America’s Primary Challenge – Tears of a Clown 16


As many around these parts may know by now, I have a thing about the primary elections in this country and the opportunities that an average 20% turnout presents to motivated, grassroots insurgencies.  I believe with an audience of 80% of the voting public there is more than enough room to seriously ruin an incumbent’s day.

Ohio’s 8th District is the home of House minority leader John Boehner, who currently faces a challenge by just such an effort.

Businessman and German immigrant Manfred Schreyer brings a pragmatic, common sense critique to the race.  With more than 20 years in Congress, Boehner has a lackluster record and the gall to put on blubbering displays of outrage that are not worthy of the seat or the party, so I suspect this challenge could lead to something depending on Manfred’s ground-game.

I don’t know anything about Ohio’s 8th district, but if John Boehner has been reelected ten times, there is clearly a disconnect between reality and sanity in that part of the Buckeye state.

The man is such a perfect hypocrite and sycophant that he can say something like this about health insurance reform passing when seventeen years earlier his republican colleagues offered an oddly similar plan in response to Bill Clinton’s health reform efforts.  Consistency in Washington is not a highly valued trait except when it comes to winning elections that are mostly tipped toward one party or the other each cycle due to a misplaced emphasis on November’s general election.

Which brings us back to the coming primary election on May 4, 2010 in Ohio and how the state has fared under the schizophrenic care of Congressman John Boehner these last two decades.  None too well I would imagine.  To the residents of Boehner’s 8th district, I would like to highlight another date – April 5.  That is the deadline for registration and it is not party specific.  Once you arrive at your polling place on May 4, you “declare” your party affiliation by requesting their ballot.

This allows anyone, regardless of party loyalty, to vote in the republican party primary for Manfred as long as you live in Boehner’s district and are a registered voter with the state of Ohio.  It also allows you to have a say in your district’s politics, regardless of party, since you already know the general election is fait accompli based on who wins the republican primary in the spring.  Just like it is here in DC depending on who wins the democratic party primary.

Incumbents are particularly vulnerable in many areas of the country in the very near future and I think most Americans would be surprised at just how little effort it would take to unseat some who should have left a long time ago.

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16 thoughts on “America’s Primary Challenge – Tears of a Clown

  • *

    Well Jason, I think the tea-baggers, birthers and militias will be the swing vote in just about every incumbent race. From what I hear, the majority of them are self-proclaimed once-upon-a-time republican. And they’ll be working hard as hell for the candidate on the farthest right they can find. I think they’ll bleed off republican voters which should make a Democrats chances of winning an almost sure bet. And in areas that have high concentrations of card carrying republicans, is where the fireworks will be the brightest – a battle over who controls the Party and the Agenda. Personally, I would very much like to see the tea-baggers get a couple of seats in Congress at the republicans expense. That way, they’ll have to confront the monsters their own id let loose on the rest of us.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Tea Partiers voting for far right candidates in the primary election doesn’t do a thing to help democrats in districts like Ohio’s eighth which is reliably red.

      Once the general election rolls around, whomever is on the republican ticket wins the election, which is why it is important for moderates of all stripes to ensure a sane conservative makes it through the primary.

      As long as democrats think that last statement is an impossible measure or a contradiction in terms, we will continue to live the gerrymandered nightmare we currently have.

  • Joe Wood

    John Boehner is the most predictable man in Washington. He employs the same ridicule and sarcasm with each press statement. His overconfidence is his weakness.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I agree, but with an average turnout of only 20% for primary elections, his over-confidence has been rewarded time and again at the polls.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I linked to Manfred’s website, the republican challenger for the Ohio primary. The guy seems to be a more traditionally conservative candidate with legitimate criticisms for Boehner.

      • Lalo35adm

        I’m sorry but his site is a bit like TPM: 90% Boehner-bashing (with abandon) and 10% of generic platitudes about his own positions that are indistinguishable from anyone else, including Boehner himself.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          The guy is an entrepreneur, an immigrant success story, who can surely do no worse than Boehner has these last twenty years and is certainly justified in spending 90% of his time bashing the incumbent.

          That he doesn’t have a slick, well-worn patter of the professional politician is a positive in my book. I would advise him to position his ideas in a way that is much more clear, but that isn’t really the point of this blog.

          The point is that we don’t have to accept the Hobson’s choice that general election has become.

          • Lalo35adm

            I’m not so sure. As we’ve learned in the last election, appearances can be (and usually, are) deceiving.

            The fact that gives me pause is that he’s railing against “a person”, not “a system” or “a direction”.

            He’s running as a Republican candidate, unless I missed something, so – one brick in the wall replacing another brick. The wall remains.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            But it is still a wall, not a road. We have to work within the system we have. Keep putting in new bricks until we find one that actually fits the hole and matches the pattern.

          • Lalo35adm

            I still disagree. There is virtually no difference between Republicans and Democrats today, except for a few highly publicized kabuki dances:

            – both support militaristic foreign policy
            – both support huge government (their only difference is in how to finance it)
            – both support invasion of privacy
            – both support “war on terror”
            – both support denial of gay marriage

            In the big scheme of things, the differences are minor (wealth redistribution, for example).

            So this new guy is running to become a part of that machine. Perhaps slightly better functioning part than Boehner, but that’s trivial and cosmetic at the end of the day.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Your preferred solution would be what? Storm the Bastille? They have bigger guns.

          • Lalo35adm

            Lately, I’m finding Ron Paul very persuasive.

            Plus the charming and nice old Teabagging lady on Letterman the other day – I was floored by the contrast between her and the teabagger propaganda Josh Marshall is spewing.

            My point is – I’m done with the two mainstream parties in America.

            The longer they are allowed to rule the country, the longer we’ll continue to believe there are only “R” or “D” options to anything. And the details (war in Iraq or in Afganistan; drilling a lot or drilling some) are just the variations on the same theme.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Ron Paul has always been persuasive which is why he keeps getting re-elected.

            However, many of his ideas are no more workable in today’s America than Dennis Kucinich’s. Not that they are bad ideas, they are just formed independent of the actual country they are meant to govern and the consensus they need to find.

            We are a nation of daily inches that lead to miles of progress over decades. If we are really serious about fixing our crumbling government structures – both federal and local – we need to start thinking much more strategically.

            I think rebuilding the existing parties from the inside via the tireless efforts of millions of new (last two or three elections cycles new…) voters is the only way for us to change such a moribund and corrupt system.

            I afraid we had the revolutionary spirit beaten out of us these last 230 years, so evolution is all we have left.

  • dickday

    You know McConnell looks like a repub. He looks like a mean banker in one of those 30’s movies.

    Boner does not.

    But he has been ranting more lately. He really wishes to sound like he is part of this new groundswell.

    The repubs march to a drummer, and they are all in step. While Lindsey Graham sings off key every once in awhile, the next day he is ranting about socialism. But at least he changes tune once in a while.

    If I were in a repub district, I would indeed make my vote count by registering at the primary level.

    I know these repubs are reading from the same page, but who is writing the page? That is what I don’t get. I mean Rove did for quite some time.

    the end

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I think you hit a key point of making one’s registration for their district be in-line with the demographics.

      There is always at least one republican who is more Ike than Ronnie and could be someone the average democrat in a red district could support as a much better alternative.

      Vote democrat in the general if you must, but show up and make a primary vote count. Doesn’t take much given the traditionally low percentage for turnout, especially for mid-terms.

      I only wish I had more choice here at the center of power. Ironic how little impact District citizens have on Congress given our zip codes.