When it comes to the Republican Party, once again the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, leaving Ohio voters seriously confused.
Earlier this week the GOP was all over the board about its position on the first version of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.Presidential nominee John McCain urged its passage while House Republicans revolted and defeated the measure. Then, House GOP leaders blamed the defeat on a partisan speech by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, only to have the Republicans who voted “no” insist her remarks didn’t affect their stance. Even ultra-conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh made fun of the assertion and essentially told GOP leaders to grow up.
Now the Republicans find themselves speaking with forked tongues about changes in Ohio’s election laws. A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a Republican appeal of a disputed early voting window that allows Ohio voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day, according to the Associated Press. The Ohio Supreme Court — led by a Republican majority — also upheld the early voting window in a decision the same day, as did another federal judge in Cleveland.
Cue the spin meisters at state GOP headquarters in Columbus.
In a mass e-mail sent to party faithful today entitled, “Stealing Ohio,” State GOP Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine wrote, “The liberal courts just approved same-day registration in Ohio, and Democrats are planning to turn out thousands of new voters without any time to validate those registrations … We cannot let them steal this election.”
DeWine’s e-mail asks for contributions of $25, $50 or $100 to the party’s legal defense fund, so it can continue challenging the legal decisions.
Nevermind that it was a GOP-dominated Supreme Court that upheld the change that allows the early voting window.
Nevermind that McCain’s presidential campaign hasn’t provided any details about how it thinks Barack Obama’s campaign intends to take advantage of the window.
And nevermind that the early voting window was created because the Republican-controlled legislature passed a hastily-written law in 2005 that enabled all Ohio voters to vote absentee.
Another mass e-mail received today sent by McCain’s campaign and signed by running mate Sarah Palin urges Ohio Republicans to make use of the early voting window.
“In these times of crisis, we need a tested, proven leader like John McCain,” Palin’s e-mail states. “That’s why it’s important for you to cast your ballot today in Ohio. Over the next five days, you can register to vote and cast your ballot for November’s election at the same time.”
Also, the e-mail offers a handy link to let voters locate the early voting center closest to them. But the early voting window debate isn’t the only bit of manufactured outrage by increasingly desperate Republicans in the last 24 hours.
Some conservatives have criticized Gwen Ifill, the PBS reporter who will serve as moderator of tonight’s vice presidential debate. They are worried Palin won’t get a fair shake because Ifill is writing a book about black leaders that contains a chapter about Obama.
McCain mostly dismissed the criticism of Ifill Wednesday. “Frankly, I wish they had picked a moderator that isn’t writing a book favorable to Barack Obama, let’s face it,” he told CBS News. “But I have to have confidence that Gwen Ifill will handle this as the professional journalist that she is.”
Only problem is, McCain’s campaign knew about Ifill’s book when it approved her as moderator for the debate, and the book has been advertised on Amazon.com for weeks.
And these people say they’re better qualified to run the country?
— Kevin Osborne
As Election Day draws near, the rumors and lies about what is and isn’t allowed at a polling place begin to swirls. In addition to the usual anti-immigrant rhetoric (yes, you can take a translator into the voting booth if you need one) and the hate-all-criminals mantra (ex-felons are allowed to vote, as not all states discriminate) there’s a new twist this year thanks to the financial crisis (people in the midst of a foreclosure are allowed to vote).
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a verdict by the 6th District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that would have thrown a monkeywrench into newly-registered voters in the state having their ballots count in the presidential race. The Republican Party had sued to force Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner — who has made a name for herself by advocating for fairer and better elections in the state, cleaning up after her infamous predecessor, Ken Blackwell — to basically put on hold any new voter's ballot until discrepancies in their registration information were cleaned up. Brunner claims that those discrepancies are mainly minor clerical errors, while GOP officials claim they're part of a massive voter fraud effort by the Democrats.
The U.S. stock exchanges have opened strongly this morning, following gains in Asia and Europe earlier today. The Bush Administration's ever-evolving bail-out plans are, as they say in the bidness world, fluid.
Barack Obama has opened a 10-point national lead on John McCain, according to The Washington Post. Some pundits think the race is even more lopsided in Obama's favor but that the mainstream media — either to gin up excitement over a "close" race or to not look like they're "liberal" and "in the tank" for Obama — are portraying the race as closer than it really is. We all know Obama is going to win, which will make these final few weeks of a long, negative campaign almost unbearable.
Speaking of unbearable, how about those Bengals?
I've been getting good feedback (as always) to our annual publication of the Project Censored report on stories the mainstream media missed in the past year. It's a good reminder that Americans aren't as informed as we should be, particularly on international issues, and another reason to be concerned as the the nation's major newspapers continue to struggle with economic pressure.
Enjoy your Monday and the beautiful fall weather.
I've been amused by the ads and notices running in The Enquirer lately promoting increased availability of the Nov. 5 Enquirer featuring the front page announcing that Barack Obama had won the presidency. Apparently they've had to go back and reprint more copies of that issue due to local folks' interest in having the paper as a keepsake.
The funny part, of course, is that The Enquirer endorsed John McCain for president. In other words, they told us not to vote for Obama, and after we ignored them and voted for him anyway they now want to sell us the paper that announced they were wrong and we were right. They're also selling coffee mugs and T-shirts printed with that Nov. 5 front page.
Why are you voting for Barack Obama?
Because he isn't Republican? His perspective? His experience?
Looking at just how devastating the Republican defeat was in Tuesday's presidential election, it's interesting to see how low Sen. John McCain's percentage of victory was in several reliably red western and southwestern states.
Did you watch much of the presidential debate last night? I watched the first 15-20 minutes, fast-forwarded through the rest and saw the closing remarks. John McCain didn't press enough on his issues, and Barack Obama is basically playing defense and trying not to mess up.
As I say in my editorial in today's CityBeat, the race is over. Obama is going to be our next president, yet we have to endure another month of this crummy campaign. McCain isn't pressing Obama on the critical issues, instead focusing his campaign on personal attacks, and Obama is just fending him off until the clock runs out Nov. 4.
I don't feel particularly reassured today. What about you?