Tag: Ohio

Charles Ramsey and Ruslan Tsarni Should Get A TV Show

One of the almost refreshing things to emerge from the Boston bombing was Ruslan Tsarni. Uncle Ruslan didn’t waste a moment in front of the cameras, blasting his nephews as losers, expressing his love for America and conveying his embarrassment for what had happened. It was rare to see someone not going with the default “more in sorrow than anger” mood that tends to characterize these events. He said what I think a lot of people were thinking.

By now, you’ve heard about the three girls who were imprisoned in a basement in Ohio. A video interview with the neighbor who discovered and rescued one of the girls is rapidly going viral. It is worth a watch as he expresses amazement and what happened and uncorks a number of great spontaneous lines (“I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway.”)

I was thinking about this in the car this morning and realized just why those two videos are so much fun. It’s because genuine emotion and spontaneous expression are so rarely shown in the media. Our culture has become relentlessly programmed and focus-group tested. From “reality TV” that isn’t real to movies that are statistically tweaked for mass appeal, there’s a whole industry out there designed to crush spontaneity.

Our politicians have become so sanitized and so on-message that they have made the Information Age boring as hell. Everyone has the same talking points, everyone is on a script. Barack Obama is the apotheosis of this: everything he says sounds it has been passed through the political equivalent of Autotune.

Yeah, America. Boo, cynicism. Government can’t solve everything but it can solve many things. Bipartisanship. It’s all Bush’s fault.

Of course, Obama also illustrates why the media has become so dominated by focus-group blahness. On the rare occasions when Obama does speak off the cuff, he often sticks his foot in it (red lines, bitter clingers, etc.)

Chris Christie is the opposite of this in many ways. He’s always saying what he thinks and, often, what everyone knows deep down. But his honesty is often a double-edged sword. The same statements that make conservatives cheer make liberals cringe. And when he earnestly praised Obama’s Sandy response, the outcry was fierce. Rand Paul is the same way, often saying exactly what he means and contradicting his own party. But this has also made him enemies on the Left, particularly with some of his bumbling comments on racial issues.

But, as human beings, we are far closer to the Christie/Paul model than we are to the Obama one. No one sees an event — whether it’s something trivial or something momentous — and carefully maps out their feelings. They react. Sometimes they overreact. Sometimes they say things they don’t really mean. Sometimes they say and do things that contradict what they really believe. But we’re not media creatures and never have been.

Tsarni and Ramsey are a great contrast against a media that’s constantly wringing its hands over what drives men to do evil things and always telling us that horrible things could happen at any moment. Basically, neither man seems to give a shit about being “on message”. Uncle Ruslan was angry and appalled by the bombing. He didn’t somberly pontificate on what drove his nephews to kill and maim a bunch of innocent folk. He was outraged and said so. Charles Ramsey didn’t worry about whether someone would think his comments were racially insensitive. He was dumfounded by what had happened and said so.

More of this, please. Life isn’t scripted. Why should everything in the media be?


I’ve made my position on the voter fraud thing very clear: 1) I think it does happen; 2) with the exception of close elections (e.g., Al Franken), I don’t think it happens enough to swing elections. Hypothesis number one keeps being confirmed:

FBI agents arrested a woman Friday in Las Vegas on charges that she tried to vote twice in the presidential election, Secretary of State Ross Miller said.

A criminal complaint accuses Roxanne Rubin of casting a ballot at an early voting location in Henderson on Oct. 29, then trying to vote again at a polling site in Las Vegas on the same day.

Miller said poll workers questioned Rubin when they found her name in a database that showed she had already cast a ballot, but she denied having voted and insisted she be allowed to vote.

The election workers did not allow Rubin to vote and reported the incident to the Clark County registrar, who notified the secretary of state.

One little quirk here: she’s a Republican. Yes, it’s possible that voter fraud takes place on both sides. It will be amazing to watch the Left twist themselves into a pretzel on this issue as they cry “Republicans are trying to steal the election!” while still trying to pretend that voter fraud doesn’t exist.

(The second part of that hypothesis — that voter fraud is not enough to decide all but the closest elections — comes from the same source as my lack of belief in 9/11, lunar landing or bigfoot conspiracy theories. Voter fraud on a massive scale — thousands or hundreds of thousands of votes — would involve hundreds if not thousands of conspirators, all of whom have maintained an amazing silence. It would also have to involve Republican poll watchers, poll workers and canvasing boards and likely several Republicans Secretaries of State. I just don’t see that kind of conspiratorial masterpiece emerging from the Cavalcade of Clods.

So why should worry about vote fraud if it doesn’t involve zillions of votes? Because it’s wrong and illegal. And because it could swing a very close election and probably has.)

The flip side of voter fraud allegations is voter surpression allegations levied by liberals. I’m not a big believer in those either. As with voter fraud, it’s not that voter surpression effort don’t exist; it’s that it’s a small effect. Over at Moorewatch, we repeatedly took apart the most famous claim of voter surpression: Michael Moore’s wild allegations about the 2000 election and Florida “strike list”.

Nevertheless, I wish Republicans wouldn’t do shit like this:

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, whose decision to try to restrict early voting was thrown out first by an Ohio judge, then a federal appeals court and denied a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court, will be back in court again this month after he issued a last-minute directive on provisional ballots that not only contradicts Ohio law but is also in violation of a recent court decision and the opposite of what Husted’s own lawyers said he would do.

As reported by Judd Legum at ThinkProgress, Husted ordered election officials not to fill out a section of the provisional ballot that verifies what form of identification that the voter produced and that, if it is incorrectly filled out, the ballot will automatically not be counted. However, under the law establishing the provisional balloting procedures, according to the lawsuit filed against Husted on Friday, it is election officials that are supposed to record the type of ID provided, not the voter — and that election officials are supposed to attempt to resolve any questions on the spot.

Husted, frankly, needs to shitcanned. He has provided immense fodder for liberal conspiracy theorists with crap like this. He narrowed early voting from five weekends to one, which is resulting in huge lines and chaos at Ohio polls this weekend, especially in Democrat-heavy inner cities. And it is absolutely unconscionable that he would give pollsters incorrect orders on how to deal with provisional ballots (of which there may be several hundred thousand). Filling out a provisional ballot form is not difficult — it’s a pretty simple form. But the appearance of impropriety is not something we can afford.

(It also contradicts what we said in 2000. You may remember that one of the things the GOP argued in Bush v. Gore was that it is unfair and illegal to make up the election rules as you go. The rules for running an election should be set months in advance and everyone should stick to those rules. Ad hoc changes — whether it’s counting hanging chads in a third recount or changing the rules on provisional ballots — are an open invitation for bullshit.)

One of the most aggravating things that could come out of Tuesday’s election would be the refusal of either side to accept the result if it’s close. Republicans might scream about voter fraud; Democrats might cry about surpression. There is little evidence that either of these is powerful enough to swing the election unless Ohio 2012 turns into Florida 2000. But these conspiracy theories are fed by Democrat refusals to countenance the reality of voter fraud and Republican efforts to monkey with election laws at literally the last minute.

We don’t need this.

Kucinich Out

One thing missed last night in Ohio. The redistricting from the last census had one glorious effect: setting up a primary cage match between Dennis Kucinnich and Marcy Kaptur. Two veteran Democrats go in, one comes out. Well … Kucinich isn’t the one who came out. I’m not completely fond of Kaptur, who boasted about pork and is opposed to free trade. And I have a feeling she’ll easily beat Joe the Plumber in November (seriously; he’s the nominee).

But a Kucinich-less Congress is a good thing, even if it means a drop in the median Congressional spouse hotness index.

Update: Also out is Jean Schmidt. I am totally not sorry to see the end of her career. I don’t know much about Wenstrup, but he’s got to be an improvement.