Primary Day In Ohio

While I am happy that we finally have a slate of presidential candidates who don’t make me want to research Canadian citizenship (I’m liking Vancouver for the weather), I’ll be happy when today’s festivities are over.

No more robocalls. No more junk mail. No more Bill Cunningham whining about John McCain (until the convention).

I spent Sunday at Nita’s house. A Clinton campaign worker came to the door. The dog went after him. I got the dog back in the house and got in her face, saying “Who’s a Republican doggie? Is it Girl? Is Girl a Republican doggie?” She licked my face.

So I swatted her on the nose and said, “Bad dog!”

I am an Obama man, after all.

The presidential campaign hasn’t been too bad. The candidates haven’t gotten in my face demanding my vote.

The presidential candidates, I mean. Congressional?

On the Republican side, Jean Schmidt is fighting to keep her seat in District 2. I’d love to see her go down except…

Her opponent is Tom “Dr. No” Brinkman, who twice literally got in my face demanding my vote. Brinkman is opposed to just about everything. He’s so conservative he makes Sean Hannity look like Abby Hoffman. Not good. So I find myself in the unenviable position of rooting for a vapid harpie to keep her seat just a little bit longer.

Unfortunately, on the Democratic side, there’s Steve Black vs. Victoria Wulsin, the woman who almost took Schmidt’s job once. I liked Black’s blue-collar, anti-outsourcing message. It hearkened back to my days in Cleveland when saying “Fuck you, Corporate America” was not only popular, it was a survival skill. I decided, since I’m voting Democratic this year (Memo to Howie Dean: Don’t get used to it. I’m back to solid independent next primary season. Deal with it.), I’d decided to vote for Black.

Until Stevie Boy decided to run the mad scientist ads. Victoria Wulsin, a respected physician and protege of Dr. Henry Heimlich (Yes, that Heimlich, he of the famous maneuver), took part in a controversial, but promising, AIDS treatment involving malaria. Questionable? Maybe, but hardly malicious. Black, however, stole a page from Schmidt’s playbook and started running ads suggesting Wulsin did this in a basement dungeon among Van der Graff generators with a hunchbacked lab assistant named Igor (or is it Eye-gor?) I’m surprised he didn’t dub a Dr. Evil laugh over her voice in the process.*

Nice Steve. You lost my vote.

McCain vs. Clinton? Spirited, maybe a little personal, but mostly issues centered.

McCain vs. Obama? Definitely an issues debate. McCain has said as much, and Obama has demonstrated it.

Steve Black vs. Jean Schmidt?

Can someone send me real estate ads for Vancouver? Or at least the West Side of Cincy?

UPDATE: As of 11:15, Ohio is too close to call between Obama and Clinton. (CNN is calling it Clinton, but Cincinnati.com is holding out.) District 2 is going to be Jean “Cut and Run” Schmidt vs. Victoria Wulsin again. If it’s any consolation to the gent who took issue with my assessment of Wulsin, I voted for the third guy on the slate. Yeah, I threw away a vote, but it’s kinda hard to vote for the Libertarian or the Green on a straight party ballot. Won’t be a problem in November. Meanwhile…

Come on, Barry! Take Texas!

UPDATE:  11:30.  Oh, well.  Hillary was always ahead in Ohio anyway.  Texas, Barack.  Texas.

*Blackie, Shitty – Er, um Schmitty, if you use that idea, you owe both me and Mike Meyers money. Cough, you cheap, Chicago-style political hacks.

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Did The Democrats Blow It In Detroit?

The past two years have been a rerun of my adolescence for the Rust Belt.  Big steel and the US auto industry take it on the chin with too much capacity, too many legacy costs, skyrocketing fuel costs, and a dollar that’s worth ninety cents in Canada.  Is the sky falling?

No, it’s just the 1970’s and 1980’s again.  Only instead of Jimmy Carter bailing out Chrysler and Ronald Reagan pimping free trade and a Cold War-fueled defense industry, we have the single most incompetent president in history scratching his head.

We’ve been hit pretty hard in Ohio.  Ford’s downsizing had roughly the same effect on Cleveland as dropping an atomic bomb.  But it’s Michigan, epicenter of the US auto industry, that’s really suffering.  The surprise here is which candidates addressed the issue this past Tuesday:  John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Well, those names actually shouldn’t be surprising.  McCain enjoys broad independent appeal, which lets him speak to labor’s woes in ways the Huckabees and Thompsons of the world cannot.  Romney should not surprise anyone either.  His father once headed American Motors back before it was known for the Pacer and the Gremlin.  So while I’m no fan of Mitt, it doesn’t exactly come as a shock that He of the Perfect Hair has a soft spot for Detroit.

Many die-hard Democrats will think I’ve just committed blasphemy, but there’s a problem.  And you can lay it directly at the feet of the Democratic Party’s leadership.  See, the Democrats are snubbing Michigan this year.  Why?  They moved their primary up to mid-January, between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday.  And that’s bad because…  Um…

Paging Howard Dean.  You wanna explain this one to me?  Do you want to explain why I had to hold my nose a moment ago to praise Mitt Romney, a candidate I generally find as real and sincere as a late-night infomercial host?

The only candidate running in Michigan for the Democrats was Hillary Clinton.  All the rest pulled out because the DNC got pissy about Michigan moving up its primary.  No Barack Obama.  No John Edwards.  No Dennis Kucinich for the pure liberals.  Just Hillary.

What sort of message does that send a badly depressed Midwest?

“Screw you,” comes to mind.

Basically, where the party fubarred the whole thing is by penalizing Michigan for the most dubious of reasons.  If you’re going to complain that Michigan is too early, then Iowa and New Hampshire should also be punished.  Do you think Iowa represents the rest of America?  Or New Hampshire?

But no, someone in the Democratic Party decided to blow off the Rust Belt, blow off not only the automotive industries, but the unions that represent their workers.   Someone in the party leadership decided to blow off the party’s base.

So my question to the DNC is:

Why do you want to hand this election over to John McCain?

I don’t mind John McCain, since I’m an independent.  Besides, a Democratic Congress might do very well if it has to work with a GOP president who not only reads books, but has actually written a few.  (Come on, George.  You can read a newspaper.  The New York Post even likes you.  Or used to, anyway.)

But why in the hell do you guys want Michigan (and probably Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois with them) to go to the Republicans?

Might you want to rethink your strategy?

Don’t worry.  I’m sure the people of Michigan will rethink it for you.