(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com)
Kay might never forgive me for this, but in fond memory of my late father-in-law, fellow Ohio escapee Walter Kirn explains to TNR why “Ohio Doesn’t Deserve to Pick Our President“:
In my new, more realistic understanding of American democracy, gained just this year from a thousand expert sources, the role of all but a portion of the electorate is to show up at their polling places tomorrow and dutifully cancel out one another’s votes so that Ohio can choose our president.
And why has this privilege fallen to Ohio? The prevailing view, voiced by columnists and pundits and even some very fancy political scientists, is that Ohio is a national microcosm, blending diverse demographic and cultural groups in a way that reflects America at large. In other words, it’s a state with lots of rednecks that also has plenty of poor urban minorities balanced by a certain magic number of college-educated professionals. Add in a lot of struggling factory workers, stay-at-home moms, Roman Catholics, evangelicals, college students, military veterans, Latino immigrants, and nursing home residents, and there you have it: our republic in a can.
The situation disturbs me even so. That any one state should posses such outsize power over the country’s political destiny strikes me as outrageous on its face, but that this state should be my own birthplace, the very cradle of American mediocrity and overzealous lawn ornamentation, is positively terrifying…
Human beings of vision and vitality will do almost anything to leave Ohio. This urge has benefited America’s space program. John Glenn got as far from Ohio as he could. Neil Armstrong, with better technology, got further…
In fact, the only extraordinary individuals who rush toward Ohio, and not away from it, are presidential candidates. For the last few months—and as you read this, probably—Obama and Romney have lavished on the Buckeye State the sort of hyperbolic praise, feigned fascination, and craven devotion usually reserved for elderly parents with multi-million dollar fortunes.
If Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have succeeded in making the state’s residents feel wise and important and special, like agents of fate, it cannot have been easy…
By Upper Midwestern standards, Kirn is a moderate. Bob, during the period before I got around to marrying his son, once told me that Ohio was shaped like a chamber pot so that Michigan & Pennsylvania would always know where to aim…
Apart from insulting our neighbors and other GOTV activities, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
If it comes down to 15 EVs, you could just as easily say FL is deciding it, but who wants to spend months in that hellhole?
Or CO, or VA.
But this is Ohio. If you’re not holding a brewski you might as well be wearing a dress.
I have a question for those who were around: How did Reagan manage his reelection landslide? Was he that personally liked? Was Mondale that bad a campaigner? Was the electorate just less divided? Something in the water?
I was just looking at the map and wondering what would make our modern nation go for a candidate 49/50. It’s inconceivable to me.
WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO
Matthew Reid Krell
I have special, personal reasons for hating Ohio. But these work as add-ons.
@Robin G.: A clearer memory for me is standing in a bar the night before the first Reagan election night and arguing “there is no way this country would elect that fucking pig president”.
Spending some time reading up on the California ballot initiatives. Also, I have downloaded some of the Bowery Boys New York history podcasts on iTunes. The two part podcast on the history of Five Points is great, as are the pieces on Delmonico’s (the first real restaurant in the US) and Carnegie Hall.
I love the city and hope for the best for the recovery efforts.
@Robin G.: Campaigns were a lot less organized then, from what I can gather. Nowadays, campaigns are focus group-ed to hell so that they “evolve” to represent the closest thing they can get to a majority of likely voters.
The Electoral College may be dangerous relic, but I’d really prefer to put the reckoning off for another cycle or two.
In air quality news: I am VINDICATED.
We moved into a building with new everything last fall: new furniture, carpets, chairs, construction. And we all got sick all winter, all sealed up in there during the harsh winters. They did not believe me.
So last summer I made sure we kept the door and window (yup, that’s all that opens) because we have temperate summers. And now, air testing came back; the formaldehyde level is just below the toxic level for long term exposure.
So last winter, it was above! (Formaldehyde biodegrades.)
Mr WereBear bought me an air filter with an ionizer, and VOC zapper; I’ve only had it running under my desk for a few days and I can tell the difference.
Yay for science!
And I hope for a healthier winter this year.
@Robin G.: People seriously disliked Carter and Reagan’s handlers hoodwinked the electorate. It was the year I moved to Georgia and I really didn’t give much of a shit. Many of us had bailed on national politics after they early 70’s.
Walter Kirn via Anne Laurie:
Change the word Ohio to Pennsylvania, and that’s exactly how I feel.
The Moar You Know
My father-in-law voluntarily went to Vietnam and enjoyed the dubious privilege of dodging missiles for six years, rather than stay in Ohio.
I feel kind of sorry for you, kid. Come Wednesday not only will Republicanism have failed (yet again), but the ENTIRE MORMON RELIGION will be exposed as a lie.
This is dumb. It’s like Canadians in the prairie provinces bitching about all the Ontarians and Québécois in the House of Commons. If a state is heavily populated enough that it’s going to have a lot of electoral votes, then yes, it will be important politically. And if the two presidential candidates are polling closely in the state, then yes, it will be important to the campaigns. Furthermore, it’s not just Ohio deciding the election, and anyone who’s been paying the least bit of attention to the race will know that. So why should anyone give a fuck if Walter Kirn doesn’t like Ohio?
Looking over the EV at 538, I think it all boils down to this:
1) Florida goes Democratic, they win.
2) Florida goes Republican, as goes Ohio so goes the country.
Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket didn’t help.
So this is why LeBron went to Miami, huh?
I lived in New Haven and never watched television except for the debates, in which Mondale was smart and focused and Reagan was drooling. I didn’t know a single person who was voting for Reagan. So I was what they call “gobsmacked.”
This. That article’s one of the stupider things I’ve read this season.
Well if it comes from the British Press, it must be hacked from a reliable voice mail account.
@The Moar You Know: Missiles, was he a pilot?
Get rid of the EC and what’s to stop the Rethugs from counting 100 million votes for them from Alabama alone.
@Robin G.: I think what happened is that the parties weren’t exactly neatly left vs. right back then, and now they are much closer to being so, so we keep converging to 50-50.
What’s so funny about peace, love, and lawn ornamentation?
I was there and I still have no idea. Reagan always came across to me like the very stereotype of an insincere used car salesman.
That said, I’m guessing a lot of people still hated Jimmy Carter and anything to do with him, including his VP, Walter Mondale.
This election cycle has been so bad I was happy to see a Christmas TV ad last night and as a grouchy old shit I was embarrassed.
The Moar You Know
@Raven: Both my father and father-in-law were pilots in Vietnam. At least my FIL was in a position to shoot back. My dad basically got a slap on the back and a “good fuckin’ luck, sir.”
@Edward_75: Oh you are just so totes adorbs aren’t you?? You do realise the Daily Mail is a Murdoch tabloid?
J. Michael Neal
I remember the 2005 Men’s hockey West Regional here in Minneapolis. With the Gophers playing later that night, the first game was Cornell vs. Ohio State. The Cornell students in attendance got a chant of, “It’s all your fault,” going at the tiny number of OSU fans there.
Or did he just hate hymns and liturgy?
Feels weird to bash Ohio like this. One could blather on about any state in the union like this.
This is a good question.
I was 10 years old at the time. Raygun got stompt in the class room election that we had. Again.
Wasn’t president Raygun like, retarded?
Hope you have the whole day set aside.
Tabloid, yes, but it’s not owned by Rupert Murdoch. He owns the Sun and the Times.
What has become evidently a plus during my focus on campaigns through the years is likability. Kennedy had it over Nixon. Reagan had it over Mondale. Sorry for this one but it’s true -GW had it over Gore.
That’s how it rolled back then.
The Moar You Know
@ant: That was my first time voting. I voted for Mondale. I could not imagine that the drooling homicidal idiot who’d torpedoed the economy could in any way be re-elected.
The wonder of it all is that I kept voting.
@Robin G.: Spin.
Reagan had a hugely talented message machine (there’s a bear in the woods)and he had the village at his back. The Dems had no central identity and were suffering fractional infighting.
The economy finally began to pick up in the summer of 84, and the actor was able to peddle the notion (through deficit spending) that everyone who was white and at least middle class could live the good life.
I have become firmly convinced the Dems need to work on Texas,, Arizona and Colorado. Colorado, I have a feeling will be a gimme next midterm elections. Arizona will be a true swing state in 2016. But Texas is 38 electoral votes. You get the West, the NE, Texas,Ill,AZ, Co, Nev and NM you have 270 without the whole Midwest(except Ill) and the whole South incl. FLA. Not only that if you contest Texas, you put the Repubs on the defense making them spend money on a state they don’t spend a dime in.
To quote the pride of Toledo, the Necros:
Midwest, Midwest time to go
I’d stay but it’s so fucking slow
Stupid people’s all I know
Stupid corn all in rows
Sit around & watch it grow
You’ve got nothing to show
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8!
I.Q.32 I.Q.32 I.Q.32
Midwest fuck you!
As with Nixon – how much of that was simple racism? As someone was saying here a few days ago, he made white people comfortable with their prejudices again and they loved him for it.
The Daily Mail Song.
Actually, the Daily Mail is conservative, but it’s not a Murdoch rag. It’s owned by Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere.
Edited to Add: Acknowledgement that R-Jud @ 36 got there first.
Tin pundits and Rmoney comin
We’re finally on our own
This autumn I hear the drummin
Mitt dies in Ohio
Mitt dies in Ohio
Not necessarily. If Co. NH, and Va go blue, then Florida and Ohio aren’t an obstacle.
The media like the Florida/Ohio narrative because they’ve got it down pat and they’re lazy. They are both essentially familiar territory to pundits who know or care nothing about anything much outside the eastern seaboard. Colorado? Real Americans don’t care about Colorado or Nevada or NM. Only working class white bowlers in Ohio and old folks in Florida are part of the framework. It’s not just the demographic shifts in the country that are disconcerting to Republicans and pundits alike. It’s the opening up of the west as politically important that has them flummoxed.
So where’s the best place online to get results tomorrow? I refuse to rely on any talking head…
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Romney got 47% of the national vote tomorrow?
Thanks for the link. Looks like I was mostly right. Here’s to hoping Florida goes D and we don’t even have to pay attention to the talking heads going on and on about this result and that result for hours or days.
Probably won’t though.
Oh, come on, it’s not that hard. Most of them have obvious answers; there’s only a couple where you really have to bother thinking about it.
Why bother? It won’t change the outcome & you just end up raising your stress level. Enjoy a good book or maybe a DVD movie. Wake up Wed. & read about the Obama win.
My mom said yesterday there’s no way “they” are going to let Obama win a second term. She means there’s no way that a black gets to serve a second term in this country. Not exactly encouraging. My non political junkie sister told me two years ago she didn’t see Obama winning a second term. Same reason as my mom’s.
Have I forgotten something, or is Prop 39 the most arcane thing ever to be put to the voters of our fair state?
Hey. Ohio provided a home to George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra for a gazillion years (e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEwg_AiKC7A)
You know, prefacing something with “Looking over the EV at 538” doesn’t automatically make it more credible. Nate has Florida at +0.3 for Romney, and Ohio at +3.2 for Obama. There is no reasonable reading of that that gets you to “If Florida goes Republican, so does Ohio.”
@Berial: Sorry, misread your “as” as a “so” in the your second point. I retract my response, and substitute echoing dogwood’s.
As fate would have it an unexpected business trip has come up and I find myself in Utah. Utah of all places. BO had better win, I will not be able to make it through Wednesday here.
welp, looks like Obama’s got Christie’s vote locked up!
Obama Connected Bruce Springsteen, Chris Christie During Call From Air ForceOne
y’all think Christie cried like a Lil….
pseudonymous in nc
I think we should be nice to Ohio, at least to the extent that its population is probably going to be suffering from electoral PTSD as a result of another six months of political ads.
Any idea how big the end-of-year parties are going to be at the state’s TV affiliates? Somehow I suspect that Live Action Eyewitness News 14 is going to be delivering the Bolivian Marching Powder in 5 gallon buckets.
@Robin G.: I cast my first-ever vote for Mondale, but even I was voting party/platform and not candidate. My sense at the time — and this is all narrative, no actual data other than the landslide — was that Reagan had really found a winning message with “don’t worry, go back to sleep, everything’s fine” and he was the one to deliver it. He was genial, he was avuncular. He made people feel good. People thought the economy was doing great — Republican economic theories were *perceived* to be working.
And, in spite of all that Moral Majority nonsense, the Republican party wasn’t nearly as right wing on many social issues as they are today. Plus, we have a lot of empirical data proving Republican economic theories to be incorrect, at least in the long run — this means that people who aren’t so ideological are less likely to buy into it, although the lingering Reagan-era stereotype of Republicans as superior for the economy is with us to this day, and you can see it as the source of most of Romney’s support.
@lamh35: Christie also turned down Willard when he asked him to appear at last night’s rally.
@Yutsano: Sorry, looks as if Ass Pull has been memory holed.
I think a huge part of it is that he was benefiting from the Southern Strategy but not yet suffering from the long-term demographic problems it created. He won something like 2/3 of the white vote, mostly by turning middle and working class whites against minorities, and the minorities weren’t yet a big enough part of the electorate to make that a bad strategy. Today’s Republicans are still trying the same approach, but winning 2/3 of the white vote isn’t enough to guarantee a victory, much less a landslide.
I think (though I wasn’t there at the time) what really made that resonate was that the New Left social movements (plus the media and just reality) had spent the last two decades tearing down national myths and shining a light on all the uglier aspects of America – white racist violence, the military’s war crimes in Vietnam, the endless constitutional violations of the security state, etc. Reagan came around and said “you know what, let’s just sweep all that shit under the rug and forget about it.” And the bad guys of the era became the journalists, the activists, all the other people who’d dared to expose what was going on.
Reagan’s quote “you know all these people we’re told about who go to bed hungry? They’re probably all on a diet” is to a large extent what it’s all about. Take a major problem with American society, dismiss it with a pithy quip and sweep it under the carpet. And people ate it up.
I admit, from the point of view of the Nixon and Reagan era, the Southern Strategy must’ve looked like absolute genius. If you want to create a permanent coalition, what could be better than making your base as simple as “white people?” That’s, like, almost everybody!
Fifty years later – oops.
@lamh35: here’s video of Christie talking about meeting Bruce at the telethon Friday and speaking to him on the phone on Air Force One today.
I shucked and jived my way out of another intrusive bit of medical apparatus and will be spending my evening with gauze stuffed up my nose, so screw you medical establishment! Really, they were quite nice about it. Am now studiously avoiding the argument of voting rights, do they exist?-because, really, who am I to contradict logical fallacies proposed by vaunted experts? I can live with people who think differently than me as long as they don’t expect me to draw the same conclusions. Now I’m just waiting for the vicodin to kick in.
@The Moar You Know: Seems like we may be differentiating between fixed and rotor wing.
Speaking of Marriage Equality, this is why this man deserves our support.
President Obama Responds To Bullied 10-Year-Old With Two Dads
Having lived(OK existed) in OH for a few years in a previous life, I’d like to thank Walter Kirn for his stellar description of OH life.
Not that it is a lot better in many other places, it’s just there seems to be a confluence of bland there. I liked it for about the first year because it seemed so laid back. Then I realized that I was only half right. It’s laid down not laid back. Most of the people I knew and or worked with would have moved out(anywhere else!) if it wasn’t for one family member who just wouldn’t leave or they were waiting for their kids to graduate HS.
I am glad I lived there for a while but I never have understood why OH is the key to all presidential elections.
What about the Fur Peace Ranch, it’s in Ohio?
That was my impression as well. But just like the southern strategy, it has a sell-by date, as all those problems eventually come around to bite you in the ass.
Did you hear about the man who was born in Pennsylvania. Over his lifetime he moved to West Virginia, then Kentucky, then Indiana and finally Michigan, where he died and went to hell. The change was so gradual he never noticed.
Oh, take care. At this time, I have a dim view of doctors.
I do hope this goes away and ASAP.
Christie said Sunday that he would vote for Romney. I wish he hadn’t said that. It’s a secret ballot and he could have just said I’m not tellin’.
Depends on the issue. I honestly don’t see what militarism/nationalism’s sell-by date is. No one cares if the military commits war crimes in other parts of the world, and even if it occasionally blows back in our face e.g. 9/11, we don’t react by thinking “damn, maybe we fucked up,” more by doubling down on the original crimes. In Europe, nationalism had to nearly destroy the entire continent twice before it reached a sell-by date. And I don’t see that happening to us any time soon.
The security state may have a clearer sell-by date, but I still don’t think we’re anywhere close to it.
As found on the wonderful wild intertubes…
The Afternoon Tea-Baggers
We now return you to your regularly scheduled kvetching.
@Maude: That would be something the teabaggers would remember when 2016 rolls around.
Nevertheless, I have to think that as long as they get their power issues sorted out soon, Christie’s going to be in a very strong position for 2013, unfortunately. Knowing how ‘rising stars’ work – and Cory Booker is deemed as such, even if I disagree – Booker will pass on 2013, and some generic Democrat will get (relatively) steamrolled by Christie next year.
@R-Jud: Murdoch also has his eye on the Los Angeles Times. If that deal goes down, I will cancel my subscription so fast that the ink on his check will still be wet when I do. I imagine half a million people or so will do the same.
Booker chases the money. I am not supportive of him.
It’s a long time until the gov election. And with Christie, you never know.
I was surprised at his manner during Sandy. I didn’t know he had that in him.
Hoisted from the archives, side 1, track 1 of TBogg’s Greatest Hits.
Jon Husted wasn’t born here. He got adopted here. John Kasich wasn’t born here. He chose to move here.
My daughter was born here in Ohio, and has voted since she was eighteen. When the board of elections in Cuyahoga County decided to dis-enfranchise her (they sent her a letter challenging her voter registration. She happened to be out of town, so she didn’t respond within 48 hours.) Who knows why they chose to pick on her. Possibly because she was living in a black neighborhood. Anyway, she got an award for civic responsibility in August, and in October they took away her right to vote. She has moved out of state and has promised she will never come back. Yay Ohio. My family has been here for six generations but I hate this state.
@Maude: I think he had to say that confirm his RNC bonafides. Thank you for the well wishes. Considering most of my recurring medical issues are the fault of doctors past, I concur with your thoughts.
@Gravenstone: those are possibly the whitest people I have ever seen.
@Maude: Trust me, after his “PE ads make me wanna vomit like an 18 year-old having his first drink at college” comment, I don’t like him either. But he’s still being touted, and it will be interesting if he becomes anything more than mayor of Newark.
In the end, I really wish Richard Codey had told Jon Corzine to stick it where the sun don’t shine and stayed on as governor in 2005. He seemed like a very good fit for the job.
Wasn’t it the military action in Grenada the incident that started turning it around for Reagan?
@PsiFighter37: something I haven’t seen mentioned, but I think Christie’s fuck you to the teabaggers was quite deliberate and meant for his election next year. As a Republican in a Blue State, Christie has to peel off Obama voters, and in most states where no one owned slaves 150 years ago the Tea Party are about as popular as bird flu. So he stands to lose nothing whatsoever for how he acted, Murdoch’s Alzheimerish threats notwithstanding.
Another thing with Reagan’s first election that no one’s mentioned was the Iranian hostage crisis. Carter took a massive hit over that, at the dawn of the 24/7 news cycle.
@LD50: Well, he’s told them to fuck off before. The one incident that comes to mind is when he nominated a Muslim for the NJ Supreme Court and the teabaggers started freaking out. He basically called them a bunch of nutjobs.
Overall, I think he’s very good at handling the fringe of his party – but the rest of his policies are pretty standard-issue Republican. Isn’t it sad that what might count as being a moderate Republican these days is not simply dropping your pants and taking a stinking dump, while simultaneously screaming incoherently about shariah law forcing all our women to have abortions on demand?
Yes, it’s become a very low bar for semi-sane Republicans to hop over these days.
I remember the first time I voted, Ohio had something like 27 EV. Now it’s 18. Pennsylvania is bigger.
Anyway, my favorite Ohio joke goes something like this: The best thing about Ohio is that there is an Interstate highway running through it that anyone with a full tank of gas could travel from Indiana to West Virginia (or from Pennsylvania to Kentucky – I’ve actually pulled that one off) without so much as slowing down.
My second favorite one goes like this: How do you know when Ohio deer have migrated to Pennsylvania? Just lift the tail. You’ll see an O there.
@koolearl: It was lower taxes, at least at first, coupled with greatly increased defense spending, which increased employment, at least for awhile. This created the famous “Reagan Democrats” which swept him to power. Once the house of cards collapsed, and he had to increase taxes repeatedly, the picture changed, but his myth lives on, powered by wingnuts who today would hate many of his policies if they were aware of them.
@Miki: Something for which I remain eternally grateful.
@lamh35: Leave out the “Lil,” and I’m sure he did.
@Ash Can: @Ash Can: Well, I’m thinking old Walt Kim can go fuck himself.
What the hell. Places like Cleveland Detroit NYPPittsburgh dragged the rest of the country into the modern age. Our industry paid for the nations electrification and infrastructure. You prissy peckers.
@PeakVT: I think people tend to forget that the Electoral College and state control of voting are in the Constitution and so require Constitutional amendments to change. I would prefer that voting regulations be a federal authority; we’ve had more than 200 years of state and local bullshit. Also, I think the EC should be abolished; it is an 18th century, anti-democratic anachronism. But in today’s polarized political environment, neither initiative would achieve the required 2/3rds state legislature approval. Not for many, many years.
Even at the time, people within the GOP were pointing out that it was a short-term strategy that risked turning the whole party into an irrelevant rump eventually. But — as one harbinger of the short-term thinking that’s infected every part of the Republican philosophy since then — the guys with their hands on the levers decided that, as long as racism & ratfvcking could get them through this election, who cared what happened in four years, much less fifty?
Mary from Ohio
I am pretty sure that someone who voted for Nader in Florida in 2000, should not be casting vicarious aspersions on people from Ohio. Articles like this are why people who live in “fly over” country do not like pundits. Just saying.