More PBS broadcasts about Ohio political blogs

The State of Ohio,” a weekly half-hour show that airs on Ohio PBS stations, will be broadcast on Sunday morning (that’s September 28th) in several media markets.  For a little more background, see my original post about the current week’s installment with a feature about Ohio’s political blogs.

WCET-TV 48 in Cincinnati is slated to air the show at 6:30 AM.  WPTD-TV 16 in Dayton airs it at 7 AM.  WPTO-TV 14 in Oxford airs the show at 10:30 AM.  WBGU-TV 27 in Bowling Green will air the program at noon, when WVIZ-TV 25 in Cleveland is set to air the show for a second time.  WOUC-TV 44 in Cambridge and WOUB-TV 20 in Athens will air the program at 12:30 PM, early Sunday afternoon.

For cable TV markets that receive The Ohio Channel, the show will air on Monday at 10 AM and 6 PM, with a wee-hour-of-the-morning showing on Tuesday at 2 AM.

Irked by Obama

I watched the entire debate between McCain and Obama last night, and thought that both sides could see some positives in the performances of whoever their favorite candidate was.  So I would mostly leave the debate topic alone, as there were no decisive blows, and emotions stayed on an even keel.

Except for one thing.  One thing that irked me.

And since it remained on my mind, and I couldn’t sleep, I figured I’d better blog about it.

Since Obama’s early campaign appearances, he’s been talking this nonsense about him, as U.S. President, willing to meet anyone, including enemies, including Iran, face to face, to engage in diplomatic negotiations.

Last night, Obama said it again, only this time, he said that 5 prior Secretaries of State agreed with him.  I watched that special on CNN hosted by Christiane Amanpour with 5 Secretaries of State (Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, James Baker, and Colin Powell).  Zero of them agreed with him.  And that’s what irked me.  That’s what made me mad.

None of those 5 Secretaries of State talked about meeting with Iranian leaders at the Presidential level without preconditions.  All 5 of them agreed with having talks with Iran, which is something McCain agrees with, too, but the highest level of talks any of them spoke about without preconditions was at the Secretary of State level.

I repeat, the Secretary of State level was the highest level recommended by any of the 5.

Obama even named Kissinger as someone who agreed with him.  McCain called him on it, clarifying that there would be talks with Iran in a McCain Administration, but not at the Presidential level without preconditions, and that Kissinger agreed with McCain.  CNN’s fact-checkers confirmed that Kissinger sided with McCain.

But after being called on it by McCain, Obama backpedaled, as if to dismiss the notion that he, Obama, was referring to talks at the Presidential level, and tried to utter some nonsense about preparation, but that just irked me.

Obama had better decide what he’s saying.  He can’t say contradictory things at once.  Either he’s talking about Presidential summits with other world leaders with no conditions, like he’s done since the beginning of the campaign, or he’s talking about diplomatic communications at the lower levels, not at the Presidential level, which means he has to say that he is retreating from the position he took at his campaign’s outset.  I’m not letting Obama have any wiggle room on this.

In international affairs, one must keep in mind that despite the long distances and large regions of the world that are involved in such discussions, “all politics are local.”  Leaders of foreign countries have to worry about their own domestic bases of power.  Often, the posture these foreign leaders assume on the world stage has everything to do with how they are viewed by the people at home, within their own countries, and not so much to do with what is accommodating to outsiders.

Keep that in mind.

If you are a President of the United States, you are a very busy person.  Though very many people want to infringe upon your time, though many people want an audience with you, you have to be very judicious with how you spend your time.  You have many very weighty responsibilities.  You have to prioritize who gets access to you and who does not.  For those who don’t get access to you, you have to allow them access to someone that you authorize to act on your behalf.  For foreign governments, you authorize the Department of State, which has many capable diplomats in its ranks working on behalf of the President and the American people.  The State Department can handle whatever diplomatic tasks you choose to delegate to them.  There are, however, certain circumstances where you may decide that something is important enough that you do not delegate a matter to the State Department because you choose to deal with it yourself, as President.

Question:  Would I, as President, want to allocate my scarce time to negotiate directly with an enemy foreign leader with no preconditions?

Answer: No.

Question: Why not?

Answer: If I set no preconditions, then I have no indication from the enemy foreign leader that negotiations will lead to anything productive.  When preconditions are met, that is a signal that negotiations might lead to a favorable outcome. Therefore, if there are no preconditions, or preconditions are not met, a summit could easily be a total waste of a President’s time.  Therefore, delegate the matter to the State Department to handle until such a time arrives that the enemy foreign leader exhibits some sign that a summit might lead to progress.  Unless an enemy foreign leader gives some signal that compromise is possible, having a summit with that leader would be trying to negotiate from a position of weakness.  The President would be seen as caving in to the obstinate foreign leader, in which case, negotiations can only go badly, as only the United States is signaling a willingness to compromise.  The President must be at least on equal footing, if not on firmer ground, in order to negotiate from a position of strength.  Furthermore (and this is where the adage “all politics are local” fits in), if an obstinate foreign leader is granted access to the President without meeting any preconditions, the comparative weakness of the President will be exploited for domestic consumption by the enemy foreign leader to consolidate power within his/her own nation, further hampering future efforts to gain any concessions at all from the foreign leader.

The enemy foreign leader will brag.  BRAG!  The enemy foreign leader will brag to the people of his/her country that the uncompromising stance they took was able to humble the United States, forcing the U.S. President to crumble, and come crawling on their knees and begging for a concession, and the foreign leader defiantly and triumphantly decreed, “No!”  Thus the enemy foreign leader becomes a hero/heroine in the eyes of his/her people that they were able to subordinate the United States to their will.

That is what John McCain means when he says that meeting with enemy foreign leaders at the PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL WITH NO PRECONDITIONS legitimizes tyrants.  John McCain, as President, will not offer himself as fodder for the propaganda machine that tyrants employ to legitimize themselves and consolidate power.

Voters’ rush to judgment

“He presented for the first time in a long time an intelligent counterargument to the Democrats.  He’s not going to change me into a Republican, but it’s refreshing to hear someone say something with that much authority and understanding.”

That quote comes from an 18-year-old Oberlin College student who had just finished listening to a speech given by former Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, as reported by the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram’s Jason Hawk.

Newt Gingrich’s views have been publicized all through the MSM before, but here’s a person of voting age who didn’t suspect that Gingrich would have something “intelligent” to say.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all persons of voting age had the opportunity to hear diverse political views unfiltered by the MSM?  Most of the TV networks would never allow Gingrich to be portrayed as “intelligent” during the course of their news coverage.

But the Chronicle-Telegram also has this story reported by Cindy Liese:

Beginning next week, buses will cart hundreds of Oberlin College students to the Lorain County Board of Elections office in Sheffield Township so they can cast their ballots early.

Within 24 hours of an e-mail notice of the buses, 500 students had signed up, said Scott Wargo, college spokesman.

The college is paying for the buses, although the cost was not available Tuesday.

Ohio’s early absentee voting gets underway on September 30th, 35 days before Election Day, and the presidential candidates are trying to bank votes early.  These college students finally had an unfiltered opportunity to hear a McCain surrogate speak, and if they listen to the Presidential candidate debate tonight, they’ll be able to contrast the two candidates as words come “straight from the horse’s mouth,” but what about the other races on the ballot?  State and local elections are important, too.  Will these Oberlin College students have an opportunity to learn about the nether regions of their ballots?

There are opportunities that lie ahead that would allow these students to learn about lower-profile races.  Consider the candidate forum to be sponsored by the Coalition of Hispanic Issues and Progress (CHIP) in nearby Lorain, that the college students could see on a cable channel carried throughout Lorain County.  The Morning Journal reports that this forum won’t be held until October 15.

The free event, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will include State Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, and his opponent Republican Dan Urban; Lorain County Commissioner and Democrat Lori Kokoski and her opponent, Republican Martin O’Donnell; Lorain County Commissioner and Democrat Ted Kalo and his opponent Republican Nick Brusky; and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-13, and her opponent Republican David Potter.

Granted, the state rep and Congressional candidates listed on the program aren’t the ones that will appear on the Oberlin ballot.  For state rep, incumbent Democrat Joe Koziura is running unopposed, and Republican Bradley Leavitt is challenging incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur for a seat in Congress.  The county commissioner races, though, are VERY consequential.  I hope the Oberlin College students study up on the commissioner races before going to the polls, but I don’t think that’s likely if they’re among the 500 that signed up to ride buses for early voting just next week.  Besides the CHIP candidate forum, Lorain County Community College usually hosts a candidate forum in even-numbered years, and Oberlin’s League of Women’s Voters usually hosts a candidate forum every year–but those forums are usually scheduled just a matter of days before election day, so they’ll likely occur LATER in the election cycle, NOT earlier.

I’m a former resident of Oberlin.  In fact, in 2004, when Senator John Kerry challenged incumbent George W. Bush for the U. S. Presidency, I was on the ballot as Joe Koziura’s opponent in the state rep race.  I remember going to vote on election day, in a precinct that included a lot of Oberlin College students.  The turnout was enormous.  I waited for two-and-a-half hours in line to cast my vote.  I can understand why the students would want to vote early.  Waiting that long in line could cause someone to miss some important activities on one’s schedule, even if one doesn’t have class on that day.  The students were quite sociable, so they conversed with me and others around them as we all waited.  They had turned out in huge numbers to support John Kerry, but many of them had come to study at Oberlin College from distant parts of the country.  They frankly admitted that they knew nothing about the local candidates, so they voted a straight Democrat ticket, something that the Democrat machine in Lorain used to their advantage to sweep county offices.

Among the most egregious picks of the voters was the election of Ted Kalo as county commissioner.  He’s been one of Lorain’s good old boys for years, among the privileged that pull the strings of Democrat officeholders in the decaying rust-belt city of Lorain, who was probably the most clueless of all the commissioner candidates that year (8 Democrats and 2 Republicans ran for county commissioner in 2004).  After winning office, he promptly redecorated the commissioner’s office he worked in with new flooring, furniture, and even a plasma-screen TV!  Lorain County is not so financially well off that it can afford splendor.  Kalo has trouble balancing his books as a businessman (at one point, grossly delinquent on remitting sales taxes from his business, more recently filing bankruptcy for his business), so when the county’s revenues weren’t keeping up with expenditures, he led the commissioners in voting to increase the county’s sales tax.  Unlike Barack Obama, who says he’ll only increase taxes on the rich, a hike in the county’s sales tax affects everyone, old and young, rich and poor, with no exceptions, not even for college students purchasing textbooks.  Some voters took measures into their own hands and filed petitions to put the proposed sales tax hike on the Lorain County ballot in fall of 2007.  When the votes were counted last November, the rough totals showed that 80% of county residents opposed the sales tax hike.

And here’s the reason why the county commissioner races are so consequential:  Commissioners comprise the legislative branch of the county.  They are to impose the people’s will on county government.  They have power of the purse.  However, incumbents Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski have said that if elected, they will again attempt to hike the sales tax, despite the demonstrated will of the people.  Both incumbents hail from Lorain, a city headed toward, if not already in, economic ruin.  These two don’t understand the economy, and they evidently don’t understand their responsibility to represent the people.  Challengers Nick Brusky and Martin O’Donnell have both served on city councils in cities that have been two of the three bright spots in the Lorain County economy (much of the county is economically distressed).  They have an understanding of the economy.  They have a track record showing that they know how to prioritize when resources are scarce.  They have pledged to not hike the county sales tax.  They understand that a commissioner is supposed to represent the people of the county, and act according to the people’s will.  Electing Brusky and O’Donnell as county commissioners will help put the county on better footing, so I hope these college students are aware of this when they vote.

Of course, readers of this blog are seeing the commissioners’ races through my filter, my lens, my prism, my perspective, as they peruse this message.  But there are opportunities to see the candidates unfiltered, and I hope that voters avail themselves of those opportunities before rushing off to vote in a hurry.

Ohio political blogosphere featured on PBS show

Hey, Ohio political blogosphere, are your ears burning?  Somebody’s been talking about you behind your back.  A couple of blogs/bloggers were even singled out by name.  Ohio’s PBS stations broadcast a half-hour-long weekend show (schedules vary, so check your local PBS or Ohio Channel listings) called “The State of Ohio,” hosted by Karen Kasler.  Eric Vessels of Plunderbund and Progress Ohio participated in the taping of a 20-minute segment, along with yours truly, the Buckeye RINO.  The debate between Obama and McCain is shuffling the schedule for some of the PBS stations, so I’ll provide a later post when I can nail down the air times better.  So far, though, WOSU-TV 34 of Columbus and WPBO-TV 42 of Portsmouth are scheduled to lead off at 5:30 pm, tonight, the 26th, with WVIZ-TV 25 of Cleveland airing the show tonight at 7:30.  In the early hours of Saturday morning, WEAO-TV 49 of Akron and WNEO-TV 45 of Alliance are scheduled to air the show at 5:30 AM.

Are we capitalists or socialists?

Why do the Congressional Democrats say that they will only greenlight a $700 billion bailout bill if they’ve got the support of a significant number of Congressional Republicans?  The Democrats are in the majority in both houses, and the U.S. President is siding with them, so why the uproar over the Republican holdouts?

The reason why some Republicans are holding back is because the bailout converts our financial sector from capitalism to socialism, and they don’t believe we should be socialists.  I agree.  I don’t think we should be socialists.  I’m sure Congressional Democrats understand where these Republican holdouts are coming from.

Therefore, if the Congressional Democrats are so certain that these Republican holdouts are in error, and they think they have the correct solution, then they should act on their convictions, just as the Congressional Republican holdouts are acting on their convictions.

The ball really is in the Democrats’ court, but I guess they don’t really want the ball to be in their court.  Why do the Democrats hesitate?  Do they also feel an inner conflict?  If so, then perhaps they’ll have enough of an open mind to consider my question:  Are Americans capitalists or socialists?  What’s your answer?  If the former, then go back to the drawing board and figure out something besides bailing out with the taxpayers’ money.  If the latter, then ACT!!!

Connecticut group think

I happened to see this AP article by way of Yahoo that says Connecticut Democrat Party leaders want to exile U. S. Senator Joe Lieberman.  It made me laugh.

The G.O.P. is making no such moves against those who endorsed Obama for U.S. President at the Democrat National Convention.  The G.O.P. is more tolerant of diverse opinions.

In Ohio, the Democrats made a move to banish Marc Dann, but they did the right thing because of Dann’s ethical lapses.  No one in Connecticut is accusing Lieberman of promoting a frat house culture within his Senate office.  Apparently, Connecticut Democrats expect their politicians to be mere puppets.  If you can dance without strings, then you don’t qualify to be a Democrat in Connecticut.

One of the Democrats, Audrey Blondin, pushing for a censure resolution against Lieberman said:

“If you have someone who says they’re a Democrat, who is registered as a Democrat and is a national figure supporting a candidate who is opposed to all the ideals and beliefs and positions that we hold as Democrats, he’s diluting — in my opinion — the meaning of our party.”

Oh, no!  The Democrat Party in Connecticut could be diluted!  If left unchecked, the reliably blue state could turn red!  (I wish!)  And Lieberman would be the cause!  (Yeah, I suppose the extreme ideological intolerance by the Democrats as shown by their vilification of Lieberman wouldn’t turn anybody off.)

Go ahead, Connecticut Democrats.  Start an inquisition.  Purge your party of all infidels.  I wouldn’t want you to feel as if your party had become diluted.

Carnival of Ohio Politics #135 posted

For a round-up of the best blog entries about Ohio politics for the past week, check out the Carnival of Ohio Politics.  Jill Miller Zimon of Writes Like She Talks edited this week’s installment, Carnival #135.  Thanks, Jill!