CINCINNATI (TDB) -- In a primary contest between two Harvard-educated Democrats who both have so far built up significant campaign coffers (more than $200,000 each), the edge might be with the candidate who has the strongest party credentials. And Vic Wulsin, the physician, has the advantage on that score. Her opponent, lawyer Steve Black, has been a Republican for most of his adult life. And Wulsin has the backing of one of the biggest names in downstate Ohio Democratic politics -- former Gov. John J. Gilligan. (Gilligan's middle initial stands for Joyce, which happens to be the surname of the great Irish author.)
Cincinnatian Gilligan, whose daughter is now serving her second term as the Democratic governor Kansas, a rarity in that most GOP of states, gave Wulsin a $250 check last month for the congressional race, according to Federal Election Commission records. His presence among her donors is a signal that the main stream of the Hamilton County Democratic Party may not be predisposed to desert Wulsin, the party's 2006 nominee in Ohio's 2nd District.
Gilligan, who is in his 80s, is not retired from political life. He holds a seat on the Cincinnati school board, and his $250 donation to Wulsin shows the old line Cincinnati-area Democrats aren't entirely at ease with the ex-Republican suddenly within their midst. They say things like this about Black: "I don't trust him. He'll vote with the Republicans if he wins. He's really not one of us."
That said, Black's father has become a pariah among many in the GOP. Robert L. Black served on the Hamilton County Common Pleas and 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals bench, but publicly denounced President George W. Bush as incompetent on the eve of the 2004 election against Sen. John Kerry. The rebuke was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer as a guest column, and the judge openly said he was voting for Kerry.
"The record of this incumbent president is a history not only of repeated violations of the key principles underlying our democracy, but of the core values of the Christian faith to to which he claims commitment."
Strong language from the Black family patriarch -- Bush is wrecking our country and making a mockery of his faith.
Besides criticizing the Iraq War, Judge Black said Bush was wrong on abortion, wrong on stem cells, wrong on tax cuts, and wrong for appointing federal judges "who hold extreme rightwing views." But he wasn't done yet, adding:
"He has again and again reversed the regulations and policies designed to protect the environment, always adopting a policy that favors those manufacturers and industrialists whose action have clearly fouled the air and water. He pushes for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and throughout northern Alaska. He is allowing the logging of our national parks. He ignores scientific findings that the world is being subjected to a warming climate change that is man-made and that could otherwise be forestalled or radically slowed down."
Bottomline: It sounds like Steve Black's dad has a feud with President Bush. Maybe that's why Black quit the GOP -- to carry the feud to Washington.