In the End, Cranley Isn’t the Issue

Where is Greg Harris when we need him?

This year the Democrats have a chance to retake the U.S. House of Representatives. Helping to reach that goal unfortunately means voting for Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley in the Ohio 1st District.

In 2002 and 2004 Harris, a true progressive, offered a meaningful alternative to the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. By contrast, Cranley is motivated not so much by a set of political values as he is by raw ambition. In 2004, when Mayor Charlie Luken announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, Cranley toyed with running for mayor. Then, in the same year, when a vacancy in that office arose, he toyed with running for Hamilton County Prosecutor. In 2005, within hours of being sworn in to a new term on city council, he announced his plan to run for Congress.

Cranley has been breaking local progressives’ hearts ever since Luken appointed him to Todd Portune’s unexpired term on council in 2000; many had hoped he’d appoint Scott Seidewitz, a longtime supporter of progressive causes. The result? In 2001 Cranley pushed a limitation on subsidized housing for the poor. In 2002 he backed restrictions on panhandling. A year later he first supported, then voted against, requiring panhandlers to carry city licenses; Cranley concluded that it would encourage begging. In 2004 Cranley met with Memphis developer John Elkington — after Elkington had insulted Cincinnati’s Chinese community.
But sometimes, absent a meaningful choice between candidates, one must take refuge in party affiliation. Chabot has unabashedly supported the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. To this day Cranley hasn’t said whether he believes the attack were wrong or how he’d have voted on it. But at least his criticism of Chabot hints at support for a change in U.S. policy.

As part of a Democratic majority, Cranley might be helpful in asserting a new direction for the federal government as a whole. But if he wins and the Democrats don’t take control of the House, I’ll really be pissed.

— Gregory Flannery

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8 Comments on “In the End, Cranley Isn’t the Issue”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    How many points did Greg Haris loose by again?

  2. WestEnder Says:

    You wish John Cranley was more liberal. We get it, Mr. Flannery… we get it. You do not have to write about it every month.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Cranley isn’t going to be a change in Washington. He’ll just be another new corporate owned politician, just like he was here. It will be nice to get rid of Chabot, but let’s not pretend things will change on the war. If he doesn’t have the balls to come out against the war in a close campaign, he won’t do it when he’s a comfortable incumbent.

    John Cranley: a new face is about all you can say. Keep calling these chickenhawks out, Greg. I pledeged to vote for peace and therefore Cranley won’t get my vote. For those that continue to throw your vote to the lesser evil and make no demands, you will continue to have your vote taken for granted and you’ll get taken every time. Keep the pressure on Greg, average people like yourself are the ones that ended Vietnam, child labor, slavery and brought about the real progressive changes throughout our history.

  4. alchemist Says:

    Does Cranley deserve a $160,000/year job? Hell no! Dems don’t need this seat to win the congress. Let the Big Boy serve 2 more years on council then get a real job like you and me.


  5. It is so liberating to be a peaceful anarchist and feel no obligation whatsoever to vote. Try it! You’ll like it.
    Instead of wasting my time fanning and fanning a spark inside me that will never produce a flame for one candidate over another, I can focus on the big picture, and work my way down to Cranley and Chabot just for amusement purposes… if I feel like it.

    If Schmidt holds on and Cranley makes it, at least Sinincincinnati will have a rare little set of bookends, eh?
    Could that, in itself, be a tourist attraction?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Harris lost 60-40. But I actually think he was a very good candidate in most respects . . . handsome, intelligent, a great grassroots campaigner and public speaker. But he didn’t play the fundraising game, and so never was able to run t.v. ads, etc. When Cranley first ran he was an unknown like Harris, but unlike Harris, he worked the phones, and was able to tap his hometown and Harvard network and raise funds. He raised like 1/2 a million and got 44% in 2000.

    Yes, Harris was far more liberal and outspoken than Cranley (against the war, etc.), but like Sherrod Brown he had the economic populism thing down. I think if he would’ve been willing to put any kind of effort into fundraising, he would’ve done much better in 2004. To Cranley’s credit, he plays the game, and does what it takes in modern times to win a congressional seat. If this were 1976, Harris would be a shoo-in. But it’s 2006, and it takes candidates like Cranley to win. We can’t be too purist to acknowledge that reality.

    The Dem’s should run Harris for Council and maybe down the road run him for something bigger. But right now it’s Cranley’s moment.


  7. Well said, Gregory. If there are two races that epitomize our sad state of political affairs, it’s Cranley-Chabot and Lucas-Davis. If Chabot and Davis are like getting kicked in the nuts ten times, Cranley & Lucas are nine shots to the crotch.

    Cranley is uninspired and uninspiring. Ugh.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I think casting Greg Harris as some far flung liberal simply because he oppossed the war is unfair.


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