After one crazy surprise after another at the federal level lasting not into the recent past, but rather, well into the distant past, it was good to see that the U.S. House of Representatives re-elected Nancy Pelosi Wednesday as Democratic House Leader.
Tim Ryan, U.S. Representative of Ohio's 13th District, was Pelosi's sole challenger. It is no time for playing games in Washington, D.C., right now. At least if you're standing on the thin Blue Side, staring at all that Red, Red. Red.
It's an arguable point that Ryan has proven himself to be a lackluster congressman; and although he's been in Congress since 2003, he appears to be one of many Mahoning Valley Selfservatives who are hardly Democrats in theory or practice, but rather, one of a legion of chameleons who are in the game to make politics a career and to enjoy all the fruits of the bounty that comes with being a 'fortunate son'.
A fixture in D.C. for all too long now, Ryan has done little for his constituency, his Congressional District, and even our country that he is often maligned and ridiculed as a "do nothing" in the comment threads of the newspapers around the area he represents.
Ryan should be setting the tone and pace for other political leaders in his area but his ambling speed seems to be set on "slow", "slower", and "stop". A Congressman in a remote and forgotten Rust Belt Byway should be the leading leader setting the bar higher and higher for his district's state representatives and senators, mayors, city and village council officials, county commissioners, township trustees, and yes, even its civil servants employed in the public sector. Instead of looking to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown for some political salvation and greatness, Ryan and other high-ranking Dems working at the federal level should be leading the charge. Instead, all eyes seem to be staring at Sen. Brown to fill in some good and grand way, a True Blue hallucination of Democratic Party "greatness". And unbelievably, Sen. Brown usually delivers on his promises and overall, has done a splendid job for the Buckeye State, in this writer's humble opinion.
Sherrod Brown's shoulders are big but he's not a messiah. A grass-roots effort needs to be unleased to paint a dark blue into Ohio's political fabric - or the Buckeye State will go as deep a crimson as the states in the Deep South. The election of early this month should send shock waves throughout Ohio's Democratic political structure!
Talk is cheap and in Youngstown, that means boasting like a prize fighter going into the ring. Tim Ryan appeared briefly on one of the Youngstown, Ohio, area's TV news broadcasts Tuesday night saying something of the effect that it is time for a change and that he's a "tough, scrappy guy from the Mahoning Valley" who is ready and able to lead the U.S. House's Democratic Party.
You have done so little for this area, tough guy, that if I showed your picture to 20 people on the street around these haunted hallows, I bet only a handful would be able to guess your name. They'd probably say, "Oh, he's a talk show host," or "Yes, he's that soap opera star," or, "I have no idea who that guy is." Just like some late-night comedians show pictures of the most famous founding fathers, even of the likes of Honest Abe, with dumbfounded Americans staring at these photos and muttering "Dah?"
No, Tim, your peers in the House picked right. We need a tough and fearless leader to go up against a Republican-led House, not to mention the fallout that will surely come from a Republican-led Senate and a President Elect who claims he's a Republican, but who is looking more and more like a potential dictator as his Tweeting Hurricane whips around from one insane and scary news moment to the next.
These Selfservatives - all Democrats, by the way (it is an impossibility for a Republican to get elected in Mahoning Valley's cities like Youngstown and Warren, and even in its townships and boroughs), so they all blame the closing of the steel mills nearly a half century ago for all the Mahoning Valley's economic woes. They are a lazy and luckless bunch, allowing for the most noxious of industries to set up shop, like anchoring a gargantuan natural gas power plant, nothing less than a fracking well on steroids, in the same vicinity where one of the world's largest hazardous waste incinerators continues to operate. A hideous retention pond holding noxious chemical byproducts, including poisonous fly ash that enters the atmosphere whenever the wind blows, is right across the state line in Hookstown, Pa. And the second most polluted river in the USA, the Mighty Ohio, keeps rolling on and on, right down to the Mississippi River, which is the most polluted of all our nation's rivers. So to call this little 12-mile by 12-mile area anything other than an anomalous poison pit would be a falsity. And the little cities in southern Columbiana County - like East Liverpool, Wellsville, and Lisbon - have a drug-addled subculture of very sick people. Even Salem, in northern Columbiana County, has been hit with the same heroin and opiate deluge, making for dangerous surroundings for all residents, not to leave out rampant crime, and hopeless, poor, opioid-addicted zombies willing to do just about anything to get another fix.
Youngstown and Warren, meanwhile, are blighted and depraved, with high unemployment rates, unbelievable crime problems anchored in a drug epidemic, too, and even old hold-over issues from the "good old days" of gambling and mob corruption, with longstanding Niles, Ohio, mayor in a world of legal trouble having just been charged with 56 public corruption counts, is one of the lead stories these days in the local newspapers and TV news broadcasts. Niles, Ohio, is where Ryan grew up, and it's also the birthplace of President William McKinley, by the way. Youngstown's Mayor, John A. McNally, meantime, was sentenced this past spring in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, along with former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and Youngstown Atty. Martin Yavorcik for serious crimes involving the public trust. The Judge did not give any of these guys jail time, but she certainly could have levied some serious incarceration penalties on one and all. Mahoning County Democratic Chair, David Betras, has asked McNally to step down as mayor on several occasions, but no, John A. just won't do it. By all accounts, McNally seems intent on running for re-election.
So if Tim Ryan is going to tout all the good he's done for his Congressional District and the people he represents, well, he will definitely come up goose eggs in front of a large mass of his home crowd. Massive layoffs at the GM Lordstown plant, the region's largest employer, will see 1,245 jobs lost in January, too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Has our U.S. Representative given even a sound bite to local News teams about this horrid economic news? Hell no, he's been on TV lately boasting about what kind of a tough Democratic Minority Speaker of the House he will be when he replaces Pelosi! Ryan's predecessor, James A. Traficant Jr., would have been raising all sorts of hell about the GM Lordstown layoffs because he was a working man's congressman. Eccentric and crazy? Yes. Even corrupt, but Traficant took care of his people. And it was very much a quid pro quo sort of thing with Traficant - he'd know if GM Lordstown goes defunct, we might as well all move to Bangladesh or Nigeria.
Nancy Pelosi is a proven winner and even as far back as Jan. 6, 2011, in an ALTERNET article that appears online titled "Nancy Pelosi: The Most Effective Speaker of the House in History", the article begins with: "As Nancy Pelosi hands off the Speaker's gavel to John Boehner today, she also hands him a tough act to follow. Despite insistent attempts to malign her during her four years as Speaker of the House, the California congresswoman turns out to have been arguably the most effective person in that post in U.S. history. And it's not just rah-rah Democrats saying so."