A few weeks ago I wrote a post questioning the voting record of a candidate for the 21st Ohio House District, David Robinson. Robinson is Sr Vice President of Marcy Enterprises and has gained many supporters in his past couple campaigns to get elected, including his most recent loss, a narrow defeat to Worthington resident Mike Duffey, the Republican incumbent for the position in this year’s general election.
Not surprisingly, there were some who did not care for my post, most notably supporters of Robinson (gasp, right?). Perhaps the most awkward feedback came from Plunderbund founder and fellow blogger, Eric, when we talked on the phone the next day. ”Dude, I’ve known David for a long time…I actually went to his wedding.” A few days later, Eric wrote an excellent counter-post on David’s behalf that followed on the heels of the Robinson for Ohio campaign’s press release. Numerous supporters also commented on our respective posts, a mix of support and criticism both for the candidates and for the authors.
In private conversation, the issue was dead. And it seemed to have quieted down publicly too (after a brief and obscure blog post on Dispatch Politics); the she said, he said was finished.
My post on 2/15 that questioned Robinson’s voting record was sparked by this O’Connor for Ohio campaign Press Release:
That is press release, later referred to as O’Connor’s attack on Robinson, that sparked this entire thread. But in my post, many took issue with the sentiment I expressed in my closing line: 2012: Actions speak louder than words.
Here are some of those comments:
Point taken. I’ve tried to remain silent since then, letting the Robinson campaign respond.
Here are some of the highlights of Robinson for Ohio’s 2/16 Press Release:
O’Connor has resorted to attacking me on the slenderest of threads—an indication of the low-caliber campaign she would wage in the fall were she our party’s nominee.
The important issue here, however, is not a case of a missing mailed ballot, but which Democratic candidate in the 21st House District is most capable and qualified to defeat Mike Duffey in November. His defeat is imperative if Democrats are to retake the House in 2012, our only immediate means of putting an across-the-board brake on Kasich’s corporatist, reactionary agenda.
Defeating Duffey has been my sole focus since the beginning of this campaign, and I urge O’Connor to immediately redirect whatever she has to offer our party to the same task. Let’s attack our real opponent.
Unfortunately, O’Connor’s Campaign Manager is a D.C. operative, a hired gun, who is unlikely to change his stripes. He doesn’t understand the people of our district or our politics, and apparently thinks it is clever and acceptable to attack a fellow party-endorsed Democrat. His ways are toxic and when he leaves town will leave behind him nothing but collateral damage.
His smear tactics, if he and O’Connor were running the show in the fall, would backfire with a vengeance in Worthington (hometown of Duffey), Dublin, and northwest Columbus. In our communities, voters want and expect positive ideas about solving real problems. My campaign and my service as Representative, if elected, will focus on providing these ideas and solutions.
Ultimately, it is the candidate that is responsible for her or his campaign. Unless I hear otherwise, directly from O’Connor, I will assume that these attacks of a fellow endorsed Democrat are her own and reflect who she is. I urge her to change course, today, so that we can refocus our shared energies on what matters—defeating Mike Duffey.
On 2/19, Eric followed up on the sentiment of Robinson’s supporters as he lambasted my argument and closing comments. Here are some highlights of my own beatdown:
Sometimes talk is cheap. Sometimes posts are weak.
Last week Greg wrote a piece taking David Robinson, Democratic candidate for Ohio House in the 21st District, to task for allegedly not voting in the past election to help stop Issue 2 (SB5). The post was fueled by a press release attacking Robinson for this very thing.
That said, there are several problems I have with this line of attack and Greg’s post.
Where we differ is the relative strength of the argument and an inability to consider evidence that would counter the narrative of “talk is cheap”.
I’ve never been a fan of the BOE records style of argument in politics. So and so didn’t vote in this election. So and so pulled a Republican ballot in this election. Weak sauce.
Primaries tend to foster intra-party squabbling and the clash of the like minded. Look no further than the Democratic Presidential Nomination process of 2007. Our own ModernEsquire and I fought vigorously over our preferred candidates. It happens. I would hope, however, that such sparing would be done over legitimate issues and not envisioning mountains where molehills exist.
There is very little substantive difference on the issues between these candidates, which probably lead to these Rovian tactics being employed. Anything to differentiate.
The question I have is not whether David is a words guy and not an action guy. He’s proven that to me – with his actions.
As if that weren’t enough to provide me with a stern lesson, a reader commented on Eric’s post saying, “I think PB has lost a lot of credibility due to Greg’s posts. The one referenced in this article is one example.”
Ouch. So what are my takeaways from this?
- Intraparty bickering during the primary season is highly discouraged and “toxic”
- Intraparty candidates should focus on the opposition party candidate and avoid ALL negative campaigning
- Using a person’s voting record to question their loyalties is “weak”
- Smear tactics will backfire with a vengeance in the District 21 communities
- Robinson wants O’Connor to change course so that together they can refocus on defeating the incumbent Republican
- Ultimately, it is the candidate that is responsible for her or his campaign.
So today, by way of making amends, I’m going to post a copy of David Robinson’s latest mailer. I’ve given Democrat Teacher Donna O’Connor time in two posts of mine, and Eric talked up the Marcy VP Robinson in one, so I hope that this offering will balance this out and give Robinson that equal opportunity to share the positive, forward-thinking issues he is focusing on in his effort to defeat Mike Duffey in November.
[ED NOTE: At the request of some phone users, I have transcribed the text of Robinson's mailer below:]
SOME POLITICIANS WILL SAY OR DO ANYTHING
Desperate politicians will do anything to get attention and try to get elected . Lacking positive ideas, they resort to negative attacks. Instead of bringing us together, they divide us.
Recently, Donna O’Connor has waged attacks on a fellow Democrat by twisting the facts. She’s claiming that David Robinson is not a committed Democrat. This is unthinkable. Robinson has consistently voted for Democrats since supporting Carter in 1980. In 2010, as our candidate for State Representative, he came within 377 votes of winning-in the worst year for our party in decades. Last year he worked actively with thousands of Ohioans to defeat 585.
O’Connor, on the other hand, has failed to vote in several important elections over the last decade-even during the worst of the Bush years. More recently, she skipped the Democratic primary in 2010, the year John Kasich was elected. Her attacks are not only wrong , they’re hypocritical.
The fight against SB5 taught us that when we work together we can defeat Kasich and his Republican cohorts. O’Connor’s divisive attacks threaten to weaken our party. It’s time they stop. Let’s refocus our efforts on defeating Kasich’s yes-man, Mike Duffey.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
We all know Our state and nation face serious challenges requiring serious answers. 2012 is a pivotal year and Democratic candidates must stay on message about our positive policy solutions to these pressing challenges. Voters expect and demand nothing less.
Regrettably, one of my primary opponents, Donna O’Connor, has chosen to attack me-a fellow Democrat-by distorting my public voting record. This is silly. I have consistently and proudly voted for Democrats since first pulling the lever for Jimmy Carter in 1980. I waged a strong State Representative campaign as Our party’s nominee in 2010, coming within 377 votes of winning in the worst cycle for Democrats in decades. I joined thousands last year to defeat SB5, circulating the petition and producing a video speaking out against the bill. I am a Proud and passionate Democrat.
O’Connor’s own voting record reveals her hypocrisy. During the last decade she missed Several important general elections completely, and many primaries. She even failed to vote in the 2010 primary (the year Kasich was elected.
Desperate politicians will do and say anything to get elected. But I want to refocus our energies where they belong; stopping Kasich ‘s corporatist, reactionary agenda and defeating his yes-man, Mike Duffey.
If elected, I’ll work to restore civility to the Statehouse, and recommit us to excellent public schools. I’ll stand up for working and middle class families, and focus on what matters most to the people of Ohio.
That is my commitment to you. I am endorsed by the Franklin County Democratic Party and the Ohio AFL-CIO, and I respectfully ask for your vote for State Representative in the March 6th primary election.
Democratic Candidate for Ohio’s 21st House District
2012: Actions speak louder than words.
So get out and vote.
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