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Back to Ohio

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Message John McDonald

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."  

Woody Hayes, Football Coach, Ohio State University

I really have nothing against Ohio.  It’s just that I find it a little odd that once again the fate of the Democratic Party appears to be in the hands of the voters of the Buckeye state.  My guess is that how Ohio votes on Tuesday will go along way toward determining just who the Democratic Presidential candidate will be.

Call me paranoid, but that makes me a little uneasy.  I mean, this isn’t exactly a state that has made a lot of good decisions lately. Maybe we should just see who they vote for, and then nominate the other person.

It was Ohio you will remember who re-elected George W. Bush to a second term.  Never mind that the policies of the Bush administration were driving the Ohio economy into the ditch in 2004.  Ohio voters came out of the bushes to vote against gay marriage, and while they were at it to vote against John Kerry.

Maybe they were just seeking salvation.  It was after all that Ohio paragon Woody Hayes who once famously said "There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Apparently the voters of Ohio decided to take him up on his advice. 

Few states have suffered more under the Bush administration than Ohio. There are 58,000 fewer jobs in Ohio than in November 2001, according to research compiled by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS).  Since the Inauguration of President Bush to his second term in 2005, Ohio has lost more than 37,000 manufacturing jobs.  That’s more than ten percent of all manufacturing jobs lost in the United States during the same period.  In December 2007, the unemployment rate in Ohio stood at six percent.

And it’s not just jobs people are losing, it’s their homes. According to research by Realtytrac of Irvine, Ca, new foreclosure filings in Ohio have more than tripled, from 49,844 in 2005 to 153,196 last year. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that one in every 58 Ohio households was in some stage of foreclosure last year.  There were nearly 50,000 foreclosure filings in 2007 in the Cleveland area alone.


The War in Iraq has also taken a heavy toll in Ohio. No matter how many times Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama crisscross the state, there are 165 votes they won’t get.  Those would be the votes of the 165 sons of Ohio who have given their lives in George Bush’s War in Iraq.  How many of those brave soldiers might still be alive if Ohio voters had paid a little less attention to what Gays were doing in the privacy of their bedroom and a little more attention to the lies George Bush was telling them?


And so, on the eve of the 2008 Ohio primary, one has to wonder if the voters of Ohio have finally had enough. Are they ready for change? It will be interesting to see if Ohio generates the same high level of turnout by tens of thousands of voters fed up with the Bush administration that has marked primary voting in other states.  But whether they pick Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night, their real portent lays in the fall elections. My guess is that whoever wins Ohio, wins the Presidency.  One would think that with the beating they have taken from Republican policies even the dumbest Buckeye would be ready to vote Democratic. 

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John McDonald is a writer and consultant in Los Angeles.
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