Last night, the Ohio Democratic Party fed a lot of people. Roughly as many as in 2006 when Barack Obama and Joe Biden stopped by for a bite. As many when Ohio Democrats were pumped up to make them President and Vice-President.
This was not a wake. Although the Democrats I met (some of whom I haven’t seen in years) understand that the environment is markedly different than those years, there was only one sign of defeatism that troubled me.
How did the Columbus Dispatch portray the environment (“Dems have winning attitude for Nov. 2”)?
So, why all the optimism at the dinner attended by 2,256 of the faithful, most of whom apparently didn’t get the memo about their enthusiasm gap?
We reportedly sold three times as many tickets as the Ohio GOP sold for their State dinner featuring the Ohioan that Republicans believe might be the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner.
The only thing that troubled me was the tepid response I saw for Lee Fisher which I tweeted about. Lee gave a good speech. He said all the right things and delivered it well to a challenging environment (despite being a Democratic crowd, let’s face, giving one of these speeches is like performing dinner theater. It’s hard to create an emotional energy in a room over clanking plates and thousands of people talking at their tables.)
Maybe it was because the event was in Franklin County (Brunner’s home base, even though Fisher barely won it in the primary), but the crowd reaction between the two when they spoke was embarrassingly noticeable. After meeting with a number of Fisher campaign aides with off-the-record conversations, I’ve walked away with the same impression as Joe Hallett did in today’s Dispatch column. There is a true sense that the Fisher campaign has righted their ship both organizationally and financially. If you’ve already started shopping for Rob Portman’s office warming present or starting thinking about the 2016 Democratic Senate primary, you’ve made a HUGE mistake.
Rob Portman’s ideas for the economy are worse than ever. Even Matt Naugle can’t hide his disdain for Portman’s gimmicky payroll tax holiday.
John Kasich has had to outsource his “grassroots” blogging to an out-of-state blogger (then again, John Kasich is a consummate outsourcer, I guess we should be glad Kasich gave it to Keeling instead of someone from India or China.) As the post above noted, Portman doesn’t exactly evoke the strongest positive feeling in Ohio’s conservative blogsphere.
As someone who was blogging in 2006, I can’t help but notice that the conservative blogsphere seems less enthused about the Ohio GOP ticket this year than in 2006.
It’s not just Naugle. Look at Weapons of Mass Discussion talk about Kasich (or not talk about him much at all except to criticize the campaign’s lack of a plan for Ohio.) Matt Blumer at Bizzyblog? Well, he’s Bizzy blogging about something else other than that gubernatorial ticket. Same thing with Portman.
These are folks who refused to give in to the notion that Ken Blackwell’s campaign, and the GOP ticket, were a lost cause in 2006. This year? They believe the GOP is poised to make big gains in Ohio, but they seem like they couldn’t care less.
I wasn’t at the State dinners before. But the impression I got from the people I saw and the metrics Chairman Chris Redfern mentions on our ground game led me to wonder… where’s the polling showing a pro-GOP enthusiasm gap in Ohio? Because I don’t see in the blogsphere. And I didn’t see in a packed room at the Columbus Convention Center last night.