You may remember a clueless reactionary by the name of Ken Blackwell. He was the Secretary of State in Ohio during the 2004 election, meaning that much like his more infamous Florida counterpart, Katherine Harris, he was a corrupt partisan in control of the voting process during a national election.
As was expected, Blackwell did what he could to suppress the the Ohio vote in African-American neighborhoods and college towns, knowing that would help a dimwitted President gain reelection.
Now fast forward to 2009. There is an election in Ohio coming up in 2010 for this very position, giving someone the power to oversee how the votes are counted in the presidential race in 2012-- to award one candidate the 7th largest electoral haul in the country from key swing state.
So you'd think that Democrats in Ohio would unite behind Franklin County Commissioner and devoted Progressive, Marilyn Brown. Sadly, you'd be wrong.
As we've seen with healthcare, never underestimate the propensity of reactionary Blue Dog-type Democrats to cave, cower, and generally embrace corruption. The gist of this story: even though they won't admit it publicly, behind the scenes conservative Blue Dog sympathizer (and now Ohio Democratic Party Chair-- yet, somehow married to a Republican lobbyist) Chris Redfern, and his partner in crime who supported him for that position, Ohio Governor/screw-the-poor Ohio budget author Ted Strickland, are supporting a vicious, homophobic, anti-union, anti-choice, pro-coal, anti-minimum wage, reactionary stooge named Jennifer Garrison in the Democratic Primary. She offers nothing but attack politics, exclusionary policies, an overabundance of botox and the ability to make right-wing men embrace their rifles extra tight in the cold of the night.
Hence the plentiful Palin comparisons.
Redfern and Strickland have been pretending to be neutral, while it only took me a few phone calls to confirm rumors that both are having their henchmen call Brown's funders and potential endorsers and cajole and threaten them into backing off supporting this devoted progressive. Of course, when reactionary Blue-Dog Ohio Congressman Zack Space-- the very same cretin who is helping block the public option in Washington to protect his big insurance buddies and screw his constituents-- chose to stand with Mrs. Garrison, well, that was just fine with with the Redfern/Strickland team.
Now let me give you a little background about Mrs. Garrison, so you can decide if you would trust her any more than a garden-variety corrupt GOPer to count our votes accurately and not sell out to the first corporate hack with a wad of cash who comes knocking (motivation: the last four Ohio Secretary of States have been: Sherrod Brown, Bob Taft, Ken Blackwell and Jennifer Brunner--it is a stepping stone to running for governor or the U.S. Senate).
Garrison beat a Republican incumbent in 2004 to win a state house seat from Southeast Ohio, by ATTACKING HER GOP OPPONENT FOR BEING TOO PRO-GAY. Yes, you read that right. From the Gay People's Chronicle:
Garrison already has a rocky relationship with the LGBT community. She won her House seat by gay-baiting her predecessor, Nancy Hollister, in 2004.
Earlier that year, Hollister was the only Republican to vote against the so-called "defense of marriage act." It was considered a courageous vote.
Garrison sent out mailings that read, "If you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, there's something you should know about Nancy Hollister."
The other side of the card said, "DOMA was enacted precisely to protect Ohioans from having to accept 'marriages' or 'unions' entered into in other states. Despite the value of DOMA, Nancy Hollister voted against it. Jennifer Garrison believes marriage is between one man and one woman and will fight to protect our values."
In 2006, as a member of the House Education Committee, Garrison helped to kill an amendment that would have required Ohio schools to protect students from bullying for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The anti-bullying bill passed without the LGBT protections.
An attorney, Garrison opposed EHEA last year, saying it is wrong to single out classes of people for protection. This is a common talking point that anti-gays use against equality laws, and is legally flawed.
From the Akron Beacon Journal (November 11, 2004):
Garrison turned the Hollister vote [against the Ohio Defense of Marriage Act] into something seemingly sinister. She told the Parkersburg (W.Va.) newspapers that 'the big difference between Nancy and I is the gay marriage issue. I am against it. She is for it.' Garrison sent mailings into homes that read: 'If you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, there is something you should know about Nancy Hollister.' The mailing then all but declares that Hollister embraces gay marriage, concluding Garrison will 'fight to protect our values.' Karl Rove would be proud. Clearly, Garrison rode the wave of state Issue 1. She and her pals should be ashamed."
But not only content to have the LGBT community exist as second-class citizens, Jennifer Garrison also wants her own gender to subist that way. From a NARAL email yesterday:
Last week, Jennifer Garrison, a Democrat from Marietta, officially entered the race for Ohio's Secretary of State. Jennifer Garrison currently serves in the Ohio House of Representatives and has a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.
Rep. Garrison showed just how extreme her anti-choice position is when she filled out the 2008 candidate questionnaire for Ohio Right to Life, saying she would:
* support legislation in Ohio to outlaw abortion (with only an exception to save a woman's life),
* support legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, and
* support state funding for so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that lie to women about the risks of abortion and never refer patients for abortion or birth control services.
Representative Garrison does not share our values.
She has also voted against the minimum wage, has counted coal interests as a top-ten funder and would like to protect the rights of criminals to get their hands on guns.
So, as should be obvious, she is not a Democrat, and not someone we can trust to count votes in a presidential year, lest corporate cash convince her to submarine a Democrat so she can stockpile cash for higher office (there were rumors around Ohio that she would switch parties for a while). That Redfern or Strickland would support her, tells you all you need to know about Strickland's cratering approval numbers as his advisors (and I use that term loosely) have given such other brilliant advice as refusing to repeal a tax cut for the super-wealthy while cutting funds for libraries, health centers, mental health, etc.
Let's let Strickland, Redfern, Garrison, and their Blue Dog friends in Ohio and DC know we will not stand for this.
Go to Marilyn Brown's site and give a great progressive (and one who has proven her electoral viability by knocking off a three-term Republican incumbent to gain a seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in 2006) some support for her race.
And why not give Strickland a call and tell him to stay out of this race, before it starts affecting his ability to win reelection in 2010. He can be reached at (614) 466-3555. Let him know how you feel about Blue Dogs' undermining our values, and tell him to stop supporting reactionary Jennifer Garrison for Ohio Secretary of State (and be polite).
Also, call and say hi to Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. And tell him to back off, if he wants any support for the ODP in the coming election: 1-877-OHIO-DEM (toll-free). Ask him to take a look at the Republicans For Garrison blog and at the Facebook page that really tells the story about this abomination he's backing.
The movement is going forward. Let your voice be heard. In the meantime, here is owner of The Outlook, a magazine covering issues affecting the gay community, threatening to walk away from Strickland/Redfern if they don't walk away from Garrison: