Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 Ohio Democratic Primary Endorsements

The time has come to cast our votes in Ohio's primary election.  I hope you do take the time to vote, whether you agree with our endorsements or not.

Democratic Primary
For President: Hillary Clinton

For the first time in 24 years, I did not campaign for any candidate during the primary season.  It was not that I disliked either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but that I was so enthusiastic about both it became difficult to choose.  This primary cycle has allowed me to learn more about both candidates, and after a great deal of research I have cooled on Sanders.

Both Clinton and Sanders have their advocates, many of Sander’s  more enthusiastic supporters have crossed the line in statements (which I will not repeat here) about Clinton’s gender, honesty, and marriage - while Clinton’s supporters comments about Sanders have centered around his ability to get the changes he advocates enacted.  Sanders and his supporters have criticized Clinton for being a closet moderate, too friendly with corporate interests, and for changing her positions on issues.  Some of those criticisms may have merit.  But a slavish loyalty to an unwavering position on any issue reminds me of George W. Bush’s conviction of the merits of his Middle East policies, and Herbert Hoover’s unwillingness to take the actions necessary to alleviate the Great Depression.  Indeed, Sanders’ charges of flip-flopping remind me of Hoover’s labeling Franklin D. Roosevelt a “chameleon on plaid” for changing positions (often 180º) on how to turn the economy around.  (Claire Booth Luce derisively compared FDR’s trademark gesture with those of Hitler and Churchill: Hitler had the Nazi salute, Churchill had the V for Victory sign, and FDR: finger to the wind.  But it’s worth remembering that Hitler led Germany to ruin, and the war in Europe had scarcely ended when Churchill was tossed from office.)  Altering positions on issues goes beyond politically expedient flexibility.  And it’s not as if Sanders hasn’t switched on some issues – in particular gun control, where, despite his denials, he altered his position to a degree that might have made FDR blush.  Examining Senator Clinton’s evolving viewpoints it becomes obvious that they have evolved in the right direction.  I’d rather have a President who can adapt with the times than one who is stuck in the groove – an apt criticism against Republicans like Hoover and Democrats like Jimmy Carter alike.  We must bluntly face the truth that no matter who is elected President, Republicans will likely control the House of Representatives for the rest of this decade, largely thanks to Gerrymandering by Republican governors and state legislatures.  Democrats will be lucky if they gain control of the Senate.  Judging by Senator Sanders’ statements and his history in the Senate, House of Representatives, and Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he has difficulty working with those on either side of the aisle who don’t agree 100% with him, and is unwilling to seek consensus or compromise.  Nor does he appear to recognize reality beyond the bubble of the clique of sycophants with which he surrounds himself or his own state of Vermont– a lovely state which is so far removed from much of the rest of the nation it could almost be part of Canada.  Secretary Clinton is more likely to be able to reach across the aisle and make the deals with Republicans which can propel the nation forward in a realistic manner, and build on the achievements of President Obama – which she has been quick to acknowledge, and which Sanders has pooh-poohed at every turn.  Senator Sanders seems more interested in throwing out much of what President Obama has accomplished and starting all over – a textbook case of two steps forward, a dozen steps back.

I have no doubt that the drive which compels Hillary Clinton to run goes beyond personal ego or the desire to see a woman elected to the Presidency - and instead centers on the good of the country.  During her years as First Lady of Arkansas, then of the United States, then as Senator, she has labored as a workhorse – not as a show horse, or as the darling of the left.  I can’t say it any better than Bill Clinton does here:

Therefore, we enthusiastically endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

For United States Senate: P. G. Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld is a Cincinnati City Council member who has received broad support not just from his own party, but among Republicans and independents as well – so much support that he won more votes during his 2013 reelection than any other Council member.  Much of that support is based on a track record of success in stabilizing foreclosures, re-purposing neighborhood schools as after-hours “Town Square” schools, and bringing wireless internet to Cincinnati’s poorest communities – just as FDR brought electricity to the Tennessee Valley.  All these accomplishments are in the spirit of the New Deal coalition that helped establish the middle class, but which also look toward the future.

Our endorsement of Sittenfeld is a long-shot.  As a former Congressman and Governor, Ted Strickland has the money and endorsements of many “established” Democratic groups.  But his record as Governor left much to be desired, however many of his problems in that office stemmed from the corruption of his predecessor’s Administration or the collapse of the national economy under George W. Bush.  Also, Strickland seems too willing to take the course of least resistance, whether it comes to opposing gun control until he supported it, or refusing to debate his primary opponent.  Strickland’s popularity in Ohio is marginal, and if he were elected, would be unlikely to serve more than two terms due to his age – he’s 74.  We feel that Ohio’s Democratic party needs fresh blood, and Sittenfeld brings both the vigor and the necessary experience to defeat Senator Portman in the general election and to make an effective Senator who will serve the Buckeye State well – and for the long term.  

For Prosecuting Attorney, Cuyahoga County: No endorsement
The incumbent, Timothy McGinty has poorly served the people of Cuyahoga County, in particular the African American community.  There’s no indication his challenger, Michael O’Malley, would do any better.   Whichever candidate wins should be made aware that a low vote count is an indication that the Prosecutor will need to prove himself to the voters of Cuyahoga County, that the citizens are watching, and hopefully that better alternatives will appear in the next election cycle.

Issue 23, Cuyahoga County Health & Human Services Renewal: FOR the levy.  This is not a tax increase, but the renewal of an existing property tax which generates money for such things as pre-kindergarten, drug counseling, home healthcare for senior citizens, and for MetroHealth’s level-one trauma center and LifeFlight.  We recommend its passage.