Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, this, from ABC, makes me roll my eyes:

...Just talked to a 55-year-old Columbus, Ohio resident named Cynthia Ruccia, a spokesperson and organizer for a group calling itself "Clinton Supporters Count Too." She said the group -- numbering in the hundreds, and organized in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan -- stands ready to boycott the Democratic Party if Clinton doesn't win the nomination, and will work against superdelegates who support Obama over Clinton as a means of registering their displeasure with the party.

"We have a plan to campaign against the Democratic nominee," the group said in a press release Thursday. "We have the (wo)manpower and the money to make our threat real. And there are millions of supporters who will back us up in the swing states. If you don't listen to our voice now, you will hear from us later."

Ruccia tells ABC News that she believes "millions" of women share her group's views, though they have only begun to make contact with like-minded women....

"We're just at the boiling point," Ruccia said. "Women will sit back and be quiet about things for a while, but we've had enough. Unless Hillary Clinton is our nominee, we are not going to support the nominee." ...

There's definitely some fence-mending for Obama to do, but the notion that this group "numbering in the hundreds" represents "'millions' of women" is a crock -- according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, in head-to-head matchups against McCain, Clinton polls only two points better than Obama among women (Clinton 51%, McCain 36%; Obama 49%, McCain 36%). But Ruccia clearly knows how to use the media as a force multiplier -- ABC's writing about her, and here are Politico's Ben Smith and Beth Frerking writing about an appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News.

Well, of course she knows how to work the press -- she's not just "a 55-year-old Columbus, Ohio resident," as the ABC story puts it. She's a former Democratic congressional candidate who once tried to unseat GOP congressman John Kasich by gay-baiting him:

...For almost 14 years it had passed without comment that the local Congressman, John Kasich, the powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee, stretches his paycheck by sharing a Virginia town house for the two or three nights a week that Congress is in session. His housemate? His male chief of staff. Last month Cynthia Ruccia, Kasich's Democratic challenger, called for a Justice Department investigation of what she said was "a serious appearance of impropriety" because Kasich, who is divorced, lived with someone whose government salary he controls.

That was the official question. What it unofficially implied was that the two men might be otherwise involved. Though Ruccia denies that she intended to leave that impression, Kasich's office inevitably found itself having to deny that either man is gay. No federal investigation is likely. (To begin with, the Justice Department does not examine "appearances.") As it happens, Ruccia had long been a high-profile supporter of gay rights and Kasich an occasional ally at best. (He voted yes on AIDS funding, no on gay marriage.) But by raising the issue, she stands to benefit from whatever doubt she creates in the minds of voters hostile to gays.

Even Democrats were crying foul. "It was the worst sort of gutter politics and gay baiting," says Bob Fitrakis, Kasich's 1992 Democratic opponent. And the gay community in Kasich's congressional district also sensed an invitation to gay baiting. "It's disappointing to see it from a party that has been the most progressive on the issues," says Phil Martin, president of Stonewall Union, Ohio's largest gay-rights organization, which counts Ruccia as a member....

Whatever your thoughts about this attempted outing, note that it (a) alienated allies, (b) got bad press, and (c) didn't work -- Ruccia lost. Ruccia went on to work as a Democratic motivational speaker delivering what she called "Wanna Win? Seminars," but in her big race, she didn't win, and her seminar company seems to be defunct.

UPDATE: Sorry, no -- it appears not to be defunct at all, but it doesn't exactly seem like the most sophisticated operation:

So I think this is a Potemkin protest movement -- unless Fox et al. decide to turn her and her backers into the Swift Boat group of '08.


UPDATE: Barbara at the Mahablog has the best post I've read debunking the argument that opposition to Clinton is a sexist injustice -- even though she sees quite a bit of sexism out there. Go read it.

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