Saturday, October 16, 2004

 

Ohio media shamed by South Dakota

Is it possible that a newspaper in South Dakota cares more about the story of controversial Republican campaign workers being sent into exile here than Ohio rags? It seems so.

Once again, we have to look to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader to update us on the story. The developments include:
- 75 absentee ballot applications handled by the group were never turned in
- The chairman and executive director of the South Dakota Federation of College Republicans have resigned in response to the absentee-ballot flap
- The group shuffled off to Ohio is said to be working for the Ohio Republican Party, not the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign, and they will not serve as "supervisors" but instead will be coodinators for our voter turnout in Cuyahoga County. "They work the phone banks, recruit and organize volunteer activities."

Obviously, the last point is nothing but pure spin, which they should be called on - assuming some Ohio reporter had the balls. Really, does the title of supervisor versus coordinator mean a thing? Likewise, what material difference does it make if they work for the ORP or BC04. The fact is that they have brought in this group of campaign hacks were either fired or forced to resign - with no questions asked and with the investigation still unfolding.

That leads to the next point. There is something more going on here if we have people being fired and resigning. Claims of "zero tolerance policies" aside, if the situation in South Dakota indeed were, as the Republicans there try to paint it, only small procedural errors by some college kids that required "a simple fix," than the firings and resignations are a major overreaction. On the other hand, if what's been reported on so far is only the beginning of a potentially much larger problem, then the firings and resignations are appropriate.

Finally, the whole situation with using these operatives in Ohio raises even more questions. It's not like the ORP or the SDRP or the BC04 are really separate entities. Legally yes, but if the SDRP was really serious, wouldn't Larry Russell, Nathan Mertz and Todd Schlekeway be on a "do not hire" list. Firing them in one state just can't be reconciled with hiring them in another. One thing that moving them to Ohio does do is that it makes it harder for them to be interviewed by the Argus Leader reporting team (since they don't have to worry about anyone in Ohio tracking them down.

This has all the markings of a story thats only going to get worse for the Republicans as more is known. Too bad none of the big papers in Ohio appears to care.

 

Calls to misdirect voters pop up in Cleveland

This story from the Plain Dealer is predicitable - and alarming if its the beginning of a trend. I haven't heard reports about this from anywhere else yet, but its going to happen, guaranteed.

And, given all of SOS Blackwell's shenanigans to avoid providing a provisional ballot to voters that show up at the wrong precinct, the story is the A-one reason why all voters should have a right to a provisional ballot.

Here is part of the PD's report:
Cuyahoga County elections officials are warning voters to be careful of callers telling them where to vote on Election Day.

The board has received two complaints from voters who said they received calls telling them their polling locations had changed. And the Cleveland office of America Coming Together, a Democrat-friendly voter-registration group, has received as many as 40 similar complaints.

. . .

Maurice Henderson, a spokesman for ACT, said some callers claim to be with his organization, which has registered some 10,700 new voters in Cuyahoga County. He suspects the callers are trying to confuse new voters by sending them to the wrong precincts so their votes might not be counted.

. . .

The elections board also received a complaint that someone was going door-to-door in Cleveland's Ward 7, ostensibly to recruit poll workers. Elections officials are not recruiting door-to-door.

Stay tuned.

 

Atta boy, Jon

From Romenensko, Jon Stewart shows he kicks asses, not kisses them, on Crossfire:
[JON] STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

[TUCKER] CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one. The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey...

STEWART: I watch your show every day. And it kills me.

CARLSON: I can tell you love it.

STEWART: It's so -- oh, it's so painful to watch...

CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?

STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore.


Full transcript and video at Media Matters.

 

Republican pollster says Kerry gained 5 points in Ohio from debate

The Boca Rotan (FL) News reported today that Strategic Visions, one of the Republican's polling firms, admitted that Kerry got a substantial boost in the swing states from the debates. In particular, SV attributed the gains to Kerry's positive performance and Bush's negative performance on stem cell research, prescription drugs and importing Canadian drugs, and Medicare.

According to SV, Kerry got a 4 point boosts in Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa, plus a 5 point jump in Ohio. SV doesn't have this data on their web site yet, so details are missing.

However, it should be noted that SV's polls are notorious for their sharp skewing toward Republican candidates, so admitting this jump in Kerry's numbers represents quite a revealing development in the race.

 

Ohio media drops ball on Republican staffing controversy

Yesterday we and numerous other blogs reported on the disturbing news that South Dakota Republican staffers involved in shenanigans with absentee ballots had been moved to Ohio.

Unfortunately, the response from the Ohio media has been silence at worst and inane at best.

As a matter of fact, the only coverage I have been able to detect today is an article from Mark Niquette (!?!?) of the Dispatch. Niquette, predictably, let the Ohio Republican spin go unchallenged and doing so provided just one more reason why he may be Ohio’s most dangerous reporter.

But, surprisingly, even the Plain Dealer failed to cover the story despite the fact that the Republican hacks in question have been assigned to work out of the Cleveland area.

It’s time Ohioans start contacting their local media and demand more attention to this issue. To facilitate this, we have beefed up our media listings on the left sidebar. Fire up those emails!

Friday, October 15, 2004

 

Rasmussen has small margin for Bush

Rasmussen has released its new Ohio poll, which, like their previous recent polls, has Bush with a small margin. The poll was conducted October 7-13 (i.e., prior to the last debate) of 564 Likely Voters:

Bush - 49%
Kerry - 47%
Other - 1%
Not Sure - 3%
MoE - not mentioned

Two weeks ago Rasmussen had it 48-47, so there is not much trend info that's can be extracted from this data. But other Rasmussen data does suggest trends. For example, while Bush's favorability rating rose 1 point to 54%, Kerry's rose 3 points to 53%. More importantly, Bush's job approval ratings are going down, while Kerry's voters are getting increasingly firm:
The President's Job Approval is currently at 50% in Ohio. That's down from 53% two weeks ago.

Ninety-three percent (93%) of Bush voters in the state say they are "certain" they will vote for the President. That's little changed from two weeks ago. However, among Kerry voters, 89% are now that certain, Two weeks ago, just 79% are that certain.

 

Blackwell loses first round on provisional ballots

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge James Carr ruled in favor of the Ohio and Sandusky Democratic Party. It appears that Carr wisely crafted a compromise that, on one hand, errs on the side of the the voter by granting them a provisional ballot if they appear at the wrong precinct. On the other hand, Carr's ruling will prevent possible voter fraud by not counting the vote in the jurisdiction where the voter shows up on election day.

In other words, a provisional voter that is confirmed to be a registered voter will have his or her vote counted for federal office purposes (e.g., the presidency, congress and the senate) but the vote won't be counted if there is a local liquor license up for a vote in that precinct.

That's seems pretty fair.

But not to Sect. of State Ken "I stand on principle" Blackwell. Blackwell has announced that he intends to appeal the decision.

Carr's decision is available from the OSU Moritz Law School. Edward Foley, from the school, noted that Carr's decision was far different than a federal judge just ruled on in Missouri. Foley had this to say about the Ohio decision:
[Carr] could not have been clearer in its determination: “HAVA permits provisional voting for federal offices in any precinct in the county in which the voter is registered.” . . . According to the court, after the poll worker has informed the voter that his or her proper precinct is elsewhere, it is the voter’s choice under HAVA whether to go to the other polling place, so as to be able to cast valid votes in “down-ballot” races (for state and local offices), or instead insist on voting a provisional ballot at the incorrect precinct, which will count only in the statewide federal races. “HAVA does not take this choice from the voter.”

I have to doubt that these two conflicting federal court decisions will not be allowed to stand in contradiction. Look for new rulings before Nov. 2. I have to think Foley's guess as to the thinking in the appeals court is right: ". . . it is more important that it be settled definitively than it be decided correctly."

 

One of five dumbest things on Wall Street this week

Not us saying it. This is from TheStreet.com.

 

Phony voting location calls

Sorry I didn't pick this up sooner. WKYC television in Cleveand reported earlier this week that someone is trying to screw up the voting by calling registered voters and giving them false information about where they should vote.
Several have received mystery phone calls telling them to go to a different location than where they were already told. Now, election officials trying to sort out if this sabotage . . . or something else.

In case anyone wondered when the long arm of Rove would reach into Ohio. . . this and the Larry Russell story show Karl's here already.

 

Republican operative at center of voter registration scandal takes over Ohio GOTV effort

Time to sound the trumpets. From Josh Marshall:

As we told you a few days ago, six Republican party staffers and campaign workers in South Dakota resigned over a burgeoning voter fraud scandal. Chief among them was Larry Russell, head of the South Dakota GOP's get-out-the-vote operation, the Republican Victory Program.

To date, no criminal charges have been filed. But the state Attorney General says the investigation is "continuing."

Today comes news, however, that Russell -- still under investigation in South Dakota -- has been reassigned to run President Bush's get-out-the-vote operation in Ohio. Russell will now "lead the ground operations" for Bush in Ohio, according to an internal Republican party memo obtained by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

And Russell's bringing along with him to Ohio three of the five other GOP staffers who had to resign in South Dakota and are similarly under investigation in that state.


Russel and the others are accused of tampering with absentee ballot forms.

The Argus Leader story Josh references is available here.

According to the Argus Leader:

But an internal Republican Party memo obtained by the Argus Leader said Russell would be going to Cleveland "to lead the ground operations" for President Bush and Vice President Cheney there.

Ohio is a swing state considered vital to a successful presidential victory.

Attempts to contact Bush-Cheney campaign officials in Cleveland were unsuccessful.

The memo was e-mailed to Republican staffers and officials Sunday evening by the state party's Executive Director Jason Glodt. Three other GOP workers who resigned over the application fracas also will be involved in the Ohio campaign, according to the memo.

"Todd Schleckeway, Nathan Mertz and Eric Fahrendorf have also been recruited to Ohio to work with Larry on the President's campaign," the e-mail stated.

. . .

Glodt confirmed Thursday that the memo is authentic, but he said he'd prefer not to comment on an internal communication.

. . .

"Ohio is on everybody's short list as a battleground state, so it is the place to be," he said.



Thursday, October 14, 2004

 

Despite questions, FBI pooh-poohs Toledo break-in

This does seem very interesting, but maybe the FBI knows something we dont. More from the Blade:
Officials of both the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office agreed, saying they will monitor the situation but do not believe a federal crime was committed.

Still, what could be a low-degree felony continued to cause headaches yesterday for Democrats.

[. . .]

One of the computers belonged to office manager Barbara Koonce, who was responsible for names and addresses of hundreds of party members, volunteers, and candidates, a master schedule for all candidates' events, and financial information.

It also included a list of registered Democrats - information that had been analyzed as part of the Democrats' campaign strategy, Ms. Koonce said.

[. . .]

Also taken was a laptop belonging to Roger Sanders, a volunteer attorney from Texas working with the Victory 2004 campaign in space that was leased by the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign.

The group, which Dems have assigned responsibility for ensuring election integrity, plans to station attorneys at every polling site in Lucas County on Election Day.

Mr. Sanders had been matching as many as 212 local and out-of-town attorneys to specific polling stations Nov. 2. That information was stolen, he said, as were e-mails discussing strategies for counter-attacking subtle measures that could turn voters away from the polls.

 

Bush blind to science

The PD has an article about the Bush administration's dismissal of science and an upcoming forum on the subject. According to the PD, Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University observed:

This level of political interference in the scientific advisory process, right from the White House in some cases, is unprecedented. In many cases they've shown an unwillingness to let facts get in the way of what they thought was right.


Krauss has arranged for three Nobel laureates to speak in Cleveland Friday, Oct. 15 at a public seminar he helped organize called "The Bush Administration and Scientific Integrity." The forum will be held at Case's Strossacker Auditorium starting at 4:00 PM.

The speakers include Peter Agre, Professor of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Nobel Laureate, Chemistry 2003; Sidney Altman, Sterling Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Yale University, Nobel Laureate,Chemistry 1989; and Leon Lederman, Director, Emeritus, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Nobel Laureate, Physics 1988.

 

Frist lies in Ohio

It's a bad idea to make up stuff about a crisis of doctors leaving Ohio because of malpractice insurance just after the Enquirer blew up that myth by showing the number of docs steadily increasing in the state. But, damn the truth, Republican leader Bill Frist tried anyway.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Wednesday Ohio's medical community is in a crisis, dismissing figures that show Ohio has more doctors today than two years ago.

 

Sinclair Dayton Advertisers List - updated

The following is a preliminary list of advertisers for WKEF and WRGT-TV (Sinclair Broadcasting) that operate in the Dayton area.

WKEF & WRGT
1731 Soldiers Home Road
Dayton, OH 45418
(937)263-2662x1911
Glenda Hoagland

Please call the advertisers below and tell them you object to WSTR and Sinclair preempting regular programming to air anti-Kerry propaganda.

IAMS Pet Food
http://www.iams.com/
1-800-675-3849

WISH Center
infotx@wishcenter.org
http://www.wishcenter.org/
937-885-9474
1-888-854-9479

Rite Rug
complaints@riterug.com
888-261-6060

Toyota
1-800-GO-TOYOTA

 

Group to challenge Sinclair licenses

The Youngstown Business Journal has a story about a report on Sinclair's business practices by the Free Press organization, and the group's plan to challenge the company's TV licenses as they expire.

On the other hand, Siva Vaidhyanathan at Altercation weighs in with some strong arguments about whether legal and license challenges to Sinclair (versus pressure on advertisers) make sense in the long run.

 

Taft surfaces to oppose Issue 1

Taft announces opposition to Issue 1. Score that 1 point for doing the right thing, but zero points for making a difference.

Taft is our stealth governor - ordered into exile in Asia by the Republican leaders until he can do no more damage. Come to think of it, Larry Householder and Mike White have been pretty invisible, too. Given the way Nov. 2 is starting to shape up, they may be thankful that they were told to "get lost."

 

BlogPac.org going into Ohio with draft ad

Via MyDD:

BlogPac.org is going into Ohio the last two weeks of the election with an internet video ad showcasing the probablility that the Republicans and Bush are lying about not wanting a draft.

 

Sinclair poll on Sinclair

From WSTR-TV Cincinnati:

Do you think Sinclair Broadcast Group should run the documentary?
Yes - 32%
No - 68%

Should John Kerry respond to the charges made by POW's in the Documentary?

Yes - 48%
No - 52%



Wednesday, October 13, 2004

 

Chi. Tribune gives Kerry 4% margin in Ohio

Uh-oh, bad news for Bob Bennett. From a Chicago Tribune poll of 500 likely voters each in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin conducted Oct. 8-11 by Market Shares Corp. Margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage point: s.

Bush - 45
Kerry - 49
MoE - 4.4%

The issue voters said was of most concern:
Jobs 30%
Health care 21%
Terrorism 18%
Iraq 14%

Which candidate would do a better job of restoring jobs and economic growth?

OHIO:
BUSH 35%
KERRY 48%

Which candidate would do a better job of achieving a successful end to the war in Iraq?
BUSH 43%
KERRY 40%

 

The soft underbelly of Sinclair

From USA Today:

With its heavy concentration of Fox and WB affiliates, ranking in the middle of the pack in mostly midsize markets, Sinclair is barely profitable and laden with debt. It had a net profit of $14 million on revenue of $739 million in 2003.

Sinclair hopes to change that by solidifying its hold on local markets by controlling, for example, two stations in more cities and sharing operating and news-gathering costs. But it needs the federal government to relax several media ownership restrictions.


Wow, a 1.8% profit margin. F-ed up margins and lousy PR usually make for some interesting meetings and phone calls between investors and the corporate office. Who ya got advising you about marketing, Sinclair? That asswipe they named the hotel after at OSU?

 

Thieves break into Toledo Dems' office, take campaign info

From the Blade:

Thieves shattered a side window overnight at Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, stealing computers with sensitive campaign information and triggering concern of the local party's ability to deliver crucial votes on Nov. 2.

Among the data on the stolen computer of the party's office manager were: e-mails discussing campaign strategy, candidates' schedules, financial information, and phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers.

Also taken were computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security.

The thefts have prompted the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Democrats in Washington to offer help and have left local officials fretting about the crime's impact on the upcoming election, in which Ohio plays a high-profile role.

"This puts us behind the eight ball," party spokesman Jerry Chabler said. "This can affect our entire get-out-the-vote operation."

Ohio's Democratic Party pledged to deploy volunteers, lend computers, or "provide whatever source of assistance they need," said spokesman Dan Trevas.

The political importance of Lucas County cannot be overstated, Mr. Trevas said.

"It's a major Democratic county in a swing area, surrounded by Republican and moderates," Mr. Trevas said. "A lot of votes come out of northwest Ohio."

[. . . ]

At Democratic headquarters, officials stopped short of publicly blaming partisan politics, but at the same time, they all but ruled out run-of-the-mill criminals.

Two other computers, holding less sensitive information, were untouched, as were a petty cash box that usually holds $80 to $100, televisions, portable radios, and other electronics. Moreover, other offices inside the building, 1817 Madison Ave., were not entered. Files, papers, and pamphlets remained in neat piles, and campaign signs leaned, apparently undisturbed, against a wall . . .


Anyone shocked?

 

From Pastor to pinhead - the Nathan Sproul story

Readers might be seeing the name Nathan Sproul in the news over the next few days. His company, Sproul and Associates is accused of setting up phony voter registration campaigns where Republican registrations are saved and the non-Republicans are tossed. He also operated under the name, Project America Votes - a name that is conveniently similar to the legit America Votes group.

Sproul and Associates reportedly operated in Ohio.

His is an unlikely background. According to a posting (look about half way down the page) at his alma mater, the Pillsbury Bible College of Owattona, Minnesota, Sproul "graduated with a pastoral degree" before starting Sproul and Associates, where it was blandly described that "[H]e works on local legislative races as well as initiatives to go on the ballot for people to vote on."

I think Nathan wishes he was back in old Owattona right now.

 

Sinclair protests scheduled

Am not sure if I am a big fan of a "protest at the station" idea because I think the energy is better used contacting local advertisers.

Having said that, there is a growing idea in blogsphere for a protest this coming Monday, October 18 at each of the Sinclair stations including the 5 stations (actually 3 sites) in Ohio. The protests are supposed to start at 6 pm.

I will post more information if someone in those locales presents themselves as a local organizer of these events. In the meantime, the Boycott Sinclair Advertisers blog is keeping track of some of the news.

 

Ouch - Cincy Republican judge can't stomach Bush

Robert L. Black is a retired judge of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court and the Ohio First District Court of Appeals. As one the area's prominent Republican judges (there are many), his mince-no-words comments about the Bush administration are in today's Enquirer.

By the second graf, he is rolling with this:

"I am grateful to the Republican Party for the support it gave me on each of three elections as judge. I respect many of the party leaders in Ohio. Nevertheless, my loyalty to the party must give way to my love of this country. I consider it a patriotic duty to sp
eak up when the future of our democracy is at stake."

And he was just warming up before touching on the war, science, women's rights, taxes, occupational safety, etc.

This is a must read. Seriously - read it now.

 

HER pulls ads from Columbus market

Today's Dispatch reports that HER Realty, one of Sinclair's biggest advertisers in the Columbus market, has decided to pull its ads in response to Sinclair's decision to preempt programming for anti-Kerry propaganda.

Please thank them!

HER Realtors
www.Herrealtors.com

Harley Rouda, Jr.
614-273-6004
77 East Nationwide Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215
614-459-7400 Office
614-457-6807 Fax

 

Charting the Bush slide



The international polling organization Ipsos keeps a running chart of this.

Likewise, from Ruy Teixeira (Donkey Rising) and Alan Abramowitz, there is this "Approval" match up based on Gallup's numbers

The environment: Kerry 60 percent, Bush 31 percent
Stem cell research: Kerry 53 percent, Bush 33 percent
Health care: Kerry 56 percent, Bush 37 percent
Medicare: Kerry 53 percent, Bush 38 percent
Federal budget deficit: Kerry 53 percent, Bush 40 percent
Social Security: Kerry 50 percent, Bush 41 percent
Education: Kerry 50 percent, Bush 43 percent
The economy: Kerry 49 percent, Bush 45 percent
Abortion: Kerry 46 percent, Bush 42 percent
Taxes: Kerry 44 percent, Bush 51 percent


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

 

Limited blogging . . .

because of bad computer connection. Better luck tomorrow, hopefully.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

 

Dispatch responds to poll critics

Last week I criticized the way the Dispatch handled how it announced it poll results, and offered three possible reasons for the paper's mishandling:

1) They just screwed up and it never occurred to them to think about the timing. Even given the obvious post debate bounce for Kerry, once they committed the time and resources and the likelihood that the results would be leaked anyway, they decided to go ahead. The weakness with this argument is that it doesn't explain the banner positioning. (A mea culpa is overdue. How about an explanation in the next Ben Marrison column?)

2) The editors had already bought into Republican spin that the race was already over, the debates will ultimately be insignificant, and the timing was meaningless.

3) John Wolfe issued the orders about where to place the poll results, and the editors did their best to not get fired but offer some sort of apologies through the numerous caveats.

Well, I was right on the money with #1 and #2. As for #3 - that, of course, we'll never know.

Today, editor Ben Marrison gives something of an apology under the headline, "Dispatch Poll was ill-timed - but at least we were honest":

"Our timing was poor. We should have conducted the poll a week earlier, before the first debate. I also concede that, given the outcome of the debate, we should have tempered the treatment of our poll results.

Many fumed about the headline. While it accurately portrayed the poll results, we should have made clear that they were predebate. That's fair criticism.

[. . . ]

"We had no way of knowing the debate would be so lopsided. . . Hence, post-debate publication of our poll didn't seem problematic when we planned it."

Now, I think it's surprisingly candid of Marrison to discuss this, and I feel better about him for doing it.

But what troubles me and what the Dispatch needs to address internally is the last excuse: "We had no way of knowing the debate would be so lopsided." That, my friends, is much more honest than draping it in the "bad timing" disguise.

That "we had no way of knowing" attitude means the Dispatch and its public affairs team had given up on Kerry. They thought it was a done deal, regardless of what the debate. Four weeks out, three debates to go - bad timing? How about just admitting that it was bad journalism. Bastards were probably already writing Kerry's obit.

This attitude is not unique to the Dispatch. It plagues all of the major newspapers. Besides playing into the leading candidate's strategy, it deprives readers of ongoing objectivity about the candidates and what they stand for. Further, this is no different than the weakness a sector of voters often show when they admit that they voted for whom they perceive is the "winner" rather than who they believe is the best candidate.

Hopefully this was a sobering lesson for Marrison, Hallett, Rowland and the others. "Bush pulls in front" wasn't as stupid looking as "Dewey beats Truman" but the same stupidity was behind both.

 

Sinclair morality check

For anyone who really thought Sinclair might hold themselves to a higher moral standard, there is this:

"David D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group, was arrested this week in his hometown of Baltimore and charged with a misdemeanor sex offense. Sinclair owns WPGH, the Fox affiliate in Pittsburgh, and programs most of WPTT."

Read the whole piece at Atrios.

 

Issue 1: Scratch the surface for bigots, hypocrits

Saturday's Dispatch reported that one of the more vocal proponents of Issue 1, the anti-gay marriage Ohio constitutional amendment, favors criminalizing homosexuality:

"A supporter of State Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, said yesterday that homosexuality should be a crime in Ohio.

Patrick Johnston, a Dresden physician, street preacher and vice chairman of the Constitution Party of Ohio, spoke at a Columbus Metropolitan Club forum on Issue 1, which voters will decide on Nov. 2. Proponents call Issue 1 the "Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage."

'We need to stop the judicial activism that is going to force homosexual marriage on the unsuspecting public,' Johnston said during a debate with Alan Melamed, of Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, a coalition opposing the marriage amendment.

Pressed to elaborate on his opinions, Johnston added, 'I support and endorse criminalization of homosexuality.'"


Given his description, I doubt that Johnson is THE driving force behind Issue 1. As a matter of fact, the Dispatch reported that Citizens for Community Values, the "official" group behind the initiative, said Johnson was not speaking officially on OCPM's behalf in the debate.

Okay, but what about CCV or anyone with OCPM repudiating Johnson's statement? The reality is that they won't because that is exactly the sentiment that the proponents of Issue 1 are trying to appeal to.

The headquarters for the Issue 1 effort is Hamilton County. Cincinnati is a beautiful city, but the Hamilton County region has some deeply anti-liberty feelings that always seem to me to be a cover for seriously repressed desires.

Case in point is Mike Allen, Hamilton County prosecutor - outgoing prosecutor that is. Allen made a name for himself fighting to keep "pornography" (he has a pretty broad definition) from being sold publicly. Allen is also a close associate of the above-mentioned CCV, which has a broader agenda of fighting porn and other materials that "violate Judeo-Christian values."

But despite being Mr. Morals to the public and the press, Allen turned out to suffer from the "Rush Limbaugh" effct. Allen, you see, had a dark side that included hitting on his own staff despite being a married man.

My point is that I suspect that if homosexuality were ever criminalized in Ohio, about one-tenth of the CCV supporters might behind bars themselves.

The oppostion to Issue 1 has been disappointing. Although there are many high profile individuals and businesses that have said they oppose it, they have not been exactly vocal nor organized.

The dirty little reason for this is fairly obvious. The Republicans are overtly and covertly whipping up support for Issue 1 because they need it to have a big turnout to generate votes for Bush in southern Ohio to counteract the Kerry votes in the center and northern parts of the state. And, a many of the businesses and individuals who oppose Issue 1 are heavily involved with the Republican Party.

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