularly egregious. "Where do I take these?" he said waving a stack of notes and documents in the air, his voice now frustrated. I just looked at him and shook my head, having spent the previous night at an equally farcical vote count myself until 9 a.m. that morning.

He started looking around for someone in charge. "What is going on here? Why is the statement being issued, I haven't even reported from my assignment?" I just rubbed my forehead as my friend kept charging about the back of the room with his documents, his desperation telling it all about how the election must have gone where he'd observed it.

Then we heard from the podium, "...a step forward for democracy..."

My friend lost it. He stopped in his tracks. I walked over to try and calm him down, but he just looked at me in shock, shoving my outstretched arm away. "What a fucking joke...," he said with one last wave of his notes, then he threw them to the floor angrily, turned around, and marched out of the building in disgust, as the head of the delegation calmly continued reading his verdict of approval.

Since the soviet collapse, it seems every new election in the post soviet republics deteriorates into more of a sham than the one before it, 2003 proving a banner year for post soviet electoral fraud. This year, the OSCE, post soviet international election observers of record, condemned various elections in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and even Russia, whose December 7 parliamentary election it described in its preliminary statement as `overwhelmingly distorted'.

The people of Georgia, however, finally refused to accept yet another fraudulent election. Helped along by the condemnation of election observers (OSCE as well as domestic observers), the people power in the streets of Tbilisi in November forced out the president, Edward Shevardnadze. Enough had become enough, and now there is great hope for a new era in Georgia of elections free of manipulation, beginning with the presidential election January 4.

As my British friend would agree, Georgia need look no further than its rugged southern border for guidance in the days ahead. In 1998, Armenia faced very similar circumstances. A president who relied on electoral fraud to stay in power was forced to resign. A new election was scheduled, the OSCE descended en masse to observe. And a similar hope for a future of free and fair elections was in the air. But Georgians should watch the OSCE as carefully as they watch their election processes, for the OSCE's recent boldness in the aftermath of this year's many sham elections is very recent indeed.

Run by member states, OSCE observation missions exist in a diplomatic no mans land; on the one hand dedicated to promote integrity in the democratic process, but on the other, representing the political and economic policy interests of the member states. The result is that far from being disinterested guarantors of democratic integrity, OSCE election observation missions, and especially the statements they make in the immediate aftermath of an election, are not unblinking verdicts by a referee, but more often are delicate balancing acts of high diplomacy.

It is a balance the OSCE has often gotten exactly wrong at precisely the wrong moment. As the new democracies of the former Soviet Union were finding their feet, and member states of the OSCE were assessing the new geopolitical realities, OSCE election observation missions found ever more creative ways to gloss over the ever more fraudulent elections. Whatever the competing interest, the commitment to helping these new democracies create fair electoral processes regularly took a back seat, with the perverse result that messy elections were not only ignored, but made even messier by the OSCE and the increasing caricature of their increasingly predictable whitewashes.

Armenia's presidential election in 1998 was a prime example. As an observer within the OSCE mission at the time, I had a front row seat to not only observe the pervasive electoral fraud, but also the OSCE's delicate balancing act between the compelling observations the observers kept reporting, and the member states' interest in ignoring them. The resulting OSCE verdict, a masterfully acrobatic navigation of statements and reports that managed the least amount of honesty when it was most needed, rubber stamped an election widely described by experienced observer delegates at the time as perhaps the most sophisticated electoral fraud they'd ever witnessed.

The timing of the OSCE's abdication of its responsibility in Armenia in 1998 could not have been worse. After years of preceding electoral manipulation, as a chance arose for democracy to change the course of a troubled country, the OSCE hailed a thorough fraud as a `step forward' for democracy, writing off the blatant joke of precincts reporting 300% turnout as not causing them `to question the result'. The result in the years since has been the rapidly accelerating rot of Armenia's democracy.

The OSCE should be applauded for its honesty in 2003, but perhaps with a slow hand clap rather than a standing ovation. Its talk this year is quite cheap. For when it mattered most, when a credible international organization's verdict on the conduct of an election could have affected democratic processes for the better, the OSCE too often has blinked. Elections in Armenia, Russia, Georgia, or the other former soviet republics, did not suddenly become `overwhelmingly distorted' overnight and in secret; they've been deteriorating predictably and in full view for more than a decade. The OSCE's sudden, too little, and far too late honesty about electoral processes which are rotten to the core - processes the OSCE itself has had a hand in perpetuating - might actually be comic if it weren't so tragic.

Georgia in 2004 may be different. The OSCE did have an effect on the November election. And if they are willing and able to stay as honest about the next one, Georgia may finally find the courage to not only refuse their legacy of electoral fraud, but work to eradicate it.It is likely, however, that the OSCE balancing act is in full swing already. The likely next president, Mikhail Saakashvilli, is a friendly protégé of the OSCE member states. He will likely win in a landslide, whether or not there is any fraud, and the OSCE will want nothing to taint his victory. Clean reporting of electoral manipulation may already be taking a back seat to the rise of a friendly new ally in a difficult and unstable region.

Fraud there will certainly be. It is tempting to think that the people power in Georgia that refused the latest fraud can herald a new interest in fair and clean processes, that somehow the disappearance of a corrupt figurehead will result in the disappearance of the deep rooted structure of electoral manipulation that kept him there.

But the practices of looking the other way while a ballot box is stuffed, or taking advantage of miserably inaccurate voter lists, forging a signature here or a vote total there, bribing or blackmailing voters with meager amounts of money that are many times their monthly salaries, have a way of sticking around and metastasizing into a permanent cancer if ignored for too long.

The OSCE will then have a choice between issuing a statement, the first draft of which is likely already written, that reports what actually happens, or one that will predictably refer to these practices as not having `affected the outcome', that despite these shortcomings, the result will have `reflected the will of the people'. It is a crucial moment for the OSCE, an organization that appears to be attempting to rehabilitate its credibility. Perhaps the OSCE will finally get the timing right.

For Georgia, though, much more is at stake than institutional credibility. It will soon have a new president who will likely bring hope for a new future. Whether or not his election will herald a new, freer democracy, is an open question.


Ohio Undecideds At 7 Percent, Lean Kerry

Sunday, August 8th's Columbus Dispatch has Bush at 47, Kerry at 44, Nader at 2, with a hefty 7 percent undecided.

Aside from the relatively large group of undecideds, here's the good news - more than three-fourths of undecided respondents said the country is on the wrong track, and more than 7 of 10 disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy and the situation in Iraq.

The unorthodox Dispatch methodology does it again. The poll was based on returns from 3,047 registered Ohio voters who said they intend to cast a ballot Nov. 2, with a margin of error at 2 percent. AND...get this...it was taken July 14-23...before the Democratic convention.


A Moderate Blogger In The Wilderness

Been getting a little flak for taking shots at D's as well as R's. Interestingly, one of the big blogs on the block, mydd.com, commented on the lack of moderate blogs in the upper echelons of the blogosphere.

Chris Bowers writes, "Blogging appears to be following a pattern of other pundit-heavy media outlets (talk radio, newspaper columnists, TV political opinion shows). In all of these cases, partisanship sells while mixing your views or straddling the fence does not." Unfortunately, he's right.

Fellas...when you live in a state whose Democratic Party is as profoundly inept, for as long, with as much futility, as Ohio's, it becomes easy to be a moderate. It took a ranting and raving Howard Dean to remind us all that Democrats need to be called out when they are fucking up. In Ohio, Jerry Springer is the one coming to the rescue...need I say more?

It is our duty to identify and fix our party's problems. If we don't, be assured, the Republicans will fix them for us...by beating our asses over and over and over.


Bush Base Problem In Ohio Schedule

The PD has compiled a list of appearances and major rallies in Ohio by Kerry and Bush...you can see it online, but like much of what the PD does, the story as it appears online is pretty lame. In the "actions speak louder than words" category, the list tells quite a tale.

Bush indeed has a base problem in Ohio, at least according to his scheduler. Of the 48 stops listed for Bush, 24 of them, half, are in the Cincinnati area, Republican heartland, and another in Lima, also R heartland. Bush visited the key quarter moon area (see How To Win Ohio) 16 times, with 7 other visits split between Dayton & Columbus, key swing counties.

Of 34 total Kerry stops, Kerry visits the key quarter moon area 22 times, including 12 stops in Cleveland (the Democratic base), with 4 stops in Cincinnati, 4 in Columbus, and 4 in the Dayton area.

Fingerhut Gets Out Them Walkin' Shoes

Ohio's Democratic US Senate candidate, State Senator Eric Fingerhut, is embarking on a tour of Ohio...on foot. Eric will walk from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland. You can track his progress at www.walkohio.com.

Eric is a great candidate, good speaker, smart guy, certainly deserves to be Senator...but this little trick has an unpleasant history to it. Last guy to try it was Dennis Kucinich (yes, he of the quixotic presidential run), back in 1986 or thereabouts, running (or shall we say, walking) for governor. He stopped about a third of the way through, for various reasons, then dropped out of the race...after having ridicule heaped upon him.

Despite this sad legacy, it's always been a good idea. It might work to get Eric on the evening news, might even capitalize on any potential Kerry momentum, if Eric manages one thing...finish the walk. Eric...YOU MUST NOT STOP MID-HIKE. I don't care how many blisters you get on your feet, how many times your wife calls on the cell phone, you have got to finish the thing, or you will find yourself in the Kucinich universe of Democratic silliness and futility. In Ohio, that crowd is already big enough.

OOPS...forgot one thing. You know what, ditch the cell phone for the duration. Many unpleasant things will flow from pictures of you on the trail constantly pressing a phone to your ear (which will happen, if you have it with you).


Mom's Vote On The Block

The perfect predictor of Ohio voting patterns, undecided Ohio swing voter Mom Russo, caught a story on the news about Kerry and Bush holding events at the same hour in Davenport, Iowa. The story noted that the mayor of Davenport, a Republican, is still undecided.

The reporter said to the mayor, "You're one of the most prized commodities in the country right now." Always ready for opportunity, Mom responds, "So am I! I'll take a million bucks for my vote!"

She asked me to let the campaigns know she's available to the highest bidder, and can't understand why they haven't contacted her yet.

This is interesting...given all the effort both campaigns are putting into targeted swing state undecideds, my mother still can't identify any campaign ad or lit or mail piece that has reached her. Swing voters are maddening.


New Ohio 527 Cash Cow - 2006 Preview?

Websites about Ohio's role in the 2004 presidential election are popping up like dandelions. Two that have caught my eye are MakeOhioBlue, and Bring Ohio Back.

Make Ohio Blue is the latest incarnation of the JerryForOhio.com website. Yes, that Jerry...Springer. Make Ohio Blue is essentially the Springer website and blog, re-tooled for 2004. Bring Ohio Back is a 527 organization enlisting celebrities to raise money for campaign ads in Ohio.

It gets interesting when you go to the About section of each site.

About Make Ohio Blue

Make Ohio Blue is sponsored by Jerry Springer and Jerry For Ohio.com. Jerry has worked tirelessly for the Democratic Party, and has contributed funds to the Democratic Party and its candidates for decades. He is determined to help revitalize the Democratic Party in Ohio.

About Bring Ohio Back

(after a paragrpah-and-a-half of spin)...Northeast Ohio-based professional strategists, with decades of success in this region, will direct these activities. We will use our first-hand knowledge and expertise to craft the right message for Ohioans, and develop the best tools to reach the public.

Hmmmm...."professional strategists", the "right" message. The Plain Dealer recently reported that Bring Ohio Back is a brain child of Burges & Burges, the Cleveland political consulting firm.

Where does the money go? The 527 (i.e., B&B) is raising money mainly for broadcast ads in Ohio, the PD story citing $1 million as the goal. The "professional strategists" will keep 15% of that for media buy commission, i.e. $150,000 to B&B's pocket. At Make Ohio Blue, if you donate, it doesn't go to Jerry Springer's campaign...it goes directly to the DNC.

More interestingly, the Bring Ohio Back site is already taking shots at Springer on the front page, linking to an article headlined "Re-Elect Bush And You Might Get Jerry Springer, Too." I'm guessing B&B has made a professionally strategic decision to work for one of Springer's likely primary opponents in 2006...I'm sure they'll have the "right" message then, too.


Polling Everywhere - Wait For Halloween

It is really quite amazing how much early polling is readily available this year for Ohio. Just spend 10 minutes roaming the internet for polls...you will be overwhelmed. There's a good site that brings swing state Zogby polling together, check it out.

In Ohio, only one poll really matters (aside from the actual voting). The Columbus Dispatch does a poll the Sunday before the election (which this year is October 31, Halloween...make of that what you will). It is eerily predictive...down to tenths of a percentage point.

The Dispatch poll's precision is a mystery. It is never wrong. Plus, it is a mail in poll...yes, the US Postal Service. No one really knows how it works...but it does.

So when you're looking at polling data for the next 3 months, just hold on to your hat...and log onto www.dispatch.com on Halloween...that will tell the tale.


How Ohio Is Won

Many among the landed punditry have been busily prescribing how Kerry or Bush could win Ohio. Who's right? There's really only one way.

Take a pencil and a map of Ohio. Start at Toledo. Draw a line from Toledo, eastward across the southern shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland, then diagonally, passing equidistant between Akron and Youngstown to East Liverpool on the West Virginia border, then along the Ohio River to Steubenville, Marietta, and then start back westard again to Athens. Stop. Your drawing should look like a comma, or a quarter moon.

If you are able to drive through every county on that line without touching Republican ground, Democrats win the state. Period.

It's easy to get caught up in the major D counties along that line - CuyahogaCounty, containing Cleveland, the Democratic mother lode, Lucas County (Toledo), Summit County (Akron), Mahoning & Trumbull Counties (Youngstown area). But as more second tier counties along that line go D, the closer the result gets, and the greater chance for a D victory. The more trouble you have connecting that line with D counties, the likelier it is that an R wins.

You hear so much about Stark County (Canton) and it's predictive value because it doesn't sit on that line precisely...it's just to one side of it. Whichever way Stark goes, that means the other counties straddling the line (which look a lot like Stark County) are trending that way too.

Much is made of Franklin County (Columbus) and Montgomery County (Dayton). Don't be distracted, they aren't predictive so much as a lagging indicator. It has recently become possible for a D to win both Franklin and Montgomery Counties and lose the state. However, if the key line goes solid D blue, nice and thick to both sides, you may carry those two swing counties as gravy.

Watch the candidate schedules. This weekend, Bush and Kerry were in counties bordering or on that line the entire weekend. Plotting their visits, one will find the stops start to fill in along that comma or quarter moon.


Bush Pulls Ohio Abortion Ad?

Since blogging about the ill-concieved Bush attack piece on abortion that appeared in Cleveland media markets almost two weeks ago, I've only seen it appear once...could it be that it backfired?  In exactly the way that I predicted?  Hmmmm....

Bush Wasting Time At Fundraiser in Kirtland

The internet has changed political fundraising so dramatically, it now seems quaint to hear about a major presidential candidate holding a big dollar fundraising dinner.  GW Bush is still spending a lot of time doing just that.

His visits to Ohio have almost always included a many-thousands per plate closed dinner at a fat cat's house...like today in Kirtland Hills at Eddie Crawford's house.

D's certainly do this too, but it may be a dying breed of fundraising.  I haven't seen the figures lately, but the rate at which Kerry is raising money on the internet seems to open up a lot of his time for more important matters, like talking to voters. 

Here They Come

The Kerry-Edwards ticket aren't the only folks on their way to Ohio.  Tourism to Ohio will spike this fall...at least according to a PD story today, which notes from the convention in Boston that people from all over the country are planning bus trips to Ohio to help the Kerry-Edwards ticket, because one said, Ohio's where the next president will be chosen.


Springer Dispatches Fall Flat

Been making a point to catch Jerry Springer's dispatches from the convention in Boston on Channel 19 here in Cleveland.  Needs work.

They keep hyping the coverage as "not the same old stuffy political coverage", or "we've got Jerry", etc.  The product, however, is so tame it might as well be Jim Lehrer reporting from the floor.  You get the feeling Jerry's being so careful with his first foray into the non-tranvestite-Nazi-on-set-brawl world that he's holding himself back.

Case in point - he interviewed Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell this afternoon, which was hyped by the lead in as "you don't wanna miss this".  Take my advice...miss it.  It wasn't an interview so much as it was Springer schmoozing Jane for his future gubernatorial run.  He actually asked Jane, "So, you know Cleveland pretty well...will it go for Kerry?"  IS THIS FOR REAL!?!?! 

Some advice for Jerry...loosen up a bit.  You look tight, nervous, and like you've got an agenda.  Oh and another thing...you don't need to schmooze Jane Campbell...she won't be mayor when you run for governor anyway.

Punditry From Boston Is REALLY Bad

Is it just me, or is the commentary from network analysts in Boston for the convention this year simply awful?  You can understand why these guys are so easily spun...they're morons.

In particular, I haven't seen a single discussion of any issues among the pundits.  They seem hard wired to discuss people's hair dos, the size of the stage, whether or not Ted Kennedy is embarrassing. 

Theresa Heinz Kerry had it right...they should all just take their commentary and shove it.


Ohio Delegates All Over TV Coverage

Jerry Springer isn't the only Ohio Delegate getting major airtime this week in Boston.  The youngest delegate (at 17) happens to be from Ohio, happens to be cute as hell, and is plastered all over the 24 hour news cycle. 

My favorite, though, was a CSPAN fly on the wall documentary of an hour or so in Renee Lipson's life at the convention.  Renee is a delegate from Cuyahoga County, and CSPAN followed her around for a day.  The 73 year old dynamo kept those whipper snapper CSPAN camera guys hoppin', from women's caucus event to Emily's List, to Ohio Lunch, to the convention floor, bouncing all over town like a super star.  Renee, you made my day.

There's even a special cameo appearance by Madeline Pellish, Renee's roommate at the Boston Sheraton, and freelance reporter for the Cleveland Jewish News.  Always workin' it, baby.


Springer's Uphill Battle For Ohio Voters

Jerry Springer is doing a good job of branding this year's convention in Boston.  Last night,  Springer made his first broadcast from the floor for Cleveland's CBS affiliate Channel 19.  He was on stage at the Rock The Vote event last night near Fenway. 

Saturday night at a wine bar in Cleveland, I talked with a friend about Springer's prospects for governor in 2006.  She's a Kerry voter, not real tied in to politics, college educated, runs her own business.  She thinks Dennis Kucinich is an embarassment, was so-so on Bill Clinton...probably thinks of herself as an independent voter.

The very idea of Jerry Springer runnning for office makes her visibly cringe.  There's more than a little hypocrisy in such responses - people who dismiss a Springer candidacy out of hand because he "exploits" people with his TV show are also nightly voyeurs, tuning in to the most humiliating of the reality TV shows.  After pointing this out to my friend, she came around a bit...but only a bit.

Bottom line...she says she needs to see some "seriousness" out of Jerry Springer.  Not sure my friend will be watching Channel 19 this week, but note to Jerry...she might.

Positive Ads Working in Ohio

Much is being made of the "toning down" of the convention rhetoric in Boston.  As this blog has shown, I like a good Bush bash as much as the next guy...but staying positive, especially in a place like Ohio, does work.

In fact, of all the ads that I've seen aired by the Kerry campaign in Ohio, not a single one of them could be characterized as negative, or attack, or a hit piece.  Conversely, just about every ad that the Bush campaign has aired in Ohio has been a negative attack piece. 

The McCain Feingold campaign finance reform law has its problems, but one little provision has proved very useful...the acceptance of personal responsibility for the message.  Attacks on Bush are coming from the 527's - MoveOn.org, The Media Fund, and others, hammer away at Bush on the airwaves.  But there's no tag line saying, "I'm John Kerry and I approve of this message."  Thanks to McCain Feingold, Bush's fingerprints are all over his hit pieces, making Bush the only candidate using negative ads in Ohio.

Voters in Ohio are hyper tuned in for the slightest negative attack.  Dirty politics regularly backfires in Ohio, probably because the state is so targeted so often with so much negativity, the voters have had it. 



A Kinder Gentler Blog Looks At Latest Polling

Some readers complained about the non-collegial, fictional, often profane satire tone of the blog lately...now that I've vented, let's try polite on for size, shall we?

How about a look at the latest Ohio polling, my friends?  What a jolly good idea!

I say, the race is certainly freshening up in the Buckeye State, my dear colleagues!  One poll shows the right honorable George W. Bush with a lovely 5 point lead, another shows our honorable friend John Kerry with a perfectly agreeable 2 point lead.   USA Today has Kerry with most encouraging 5 point lead.  All were cheerfully conducted last week.



Farenheit 9/11 Sways Non-Voter in Ohio

I have a lady friend who's married to an intransigent non-voter...let's call him Squiggy.

Squiggy is at the top end of the typical non-voter demographic.  White male, 30-something, married, no kids, home-owner, works in financial products, is college educated.  The TV remote is programmed only for the 4 ESPN Channels and FOXSports Ohio, and possibly the Golf Channel...he plays a ton of golf.   

Squiggy has never voted, and has been quite proud of that.  He's cited all the cliche reasons; one vote doesn't matter, no one listens, what's it good for, blah fucking blah. 

Squiggy's wife...let's call her...hmm...Laverne...dragged him to see Farenheit 9/11 one day.  Nothing else was playing, so Squiggy didn't put up much of a fight. 

Squiggy came out ready to vote against George W. Bush.  He's not really voting "for" John Kerry, but he is going to vote.  Wow.

Mom Hasn't Seen One Single Political Ad

My hyper-predictive Ohio focus group, i.e., my Mom, watches a lot of TV.  Typical middle America stuff.  News.  Weather.  Soaps.  (she tapes those)  Tribe games.  The occasional episode of 60 Minutes.  Wheel of Fortune.  Everybody Loves Raymond, Trading Spaces, Emeril....you know the drill.

In all this viewing, my Mom doesn't recall seeing a single political commercial since the primary season ended.  Not one.  The Cleveland, Ohio media market is flooded with political ads, and my Mom can't remember seeing any.

I was shocked, so I interrogated her.  She watched the 60 Minutes which aired the Bush abortion hit piece...doesn't remember seeing the abortion ad.  She watches the Today Show, perhaps the epicentre of all political advertising in Ohio, but has no recollection of any political advertising on the Today Show.

NEWSFLASH....The Ohio swing voter is TUNED OUT.

She does remember seeing "on one of those news shows in the morning" the satire animation by Jib Jab Films, a parody of Woodie Guthrie's This Land.  (which is hysterical, you should view it). 

By the way...she's still undecided.

Lesson for campaigns?  You are certainly targeting my Mom with these ads.  In fact, you may even think you are reaching her.  You ain't.  You need to reach these people in some way other than TV.  Get creative.  Funny seems to work.


Kucinich Finally Endorses Kerry - The Terms

OhioCountdown2004 has received exclusive access to the terms agreed between John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich.  Dennis drove a hard bargain.

In exchange for the endorsement of Congressman Kucinich, who represents Cleveland's west side and western suburbs, and for the support of Kucinich's powerful block of 70 delegates, John Kerry agrees to the following -

1.  In future comments, Kerry will not refer to Dennis as insane, unstable, megalomaniacal, bonkers, loopy, or confused in any way.

2.  Kerry will avoid references to psychic seers, Shirley McLain, or the zen of trees, plants, rocks or other inanimate objects when referring to Kucinich. 

3.  Kucinich's endorsement does not apply to any past or future lives that he may or may not have lived or will live, either as a human being or other life force. 

4.  Kucinich is released of any obligation to stay pro-choice, which he has been for this entire presidential campaign, after having been pro-life for his entire political career.  Use of the word "flip flop" or derivations thereof to refer to Kucinich's position on abortion, whatever that position may be in the future, is strictly prohibited.

Bush Ups Ohio Ante, Sends Prostitutes

In yet another sign of Ohio's importance in this year's election, a plane load of cheap hookers, its fuselage painted with "Bush Cheney 04", landed at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport last night. 

Over 400 prostitutes pranced out of the jetway and immediately started targeting undecided voters in the concourse.

"I'll take the free blow job," said Frank Climonsky, a Parma, Ohio voter, one of the first to be hit with the new persuasion tactics outside the Starbucks in Terminal C.  "But I think I'm still...un...decided...how many girls got off that plane?"

Heather Kopke, spokeswoman for the gaggle of whores, defended the controversial practice.  "This is a good way to defend marriage," Heather said as she mounted an undecided voter on the baggage carousel.  "A little variety here and there..."  When asked why she supported the Bush Cheney ticket, she responded, "It's a gig."

RNC Chair Ed Gillespie noted to CNN this week that no expense will be spared in Ohio.  "If we have to send a call girl slut to every undecided, pro-life, pro-gun, obese and jobless white male in Ohio, we'll do it."  When asked how they might target undecided women, Gillespie noted, "These girls go both ways...saved us a bundle."


Reader Fucking Responses

Thanks to everyone who's posted comments.  Some responses...

On the Bush abortion ad running in Cleveland...

If you are a pro-life Catholic in Cleveland, and you voted for Bush in 2000 because of it, you are in the Bush base.  In fact, you are also in the Reagan base, the Bush the Elder base, the George Voinovich and Mike DeWine base (our two undistinguished senators), etc.  It's called being a Reagan Democrat.  If you are being targeted with ads on abortion, Bush thinks you're leaving that base. 

You may also vote for Dennis Kucinich (until recently a pro life Democrat), and other D's on the ballot, while you vote for R's elsewhere.  That's called being a ticket-splitter.  Happens all the time.   

As one reader pointed out, it is impossible to find a single Gore voter (pro life or otherwise) who will vote for Bush in 2004.  Gore's pro life voters may also be ticket splitters, but this year, they aren't going anywhere.  Bush's pro life ticket splitters are in play.  That's a base problem.

On Dick Fuck Cheney...

One reader posted..."Interesting assertion, given that the right has been referring to the long faced one as "John Fucking Kerry" for about a year and a half, after his little bout of foul mouthed rhetoric in Rolling Fucking Stone. I guess that makes your whole premise . . . I don't know . . . lame?"
Lame?  You know what's fucking lame?  The fucking VP of the fucking USA telling a Senator on the Senate floor to fuck off.  What's more lame is the fucking right leaping to his defense with their best hypocritical sancti-fucking-monious self fucking righteousness. 

Don't you have a marriage to defend somewhere?

Kerry Ohio Staff Shake Up?

Word is the Kerry Campaign has hired a new person to run the operation in center-of-the-political-universe Cuyahoga County, (the Cleveland area for you non-Ohioans).   Is it another false start?

Mark Griffin, currently a partner at the law firm of Hahn, Loeser & Parks, will be added to the staff in Cuyahoga County.   Mark joins Vel Scott, whose appointment and tenure has been lackluster at best, counterproductive at worst.

Is this a staff shake up?  Some say Mark will be coordinated campaign director (which would mean he's running the operation for the whole ticket), some say he's Kerry's west side guy, which would mean Vel Scott is responsible for the East Side.  Some say he's reporting to Vel.  Some say Vel reports to Mark.  Some say Vel reports to no one, other than her chief sponsor Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. 

Why is this important?  The balkanization of Cleveland politics (white v. black, west v. east) manifests itself every 4 years in staff decisions like this one, laying the ground work for paralysis by October in the most important voter turnout operation in Ohio, the Democratic Party, the USA, and therefore, the whole fucking world.

Bet you never thought you'd care who Mark Griffin reports to, did you?


Bush In Panic - Places Abortion Ad Buy In Cleveland

An ad on 60 Minutes is the most expensive piece of advertising real estate in prime time.   If you place a buy on 60 Minutes, it had better be effective.  On that measure, the latest Bush ad buy in Northeast Ohio is a complete waste of money, in more ways than it is possible to count.
This Sunday night, Bush Cheney aired a hit piece on abortion on 60 Minutes.  The ad attacks Kerry for opposing parental notification laws, and alleges he supports distribution of the morning after pill to high school students.
Whatever the truth or merits of this argument may be, to air a pro-life attack piece on abortion in the most highly Democratic (i.e., pro choice) media market in Ohio is suspect logic. 
The only possible explanation is that Bush continues to have a base problem.  Pro-lifers need to be revved up, get back into the Bush base, and get mobilized.  How ever many of them there are in Northeast Ohio, they need to have some gasoline thrown onto their fire.  Makes sense, right?
It would...if it was done right.  If you are going to rev up pro-lifers, you don't complain about pansy-ass issues like parental notification and RU-486.  You go after Kerry on partial birth abortion.   That's like throwing raw meat at Pat Robertson.   This ad is milk toast in comparison.
Yet another sign that Bush Cheney is in complete panic.  They are losing their base, trying desperately to regain it, and doing so with complete incompetence, wasting money on the most expensive TV time available with an ad that will not work.


Tidal Wave in 2004 May Start In Ohio

The first signs of true panic among Republicans are starting to show among members of Congress and Senators up for re-election.  Ohio's Senator George Voinovich, who up to now has been seen as a shoe in for re-election in 2004, this week blasted the Bush administration on trade, from the Senate floor itself.
Why?  Because according to Voinovich, the Bush administration has not been doing enough to stop Ohio from "bleeding jobs."  John Kerry couldn't have said it better himself.
Pretty startling. 
It's July.  The election is more than 3 months away.  Voinovich is as safe a Republican Senator as they come.  And he's jumping off of GW's sinking ship as fast as a rat off the Titanic.
Maybe Voinovich isn't so safe, after all?


CNN Using Dick Fuck Cheney's New Name!

Score one for the OhioCountdown2004...fuck yeah! Paul Fucking Begala on CNN's Fucking Crossfire has started referring to "Dick F-Word Cheney" as often as fuck.

You will recall, we at OhioCountdown2004 began the campaign to christen the fucking VP as Dick FUCK Cheney some time ago. (See the post) Glad to see it's catching on.

Hey Begala...grow some fucking balls! The name is Dick FUCK Cheney! It sounds better if you use the actual fucking word...which is "fuck." C'mon...they'll bleep it out, don't worry...that'll actually be funnier, anyway. If FUCK is good enough for Cheney to use on the Senate floor, FUCK is good enough for bloody fucking CNN.


Moon Shot Anniversary

As covered by The Onion..."Neil Armstrong's Historic First Words On Moon: HOLY LIVING FUCK!"

Springer At The Convention

Jerry Springer, Ohio Democrat of The Year, and delegate to the convention in Boston, will be covering the convention for the local TV news version of the National Enquirer. Story here.

Big Labor's Little Secret

The utter impotence of labor unions in political campaigns might be the Democrats' best kept secret. Thanks to the importance of the 2004 election, we are beginning to measure just how worthless labor support actually may be.

Dick Gephardt's entire campaign for president was based on labor unions. We now have a precise measurement of what that gets you...a distant fourth place in the Iowa Caucuses, and an early exit.

He still road that wave of supposed labor muscle to become a front runner in the veepstakes, analysts even going so far as to say that his labor credentials would help deliver Ohio.

Laughable. Why? Ask anyone who's organizing labor union members this year.

Unions focused on getting out the vote among their memberships this year have been conducting internal polling to target their efforts. (Teamsters, SEIU, AFSCME, etc.) Talk about an eye-opener. Turns out that on average, only about 40% of all union members are registered to vote. Of that, only about half actually vote Democrat. Which means that there is a 20% chance that a union member will vote Democrat this year.

If you whittle it down a little more, focusing on likely voters, you come up with the headline that a union member is less likely to vote Democrat than the entire population as a whole.

Exactly what labor clout are we actually talking about?


ESPN Names Cleveland Most Tortured Sports City

As the Cavaliers/Boozer fiasco descends into the shameful, one wonders where it lands among the all-time Cleveland sports nightmares.

ESPN has a forensic examination of the top 10 most tortured moments in Cleveland sports. It is a must read for John Kerry and George Bush if they want to win Ohio, a litany of misery so profound and head spinning that it lands Cleveland at THE TOP OF THE LIST OF TORTURED SPORTS CITIES.

We finally win something. Yay.

A good sign for Kerry...when his wife introduced him in Cleveland, she noted she was from Pittsburgh...which drew an enormous "BOOOOO" from the huge crowd. Kerry tenderly placed his hands on her shoulders, and turned her around toward the Cleveland Browns stadium standing behind her. Nice touch.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com