by Bill Sloat
Women for Liberty delivers sneak attack on Sherrod Brown
Over the past few days, packets of anti-Democrat
political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed
into East Side driveways. Don’t assume it’s litter. Nope, it’s
apparently a broadside from some bag ladies with an Indian Hill address
who call themselves a “grassroots, conservative group.” They are new on
the scene and bent on kicking President Barack Obama out of office, along with
anybody who might possibly share his views. But they might be cheating, or
tools of someone who is flouting the law.
There are 16 political pieces in the plastic bags, including an ad for the anti-Obama movie You Don’t Know Him.
All but one are properly labeled with disclaimers that show who paid
for each piece. For example, the Mitt Romney flier says it was paid for
by the Romney campaign. The Sean Donovan for Sheriff of Hamilton County
was paid for by Donovan for Sheriff. But a piece that attacks U.S. Sen.
Sherrod Brown is a mystery — nothing identifies its source. You cannot
discover who is behind it. The flier lists 10 reasons why Ohio
voters should replace Democrat Brown with Republican candidate Josh Mandel. The
piece concludes by saying, “This November 6, Vote for New Leadership for
Ohio. Vote Josh Mandel for Senator.”
The secret source of the handbill has the earmarks of
a dirty trick. Laws and rules governing electioneering make it clear printed material seeking to influence voters must disclose where it
came from. The mandatory disclaimer is what a person endlessly hears on TV
commercials — “I’m so and so and I paid for this ad.” Print material has
the same requirement — “Paid for by Save the Seahorses” or whoever is
So whoever gave the conservative ladies the
anti-Brown handbill for their plastic bags seems to have broken the law.
Perhaps it was the coal mining industry, perhaps it was the Chinese
government, perhaps it was Ayn Rand back from the dead. Without a
disclaimer there is just no way to know who paid for the anti-Brown
attack. You are left to guess. All we know is that the writer didn’t
have the guts to stand behind the attack. They preferred shadowy and
sneaky over open and upright.
The Federal Election Commission publishes the rules campaigns must follow. It says, “On printed materials, the disclaimer notice must
appear within a printed box set apart from the other contents in the
communication. The print must be of a sufficient type-size to be
clearly readable by the recipient of the communication, and the print
must have a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background
and the printed statement.”
By the way, the group that is tossing the plastic bags
into driveways calls itself Women for Liberty. There is no website for
the group, although it appears to be an offshoot of another group with the same name that is based in a Washington, D.C. suburb and cites a libertarian philosophy.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
In a move that was quickly contested by
Democrats, Republicans on May 15 attempted to add another controversial
policy to John Kasich’s mid-biennium budget review: drug testing for
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Dwelling on any presidential aspirant’s
personal history, proposals and promises invites accusations of bias
that mainstream news media fear most. That might explain reluctance to
hammer Ron Paul for views he espouses now or previously published.
4 Comments · Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The latest findings of the U.S. Census show the gap between the richest and poorest Americans is at its widest since records tracking household income have been kept, and is the highest among all industrialized Western nations. As reported by the Associated Press and others, the top 20 percent of Americans (those earning above $100,000 annually) received almost 50 percent of total income.
How Democrats are taking back Ohio
1 Comment · Wednesday, June 10, 2009
With Ohio’s 20 electoral votes — more than Nevada, Utah and Colorado combined — presidential candidates work hard to win over the state’s modest, workman-like and pragmatic voters. Last year both presidential campaigns spent so much time here their team could probably order at Skyline Chili without even glancing at the menu.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 11, 2009
It’s a sorry fact that political party leaders in Hamilton County like to undermine voters when it suits their own interests, but now some Cincinnati City Council members are jumping on that bandwagon. People who follow local politics remember the odious deal struck last year between the local Democratic and Republican parties regarding the two separate Hamilton County Commission races.
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Wrapping up my first full year of writing a weekly opinion and analysis column, I’ve come to appreciate the absurdity of politics in a way I couldn’t fully fathom as a news reporter. Oh, sure, I’ve always realized that politics — both locally and nationally — really represents the human drama in microcosm, with all of the assorted hopes, fears, foibles and quirks that go along with it
2 Comments · Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Like their national counterparts, Hamilton County Republicans often preach about how they dislike government and want to reduce its size. The truth about county government, however, is that it’s been rife with wasteful spending for decades, a period in which the local GOP had a lock on virtually all of its elected positions.
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Whom do you trust to fix the problems facing the federal government: the Republican members of Congress who, backing President Bush’s every hair-brained move, led the U.S. into the dead end in which he find ourselves? It’s difficult to imagine how intelligent people could decide to re-elect incumbents who caused the very problems we need to fix.
Ohio 2nd District race remains wide open
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 15, 2008
One major party candidate - the incumbent Republican - is known more for her frequent public flubs, like calling a disabled former Marine 'a coward' for disagreeing with her on the Iraq War, than for offering any sort of coherent legislative agenda.