The Democrat case against Issue 6

Believe me, there are highly placed Ohio Republicans who are backing Issue 6, the casino monopoly ballot issue.  They just haven’t made themselves visible.  In 2006, during the Ohio Learn and Earn Issue 3 campaign, the politicians who were doing the wheeling and dealing were front and center.  Ohioans got to see the sausage being made right before our eyes, and it made us sick.  We voted it down.  Issue 3 had more Democrat support, as casinos were planned for Democrat strongholds, and Democrat politicians were instrumental in earmarking the potential tax revenues for education.

Now some corrupt Republicans have put their proposal on the table, but they are trying as best they can to remain invisible.  They don’t want to allow the public to see the sausage while it’s being made.  If they’re invisible, then why do I say that the latest proposal is chiefly a Republican plan?  This casino monopoly is planned for the reddest, most Republican, sector of the state.  Some of the most outspoken Republican backers of gambling come from that part of the state, like state rep Blessing.  Furthermore, look at what’s proposed for the tax proceeds.  As part of Republican principles, we often say that government resources ought to be allocated more heavily at the local level, and less heavily at the state and federal levels.  But the pay-to-play General Assembly is so interested in getting re-elected that they are much more interested in legislation that puts dollars in their campaign war chests than they are about sticking to principles.  The pay-to-play state legislature has not funded the mandates they’ve placed upon counties, and has slashed revenue sharing with local governments in order to cover their own rear ends (i.e. balancing the state’s budget).  The proceeds from this casino monopoly are to be sent to the 88 counties to help cover up the fact that corrupt Republican legislators aren’t sticking to their principles about unfunded state mandates and empowering local governments to serve the people.  Of course, another reason for these corrupt Republicans to hide from public view is that gambling is contrary to conservative principles, whether it be redistribution of wealth (but from poor to rich, in this case), maintaining law and order, shrinking the economy, or the damage gambling causes to families and society.  By the way . . . the potshots I take against some prominent Republican state legislators should help readers understand why some have assigned me the moniker of RINO.

Readers may not trust me to elaborate on the Democrat case against Issue 6, since I’m a Republican, so let me defer to a hard-core Democrat blogger who has taken a whack at me from time to time.  Tim Russo of Blogger Interrupted schools Joseph, another Democrat who blogs at Plunderbund, about why good Democrats should oppose Issue 6.  Please pay attention.  This is important.  Here is part of his intro:

“Issue 6 is another example of the filthy rich attempting to buy a license to print their own money on the backs of the poorest Ohioans.  That’s what a casino is.  It’s not a business model, it’s not an industry, it is free money based on nothing but the desperation of poor people.”

When Joseph points out that the state’s economy sucks, and the casino backers want to invest millions in Clinton County, Tim Russo responds in this way:

“I want to tell these people that if they want to invest $600 million into Ohio, they can figure out a way to do so without being parasites on the poorest Ohioans.  Gambling is a regressive tax on the poor, and those dollars are nothing more than a down payment on making Ohioans even poorer.  Build a wind farm, dig for coal, make a high speed rail line, fund an internet startup.  If it’s really a $600 million investment in Ohio, then make it an investment, not a Dickensian regressive tax.”

When Joseph asks if voters should tell Clinton County residents who are losing their DHL jobs that they shouldn’t have casino jobs, Tim Russo replied:

“Yes, I want to be the one to tell those people, and their representatives in government, to find other options, and advocate for jobs that are not a Dickensian sentence to a parasitic existence relying on taking money from poor people.  These will not be good jobs.  They will not be stable jobs.  They will be low wage, low skill, low benefit, sweat shop scraps from the table of a developer who walks away with a fortune.”

When Joseph says we shouldn’t quibble over having to amend Ohio’s Constitution because it’s such a shoddy document in the first place, Tim Russo concedes the shoddy document part, but not the gambling part:

“The Ohio constitution is, in fact, a farce, which has become nothing more than an ATM for whoever has the most money to manipulate it for their own license to print money for themselves.  That does not mean I need to accept it.”

Speaking of farces, Joseph wrote this:

“Ohio’s voters have proven, year after year, they aren’t ready to approve a broader gambling bill that brings gaming to the whole state. This single-casino option seems like a pretty good compromise.”

And Tim Russo very sagely (are you paying attention?) wrote this:

The reason Ohio’s voters don’t want a broader gambling bill is that Ohio’s voters don’t want our state to become a giant black hole in which poor people are consumed by parasites for eternity, like the seventh circle of Dante’s inferno.  This isn’t Las Vegas, where there was nothing before gambling.  This is Ohio, where desperate people cling to nickels and dimes in their pockets after decades of decay.  A single casino is not a compromise, it is just the first step on the road to a state full of them.

I’ve added the bold type to emphasize what makes Joseph’s assertion so farcical to me.

Joseph said this casino could be used as a test case, and if the experiment doesn’t work, the experiment could be shut down.  I feel the need to interject my own opinion at this point to say that there’s no shutting down a casino once it starts.  The casino would be “grandfathered” in, and would be exempt from future bans on casinos, as we can’t write an ex post facto law that would retroactively ban the casino.  The casino backers would thank us for such a ban, protecting them from further competition, and gold-plating their monopoly status. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea to treat this issue as a test case.  We already know what casinos do, anyway.

These are just excerpts, so follow the links if you want the whole enchilada.

I hope you were paying attention.

HOPE ON Part 6: Obama’s stances ill-defined when voting “present”

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

Here are my recaps of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Thurber’s Thoughts has the scoop on Part 6.  To access the accompanying video for Part 6 (and other videos accompanying the other installments of HOPE ON),  you can visit  If you scroll down the neverfindout page, you’ll see a video titled “Chicken Button” that is the one accompanying Part 6.  During Senator Obama’s stint in the Illinois State Senate, he could push one of three buttons on his desk to record his votes.  One button was red, to vote no.  One button was green, to vote yes.  One button was yellow, to vote . . . “present.”  That yellow button is the “chicken” button, and Obama used it 129 times when he could have taken a definitive yes or no stand instead.  Thurber notes that the “chicken” button was used on some of the most sensitive issues before the Illinois Senate, issues that other Illinois State Senators were happy to weigh in on with a yes or no vote, issues that would have more clearly defined Obama’s ideology.  Thurber concludes with these thoughts:

Obama and his campaign defend the ‘present’ votes as being due to concerns about certain provisions of the bill or questions about constitutionality. But a ‘no’ vote would have worked just as well – except it wouldn’t have given him political cover.

In the White House, there isn’t a yellow button, but there is something similar. A president can decide to do nothing, but that’s not leadership and such lack of decisiveness can result in disastrous consequences. This is not something I want to risk, so let’s never find out.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

I loved Rudy Giuliani’s speech at the Republican National Convention when he spoke of Obama’s chicken-button votes.

From his days as an adjunct law professor at the University of Chicago, students and faculty recall that while Obama would lead vigorous discussions of issues from many perspectives, Obama was always tight-lipped about his own personally held views on the topics at hand.  At the Saddleback Church forum, when asked which of the current members of the U.S. Supreme Court he would not have supported for appointment, he singled out Justices Thomas and Scalia, saying that he differed with their interpretations of the Constitution, but his answer was vague as he never elaborated on his own view of the Constitution.  That’s scary in and of itself to hear that two of the Justices who most strictly adhere to the Constitution and exercise the most judicial restraint are the two that Obama doesn’t want on the court, while shedding no light on what Obama’s real agenda is.  It almost sounds like Obama plans to run afoul of the Constitution.

I’ve written quite a bit about the MSM being in the tank for Obama.  The MSM has failed to pin down Obama and has persecuted Obama’s detractors, whether they be Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan, Fox News Channel, or Joe the Plumber.  Obama has scoffed at the notion he’s the most liberal U.S. Senator, but where’s the proof to the contrary?  When the economy is the number one issue, why are some voters still concerned about Ayers, Rezko, and other radical and shadowy figures in Chicago machine politics?  It’s because Obama has made a conscious decision to remain an enigma as demonstrated by his vague, ever-shifting, and often contradictory rhetoric.  Obama distributed the money from the grants that were allocated to Bill Ayers’ education projects.  Ayers’ project had more to do with social engineering in the realm of education than it did with meeting academic goals.  What does that portend for education policy in an Obama administration?  I’d like to know, but Obama is not planning to elaborate during his current stealth campaign.  Obama has shifted his positions on how to achieve energy independence so much that it’s impossible to determine what he REALLY stands for.  On the most talked about foreign policy issue, that of meeting with leaders of enemy nations at the presidential level with no preconditions, he was very clear on the issue during the primaries, but lately he’s deliberately trying to distort his own message on that front and it angers me.

John McCain has clearly defined himself even when he took positions that were unpopular (positions that remain unpopular, I might add) with his own base.  At Saddleback Church, America saw the decisive John McCain, and that’s what’s kept McCain competitive through the remaining weeks of the election season.  I think late-deciders in this election are going to rightfully feel some anxiety about pulling the lever for a nebulous Obama and feel much more confident about pulling the lever for a transparent McCain.

HOPE ON Part 5: Obama requested $740 million in earmarks

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

Here are my recaps of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Porkopolis has the video with the scoop on Part 5.  The tally for less than 4 years of Obama in the U.S. Senate: about 100 earmarks totaling about $740 million.  The tally for 26 years of McCain in the U.S. Senate: 0 earmarks totalling $0.  Obama conveniently stopped requesting earmarks during this presidential bid.  Michelle Obama’s employer received $1 million of those earmarks, and until 2006, Michelle Obama’s employer was Barack Obama’s biggest campaign contributor.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

There are several reasons why my detractors call me a RINO.  Among the chief reasons is that I have publicly criticized prominent Republican officeholders in the past, particularly in Ohio’s General Assembly.  Pay-to-play politics leads to marketplace inefficiencies and distortions as legislators, more focused on re-election than they are on fundamental fairness, angle for legislation that will garner campaign donors.  Barack Obama fits the pay-to-play political profile.  So does Joe Biden.  The pay-to-play brand of politics must stop.  It’s what has led to our current financial meltdown.

John McCain’s message of reform is exactly the change that needs to be sought.  During the debates, Obama has scoffed at McCain’s pledge to eliminate the earmark process by saying that complete elimination of earmarks would save just $18 billion, a drop in the bucket compared with the total federal budget.  However, this sort of reform goes to the very heart of what is wrong with Washington, where, as Obama himself said, “It also means that investment goes to the companies that are best connected instead of the ones that are most productive.”  Washington has interfered for years upon years with the marketplace, and the best connected are the ones that have benefited from the interference.  Barack Obama doesn’t practice what he preaches.  John McCain does, and his passionate push for reform is what ignited his campaign as the Republican National Convention drew to a close.

If I were to begin to compare Biden with Palin, there really is no comparison.  Biden has been entrenched in the U.S. Senate for 29 years, and has ridden the gravy train throughout.  I’ve written several blog entries about Palin that touched upon the topic of earmarks and reform here, here, here, here, here, and most recently, here and here.

When it comes to reforming Washington, John McCain has identified the correct starting point.  Obama’s scoffing at it in favor of the status quo means that the reforms Washington needs will not be undertaken during an Obama presidency.

HOPE ON Part 4: Can the other side of the aisle even be reached from where Obama is?

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

My recaps of Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion has produced HOPE ON Part 4, complete with video.  The video points out that when our U.S. Senators are gauged along the political spectrum, the one occupying the very far left end point along that spectrum is none other than Senator Obama.  Senator Biden ranks as number 3 on the leftward end.  For some perspective, Matt Hurley points out that Senator Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist, and he ranks as number 4 on the leftward end.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

Obama has publicly stated that there is no Red America, no Blue America, only the United States of America.  Are we all supposed to flock to the left-most point along the political spectrum in order to be united?  How, exactly, is Barack Obama reaching to the other side of the aisle when he votes 97% of the time with the majority of his own party?  Half the time that he doesn’t vote with the majority of the party, it’s because he took a stance even farther to the left, like he does on the abortion issue.  So only one-point-five-percent of the time he votes to the right of the majority of his party?  And even when he votes to the right, he’s likely to do so on an issue where both the Republicans and the Democrats are wrong, like a totally screwed-up system of getting warrants to wiretap.  I want my 4th Amendment rights preserved, for Pete’s sake.  From an ideological standpoint, Obama can’t even reach me.  How are we supposed to believe him when he says he can reach across the aisle to provide leadership that can unite our country?  He has a difficult enough time even appearing on Fox News or talking to ordinary reasonable people like Joe the Plumber.  For crying out loud, when I was a Republican state rep candidate in a heavily Democrat district, I’d appear at any forum, talk with any of the media, and, especially, go door-to-door and talk to voters of any political persuasion.  I made every attempt to connect, but Obama does not.  If a Joe the Plumber comes along, his character has to be assassinated.  If an anchor on Fox News wants an interview, forgetaboutit.  Obama cannot unify with the rest of the country, which is why the country cannot unify with Obama.  You can’t get there from here.

I’ve got news for Senator Obama.  I know where Blue America is, and it’s not exactly crazy about guaranteeing my First Amendment rights.  Judging by the Obama camp’s Orwellian communication tactics, I’m not optimistic that my more conservative voice will be heard during an Obama presidency.

McCain and I don’t agree on a number of issues, but there are some on which we do agree.  McCain appears before all media, in any venue, and addresses ordinary people from across the political spectrum with respect.  McCain is reaching out.  He’s even reached out as far to the left as Obama is, on occasion (the socialistic bailout bill, for example).  So, if there’s somebody that stands a chance of reaching everybody, it’s McCain, from the middle of the spectrum, not Obama, from the left end of the spectrum who has a hard time even reaching the middle (and expresses disdain while doing so), let alone those who are to the right of center, like me.

By the way, check out the additional commentary at BizzyBlog concerning what Obama might decree in the way of Executive Orders if he were President.

NO on 6: Backers will only debate when they have advantage

Jill of Writes Like She Talks had forwarded a link to a WCPN podcast addressing Issue 6.  Melanie Elsey, co-hair of Vote No Casinos, and Dr. Bradley Pressman, co-founder of MyOhioNow, the organization sponsoring Issue 6, joined host Dan Mouthrop on WCPN’s Sound of Ideas on the morning of Tuesday, October 21st.  My first reaction, while listening to the podcast, was “They’re allowing Pressman to dominate the discussion.  Pressman talks in the loudest voice, and talks the most.  Though there are some challenges put to Pressman that he doesn’t aptly respond to, if one wasn’t listening to the content closely, one would conclude that Pressman was permitted to speak with too much authority.”  I, myself, wanted to jump into the debate and start challenging Pressman, because I felt that the host and the other guest weren’t challenging him enough.  So I wrote an e-mail back to Jill, and in the intro I said, “Thanks, Jill.  I’ve been listening to the podcast.  Unfortunately, the pro-gambling advocate dominated the discussion throughout, so I don’t think I’ll link to this on my blog.”  While the arguments against Issue 6 are there (You can listen for yourselves at the links above.), Pressman bullies his way through the debate, and I didn’t think it would be the most persuasive case I could make on my blog against Issue 6.

This morning, however, I ran across this piece of information from Daily Briefing, the online political blog of the Columbus Dispatch.  It seems that MyOhioNow only participates in debates that allow them to have an advantage!!!!  Well, well, well.  How about that?

So, what is it about the debate that wouldn’t allow MyOhioNow to enjoy an advantage?  Was it a scary debate opponent?  Nope.  The opponent would have been a representative of No on 6, a campaign committee that Argosy casinos is a stakeholder in.  I told Jill in an e-mail, “Part of what’s inhibiting the debate against Issue 6 is that Argosy’s voice is one of the loudest voices against it, and Argosy obviously doesn’t make any case against gambling.  Argosy only make cases against the monopoly and the wording of the constitutional amendment.”  There’s a lot that can be said against Issue 6 from the standpoint that the constitution is being amended, that the proposal is for a monopoly, and that the wording of the proposal is reckless, (like the point Crabby Fat Guy makes here, or the point Word of Mouth contributor Kalin Stipe makes here) to be sure, but there’s a fuller scope of challenges one can make against casinos, as I did in my first blog entry about it, and as I did when I challenged gambling, itself, on the basis of economics.  There’ll be no one participating in the debate who would challenge the greed of both MyOhioNow AND Argosy, like the points made here, here, and here.  In summation, the debate opponent will not be a formidable one.  That’s not the reason why MyOhioNow wants to back out.

The objection to the debate was that it was to be hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area!  Say WHAT??!!!  The League of Women Voters scares the bejeebers out of MyOhioNow?  The same League of Women Voters that host candidate and issue debates through various local chapters throughout Ohio and the rest of America?  My goodness, as a state rep candidate, I’ve participated in candidate forums hosted by Oberlin’s chapter the League of Women Voters TWICE, once in 2002, and again in 2004.  What’s the big deal?  If you visit the website of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, you can find this statement:

The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWV-Ohio) announced its opposition to state Issue 6, the proposed constitutional amendment authorizing a privately owned casino in Clinton County.  LWV-Ohio’s stand is based principally on its public policy position on the Ohio Constitution, adopted in 1968 and readopted every two years since then.  This policy states that the Ohio Constitution should be a clearly stated body of fundamental principles, and provide for the flexible operation of government.  LWV-Ohio believes that Issue 6’s designation of a specific 94-acre parcel of land for a casino is too narrow a concept to be in the constitution.

LWV-Ohio also found Issue 6 at odds with another of its long-held public policy positions that states Ohio taxes should be fair and equitable.  LWV-Ohio believes Issue 6 grants a disproportionate share of the casino’s tax revenue to Clinton County.

LWV-Ohio President Linda Lalley said the LWV-Ohio Board carefully weighed the pros and cons of the issue in reaching its decision.  She emphasized, “The Ohio Constitution is the foundation of our state’s governance.  It should be—it must be—a clear set of fundamental principles that guide our state.  It should not be a pile of Post It Notes for special interests.”

I LOVE that last part that says the Ohio Constitution should not be a pile of Post It Notes for special interests.  That’s sheer genius!  I LOVE IT!!!

I guess it’s that sheer genius that MyOhioNow is scared of?  But wait!  They’re just the host of the debate, for crying out loud, they aren’t a participant in a debate!  What’s to be scared of?  John McCain and Sarah Palin had to participate in debates moderated by news anchors that favor Obama.  So what?  I don’t know if any of my debates as a candidate ever took place in a neutral or friendly setting.  When I was running as a Republican candidate, I was in the 56th Ohio House District, which has a Democrat index of 70%.  I spoke and had question and answer sessions in front of labor unions.  Oberlin’s chapter of the League of Women Voters is non-partisan, like any chapter of the organization is.  But, let’s be serious, I was an Oberlin resident in 2004, and I can tell you that registered Democrats outnumbered the registered Republicans by a factor of 25 to 1 in my precinct.  I think it likely that, though the League was non-partisan, more of the members were Democrats than they were Republicans, just as the Oberlin community, itself, has many more Democrats than Republicans.  Following MyOhioNow’s reasoning, I should have reconsidered.  What was I supposed to do?  Have a hissy-fit and refuse to appear?  Nonsense.  Did I want to represent my community in the Capitol or not?  Of course I participated.  While MyOhioNow says they’ve debated their opponents 20 times or so (a number that’s inflated by the times they’ve appeared before editorial boards), this is an opportunity to participate in a debate that has a target audience of Clinton County, the location of the proposed casino, itself.  So, does MyOhioNow want to be part of the Clinton County community or not?  Their actions say, NO, they just want to exploit the community.

MyOhioNow referred to the League of Women Voters as a “firing squad.” That’s absolutely outrageous.  The League does not conduct debates in such a manner.  If I were a Clinton County resident, I’d be offended by MyOhioNow’s lack of neighborliness and demonstrated lack of wanting to be held accountable to the community by way of dodging this debate.  If I were a member of the League of Women Voters, I’d also be offended at the “firing squad” description.  There are so few outlets for political speech that don’t cost money to a campaign.  The League of Women Voters is a godsend for providing opportunities to have voices on the candidates and issues be heard.  I’m very grateful for the opportunities the League afforded me to have my say in a public forum.

If we are witnessing this slippery ducking-and-dodging now, before we’ve even voted, I think it’s predictable how MyOhioNow will behave afterward, if Issue 6 were to be approved.  Let’s not approve it.  Vote NO on Issue 6.

HOPE ON Part 3: Above Obama’s pay grade

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

My recap of Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

Jay Anderson has the scoop on HOPE ON Part 3 at his blog, Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate.  At issue is this Obama quote: “I’ve got two daughters. If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”  The video link is here.  You’ve heard the Republican claims that Barack Obama is the most liberal member of the United States Senate.  His views on abortion are as leftward as they come.  Anderson posts links to several sources, but this one and this one, both from Princeton University professor Robert George, are the most definitive.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

Abortion is an issue that matters a LOT to me.  I’m the oldest of 10 siblings, so I don’t understand what’s wrong with having babies.  I haven’t devoted blog space picking apart Obama’s stance on abortion because it’s so obvious that he’s not even close to being on the same wavelength I am.  In the run-up to the Republican VP selection, though, I did stipulate that my support of the McCain ticket would at least require a pro-life running mate even though McCain himself had a pro-life record.  McCain had assured us that he would.  The pick of Sarah Palin definitely helped solidify the base.

Carnival of Ohio Politics #139

This was my sophomore turn as editor of the Carnival of Ohio Politics.  Installment number 139 is now posted.  I’ll tell you what, there are lots of angry bloggers, politicians, and voters out there.  I think I need to head over to WLST for some Chicken Soup for the Swing State Soul.  Check out the Carnival, yourselves, and then get some of that Chicken Soup afterwards.

HOPE ON Part 2: Obama’s reluctance to drill

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

My recap of Part 1 is here.

Dave Stacy at NixGuy has the scoop on Part 2, chock full of videos.  McCain has taken an all-of-the-above approach to achieving energy independence.  Obama has been forced to cave in from the energy stance he took during the primaries, because the public sided with McCain on this issue.  If Obama is dragged kicking and screaming to the issue of drilling for oil, is he really committed to doing it?  Check out Part 2 at NixGuy, and decide for yourself.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

While I didn’t devote blog space to comparing Obama and McCain on energy, I did compare Ohio’s 13th Congressional Representative Betty Sutton with her challenger Dave Potter on energy and the economy.  Betty Sutton’s efforts on the energy front have been LAME!  Dave Potter takes an all-of-the-above approach and he took a principled stand against the bailout demonstrating his superior knowledge of the economy, so I’ve endorsed Dave Potter for Congress.

Kalin Stipe at Word of Mouth presents the state ballot issues

“Why would we change our constitution to allow a monopoly when there are plenty of investors who would open up around Ohio. If you are going to change the law (especially the constitution) for one, then change it for all.

“The worst number of casinos to have in Ohio is ONE. Either keep it at zero or make it fair for more than one.”

Kalin Stipe

The above quote reflects a portion of Stipe’s view against Issue 6.  I’ve already written six blog entries against Issue 6 before now, so it’s only natural that I would choose a quote from Stipe that references opposition to Issue 6.

If you visit Word of Mouth, you will find that Stipe presents the pros and cons of all the state ballot issues before he weighs in with his own commentary, so if you’re scratching your head because you haven’t researched the issues yet, I recommend reading Stipe’s posts.  Here are the links:

  • Issue 1: Moving the deadline up on submitting petitions for ballot issues
  • Issue 2: Issuing $400 million in bonds, incurring more state debt, for brownfield revitalization and green space preservation
  • Issue 3: Setting forth the rights of property owners in relation to water on or below their land
  • Issue 4: This issue was withdrawn from the ballot
  • Issue 5: New regulations for payday lenders
  • Issue 6: Allowing one solitary casino to begin operation in Southwest Ohio

Kalin Stipe is voting no on 1, no on 2, yes on 3, no on 5, and no on 6.

I am voting yes on 1, no on 2, yes on 3, yes on 5, and no on 6.

Feel free to weigh in with how you’ll vote on the state’s ballot issues.

HOPE ON Part 1: Obama is part of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac problem

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

Tom Blumer of BizzyBlog has unveiled the first installment of HOPE ON.  It includes this video, which points out that, more than two years ago, John McCain called for reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barack Obama benefited from the status quo at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, therefore, he’s part of the problem.  Blumer includes his own commentary that connects the dots for you.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

On this blog, I linked to a video showing Obama’s Democrat allies defending the status quo at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the Franklin Raines era.  I’ve already opined on this blog that the McCain ticket portends more change we can believe in than the Obama ticket does.  Of course, I advocated against the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

[UPDATE X 2] Mentally challenged persons used as tools to stuff the ballot box

First off, a hat tip to Michelle Malkin for pointing me to this news report about a mentally challenged man hauled off to the polls in Georgia to vote against the ticket he intended to vote for, as reported by WALB.  Read to the end of this blog entry to learn of my own experience with a much more local flavor.

As Michelle Malkin writes in her own article, many families of the cognitively impaired feel a kinship toward Sarah Palin to the point that they favor the McCain ticket over the Obama ticket.  It is completely understandable that this Georgia man wanted to cast a vote for McCain.  Instead, he was compelled to vote for Obama by the worker who had abruptly taken him to the polls during an early voting period.  The rest of the man’s family is fuming.

As you already know, the U.S. Constitution allows citizens who are at least 18 years of age to vote.  The Constitution does not require that a person’s mental competence be measured to determine voting eligibility.  That is as it should be.  I have a younger brother who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was a toddler.  His traumatic brain injury impaired him both mentally and physically.  He may not be the most sophisticated voter, but he does form his own impressions about the candidates, and he does feel that voting is important.  He’s ordinarily accompanied to the polls by a family member, and may need assistance if he’s unfamiliar with a new voting method or voting machine.  If he were denied the right to vote, his sense of being ostracized from the rest of society would be heightened beyond what it already is.

During my first campaign for state representative in 2002, I wore out a lot of shoe leather.  I really didn’t have much campaign funding to speak of, so I used walk lists of registered voters obtained from the Lorain County Board of Elections and trudged from door-to-door to meet voters to deliver my campaign message in person.

While thus engaged in canvassing residences in Elyria Township, I happened upon an address that turned out to be a rather large building.  The walk list indicated that a somewhat large number of voters resided within.  I knocked on the door, and someone came to the door to greet me.  I began to tell her of my campaign, but she cut me off, informing me she was not a resident of the building.  She said that she was merely a staff worker there.  I told her that I wanted to meet the voters who resided there.  She denied my request, saying that the residents of the building were profoundly retarded, thus it would be inappropriate to allow me to enter.  My attempts to enter and meet the residents, even by scheduling an appointment, were futile.  I moved on.

But I have some questions:

  • Would the incumbent state representative, Joe Koziura, been allowed to visit the premises by virtue of his position as an officeholder?  I can’t picture the staff telling Joe Koziura to take a hike.
  • What was the harm in paying a visit, when I had ample evidence to prove my identity and show that I posed no safety risk, even though the residents might have no understanding of politics?
  • Can they be too profoundly impaired to meet candidates yet be not too impaired to be taken to a polling booth to cast votes for candidates?
  • If they are taken to a polling place by a staff member so that they can vote, what informs their vote, if access to the candidates has been denied?

For that final question, I suggest that the WALB report from Albany, Georgia, provides the answer.  The staff members seize upon these special needs individuals and use them as tools for stuffing the ballot box in favor of the candidate preferred by staff members.

One final note about the staff members at the Elyria Township facility mentioned above:  The staff members are unionized.

[UPDATE 10/29/08] Michelle Malkin, again, picks up the story.  This time it’s in California.

[UPDATE 10/31/08] Yet again, Michelle Malkin picking up a story in Iowa.

Supreme Court doesn’t repair damage to Brunner’s reputation

Though Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner won her appeal to the United States Supreme Court and ended the legal challenges to her handling of the current election process already underway, she’s mistaken if she thinks that she can pat herself on the back and feel that the damage she’s done to her own reputation has been repaired.

Though one line of legal questioning has been resolved, the controversy has not been erased, and confidence in Ohio’s election systems is far from being secured.  The Secretary of State could have been much more proactive, in prior months, in implementing sufficient checks and balances to erase all doubts about the integrity of the vote, but instead she permitted too many opportunities for gaming the system by those who don’t have scruples.

I expect she’ll face spirited opposition in 2010, should she decide to seek re-election.

I didn’t vote for Brunner in 2006, and I believe the events that have unfolded since her election have only caused me to feel vindicated that I voted correctly in the SoS race.

Video and audio against Issue 6

I am providing links to 2 different sources that speak out against Issue 6.

The first comes from WSPD radio (hat tip to Maggie Thurber, who pointed me in the radio station’s direction).  Brian Wilson hosts Jeff Hooke of the Buckeye Institute.  When I listened to the audio, I had to be patient, as it seemed a bit choppy, but the audio is here.

Hooke isn’t taking a stand against gambling itself.  He’s just pointing out that even if you favor gambling, Issue 6 is a bad way to introduce gambling to Ohio.  Hooke suggests the state introduce gambling by auctioning off licenses.  Personally, I think both the auctioning method, and the casino monopoly proposed by Issue 6 are both counter to America’s spirit of free enterprise.  I’m against gambling altogether, but if I were outvoted, and a majority of Ohioans wanted to legalize casinos, then I’d advocate a more libertarian approach (mentioned in my first anti-Issue 6 post), which would allow anyone to operate a casino business just like anyone can operate a restaurant business.  If it’s made legal, we shouldn’t curb competition.  A person shouldn’t have to be well-connected to a politician in order to set up shop, as that approach only breeds corruption.

Hooke also deflates the assertion that the casino would create new jobs.  At best, the casino would simply shift jobs within the entertainment and hospitality industry.  I’ve posted about opportunity cost, which gives more details.

The second link is to Capital Blog (hat tip to JMZ for pointing me in the blog’s direction), which has three video segments, here, featuring Ohio Roundtable and U.S. Senator George Voinovich.  In the first videosegment, Voinovich delivers a speech explaining his opposition to Issue 6 and to gambling, itself.  The second segment is a question-and-answer session with the press.  The third segment is a speech from David Zanotti, of the Ohio Roundtable, debunking some claims made by casinos.  Obviously, I am much more aligned to the Ohio Roundtable’s views on this subject than I am to the Buckeye Institute’s views.

Frustrate a lobbyist: vote NO on Issue 6

During 1993 and 1994, I was living in Columbus, working as a night auditor at one of the hotels (Howard Johnson Lodge) on Route 161, Dublin-Granville Road, near the interchange with I-71.  (If you’re wondering, the place doesn’t exist anymore.  It, and the neighboring Elephant Bar property, have since been bulldozed and redeveloped.)

During that time, I noticed that we had a perpetual guest.  Someone from out-of-state was essentially living at our hotel, with only a few vacation days here and there when he would head back to his home state.

What was the deal with that guy?

Of course, the hotel was grateful to have him stay there.  It sure helped the bottom line to have a room occupied every night.

A front desk clerk from the evening shift gave me the scoop one night when I came in for my graveyard shift: The hotel’s perpetual guest was a lobbyist for the casino industry.  He was there to peddle influence with our state legislators.  I frowned and said that I hoped that casinos would stay away from Ohio.  The front desk clerk told me matter-of-factly that there would be casinos in Ohio one day because, in the gambling industry, the “house” always wins, and they weren’t going to pay out all this cash for lobbying just to get shut out.  He predicted that the casino industry is absolutely certain Ohio will cave-in someday, and so the money they are spending on peddling influence is a sure bet.

I’m not taking anything for granted, but it’s been 15 years since I started at that night auditor job, and Ohio voters have laudably held the line against casinos, voting down proposal after proposal.

We’d had many out-of-state lobbyists sweep into town to stay at our hotel, but they’d stay for a week (probably when a critical piece of legislation was before the General Assembly) and then leave.  They didn’t stay month after month after month like the gambling lobbyist.

Think of the costs of hotel rooms for lobbyists.  Think of the expenditures for meals.  Think of the expenditures for transportation.  Much of the salaries of such lobbyists would have been spent in Ohio.  Add in the price tag for entertaining politicians.  Then add the price tag for advertising.

In these past 15 years, the casino industry has pumped millions of dollars INTO our economy, trying to get us to legalize their fraudulent parasitic schemes, while we’ve been a tightwad and denied them the satisfaction of picking our pockets.  That’s a track record Ohio can be proud of.  Let’s keep the streak going.

Don’t like the corrupting influence of lobbyists upon our state government?  Well, I have an idea about how to frustrate the plans of at least a few lobbyists:  Vote NO on Issue 6.

Carnival of Ohio Politics #138 posted

Lisa Renee of Glass City Jungle has churned out another edition of the Carnival of Ohio Politics.

If you like to blog about Ohio politics and you haven’t participated in the Carnival, I hope you’ll consider sending prime examples of your best work to be included in next week’s Carnival.

If you just like to read blogs about Ohio politics, then you should head there to get a sampling of the best blog entries from around the state that were written during the past week.

Installment #138 of the Carnival is now posted.  Check it out.