Madly, And Badly, Spinning

Sometimes I wish politicians would just shut up during the days immediately after elections have been held.  They should let the country digest the results and enjoy a few days of peace and quiet after the appalling orgy of political spending and political ads that makes the days just before the election a disgusting spectacle.

Unfortunately, politicians don’t take this advice.  They can’t help themselves.  They just have to issue a press release, send out an e-mail, or appear before the cameras to advance the “messaging” and “spin” that the party bosses have decided must be the post-election party line.

So it has been with this election.  Yesterday and today I have heard a number of Democrats — including Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and outgoing Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, among others — voice the view that this election, in which the Democrats were pulverized in the House, the Senate, and statehouses across the country, was not a rejection of the policies of the Obama Administration and its allies.  Instead, they say it was just the apparently random thrashings of an angry electorate that was frustrated because the change the President and Democrats have begun is not moving fast enough.

Do these politicians really think about the absurdity of this spin before they propound it?  In this case, it is grossly insulting that they apparently believe such ludicrous spin could be swallowed by a gullible populace.  At bottom, their theory is that voters impatient with the slow pace of President Obama’s agenda went to the voting booth — and then voted for Republican after Republican who not only did not promise to speed up the President’s agenda, but instead promised to resist and repeal it.  Does that scenario seem remotely plausible to anyone other than the spinmeisters at national Democratic Party headquarters?

This kind of over-the-top “messaging” just reflects contempt for the intelligence of the American voter.  I think it is one of the reasons why so many Americans voted to throw the bums out only two days ago.

Will The Focus Turn To Ohio Next?

A pattern seems to be emerging with respect to the recent revelations about the White House contacts with challengers in Democratic Senatorial primaries in Pennsylvania and now Colorado.  The apparent pattern is that the White House wanted to avoid contested Democratic Senatorial primaries at all costs and was willing to at least suggest potential alternative employment options if the challenger would just drop out of the race.

Another high-profile Democratic Senatorial primary, of course, occurred in Ohio, where Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner continued her challenge to Lieutenant Lee Fisher even after the party brass evidently encouraged her to stop.  I therefore wonder whether the reporters and bloggers focused on this ongoing story will soon turn their attention to Ohio to see whether the apparent pattern held true in the Buckeye State, too?

Older vs. Newer In The Ohio Democratic Party

Ohio’s primary election is only a few days away.  It’s kind of a dull election (although people in Columbus should care deeply about Issue 2, which would move the “constitutional casino” away from downtown).  The only statewide primary that has received much attention is the contest between Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

I’m not sure there is a lot of disagreement between Fisher and Brunner on the issues, for the average voter at least.  (Take a look at the “issues” pages of their websites — here and here — and judge for yourself.)  Either of them would be a reliable vote for President Obama’s programs and for the Democratic leadership in the Senate.  If there is a significant difference between them, it is more a difference of style and perception.

Fisher seems to have been around in public life forever.  The “About Lee” page on his campaign website apparently is sensitive to his age, because it doesn’t give his birth date.  (Another sign that Fisher may be sensitive about his age can be found in his campaign photos, which make it look like he has been liberally doused in Man Tan.)   The bio page indicates that Fisher was first elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1980, served as a legislator for 10 years, was elected Ohio’s Attorney General in 1990, served for four years in that position, then worked in a non-profit until he became Ted Strickland’s running mate in 2006.  So far as his website indicates, then, Fisher has worked in government and non-profit jobs since 1980.  I’m not sure that he has ever worked for a private business.

Brunner clearly is younger than Fisher — although her website bio doesn’t give her birthdate, either — and she spent a considerable part of her career as an attorney in private practice here in Columbus.  She was elected to the Franklin County C0mmon Pleas Court in 2000 (interestingly, her bio describes Franklin County as a “largely conservative county” even though the lion’s share of Franklin County voters live in Columbus, where the city government is dominated by Democrats) and then was elected Secretary of State in 2006, when the Democrats pretty much ran the table in non-judicial statewide elections.

Fisher has raised far more money than Brunner.  His campaign seems more traditional, with rallies and TV ads.  Brunner is more of a “new Democrat” who seems to follow the Daily Kos approach.  Perhaps because she is cash-strapped, Brunner appears to have taken more advantage of new communications forms.  I gave money to a Democratic candidate two years ago and, perhaps as a result, ended up on Brunner’s campaign e-mail list.  At least once a week,  I get an e-mail from the Brunner campaign asking for money, calling on a Republican to apologize for some perceived outrage, or breathlessly describing Brunner’s purchase of an old school bus for about $2000 to use on her bus tour of Ohio.  I’m not sure precisely what Twitter is, but I imagine she uses that medium, too.

In the battle between older and newer, who will win?  I’m not sure anyone outside of the campaigns really cares very much.  According to the latest polls, Fisher has opened a commanding lead — but we will get the real answer on Tuesday.