Monday, August 5, 2013


The Republican and Democratic causes in the Ohio General have a rule.

And the rule holds that if 80% of the caucus members vote to support a particular piece of legislation, then the remaining 20% forego their opposition and vote for the proposed bill.

Sometimes a member gets excused from the rule because he/she has a compelling personal political reason (i.e. that folks back home are watching and the caucus vote will not play in the district) to depart from a party-line vote.

Yours truly is in the process of reading an in-depth book on each of our 44 U.S. presidents.

And in reading about John Quincy Adams (John Quincy Adams, American Statesmen Series, John Torrey Morse) for the time he served a Massachusetts district in the U.S. House of Representatives for upwards of 17 years (1831 - 1848) after he lost his reelection bid for the presidency (1828), it is striking how independent he was of political party influence both in his time as president and in the Congress.

John Quincy Adams can be said to have put the interest of the country and his district ahead of his political preferences.

He was very much in the tradition of George Washington, our first president, who viewed political parties as unhelpful at best and damaging at worst.

A Washington quote:
[Political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Morse on John Quincy Adams as a member of Congress:
Mr. Adams took his seat in the House as a member of the twenty-second Congress in December, 1831. He had been elected by the National Republican, afterward better known as the Whig party, but one of his first acts was to declare that he would be bound by no partisan connection, but would in every matter act independently. 
Morse, John Torrey (2011-03-30). John Quincy Adams American Statesmen Series (p. 155).  . Kindle Edition.  
And Morse's book is replete with example after example after example of Adams voting what he thought was best for the country even though his vote and leadership on attaining a particular vote benefited his political opponents.

But Washington (a founding father) and Adams were men of the 1700/1800s.

We are now in 2013 and at the national level the nation is in what is termed as being in political gridlock.  So much so that it may be that in September the Republicans may vote to shut down the U.S. government in order to try to kill Obamacare.

Should such an eventuality materialize, you can bet your bottom dollar on the certainty that Stark's congressmen (Gibbs, R - the 7th; Renacci - R - the 16th and Tim Ryan - D - the 13th) will largely vote (90% or better) the party line.

And the same pattern (probably between the 95% to 100% range) has been demonstrated by Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly, to wit:
  • Scott Oelslager, Republican (Plain), the 29th Senate District,
  • Kirk Schuring, Republican (Jackson), the 48th House District,
  • Christina Hagan, Republican (Marlboro), the 50th House District, and
  • Stephen Slesnick, Democrat (Canto), the 49th House District
When Republican Jim Renacci ran against then incumbent Democratic Congressman John Boccieri in 2010, one of his main negative points on Boccieri is that he nearly always voted with the Democrats and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

And he was pretty much on the mark.  Stats show that Boccieri voted with Pelosi about 94% of the time. 
But what has Renacci turned around and done as Boccieri's successor? 
You've got it! 
He is pretty much in lockstep, too.  He is on record as voting with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner 92% of the time.
Notwithstanding the ballyhoo that Congressman Renacci made in his successful re-election drive against Democrat Betty Sutton (November, 2012) about his involvement in a bipartisan Congressional policy group, the SCPR sees very little if any separation between him and the Republican House Caucus.

Unless, of course, one considers the following U.S. Senator Rob Portman generated press release to be an example of " on policy issues" bi-partisanship:
Press Releases 
Home / Newsroom / Press Release 
June 11, 2013 
Portman, Brown, Manchin, Renacci and Gibbs Renew Push for Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act 
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) joined members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to renew their push for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act in advance of the Hall’s 50th anniversary in September.
Although local Pro Football Hall of Fame afficionados are undoubtedly appreciative of the effort, the SCPR believes that most Stark Coutinans will not think that this joint legislative venture is indication that Washington partisan political gridlock will be ending anytime soon.

So to the question posed by the graphic that leads this blog, to wit:  In 2013 does Stark County have anyone at the state or national level of legislating that in any way, shape or form approximates John Quincy Adams?

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