Sunday, November 05, 2000

Election antics worthy of prizes

        Soon, this election will have no sound but the one you make popping holes in a ballot card.

        Soon, there will be no 30-second TV ads with politicians on puppet strings, GI Joe dolls or really bad actors being outraged over gay marriage.

        They'll all have to shut up and sit down.

        Here are just some of the low moments Ohio politicians have treated you to in this election season:

        • The Richard M. Nixon Memorial Award goes to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ted Celeste. For sheer pointlessness, it would be hard to top Mr. Celeste's baffling promise to stump in all 88 of Ohio's counties in a few days' time, echoing the disastrous Nixon promise of 1960 to visit all 50 states.

        That year, John F. Kennedy decided wisely to stick to campaign events in the states that counted. This year, Mr. Celeste found himself blowing into rural Republican counties where all the Democrats could fit on one elevator car, if those counties had elevators for something other than grain.

        The tour accomplished nothing. But if you ever need directions to Bucyrus, Ted “Rand McNally” Celeste is your guy.

        • For utter desperation, it is hard to top the press release issued by the Ohio Democratic Coordinated Campaign Committee, the Gore-Lieberman campaign's get-out-the-vote arm in Ohio.

        Mr. Gore has been consistently behind in Ohio polls; there is more than a little evidence that the Gore-Lieberman campaign decided weeks ago to pull up stakes in Ohio and move elsewhere. Like Tennessee.

        But Thursday, the coordinated campaign office press release pointed out that Art Modell, the pro football owner who pulled the Browns out of Cleveland and turned them into the Baltimore Ravens, contributed $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

        Many in Cleveland still spit on the ground at the mention of the name Modell; and the press release's headline — “Art Modell Loves George W. Bush” — was meant to convince Cleveland area swing voters to aim their expectorations at Bush-Cheney.

        • The Joe McCarthy Lifetime Achievement award is a three-way tie: the Hamilton County Republican Party, the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee and a conglomeration of corporate executives who call themselves Citizens for a Strong Ohio.

        The Hamilton County GOP, with polls showing commissioner Bob Bedinghaus trailing because GOP voters are angry over the stadium deal, let loose with a $200,000 TV ad campaign accusing Democrat Todd Portune of everything short of assassinating Abe Lincoln. From their charges about Portune support of gay marriage to “guns for sneakers” to juvenile curfew, the GOP claims were distortions.

        Citizens for a Strong Ohio, which wants very badly to defeat Democratic incumbent Alice Robie Resnick in the Ohio Supreme Court race Tuesday, called her, in effect, an immoral person who takes payoffs for her court votes — none of which is true.

        And the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee hit the bottom of the barrel with its ad campaign touting Republican Tony Condia and attacking Democrat Steve Driehaus, claiming he supports raising income taxes. There is not a shred of truth in it.

        Don't worry, though, it's very quiet in those voting booths.



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