Skip to comments.Springer’s campaign song is striking chords with many Ohioans
Posted on 07/20/2003 9:25:44 AM PDT by Deadeye Division
Springers campaign song is striking chords with many
Sunday, July 20, 2003
U.S. Sen. Jerry Springer of Ohio. Once impossible. Now improbable. Ever so slowly, Springer seems to be clawing his way to legitimacy as a Democratic candidate. How could this be? How could a man everybody dismissed just a few months ago as the "King of Sleaze" even be mentioned with the title senator? How could a candidate who doesnt live in Ohio, vote in Ohio or pay taxes in Ohio become the darling of a growing cadre of Ohio Democrats?
Surely Springer would have no chance against Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich, the most popular Ohio politician of the past decade. Heck, early polls show Springer getting trounced in a Democratic primary by little-known state Sen. Eric Fingerhut of Cleveland.
But across the Ohioscape, Democratic activists are beginning to buzz about Springer. On the county rubber-chicken circuit, they are drawn by his celebrity and then wooed by his rhetoric. Starved for someone, anyone, who can articulate a message and can go toe-to-toe with the Republicans, downtrodden Ohio Democrats are not summarily rejecting Springer.
"I dont think anyone has a chance to beat him for the nomination if he wants to go for it," said Charles R. Gray, first vice-chairman of the Defiance County Democratic Party.
Gray invited Springer to speak to county Democrats on May 5 in Hicksville. The scene he described has played out in other counties: capacity crowds; Springer repeatedly interrupted by applause and, often, a standing ovation; Springer hanging around for an hour or more to chat up the locals.
"I know he has negatives, and there are people who dont like Jerry, but they ought to listen to what he has to say before they judge him," Gray said.
The Hicksville event was replayed last Sunday in Delaware, where John F. Myers, former Delaware County Democratic chairman, said a big crowd turned out to hear Fingerhut and Springer at a party picnic. Myers said Springer "actually changed the minds of some people, even senior citizens who probably are disgusted by his show . . .
"I think he would be a real interesting candidate for us. He certainly has the finances to educate voters on his personal thoughts rather than what his TV image presents. I also think Springer attracts a new kind of voter that were not seeing the young voter."
Kim Spangler, chairwoman of the Delaware party, called Springer "a genius" in the way he handled the crowd, adding, "The guy I met at the picnic and clapped for is not the guy Ive seen on that television show. Hes a Democrat through and through, and hes going to bring out a lot of Democrats."
Before we delude ourselves with the notion that Springer actually might represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate, consider that Voinovich and the Republicans will spend millions to remind us that for 13 years, Springer has done more to debase the American culture than perhaps any other citizen.
Mark R. Weaver, a GOP consultant, already has coined a slogan: "The Jerry Springer Limbo. How low can you go?"
But Weaver conceded that Springer is gaining traction. "Ohio Democrats cant get much more down and out than they are now," he said. "They want someone to come out and lead them, and Springer is saying what they want to hear."
The truth is, Republicans are worried about the unpredictability of Springers candidacy. He has universal though mostly negative namerecognition, millions of dollars to spend and a silver tongue that, more than any Democrat since Richard F. Celeste was governor, connects with the party faithful.
The truth also is that the Democrats need Springer in the Senate race. The only chance Fingerhut has of beating Voinovich is to be crowned giant-killer by knocking off Springer in a primary that will get international attention. And the only chance Springer has of beating Voinovich is to survive a nasty primary in which Fingerhut throws all the dirt at him, leaving little for the Republicans to dredge up in the general election.
More than any Ohio Republican, Voinovich always has done well with Democratic voters. That makes him almost unbeatable. But if Iraq is a quagmire, the economy is a mess and President Bush is a scapegoat, anything, even the improbable, could happen on Nov. 2, 2004.
Joe Hallett is senior editor at The Dispatch.
Maybe ---but I sure hope Ted Nugent runs and wins in Michigan.
King of Sleaze? How come he isn't the democrat candidate for president?
We could ask the lobotmized voters of New York just how that works...
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