The passing of George Voinovich

A common theme appearing in coming-of-age tales is one of a youth who becomes disenchanted with a hero.  The youth discovers the hero has flaws.  The youth becomes a bit cynical.   The youth feels disillusioned.  The youth doesn’t look at the hero the same way again.  It’s just a part of growing up.

But then one is not all the way grown up at that point.  One has to grow up a little bit more and not only be forgiving of flaws, but giving permission to others to be flawed.  Why?  Because no one is perfect and because no one ought to coerce another to give up their flaws.  We have to respect agency–people making choices about their own lives . . . and if someone doesn’t make any wrong choices, then that somebody isn’t making choices, period.  Furthermore, one only has to look in the mirror to find a person who needs forgiveness for being flawed, for making wrong choices.

So as I reflect on the passing of George Voinovich and what George Voinovich meant to me, I have to own up to making a hero out of him.  By September 2009, I was disenchanted.  Now, I find my criticisms a bit harsh and now I find myself wondering why I didn’t try to muster some forgiveness sooner.  I need to look in my mirror and take a good long look at a flawed person again to cement in my mind the need for forgiveness.

I first remember Voinovich from my boyhood, when he was mayor of Cleveland.  He performed two miracles.  One was getting elected as mayor of Cleveland as a Republican.  That he had been a Cuyahoga County commissioner some time prior to that was amazing enough, but Cleveland mayor?  Republicans just don’t get elected as Cleveland mayors.  It just doesn’t happen.  At least, not anymore.  There have been mayoral elections in Cleveland where Democrat primaries settled the mayoral races.  The other was that he led a Cleveland economic renaissance immediately after his predecessor, Dennis Kucinich, had led the city to financial default.  If only Detroit could have been so lucky as to have a person like Voinovich take over as mayor after Kwame Kilpatrick was ousted.

He went on to be Ohio’s governor, and then U.S. Senator.  He was the rare Republican who could sweep the vote across 88 counties.

One of the issues that I really felt close to Voinovich on was his opposition to casino gambling.  His steadfast stance on the issue was perhaps the main reason I lionized him.  The casino lobbyists had infested Ohio by the swarms, targeting weak and corrupt legislators of both parties.  The lobbyists kept saying that casino legalization would be an easy revenue raiser.  Voinovich had brought Cleveland back from financial default without resorting to gimmicks like gambling.  The lobbyists were doling out campaign contributions left and right, but Voinovich wasn’t having any of it.  It’s refreshing to see politicians who will not be bought by the agents of sleaze.

I really feel like Voinovich’s star shone brightest when he held executive office.  Not so much legislative office.  He was better at on-the-spot and uncompromising executive decisions than the highly deliberative and compromising legislative decisions.

My first taste of government service came as a volunteer intern in the office of Governor George Voinovich.  Though my tasks were menial clerical ones, I felt like I had an excellent aerial view of Ohio’s political landscape from atop the Vern Riffe State Office Tower.  I assisted with the filing of the “Governor’s Clips.”  Each day, staffers combed through the print media to assemble a digest of the day’s political stories.  This digest kept the governor informed about the issues without occupying too much of his time.  This was back in the day before internet killed print media, and back when filing cabinets held paper files rather than computers holding data files.  After the governor read each day’s clips, that wasn’t the end of them.  They had to be filed for possible future retrieval.  They had to be filed according to date, according to source, according to location, according to the names of people in the news clips, according to issues, etc.  I do that on this blog with tags.  With paper files, tags don’t quite cut it.  The date, location, and source filing was easy.  That was done by others before I even arrived at the office.  My task was to skim through the stories, themselves, to pull out the keywords, then make as many photocopies of the clipping as I needed in order to file away each story according to each keyword.

Working with the “Governor’s Clips” gave me a brief glimpse into my political future when I encountered an article outlining a state legislator’s gambling expansion proposals: Some guy named Joe Koziura wanted a casino built on Lorain’s lakefront.  I was incensed.  Years later, in 2002 and 2004, I would run against that same Joe Koziura for the office of state representative, but lose both times.

Until 2009, I had voted for Voinovich every time his name appeared on my ballot.  I had handed out his campaign literature door-to-door.  I had attended some of his fundraisers (which meant that some of his campaign money came from me).  I had also worked phone banks getting out the vote on his behalf.  But the chinks in my hero’s armor had begun to show.  Congress bailed out Wall Street in 2008, something it should not have done.  I didn’t understand Voinovich’s voting patterns.  When I finally paid a visit to the offices of the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, I figured it out.  Those office buildings, especially the Hart Senate Building, resembled palaces.  Democracy gives way to aristocracy in the rarefied air of these Senate offices.  It was the Beltway Bubble.  Our Senators are too far removed from the real world, and even a man as principled as George Voinovich succumbed to the disengagement with the real world.

In the upcoming Senate race, I have no love for Ted Strickland, who reneged on his pledge against the expansion of gambling on his watch as Ohio governor.  Voinovich and Strickland had touched base on the topic of casinos, and Strickland had told Voinovich that he would hold the line against them.  He lied.  He lied to George Voinovich.  He lied to Ohio.  Strickland doesn’t deserve Ohio’s vote.  I here and now endorse Rob Portman for reelection.  However, I would note that Portman has been around DC for far too long.  Between a stint in the US House, and a stint in the US Senate, Portman served in the George W. Bush administration.  I would urge Portman to (get reelected and) use this upcoming Senate term to groom someone else to succeed him.  Make that two someone elses, for we need someone to oust and succeed Sherrod Brown, too.  And I would say that we need more diverse representation than what we’ve had.  Portman has had “listening” tours around Ohio so that he feels like he hears from folks outside the bubble, but I would say to Portman that, at some point, before he serves any additional terms in DC beyond the next one, that he needs to BE one of the folks from outside the bubble if he’s to remain useful as a representative of Ohioans.  This is what I learned about the bubble on my trip to DC.  Even a hero like Voinovich could not make sound decisions after spending too much time in the DC bubble.

Farewell, George Voinovich.  We didn’t end up with quite the Ohio that we wanted.  Four casinos are legal in Ohio now.  The lobbyists wouldn’t be denied.  But as long as you were in the real world with us, outside of that bubble, no lobbyist could cross your conscience.  We need a government with a conscience.  Badly. And so I should have forgiven you a long time ago. I do forgive you.

 

 

Labor Day 2014 in Lorain County

Labor Day 2014 finds me back in Lorain County, the home of Ohio’s largest annual festival (actually, it is always held in Lorain on the Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day) devoted to labor unions.  After reading through Elyria’s Chronicle-Telegram and Lorain’s Morning Journal, I have felt the urge to respond to some of the political speechifying at Sunday’s Labor Fest (officially titled “20th annual Lorain County Organized Labor Day Family Celebration”) as reported by these two newspapers.

As I have written before, I am a Republican who has run for public office who supports organized labor.  I know many other Republicans, locally, who support organized labor even though local union leaders have often been antagonistic toward said Republicans.

Thus, let me begin with a criticism of  the remarks offered by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Lorain), as quoted in this Chronicle-Telegram story:

“You’re getting Republicans that have supported Mitt Romney, that are supporting John Kasich, that are supporting anti-labor, anti-women’s health, anti-voting rights agenda that national Republicans have.”  Brown is supposedly talking about Republicans in elected office here, Lorain County, at the local level.  Wait a minute . . . who the heck is he talking about?  I can name names of anti-labor Republican office holders at the state level, but I’m scratching my head trying to think of who, possibly, Brown is talking about at the local level.  For one thing, there are very few Republicans in office at the local level.  The CT reporter, Evan Goodenow, indicated that Lorain County Commissioner Tom Williams–the sole Republican county commissioner–shook his head at Brown’s remarks.  Evidently, if Brown was referring to Williams, then Brown was lying.  Williams would be the expert on where Williams stands, not Brown.  It stands to reason that Williams would not even have been in attendance if what Brown had said was absolutely true.  Being there, and being visible there as a public figure, is a choice Williams made.  He didn’t have to be there.  That he chose to be there is evidence that Williams does not consider himself to be an enemy of the labor unions.  Reportedly, Williams spoke personally with Brown after the speech and assured him that he supported labor.  Brown said he didn’t know who Williams was.  Brown must not have been referring to Williams.  It is clear, by this revelation, Brown didn’t know what he was talking about.  Brown was apparently just shooting his mouth off.  Such reckless remarks and a clear disregard of the truth . . . umm, wait . . . no a total lack of concern for even educating oneself about the truth . . . do not inspire me with confidence in this person who holds the lofty position of U.S. Senator.

State Rep. Dan Ramos urged voters to scrutinize candidates’ records.  I wonder if Ramos supposes that such scrutiny would lead to the conclusion that every Republican is unworthy of support.  Of course, those who are the most likely to avoid scrutiny are those who run unopposed.  Ramos is running unopposed.  Such a shame.  We need to do something about that.  Maybe I, myself, need to do something about that.

But in a related CT story, I don’t have to wonder where local Democrat Party boss Anthony Giardini stands on who is worthy and unworthy of support.  Whoever Giardini handpicks is worthy of support and no one else.  Two members of Lorain City Council ran for election as independents, and that sticks in Giardini’s craw.  Tim Carrion publicly revealed that, next year, he will challenge the Giardini-supported incumbent Democrat mayor of Lorain.  Carrion has not firmly decided whether he will run as a Democrat or as an independent.  Giardini, who would prefer that every Lorain officeholder be his pawn, strongly expressed that Carrion should mount his mayoral challenge within the Democrat primary.  While expressing this, Giardini does not have an open mind about Carrion as a candidate, for he already backs the incumbent.  With the party boss already choosing sides, why would Carrion feel it’s in his best interests to run in the primary as a Democrat rather than as an independent in the general election?  Giardini offered that if Carrion beat the incumbent in the primary that he would support him in the general election.  If Carrion chooses to challenge in the primary, then, purely statistically–like a coin toss–without taking any other factors into consideration, Carrion only has half a chance of advancing to the general election.  As an independent, Carrion guarantees that he advances to the general election.  As an independent, yes, Carrion would definitely not have Giardini’s blessing, whereas he has some chance of securing Giardini’s blessing if he won a Democrat primary, but is a primary contest really worth it when Giardini is clearly not going to remain neutral in the primary?  If Giardini would vow strict neutrality in the primary, and not try to tip the scales, I think, if Carrion views Giardini as trustworthy, then running in the primary would make total sense.  Absent that, Carrion should go independent all the way.

I have to admit to some measure of delight that a couple of union-backed independent members of city council have ripped a page out of Giardini’s playbook of machine politics to beat a couple of Giardini’s handpicked candidates.  Giardini’s Democrat political machine has always relied heavily on union members’ contributions to make it work, and those wins serve as reminders to political bosses to not take those key contributors for granted or turn them into pawns.

The MJ story by Richard Payerchin offers some hope that local union leadership will be more open to forging alliances with Republicans sympathetic to worker interests.  Jim Slone’s (Lorain County CAP Council of the UAW) declaration that he is a unionist before he is a Democrat doesn’t exactly translate into a willingness to ally with Republicans, but it seems to leave the door open to that.  Similarly, Harry Williamson’s (Lorain County AFL-CIO) observation that, “I’ve emphasized that specifically here in Lorain County, history’s always shown that labor has been a D-type (Democratic) organization.  As workers, we have to get away from that mindset,” is even more encouraging since it was coupled by an example of an actual former Republican officeholder that was a friend to labor.  Keith Hocevar’s (Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 16) assurance that, “In the building trades, we talk to both sides; we talk to Democrats and Republicans in races. For us, we look at individual races and talk to the candidates and talk to the candidates who support our issues,” is the most comforting.  I hope that Dan Ramos and Sherrod Brown carefully read those statements, as they paint the GOP with such broad brushes as to suggest Republicans are monolithic in their political views.  They should campaign on their own virtues vis-a-vis the candidates they face.  Voters need to know that while some candidates are willing to be party pawns, others are too principled to allow themselves to be treated as pawns.  It is the voters’ responsibility to determine which is which, and when they find a principled candidate, it behooves voters to demand to know just what those principles are before they cast their votes.  I have always maintained that one should vote for the person, not the party.  Voting for a party slate assembled by political insiders is why nations governed by parliaments are inferior to the elections conducted within America’s system of government.

In both the CT and MJ articles, John Kasich was held up as an object of scorn.  In closing, let me offer this head’s up.  When it comes to opposition to unions, John Kasich is nothing compared to Jon Husted.  I sure hope Husted is not the “anointed” GOP candidate for Ohio Governor in 2018.  If he is, I sure hope he is vigorously contested in the GOP primary.  Husted is a prime example of pay-to-play politics.  I would not cast a vote  for Husted even if he ran unopposed, whether in a primary or in a general election.

A few county Lincoln Day Dinners in 2014

Looking at search terms that have guided readers to this page in the past 30 days, I can see that some of you are trying to mark dates on your calendar for annually-held Republican Lincoln Day Dinners in Ohio this year.  Unfortunately, Buckeye RINO has not posted such events in a long time, so readers have been disappointed, upon arriving at this website, that the events posted here were held on dates long since passed.  In order to partially satisfy your curiosity on what events are occurring when, I have taken a look around to see what information I could put together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014–Cuyahoga County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @ the Holiday Inn, 6001 Rockside Rd, Independence OH
  • VIP reception, $750 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • Dinner, $60 per person, at 6:00 pm
  • still seeking event sponsors
  • Contact Julie Kirk (216) 621-5415 or rsvp@cuyahogacountygop.com

Saturday, February 22, 2014–Knox County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner

  • Guest Speaker: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
  • @ Station Break Senior Citizen Center, 160 Howard St., Mount Vernon OH
  • Social Hour at 6pm
  • Dinner, $45 per person, at 7 pm
  • seeking event sponsors up until Wednesday, February 12th–contact Don Divelbiss (740) 392-3873 or ddivelbiss@hotmail.com
  • contact Cindy Higgs (740) 398-5385 or chiggs@embarqmail.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014–Licking County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @ Reese Center, COTC/OSU-N Campus, 1179 University Dr, Newark OH
  • Private Pre-reception, $50 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • Dinner, $60 per person, at 6:30 pm
  • RSVP by February 20, Registration card to complete, front and back, then mailed to Licking County Republican Party, PO Box 431, Newark, OH  43058
  • contact Licking County Republican Facebook page,  (740) 345-0500, or LCRepublicanHQ@gmail.com

Friday, February 28, 2014–Clermont County

  • Guest Speaker: U.S. Senator Rob Portman
  • @ Holiday Inn Eastgate, 4501 Eastgate Blvd, Cincinnati OH
  • Social Hour at 6 pm
  • Dinner, $50 per person, at 7 pm
  • For reservations, send check to Clermont County Republican Party, PO Box 740, Batavia, OH  45103

Thursday, March 6, 2014–Wayne County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @Greenbriar Conference & Party Center, 50 Riffel Rd, Wooster OH
  • “meet and greet” wine and cheese reception, $25 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • dinner, $25 per person, at 6:30 pm
  • Contact Julie Leathers, 118 Kirk Ave. Orrville OH  44667 or purchase tickets online

Monday, March 17, 2014–Trumbull County McKinley Dinner

Wednesday, March 26, 2014–Marion County Harding Day Dinner

  • Guest Speaker: Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
  • @ All Occasions Banquet Facility, 6989 Waldo-Delaware Rd, Waldo OH
  • Dinner, $25 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • RSVP by March 20 via email: MarionGOPJohn@hotmail.com

RPCC press release: Judge Sara Harper, one of Cleveland’s own, to be honored by the Republican National Committee in DC

Editor’s note:  This event, the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon, is to be held today, Feb. 4th, in Washington DC.  I just received this press release yesterday, Feb. 3rd, from Doug Magill, doug@magillmedia.net or (216) 536-1564, of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County (RPCC).  Despite the lateness of the press release in relation to the timing of the event, I thought this recognition was important enough to announce to as wide an audience as possible.–DJW

Judge Sara Harper to be Honored at the Black Republican
Trailblazer Award Luncheon
 

CLEVELAND – The Republican National Committee (RNC) is pleased to announce that Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame member Judge Sara Harper is to be honored at the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon.

Growing up in public housing on Cleveland’s East Side, she was the first black woman to graduate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Judge Harper subsequently became Cleveland city prosecutor under Mayor Carl B. Stokes, and later a Municipal Court Judge as well as President of the Cleveland NAACP. One of the first black women to serve on the Ohio Court of Appeals, she also was the first black woman to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Judge Harper was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of the Marine Corps Reserve, and was a co-founder of the first victims’ rights organization in the country. A staunch believer in childhood education, she founded the Sara J. Harper Children’s Library on Cleveland’s East Side, in the housing project where she grew up.

The theme of this year’s award ceremony is “Honoring Our Past and Building the Future.”  The event will also honor Dr. Louis Sullivan of Georgia, and Michigan businessman William “Bill” Brooks.  Honorees are chosen for their significant contributions to the Party, their communities, and the country.  It will be hosted by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and will be held on Tuesday, February 4th at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

For further information on the event please contact Brian Barnes with the Ohio Republican Party, bbarnes@ohiogop.org.

Vote for love of your country

The time has come.  Vote.  Vote for love of your country.

A link to 2011 Cuyahoga County GOP calendar

Considering all the blog visitors looking for Lincoln Day Dinner information across Ohio, I should have posted this notice about Cuyahoga County’s Lincoln Day Dinner already.  Sorry about the delay.

19th Annual Republican Party of Cuyahoga County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:30 pm VIP reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • Downtown Renaissance Hotel Ballroom, 24 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113
  • Cost: $50/person for dinner and $250/person for VIP reception
  • Contact: Matt Clever at 216-621-5418 or mclever@cuyahogacountygop.com
  • Guest Speakers: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel

For other events on the RPCC calendar, please follow this link: http://www.cuyahogacountygop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=21.

Japanese store shelves tell the tale: The time to hoard is long before the calamity strikes

I’m hopping back up on my soapbox again.  I’ve been blogging about preparing your family for catastrophes since 2008.  I’ve racked my brain to pinpoint of a number of ways in which your family can prepare, and put those thoughts on my blog, too.  I’m blogging again to remind everyone that the time to prepare for catastrophe is sooner rather than later.

AP business writer Yuri Kageyama produced this report about consumers throughout Japan, not just in the earthquake/tsunami ravaged zone of northeast Honshu island, descending on stores to buy up all products with any shelf life that could have some use in an emergency. (Hint: Just click on the above link and read the AP article. You need to take a look at it. Got that?)

The scarcity of these consumer goods throughout Japan is hampering the humanitarian relief efforts.  How do you ship survival goods, such as food, water, blankets, batteries, flashlights, tents, sleeping bags, etc., to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami when the unaffected population throughout the rest of the nation has siphoned away all those supplies?  Government officials are urging the public not to hoard, but the public is panicked.

Don’t feel vulnerable in a crisis.  You should have what you need for an emergency now.  If you don’t have it now, when will you have it?  In your hour of need?  And if a natural disaster, such as a house fire or tornado, wipes out your own emergency supplies, won’t you be grateful to your neighbors if they’ve got emergency supplies on hand that they can share with you?  Wouldn’t you be glad you could help out a neighbor if the roles are reversed?  And then, when widespread disasters wipe out the emergency supplies of everyone in the community, wouldn’t you be thankful that humanitarian relief efforts aren’t starved of resources because the population beyond the disaster zone has no reason to panic, since they’re already prepared?

One more thing to keep in mind:  The world economy is fragile.  This earthquake/tsunami disaster has sent seismic waves rippling out into the rest of the world.  If our nation’s economy collapsed (and there’s so much that’s straining our economy and threatening our currency right now), what you already have on hand might be all that you can obtain . . . until an economic recovery ensues.  How long would it take before you can rely on economic recovery to lift you out of your emergency?  Who knows?

No community is immune from disaster.  Don’t bet that it won’t be your family that is calamity-stricken next.  If you haven’t already, get your family ready for emergencies ASAP.