What happened to Jennifer Brunner? What happened to the make-no-apologies progressive candidate who was all about “courage?”
At the end of July, Brunner was at the Columbus Athletic Club nodding in agreement to a speech by Governor John Kasich. She was all too happy to explain her seemingly agreement to Kasich’s speech:
“Not everyone agrees with those changes, but he’s making an effort. You can tell that he cares.” . . . Kasich is “dedicated to reforming Ohio,” Brunner said.
After many of her followers on her Facebook page asked her what the blue blazes she was doing, Brunner defended her remarks:
Those taking the free market view often believe they are working for the public good, but with an entirely different approach and emphasis. Sometimes you throw rocks; other times you use them to build bridges, even when rocks have been thrown at you. It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves what we will do. I respect all of your opinions.
Jennifer Brunner, who said she would fight like hell as a courageous progressive champion in the U.S. Senate… one year later says she wants to build a bridge with John Kasich. And to what end? Today, we got our answer [Source: Columbus Dispatch]:
Not long ago, Jennifer Brunner said something nice about John Kasich.
And today, the Republican governor appointed the former Democratic secretary of state to the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission.
Not even the Dispatch can believe it. That’s some payoff for the progressive movement. We now have Jennifer Brunner working inside the Kasich Administration… on… cultural facilities issues. Behold the power of the Commission!
The Commission does not have discretionary control over decisions regarding capital funds. Likewise, the Commission does not play a formal role in deciding which projects to fund, but can assist communities and state officials in determining project eligibility upon request. Rather, our role is to establish and implement operational policies and oversight mechanisms to ensure that the state resources entrusted to our care are spent properly. We protect state interests by verifying that each project has significant community support and a solid management plan.
The reality is that the power establishment didn’t hold Jennifer Brunner’s Senate campaign back. She did. For all the talk about how Lee Fisher was stepping on her oxygen hose, the reality is that Brunner wasn’t even trying to breathe until the very end of the primary campaign. She wasn’t even trying to raise money. After the campaign, she formed Courage PAC to supposedly help elect courageous progressives like her to office. It’s reported raising $3,000 for the first half of the year. It’s made ZERO donations to a single political campaign since being founded. Is that Lee Fisher’s fault, too? You know who passed Jennifer Brunner over for Lee Fisher for the Senate nomination? Democratic primary voters by some 70k votes. She didn’t even carry her home county. Did Lee have institutional support? Sure, but less than he could have and it wasn’t like anyone looking at the field beforehand wouldn’t have known as such. Heck, I remember people telling me I was nuts for suggesting we could prevent an ODP endorsement (and yet, Chairman Redfern wisely recognized the long last harm such an endorsement would cause even though there was no doubt Fisher would have gotten it if the State Central Committee took it up for a vote.)
Brunner attacked Lee Fisher by suggesting she was more progressive on GLBT issues than Lee was and on other issues. But the reality is that Lee Fisher was part of the very Administration who’s record on GLBT issues Governor Kasich has been rolling back. Where was the comment from Jennifer Brunner on Governor Kasich removing protections from harassment and discrimination by the State of its transgendered employees? Nowhere. Would Brunner have me believe that we can’t build a bridge to Lee Fisher, but we can trust that John Kasich just wants to “reform Ohio” with his caring heart? Seriously?!
If Lee Fisher was a political opportunist because over a twenty-year career he flip flopped on the death penalty and gay marriage/civil unions and then tried to run from his very pro-gun control past, what do you make of Jennifer Brunner who in a year went from unapologetic, courageous champion of progressivism to “John Kasich is dedicated to reforming Ohio” and progressives should try to build a bridge to him rather than fight him?
Jen Brunner and Lee Fisher ran a primary to see who could run the worst Senate campaign of a statewide officeholder. Lee, given all of his advantages, technically won that fight, but it was incredibly close. But before the Brunner apologists jump down my throat completely forgetting that I was the first blogger in Ohio to sign up for her campaign and supported her vocally and loudly, ask yourself one question: if you substituted Brunner’s name from this story for Lee Fisher’s, would you have the same reaction? Or Rich Cordray? Or David Pepper? Jennifer Brunner stopped being the exception to the rule when she stopped being exceptional and instead chose to build a bridge with Kasich so she could get a political appointment (you have to apply for these things, after all.)
The reality is that Jennifer Brunner has said nicer things about John Kasich than she has Ted Strickland. Enjoy the appointment, Secretary of State Brunner, I can’t believe this is all your “bridge building” to a man that has demonstrated himself to be the enemy of all you claimed to represent was for this—a crummy political appointment.