Monday, August 08, 2005

A little late in posting my musings on the electrifying 2nd congressional district race in Ohio it goes.

A motley crew of about 200 volunteers from all over the nation swarmed Ohio to try to make a difference this past week and what a difference we made.

In a district that overwhelmingly supported Bush in ’04, Paul Hackett, an Iraqi War veteran, nearly won; and for all we know, he may well have.

After going door-to-door in nearly 100 degree temperature for days and making endless phone calls to voters, it came down to one reporting district: Clermont County.

The truly interesting thing is the race was neatly tied-up as late as Tuesday night at 11:00 p.m., when lo and behold, the tallying machine in the last county to report, which interestingly enough was the very place where Jean Schmidt hailed from, jammed.

As the gods of close election would have it, the last votes to report were to come from the district of Hackett’s opponent. Now some people might find it a bit curious that every time there is an “equipment malfunction,” it seems to come from an area that amazingly puts the Republican in office. Someone with a pay grade higher than I will have to see what's up with that!

In the meantime, if there is one lesson to be learned from the Ohio Hackett campaign, it is this: Court the bloggers. They can raise some serious $$$$ for your campaign; and flood "them" air waves, streets and phone lines with an army of volunteers.

And his framing of Schmidt as a Taft “rubber stamp” went a long way in framing his opponent; and it could also be the meme to frame Republicans in future elections and lead to success for Democrats countrywide.

In Ohio, people responded when you told them Hackett would bring a fresh, independent voice to Congress. They were fed up with Republican clones who always vote exactly alike, especially in view of the problems facing Ohio with their one-party rule. And with new SCOTUS appointments, the House, Senate and executive branch in Republican hands, the “rubber stamp” meme will resonate with voters.

Those two little words can work miracles; and just by that one catchy phrase, Americans can readily visualize the danger and folly of one-party rule.

Apparently House Minority Nancy Pelosi agrees with me. In today's Washington Post, she says: "People are tired of a rubber stamp congressman...They have serious questions about war, serious questions about abuse of power in Washington, serious questions about the economy. Republicans can diminish this all they want, but they do so at their own peril."

Indeed, no one wants to think of themselves as dupes; or as the case may be “rubber stamps” to any idea, party or person.

An appeal to voters love of freedom and abhorrence to “dominance” can go a long way to pound the message of electing an independent voice who knows the real bosses are not party hacks or political operatives but the voters back home.

In the end, every voter who has voted for a Democratic candidate within the last 20 years, whether for dog catcher or president, must be contacted more than once; and asked to vote for their independent self-interest by way of new independent voices in Congress.

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