Electorial Dysfunction - Live Blogging!

Greetings from the 20th Century in Oakley Square, where tonight the Hamilton County Democratic Forum presents Electorial Dysfunction, with main speakers Jerry Springer and Ohio Democratic Part Chair Chris Redfern. I'm Zack Morris, and tonight me and fellow DL blogger Nattie Hattie will give you a live run-down of tonight's events, as well as our take on the speakers. Tonight I'm hoping to see a solid energizing of the base. After the past several weeks, it should be pretty clear to any Democrat that changes need to be made, and now is the time to get things moving to build momentum for the November elections. Nattie will be here shortly to give her opening thoughts.

NH: Nattie is in the hizzy! About ready to begin. Forgive the onslaught of typos and misspellings to follow.

Cheryl starts strong! Dems represent!

Intros: David Cook is here... Phyllis Bossin... Jody Grundy... Margaret Rose... Caleb Fox (blogging with us)... Shout outs to DL, Democracy for Cinti...

Politician roll call: State Senator Katharine Bennett is here, as is David Crowley... David Pepper... Tyrone Yates...

Tim Burke predicts DL will act up all nite. He's probably right. Tim talks about the past political exploits of Springer: he stood up as an anti-war candidate in his early political career; fought for public funding of affordable public transport and private investment in sporting arenas. Won 7 Emmys.

Jerry Springer, no stranger to dysfunction goes on first. Jerry, BTW, is looking good. (I wish I could channel my inner Joan Rivers at this point.)

He discusses how scary it is that the country has been taken over; everything is about oil, and both parties are not immune to it's power.

"We are better than our government..." "We are NOT George Bush!" He talks about the danger of Bush making the world into a democracy--Bush's notion of democracy. "There is no connection between democracy and anti-terrorism." Starting wars is not the way to make the world secure. "Bush is not the leader of the world."

We should be involved in the world, but not militarily. We can't take over the world--and not for the sole reason to make oil companies wealthy. We don't "save" to countries without oil. "This president has to go."

ZACK: I think Jerry just made a John Kerry "Why the long face joke".

The point Jerry hits on, which ought to resonate with the crowd, is that we should be putting country above party. When we start focusing too much on party, then we get to the corruption that we currently have, where one party rules for too long a time.

He continues to emphasize the two-party system, using the two-fingered 'peace' sign to illustrate his point.

The big issue is to make the argument less about what party you are, and more about specific issues, and that leads to more civilized discussion. Otherwise, we're just getting stuck in this rut where we continue to vote the same way as we always have, and nothing changes. The first step would be to tell Steve Chabot that he needs to get private sector employment. Jerry offers him the audience coordinator job on his TV show. Here's hoping he gets to work with the bald security guy.

NH: here's the way to reclaim Ohio according to Springer: love your country more than your party; support a two-party system and throw out the current bums in office. "One party rule isn't healthy"--this is what we need everyone to understand. "They will vote our way--becuse we deserve it."

Standing O for Jerry!

Apparently, some candidates came in from the cold... I hope they heard some of Jerry's speech.

AnotherDem now introduces Todd Portune: standing O for Todd!!!

Intro for Chris Redfern: taking back the country, Todd says, begins here, tonight. Getting the right leadership on a state-level, securing candidates in a grassroots way (like Colorado), is crucial.

Chris takes the stage. Loves gatherings like this with an open bar (he'll get along with us famously!).

ZACK DADDY: Let's see, Chris has slammed Heimlich, Bob Taft, Tom Noe, Blackwell (who he says hates everyone). At this rate he'll be calling out Gerald Ford any second.

Chris is just a ball of energy, very charismatic.

Chris hits on the idea that this party is not about the politicians, but the constituency. This is the opportunity to make Ohio great again, and pull Ohio out of its malaise. Ohio has lost more manufacturing jobs than any state in the country, tuition rates are skyrocketing, but the Right wants to ban gay marriage.

Chris jokes that Blackwell may pass a law banning gay illegal immigrants. That ought to be a fun time.

For the first time in modern history, he compares Bowling Green to the Statue of Liberty (poor, tired, hungry). Good thing Chris is a Falcon, easy to lose the West Central part of the state.

The central theme continues to be to speak to the people, and get them past the party issue. He wants to get out the ideas of reproductive freedom, anti-death penalty, and military service. But above all, the party needs to continue to be a big tent, and not exclusionary. The point we need to continue to keep in mind is to keep the focus on policy, stay away from the name calling (despite the fact that some of it may be true, see convict and Bob Taft).

NH: Step 1 to reclaim Ohio: build Ohio counties from the bottom up. If we had increased Democrat voter turnout by one percent in each county, Kerry would have won. He cites Colorado and Montana as models to emulate. He predicts if Dems can win governor and attorney general in Ohio, a Dem can become president again.

Chris jokes about putting up yard signs tonight--I don't think he's joking, though.

Standing O for Chris! Great speaker.


Steve Silver, another state rep candidiate, is here. They're coming out of the woodwork toight.

ZACK ATTACK: David Cook, the 'original Democrat', is making the rhetorical pitch for cash. Since blogging does not pay well, it's a good thing that we're up in the balcony, so they can't get to us. But it's a good cause, and it helps to support the Democratic campaigns across the state.

Time for the Q&A portion of the show, as well as the petition drive for the candidates.

Q: How do we address the need to have a national Democratic voice outside of Air America?

JERRY: We need to find ways to define the debate from our side as well, and not just the conservatives. Pressure needs to be applied to the Democratic politicians to speak out, and not try to act like pseudo-Republicans. Republicans tend to speak with one voice, since most of them are connected by wealth, as opposed to Democrats , who have a wide variety of interest groups involved.

Democrats need to come up with a narrative, somewhat of a mission statement, that defines who we are, instead of just coming with a laundry list of issues. The list doesn't resonate with the voters, the statement does.

Q: What strategy do we use to combat Blackwell's right-wing religion?

CHRIS: We need to make sure we are inclusive. Our issues reflect that of the New Testament. We believe in taking care of the poor, helping the sick, and helping our fellow man. We're not usually comfortable with discussing religion, but we need to get there.

Q: What can we do about the atmosphere of fear that G.W. Bush has created?

JERRRY: We are less secure when we have the recklessness of the leadership of this country. This president talks about security but does not demonstrate it. We need to feel secure and safe from terrror.

Make sure that we're prepared for a disaster. Make sure that we don't allow the terrorists to attack. But give us the security of an education, or health care, or from the fear that we can't go to another country because we're afraid of getting accosted.

You can't have security if you're reckless. You can't have security if you don't have the money to pay for it, instead of spending $400 billion a year on a senseless war in Iraq.

Q: What can we do to win the blue collar/soccer mom vote?

CHRIS: Ken Blackwell was asked last week about his position on choice. He said that he would push to outlaw abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, or even for the life of the mother. We need to get this message to the soccer moms of the state, to get them to think about what this will mean to their daughters.

Q: Why do Democrats have such difficulty framing the issues?

JER-RY, JER-RY!: Easy answer: we don't have the pulpit/podium to define the issue. Movements take time to develop.

When you think of the major movements of the past century, whether it be workers rights, civil rights, or womens rights, they all were Democratic movements. The best spokesperson is someone that connects events with justice. Justice is tougher, and prevails, over charity.

The idea is what needs to be pushed. Spokespeople will come when the time is right. Look at Rosa Parks. Who would have thought that she would be the ultimate spokesperson.

The worst obscenity (and Jerry knows a little something about that) is that Bush waited 52 minutes to mention anything about Katrina (writer's note: that's because he knows he can't win on that issue because he blew it so bad, so he wants to keep as quiet as possible on it).

NATTIE HATTIE: So, as Jerry says at the end of his show, what did we learn tonight? We learned that we need to focus on grassroots efforts in each Ohio county. We need to show conviction in our beliefs and convince voters to love their country more than their parties. And once we have convinced people in Ohio that the Democratic Pary is willing to fight for their interests (affordable healh care, reproductive rights, more and better jobs, ending the war in Iraq), then we can reclaim Ohio --and the nation. So remember: take care of yourselves -- and each other.

ZACHARIAH: Nattie you ignorant slut (woohoo, got it in!). Good night all!

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