Monday, August 01, 2005

OH - 2nd will test theories for 2006

The special election for Ohio's second congressional district will be a political laboratory for both parties. Paul Hackett has tried to claim the center while playing up his opposition to the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq. His opponent has run on a strict "stand-by-your-man" platform, going so far as to claim that President Bush "absolutely" made no mistakes in Iraq.

In 2004, the district went heavily for the President, and the war clearly helped the Republican ticket. If Hackett were to win this week, it would be a major disappointment for the GOP and might force a reassessment of the "run-on-the-war" strategy that has been so valuable in the past. It seems pretty clear that congressional Republicans are afraid that the Iraq war has become a political liability. Their concerns probably led directly to Karen Hughes’ reframing of the Iraq war as a “struggle against extremism” (AKA “Gee-save.”)

Some Republican 2008 hopefuls have already started to reposition themselves to the left of Bush. Bill Frist is taking credit for removing the block on federal funding for stem cell research and has pointed out that the Senate vote was veto proof. It remains to be seen if one of the major players in the Terry Schiavo fiasco can rebrand himself as a plug-pulling pragmatist, but he certainly gets and “E” for effort.

Economic matters also appear to be increasingly important for many Americans, and Ohio's citizens in particular. Although few probably know the details of the CAFTA deal passed by the House, most know that this sort of trade deal will do nothing to improve Ohio's industrial decline. During the 2004 election it was already clear that many were loosing faith in the Republican economic program for the state. Governor Taft is not very popular and a series of scandals have left many in Ohio thinking that it is time to let the Democrats have a shot.

4 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

Karen Hughes was brought in to reframe the global war on terrorism, of which the Bush admin has tried to classify the Iraq war as a front.

So, changing GWOT to GSAVE, if it fools anyone, has nothing to do with the Iraq war unless you accept that the Iraq war had something to do with terrorism -- al Qaida, 9/11, and the whole pack of lies therein.

As for moving to the left of Bush, that's not hard to do. I'm not sure this Democrat is in the center, except on a heavily shifted spectrum. So, he may be, descriptively, in the center, but not where I'd like the Democrats to be.

Having said that, I'll take him over another Republican -- but if the votes go for the wrong policies, does it matter what party is claiming the voter in the House (or Senate)? Triangulators abound.

Which gets me back to Bernie. He is wildly popular in a heavily rural state -- and popular among everyone -- Dems, Reps, etc. -- simply by pounding on the economic facts of our situation without fear and without corporate favors.

There's a model for the Democrats. It's what some of them used to be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 8:22:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Polls have closed - this is a good election returns site if you want to work that F5 key...

http://www.wcpo.com/news/2005/local/08/02/election_results.html

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 8:32:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Link

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 8:32:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Doug,

Having spent a great deal of time in Vermont, I can say with confidence that Bernie Sanders would never have enjoyed the same success elsewhere. Vermont is a very unique place and I think it's a big mistake to believe that Bernie's admirable politics would amount to anything outside of the state. Having said that, I like him a lot and some aspects of his approach do translate well.

Andrew

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 1:30:00 PM  

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