Victory 2006 - the live blog

Good evening all! This is Zack Morris, and tonight Nattie Hattie and I will be live blogging from the 20th Century theater in Oakley Square, as the Hamilton County Democratic Forum presents its monthly event, this one titled Victory 2006. We've already run into John Cranley, David Pepper, Gaby Downey, and many others, so it should be a high powered event.

You may remember that we blogged the February event with guest speaker Jerry Springer. Well, obviously we didn't get banned from the events for good, so they let us back in to do it again.

Nattie is currently setting up some audio for podcasting, so while we're waiting for the show to start, let me first thank DL blog contributor jk, as well as Stan and the rest of the tech crew for setting us up with a sweet wi-fi connection, and a sound system strong enough to give us a nice, clear reception.

The show will be starting soon, keep checking back for updates.


The show starts with the line 'George Bush has just been impeached!'. Nothing like a quote like that to get the crowd riled up. Now we're running through a laundry list of national and local political atrocities that the Democrats are tired of. All of the candidates are lined up on the stage.

Additional candidates at the event include Eric Kearney, Dem chairman Tim Burke, Steve Silver (a good vet of DL), Eve Bolton (my high school civics teacher), and 'Gentleman' Jim O'reilly (something I would never be accused of being). Maria Ferro is in the house. Brent Gray and Kathy Lippert are also in attendance (Brent is a good DL guy as well). Rick Smith has announced his presence as well
(he's a DL favorite). Lots of good DL guys, you should come out and meet them, and us.

The moderator (forgive me, I didn't get his last name, his first name is Tony), is giving more emphasis to party organziation from the top down.

And Paul Hackett has just been introduced as the keynote speaker to a standing ovation! They're playing a special music mix for him that included the theme from Shaft, which Nattie has some alternate lyrics for. I feel like it's almost a WWE event, throw a couple chairs and we're there.

Paul starts out by giving grief to Another Dem, and how she doesn't need to hold up time cards for him anymore. The first big point is to make sure everyone knows that he's here for the party (Democratic, that is), and he wants to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunity we have. Look at what's out there; Jean Schmidt (always an easy target), Bob McEwen, etc.

He emphasized the strength of our candidates and their diversity. We've got business owners,
doctors, homemakers, and that's just for the 2nd district. Then he moves on to discuss John Cranley, and how he's got a great shot to knock off Chabot, especially given the fight that Greg Harris gave him last year on a minimal budget.

The next shot comes at the Republicans, who already have signs up way before the primaries, and are going to spend, spend, and spend, so we have to put our money up. But the 1st and 2nd are going to be national races, because of what happened last summer. So there's an opportunity that we've got in front of us, and the future is at stake. Right now we're on the brink of giving the next generation a weaker and more restricted nation than we grew up with, so it's important to get our people in government to change that.

Nattie Hattie: Awesome speech! To pay tribute to Paul, I have revised the lyrics of "Shaft" in his honor:

Who's the Keynote Speaker
That's a sex machine to all the liberal chicks?
Ya damn right!

Who is the man that would risk his neck
For his brother Dem?
Can you dig it?”

That Hack is one bad mother--shut your mouth!

Dave Altman takes the stage and wishes Paul "Happy Birthday." One of DL's own, Shelia Smith, has the honor of passing the basket for donations. As Paul said,
2nd district will be won by the Dems, but we have to raise the money.

The format of tonight: opening statements by each of the candidates, which will be two minutes long. Cheryl Crow, who organized the event, will be timekeeper. Questions and answers will follow.

John Cranley will speak first, so he can be with his father after he emerges from surgery (godspeed to him). Cranley wastes no time: "I will be the Congressman of the 1st district." Cranley cites FDR and John Kennedy as Democrats who changed the country at dire times. He cites 3 priorities: 1. develop energy independence, 2. reduce the defecit and 3. a renewed purpose to social justice. He cites the need to lead in technology, develop clean energy alternatives, reach out to the poor, and improve health care--all things that Steve Chabot rejects. Remarking about Chabot's trips to India, Cranely promises that he will stay in Delhi, Cincinnati instead of Delhi.

Now it's time for the five candidates for the 2nd district seat.

Gaby Downey spoke of how she's embarassed to know that, as a teacher, we have a president that is proud of being a C student. She wants us to focus on health care, Mideast relations, and hard work to get us back where we need to be.

Jeff Sinnard discussed how we have lost our way, and the Democrats need to hold closer to family values.

Vic Wulsin speaks next, and emphasizes that she can raise the money to win. Her vision is that of the Democrats, which emphasizes compassion and service, as opposed to greed. She has experience both in the business and health care industries. This makes her a better candidate than either of the Republicans.

Jim Parker gets the next slot. He's the only candidate not from Hamilton County (quite amazing how big the 2nd is). He's been hitting the streets, visiting thousands in all parts of the district. Being in health related businesses, it offends him that 46 million have no health insurance. (Zack note: this guy is seriously impassioned, heck of a speaker). He finishes by holding out a jar to collect for a girl in Brown County that has brain cancer, to donate and show G.W. Bush what his health care plan has done.

NH: Thor Jacobs takes the stage. He talks about his educational background and family. He is a child of educators, a churchgoer. He had the opportunity to live in Iraq as a child and credits his father for his humility. He mentions concerns about health care and the war in Iraq, even being anxious about our own privacy. He emphasizes that he is not a career politician.

Up next: the County Commission candidates. The crowd agrees that we have to get rid of Phil Heimlich. David Pepper speaks first.

He looks forward to replacing Phil and being known as "The Heimlich Remover." (Who says Dems have no sense of humor?) He attackes the arrogance and corruption at federal, state and county levels. He predicts we'll take back Congress as well as the County Commission. We simply can't afford 4 more years of Heimlich.

Now, Stephanie Dumas, former mayor of Forest Park. She has 30 plus years of social service. She travels across the country to study Head First programs. Why is she running? Because she is qualified.

ZM: Time for Q&A

First question goes to Stephanie, about whether we should privatize county services. Answer: NO! (well that was easy enough) She details how privatizing is generally a bad idea, because cheaper is not always better. David gets the next bite at that apple, and he takes a chunk out of the Republicans, since they think that privatization is a cure-all. The county is in charge of taking care of the indigent and senior population, and Heimlich is opposed to all programs that fund those. If elected, he'll preserve the social safety net that the right wants to take away.

Next question goes to the 2nd district candidates. What would you do to establish a health care system that works for everyone?

Dr. Wulsin is first, she's not surprised about the concern for that issue. Currently $1500 of every car Ford makes goes towards employee health care. She proposes lowering the age for Medicare, allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies, and increasing Medicaid for indigent children. Single payor eliminates a lot of that.

Next up is Jim Parker. His thought is the key is to get more Democrats in the House, which means that 15 seats need to change hands. He also wants to expand Medicare, but then give every company to purchase Medicare straight from the government, which won't raise the cost of Medicare. From there, he wants to ensure that the 8 million children without health care get coverage. Negotiating with the drug companies is also part of his platform.

Thor is next to take the stage. He cracks that he'll consult with Parker and Wulsin, which gets a nice laugh. His point is the three C's: coverage, competitiveness (the current system is based on pay for play, contributors get the business), and uncomplicated (that's not a C).

Gaby is next up. (Boy, she's tall. ) When her students know that there's a problem and the president doesn't, that's a bad thing. She wants accountability back into the system. The government needs to get back into the game of controlling prices, getting them back under control. The president is more concerned more with religious issues than medical ones. He needs to start paying attention to what's going on (she also echoes Nattie's comment that we shouldn't pay for Viagra and then not for birth control).

Jeff is the last, and he also wants to consult with Vic and Jim, and have them write a program. He wants to refocus the attention on the people, and not the profits.

NH: Question to the Country Commissioner candidates: how can you make the county commission work better?

Pepper: First, be the Heimlich Remover, of course! He stresses the need for open, transparent government and working with the other commission members, making them accountable.

Dumas: Simply, "put me there." She has no hidden agenda, and mentions her social experience. She proposes to increase commissioners.

Next question: What will you do to preserve our civil liberties and preserve reproductive rights?

Jacobs: Enforce the Constitution of the US. He blames Republicans for violating civil liberties. He is a pro-choice Dem, but: he warns that we must be cautious in this stance. He stresses the need for pre-natal care to reduce abortions.

Downey: she mentions that when Quakers are seen as potential terrorists, then we're in trouble. We should not be looking over our shoulders. We must create a dialogue about reproductive rights. We have to create an education system that talks about other things than abstinence.

Sinnard: Warrantless wiretapping is wrong. He just held up a sonogram of his son Linus to illustrate how the 2nd district views life. He equates reproductive rights to a civil rights issue and agrees with needing a serious dialogue about it.

Wulsin: Women comprise half of the world. We cannot be equal until we have control over our bodies. Abortion occurs. It is a real event, around the world. She will fight for the right to have an abortion. Comprehensive sex education prevents pregancy. She will fight for choice.

Parker: He thanks the audience for donating to the health care fund for a young girl with cancer. He talks about Hackett teaching him about government intrusion into people's lives. He will never sponsor an amendment to the Constitution that violates civil rights. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.

ZM: Time for final thoughts, which would have been perfect with Jerry here.

David harps on the need to avert the impending disaster if we continue under Reupblican rule.
Stephanie comes up next and thanks the group for the opportunity to speak to the group, and asks for support. She finishes by quoting MLK on who should be called to service.

Jim starts the group of 2nd district candidates. He hits upon his activity in the community and connection with the public. Jeff has next, and states that he is the obvious choice to beat McEwen. He wants us to look beyond the primary and elect an 'unsmearable' candidate. Thor comes up and relates that America, and Democrats, are scared right now of what's happening in Washington and their lives. He wants us to elect someone that can reach out to moderates and independent voters. Vic closes by discussing security, and how the Republicans try and scare the people. Despite 9/11, security has not improved; witness Katrina. She believes she can alleviate those fears based on her history as a 1st responder in a disaster. Gaby finishes the closing speeches, and comes right out and states that she is not afraid. She has a long history of hard work and experience working with people. She wants to fight for the common person, and wants to bring the troops home.

NH: Round of applause for all the candidates, who all spoke intelligently and passionately.

And that's it, ladies and germs! It's Miller Time. And Zack--you ignorant slut!

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