An Analysis of the Cordray Visit to Licking County

Disclaimer: The following are the thoughts of the author – Daniel Crawford – alone and are not reflective of the thoughts of the Licking County Progressives, its core membership, or its supporters.

First and foremost, I liked Cordray and always have liked him. He speaks clearly and respectfully. There’s a reason why I was happy to support his bid for Treasurer in 2006 and his dual bids for State Attorney General in the 2008 special election and his unsuccessful reelection effort in 2010. I was also happy when he joined the Obama Administration as the chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Honestly, I would have no real problem supporting his bid for Governor should he win the nomination.

Having said that, I did have some concerns after his visit to our county on Tuesday, January 23rd. Look, I get it, he’s a skilled politician and he – as he proudly noted – holds the record for winning more votes in Ohio (when he won in the 2008 Special Election to replace Marc Dann for Attorney General) than anyone who wasn’t a presidential candidate. So, he has experience in winning statewide. Still, a great deal of his responses this evening were too measured and overly vague for someone who wants a champion of the working class ready to go to bat for them.

On numerous occasions he avoiding expressing a specific policy position that what he would advocate as Governor with the slight exception of placing education at the top of our state’s priority list. With healthcare, he didn’t directly answer the question of whether he supported or opposed a state “public option” or if he preferred a “market approach”. Instead, as seen in the “For Your Information” update, he merely said he was open to hearing suggestions from anyone with a better idea while indicating he may try to improve the status quo. With a “living wage”, he simply said that he strongly supports such as chained to inflation and said that he feels it needs to be raised…but raised to what?

In response to the “working class”, all he had to offer was that he and his runningmate – Mrs. Sutton – represent the best ticket for the working class of Ohio and then he touted his expectation that same said ticket will soon receive broad support from organized labor. This begs the question: HOW is your team the best for the working class? He gave lip service to the need to address the growing algae bloom in Lake Erie and noted that we need to be more careful with our environment – even highlighting support for green energy -, but he offered no specifics as to where he stands on reigning in on the sources of pollution in more than a moderate manner. Where does he stand on fracking, for example?

Then, on the controversial issue of guns, he arguably took the coward’s way out. Yes, it is understandable that avoiding the issue of gun control is the default stance of Midwestern Democrats, but that should be no excuse in an era with a growing focus on the epidemic of gun massacres on a nearly-weekly basis. It is admirable to try and avoid the wedge issues, especially since Republicans use such to split the aforementioned working class and prevent us from focusing on economics, but just flat-out saying that you oppose further regulations on guns because it would not help – or even claiming that it is solely a problem for the federal government to tackle – is not acceptable. This makes one wonder what he will do if there is a Sandy Hook-style event in Ohio during his tenure as Governor. Will he just hide behind his desk and hope that it goes away?

Sometimes doing what is right is NOT the popular action. We need courageous leaders, not a careful politician. Yes, I can see myself working to elect Cordray after the primary – with more enthusiasm than I did on behalf of Hillary in 2016 -, and I appreciate his recognition that being a Trump voter doesn’t equal automatically being “deplorable” or unreachable as well as his statement suggesting that we need to give voters something to believe in (in other words, EARNING their vote). However, I am very concerned that he seems unable or unwilling to clearly state a position on a number of issues and am seriously disappointed with his lack of will to confront the gun lobby.

In one last critique, I want to express my discontent with the fact that a young lady in the audience was directed to stop recording Cordray’s comments. The Party Chair stated that it was not permissible to record the proceedings without the expressed permission of the candidate or his campaign. The young lady cooperated without a fuss. Still, why the lack of willingness for transparency? This was a public meeting featuring a candidate for public office. Doesn’t the public deserve to know what was said and HOW it was said?

Again, these are just my thoughts. Thank you for reading.


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