At the end of a gloomy hallway, in the nearly empty Cincinnati office of Reform Ohio Now (RON), David Little waited grimly for someone, anyone, to show up on the Saturday before last week's election. Little, RON's Hamilton County field director, was slouched next to a pile of leaflets that urged voters to approve Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5, the laundry list of amendments to the state constitution that RON promised would cleanse Ohio's “culture of corruption.”
Eventually, a despondent volunteer filed into the office. She told Little she'd been making calls to voters from her home. “Every single person I've reached says they don't understand the issues,” she moaned. “Once I talk to them, everyone says they'll vote yes, but they seem really, really confused.”
Not long before Tuesday's special election for Congress in southwest Ohio, a Republican spokesman in Washington promised that the GOP would “bury” Democratic candidate Paul Hackett, an Iraq War veteran and an uncompromising critic of President Bush. Apparently the GOP buried Hackett in a very shallow grave.
Hackett came tantalizingly close to scoring a major upset, winning 48 percent of the vote in a district that went 64 percent for George W. Bush last November. His near-victory sent shock waves through Ohio, where long-dominant Republicans are being laid low by a series of scandals, and the tremors are being felt far beyond the state's borders.
It's Independence Day in Anderson Township, Ohio, a staunchly middle-class suburb of Cincinnati that went more than 2 to 1 for George W. Bush last November. Anderson is the kind of town whose wide streets and sprawling strip malls have for decades seemed incapable of sustaining Democratic life.
Watching Anderson's Fourth of July parade -- as floats roll by from one church after another -- it's easy to imagine that the millennium is at hand and Republicans will rule here for a thousand years.