JONATHAN COHN NOVEMBER 3, 2011
Next Tuesday’s ballot measure in Ohio hasn’t gotten the attention that the attack on public employee unions in Wisconsin did. In fact, if it hadn’t caused Mitt Romney so much grief last week, I suspect much of Washington would be ignoring it right now. But it's still an important story -- and I noticed that its supporters are having some communications problems.
First there was the statement, by pollster Neil Newhouse, criticizing a survey that showed the ballot measure to be unpopular. Newhouse's complaint? The poll was misleading, he said, because it asked whether respondents supported “limiting collective bargaining rights” -- which, of course, is precisely what the measure seeks to do. Perhaps the problem here is that voters in Ohio actually like collective bargaining rights.
The other curious statement came from the measure’s most well-known supporter, Republican Governor John Kasich. He, too, was responding to polls showing the measure behind. Via the Columbus Dispatch, here’s what he said:
We never thought (former Cleveland Browns quarterback) Bernie Kosar would bring the Browns back and win that big championship game
As football fans know, Kosar never won an AFC championship game. He played in a few, including one that featured a legendary ending. But Kosar wasn't the quarterback who masterminded the great comeback drive on that day. Some guy named Elway was.
Just to be clear, the Ohio ballot measure still could win. Among other things, the wording really is terribly confusing.
But the last two politicians I remember making similar gaffes were John Kerry, who talked up Ohio State football during a Michigan campaign stop, and Martha Coakley, who managed to diss not only the Red Sox but star pitcher Curt Schilling in the weeks before a special election in Massachusetts.
You remember what happened to them.
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Architecture and Society: Phillip Lopate takes a look at the history of New York City’s High Line park, and mixes in some observations about contemporary culture and politics:
“The fact that this new amenity sprang from older industrial infrastructure says a lot about the current moment in New York's evolution. A city that had once pioneered so many technological and urban planning solutions, that had dazzled the world with its public works, its skyscrapers, bridges, subways, water-delivery system, its Central Park, palatial train stations, libraries and museums, appears unable to undertake any innovative construction on a grand scale, and is now consigned to cannibalizing its past and retrofitting it to function as an image, a consumable spectacle. Productivity has given way to narcissism; or, to put it more charitably, work has yielded to leisure.”
Annals of Austerity: The police force of Montgomery County, Texas has bought itself a new drone for $300,000, thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
Your Fair Share: 30 major corporations paid no income tax in the past three years, while making nearly $160 billion in pretax profits, says a report from Citizens for Tax Justice. (h/t/ ThinkProgress.)
Video dedication of the day: Bob Seger was in town last night, in sort of a homecoming show, since he grew up in Ann Arbor and graduated from the local high school. He still puts on a good show. Professor Mrs. Citizen Cohn is a huge fan, so this is for her:
Creative Commons Photo Credit: Ohio AFL-CIO