Occassional reflections of a moderate (hey at least I think I am)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Letter to Sen. McCain re: Ohio

Senator McCain:

I am an Ohio voter. I had the pleasure of voting for you in the 2000 Republican Presidential primary. I look forward to the opportunity to vote for you again in both the 2008 Presidential primary and the 2008 general election.

I am writing because of the juxtaposition of two recent endorsements you have made. First, you have come out on record as supporting Proposition 77 in California. According to what I have read, this proposal will take district drawing out of the hands of the legislature. Second, you have come out in support of J. Kenneth Blackwell to be Governor of the State of Ohio. I understand why you would support Mr. Blackwell.

My concern is that here in Ohio we have a number of measures on the ballot which are aimed at reforming the way elections are conducted. Among the measures is Issue 4 which would take district drawing out of elected officials hands. I understand why Republicans do not want to reform the system in Ohio; they have had control over the district drawing and think they will on into the future (in part due to the line drawing).

I was not planning on writing to you until I saw the following quote from Mr. Blackwell in today’s Columbus Dispatch. “Blackwell said he opposes all the election-reform issues, but singled out State Issue 4, which would create an independent nine-member commission to redraw congressional and state legislative district boundary lines. . .
‘It’s just politics and there’s nothing wrong with that,’ he said.”

Anyone who would suggest there is nothing wrong with politics in the State of Ohio is not paying attention. Yes, the process has given us Republican control for the past decade and a half. However, the system has also given us one of the most corrupt State governments around. Here is a partial list of evidence:

1. State Treasurer used his office to funnel investment contracts to contributors.
2. House speaker finds a way to thwart tort reform because of contributions received from out of state trial lawyers.
3. Various politicians skirt campaign finance laws by collecting money in county party coffers (largely unregulated) and making contributions to other party funds.
4. Investing state moneys in coins because it is pushed by a contributor.
5. Governor breaks law by taking gifts from people he regulates.

I will leave it at five, but I won’t even mention Bob Ney, since you know more about his antics than I. It is so bad that when John Kasich was discussing a possible run for governor he was quoted as saying that he would run only if the “party commits to ending pay-to-play politics.” It is pretty bad when one of our own stalwarts (and my former Congressman) has to put it in those terms.

It would be one thing to be against the proposals for reform but have another platform to address the clear inadequacies of our system here. But no one opposed to the proposals are. They may propose band-aids but nothing that addresses the fundamental problem of the corrupting influence of money in politics in this State. It is a state that would make Jack Abramoff comfortable.

I know there is nothing you can or will do about this. I do not expect (or want) you to do anything vis a vis your endorsement of Mr. Blackwell. I guess more than anything I wish we had someone here would put competence over corruption; good governance over party.