02 November 2006 by Published in: General musings 23 comments

Today is November 2. The mid-term elections are in five days. Tuesday cannot possibly come soon enough.

I live in Ohio, which is THE battleground state these days. We’ve lost about a quarter of a million manufacturing jobs in the past six or seven years. The state’s unemployment rate is 5.7%, a full percentage point higher than the rest of the country. The economy in this state is a wreck. Our convicted criminal governor is leaving office after two terms filled with corruption and scandal. Mike DeWine, Republican Senator, is closely linked to Skippy Bush and his failed, corrupt administration. Deborah Pryce, the fourth ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, is in the race of her life. The next district to the east of where I live is the district of convicted felon and corrupt politician Bob Ney. Ney’s hand-picked successor, who defaulted on a $700,000 government guaranteed SBA loan, is running for his seat. Even previously safe seats are in play; my district is represented by Rep. Pat Tiberi, who was the chief of staff for John Kasich, and was his hand-picked successor. Tiberi is in a dogfight with a 79-year-old multimillionaire who served a single term in Congress in the early 1980’s until his district was gerrymandered out of existence. A blue tide is about to sweep this state (and hopefully, both houses of Congress, too).

From all of this, you can probably imagine what the TV ads are like. It’s non-stop attack ads, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s not a single positive ad. Instead, it’s every possible attack you can imagine, including an especially egregious Willy Horton-style ad for a Republican candidate for the state house. It started in June, and it has just increased in intensity until there are virtually nothing but negative attack ads every commercial break.

I can’t stand it any more. Next Tuesday CANNOT come soon enough.

Whatever happened to commercials where the candidates actually said something positive and laid out their ideas and justifications for why they should be elected? Nothing of the sort happens now. Instead, every possible skeleton in every possible closet is dredged up, and there simply is no reason why ANYONE would want to subject themselves to this. Is it any wonder that we’re stuck with a government of such mediocrity that an imbecile coke head like Skippy Bush could possibly have been elected president twice????

We deserve better.

Scridb filter


  1. Jeff Henkel
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 1:59 am

    I’m just catching up on the blog from the beginning, and I can’t say how much I appreciate your work. I look forward to ordering and reading your books!

    With regards to this post, I couldn’t agree more. At what point did American politics become the realm of the lowest common denominator. We have a president who couldn’t spell eloquent if you spotted him eight of the letters, a congress that is most effective at being ineffective and local/regional politicians whose only goal is future re-election so they can continue draining the tax payers of their hard earned funds. It’s depressing.

    I can only hope there’s a wave of change in the future…anything to break the current status quo. I’d love to see a politician actually raise the bar and ask more from us than we ask of ourselves. I’m not holding my breath though.

  2. Alton Bunn
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 10:00 am

    I agee whole heartedly too. The worst was last night when during the commercial break three republican adds were run in a row. At the next break three democratic adds were run in a row. All were negative of course.

  3. Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 10:21 am

    I’m glad to know that I’m not alone.

    It is unbelievably frustrating and unbelievably insulting to the intelligence of the public. Here’s the formula. It works:

    Republican ad: Democratic candidate: automatically increase taxes blindly without any consideration

    Democratic ad: Republican equals corrupt

    At least give us a little creativity. At least come up with something new and interesting….


  4. Mark Peters
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 4:13 pm


    As a bemused spectator, three things in particular have disappointed me.

    1) How the hell did the Connecticut Democrats de-select Joe Lieberman? I hope is winning as an Independent will cost the Democrats dear when looking for control of the Senate. His treatment shows that neither party is interested in reaching bi-partisan agreements, and don’t give a damn for the majority of Americans; just in their particular ideaologies and rhetoric.

    2) How do the likes of Michal J. Fox and Alec Baldwin think they can get away with trying to distort the truth in campaigns such as Missouri and California respectively? Does Hollywood think itself so virtuous that they can smear Republicans by twisting the facts. In my opinion, his input will probably cost the Democrats that particular Senate seat.

    3) How does Senator Santorum keep getting so much exposure, when he is getting a real beating in the polls. He’s the best reason for supporting Democrats that I’ve seen so far!

    Finally, surely Deborah Pryce is a far better option than Mary Jo Kilroy? She is not at all impressive, and appears to ‘smear’ with the best of them. And worse; smugly! Still, I don’t live in Ohio and won’t be my problem.

    Best wishes,


  5. Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 4:23 pm


    Let me respond to your points as you raise them.

    1. The more left-wing side of the Democratic Party in Connecticut turned on Lieberman for his steadfast support of Bush and the war in Iraq. That’s the primary reason. In their view, he abandoned them, so there was no reason not to abandon him.

    2. I don’t know enough about the Baldwin situation to have an opinion. I do think, though, that based on what I know of the Fox situation, there was nothing that distorted the truth.

    3. I agree on Santorum. In my humble opinion, he’s a festering pile of turds. He gets exposure because he’s very high in the power structure of the Republican Senate delegation. The high fall mightily.

    4. Finally, Pryce. I’ve known Deb Pryce since 1988, when she was a lowly judge. She’s lost her focus in those years. While voting herself 8 pay raises, she’s voted against raising the minimum wage 7 times when she lives in a state that has probably taken the worst battering of any. Her voting record indicates that she votes with Skippy over 90% of the time. Given the fact that Skippy is about as popular in this state as the bubonic plague, given the state of Ohio’s economy, it’s definitely a dump-the-incumbent thing. Personally, I hope she does lose.


  6. Mark Peters
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 4:48 pm


    Thanks for your response. Direct, and to the point, as ever. Not sure I’d have described Santorum like that, but can see where you’re coming from.

    In my opinion, the reason for dumping Joe Lieberman was not valid and I truly hope the Democrats will pay for this. The message from the Kennedy/Kerry/Pelosi wing – do not fraternise with the enemy, whatever your beliefs. How long ago was it that Lieberman was running for VP? I have followed the progress of Senator Lieberman quite closely for the last few years and truly hoped he’d have made it to President. Instead you have two vociferous extremes ignoring the silent centerist majority.

    In my opinion, Michael J Fox was well out of order, and was surprised by your thoughts. Both candidates support cell stem research although Fox’s campaign ad suggested otherwise. Secondly, the Democrats are being supported, and the bill ads being funded, by two company directors who have a financial interest in cell stem research. Fox later admitted that he did the anti Republican ad without reading what was in the bill. I see he is now dipping his toe in the Virginian Senate race, which will probably assure Allan of a slim victory.

    Finally, I’m sure what you say about Senator Pryce is true, but Kilroy? Things must be desperate in Ohio, and I truly sympathise with some of the choices that Americans are obviously faced with next week.

    Best wishes,


  7. Valerie Protopapas
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 5:01 pm


    You are blaming the WRONG people! We voters get what we deserve.

    We have made it clear that we aren’t interested in solving problems if the solution affects us in any way negatively (of course, I don’t care what happens to YOU!). It is a matter of that old saw about whose ox is being gored.

    We have made it clear that we will only vote in those legislative candidates who ‘bring home the bacon’ to our town, city and state – and hence, Robert (Sheets) Byrd (who has paved all of West Virginia) is a staple in the Congress.

    We have made it clear that negative ads DO work and that between the politician who tries to address a topic and a politician who has a juicy scandal or POSSIBLE scandal to relate, we will listen harder to the latter than the former. Ours is an Oprah and Dr. Phil culture, after all!

    We have made it clear that while we SAY we care about ‘fixing’ problems, we don’t want to hear about it especially if it means that we’re going to have to ACT rather than REact or THINK rather than have someone think for us (and then complain when it isn’t done to our satisfaction). And, of course, this is ESPECIALLY true when what has to be done gores OUR ox.

    We have made it clear that we want to KNOW as little and DO as little as possible. We don’t want to be confused by facts, forced to actually DECIDE something or forego going to Bingo or watching the football game or the soaps in order to actually LEARN what’s going on and what can be done about it.

    We have made it clear that we expect those elected to office to FIX EVERYTHING even those things that CAN’T be ‘fixed’ in that sense of the word – as, for instance, FORCING PEACE on a world that hasn’t ever HAD peace even before man walked the planet.

    We want pleasure without risks, wealth without effort and victory without sacrifice.

    We DON’T want to admit that ‘the government’ can’t take care of us, that there are often unpleasant consequences to actions freely taken and that there simply IS no ‘utopia’ where everything is ginger-peachy.

    When Benjamin Franklin was leaving the site at which the Constitution and our government were hammered into existence by the intellectual and moral giants of the day, a woman called out to him, ‘Dr. Franklin! What have you given us?!’ He responded, ‘A Republic Madam – IF YOU CAN KEEP IT!’ Ah, that is the question, isn’t it….

  8. Michael Aubrecht
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 5:42 pm

    Eric and JD. This may be the wrong time and place to post this…Sorry, but I am not getting email replies at the office. Did you get my email yesterday about your book review running in tomorrow’s Free Lance-Star (Town & Country section)? If so and you replied, I didn’t get it.

    Look for it online here in the morning: http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/tnc
    and in the printed paper.

    I think you’ll be pleased. Thanks. Now.. back to Hannity and Combs…

  9. Steve Rogers
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Better? Like Al “The Sky is Falling” Gore? Like John “Our Military is Full of Idiots” Kerry? Like Howard “Primal Scream” Dean or Hillary “Co-President” Clinton? Teddy Chappaquiddick…er Kennedy?

    God save us from THIS better….

  10. Mark Peters
    Fri 03rd Nov 2006 at 7:03 pm


    Surely decisions are made on the information available. If voters are confronted with purely negative ads, how else do they make their decision? You can’t blame the voters for the way the messenger delivers the message!

    Whilst Eric may be an acquaintance of a candidate, most voters are not in that position. Having said that, I can’t see how Kilroy is a better option than Pryce, but that’s the problem facing Ohio. All the majority can possibly know is what the media tells them, and how their values react to this information.

    Best wishes,


  11. Valerie Protopapas
    Sat 04th Nov 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Again, the fact is simply that if negative ads DIDN’T WORK, we wouldn’t have them. The fact is that – as my husband puts it – one ‘Oh s**t!’ is worth ten ‘Attaboys!’ and most people – not all certainly – are much more influenced by a possible scandal than by reasonable (but dull) discussions of the issues. If it were not the case, then negative adverstising would long ago have been consigned to the dumpster – but it hasn’t. Indeed, it’s popularity continues to grow apace.

  12. Sun 05th Nov 2006 at 7:22 pm


    To quote Valerie, “Attaboy!!” I’m impressed and pleasantly surprised by your political leanings. Don’t know why I expected it to be any different but I’m glad it’s not.

    I am sorely frustrated by the bulk of the American electorates’ intellectual laziness to invoke a phrase recently used to extremely ill effect by Senator Kerry.

    I hate when politicians assume that I’m not very smart. I hate it worse when the American public bolsters their assumptions.

  13. Charles Hollis
    Sun 05th Nov 2006 at 8:08 pm

    After Nixon disgraced the office and the country, I though we would never elect another puppet for the super rich but we did. And just like the Nixon administration Bush’s fellow conspirators are now marching off to prison.

    Here in Indiana the Republicans would like us to think they represent “Indiana Values” sorry Bush, you got caught lying to us and now we have lost thousands of young men and women.

    Yes, I’m looking forward to Tuesday.

  14. Sun 05th Nov 2006 at 8:38 pm


    Amen, sister.

    The problem with modern American politics, of course, is that they’re directed to the least common denominator, and that assumes that we’re all a bunch of ignoramuses. Now, I’ll grant you, I’m no rocket scientist, but I’m likewise not an ignoramus, and the suggestion that I am offends me. It all ties into the whole concept of books that assume that all readers are either dumies or complete idiots.


  15. Sun 05th Nov 2006 at 8:38 pm


    I’m with you.


  16. Dave Powell
    Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 8:28 am

    Ah, nothing like politics to get the juices flowing.

    I spent the weekend in Gettysburg, so I largely avoided TV and political ads.

    I think, however, that to a certain extent the Repubs are reaping what they have sown. In the past decade, R strategists have chosen the demonization route as the most effective campaign strategy, a tactic that Lee Atwater, for example, reveled in. Rove has been no different – the McCain smear in SC, for example.

    The electorate rewarded those tactics by voting Republican in large numbers.

    The other party cannot win without adopting similar tactics, IMO. So they have. They also have a massive amount of very factual information to work with, thanks to the stunning level of corruption now found in so many Republican incumbents.

    A close look at the Republican congress in the Bush years, however, reveals some major problems with the way they have governed, acting largely as a rubber stamp for cronyism, rather than the first branch of government.

    they were in full session only about 65 days. Of that, they ate up significant time debating abstract things like a gay marraige amendment, instead of the immediate fiscal and legislative issues that need their attention. In the 90s, the Repub house had 140 plus hours of hearings on the potential political abuse of the Clinton Christmas list. They managed exactly 12 hours on Abu Ghraib.

    for hundreds of bills, the Leadership waived the customary 72 hold period on new bills, useful in order to give members time to read the bills. These waivers came in the dead of night, usually 2 am, in a quick voice vote of the rules committee, so that the bills could be voted on the next morning. While bills have been so waived in the past, it was a rare and infrequent process used primarily for emergency budget issues. Now it has become the norm. 100s of bills get voted on within hours of being passed out of committee, giving members no time to actually read the bills.

    And as for those committees, bi-partisan committee meetings are thing of the past. Most bills are also passed out by fiat, reconciled by the committee leadership, a white house rep, and advised by the affected special interest groups. Again, these “votes” often happen in the dead of night, without warning.

    The facts are that the Republican-led House has surrendered its constitutional authority and long ago abandoned any pretense of bi-partisanship. It is extremely disingenuous to then accuse the Democrats of not seeking ‘bi-partisanship’ in the face of a legislative fiat process that hostile to responsible government.

    It is also no wonder that the House now has a 16% approval rating. It is a rats nest, run by gangsters who only pay lip service to democracy.

    Dave Powell

  17. Valerie Protopapas
    Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Oh come, friends. Bi-partisanship???

    When the Dems held the House for 40 odd years, they often held committee meetings without even bothering to INFORM the Republican members because, of course, they couldn’t influence the outcome ANYWAY, so why bother wasting the time having them come? Is that ‘bi-partisanship’?

    Indeed, more Republicans line up with Democrats then the other way round, mainly because a Democrat who doesn’t ‘toe the Party line’ will lose financial support when next he or she runs and will soon find him or herself in ‘limbo’ while serving with no hopes of getting on a good committee (and thus bringing home the bacon to their consitutents) or advancing into the Party leadership. In that Party, it’s ‘my way or the highway’.

    On the other hand, Congressional Republicans make a habit of running around cow-towing to those among them who are the MOST critical of their Party and its supporters. Hence, Arlen Specter – after being VERY ‘disloyal’ to the GOP base – was returned as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee against the wishes of the people who voted him and other members of the GOP into office. I challenge anyone to point to a DEMOCRAT who bolted the Party line and was embraced despite that fact. Conservatives like Zell Miller are consigned to political Siberia as has been the fate of every member of that Party who didn’t close ranks against those ‘wascally Wepublicans’.

    Several Republican Presidents – including Reagan and George W. Bush – attempted a conciliatory approach with the Democrats; it didn’t work. Frankly, the Democrat definition of ‘bi-partisanship’ is doing it THEIR way. Anything else is a vast right-wing conspiracy.

  18. Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 5:58 pm

    Well said, Dave.

    What this country really needs is a viable third party. And then I say, a pox on both their houses.


  19. Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 6:07 pm


    I respectfully disagree.

    Skippy Bush, aka the cokehead imbecile, only paid lip service to trying to take a bi-partisan approach. It was–and still is–quite clear that his only agenda is the hard right one, and knowing full well that the Dems wouldn’t embrace a hard right agenda, it was only going through the motions. If you need an example of what I mean, take a look at his judicial nominations. The vast majority of them are people chosen with full knowledge that the overwhelming majority of Democrats could not and would not support them. With the possible exception of Roberts–whose qualifications are impeccable and beyond reproach–Dim Bulb has gone out of his way to throw gasoline on the fire and not to put it out. That is nothing more than paying lip service, and you know it.

    Reagan at least was sincere about it. That’s why I respect him.

    Bush’s sole interest is the Religious Right. Anything else is simply not within the realm of his contemplation.

    As for Zell Miller: the man was and is a traitor to his party. Did you REALLY think he’d get a warm and fuzzy reception? If so, I’d like to know what you’ve been smoking, because I’d like some.

    As for Specter: the Senate works on seniority. Specter was and is the senior member of that committee, having been there for 26 years. That’s the reason why he got that chairmanship. There was no way to take it from him.

    I have, by the way, long respected and admired Arlen Specter. To me, he represents what the Republican Party–the one I joined as a teenager–should be: fiscally conservative, conservative with respect to foreign policy and national defense, and socially very moderate. Forgive me, but as a Jew, I simply cannot relate to–or condone–the agenda of the Evangelical Right, meaning that it is my problem. The Republican Party abandoned me, so I crossed the street. As the party fell under the sway of the Karl Roves of the world–people who are one cut below Fascists on my scale–I had no choice but to take up the cudgel against them. If more of the leadership of the party reflected the philosophy of Specter, I could take it a lot easier than a party led by the likes of the lying, deserting moron in the White House.


  20. Dave Powell
    Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 8:01 pm


    BTW, I mentioned Gettysburg – I took a group of friends around there last weekend. One highlight was meeting JD for dinner on Saturday, after he sold an acceptable number of books, of course:) The group had such fun that we decided we are going to finish the battle next year, same weekend. If you are in town that weekend, perhaps we can meet up? A long time out, I know, but the group really liked meeting JD.


    I would not dispute that the Dems became arrogant during their tenure in power. I am very much an independent, and like to view the facts first. I do think that the degree of such arrogance matters, and as a fairly close student of politics over the years, I think your characterization is a bit distorted. Under most Dem Speakers, such excesses were the exception, not the rule. This is not true at all with the current speaker, Coach Hastert, where such things have become the standard, not the exception.

    Besides, I have never liked the “nyah nyah, the other guys did it first!” defense. I, for one, am clear-headed enough to remember that the GOP oh so self-rightously told me in 1994 that they were going to be different.

    It turns out they were going to be different – they were going to be much, much worse…

    Dave Powell

  21. Mon 06th Nov 2006 at 8:04 pm


    So I heard. I will try to work it into my schedule.

    Anybody I know?


  22. Dave Powell
    Tue 07th Nov 2006 at 8:27 am


    You have met some of them before. Rick Barber joined us, of course, and you know Jim Epperson. JD hopefully transacted some business with Marc Charise, who is editor of the Hanover Evening Sun. I think you also know Zack Waltz, as he has been with me before at the GDG.

    Gettysburg in November is still like grand central station for tours, however, compared to the western theater fields I am now used to:)


  23. Tue 07th Nov 2006 at 11:42 am


    Sounds like I know most of them but Marc.

    I will look forward to it.


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