Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, November 2


My blogging operations have been transferred to Ohio Daily Blog.

Wednesday, October 17

Take Ted Out To The Ballgame

My Geauga County friends Terry and Janet Carson went to Tuesday night's Indians game with John Hazley and a special guest:

Friday, September 28

OH-5: Nine File for Special Primary Elections

Today was the final day for filing election petitions in Wood County for the November 6th special primary elections in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. Subject to verification of petition signatures, the candidate list looks like this (h/t CQ Politics):I received an email earlier today from a reliable source indicating that Sandusky County Commissioner Brad Smith (R-Fremont), who was widely regarded as a strong potential candidate from the eastern reaches of the district, decided against running at the eleventh hour. Smith was not convinced that he had a serious chance of success and is unwilling to play the spoiler or be a pawn. Reportedly he does have future political ambitions, and does not want to do anything to jeopardize his reputation as a sincere public servant.

UPDATE: There is an interview with new Democratic candidate Dr. Earl Campbell here.

Calls for GOP Condemnation of Limbaugh "Phony Soldier" Remark Growing

I've been trying to keep track as the number of Democrats calling on Republicans to condemn Rush Limbaugh's reprehensible remark on Wednesday that U.S. military personnel returned from Iraq who criticize the war are "phony soldiers." (Limbaugh also called Vietnam veteran Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) "Senator Betrayus" back in January.) Here is a scorecard:
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the DCCC - "It minimizes the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and their families are making and has no place in the public discourse. Rush Limbaugh owes our military and their families an apology for his hurtful comments that minimize their service to our country."

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

New Fox Poll: Clinton & Obama Lead Three GOP Candidates

In a new poll just out from Fox News, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has a big (and growing) lead over three major GOP contenders in head-to-head matchups (parenthetical numbers are from July):

46% (46%) Clinton (D)
39% (41%) Giuliani (R)

48% (47%) Clinton (D)
35% (38%) Thompson (R)

46% (45%) Clinton (D)
39% (42%) McCain (R)

The poll didn't test Clinton against Romney, and it didn't include former senator John Edwards (D-NC). The poll shows Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) also leading against the three GOP contenders, although not by as much as Clinton (and his leads are shrinking):

41% (45%) Obama (D)
40% (41%) Giuliani (R)

45% (48%) Obama (D)
33% (30%) Thompson (R)

40% (47%) Obama (D)
38% (37%) McCain (R)

Among other findings, the poll puts approval of Bush at 34%, down from 37% right after the testimony of Gen. Petraeus before Congress. Approval of Democratic Party is at 50%, of the Republican Party is at 44%.

Thursday, September 27

OH-14: O'Neill (D) Calls "Iraq Compact" Signed by LaTourette (R) a "Political Stunt"

A few days ago Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) joined a group of 24 House members in signing a "bipartisan compact on the Iraq debate," which they call a pledge designed to reduce political infighting and promote a "bipartisan solution." Among other things, the document states that cutting funding for troops in Iraq would endanger service members, future military involvement in Iraq requires a "clearly defined and measurable mission," the Iraqi government must steer Iraq's future course, and U.S. troops must have adequate recuperation between deployments.

Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), the former appellate judge and candidate for Ohio Supreme Court, is calling it empty hypocrisy. O'Neill earned a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam and his son served in Afghanistan and Iraq. O'Neill's press release states:
"I agree that bipartisan efforts are the only way we are going to get our troops out of harm's way. But this compact appears to be nothing more than empty words in lieu of action - an attempt to put a happy face on what has become a foreign policy disaster.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Brunner: Vote Law "Institutionalized" Vote Caging

An article published yesterday by McClatchy Newspapers' Washington Bureau says that new voting laws in Ohio and Florida could dampen Democratic voting in 2008, and the part about Ohio contains a hair-raising warning from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D).

The article starts with this description of the overall problem:
Backers of the new laws say they're aimed at curbing vote fraud. But the statutes also could facilitate a controversial Republican tactic known as "vote caging," which the GOP tried in Ohio and Florida in 2004 before public disclosures foiled the efforts, said Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief in the Bush administration who's now with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges.
Later it gets into the comments by Brunner:
In Ohio, which swung the 2004 election to Bush, new Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said in a phone interview that an election law passed last year and signed by former Republican Gov. Bob Taft effectively "institutionalized" vote caging.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-13 & 18: Space (D) and Sutton (D) Promote Mortgage Crisis Legislation

Kudos to Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) and Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township) for continuing to take the lead on legislation to address the continuing mortgage crisis.

Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee passed legislative language introduced by Space that would severely cut the "foreclosure tax" that occurs when mortgage debt wiped out in bankruptcy is treated as taxable income to the now homeless and bankrupt borrower. According to the press release, Committee Chairman Charles Rangel told Space that he "would like to applaud your leadership on this important issue, especially given that foreclosure rates in Ohio have risen 138% since August of 2006. Your state is just one example of the tremendous reach of the housing crisis, and its impact on working Americans."

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Wednesday, September 26

Real Struggle To End Iraq War Will Be Waged in Ohio and Florida, Not in Congress

Salon's Washington Bureau Chief Walter Shapiro has an article out that explains in straight-forward terms why Democrats in Congress can't end the war -- they don't have enough votes to override a veto, and Republicans won't join them in opposing it. Here is the end of the article, the last paragraph of which really jumped out at me:
With Congress slated to adjourn in mid-November, the clock is fast running out on legislative efforts to reshape the war. Symbolic gestures like "sense of the Senate" resolutions and toothless withdrawal plans -- even if they survive a filibuster -- are unlikely to cow the administration, especially next year when Bush has less than a year left in the Oval Office. Democrats in swing districts will be even more reluctant to engage in a scorched-earth battle with the administration over war funding as the congressional elections draw near.

But the date that is most important to keep in mind is Feb. 6, the morning after the Super-Duper Party-Pooper orgy of primaries when both parties are likely to have de facto presidential nominees. The victorious Democrat in particular will want nothing to happen in Congress that could possibly jeopardize winning back the White House. And congressional leaders (along with most back-benchers) will be shrewd enough to understand that electing a Democratic president is the only surefire route to ending this debilitating war.

That is why angry antiwar activists should realize that their targets are no longer skittish congressional Democrats and Beltway insiders who are their counselors in caution. This is not the moment for guerrilla theater and mau-mauing the moderates. For the true struggle on the home front to end the Iraq war is no longer going to be waged in the chambers of Congress. The coming battleground instead is the familiar terrain of Ohio and Florida -- and the hearts and minds of the swing voters who will decide the 2008 election.

OH-5: Grandillo (D) Out, Campbell (D) In

A reader in Wood County informs me that Tiffin University administrator Mike Grandillo (D-Tiffin) has decided against running in the special primary election. However, petitions have been filed by Dr. Earl Campbell (D-Perrysburg), and there are reports that George F. Mays (D-Norwalk) may also file, so it appears that there will be a Democratic primary.

The other Democratic candidate, Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), has sent out a press release indicating that she file petitions today with 150 signatures, the maximum allowed, from all across the district.

OH-5: Two New GOP Candidates Declare

There have been four or five potential Republican candidates under discussion in the comment thread to this post, but meanwhile the Toledo Blade has reported that on two new announced candidates, neither of them a familiar name. Michael J. Reynolds (R-Columbus Grove) is a retiree who misspelled the deceased Congressman's name as "Gilmore" in his campaign announcement, and Mike Smitly (R-Van Wert) is a business consultant who is actually a Libertarian.

News and Notes: Ohio

What's going on today in the state whose width (220 miles) is the same as its height (220 miles):

Ohio Farmers Support Strickland's Energy Plan

Assurances Regarding Production at Lordstown Included in UAW/GM Deal?

Senate Passes Bill to Delay Tamper-Proof Presciption Requirement

Ohio GOP Legislative Agenda Outlined

Brunner to Rule Whether Summit County Independent Candidates Are GOP

Read all about them at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Tuesday, September 25

OH-10: Palmer Says Kucinich and Bush "Like Petulant Children"

Democratic primary challenger Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) lost no time in lambasting Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) for his mystifying vote against extension and expansion of SCHIP health insurance coverage for children:
I was appalled by Congressman Kucinich’s vote against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program on the House floor tonight. This bill would have expanded an already successful program to provide health insurance to millions of children across the country. It takes some twisted logic for someone who claims to support health care coverage for all to oppose this necessary and overdue move in the right direction.

On one hand, President Bush vows to veto the bill, and on the other, Dennis Kucinich votes against it because he doesn’t think it is perfect. This is a perfect example of what is presently wrong with Washington decision-making. Polarizing positions work against functional compromise resulting in a government that cannot serve in the nation’s best interest. While fringe politicians like President Bush and Congressman Kucinich rant like petulant children, the nation remains stagnant and desperately needing effective leadership. Unfortunately, children in Northeast Ohio and around the country will pay the price for their obstinate actions.

4 of 10 Ohio GOP House Members Vote for SCHIP

The House-Senate compromise bill to extend and expand SCHIP (H.R. 976, House Vote #906) passed tonight by a broad bipartisan majority of 265-159, with 45 Republicans voting "Yes" and 8 Democrats voting "No." Unfortunately, that is 24 votes short of the 2/3 majority needed to override the threatened presidential veto.

A substantial majority of Americans, including a majority of Republican voters, support the bill, as do a broad cross-section or trade organizations representing both the health care industry and insurance companies. Nevertheless, touting exaggerated claims that consumers would be driven from private to government insurance, and patently false claims that the bill would allow illegal aliens to obtain government health benefits, the White House and GOP leaders were able to keep enough Republican House members in line to preserve the threat of a presidential veto.

This vote against America's children will help define the 2008 election cycle. Those who opposed the bill will have much to explain to their constituents. In Ohio, the House members who voted "No" include four of the ten voting Republicans (Paul Gillmor being deceased and notyet replaced), and one Democrat -- none other than presidential aspirant Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), who will no doubt say that the bill did not go far enough.

Here is the GOP roll call:

Mike Turner
Dave Hobson
Pat Tiberi
Steve LaTourette
Deborah Pryce
Ralph Regula

Steve Chabot
Jean Schmidt
Jim Jordan
John Boehner

News and Notes: Ohio

Some interesting news items from the state whose highest point is Campbell Hill, 1550 feet above sea level:

Space Hosts Conference Call on SCHIP

Dann Pressuring Facebook on Child Safety

Sutton Pans US-Peru FTA

Oh, The Irony: Comparing Chabot and Schmidt Fund-Raising

Read all about them at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-14: Big Fund-Raiser for Bill O'Neill Saturday, With Ted & Lee

September 30th is a reporting deadline for campaign contributions, so Congressional challengers should be focusing their time and attention this week on raising as much early campaign cash as possible. A strong campaign fund-raising report now means enhanced credibility and momentum going forward, which translates into better fund-raising down the road. In other words, now is the time to collect critical seed money for the campaign ahead.

Former state appellate judge Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), taking on entrenched incumbent Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Chagrin Falls) in the 14th Ohio Congressional District, understands this very well. He is having a major fund-raising event at Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland, Ohio this Saturday, September 29th, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Highlighting the event are special guests Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Lt Gov. Lee Fisher (D). That will be an exciting campaign reunion, since O'Neill (then a candidate for Ohio Supreme Court) traveled the state with those two and the other statewide Democratic candidates during the wildy successful "Dream Team" bus tour in August, 2006.

If you have an appetite for change on the political scene, this is an important race for you -- and now is definitely the time for you to help O'Neill out. The suggested donation for students and union members is $25, and for everyone else starts at $100 per guest (or $175 per couple). Higher levels are $150/$250 for "Patrons" and $300/$500 for "Friends." Event organizers Terry and Janet Carson ask that attendees start by making a contribution through O'Neill's ActBlue page, and they will then contact you before the event. Questions may be directed to Janet Carson at carsontrry-at-yahoo-dot-com.

Monday, September 24

News and Notes: Ohio

Some of what's happening today in the state that fought a boundary war with Michigan in 1835 over the "Toledo Strip":

Space Announces Law to Improve VA Health Care

Weirauch Declares Support for Striking GM Workers

Board Certified Teachers Clustered in Wealthier Districts

ABA Team Requests Death Penalty Moratorium; Strickland Will Think About It

Strip Club Referendum is Over 100,000 Signatures Short

Read all about them at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-7 & 16: More Buzz About Hobson (R) and Regula (R) Retiring

In a piece in the Washington Post by Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray yesterday, the authors include Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) and Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) in a list of six GOP House members "who might bow out over the coming weeks and months." They also comment that "the sudden recent death of Rep. Paul Gillmor, a 20-year home-state colleague, could help tip the balance for" Hobson, and that Regula's "primary opponent invited Regula supporters to an upcoming fundraiser."

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Sunday, September 23

News and Notes: Ohio

It's Sunday evening and I thought I'd clear out the feed reader - so here's a sampling of what's going on in the state whose name is derived from the Seneca word ohi:yo', meaning beautiful river:

County GOP Seeks Expulsion of Kucinich - As reported today in the Cleveland Plain Dealer blog Openers, the Cuyahoga County Republican Party has created a web site to support its plan to petition the Ohio General Assembly to ask the U.S. House of Representatives to expel Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland). Echoing Kucinich's primary challenger Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland), local GOP officials contend that Kucinich is ignoring his constituents for the sake of his long-shot presidential campaign. Of course, the chances of such an expulsion occurring are infinitely more remote than of Kucinich becoming president. Meanwhile, Kucinich will take his presidential campaign to NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno tomorrow evening. He will tout his soon-to-be-released autobiography, Courage to Survive. (I am NOT making this up.)

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Friday, September 21

OH-5: Damschroder (R) Out; New GOP Names Mentioned

I have received an email from a reader in the eastern part of the 5th Congressional District who confirms an anonymous commenter's report that former State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) has decided not to run. He goes on to say that because of that decision, and a local desire to have a candidate from the eastern portion of the district, there is a movement underway to get one of the following three people to jump into the race:
* State Rep. Jeff Wagner (R-Sycamore), a farmer, who can only run one more time due to term limits;

* Mayor Terry Overmyer (R-Fremont), a businessman who is the longest-serving mayor in Fremont's history; and,

* Three-term Sandusky County Commissioner Brad Smith (R-Fremont), an attorney, who worked for the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee under JoAnn Davidson and has served as a City Councilman and an prosecutor.
Any of these candidates would have an uphill battle in the primary, but would carry a lot of votes in the eastern part of the district, and that could tilt the race from State Rep. Bob Latta (centrally located in Bowling Green) toward State Sen. Steve Buehrer (from the western town of Delta).

Clearly, there will be many more meetings held this weekend to figure this all out - but very interesting, not so much because any of these people have a realistic chance to win, but who they take votes away from, thus affecting the outcome.

Republican Defectors May Defeat Threatened Veto of S-CHIP Extension

House and Senate leaders are negotiating a compromise bill to extend and expand the S-CHIP program, which allows children in certain low-to-middle income families to enroll in Medicaid. (The popular program will expire in ten days without Congressional renewal.) The compromise bill reportedly would permit states to extend the program to families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level, sufficient to permit Ohio to go ahead with the plans reflected in the recently passed state budget.

However, Bush reiterated the other day that he would veto the compromise bill, and called on Congress to instead pass a law that essentially extends the program with very little increase. The Senate version of the extension passed with a veto-proof bipartisan majority (it got 68 votes), but the House version did not (225-204). Thus, the question becomes whether enough additional GOP legislators will defect in order to defeat a veto.

Suddenly, the signs are looking good.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Fave Comments on the MoveOn Molehill

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), quoted in a piece by blogger Taylor Marsh, says what I wish Democratic leaders would say:
"I commend MoveOn for their ad and for speaking truth to power," said Stark. "Up is not down, the earth is not flat, and the surge is not working. General Petraeus betrayed his own reputation by standing with George Bush in opposition to the timely withdrawal of all of our brave men and women from Iraq. I thank MoveOn for their patriotic ad and call on Petraeus to help Bush end a war the President should have never started."

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH Sen-22: Interview with Mike Todd (D)

A few weeks ago I spoke with Michael Todd (D-Medina Township) about his campaign for the 22nd Ohio Senate seat of term-limited Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster). Todd is an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Summit County and a Township Trustee for Medina Township. He is also a member of the Ohio Democratic Party State Central Committee. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He will face the winner of the GOP primary, for which State Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) and State Rep. Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster) are declared candidates.

Listen to the audio and read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-5: Karen Gillmor (R) and Wachtmann (R) Out - Plus GOP Poll Results

The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reported yesterday that Karen Gillmor (R-Dublin), widow of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R), will not run in the special election in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. However, the same item reports that State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) is circulating petitions, and Right Angle Blog posted an announcement from Wachtmann yesterday that he is making an announcement today in Henry County, followed by stops in five other counties in the district, so Wachtmann appears to be in. (I'm waiting for a call back from Wachtmann's spokesperson to confirm.) I was totally wrong, Matt at Right Angle Blog was right. Wachtmann is not running, and instead is endorsing State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green).

A source in Wood County tells me that former State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) is also circulating petitions, so he is a good bet to enter as well. That makes the GOP field Latta, State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta), and probably Damschroder.

The following poll was taken of 300 primary voters by the Latta campaign (reportedly available to sbuscribers at Hotline.com):

Primary Election Matchups
Latta 34%
Wachtmann 20%
Buehrer 17%

Latta 30%
Wachtmann 18%
Buehrer 14%
Damschroder 12%

Latta 47%/ 3%
Wachtmann 35%/ 5%
Buehrer 30%/ 3%
Damschroder 29%/ 5%

Those are suprisingly good numbers for Wachtmann against Buehrer. I would have expected them to be tied, or for Buehrer to be ahead. The two of them have traded State Rep. and State Sen. seats due to term limits, much like Latta and State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) in the eastern part of the 5th Congressional District.

A Reader Expresses Disgust at Senate Condemnation of MoveOn

I'm "turning over the mic" to a reader who sent me this message about yesterday's political stunt by the GOP:
[T]he reason this has caused me to taste my own bile so bitterly this afternoon is it shows that this is the kind of pathetic b*llsh*t that our Senate has time for--perhaps being of the view that we have no domestic or international policy problems that we should actually be worried about.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Thursday, September 20

Voinovich Supports, Brown Opposes Senate Resolution Condemning MoveOn.org

This is absurd and outrageous. In an act of ideological posturing, the GOP has engineered a Senate resolution condemning MoveOn.org for an act of pure political speech, i.e., its newspaper ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus on the eve of his Congressional testimony in support of staying the course in Iraq. Sen. George Voinovich (R) voted in favor of the resolution, of course. Twenty-two Democrats joined the GOP, but to his great credit Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) voted against.

Among Democratic presidential contenders, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) did not vote and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) voted against. On the GOP side, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted in favor.

It is a dark day when our government condemns political speech. Whether tasteful or outrageous, expression of political opinion is fundamental to democracy and is at the core of our most cherished freedoms. This brouhaha over MoveOn.org is not just a despicable diversionary tactic to deflect attention from popular opposition to the war, it is an affront to our basic civil liberties.

OH-18: Space (D) Comes Out Strong Against Threatened Veto of S-CHIP

The folks at Open Left may be targeting Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) with their misguided "Bushdog" campaign, based on his votes for funding Iraq without a withdrawal deadline and for amending FISA, but he can definitely count on my support. Space comes out strong on many critical progressive issues relating to the economy, health care, and energy policy, and this reaction to Bush's threatened veto of Congressional action to continue and expand the S-CHIP program (which provides Medicaid coverage to children in middle-to-lower income families that don't qualify for Medicaid directly) is a great example:
“Instead of doing the right thing by signing the legislation and protecting the coverage of millions of children, President Bush is compromising the health and safety of our children just as they are starting their lives. The President has essentially told them that they must start their lives on the wrong foot.
Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-5: Weirauch (D) and Buehrer (R) Declare Candidacies

Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) and Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) have officially announced that they are running in the special election in the 5th Ohio Congressional District. From Weirauch's campaign site:

Here's coverage on Buehrer from the Toledo Blade:
Pledging to uphold conservative values, State Sen. Steve Buehrer launched a congressional campaign for Ohio's Fifth District this morning at the Fulton County Courthouse.

"The solutions to our problems are not far away in marble buildings in Washington," Mr. Buehrer said. "They are here in the common sense wisdom of the heartland."

On the issue of Iraq, Mr. Buehrer said Congress should not attempt to "armchair quarterback" the war but allow the generals on the ground to implement their strategies.

OH-13 & 18: More From Sutton and Space on Mortage Crisis Legislation

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley) has sent out a press release with more from her floor speech in support of H.R. 1852, passed by the House on Tuesday. The legislation would "revitalize" the Federal Housing Administration by increasing the range of borrowers eligible for FHA mortgage reinsurance and making other changes, including providing for financial counseling for borrowers and emergency housing grants. As Sutton notes, 1 in 10 Ohio homeowners with a mortgage is at least a month behind on payments, and 1 in 4 with a subprime loan is delinquent or in foreclosure. Here are her remarks on the floor:
The American Dream is in peril for many families in this country as foreclosures rise and dreams shatter. The American Dream means owning a home, belonging to a community, and being able to provide a safe and stable place for our families. But for too many families, that dream can be a nightmare when predatory lending practices and a complacent government get in the way. We in Congress can help working families take steps toward achieving the American dream, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Predatory Lending: Edwards Takes the Lead by Endorsing AFFIL Principles of Fairness in Lending

Ohio's place in the forefront of the mortgage foreclosure crisis highlights the larger issue of predatory lending in general. Abusive practices by lenders can lure or steer borrowers into loans with unnecessarily high interest rates or unfavorable terms, and some of the terms that lenders stick into loans simply ought to be banned.

Americans for Fairness in Lending is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of abusive credit and lending practices and calling for re-regulation of the industry. Sarah Byrnes, Campaign Manager for AFFIL, informed me in an email today that on September 13th former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) became the first presidential candidate to endorse their Six Principles of Fairness in Lending.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

P2008: Must-Read - Mark Halperin's Thoughts on Candidates

Wow. Evan Smith and Paul Burka of Texas Monthly have each posted notes on comments made by Mark Halperin in Austin, Texas two nights ago. Halperin was political director at ABC News and creator of the insanely popular (among political junkies, anyway) internet site "The Note." Halperin was full of ideas and insights about the presidential race, so you have to go and read the full posts, but here are a few tidbits:
* Fred Thompson is toast. McCain, by contrast, should not be written off yet.

* Clinton's strength as a candidate is that she's learned from both her husband and George W. how to run a campaign.
Read the rest of this post at me new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Sen. Voinovich (R) Refuses to Walk the Walk on Iraq

Sen. George Voinovich has repeatedly talked the talk on changing the Bush administration's stay the course/endless war handling of Iraq, but once again he rejected an opportunity to vote where his mouth is. Last night he joined all but six Republican members of the U.S. Senate in obstructing a proposed amendment by Sen. James Webb (D-VA) that would have required troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Wednesday, September 19

Strickland Submits "Energy, Jobs and Progress" Bill

I just received an email from the office of Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), indicating that Gov. Ted Strickland has presented to the Senate Clerk his energy bill:
The bill will be introduced “by request” sometime in the next several days. Energy, Jobs and Progress provides much-needed transparency, accountability and consumer protections to Ohio’s system of electric utility oversight. The proposal also will stimulate job growth and protect Ohio’s air and water, generating 25% of electricity consumed by Ohioans through alternative sources such as wind, solar and clean coal by the year 2025.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

OH-6: Iraq Trip Confirms Wilson (D) Anti-War Stance

Just returned from a five-day trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St.Clairsville) didn't see anything to change his mind about calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within six months. In fact, Wilson told the Youngstown Vindicator that Iraq is a "surreal situation":
While traveling in Baghdad, Wilson said there were deep craters in the roads caused by explosives. Also, he said, the number of suicide bombers is on the rise.

“There’s a real sense you have to be on guard in Iraq,” he said.

Wilson went to Iraq to see if there is any progress being made and to see if there’s a reason for a continued presence there of U.S. troops. Wilson couldn’t find a reason to continue to put U.S. soldiers in a dangerous and deadly situation.

Wilson estimates it would take at least 10 years to restore order to Iraq.

“That’s 10 years too long,” he said.
Quoted in a related article, Wilson adds:
"...We don't have the time or the resources [to remain in Iraq.] The president is calling for more money and more patience, but there's no political progress. There's no reason to do this for another 10 years."
Wilson voted for troop withdrawal in April, and will have another opportunity to do so shortly.

Polling since the Congressional testimony of Gen. Petraeus shows that most minds outside the beltway have not been changed about Iraq. A majority of Iraqis say that the "surge" has failed, a huge majority (72%) of our own troops say the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, and the Strategic Visions poll released this morning shows that far more Ohioans want us out than want us to stay. There is plenty of public spuport for resisting the Bush administration's call to stay the course in Iraq, and it is encouraging that Rep. Wilson, a Blue Dog Democrat, will continue to vote for a phased withdrawal.

New Ohio Poll: Giuliani (R) and Clinton (D) Still Lead; Bush Approval at 28%

A Strategic Vision poll released today shows former mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) with a 13 point lead over newly announced rival and former senator Fred Thompson (R-VA):

Rudy Giuliani 34%
Fred Thompson 21%
John McCain 9%
Mitt Romney 8%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Ron Paul 3%
Tom Tancredo 2%
Sam Brownback 2%
Duncan Hunter 1%
Undecided 11%

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) continues to dominate the field, with a 20 point lead over Barack Obama (D-IL):

Hillary Clinton 43%
Barack Obama 23%
John Edwards 11%
Bill Richardson 6%
Joseph Biden 3%
Dennis Kucinich 2%
Christopher Dodd 1%
Undecided 11%

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Tuesday, September 18

OH-13: Sutton (D) Speaks in Favor of Increasing FHA Mortgage Assistance

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 1852, a measure that would modernize and expand the role of the Federal Housing Administration in guaranteeing mortgage loans. Under the new rules, the FHA could guarantee refinanced mortgages loans for tens of thousands of borrowers who face delinquency due to interests rates resetting to sharply higher levels under adjustable rate mortgage loans with low introductory "teaser" rates:
"The American dream is in peril for many families in this country as foreclosures rise and dreams shatter," Rep. Betty Sutton, a Democrat from Ohio, a state particularly hard-hit by the default wave, declared in House debate on the measure.

She called the legislation, which backers say could help an estimated 250,000 families, "a bold step forward on what is going to be a long road to fix this broken system."
This is the first stand-alone bill by Congress in response to the mortgage lending crisis. In addition to changing the formula for determining eligibility for FHA mortgage insurance, it would also make funds available for financial counseling and provide grants for affordable housing. It also eliminates the statutory ceiling on the number of reverse mortgages that the FHA can guarantee.

I see that I have a press release from Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) indicating that he voted for H.R. 1852 and that it passed with bipartisan support by a 348 to 72 margin. This is very good news.

Voinovich to Unveil "Compromise" Iraq Plan

Hoping to build a bipartisan consensus, Sen. George Voinovich (R) will announce this afternoon what he considers a compromise plan for Iraq. His draft resolution calls for a "responsible reduction” in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq" but states that "the withdrawal of U.S. troops cannot be “precipitous” and the U.S. will be “engaged” in Iraq for the “foreseeable future." In other words, a few soldiers come home but basically the occupation continues indefinitely.

Read the rest of this post at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog.

Senate to Vote on Restoring Habeas Corpus - Call Your Senators!

A few months before last year's election, Sherrod Brown (D) dismayed his progressive supporters by voting for the Military Commissions Act. Subsequently, and to his great credit, he has acknowledged that the vote was a mistake. This week he has a chance to help rectify the error by voting for S. 185, the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act, which will restore the right of habeas corpus to non-citizens caught up in the Bush administration's program of indefinite detention of persons declared to be enemy combatants. This move is essential to restore our moral standing in the world and to protect against the erosion of our fundamental constitutional rights.

Here is video of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) discussing hte Habeus Corpus Restoration Act:

Sherrod Brown's vote for this measure is assured, but Sen. George Voinovich (R) still needs persuading. Call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121, toll free 888-355-3588, and tell him to do the right thing. And it would be good to call Brown and thank him. Also, you can sign up to be a citizen co-sponsor of the bill here.