Ohio’s One Week Preview

Well there hasn’t been much excitement this election season as no changes are predicted.  The only unlikely surprise next Tuesday will be a Kasich victory of less than 5 points.  The Democrat challenger Ed FitzGerald has run a hapless campaign with zero help from the national party and has never come within 10 points in polling.  Still, true-blue Democrats and union members (although Kasich has received more union support than he did four years ago) will still turn out for their party.  Secondly, some Tea Parties are endorsing a no-vote on the Gubernatorial race.  Kasich has run with Medicaid expansion defending it on compassionate and even religious grounds.  He has also been very aloof on questions regarding Common Core, denying that it’s a problem while supporting School Board candidates who are supportive of it.  Kasich has also decreased Ohio’s debt while increasing government spending.  For fiscal conservatives, these present a problem which lead to Tea Party opposition.  But Kasich doesn’t care, and I believe this race will be called by 8pm.  Democrat-heavy Cuyahoga County is habitually late in turning in results, and Kasich better have his 5-10 point lead by then or else we might be in for a stunner.

The house races, gerrymandered as they are, are not going to be competitive.  The single unlikely exception might be the David Joyce race which had the strongest Tea Party challenge in May.  His northeastern-most district is used to pro-government Republicans with Joyce and his predecessor Steve LaTourette, but the blue-collar campaign of Michael Wager has been modestly strong.  LaTourette’s daughter, by the way, is running for Ohio House in the Republican stronghold of Geauga County.  But party will trump personality, and I expect these two GOP establishment-types to win, as will all existing GOP and Democrat officeholders.

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The Benghazi Story on September 16 – Transcript Review

This week’s Oversight Committee hearing with the Benghazi whistleblowers put to shame the kid-gloves treatment of Hillary Clinton in the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Jason Chavez, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan and others were organized and asked questions that seemed part of an actual plan.  The Oversight Committee did a great job at finding out what really happened that night on September 11, 2012, but I also think we need to investigate what didn’t really happen – a spontaneous riot due to a YouTube video.  It should be noted that the original Benghazi talking points memo initially said that al-Qaida had participants in the attacks, that there were warnings of the attacks, and that the attacks were a response to the Cairo protests.  No mention of the YouTube video was made in the talking points memo.

Since the second Presidential debate, the narrative has been “Of course we knew it was a terrorist attack as we’ve said from the beginning.”  But for those of us paying attention, we know they may have said 2 sentences describing it as a terrorist attack but they said 200 blaming it on the video!  I wish somebody would have looked up all of Candy Crowley’s comments on the Libya attack to see how often she referred to a spontaneous response versus a terrorist act.  Instead, I’ll look at the Susan Rice transcripts.

ABC This Week – “But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated… What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result — a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is — that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms… [The President] went out and repeatedly made a number of very important and powerful statements condemning the violence and conveying the message that, however hateful such a video may be, there is absolutely no justification for violence against the United States or other Western partners.”

Rice made three references to the YouTube video and none to al-Sharia or any act of terror.  Moreover, she specifically rejected the idea that it was premeditated.  The show went on with Brian Ross talking about the video director as a Coptic Christian, and Christiane Amanpour said the film was “clearly designed to incite.”  George Will and Liz Cheney later questioned the narrative about the video and Cheney said that Mitt Romney had “gotten it right” with his immediate statement.

Jonathon Karl, who finally broke this story in the mainstream news, made the comment: “Well, there you go.  But — but in terms of the longer-term implications here, this is really a potential, you know, danger for the president.  There will be questions asked.  No doubt there will be hearings up on Capitol Hill about what happened, why there was not more security in Benghazi.  There will be questions about the overall situation in the Middle East.  Was this really about one YouTube video or trailer for a movie that had been out, you know, for months actually and was finally translated into Arabic and put on an extremist television show in Egypt?  Or is there something more fundamental going on?”

CBS Face the Nation – “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent… We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned… I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”

Before Susan Rice came on, Bob Schieffer interviewed the Libyan President Mohaned Yousef-Magariaf, and he said “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we– and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no– this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined– predetermined.”  After Rice, John McCain laughed at the notion that it was a spontaneous response and said that the United States was the weak horse.  Later both Richard Haass of the Council of Foreign Relations and Tom Friedman questioned the veracity of the video excuse.

NBC Meet the Press – “But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days. This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that what has happened is condemnable, but this is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad… But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video…. First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent.  In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to reinforce our facility… Well, first of all, David, let’s put this in perspective.  As I
said, this is a response to a very offensive video.

Five mentions of the video and a specific rejection to the claim that there was a terrorist element and says that they had no warning of the attacks.  Reps Peter King and Keith Ellison were on the roundtable and disagreed on how “clear” Obama’s Middle East policy had been and King was dubious of the YouTube claim.  David Gregory continued to state that the attacks were “caused by the video” as if it were fact.

Fox News Sunday – “But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world. Now, our strong view is that there is no excuse for violence. It is absolutely reprehensible and never justified. But, in fact, there have been those in various parts of the world who have reacted with violence. Their governments have increasingly and effectively responded and protected our facilities and condemned the violence and this outrageous response to what is an offensive video… But
we are vigilant and we are of the view that is not an expression of hostility in the broadest sense towards the United States or U.S. policy. It’s essentially a reaction to this video and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible… The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman, felt that the attack was preplanned, while Chris Wallace kept reiterating that the official story had pinned the attack on the video.  During the roundtable, both Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times and Bill Kristol raised questions about the video story.  Brit Hume said that the video seemed to be a poor cover story, but he felt the White House needed to double down on the story just to prove that Mitt Romney was wrong with his initial statement.

So in summary, Susan Rice mentioned the video over a dozen times during these talk shows and specifically denied that it was preplanned or a coordinated attack.  Now, for everybody who was paying attention and didn’t take the administration’s word as gospel, we knew that it was a lie at the time.  History is a good disinfectant, and I know that future generations will wonder how the mainstream news and the general public could be so duped by such a silly story.

Ohio’s Kevin DeWine Problem

I don’t get into the machine aspect of politics, mostly because I unfortunately make a presumption that any political leader is their for some “crony” reason. Kevin DeWine is the second cousin of Mike DeWine and was elected to his post after Barack Obama won Ohio in 2008. Ohio’s GOP went from a team of all-stars in the 90’s when Voinovich was governor to a team of whiny has-beens under Taft. DeWine was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives and became Speaker in 2007, a feat that has lost much of its allure since term limits prevents any Representative to build much of a resume.

As the Tea Parties sprung up in April 2009 opposing the big government mentality of the left, it was pretty clear that Ohio’s Republican establishment was going to behave like the establishment and stay on the sidelines. When Tea Party activists began working toward electing their candidates on a local level and to committee posts, the Ohio GOP realized that the Tea Party was going after the big government mentality on the right.

Here are a few links that describe the DeWine problem, including the list of posts at Breitbarts’s BigGovernment by the author Bytor.

http://biggovernment.com/author/bytor
http://www.bizzyblog.com/2011/12/23/at-biggov-go-away-kevin-dewine/
http://nofall.org/2012/02/10/kevin-dewine-continues-tea-party-assault/

The last post refers to a new rule saying that committee members must have voted in Republican primary in 2008, making any Operation Chaos voter ineligible to hold a GOP postition.  I think it will be a happy day for Ohio conservatives when Kevin DeWine is excused from his post… as long as he’s replaced by a conservaitve.  Otherwise we’ll be back fighting big government Republicans while the big government Democrats eat their cake.

Ohio Primary Update

Ohio will likely move its primary date from March 2012 to May 2012. While many activists say the candidates will likely be obvious by May and that March will give Ohioans a greater voice in the nominating process, the late October deadline for redictricting is forcing the Secretary of State’s hand. Ohio will lose two congressional seats, and both Democrats and Republicans who might be interested in challenging an incumbent won’t know until fall in which district they can run. (Rumor has it that Dennis Kucinich may move himself to a new seat in Washington if his district becomes unwinnable.)  Also, the simple logistics of putting on an election and getting signatures for candidates all take time. So while I would prefer the earlier primary date for the presidential race, I think the later date will help the congressional and statehouse candidates.

Also on July 1-2, Ohio will be holding the We The People Convention – http://www.wethepeopleconvention.org/. I look forward to having Tea Parties from across the state get together to help turn this state around. In 2011 there will be two very important issues on the Ohio ballot. One is a vote to repeal Senate Bill 5, and another is to exempt Ohio from ObamaCare. There will be $25 million from liberal groups to convince folks to repeal Senate Bill 5 and it will take all that conservatives have to protect the Ohio taxpayer.

Ohio Redistricting with Map

I’ve created a current Ohio district map and superimposed it on the county growth (or lack thereof) map given by the census.

Looking at the loss in the northern part of the state, I can’t see how Kaptur, Sutton, Kucinich, and Fudge all keep their positions.  Because Sutton is from the Akron area, I’ll bet she will end up challenging Renacci with Kucinich and Kaptur taking parts of Lorain County.

Then from this map, we unfortunately see losses in the Latta and Jordan districts as well as the district of freshman Bill Johnson.  The Johnson district along the Ohio River from near Youngstown toward Athens, may have been a carve-out for somebody in 2000.  I can’t remember that redistricting fight, but this district once belonged to the future Governor Ted Strickland.

Tim Ryan’s district will likely survive as his support is so strong in Mahoning County that I doubt any Republican can squeeze in there.  If Renacci can defeat Sutton (and I’m afraid that’s a big if), then Ohio will have 4 Democrats out of 16 seats.  Ohio leans conservative, but it’s going to be a big challenge to get fewer than four Democratic seats in this state.

Updated: Finally we’ll need to watch for the redraw around Columbus.  Three districts share parts of Franklin County, and these three have generally been filled by Republicans.  In 2008, however, Mary Jo Kilroy needed a recount to beat Steve Stivers (who won the 2010 rematch), and Pat Tiberi’s district was won by Barack Obama.  A Democrat could easily slip into one of those districts no matter how carefully they are drawn.

Welcome Back

I’d really like a few extra hours in the day to write this blog. I think the idea, at least, of returning conservatives to Washington and to Columbus is very important. Unfortunately I have a day job, go to school part time, and my Orc Hunter is not pulling the DPS that is expected. Nevertheless, I’ll post what and when I can.

Since a year ago, I’m sure we’ll take three seats at minimum… my money would go to five seats… and then my hopes would be more seats currently held by Kucinich (my hometown district) and Tim Ryan (my current district). Currently, Ohio is split 10-8 in favor of the Democrats. Three months from now, that will not be the case. 🙂

Mike DeWine :-/

Mike DeWine could have become Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He was working his way up the Judiciary Committee. He had Harry Reid’s support to become a Supreme Court Justice. But in fact, Mike DeWine has been working his whole career to become Ohio’s Attorney General. (sigh!)  http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2009/07/mike_dewine_to_launch_attorney.html

David Yost has already put his hat in the ring, and I am inclined to favor a “Tea Party” activist. We need fresh faces and people who will stand firm on principle. The Democrats have absolutely no interest in compromising on their government-first philosophy, so why should we compromise at all with the people-first philosophy. Mike DeWine, to his downfall, has been known to buddy up with the other side.

On the other hand…. I personally wish that I was more full-throated in my support for his re-election to the Senate. Sherrod Brown is precisely who we thought he was – he is a Paul Wellstone-type liberal who usually says what he means and means what he says. Little did we realize that the five seat loss in 2006 would be followed by an eight seat loss in 2008.

To that end, shouldn’t electability be an important priority in the 2010 elections? I didn’t think the entrance of Tom Ganley into the Senate race was worthy of a post because a) he’s a big name only with auto sales, and b) he entered the race second. Mike DeWine is different. He has won statewide office and would likely have a better chance against Richard Cordray, who won the Treasurer’s Office by a very slim margin. (He was later appointed to Attorney General, replacing Marc “too-much-the-frat-boy” Dann.)

There is still just under a year before the primary vote, so we will see how things iron out. Mike DeWine is palatable. But is he preferable?