05 April, 2006

OUR TWO CENTS: What's Going On With The Folks Back Home? This Blogger Can't Believe What's Happening In Ohio

It's been more that 20 years since I packed up my Datsun 210, left mom's house in Ohio and headed for the Big City. I just don't know what has happened back home since then!!

Despite the blue collar nature of its many medium-sized cities, and it's long history of a strong labor movement, Ohio has always been a bit conservative. It was never a gimmee state for either party. Hence its reputation as a swing state.

But I look at two polls today and I just have to scratch my head

Yesterday the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a story on Ken Blackwell, one of the Republican candidates for governor. Turns out he "accidentally" bought stock in Diebold Inc., the company that makes electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail and are in use in the state.

So what's wrong with that you ask?

Nothing, except that Blackwell, as secretary of state in Ohio, is in charge of running elections. Nothing, except for the fact that Diebold's ex-CEO (who was at the helm in 2004) sent out campaign literature promising to "deliver Ohio" for George Bush.

You'll recall, the election in Ohio in 2004 was a bit , shall we say, problematic. The actual results were not really in line with the usually very reliable exit polls done by the campaigns themselves. Lots of people, in mostly "Democratic" areas, stood in lines for up to 8 hours to cast their ballots on machines that seemed to be in short supply in those areas.

And now Mr. Blackwell is running for governor. And the latest poll by SurveyUSA shows him leading, at least on the Republican side.

You may also remember the name Jean Schmidt. She's the freshman representative from the Southwest corner of the Buckeye State who inferred, on the House floor, that 37-year Marine Corps veteran and respected long-time Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania was a "coward" for publicly opposing the war. That is likely the only knowledge most of you have of Schmidt, because it is the only time she's made any news at all as a member of the House.

Still, Schmidt leads her Republican opponent in the latest SurveyUSA poll as well.

You will also recall that Ohioans last fall were given a chance to rectify the problems they've been having of late with their elections, but failed to pass the measures necessary to clean up that mess.

So, as I write this, 400-some miles east of the land of my birth, I can only sit back and wonder, where did "my" Ohio go and what ARE those people thinking?

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