The sporadic episodes of thought and feeling, unfiltered, that I am prone to and need to release.


Watching Democracy in Action

This is a "The Whirling Dervish" piece originally published November 8, 2006.  Of particular note is Blackwell's comments.  Eerie.  It's amazing the Republican message has not changed one iota.

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a big election. I like to cuddle up with the Constitution on the first Tuesday of November and watch the results unfold and speculate who will file lawsuit where the next morning.  Here’s a running diary of Election Night:

7:00: Polls should be closing soon, but apparently Ohio Democrats have successfully sued to keep polls open in Cuyahoga County until 9 p.m. Leave it to Cleveland to mess things up. Word is that results won’t be released until the polls in Cuyahoga County close later. Well, I guess I won’t be seeing “House” tonight.

7:02: Just for fun, I’ll predict the following: Strickland over Blackwell, DeWine over Brown, Stewart over Phillips, Wilson over Blasdel, Montgomery over Dann, Issues 2, 3, 4 and 5 failing and Northern Illinois over Toledo.

7:22: Ohio News Network is practically giddy because they have vote tracking on their Web site. I’m wondering if they’re more or less reliable than the secretary of state’s site, considering Blackwell runs it.

7:31: The Associated Press are already declaring Strickland and Brown to win. Wow guys, way to wait a full 60 seconds until deciding who won. It’s great to see the lessons from the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections have been learned.

On a completely different note, did anyone else feel like voting in Athens felt like taking the SAT?  Was the punch card really that hard? I sure didn’t feel like voting was easier, but I sure felt like laughing when they handed me a “secrecy sleeve,” which was just a manila folder. It all just seems like an unnecessary use of money. That money can be used for much better things, like verifying Bob Taft is still alive.

Speaking of money, I really am hoping Issue 2 passes, but it won’t. $5.15 to $6.85 is just too much. I can see something around $6, but they got too ambitious. I know a few have, but why students would vote against this is beyond me. It’s putting more money in your pocket. Who is against that? The argument that it would hurt businesses is bogus. They’ve made that claim every time a minimum wage increase comes up, yet the economy survives. And if anyone thinks one can live on $5.15 an hour, well… there’s some lovely property in Nelsonville I can sell you. At $6.85, one would at least have a chance.

7:40: If the Democrats take control of the Senate, George Voinovich would most likely lose his chair on the Senate Ethics Committee. That’s a shame. If anyone deserves a spot like that, it’s a former Bobcat. In fact, let’s bring him into the engineering school after he retires.

7:48: Apparently Lake County didn’t get the memo from Blackwell because they released their results. Strickland now officially leads Blackwell, Browns leads DeWine, Issue 2 is passing, Issues 3 and 4, are not, and Issue 5 is.

8:02: The man speaking at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is doing a great job of passing on responsibility by blaming the Democrats who sued to keep polls open, saying it’s their fault for the problems the country has been having today. Yeah, it was the guys in Columbus not opening the polls on time and not being able to work the machines. They’re devious like that.

8:12: How in the world is Athens in the same Congressional district as half of Mahoning County? What sense does that make? Perhaps an amendment against gerrymandering is worth considering. It would be nice if the interests of an area could all be represented together. The sixth district looks like someone stuck a banana on the east part of the state.

8:54: Holy crap! ONN is reporting Blackwell has already conceded the election to Strickland. Wow. He didn’t even wait until all the polls closed. That’s incredible. I guess he knew he just didn’t have a chance. This is what the Republicans get for nominating Blackwell instead of Montgomery or Jim Petro. Somehow the weaker candidates get through in primaries. People need to consider changing this format, unless they want another candidate like John Kerry running for president in two years.

8:58: ONN is interviewing GOP spokesman Aaron McClure, who has a “I’m going to kill somebody” look on his face. He calls the AP’s early projections of winners “irresponsible,” undoubtedly because they’re projecting his guys to lose. He’s right, though. These projections don’t do anything for anybody.

9:36: Results are finally starting to spill in. With 9 percent of precincts reporting, Strickland is cruising, up 59 percent to 38; Issue 2 is still on the “yes” side, 54 percent to 45 percent; Issue 3 is failing, 60 percent to 39 percent; Issue 4 is getting destroyed with 63 percent voting it down; Issue 5 hanging on with 55 percent voting in favor. Brown has only a 51 percent to 48 percent lead. Charlie Wilson is killing Chuck Blasdel (score one for write-in candidates), Zach Space has a sizeable lead on Joy Padgett and Stewart is easily beating Phillips.

9:43: In the third quarter, Toledo leads Northern Illinois 17-10 in DeKalb, Ill. Wow. What happened to Garrett Wolfe, Heisman candidate?

9:45: Is anyone else as surprised as I was that Padgett was so quiet during this election? After her attempted sabotage of Terry Anderson’s character in 2004, I was expecting anything and everything in name calling and assassinations. Things have been rather quiet, though, which is nice. I guess both parties saved the dirt kicking for the Mary Jo Kilroy/Deborah Price race.

9:53: I know now why I didn’t see anyone Uptown in a Jimmy Stewart T-shirt harassing people to vote for him. They knew Phillips presented no threat. With 15 percent of precincts reporting, he has 61 percent of the vote in hand. However, they must’ve been worried about Jill Thompson.  I saw about a dozen people stumping for her. Unfortunately, nobody considers Athens County auditor that important of a race; I don’t see any real-time results.

9:56: I’m starting to think Issue 2 could pass. 54 percent has voted in the affirmative so far. But election results are tricky; early returns can be misleading. I remember when Quebec was voting to secede from Canada, early returns showed an overwhelming “yes.” But as the night dragged down, the “no” votes piled up, eventually winning. As it turned out, the precincts that were strongly secessionist got their votes in first. So we still have a long way to go.

10:00: Blackwell is speaking now, saying his campaign “ran out of time.” Apparently his loss means the Republicans need to stick to their principles. That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that the voters of the state reject your principles, Ken. He’s a smooth talker, if nothing else. He all but promised the GOP would rise again.

10:03: Issue 2 is up to 56 percent for. I can feel my wallet growing. I wonder if more people will be willing to work in the dining halls now. Issue 3, though, is looking doomed to fail. I’m glad to see this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much in favor of legalized gambling. But the money never goes to where the people claim it’s going to. When the money actually goes into the government’s coffer and not into the businesses’, then we’ll pass it. But don’t tell us the schools will get more money and expect us to believe you. We’re not stupid.

10:12: ONN gleefully telling us how awesome their vote tracker is and how many hits their site is getting. Why buy advertising time when you can do it for free on your own network? They’re also outright calling Brown “Senator Brown,” which seems like an invitation for embarrassment. Meanwhile, Padgett concedes to Space.

10:23: Strickland addresses his faithful, putting an effective end to the night’s action. I won’t bore you with the details; he likes paper chains, apparently. It will be interesting to see how quick change comes to the state after he takes off. He’s an energetic guy, so he’ll try to start getting things done as soon as he is sworn in. His first act is a largely symbolic one, moving the governor’s office back to the Statehouse. Taft had moved from the Statehouse when he was elected.

Interestingly, more people voted for Issue 5 than voted for governor. Apparently, people are more interested in secondhand smoke than the economy.

Oh, and the final score from DeKalb: Toledo 17, Northern Illinois 13. Not a banner day for my prognostications.

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