My previous two posts were the comments and points made by each of the Lieutenant Governor candidates during their presentations at the County Commissioners Association of Ohio summer Conference in Akron.
I did my best to highlight their statements objectively, offering no opinion or perspective...so that's what this post will do.
Both Tom Raga (R running with Ken Blackwell) and Lee Fisher (D running with Ted Strickland) were highly professional and complimentary to each other. As Fisher said, the campaign is not about the individuals, but about their ideas. And both indicated an appreciation and respect of the other while still differing on the ideas of the campaign.
Both were excellent representatives of their ticket. Raga's presentation was a bit more formal while Fisher seemed much more at ease as a candidate for lt. governor than he did as a candidate for governor.
Raga's presentation was policy. Fisher's presentation was emotion. Raga focused on specific initiatives and plans, emphasizing the core philosophy of the ticket (lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and limited government). Fisher focused on an appeal for urgency and a return to faith in elected leaders.
Despite the Democrat Party's national emphasis on "culture of corruption," Fisher - recognizing that his audience consisted both Republican and Democrat elected officials - made a point of saying that no political party has a lock on virtue.
Raga's speech included specific initiatives or goals the Blackwell ticket would work toward. Fisher mentioned only one specific (the Knowledge Bank), focusing instead on a personal appeal to set aside partisanship and work together rather than against each other.
Raga did not say anything negative about Strickland or Fisher, perhaps following the old adage that you don't acknowledge anything about your opponent. Fisher spent several minutes questioning Blackwell's stand on the TEL (Tax Expenditure Limits) and his consistency on issues. He also attacked Blackwell for focusing on "socially divisive" issues.
The style of delivery, along with the subject matter, was a study in contrasts. I don't know what it is about Republicans and Democrats, but you often will hear Dems publicly praise other dems on the dais, or in the audience. Republicans do this sometimes - but not nearly as often or as well as the Democrats do.
In general, Republicans tend to focus on the logical aspects - here's a problem and here's what I'm going to do about it. Democrats tend to focus on the "feeling" aspects - this is terrible and we all feel badly about it so here's how I'm going to fix it.
It's a rare politician who can combine both aspects effectively into a presentation (former Presidents Reagan and Kennedy come to mind). Watching the audience, it was clear that the two different approaches were effective with their respective party members. But it was also clear that many more women than men were nodding their heads in agreement with the emotional perspectives.
Whether the difference in approach is reflective of individual style or campaign strategy is yet to be determined - and only futher appearances will answer that question. However, both men made it plain that their gubernatorial candidate looks at local government as a partner and, in making that point, told the commissioners what they wanted to hear.