Saturday, November 26, 2005


The writing of the Schmidt obituary

Some experts think the odds are long against a second term:
First impressions are often lasting ones. And the first impression that many Americans have of the Miami Township Republican isn't very flattering.
. . .

Making a bad situation worse, Ohio state Rep. Dan Bubp - the Marine colonel whom Schmidt says told her to deliver the incendiary message to Murtha - denies saying any such thing.

"This was a serious mistake,'' said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "She's damaged on both sides. She caused a major problem for her Republican colleagues, and she infuriated every Democrat in the House.

. . .

She blamed the media for misrepresenting what she said.

But it wasn't the media that booed her off the House floor. The minute the words left her lips, Democrats were so insulted that they began shouting her down.

"She can just drop that (argument) right now,'' Sabato said.

"Everybody saw what she said. It was on all of the national networks repeatedly. There was nothing to misinterpret. In fact, if she continues that line, she will ensure that her career will never recover.''

Schmidt also may have made herself vulnerable at the ballot box. She beat Democrat Paul Hackett in a special election last August by just 3 points in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 3 to 1.

"She just barely squeaked by in a district that people thought she should win in large measure,'' said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "You add this into the mix, and I think she has made her seat a lot more competitive.''

But it's not just Democrats who are looking to take her on. Schmidt won the 11-field Republican primary last June with just 28 percent of the vote. Some of her opponents have been itching for a rematch and will probably be even more willing to go after her now.

"She may not make it out of the Republican primary,'' Sabato said.

Even if she is re-elected, Schmidt will probably never be able to put the Murtha controversy behind her completely.

"I would expect that this will be in her obituary,'' Sabato said. "She has to accept that. There's not a thing she can do about it.''

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


PMO: Flawed auto plan to drain state revenues

Policy Matters Ohio also gives thumbs down on the proposed assistance package to automakers in Ohio that we have also denounced as horrible policy:
[W]e believe this is a flawed bill that should not move forward in its current form. The state should find better ways to support automotive jobs and workers. One example might be expanded initiatives to support the development of high-value-added products for a more diversified customer base at plants that are clearly threatened.

Others might
include targeted assistance for other local firms that expand to employ laid-off auto workers at good pay and benefits, and retraining for workers who lose jobs because of the likely shutdowns.


Schmidt's boo hoos - Part II

The "lightening rod"? This gets better everyday.
Rep. Jean Schmidt says her comments Friday on the floor of the U.S. House have been misinterpreted and that she has been made a scapegoat by a media disappointed that Congress didn't vote to withdraw troops from Iraq.


Denny White resigns as the ODP chair

The changing of the guard begins:
In short, I am proud of the work we have done together. I am proud that we have strengthened the infrastructure of our Party. And I believe we are now ready to hit a homerun.

But as you know, timing, in life as in politics, is everything. And although my time with the Party has been a rewarding and wonderful experience, I have decided to resign as Ohio Democratic Party Chair.

I have spent much time arriving at this decision. This is why:

When I was elected in the spring of 2002, I vowed -- that if I decided not to run for re-election -- I would leave my post so as to give the new Chair ample time to acclimate to our organization for the upcoming statewide election year.

I feel it is the most prudent course of action for the Party and for me.

Therefore, in accordance with Chapter 1, Section 2 of the bylaws of the Ohio Democratic Party Constitution, upon my resignation effective November 30, 2005, the Vice Chair of the Party, the Honorable Rhine McLin, will assume the Party Chairship.


Speaking of cowards . . .

Jean can't make up her mind about what defense to use, and we have to admit that it's probably hard to settle on one when you are making it up as you go. Let's see, we now have the:
Yesterday, Schmidt goes on a sympathetic right-leaning talk show and still refuses to come clean about what she an Bubp discussed.
Schmidt declined during an interview on Cincinnati radio station WLW to discuss her fellow Republican's denial: "I was repeating words. I am not going to get into that debate."
Typical chicken-shit, chicken-hawk playbook. Instead of doing the classy thing of taking full responsibility for her words, she continues to try to pawn the blame off on Bubp.

Seems to us that some of the wingnuts might want to start discussing Schmidt's lack of backbone and willingness to try to make one of their operatives take the blame. In an interview Tuesday with the Enquirer (check out the article just for the pictures!), she still trots out the "It's Danny's fault" line:
Schmidt said Tuesday that when she delivered the "cowards cut and run" message from Ohio Rep. Danny Bubp, an Adams County Republican who is a Marine Corps Reserves colonel, she did not know Murtha was a Marine and said she does not think that Bubp did, either.

. . .

But Schmidt said Tuesday she had not seen any of the news coverage surrounding the Murtha resolution.

"I don't listen to the news in D.C. because it's not my news environment," said Schmidt, who conducted the interview with The Enquirer with her chief of staff, Barry Bennett, sitting nearby. "I watch something light-hearted, and then I go to bed."

Schmidt said she delivered her one-minute floor speech minutes after speaking on the phone to Bubp, who told The Enquirer Monday that he did not mention Murtha by name in his talk with Schmidt and would not call a fellow Marine a coward.

. . .

"Danny said, 'You tell Congress to say the course,' " Schmidt said. "And he said, 'You tell that congressman' - he didn't know his name; I told him it was Murtha - 'you tell that congressman that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.' "

Bubp could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Monday, he said that he never mentioned Murtha and that Schmidt's floor statement "came out wrong."
Bubp may be a loyalist to the radical right, but we are sure that he hates being treated like a chump.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Bad policy rewards lousy company

Our hearts go out to the 30,000 soon-to-be-ex-GM employees. And, our anger goes to the piss-poor managers at GM and the politicians who continue to facilitate their mis-management of this once-proud brand. And an extra dose of pissivity goes to those idiots that blame the UAW and the IUE for the GM's demise.

We know the public is also sympathetic to these autoworkers, and that's why we realize that we won't have a consensus to agree with us on the following, but we've got to say that Gov. Taft's plan to help Ohio's auto industry by throwing nearly $400 million at the symptoms is nearly a total waste.

GM is losing market share for a number of reasons that no amount of state aid will cure:
  1. Quality of their products is fair to poor. The problem isn't the assembly line or the union. The problem is that GM (and Ford, despite Ford's bogus "Quality is #1" slogan) never embraced W. Edwards Deming's Total Quality Management principles and underlying philosophy the way the Asian manufacturers did.

    For example, read this TQM list and ask yourself, which of the following does GM deeply imbue into it's corporate culture?
    • Create constancy of purpose.
    • Adopt the new philosophy.
    • Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
    • End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag.
    • Improve constantly.
    • Institute training on the job.
    • Institute leadership.
    • Drive out worker fear.
    • Break down barriers between departments.
    • Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force.
    • Eliminate work standards and substitute leadership.
    • Eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals and substitute leadership.
    • Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to joy of workmanship.
    • Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to joy of workmanship.
    • Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
    • Make transformation everybody's job.

  2. Health care costs for active workers and retirees became a burden because GM let them be a burden. Health care activists have urged - nay, begged - GM for nearly two decades to play a vocal and leading role in health care reform. Except for token comments and participation in larger "stakeholder" meetings, GM management failed to take the lead, instead opting for whatever short-term solution they could negotiate.

  3. Reliance on trucks was short sighted. Yes, U.S. automakers make good trucks, but that is only a part of the market and a risky part of the market at that, given the effects of gas hikes. By the way, it also helps that GM is also protected by a 25% tariff on imported trucks.

  4. No one want's to pay a premium for a mediocre (or worse) car. GM and Ford pay an average of about $3,500 per vehicle in incentives to buyers. Japanese manufacturers pay about $1,000 per vehicle. GM can complain all it wants about health care costs being about $1,500 per vehicle, but it's failure to build a car people want is an even greater burden by at least $2,000.


History? What history?

Discretion is the better part of valor. Caution is preferable to rash bravery.
- Falstaff in King Henry the Fourth, Part One, by William Shakespeare.

While Danny and Jean fight it out over who said what, we are relieved that another vet has poked a hole in their granfalloon of barstool bravery:
"Mean Jean," as she's known in Ohio, and her mentor were off base historically, too.

Marines do retreat, when it's the better part of wisdom. Facing more than 200,000 Chinese troops, 20,000 freezing members of the First Marine and 7th Army divisions avoided annihilation at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea near the Yalu River in 1950 by fleeing to Hungnam for evacuation by sea to live and fight another day. (Marine Gen. O.P. Smith gave the long march a hyperbolic twist -- "Retreat Hell! We're attacking in a different direction!") My First Cavalry Division also retreated south below the 38th Parallel along with all other United Nations forces that frigid November.

U.S. troops also retreated from Vietnam, too: 57,000 killed and 153,000 wounded and overwhelming Communist forces underscored the futility of that war.


Schmidt's boo hoos

Get out your handkerchiefs. Apparently the besaddened wicked witch of southern Ohio still can't come to grips with her calling Murtha a coward. Bubp, remember, says he didn't.

Even after releasing her official statement, we are still left wondering how that "C" word crossed her lips, but we know she still doesn't take responsibility for it.
Since that moment I have been attacked from across the country by the left.

I never meant to attack Congressman Murtha personally. I sent him a personal note of apology on Friday evening moments after my words. While I strongly disagree with his policy, neither Representative Bubp nor I ever wished to attack Congressman Murtha. I only take exception to his policy position.

I am amazed at what a national story this has become. It was never intended.
I am thankful for the thousands of supportive messages I have received from the people I represent and others across the nation since Friday.

But this story has been way too focused on me, my conviction and word selection. Instead this story should be focused on the extremely poor policy the minority now propose. A policy, I might point out, that through this media storm has now been repudiated by dozens of leading members of the minority.

I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening. I am quite willing to suffer those attacks if in the end that policy I so strongly oppose is exposed as unsound. First and foremost I support the troops. They dodge bullets and bombs while I duck only hateful words.

While I wish this national media attention had never occurred, I do not shy from my strong opposition of the minority's position.

I strongly oppose withdrawing our troops until we give them a chance to do what we sent them there to accomplish. They haven't failed us. We must not fail them."
It's pathetic that Schmidt is still using Bubp's name for cover, and we imagine that he is probably more than a little pissed off to have his name again dragged into this affair since he seems to be claiming that he didn't discuss Murtha at all.

In regard to Schmidt's last paragraph above, readers should recall that Murtha correctly pointed out that the military had already accomplished the known missions they were asked to perform.
Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates.
You either agree with that or you don't. Since Jean apparently is in the latter camp, the implication is that she, indeed, thinks the troops have failed us.

Jean - which ones on the Administration's list haven't been checked off yet, and would you mind sharing with us the list of what's left for the military because Bush & Co won't?


Bubp: "I wish she never used my name"

Human head-plate Danny Bubp has apparently decided that even he thinks Jean Schmidt is a loon. From the Enquirer:
Three days after Rep. Jean Schmidt was booed off the House floor for saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do," the Ohioan she quoted disputed the comments.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.

"The unfortunate thing about all of that is that her choice of words on the floor of the House - I don't know, she's a freshman, she had one minute.

"Unfortunately, they came out wrong," said Bubp, R-West Union.

. . .

"There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward," Bubp said. "My message to the folks in Washington, D.C., and to all the Congress people up there, is to stay the course. We cannot leave Iraq or cut and run - any terminology that you want to use."

Still, Bubp said the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

. . .

"I could just imagine how nervous she must have been on the floor with everyone watching," Bubp said. "I don't want to be interjected into this. I wish she never used my name."
The NYT has a similar story:
A colonel in the Marine reserves has taken issue with how his views were represented in a Republican attack last week on Representative Murtha.

. . .

But a spokeswoman for the colonel, Danny R. Bubp, said Ms. Schmidt had misconstrued their conversation.

While Mr. Bubp, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, opposes a quick withdrawal for forces, "he did not mention Congressman Murtha by name nor did he mean to disparage Congressman Murtha," said Karen Tabor, his spokeswoman. "He feels as though the words that Congresswoman Schmidt chose did not represent their conversation."


OH Rep. Boccieri, Iraq vet, says Schmidt & Bubp out of line

And he calls for Bubp to rescind his comments:
State Rep. John Boccieri, D-New Middletown, an Iraq War veteran, said he is disappointed in his former colleague of the Ohio House and now Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio.

At issue were words the freshman legislator lobbed Friday at Vietnam veteran James Murtha, D-Pa., referencing a conversation she had with current Ohio state Rep. Danny R. Bubp of West Union, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Boccieri’s news release states that according to transcripts from the Congressional Record, Congresswoman Schmidt of Miami Township near Cincinnati said, “He (Bubp) asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message – that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body that we will see this through.”

Boccieri, who returned in September from his fourth tour in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, said, “My colleague, Rep. Bubp, is out of line and so was Congresswoman Schmidt. To call a decorated serviceman a coward because he shares a differing view about Iraq War policy demeans all veterans and soldiers in uniform today.”

. . .

“Their style of politics attempts to demean the character of people with different opinions and brand them as unpatriotic,” Boccieri said in a news release. “I find it ironic that at a time when American soldiers are fighting for democracy in Iraq, we are experiencing such a confining view of democracy right here in our own country. Debate is healthy and is at the core of a robust democracy. The debate about Iraq is appropriate and verbal attacks waged against a decorated veteran who chose to put his life on the line for all of us is cheap and insulting.”

Boccieri serves with Bubp in the State Legislature and on the Ohio Military Reserve Homeland Security Study Commission.

“I have the utmost respect for State Rep. Bubp’s service to our country and would share this same sentiment if I felt he was being unjustly attacked,” Boccieri said. “Rep. Bubp should follow the lead of a regretful congresswoman – Jean Schmidt – and rescind his disparaging remarks made to Congressman Murtha, and in my judgment, all of America’s veterans.”


Bubp, Schmidt incommunicado?

Seems like it:
Attempts to contact Schmidt at her office locations in Washington, D.C. and Ohio, Monday, were met with filled voice mail boxes and instructions to attempt the call later.

. . .

Bubp did not return messages left at his office.
And this:
Her local office said Schmidt continues doing the work of her district, while her national office said the situation is "way too partisan right now."

"Hopefully, when things calm down, we can have a rational discussion," said Barry Bennett, Schmidt's chief of staff.

One woman from Oakley isn't waiting for that day -- she spent part of Monday morning outside Schmidt's congressional office in protest.

"Her voice box is full. Her e-mail is full. And I just couldn't sit. I came out here, and I'm just voicing my opinion in a peaceful way," Kristin Kramer said.

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