Rent Is Too DAMN High

Ready or not, it is time for one more election wrap-up. Mine. I would like to start with Jimmy McMillan, Vietnam War veteran, private investigator and recently defeated gubernatorial candidate. Not Ohio, New York State. You saw excerpts of the debate. You remember the gloves, the voice and the incredible facial hair. Yes, Jimmy McMillan wanted you to know that Rent Is Too DAMN High. Even Carl Paladino got more votes. But I smile every time I hear Jimmy say “Rent Is Too DAMN High”.

I have a couple of thoughts about last Tuesday’s election results and how we got here. And there is a good chance that you may disagree. Really disagree. When you do, I want you to say, out loud, “rent is too Damn high” (ritDh). I don’t care if you are on a bus or in a quiet library. Out loud. Rent is too Damn high. People will smile. You’ll make new friends. And, you’ll stay calm.


I have a friend who is righter than right and usually wrong. His prognostications are based on equal parts wishful thinking, Fox News, and talk radio. He rushed to predict on Wednesday that Nancy Pelosi, the biggest loser on Election Day, would resign, not just her leadership position, but from Congress. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but I didn’t believe that this was one of his moments. It wasn’t. Speaker Pelosi announced on Friday that she wishes to be the Minority Leader. (ritDh) Even those of us who aren’t huge Pelosi fans have to admire her courage and determination.

The Democrats can’t choose their leader based on his/her approval among Republicans. Of course, that works both ways. The presumptive Speaker of the House is John Boehner, the punch line of countless jokes before he has done anything more than say “Hell, No”. Let’s see how loved he is two years from now.


At the risk of infuriating Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike Councilwoman and author of the insightful blog Writes Like She Talks, I think the whole Republican tsunami narrative is vastly overstated. The problem in Ohio may have been Jennifer Brunner.

Take a deep breath and say it out loud – rent is too Damn high. Better? Some of you may need to repeat.

Jennifer Brunner has been an excellent Ohio Secretary of State. The votes are now counted without incident throughout Ohio. Cuyahoga County is no longer a national joke. This is not an indictment of her job performance, just her political judgment.

Car Dealer Tom Ganley wanted to run for the Senate. The Republicans were able to convince him to run for the House which gave Rob Portman a clear path. Jennifer Brunner would not be deterred. She was strong enough to deliver body blows to either Lee Fisher or Rob Portman, but incapable of scoring a knock-out. Lee Fisher was forced to blow millions of dollars in the primary. Weakened and way behind in cash, Fisher never had a chance in November.

Money is the issue. According to Nielson Co., the Cleveland television market led the country in political ad saturation. 23.4% of all ads aired locally in October were political. Many of these ads were courtesy of Karl Rove and his secret money. Lee Fisher was at a huge disadvantage, so much so that the Republican money could be shifted to the governor’s race and the hideous RenacciBoccieri slugfest.

Turn back the clock. Run Fisher against Portman straight up. Does Fisher win? No, but he would have been far more competitive and the rest of the ticket may have fared better. We will never know how much money was spent in support of John Kasich. We just know that it took every penny.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s American Crossroads may have millions to funnel into campaigns, but there are limits. Would Ted Strickland have prevailed if Jennifer Brunner had sought reelection as Ohio Secretary of State? Who knows? I think he would have. I firmly believe that Ms. Brunner would have easily defeated the highly partisan and overly ambitious Jon Husted. That would have put Jennifer Brunner perfectly positioned to be our next governor in 2014.

The Richard CordrayMike DeWine Attorney General contest was even closer than the gubernatorial election. Winnable? Again, possibly. No amount of money would have saved Kevin Boyce from Josh Mandel’s slime. Eric Brown and Mary Jane Trapp, running for the Supreme Court, were doomed to failure.

The election is almost over. The write-in votes will, one day, be counted in Alaska. The assorted recounts and law suits around the country will be resolved and/or settled eventually. And Cleveland television will again be the home of inane replacement window commercials.

But until then, which will be just about time for the 2012 presidential campaign to begin, I leave you with the immortal words of Jimmy McMillan. Rent Is Too DAMN High.

Lee Fisher For President

A recent Quinnipiac Poll shows former Congressman Rob Portman ahead by 20 points over Lt. Governor Lee Fisher. Other polls show Portman with leads of about 10 points. I take no pleasure in reporting these numbers. I have voted for Mr. Fisher lots of times. I will probably vote for him again in November. My vote, like approximately 45% of the ballots eventually cast, will be in vain. Mr. Fisher is destined to lose. Mr. Portman will be our next U.S. Senator.

The polls and recent Ohio elections lead me to one conclusion. Lee Fisher will run in 2012 or 2016 to be our next President.

A stretch? I don’t think so. Let’s review Mr. Fisher’s last couple of campaigns. After serving 12 years in the Ohio legislature:

1990 – Lee Fisher won a close election for Ohio Attorney General earning the nickname Landslide Lee.
1994 – Defeated in his bid for reelection by Betty Montgomery.
1998 – Eschewed the opportunity to challenge Ms. Montgomery, Lee Fisher ran for Governor. He was defeated in a close election 50% to 45%.
2006 – Elected Lt. Governor on Ted Strickland’s ticket.
2010 – Defeated (projected) in his bid for the U.S. Senate.
2012 / 2016 – President Fisher?

His previous defeat led him to run for a higher office. We are running out of offices. All that is left is the presidency.

Please don’t take any of this a knock on Mr. Fisher’s efforts. Lt. Governor Fisher was the state’s point man for economic development. I bumped into him several times in my capacity as President of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce. He was engaged and active. Was he effective? In a recession? In a state that lost bidding wars to Georgia and others? I don’t know if anyone could have done any better.

Was he good enough to get promoted to U.S. Senator?

Rank and file Democrats didn’t have much of a choice. Fisher or Fisher wanna-be, Jennifer Brunner. Having served one tumultuous term as Ohio Secretary of State, Ms. Brunner refused to attempt to defend her position and bolted for the Senate race. Ohio voters chose the familiar, overly ambitious Fisher instead of the upstart, overly ambitious Brunner. What a shock.

Lee, my old neighbor, if you are reading this, know that I really wish this current race would end more successfully. And, I pledge $18 (Chai / Life) toward your inevitable Lee Fisher for President campaign. Just let me know where to send the check.