Politics isn’t for everyone.

When I ran for Mayor of Dayton at age 27 I thought I knew it all. Just point out what’s wrong, and explain what you would do different. I had an 11×17 campaign piece with positions on everything- if you look at it today, I looked like an oracle, but I didn’t get elected, taken seriously, or help myself.
That was the race where Mike Turner got his start. I was there, and I know what kind of campaigner he is, where he gets his money, his support and who buys his favor. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for his backers- and, frankly, running against him in a gerrymandered district is difficult enough, even for a well seasoned pro with strong backing.
I was excited to hear Richard Chema had entered the race when I read about it last week. On paper, he sounded like just the guy who had a shot- until I met him tonight, and watched him do hari-kari on the dais of the Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting hall. It was painful to watch.
When I introduced myself before the meeting, I was already starting to wonder if Chema had a chance. Tony Capizzi (who lost to Turner for his second term in the most expensive Mayoral race in Dayton’s history) could speak, knew the issues, and was well known, but suffered from the same small man’s dilemma, Turner cuts a clean figure in public. My first advice to Chema was to stand tall, throw your shoulders back, chest out- or you’ll end up looking like Dick Nixon next to JFK- his retort was some un-catchy slogan about “sending Turner to Texas.” Not a good start- considering Dayton voters put huge confidence in home-town products- and Turner has that speech down.
When it came time for the two candidates to speak, Jane Mitakides, who ran against Turner the last time, gave a short, friendly, comfortable speech. She stressed that it wasn’t about beating each other in the four-way fray, but about beating Turner. She didn’t give us her life history, or try to throw together slogans on the fly (she’s been in advertising and knows that they don’t come that easy- at least not the good ones).
Then came Chema. It didn’t take more than 30 seconds to sense that even in this safe setting, we were watching a fish out of water. Between putting on and taking off his glasses, turning to some pre-written speech that then got ignored- to repeating his talk of sending Turner to Texas- and then going on, and on, and on- Chema showed that he had no clue of what he was doing. Much like me at 27.
At 27 you can chalk it up to youthful exuberance; at Chema’s age, you call it stupidity.
There are two things I know for sure about politics now: it’s a popularity contest not a test of intellect, and there is a lot of money at stake- not a place for the naive to play. Even if Chema was Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein rolled into one- (he’s not) he will be dead meat in a debate with Turner- head to head with Mitakides who plays nice and he’s still burnt toast.
Before the meeting ended- I asked Chairman Dennis Lieberman from the floor- why the party wasn’t making an endorsement, where he went on about money and lack of time, but that they may next week. After both had spoken- it was clear that an endorsement now, and maybe some political maneuvers could save us all some money- and skip this expensive primary if we could get three people to step down.
I went up to both candidates after the speeches. I suggested to Chema that he takes a crash course in public speaking, he didn’t take the advice too well. I went and talked to Mitakides- and she was all ears.
This election isn’t really going to be about who the candidate is, it’s going to be about if the people of the Third district want to continue to have a Congressman who rubber stamps the Presidents policies. All the Democratic candidate has to do is be able to hold their own in front of public scrutiny and continue to raise the question of are we better off – or are the insanely rich supporters of Mike Turner doing better?
It was hands down clear tonight that Jane Miakides is the better choice and the only hope.
I just hope Dick Chema can get his old job back, or find a new one quick, because he doesn’t stand a chance in hell of going to DC as our next Congressman.

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4 Responses

  1. mike bock August 25, 2006 / 12:40 pm
    I was also at the Democratic Central Committee meeting last night. I also am disappointed that Richard Chema did not make an acceptable presentation in his speech.

    Chema seems like a well meaning individual that is wound just a little too tight. His speech would seem to indicate that his aspiration to become our 3rd congressional representative lacks focus and clarity. And maybe that is true. But maybe he could be a quick learner. What bothers me as much as a lack of substance is the nervous, unfocused energy — agitation — that Chema projects, rather than the thoughtful, empathtic intelligence that, I feel, most people seek for in a representative

    Chema has worked successfully as a prosecutor. Certainly as a prosecutor he has much experience in researching and organizing evidence to make clear and compelling presentations to juries and judges. Yet, in his speech, the prosecutorial style of clear thinking, clear expression and certain conviction, that I was expecting, was very lacking.

    I would like to think that Chema could settle down, become more confident, research Turner as a prosecutor determined to make a case and, with calmness and conviction, then, in fact, make the case as to why Mike Turner deserves to be defeated. Even if he is not chosen as the Democratic candidate, I’m thinking that he has a contribution to make.

    There is a huge case to be made as to why Mike Turner should be defeated. As a party we need to find a way to encourage and direct the energies of everyone who seeks to see Mike Turner defeated — including Richard Chema.

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  2. mike September 16, 2009 / 10:02 am
    Chema did win becuase he is (redacted) I heard out of his own mouth that he does not like (redacted). He should never be allowed to hold an office. His wife, Susan, is a (redacted) as well. I feel sorry for their daughters.God forbid that one of them falls in love with a (redacted). No Doubt, they will be disowned by their parents!!!! Real (redacted)t People They Are!!

    Note- Esrati.com doesn’t accept personal attacks- unless you have proof- and are willing to sign your full name- this isn’t the Dayton Daily News forum.

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  3. Thomas Kohn September 17, 2009 / 2:40 pm
    I appreciate greatly your willingness to redact the personal attacks.

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