Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Tasting Blue

Congressman-elect Schmidt and Paul Hackett

Though unsuccessful by a mere 4% in his attempt to return Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District to the Democratic party, Paul Hackett’s stunningly strong showing deep in Bush country recasts the southwestern Ohio lawyer and Marine Reserve Major as a Democratic Moses whose campaign could lead Democrats toward the promise of victory in next year’s Congressional Midterm elections.
Hackett’s near victory is even more stunning when you consider that the 2nd Ohio gave president Bush 64% and former Congressman Rob Portman 70% of the total vote less than 9 months ago.
Voter analysis, not yet available but initially based on conversations with traditional Hamilton County Republicans, will likely show significant defections to the Democrats by some war and economy-weary members of the GOP.
Among the 7 counties that comprise the 2nd, Hackett won the four more rural eastern counties and came within 1,400 votes from taking the main metropolitan county of Hamilton.
Scandal-tainted party hack and Congressman-elect Schmidt achieved solid margins in only two counties and victory only after a late and questionable vote count in her home territory of Clermont County.
According to the AP and the Clermont County Board of Elections, the vote tally was late because:

It was so hot -- and humid -- Tuesday. Board member Tim Rudd says the ballots pick up moisture when it gets hot, making it tougher for the optical scan machines to sort and count.

Schmidt’s narrow and questionable victory is even more embarrassing to the national party considering, according the Cincinnati Enquirer, “more than $500,000 in support from the National Republican Congressional Committee…paid for a near-constant stream of television commercials during the campaign's final week.”
The strong showing by Mr. Hackett, who has promised to return to the Iraqi battlefield if defeated and whose prior service was shockingly smeared by rabid rightwing radio chickenhawks over the final two days of the campaign, is also a major victory for the DNC Chairman Dean and the grassroots/blogging faction of the new Democratic Party.
Schmidt’s costly seat will end with next year’s midterms.

The President, meanwhile, tuckered from those 9 to 5 days relieved only by almost daily midafternoon 2 hour exercise periods, is beginning the longest Presidential vacation in, according to the Washington Post, 36 years.
Always reliable White House aides suggest that vacation skeptical citizens “do not understand the modern presidency or Bush's own work habits.”
During this vacation the President, with 3 years remaining in his term, will surpass Ronald Reagan’s 335 term-total vacation days.

Images modified and not: MSNBC, Michael Keating-Cincinnati Enquirer,
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