Mike's Newspaper Column

Mike's Newspaper Column
Read Mike's column weekly in the Times Community Newspaper Family, including the legendary Kettering-Oakwood Times, and posted here the following week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scinto to Tea Partiers: “Slow Your Roll”

Scinto to Tea Partiers: “Slow Your Roll”
By Mike Scinto
            If you’re a Republican, or call yourself a political conservative, you probably had much the same reaction to this past year’s tea parties to “take back America” for the people. It was great to again see a conservative, small government-lower taxes attitude taking shape; especially after our direction since this President took office. But fears I expressed this past fall seem to be taking shape right before my eyes.
Whether you view it as good or bad, we are a two party governmental system. We haven’t always been, but for as long as those of you reading this have been alive that’s been the case. And it is likely to be the case for the rest of our years. As a Republican I’ve certainly not always liked the offerings handed me by primary elections, caucuses or political appointment. But that’s how it is.
I began voting in 1970.  I’ve voted in every election, and special election, since then. I can tell you I have never voted “party line” just for the sake of saying I punched the “R” on the ballot. But I can tell you in all but one election, I have stayed true to the party; always based on policy and attitude not on what followed their name on the ballot.
The one time I strayed (and I’m not proud of it in hindsight) was when I voted for a former Republican who ran as an Independent; my vote was cast for John Anderson over Republican Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election.
I mentioned Anderson. There have been a handful of third party candidates who have stirred the pot even a little bit in recent decades; George Wallace and Ross Perot are the other two prominent “outsiders”. It is the Perot candidacy that I think most mirrors the possible problems for conservatives in 2010 and 2012.
While it is debatable whether Perot was more a Democrat or a Republican, it is very obvious to me the votes that went to Perot likely contributed to the defeat of George H. W. Bush and catapulted Bill Clinton into office.
There are already several “Tea Party” candidates running against Republicans in the primaries for national offices in state elections. The “Tea Party” can only do damage as a political party at this juncture.  Even if they are elected to office, what will that do to the most prominent challenge; bringing a true conservative message back to mainstream Republicans running for Congress and to ouster this socialist President in 2012?
At a time when Obama and his Democrat legion on The Hill are heading downhill in the polls faster than Lindsey Vonn in her gold medal Olympic Downhill win, we (Republicans) can’t lose focus on the target.
While their message is one we should all hear loud and clear, the method of expressing it is another thing. These activists for returning to a government our founders could believe in would serve best working from within Republican ranks; serving on steering committees and leadership boards within the GOP. Anything beyond that and the movement risks becoming part of the problem, not the solution.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Warm Feeling on a Cold Winter Day

A Warm Feeling on a Cold Winter Day
Mike Scinto
            In my line(s) of work (radio/TV and writing) I have become increasingly cognizant of the fact that things we say or do can impact others totally without our ever knowing it. Kathy and I were moved recently when, out of the blue, I received such an acknowledgment via my Facebook account. I want to share it with you just as I saw it. Since I didn’t ask her permission, I have eliminated any business names and the writer’s last name.
Hi Mike! I have wanted to contact you for years and wasn't sure how to go about it. Took a chance I might find you on Facebook and here you are!

              I'm sure you don't remember me but I used to work as a photographer at (A Local) studio. I photographed you, your beautiful wife, and son, Zak a few different times. There was one time in particular that I will remember, I think forever!! It was during our busy holiday season and on this evening, we were extremely busy and the other photographer had to leave early due to a family emergency. You and your family had been in earlier and had returned to view your proofs. In the mean time, a former customer came in that was doing a reshoot and was not happy that I would be the photographer taking her photo that evening. There was a huge scene and of course there were many customers in the store at the time!! I was young and on the verge of tears when I returned to you and your family in the proof viewing room. I can't remember what you said to me exactly but you made some sort of comment about what had just happened to try and make me feel better because you could tell I was obviously upset. And the reason for me contacting you is to tell you how much that meant to me!! It has always stuck with me.

              Whenever I hear the phrase about “a person may not remember what you say but they'll remember how you made them feel” I honestly think about you and how you helped me that evening. I know this may all sound really corny but I just wanted to let you know that you made a difference to someone....to me. Thank you for that!

            Sincerely,    Sallie
As I told Sallie in my reply, while we don’t remember the details, we certainly remember the event…….but not with the impact Sallie shared. Don’t miss your opportunity to impact lives. It likely won’t be a planned impact, and you may never be as fortunate as we were to find out about it, but you will touch lives by offering a caring word of consolation or understanding. But remember the flip side; a negative attitude can likely have the reverse affect. I love Facebook!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

High-Speed White Elephant

High-Speed White Elephant
Mike Scinto
     Last week President Obama, with his trusty sidekick Joe Biden close by on his leash, announced plans to pump eight billion dollars into high speed rail systems across the country. Four hundred million of that will be earmarked for Ohio. The administration might as well flush it down the West Wing lavatory. At least it might serve a useful purpose; at least it would be in good company there!

     In my 34 years of hosting a radio talk show, I have heard the dream of high speed rail come, and go. I can’t count the number of groups who supported it, telling listeners it was the future of intercity and interstate travel. Most of those train peddlers are selling vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias door to door now. Shows my age; I meant selling them via the Internet.

     During the same three decades I watched Amtrak fade into almost total oblivion. I saw Ohioans growing more and more independent with individual travel means. We, unlike commuters in the Northeast Corridor who do use trains, prefer to have our own cars at our disposal. A drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland will take 3½ hours at the most. It tends to be a scenic, leisurely drive and even at today’s gas prices is not cost-prohibitive.

     I admit this is anecdotal (mainly because I got so many conflicting answers) but I have been told that “high-speed” in Ohio doesn’t mean the same as in Japan or Europe. Because of our population density, the top speed under current law would be 79 MPH (plus stops). Ask any State Trooper between Cincy and Cleveland on I-71 and they’ll tell you that would be slower than most drivers……… and non-stop too!
Contrast that with purchasing a ticket, waiting for a train that’s likely to be behind schedule, sitting in an uncomfortable seat next to a guy who snores or didn’t take his weekly bath and you question why you didn’t just drive.

     There have been no definitive studies that say we want high-speed rail, or need it; or would use it for that matter. And while it would create jobs, if we HAVE to use that money stolen from taxpayers called “stimulus”, you mean there aren’t better things to spend it on?

     If this system is the panacea that’s being hyped, why hasn’t some money individual, or team, jumped on board (no pun intended)? Why is taxpayer money being used to build this white elephant?

     I’ve got a better idea. If Obama feels compelled to spend that stimulus money, try this. There are approximately eleven million Ohioans. Our cut of this project is 400 million. That would be about 37 bucks per Buckeye. Send us each a check and we can all use it to buy a half tank of gas to drive to Columbus next year for John Kasich’s and Mike DeWine’s swearing in as Governor and Attorney General, respectively, of Ohio. Now that’s money well spent!