The Blue vs. The Orange

John Boehner.  Orange Julius.  He’s the russet-colored boil on the ass of the body politic, if there ever was one.  Finally it looks like somebody on the D side across the Ohio river is going to take a shot at lancing him.

Middletown resident and Army veteran Andrew Hounshell said he will announce his candidacy April 5 to challenge Speaker of the House John Boehner for his congressional seat.

Hounshell stepped into the limelight this past September when he introduced President Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Cincinnati.

The vice president of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1943 at AK Steel’s Middletown Works plant will hold a fundraiser at the Forest Hills Country Club, 791 Fourth Ave. in Middletown, where he will announce his run for the U.S. House of Representatives Ohio 8th District in 2014.

Howie Klein over at DWT has more, including Andrew’s essay on why this one-time Republican walked away from the party of cray-cray and joined the good guys.

Memories like mine can mold and shape a person’s voting patterns for a lifetime. Luckily for me, my thirties brought on a time of clarity. There wasn’t one particular event that turned on a light bulb, but rather a combination of many: college, union work, community work, my father relying on the VA for health care, my mother relying on her Social Security to survive, in-laws going without health insurance because they can’t afford it after my father in-law was laid-off from Delphi, having 3 children at one time (the list goes on and on). I realized that through policy, our elected officials do have a huge impact on our livelihood. Through cuts in Social Security, appointments to the NLRB, cuts to the VA, immigration reform (or lack thereof), tax loopholes for corporations, subsidies to oil companies, etc., our middle class has been eroded and we are not taking care of those who can no longer take care of themselves.

The Republicans I loved as a child, and I thought loved me back, were the very ones who were supporting this erosion. How could this be?

Andrew’s my age.  I too remember sending Reagan a get well card when I was 5 after he was shot.  It was a crappy drawing of the space shuttle Columbia, which being drawn by a 5-year old, looked more like a tube of toothpaste with two smaller booster rocket tubes attached to it.  I got a nifty thank you note from the White House.  ZandarMom voted for the guy, after all.

And like Reagan (not that he was super awesome or anything) those Republicans are long gone, replaced by their current insane iteration.  Like me, Hounshell figured out a long time ago that Republicans don’t give a damn about working class anyone and never will.  In Ohio, that still matters to an extent.

Does Hounshell have a shot against the Big Orange Machine?  Considering Boehner ran unopposed in 2012, I’m going to say Democrats have a better chance than they did last year, right?

58 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    if he’s willing to do the grunt work to find votes, go for it

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    Forget about it, Jake, it’s the Cincinnati area.

  3. 3
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local

    I am a software engineer living in Dallas and I want to join that union just for the cool name.

    ETA: To answer your last question, Zandar, I think it all depends on voter registration and GOTV the Democrats start doing between now and next year.

  4. 4
    Tokyokie says:

    Well, not so long ago (1994), the GOP defeated a sitting Democratic speaker, Tom Foley. It can be done.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    While I’m thinking about it:

    Zero Dark 30: Film about Al Qaeda terrorists.

    Argo: Film about Iranian terrorists.

    Lincoln: Film about American terrorists.

  6. 6
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’m reasonably certain it can be done, but will require an enormous GOTV effort. It’s an uphill battle, but doable. I’m not in his district, but will work GOTV diligently.

  7. 7
    maya says:

    Yes, if anyone could be considered an exact fit for any job in politics it’s best if they come from a place called Middletown. Unless, of course, they hail from Right-Centerville.

  8. 8
    RareSanity says:

    I’m going to go ahead and say no…

    Not because I don’t think that Representative John Boehner couldn’t be beaten in an election by quality challenger. But, I think that it will damn near impossible to beat Speaker of the House, John Boehner in an election, by anybody.

    As someone the grew up in Georgia, I saw this phenomenon with one Newton Leroy Gingrich. Having the title of Speaker of the House, carries with it a certain implication that the person “must be doing things right, how else could they become Speaker?”. In addition to the, “My representative is Speaker of the House”, it is an uphill battle for a challenger, especially one that is not a member of the more prevalent party in the district.

    As much as I would love for this guy to whoop Boehner in an election, it would take some sort of catastrophic scandal involving The Orange, for it to happen.

  9. 9
    RareSanity says:

    I am a software engineer living in Dallas and I want to join that union just for the cool name.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Same (in Atlanta), and same!

  10. 10
    maya says:

    @BGinCHI: Bambi- a film about NRA terrorists.

  11. 11
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    This is how the Repups started their “movement”: they tilted at proverbial congressional election windmills in places they had no chance of winning…until they started winning.

    Plus, if this guy is a good candidate, it doesn’t matter if he loses: we need to develop the farm team and if there’s one thing Dems have sucked at in my lifetime, it’s that.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    @maya: Caddyshack: A film about gopher terrorists. Perspectives may vary.

  13. 13
    Legalize says:

    Not really.

  14. 14
    RareSanity says:


    Caddyshack: A film about rich liberal terrorists?

    (Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield)

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    @Legalize: Oh, sorry: Cincinnati and Dayton area that does not include the cities, where the people live.

  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: This. Also the Oompa-Loompa hasn’t exactly been all that stellar as a speaker. If necessary I can transfer to the Cincinnati area and bunk with JenJen for a spell just to help the GOTV effort. I think, however, he’s beatable.

  17. 17
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    Any word on whether the Tea Party’s going to try and level a primary challenge? They’re right furious with Boehner over his attempts to do the absolute minimum to keep the government going, and a primary challenge might set him up with an unfavorable battlefield for the general election, expose something he doesn’t want exposed, or (if they’ve really eaten their Wheaties) even take him out beforehand.

  18. 18
    BGK says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I am a software engineer living in Dallas and I want to join that union just for the cool name.

    My maternal grandparents were both lifetime IAM members, and my grandmother was the shop steward for the plant at which she worked. They’re also responsible for my lifetime belief that conservatism was next to treason. And they absolutely hated Reagan’s guts.

    I have both their membership certificates hanging on my office wall at work, lest anyone doubt my politics. My mother was OK with letting me have them as she felt more people would see them here than in her home.

  19. 19
    1badbaba3 says:

    Why would we want him gone? He’s doing more monumental damage to the GOBP than we could directly. Please allow him to stumble and bumble House Republicans into further irrelevance through gross incompetence. Even after we take back the House next time. Yes, I know; can’t/won’t/not supposed to happen. Do not underestimate just how awful they can and will be.

    A guy can dream, can’t he?

  20. 20
    Redshirt says:

    Reading “Nixonland” has made me view our modern politics in a harsh light. These nutjobs have always been with us, but they were once looked down upon/relegated to nutjob fringes.

    Via Nixon and then St. Ronnie, they were not only brought into the fold, they were held up as a patriotic ideal. The not-so-silent majority.

    Now the entire political infrastructure on the Right and in the media is made for Birchers.

    I don’t see how we get that genie in the bottle voluntarily. Instead, they all must be crushed electorally, again and again. We’ve started, but we need to do a lot more, especially at the local levels.

  21. 21
    Ash Can says:

    Does anyone here know if Boehner’s district is nuts enough that there would be any chance of him being successfully primaried from the right? That of course would be enormously helpful.

  22. 22
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    While it may not be possible to defeat Boehner it damn’ sure is possible to try. Allowing him to run unopposed is a great way to make sure that Boehner keeps on being the asshole that he is for as long as he cares to be in office.

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @Ash Can: I think one could certainly be cooked up. He has cooperated with ebil NancySMASH!! after all.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:


    These nutjobs have always been with us, but they were once looked down upon/relegated to nutjob fringes.

    I will never stop being amazed that the people who, years ago, were marginalized as the nuts, cranks, extremists, and street-corner end-of-the-world ravers that they are, are now leading the entire fucking Republican Party. It’s boggling to think about what has happened over the last 35-40 years.

  25. 25
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Ash Can:

    One of the things that the Repups are discovering what happens when the party crazies get organized within gerrymandered congressional districts. It’s a classic case of beware of what you wish for.

    Assuming Orange Julius’s district is gerrymandered to death, that does raise the odds of a teatard not only primarying him but that said teatard has a shot at primarying him out of existence.

    It’s a Claire McCaskill scenario–and that’s the only way Boner will lose his seat no matter how good the candidate and how much money is raised to unseat him.

  26. 26
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    @1badbaba3: I still think (though my thoughts aren’t based on enough evidence to be sure of it) that Boehner is still at least marginally competent at his primary goal – to maximize Republican power given present constraints. That’s why he collapsed on a couple of votes in the last three months, because he has to at least give off the illusion that the House is willing to move on the important questions of the day. He’s trying to square the circle of keeping the Tea Party in the position of being restrained but useful. And he has the experience and understanding in the House’s mechanics to set the playing field the way he wants at least some of the time.

    You take him out, though? There’s going to be a decent chance that he’s got a competent successor (Cantor). But there will have to be a stabilization period and a chance that the stabilization will fail. And both of those give the Tea Party the chance to weaken the establishment wing even further and pull the GOP even further into civil war.

  27. 27
    artem1s says:

    @Ash Can:

    there’s always steve austria who got redistricted out of office because of the insane gerrymandering that took place in Ohio after the 2010 census. He was a sacrificial lamb so a more moderate GOPer could keep his seat in Southern OH.

    he’s a notorious social conservative. I remember him best for standing up in Congress and stating his belief that the New Deal caused the Great Depression. Bonus/Handicap: he is of Filipino decent. If they can get him to back self deportation I would think the Teahaddists would consider that a win/win.

  28. 28
    kindness says:

    You young’uns are funny. When Reagan got shot I remember wishing that the assassin was a better shot. Did I wish for Reagan to get shot? Hell no. Reagan was the epitome of what I loathed in the Republican universe. I thought it would never get worse than that moment (Reagan’s Presidential term) in time. And it was. Till we elected dubya. Then it got even worse.

  29. 29
    Ash Can says:


    I remember him best for standing up in Congress and stating his belief that the New Deal caused the Great Depression.

    That’s awesome.

  30. 30
    Redshirt says:

    @Ash Can: And as far as I can tell, this shift happened very quickly within the 60’s. From 1960-1968 there was a sea change in the American psyche, and we’re still living with the ramifications of this shift today. The current Repukes are the pure distillation of this shift.

  31. 31
    Lurking Canadian says:

    What does a veteran who works as an Ohio machinist know about the needs of the average American in the Heartland?

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    This! We may not be able to defeat Boehner by running against him, but we sure as hell can’t beat him by not running against him. Maybe we shouldn’t make his district top priority, but we should give it some priority.

  33. 33
    BobS says:

    Fuck Reagan in his grave. He’d fit in perfectly with this current crowd. In a country with a functional judicial system, both him and Nixon would have been blindfolded and lined up against a wall for the treasonous acts they committed to get elected in the first place.

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    @Lurking Canadian: Almost as much as one who grew up above the family tavern?

  35. 35
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Lurking Canadian: Considerably less than Orange Julius, I’d wager. I mean, they are the workin’ man’s party ‘cos Sarah Palin talks plain, right?

  36. 36
    Redshirt says:

    @Lurking Canadian: The “(D)” beside his name stands for “Disqualified for Real American status”.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
    I’ll be retired by then and will have time to volunteer in states and districts other than my own bright-red area. If Hounshell still looks like a good candidate, I’d be very willing to spend a couple of weeks doing GOTV in Ohio next year.

  38. 38
    Ash Can says:

    @Redshirt: Even in the early seventies, there were enough moderate Republicans in the legislature to persuade Nixon to resign. And the guy who took over for him, Jerry Ford, was hardly a Bircher. It was really only when Reagan and his campaign co-opted the holy rollers and packaged and marketed them into that Silent Majority bullshit that the flat-earth mouthbreathers got the inside track. And it was really only when Reagan inaugurated his states’-rights-nudge-nudge-wink-wink campaign and followed up with his policies of punishing the demographic groups that didn’t support him that the national/party car keys got handed to the bigots. People loved Reagan not just because he could turn a phrase or two in his speeches, but because here was someone in authority who was finally, finally giving them permission to be assholes. It was what they’d always wanted, and they’d be damned if they were ever going to give that up and go back to having to be mature and civil and self-disciplined.

  39. 39
    moderateindy says:

    I actually think that Orange Julius is a victim of his times. My guess is if this was 1993, instead of 2013, he would basically be Bob Dole. He is stuck being crazy conservative because any time he tries to do a compromise with Dems he is shut down by the rest of the wingnuts in his party. He seems more like the traditional pro-corporate Repub that doesn’t really care one way or the other if more progressive social policies get passed as long as pro-biz fiscal and regulatory policies are achieved. But his caucus and his base have become so far right wing that he has no choice but to go along with that agenda. There are no real moderates left in the Republican Congress, but I wonder if there are many that would just as soon act like the moderates of 20 years ago if The Limbaugh’s of the world and the Tea Party types hadn’t spent the last two decades dragging the party to the extreme right.

  40. 40
    Redshirt says:

    @Ash Can: Oh, no doubt Reagan made these shifts mainstream. But the tide certainly turned in the late 60’s with both the election of Reagan as governor of CA, and Nixon in 68. After that, the “moderate Republican” was an endangered species, and their numbers have dropped ever since. I suppose they are now extinct as a political creature.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    @Ash Can:
    …finally giving them permission to be assholes. It was what they’d always wanted, and they’d be damned if they were ever going to give that up and go back to having to be mature and civil and self-disciplined.

    Well stated. What we are seeing today is the culmination of a party that has no value for anyone other than those in power or anything other than power. There is a reason goldwater got roundly defeated, his ideas sucked. What has happened is political mad men, they learned to sell shit.

  42. 42
    Andree-Anne Desmedt says:

    Gail Collins of the NYT labels Boehner as a “weeping qumkwat”. Love it!

  43. 43
    Andree-Anne Desmedt says:

    Gail Collins of the NYT labels Boehner as a “weeping qumkwat”. Love it!

  44. 44
    Andree-Anne Desmedt says:

    Gail Collins of the NYT labels Boehner as a “weeping qumkwat”. Love it!

  45. 45
    manhattanite says:

    Gail Collins of the NYT labels Boehner a “weeping qumkwat”. Love it!

  46. 46
    Wendy says:

    The 8th District is NOT Cincinnati and it is NOT Dayton! It is important to know what the 8th District IS – and if you look at how the voters supported SB5 Issue 2 for the Unions, Andy has a 50-50 chance in this district. Those are the facts because this is NOT a Solid Red District! Get the Facts and say No More Boehner!

  47. 47
    johnny aquitard says:

    I say John, you did a bad thing when you missed
    I say hey John, it’s too bad you missed
    I say hey John, it’s too bad you missed and I’m not saying you’re damned
    But it’s a damn shame you missed

    — Carmaig DeForest, “Hey Judas”

  48. 48
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Ash Can:

    People loved Reagan not just because he could turn a phrase or two in his speeches, but because here was someone in authority who was finally, finally giving them permission to be assholes.

    As Galbraith once said, and no doubt as has been quoted by many here before,

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    Yes, Reagan gave them that justification they so badly craved.

  49. 49
    Rick Massimo says:

    @Lurking Canadian: Precisely. I like this guy’s answer ok, but even better would be to say “I left the GOP because I got out into the real world and started living real life.” They’d turn purple with rage.

  50. 50
    KS in MA says:

    @rikyrah: Good for him! I’ll send him some $$ as soon as there’s somewhere to send it.

  51. 51
    gene108 says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    It’s more than justifying greed.

    Even if you screwed something up, it’s human nature to want to not be reminded about it. Nag people enough about their faults and they’ll just dig in and reject any and all criticism.

    I think white America got sick and tired of being told they were wrong about how they treated blacks, women, and the USA could do something that didn’t spread freedom like Vietnam.

    In the 1970’s, whites had to accept the fact blacks could live next to them or that women could work and what they thought was the natural order of things was no longer acceptable to be said out loud in public.

    They had had enough of the left-wing nagging and thus the 1980’s backlash on social issues was born.

  52. 52
    MomSense says:


    Moderate Republicans are now Independents or Blue Dog Dems.

  53. 53
    donnah says:

    A friend of ours, Jeff Hardenbrook, staged a run against Boehner in 2004.

    But he was the rootiest of grassroots candidates with about 10,000 bucks to spend, all probably donated in singles and fives. bJeff and his wife gave up at least two years of their lives for the political arena, but he got slaughtered. It’s too bad, because Jeff is a great person, an honest and deeply motivated guy, and could have done a lot of good for the district.

    But the good guys can’t win without cash. Too bad.

  54. 54
    Bagpiperchick says:

    @Ash Can: yes, we Dems in Boehner’s district are hoping a Tea Party candidate will run and it will be a 3-way race. Then Andrew could win. Unfortunately, this district, between Cincy and Dayton, is EXTREMELY conservative, mostly older population, and they do love their John of Orange.

  55. 55
    mclaren says:

    And like Reagan (not that he was super awesome or anything) those Republicans are long gone, replaced by their current insane iteration.

    Reagan was more insane than even the craziest current Republican. Like most people, you’ve blotted out this memory from your mind because it’s too horrible to face. But the reality remains that Reagan was a senile sociopath who wandered through the White House hallways muttering “klaatu barada nicto!” during his first term.

    Life was certainly interesting when Ronald Reagan was president. For the neoconservative Cold Warriors who largely staffed the foreign policy side of his administration, it became most interesting when Reagan began wandering around the White House saying, “Klaatu Barada Nitko!” and asking people whether they had seen The Day the Earth Stood Still. “Here come the Little Green Men again!” Colin Powell would say.

    Source: “Klaatu barada nikto!” J. Brad deLong blog, 29 March 2005.

    More here.

    General Colin Powell, Reagan’s national security advisor, went on the record stating that it was part of his job to keep the alien remarks – especially the alien invasion remarks – out of Reagan’s speeches. He feared that people would actually get the idea that there was a real concern in the White House that there was going to be an alien invasion. Every time Reagan would bring up the aliens, Powell would role his eyes and tell his staff, “Here come the little green men again.” In the case of the Fallston speech there was little Powell could do if Reagan chose to ad lib.

    Reagan’s decision to tell the students of the alien invasion was an example of why the White House staff chose to keep him from student events. It was hard to control him. Question and answer sessions were cancelled as he would be “too loose” and “speak too freely.” Judi Buckalew, a presidential aide, spoke of the fear of allowing students around the President. “The staff was always trying to keep him away from these high school groups that would come in to have their pictures taken,” she said, “because he would stand around and answer all their questions, saying all kinds of things. The staff would literally tug him away from these kids.”

    If you’re not terrified and appalled and disgusted beyond words that the ignorant delusional kook Ronald Reagan actually had his finger on the nuclear button for 8 long years, you don’t know recent American history.

  56. 56
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @manhattanite: Is the misspelling part of the joke?

  57. 57
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @donnah: But the good guys can’t win without cash. Too bad.

    True. And horrible. And I guess the DCCC’s resources are too limited to contest these kinds of races. Or they’re a bunch of cliqued up whores. One or the other.

    (I tear up DCCC appeals and give through ActBLUE.)

  58. 58
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: That’s a really seductive explanation, but I think a simpler explanation is that the fascist dude, Reagan, won because the petty bourgeois and rentier class were losing money (not horribly, but they were losing) due to the inflation in the 1970s. And then in 1980 the recession hit and a lot of people who depended on an earned income but thought of themselves as middle class got laid off. These kinds of circumstances lend themselves to popular fascist movements. That’s why Anderson never had a chance.

    Smug, smarmy liberals got away with it as long as they were the winning team, just like SUVs sported W: the President stickers during the early 2000s. Americans love winners and will happily lick their boots and don’t care who sees them do it.

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