Sunday, August 22, 2010

GOYAesque: The squareoff between Sutton and Ganley

THERE WAS quite a contrast between two p0litical events in our area last week, the Summit County Republican Finance Dinner staged behind closed doors at the Akron West Hilton and a wide open fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton at the United Steelworkers Local 21 Hall on Kelly Ave. The first event charged at least $250 per plate for the hundreds of local GOPers who attended; the latter at the union hall asked for $25 and featured bottled water and boxed pizzas. Talk about breeds apart!

The two events clearly defined the opposites that will be projected in the contest between Democrat Betty Sutton, a favorite of organized labor, and Republican Tom Ganley, the wealthy auto dealer who is blanketing the 13th District with his TV auto ads for his 32 dealerships.

In his speech to the Akron Press Club last October, Ganley reminded his audience that he was an ordinary guy from a middle class family in Cleveland whose father was a mechanic and mother a waitress. It was his way of taking a little of the shine off his personal Midas-like bankroll, more than $6 million of which reportedly will be spent on this campaign. Sutton, a lawyer, grew up in Barberton in a family whose father was blue-collar. She won't come close to matching her opponent, dollar for dollar.

So the greater issue in the hall was how much impact Ganrley's money will have on the campaign. Moreover, will the Democrats get out their people to vote this year. They aren't taking chances, several of the union speakers headed by USW International President Leo Gerard bluntly called out the troops in the indelicate language that was current in the days of URW President Pete Bommarito and continues to ricochet in the rafters today.

If Sutton is to win, he declared forcefully , then those in the hall must "GET OFF YOUR ASS."

It's the sort of indelicately blunt talk that has long resonated in the union halls and brought cheers from the listeners. In this instance, the audience included Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, Summit County Executive Russ Pry and Sen. Sherrod Brown, as well as a number of labor leaders from northeast Ohio. Informality was the standard for the evening.

There was some mention of Sutton's leadership in the Cash for Clunkers program that Ganley trashed while showing a multimillion dollar profit from it. I suspect there will be more of that theme as the campaign progresses. For now, there will be the repeated reminders to GET OFF YOUR ASS and work for Sutton.

Come to think of it, that demand serves perfectly as the acronym for the Spanish painter GOYA. He painted some troubling scenes including one large series of prints that he captioned "The sleep of reason produces monsters." He was a great artist, but how could he have imagined what we're witnessing in campaigns from coast to coast?


ChrisChristieFan84 said...

If I were Ganley, I would definitely continue to hammer Sutton for her role in the ridiculous "Cash For Clunkers" program.

Only liberals would consider the use of taxpayers' money to purchase and then destroy perfectly good automobiles to be somehow rational in terms of economics. That's the kind of stuff that is making people really question the competence of the current adminstration.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside, anyone notice how Ganley shaved off his weasley, car salesman-style mustache after he launched his political run? I've lived in the Akron area for 25 plus years and Ganley ALWAYS had his pencil thin upper lip. Also a lot of pin-striped suits. I wonder which handler changed his image. By the way, Abe, I like your mustache. It exudes wisdom.

joe Hill said...

Fawner84 - the only competency in question is yours. Your statement is not grounded in fact but because of your pathology you believe it to be true. You might want to ask the workers at Lordstown what they think of "Cash for Clunkers". Their's a substantive position not some fantasy dreamed up by the wingnut crowd.

Mencken said...


Alan Spitzer, CEO of the Spitzer Auto Group called "Cash for Clunkers" an unqualified success" so there is room for debate here. Even Ganley said the program, "primed the pump".

But really, the fact that Ganley sold and profited from the sale of 800 cars through the program, makes his criticisms somewhat hypocritical and transparent.

Not that you'd care to admit it.

J. Nicholas said...

Coincidentally, I wrote a piece yesterday afternoon before CCF84 touched on the Cash for Clunkers issue. Click my URL, if you want to read. And, freely critique.

Mencken said...

JNich....... Only a net gain of 346,000 cars? Even if that's true, that's a sales figure of $7.5 BILLION dollars. Sounds like a lot of money to me.

J. Nicholas said...

7.5 Billion is indeed a lot of green. Unfortunately:
1. Money spent and earned in this system did not change the economy. Its merely a transfer of money--this is a matter of dollars, not economic growth.

2. The amount of money/sales in that short period killed off a considerable amount of sales that would have occurred naturally. So, 7.5 Billion in 3 Months--WOW, but 7.5 Billion in one year--Ugly.

Just trying to explain, but thank you very much for reading it!

Mencken said...

How can the real sale of one car kill the potential sale of the same car? A sale is a sale.

All you're doing is changing the date of the transaction, and if it's in the same fiscal year, what difference could it possibly make ?

You're just moving the shells around.

ChrisChristieFan84 said...

Obviously Ganley's ownership of car dealerships means that he benefited from "Cash for Clunkers". If the government was susidizing taxpayers so they could buy my product, I would call it successful too. That doesn't mean that the country as a whole benefited from the program.

Whenever the government spends money there is an opportunity cost. How would that money have been spent if it had been left in the private sector? Just because you can't see opportunity costs doesn't mean that they don't exist.

The University of Deleware actually did a study and estimated that "Cash for Clunkers" cost the country $1.5 billion more than it brought in in benefits. Sadly that probably qualifies as a success in the world of government programs.

joe Hill said...


You appear have your shorts in a bundle over $7.5 billion used to support the auto industry. Is your position an oversight or have you decided to ignore $700 billion given to Wall Street or the $85 billion to AIG by former President Bush?

At least "cash for clunkers" supported working men and women. Something you can not say about the Bush give away.

Grumpy Abe said...

A cautionary note, if I may: One should be careful about quoting academic studies, such as the one by Delaware U econ professort and former fellow at the very conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford U. If you want to advance your debate, you might dig a little more deeply and find a number of economists on the the opposite side of the Delaware study who said the Clunkers program's benefits far exceeded its liabilities. I would also think that if Ganley and any other auto dealer thought the program was a foolish drain on the Federal treasury ,they could return their millions in profits instead of crying all the way their banks. And I'm not even an economist!

Mencken said...

Burton Abrams openly admits to being a conservative and critic of Obama's economic policies.

Parsons published "Measuring the Recreational Use Value of Migratory Shorebirds: A Stated Preference Study of Birdwatching on the Delaware Bay".

Ganley, patriot he is, should have refused to participate in the Clunkers program instead of pocketing the profits and then pissing on Betty Sutton's shoes over it.