A solid, well-written Ohio blog

If you haven’t done so already, drop by the Columbus-based blog The Open End, where you’ll find a team of good writers working in undeserved obscurity. They’re not in lockstep with each other, so you’ll sometimes find a sharp yet courteous debate going on. However, liberal nuttiness gets a cheerful skewering every day, especially if it involves political correctness at The Ohio State University (a little inside Buckeye joke, there).

An open letter to fellow motorists

Dear fellow Cleveland motorists,
I’m a pretty easygoing guy, but lately your collective driving habits have tempted me to mount a bazooka on my hood. To avoid further unpleasantness, I offer the following driving tips:

  1. The long pedal on the right is the accelerator. The wide pedal on the left is the brake. Learn the difference.
  2. That double yellow line on your left isn’t decorative. It means stay the hell out of my lane.
  3. When coming to a stop on a dry road, don’t brake – release – brake – release – SLAMBRAKE. Start braking early and smoothly, and I won’t feel the need to put my front bumper through your headrest.
  4. When braking in wet/snowy/icy conditions, apply your preferred dry braking technique from the previous rule, minus the slam at the end. You’re in Cleveland, where 99% of primates understand driving in inclement weather. If you can’t help doing a 180, don’t blame us for laughing.
  5. To turn right, you don’t need to drift leftward first. Your car is capable of turning ninety degrees directly onto a cross street or into a driveway if driven by a minimally sentient being.
  6. The yellow light does not mean “Hurry, next three cars! Floor it and squirt through the intersection!”
  7. The green light doesn’t mean “sit there gaping.” Study Rule Number 1 and apply it.
  8. If you’re over 65 and peering out between the top of your dashboard and the top of your steering wheel, get a damn booster chair or take the bus.
  9. That persistent clicking you hear isn’t your watch. It’s your left turn signal, blinking moronically as you cruise the Shoreway. I’m the guy behind you, anxiously hoping you won’t execute a sudden merge into my passenger seat as I try to pass you … which will inevitably be followed by your outraged explanation to the nice State Trooper: “But I had my turn signal on, officer!”
  10. The posted speed limit is a good guideline when choosing a minimum speed. If you can’t bear to get closer than 10 mph below it, take the bus and save my blood pressure.
  11. If I’m driving on the city street you’re waiting to merge into from that parking lot off to the side, wait ’til I’m at least even with you before you stake a claim to my lane. Otherwise I’m going to remember my sailor vocabulary, and some emphatic finger gestures too.
  12. If you’re under 18, think you’re a good driver, and have the keys to anything with more than four cylinders, I have four words for you: Stay. Away. From. Me.
  13. If you’re going to drive like a suicide bomber dodging machine gun nests, at least have the courtesy to pass this infidel on the left, okay?
  14. I have no bumper stickers, my license plate is readable from 100 feet away, and there’s nothing else of interest on the back of my van. Now back off before I brakecheck you.
  15. Use your high beams only when you’re all alone on the road. When I’m coming toward you (or when you’re catching up to me), I take it personally when you cauterize every rod and cone in my eyes. If at all possible I’m going to take you with me as I careen off the road into an oak tree.
  16. When a cop has a speeder pulled over on the other side of I-71, you don’t need to slow down. He can’t jump the concrete barrier and chase you down, even if he’s one of Linndale‘s Finest. Drive on, dummy.
  17. Same goes for accidents on the other side. The authorities are busy over there, so look at it as an opportunity to make up some time on your trip. Gawk at it on the evening news, not here in front of me.
  18. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams suck, especially when we’re all trying to get home on the highway. It’s good form to let alternate cars merge into the flow, which is known as “taking turns.” When you decide that your destination is more important than mine by one car length’s worth, I’m going to step out of my car and smack you upside the head until you can’t think past the kindergarten level … at which point you’ll remember about “taking turns.”
  19. During those bumper-to-bumper snarls, passing the rest of us lemmings on the shoulder will guarantee 83 calls to the cops with your license plate playing a starring role.

Kindly print out a copy of this little missive and either tape it to your dashboard or have it tattooed backwards on your forehead for future reference. Because the next time you cut me off, the last thing you’ll see in your rearview mirror is a speck trailing smoke and approaching awfully fast.
Best wishes,
The Puddle Pirate

Attention, Ohio GOP: your bus may be leaving

The outgoing Republican president of Colorado’s Senate digs through the entrails of the Democrat election victory there and identifies some themes that look eerily familiar to Ohio conservatives.

It was motivation, above all, that powered this Democrat victory. Democrats were driven and hungry from decades in the political wilderness. Republicans were complacent and soft from too long in power. Their motive for winning was to get in there and do things. Ours, it often seemed, was merely to stay in there. These attitudes translated into discipline and unity for Democrats, indulgence and disunity for Republicans. GOP factionalism was endemic and fatal.
The message gap was a consequence of this motivation gap. Democrats talked about making Colorado a better state, about not letting Republicans cut cherished programs, and about the GOP’s supposed obsession with “gays, guns, and God.” Republicans talked about … what? Other than denying their charges and hurling some back, we pretty much punted. Republican candidates picked their own issues locally. Churchill would have called it a pudding with no theme.
Our campaign had what one analyst termed a sort of Nixon-Ford tiredness and blandness. I had considered, back in 2003, framing a conservative Contract with Colorado to provide a single, statewide framework for all 75 state Senate and House races. But after sizing up the competing intra-party fiefdoms and tensions, I decided not to start that fight. Mea culpa; I should have fought.

“A Nixon-Ford tiredness and blandness” pretty accurately describes our own Governor Bob Taft, scion of a powerful old Ohio family and a politician whose strongest claim to conservatism seems to be the (R) appended to his name. He opposed the recently-enacted concealed carry legislation, opposed the gay marriage ban, and didn’t earn himself the nickname “Governor Tax” by accident.
Three Republicans have announced their intent to replace Taft when term limits force him to step down in 2006: State Auditor Betty Montgomery, State Attorney General Jim Petro, and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (toward whom I’m leaning at the moment, since he’s been burnishing his conservative credentials).
Ohio Republicans need to find a bona fide fiscal and social conservative to take Bob Taft’s place. Once we have that candidate identified, we need to round up support early, before our tired and unimaginative party leaders anoint someone more “safe.” Pushing a bland pudding with no theme on Ohio voters isn’t going to get Republicans elected to state offices. Just look at what happened in Colorado.
Then we need to identify districts with retiring or vulnerable Representatives and Senators in both parties, and cajole some conservative businessmen, military vets, and civic leaders to step forward and run for office. A truly conservative Legislature will cut our high tax burden and rein in spending, while returning our government to the pro-family and tough-on-crime stance that Ohio voters obviously want.
Party discipline matters, but party survival’s more important. The Ohio GOP has gotten fat and lazy. It’s time to clear out the deadwood before the Democrats do it for us. My Senator lives two streets away, so I’ll start the grilling here. Who’s with me?

Welcome, Hugh Hewitt readers

I just tracked down the reason for the sudden and steady flow of visitors from HughHewitt.com: I’m his Blog of the Month for December. That’s quite an honor, so I’ll do my best to fill the shoes of my very impressive predecessors. Thanks, Hugh!
Be sure to take a look at the rest of the Buckeye Bloggers, a bunch of Ohio conservatives striving to make a purple state redder.
While you’re here, why not pre-order this book …

Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World

… as a Christmas gift to yourself? I figure a little bit of cross-promotion’s the least I can do as a “thank you.” Heck, I ordered one yesterday.

UPDATE: If you’re wondering what I write about here, scan the categories on the rightmost column of the home page. Here are a few posts I was proud of when I wrote them:

Step back and watch the fireworks

Ah, schadenfreude. The City of Cleveland, financially mismanaged for decades by liberals, decided a year or so ago to cut expenses and laid off a bunch of police, firefighters, and EMTs. Bob Beck and the rest of the leadership of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association is now considering whether to retaliate in the way every politician fears most: using the ballot box.

Cleveland police, hacked off because of layoffs, are planning to take out some frustration on Cleveland City Council. The police union’s executive board met this month to talk about a ballot issue to shrink council from 21 members to as few as seven. The full union is expected to vote on it Dec. 9 and firefighters may join in. “They abandoned the unions and were hypocrites, and they don’t expect this to happen?” asked union President Bob Beck.

I’m torn here. This is a fight between a labor union (ugh) and a liberal Democrat-dominated city council (ugh). Is there some way I can root against both sides?

Fishing for liberals

In an article just published by The Sentinel (a conservative publication at Ohio State University), conservative student columnist Stephen Dronen relates his encounter with volunteers conducting a Democrat voter registration drive … and his resulting experiment in liberal-baiting.

I took to the streets to see if my appearance had any bearing on their action. First dressing as I normally do; dressed in a pair of khaki chinos, a light blue Oxford, and a pair of brown Doc Martin�s, I entered the hostile territory. Not to my surprise, I walked right past the activists amidst a haze of “Stop the Bush Imperialists”, “No Blood for Oil”, and “Not My President”! It was as if they didn�t even see me.

The first phase of my testing was complete; they had failed to approach me during three opportunities. Enter phase two: undercover. Garbed in a borrowed Pearl Jam t-shirt, a set of torn jeans, a pair of Birkenstocks, some thick rimmed “emo” glasses, and the quintessential hemp jewelry, I returned to the scene of the crime. It is amazing how different the experience was, as I was double teamed from the second I entered the intersection where two hours earlier the same people failed to realize I was even in their presence.

It’s an entertaining read, so help yourself.
Hat tip: The Open End

Buckeye Bloggers

Buckeye BloggersHey, fellow conservative bloggers from Ohio! How about forming a blog alliance from the state that pushed President Bush across the finish line this year? Heaven knows we can’t just sit here and let The Northern Alliance keep hogging all the glory.
We could start by putting together a web site that aggregates our most recent posts, kind of like what RNCBloggers did. These blogs strike me as promising charter members:
Buckeye Bloggers
Brain Shavings
The Open End
The Conservative Revolution
Wizblog
Ohio for Bush
Buckeye Ex-pats
Hugh Hewitt
Belly of the Beast
Whaddaya think?

Brief update from the trenches

Today I attended a three-hour training session for Republican election observers in NE Ohio. We hailed from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Erie Counties (see map), and this was just one of three training sessions taking place today in NE Ohio alone. Although I won’t reveal any strategy or data that Democrats might find useful, I do have some interesting tidbits to share.

  • Pay close attention to news about Ohio’s new provisional ballots. Remember the dance of the hanging chads? To win Ohio without a court fight, President Bush must take this state by a wide enough margin to make all provisional ballots irrelevant.
  • The GOP expected no more than 300 volunteers at today’s poll observer training session in Westlake. Over 400 of us showed up, reportedly blowing away the attendance figures at a corresponding statewide Democrat confab hyped as a demonstration of their grassroots support. Keep in mind that there were two other GOP sessions in progress simultaneously, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the scale of our motivation.
  • We 400 observers are mostly average citizens getting involved in a campaign for the very first time. I saw plenty of retirees, college kids, housewives, small business owners, and accomplished professionals. Very few were experienced political operatives. All of us are taking Tuesday off to keep watch over the electoral process. We’re well-trained, we’re on rock-solid legal ground, and we’re motivated. Dear left-leaning friends: you’d be wise not to try any funny business. We won’t interfere in the election, but we’ll sure as hell catch you if you do. We know how to spot every trick in your playbook. You’ve gone a bridge too far, and managed to fire up more of the Republican base than in your worst nightmares.
  • Ohio law has permitted poll observers for something like 70+ years, but we’ve never used them and never challenged a vote … until the left forced us to react to their blatant intent to win at any cost. Feel free to thank ACORN, the NAACP National Voter Fund, MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, The Media Fund, George Soros, Peter B. Lewis, Senator John McCain, Senator Russ Feingold …
  • There are 78,000 GOP volunteers hard at work in Ohio. Young Republicans from out of state are knocking on doors (including mine, which is how I know) to get out the vote, and total political neophytes are burning up the outgoing phone lines at jam-packed local Bush/Cheney headquarters.
  • Democrats have filed lawsuits seeking to forbid more than one GOP observer per polling place. This is significant because many polling places contain voting facilities for multiple precincts. If the Democrat lawsuits succeed (as of 5 PM today the outcome was still up in the air), you’ll see polling places where a single overworked GOP observer tries to keep an eye on several precincts at once. That’ll be a situation ripe for exploitation by fraudsters.
  • At least one person tried to infiltrate today’s training session in Westlake by posing as a Republican who dropped in at the last minute to volunteer. His name wasn’t on the list and he couldn’t identify any references. He threatened to volunteer at the Kucinich call center unless we let him in. Odd threat for a “Republican”, eh? He left unhappy.
  • Infiltrating a political campaign carries stiff criminal penalties in Ohio. Mr. I-Love-Dennis-Kucinich ought to thank us for saving him from spending Christmas in the pokey.
  • Watch the Ohio poll results for a last-minute Democrat surge. Conservative SW Ohio and moderate Central Ohio report their results promptly, but heavily Democratic Cleveland always reports its results late in the evening and can tip the balance for the whole state. I’ll leave you to speculate about the reasons for foot-dragging by NE Ohio Democrats when they’re counting votes.
  • 20,000 Republicans turned up in Westlake last week to hear President Bush speak, and only two dozen lethargic Democrats managed to show up to protest. It’ll be raining hard in NE Ohio on Election Day. Rain discourages potential voters who aren’t motivated. Re-read all of the bullet points above and … you do the math.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 AM): Thanks to a Clinton judge, we’re on hold. We’ll see what the 6th Circuit has to say.
UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 PM): Rock ‘n roll. Also, see Power Line for news from a blogger who’s an election lawyer in the trenches tomorrow (don’t miss their post on the limousine liberal Clinton-appoinrted judge we observers just thumped, too).

Sanity returns

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit just restored common sense to Ohio’s provisional voting mess. You don’t get to vote wherever the heck you want. If you can’t keep your registration current, then stay home and let the adults vote.
Now if only we had a law requiring photo ID at the polls, I’d be much less worried about Democrat voter fraud.

Democrat voter fraud continues in Ohio

Good Lord, now the Dems down in Franklin County, Ohio are registering terrorists to vote.
When word of this gets out, the turnout among GOP voters in the Buckeye State will blow your mind. I’m a hard-core conservative so I’m already volunteering on Election Day … but if these outrageous shenanigans continue, my fellow Republicans will be willing to crawl through crushed glass while doused in burning gasoline to get to the polls.
Hat tip: Power Line

More coverage:
Digital Brown Pajamas
Conservative Revolution
trying to grok

Kerry can’t take heat, won’t leave kitchen

Mark Steyn has John Kerry’s number:

So we have one candidate running on a platform of ambitious reforms for an ”ownership society” at home and a pledge to hunt down America’s enemies abroad. And we have another candidate running on the platform that no one has the right to say anything mean about him.

That seems to be the way John Kerry likes it. Americans should be free to call Bush a moron, a liar, a fraud, a deserter, an agent of the House of Saud, a mass murderer, a mass rapist (according to the speaker at a National Organization for Women rally last week) and the new Hitler (according to just about everyone). But how dare anyone be so impertinent as to insult John Kerry! No one has the right to insult Kerry, except possibly Teresa, and only on the day she gives him his allowance.

That’s surely why Kerry is running his kamikaze kandidacy on biography rather than any grand themes. Senator Kerrikaze is running for president because he thinks he should be president — who needs a platform?

Sorry, man, that’s not the way it works. And if he thinks it does, he’s even further removed from the realities of democratic politics than he was from the interior of Cambodia. Instead of those military records the swift boat vets are calling for, I’d be more interested in seeing his medical ones.

Ouch. Read the rest.

Moonbat mating call

President Bush is coming here to the Cleveland area on the day after tomorrow, and the liberal barking moonbats are putting out the call to gather and agitate. Both the abortion industry and organized labor are running this show. In a blatant case of psychological projection, the moonbats have named Saturday’s protest the “Flip-Flop Forum.”

From: Debbie Kline [debbiekline@ppao.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 9:28 AM
To: Debbie Kline
Subject: Anti-Bush Rally we need your help!
Planned Parenthood will be participating in this event and would like to have a nice sized turnout of Planned Parenthood volunteers. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending because the location of this event has changed a couple of times. You can either email or call me at the phone number below. The organizers will be sending out a final email on Friday so I will pass the information on to you.
I look forward to seeing you there! Thank you!
Debbie Kline, Field Coordinator
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio
216-695-7657
debbiekline@ppao.org

From: John Gallo [jgallo@clevelandaflcio.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 5:41 PM
To: John Gallo
Subject: Anti-Bush Rally this Saturday
The Rapid Response Network, a coalition of many organizations and leaders, is calling upon all people who oppose the policies of President Bush and want to see him retire in November to join together for a media action and rally.
When: Saturday, August 4,2004
Time: 8:00 AM
Where: Brecksville-Broadview Hts. High School, 6380 Mill Rd. in Brecksville.

George W. Bush will be speaking at the Brecksville-Broadview Hts. High School this Saturday at what is being billed as an oportunity to ask questions of the president.
Instead of attending this staged indoor event, we will hold an outdoor event called the “Bush Flip-Flop Forum.” With serious humor, we will have real people asking a fake president real questions about the war and terrorism, education and issues affecting working people, and hearing the answers from Fip and Flop, the two faces of Dubya.
We know 8 AM is a crazy hour for a media event/rally. But with only two months before Election Day, we must use every opportunity we get to get our message out.
We will send a final e-mail on Friday.

Come see the moonbats flocking, and bring a camera! Here are the directions.

The Puddle Pirate goes big time?

A nice AP reporter e-mailed me yesterday and wanted to discuss political blogs in Ohio. She’d talked with some liberals, and needed a conservative for balance. You might reasonably think that my pithy observations and dry wit reeled her in, but I suspect my looks had something to do with it. Being the shy, retiring type, I reluctantly passed on the vast knowledge and expertise I’ve gleaned from my three months of blogging. I’m sure she’ll have plenty for her story.
In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to reading her story. I’ve been meaning to add some local flavor around here. Perhaps I can find some worthy sparring partners in the area.