A Review of the 8th District Congressional Representatives: Learning from Boehner before deciding who will hold his old seat next

Gosh, it’s been around 6 to 7 years of effort, but you can clearly see how the Tea Party has shaped local and national elections.   I remember how it was back then, and I can clearly see it now.  On the national stage Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were all heavy Tea Party candidates and three of those four are current front runners as the primary season is starting.  Old traditional politicians like John Boehner under great pressure vacated his 8th District Congressional seat in Ohio—to a large extent because of the Tea Party, especially in his home town.  A silent insurrection has been taking place on the Republican Central Committee behind the scenes and the politics under the feet of Boehner changed into something unrecognizable to him and his donor base.  It was never anything against Boehner, but he made himself a public person, and that meant he had to make a choice.  The West Chester Tea Party expected him to be authentic, even if the Washington lobbyist culture was fine with people who were Republican in Name Only.  So John resigned and now in early 2016 there will be an election starting on March 15th to fill his seat.  And out of all the forums to flush out the new candidates, the West Chester Tea Party was at the heart of vetting those future politicians.  Not everyone running showed up, but the most relevant did and they can be seen in the following video.  It is interesting to watch how the political dialogue has changed over that relatively short period of time.  A lot of the things discussed in this video would have been avoided before 2010 by all politicians.  Things have certainly changed.

So who’s my pick after watching that video, well for me it’s quite clear—it’s Warren Davidson.  I would have liked to have had J.D. Winteregg and Jim Spurlino speak at the event, but they were no shows.  In the past I have supported J.D., but if you can’t make it to the West Chester Tea Party events in the south of the 8th District, then those candidates don’t really want to win.  You have to get those people on your side, or you won’t win the 8th District.  Just some friendly advice—guys.  Warren Davidson out of all the candidates on stage at Butler Tech was the clear front-runner.  There were things about some of the other candidates that I liked, but they weren’t the type of people who could hope to survive in the emerging Washington landscape.  I watched Warren even when he wasn’t speaking.  He didn’t make any disrespectful faces when the other candidates were talking—even when what was sometimes said came out bizarrely.  With Warren, it’s what he didn’t say that told me he was ready to stand up against the lobbyists of K-Street and represent the 8th District correctly.  I spoke to him after the debate and measured that he was the type of guy who would still be a good representative even after a few years in Washington.

I liked Terri King, but she came across to me as an amateur.  She dressed professionally, except for her shoes yet had a down-to-earth approach.  That might be fine for a public relations person working at the county fair, but representing the 8th District in a far away land wraith with evil takes a thick skin and a steady hand—and Terri didn’t show me that she could do anything but complain like a born again Christian at the treachery before her.  You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.  With her, high heel shoes would have been better, or work boots if she wanted to come across as approachable.  But the slippers with the suit just didn’t work.  I liked what she said, but she projected to me that all she could do was complain.  When it came time for action, she reminded me of someone who would hesitate in a moment of indecision—for instance, it’s a late night vote before a government shutdown.  She has campaigned on the issue and knows she’s expected to stand by her platform.  But she’s in Washington making over six figures a year.  The media are camped outside her office door hounding her every time she heads to the elevator. And she doesn’t want to reveal that she’s ready to cave on the vote-because she likes the money that is showing up on her doorstep every day—for really the first time in her life.  The suit she wore shows me she knows how to impress at a first glance.  But the slippers said she wasn’t ready for a real fight.  I don’t care if she has issues with her feet, if she can’t wear proper shoes; she’s not ready for the hostile environment in Washington.  You have to be ready for war on every level, from the street fights to the most subtle psychological warfare and not betray the 8th District.  She’s not ready or able.  She might do better with some local seat in the safety net of Butler County, but in Washington, she’d be eaten alive the first week.

I met Kevin White before the West Chester event and thought he was a nice guy.  He was very polite and conscientious.  But he is entirely too systematic to be a congressman.  His military life has made him unable to think very nimbly.  He struck me as someone who would happily fall in line with House leadership and do as instructed—which might not always be bad depending on whom the leadership is at the time—but as an individual, he didn’t have the mind to represent the 8th District.  Through his handshake I could tell he was much better at taking orders than thinking on his own.  I’d hire him to be a pilot in less than a second—he comes across as very competent and procedural—but not someone who can smell a rat in a conversation with a lobbyist from a powerful pharmaceutical company.  To represent the 8th District of Ohio after the way that John Boehner caved to so much pressure embarrassing us thoroughly on a national stage, White is too much of that old type of politician, a guy trying to get elected because of his service in the military and little else—because of his willingness to “sacrifice for the “greater good.”  That is a bad recipe for a congressional representative because once a lobbyist can make a case for the greater good whether the topic is war or health care—people like White will lose.   I may support Donald Trump for president who sometimes says that things are for the “greater good,” because I expect congress to stand in the way if things get too rough to keep our constitutional republic in check.  We don’t need a bunch of softies in tomorrow’s congress.  We need tough people who are smarter than whoever is in the White House.

The questions presented by the Tea Party audience did a good job of shaking the candidates off their talking points and forcing them to think on their feet.  That style of debate likely kept some of the other candidates from participating.  The ones who did stumbled a lot—which wasn’t bad.  They may have felt they came across weak, but we had to see how they handled some curve balls.  Some of them didn’t come across strongly at all and they were clear amateurs not ready for such a high office.  I’m not going to embarrass them—they know who they are.  Even though I could say the same about Warren Davidson’s military record as I did about White—there was clearly another gear to Davidson.  He showed an ability to think quickly and improvise that was missing from the other candidates.  Honestly, that will be the most valuable trait for the next 8th District congressional representative.  Whoever it is will have to be able to walk literally into Hell and still maintain themselves as a frosty white honest conservative who can dish out the hits as well as take them without having ruffled feathers.  Davidson clearly showed that he had that ability.

Probably the most interesting candidate was James Condit Jr., who showed up late looking like he had just fallen out of a bus that he was sleeping in.  He positioned himself on the side of the stage sitting behind the curtain half the night.  I’m sure I had heard his name before, but my impression of him was that he was barely hanging on to reality.  However, he was very articulate and intelligent when he spoke.  He was the most at ease in front of a crowd and had great command of his tonal inflections.  He was either a very slick salesman, an Alex Jones loon, or a highly intelligent eccentric.  I can’t say that I disagreed with him even though he dropped some bombs during his speaking moments.  I’ve written about some of the things he brought up, as I sometimes agree with Alex Jones.  Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction and Condit was clearly functioning from that zone of thought.  But for the purpose of this article, it was clear to me that he wasn’t serious about representing the 8th District.  He’s only running for office to get some media coverage to play his part of Paul Revere announcing the conspiracies that are not only coming, but have already long been here.  Condit wants to be on stage, so he’s running for office to get a platform.  He’s not serious about the office—otherwise he would have been on time and would have presented himself differently.

I personally know J.D. and thought he should have come to this Tea Party event regardless of whatever was on his schedule.  It was important.  For what he went through to challenge John Boehner just a few years ago, I would have expected him to be there.  But he wasn’t, and Warren Davidson showed himself as a more than viable candidate.  As for Jim Spurlino—I like some of the things he has been saying, particularly in relation to Donald Trump, but he should have been there too—but wasn’t.  If he really wanted to shake off the controversy of the mystery envelope that showed up under his door—which I’ll cover in a later article, he should have showed up to defend himself.  To my mind, if he made mistakes that put him in a compromising position, he shouldn’t be running for congress.  If he can’t handle little temptations between marriages—he won’t stand a chance in Washington.  The girls like powerful men, compromises will be presented to him every day and you can tell in his campaign ads that his wife wants him to congressman too much.  This 8th District job isn’t for softies or guys who like tits and ass at gentlemen clubs.  I know lots of construction guys and I like working with them—and I understand the culture—they are the real men who build America.  There is a place in the world for New York New York in Franklin and burger places like Hooters.  Hard core helmet busting construction guys who work for people like Spurlino sometimes need that kind of environment.   It’s not good for family life at home, but it helps to bust knuckles over steel and concrete in the company of men.  I don’t do things like that, but I understand the personality type.  But in Washington, T&A comes with lobbyists hooks connected to them and if Spurlino made that mistake even once in his life, he’s disqualified in my mind—because K-Street is a thousand times worse.   A candidate in the 8th District has to be able to walk through the fires of Hell unscathed with their integrity intact every day, and looking into the eyes of all the people on stage that night, only Warren Davidson has that ability.

In 2016 with all that’s going on and will happen over the next four years, the representative of the 8th District in Ohio needs to be a tough guy who can shoulder temptation without yielding to it.  And he’ll need to have the same tenacity after four years in office.  Whoever it ends up being better be ready to wear the proper shoes, because the fight will not be easy—in fact, it will likely be the hardest thing they have ever done in their lives—and that includes life and death situations.  This is not a light election cycle. It may be the most important any of us will face for another century.  So you better make it count.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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