Friday, September 01, 2006


Labor Day: Poll: Most consider unions positive, benefit workers and economy

Fittingly for Labor Day, this is just out from Gallup (interestingly, this is one of Gallup longest running surveys):
Despite labor's small membership base today, most Americans not only approve of labor unions but also believe unions are generally helpful to workers who are union members, helpful to companies where workers are organized, and helpful to the economy. Only when it comes to the interests of non-unionized workers does a majority of Americans believe unions are harmful.

Seven in 10 Americans (71%) believe unions mostly help unionized workers, while 21% think they mostly hurt them. At least half of Americans also believe unions are mostly helpful to the companies where workers are unionized (50%) and to the U.S. economy in general (53%). However, only 33% of Americans believe unions mostly help workers who are not unionized; the majority (51%) say unions mostly hurt these workers. None of these attitudes has changed appreciably since first measured in 2001.

Thanks go to some of our labor friends for this tip.


Kilroy/Pryce race gets another toss up ranking

We're not really big fans of Chris Cillizza. Maybe it's some of the company he keeps. Nevertheless, The Fix has moved the OH-15 race from "unranked" to 14th most likely to change parties.

This seems to be the trend. Stu Rothenberg, just a few days ago, also put the race at "pure toss-up."

The new Cook Report is overdue, an a shift to his "toss-up" column is certainly possible.


OH GOP to make campaign shift after Labor Day

As we have been mentioning for the past few days, Bob Bennett has been having some sleepless nights. Bennett has been at the helm of the GOP during it rise to dominance in Ohio politics, and deserves some the credit or blame, depending on your political views.

But like an actor who is only remembered by his or her last movie, Bennett is worried that he may only be remembered for the coming debacle of 2006.

Consider his position:
Bennett only has one choice at this point and unfortunately for him, it mostly a Sophie's Choice. But Bennett has no soft heart for this stuff and he has no problem picking a "bottom line" race or two and cutting off the rest.

And, with all due respect to our friends at Buckeye State Blog, this is not a rumor but fact. The Ohio GOP will essentially now focus on the non-governor offices it needs to retain control of the state Apportionment Board, the all-important 5-member group that controls political redistrictring (governor, auditor, sec. of state, majority gen. assembly member and minority gen. assembly member).

That means Bennett has marshaled his forces to shift their sights to the State Auditor and Secretary of State races. Bennett is cocky enough to have convinced himself (not us) that Mary Taylor can easily pull back in front of Barbara Sykes. The race he is most obsessed with now is the SOS race that pits the largely unknown Republican Greg Hartmann against the also relatively unknown Democrat Jennifer Brunner.

With both SOS candidates with little name recognition, Bennett is betting that if he drops $5 million on the Hartmann race, especially for a heavy media buy, the SOS job will stay in his column.

At the same time, Bennett is ceding control of the national races to the DC boys. His concern is really about the Statehouse, and not Washington.

And, of course, don't expect to see Kenny and the others publicly abandoned. Bennett won't embarrass him, but he will cut back to the bare minimum.

But, in any other year Bennett's strategy might work. Maybe it will, but we think he is still whistling in the dark and running scared.

Two can play the strategic political re-deployment game. The huge Strickland also gives Ohio Dems an enormous opportunity to focus on the Apportionment Board, too, and it only needs one win in the auditor/SOS races to seize control.

More on this after Labor Day.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Who wrote Deb's "She stood up to her own party" line.

Glad you asked about that, too.

It was Sam Dawson, wearing his other hat, DMN Media, that wrote that dishonest crap.

The Wall Street Journal story kinda stuck a dagger into the "Pryce is independent" theme, didn't it.


Hey, who headed up one of the Bush-Cheney Florida recount teams?

Glad you ask! Dawson's company, Crosslink Strategy Group, happily provides the answer:
Dawson led the Bush campaigns “whip operation” at the 2000 Republican Convention, and was instrumental in assembling the party platform. He later headed up the Bush-Cheney recount in Volusia and Palm Beach Counties, the only counties to hold full manual recounts during the election recount.


Sam Dawson: anti-Semitism, push polls and whisper campaigns

Courtesy of Boffoblog, we learn that Deb Pryce's new strategist might be, hmm, how shall we say it?

Despicable scum?
DeLay Knows How to Pick His Friends

The Washington Post had a story today about Tom DeLay's attempt to regain the confidence of his constituents in the face of the numerous corruption and abuse of power allegations, not to mention that unfortunate little trial going on right now. Much has been written in blogtopia about it, mostly on the real chance Dems have to make him nervous in '06. Read Off the Kuff, the Daily DeLay, DeLayWatch, and Bull Moose.

While that is the main thrust of the story, there is another angle worth exploring as well. As part of his effort to shore up support in his home district:

In January, DeLay shook up his team of political consultants. He signed on Sam Dawson, who was a top political aide to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and helped devise the Republican strategy for taking over the House in 1994. Dawson will serve as his general consultant and media strategist.

Who is this Dawson fellow? Thought you'd never ask. The short answer is that he is a longtime GOP operative, a South Carolinian and former associate of Lee Atwater. He has about 30 years of campaign experience, including Bush-Quayle in '92, Buddy Roemer in Louisiana, Coverdell in Georgia, and an extended stint with the NRCC in the '80s under Ed Rollins and again in the late '90s. Lately he's had a media consulting firm, among other things doing ads for Republican House candidates.

The long answer is a bit more sordid. See, this Dawson fellow has a history of playing as down and dirty as necessary to win a race, as an associate of Atwater and Rollins would. In fact, the Atlanta Constitution back in the day called him "Atwater's leanest and meanest disciple." To be called the meanest is surely saying something. Some Republicans disagree -- after all, Dawson has worked for moderates as well as conservatives. Still, in one failed Ohio race, he was brought in to pull a moderate candidate to the right in order to win the GOP primary.

The campaign he ran that everyone still talks about, however, was a 1978 race for a South Carolina House seat. (If you'd like to consult the sources, the stories I drew most of this from are in Vanity Fair, Nov. 2004, and the NYT, Sept. 24, 1986.) Carroll Campbell (the R) was going up against Max Heller, the mayor of Greenville and a Jewish refugee from Nazi-era Austria. The Campbell campaign ran a push poll asking voters which of six characteristics best described the two candidates:

A Christian man
Concern for the people
A hard worker
Experienced in government
Another question asked whether fifteen "personal qualities" would best describe the two candidates, including "native of South Carolina" and "Jewish immigrant."

The push poll, quite possibly the first of its kind, had its intended effect as a whisper campaign began to spread about Heller. That, of course, was by design. Dem Alan Baron wrote in a newsletter a few years afterward that, based on conversations with Campbell's pollster, the intent was to "determine the impact on voters of information that Heller was (1) a Jew; (2) a foreign-born Jew; and (3) a foreign-born Jew who did not believe in Jesus Christ as the savior." Apparently #1 and #2 were OK with South Carolina voters, but #3 was not. And so the Campbell campaign went after Heller.

Apparently the push poll was not enough, however, and notably Campbell never mentioned his opponent's religion directly. A week before the election, Heller was up by 14 points. Then, a third fringe candidate named Don Sprouse entered the race who did put Judaism front and center. Heller, Sprouse said, wasn't qualified to be in Congress because "he doesn't believe in Jesus Christ."

Why would Sprouse enter the race then, and choose that particular line of attack? After all, the push poll's results were not public knowledge at that point. While Campbell and Atwater denied any role, using a third candidate as a stalking horse to make the dirtiest accusations was a strategy Atwater used that very same year to reelect Strom Thurmond. The most direct evidence of a link between Sprouse and the Campbell campaign comes from a parking lot meeting between Dawson and the Campbell campaign's new best friend, a meeting Atwater disclosed to several people after the fact.

The anti-Semitic attacks and innuendo were effective, and Heller lost to Campbell by six points. Sprouse's vote was negligible, but he raised the issue of religion so that Campbell himself wouldn't have to.

Dawson may have cleaned up his act some since then -- I won't claim that every race he's managed has been so utterly soiled by bigotry and manipulation -- but it did set a template by which later dirty campaigns were run, including Bush's campaign of innuendo against McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary.

As I said, Tom DeLay sure knows how to pick his friends. As though he needed any help playing dirty.
We have long held a theory that if you scratch the surface of most toadies, you'll find ruthless rats' asses who have an emotional hair trigger that can turn them into panicking, vicious pricks – except, of course, to those whose ass their lips are superglued to.


Yes, that would be Tom Delay's Sam Dawson

She took Tom Delay's money.

Now she has hired Sam Dawson one of Delay's top strategists.

But she still wants the the voters in OH-15 to believe that she thinks Delay "is a creep."

Ain't gonna wash, Deb.

Dawson is known to be of the Lee Atwater - Karl Rove mold, so expect the campaign to be smearsville from now on. And Deb will certainly face some moral tests about whether she can stomach Dawson's fuck-you-opponent-any-way-you-can attitude (although the NRCC isn't going to give her much of a choice).

Here's a little tease on the history of Delay and Dawson:
In January [2005], DeLay shook up his team of political consultants. He signed on Sam Dawson, who was a top political aide to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and helped devise the Republican strategy for taking over the House in 1994. Dawson will serve as his general consultant and media strategist.


WSJ story exposes Pryce on being Bush lapdog

Maybe the final nail in Deb's political coffin:
But often Ms. Pryce can seem shy and retiring, turning the stage over to others at Capitol press events.

That could hurt now and contrasts with her challenger. On Iraq, for example, Ms. Pryce says: "People know there's no real answer. They don't really ask about it unless they want to complain about it."

On the future of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld she says: "He knows the intricacies of this war, it's his war, why put somebody else in there to finish it up?"

When her words are read back to her, Ms. Pryce says, "Please understand I am not passive about it at all."

About conversations with the White House, she says, "If I did see something glaringly wrong, I would not hesitate to bring it up." Yet when pressed, she admits: "I can't say I have called them out on how they are conducting the war. No I haven't." [emphasis added]


WSJ: Kilroy/Pryce may be most important battle

Uh-oh. This story by the Wall Street Journal's David Rogers is not going to make Bennett happy and it sure ain't the sound of a confident campaign.
Ohio House Race Is Brutal Test
Fight for Pryce's Seat Threatens Republicans' Hold in Heartland

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There's a lot of America packed into Ohio's 15th congressional district, including what could become the most significant race in this fall's battle for the House of Representatives.

This district doesn't offer a homogenous landscape, but rather is home to African refugees, a growing Latino community, university students and urban gays, all thrown together with corporate Columbus, upscale suburbs and century-old farmhouses, including one in London where President McKinley once spoke from the front porch.

It's a mix that suits the moderate image of Rep. Deborah Pryce, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House. But after years of only token opposition in this district, the seven-term congresswoman is imperiled by economic pessimism, the Iraq war and others' political scandals, which together could bring about an Election Day upset.

. . .

Unaccustomed to challengers, Ms. Pryce, 55 years old, has scrambled to put together a campaign organization. "It's like riding a bike, it all comes back pretty easy," she says. But one of her early television ads even misspelled Deborah. When asked about the recent departure of her young political director, she jokes of having a "rolling staff."

Sam Dawson, a hard-edged Republican consultant and onetime political adviser to Newt Gingrich, has taken control of her campaign. New TV ads are highlighting Ms. Pryce's independence from President Bush and conservative Republicans on stem-cell research. And beneath black-and-white photos of Ohio State football greats at the "Buckeye Hall of Fame," Ms. Pryce tells female supporters, "I promise you, I'm not going to lose this race."
"I'm not going to lose"? Deb - it sounds like your heart is saying you already have.


Kilroy smacks back

Yesterday on the Columbus NBC affiliate, Deb Pryce swapped the pollyanna schtick and tried out a little trash talk. It didn't work.
Pryce: "I challenge my opponent to say where she is on any of those things you just mentioned."

[cut to Kilroy]: "We're talking about Social Security, we're talking about Minimum Wage, we're talking about record budget deficits, things that are part of the failed record of the Bush administration and Pryce is a leader in this Congress."
Check it out - plus a special appearance by the Herbmeister! (John Green - watch your back).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Rasmussen: Brown 45% DeWine 42%

More good news from the polling universe:
Once again, the challenger in Ohio's highly competitive race for U.S. Senate has edged out the GOP incumbent in the Rasmussen Reports election poll. Democrat Sherrod Brown now leads Republican Senator Mike DeWine 45% to 42%

. . .

But the fact that the challenger has a narrow lead in three out of the last four polls is significant.
We'll say! And, when you look at Rasmussen three-month rolling poll numbers, the trend is pretty stark:

Rasmussen Brown Dewine poll

We'd be in full panic mode, too, if we were Bob Bennett, but we'll have more on that tomorrow.


Kenny's astroturf

More evidence of corporate hogs in Bob Bennett's pig sty? BSB's got the scoop.


Kleptos for Kenny

Rumors circulated the Statehouse yesterday that Kazakhstan president Nursultan "KO-2" Nazarbayev is thinking about making a special side trip to the Buckeye state to endorse Kenny Blackwell and the rest of the 2006 GOP slate. as part of his upcoming visit to the United States. he has arranged for President and leading spokesperson of ,

Nazarbayev, who also chairs Kazakhs for Klepltocracy, said he felt strong parallels between the political beliefs of his Otan Party and Ohio Republican leaders. "I get goosebumps when I think of the similarities we have. Elections that fall short of international standards. The annoyance of advocacy groups. The limited value of opposition voters. The enjoyment of the finer "gifts" in life such as fur coats, snowmobiles, speedboats. The ability of a bribe to clear up contracting dilemmas. I could go on and on," said Nazarbayev. "And those guys, Noe and Gasper. I've got so much to learn, still."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Uh, Ben, one of your headline writers . . .

. . . appears to have an agenda. Some editor should have noticed that only only ONE of the four named pastors that say they want to tell us how to vote can even vote for Blackwell since the other three are from Tennessee, California and Maryland.


This land was made for You THEM


Free at last . . .

The good news is that after nearly 8 weeks of being held against our will and blindfolded in some isolated Lake Erie "cottage," we have escaped our bonds. We know little about our captor except that his name was "Bob" and seem to be growing increasingly incoherent and angry, mumbling over and over about something that sounded like "fucking November sweep."

We subsisted on a diet of crappy dessert wines, burnt burgers and left over Bud light, and forced to listen to Pat Dailey songs until we reached the brink of insanity.

Then, just a few days ago, we heard the voice of one of our captor's frequent visitors raise his voice at "Bob" and accused him of blowing his chances to make a fortune off of charter schools. Then we heard "Bob" yelled at the visitor to take off his White Hat and put up his dukes. With this distraction, we spotted our first real opportunity for escape.

As we stumbled to the front door, the glare of the first real sunlight was agonizing, but we summoned the strength to take a measure of revenge and smashed the oversized OSU logo (not that we have anything against the Bucks - concentrate on that post pattern for us, Anthony G!) we spotted on "Bob's" front door. The last thing we heard was the visitor shouting at "Bob," "Sweep? I'll show you a goddam sweep!" and "Bob" replying, "I'll take on you and that creep Kasich and mop the floor with the both of yas!"

Luckily, we eventually found a highway and waved down a car that turned out to belong to an Ohio Turnpike employee. She and her family told us about some very wacky proposal to "sell" the roadway.

We said it must be another one of Kenny Blackwell's insane ideas, but she pointed out that no one else running for GOP office denounced it as crazy.

"Even Betty?" we asked.

"The mojo's running out of Montgomery, too," she replied.

And as the kind family drove us home, we couldn't get the sound of "November sweep" out of our head. Though we once associated it with the bitterness of our captivity, it now sounded like honey to our ears . . .

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