Ryan in good political shape

On the side

A toss up: The highly-regarded Cook Political Report has moved the Ohio 6th Congressional District race from “lean Democrat” to “toss-up.” The race pits U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, a Democrat from St. Clairsville, against Republican Bill Johnson of Poland.

Conservatives gather: Conservative political activists will stop at The Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton at 7 p.m. Sunday as part of a “National Revolt Spending Tour.” The forum is part of a national effort to inform Americans about federal government spending.

The Sunday forum is the first stop on a seven-city tour of Ohio for the activists.

The Spread Eagle is owned by Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman Dave Johnson, who will also speak at the forum.

Those wanting to attend should arrive by 6:30 p.m. Reservations to attend the event can be made by calling Tara Canestraro at 330-223-1511 until 5 p.m. today or the tavern at 330-233-1583 over the weekend.

White House job: Alison Kukla, a Boardman native and Youngstown State University graduate, was recently hired by the Office of the White House Counsel. Kukla worked for state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

Polls show this is going to be a rough election nationwide for Democrats.

Several Democrats, hanging on for their political lives, are attempting to distance themselves from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a polarizing figure, and the $800-billion-plus federal stimulus package.

But don’t count U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, as one of them.

During an editorial board meeting with The Vindicator, Ryan made very interesting comments on those topics and others.

As for Pelosi, Ryan said the two are very close, and he is a strong supporter of her. Despite some incumbent House Democrats saying they hope Pelosi doesn’t run for speaker, Ryan praises her leadership.

“We share values,” he said.

As for the controversial stimulus package, Ryan agrees with most other Democrats that it helped the economy, but should have been implemented in a more effective manner.

But then Ryan takes it to another level.

“I don’t think the stimulus was big enough,” Ryan said. “I think the stimulus should have been double the size that it was if we want to drive down unemployment.”

The extra money could have been used to create many more jobs, which would have dropped the national unemployment rate down to about 6 percent, Ryan said.

The United States would have had to borrow money from countries, such as China, to come up with another $800-billion-plus.

Low interest

Ryan said he doesn’t see a problem borrowing more money because the interest rate is very low — he said about 1 percent or 2 percent — and it would jump start the economy with Americans having money in their pockets to spend.

“This is demand-side economics,” Ryan said. “The Tea-Party guys act like this is some wild theory. It’s the economic theory we’ve had from post-World War II to 1980. This is our economic theory: the economy goes down, government spending increases, smooths off the rough edges, and, you know, when the economy goes up, government spending decreases.”

Fortunately for Ryan he’s in a strong Democratic district with weak opposition.

Ryan faces Republican Jim Graham of Cortland, who’s been unable to raise money to compete with the incumbent and has attracted barely any support from national Republicans.

The other candidate is ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., an independent. Traficant has even less money than Graham, and is running on a bizarre two-issue pipe-dream of repealing the 16th Amendment and somehow getting an Indian gambling casino in North Jackson.

If nearly any other incumbent Democratic member of Congress made comments similar to Ryan’s, that person would probably lose. Even Democrats who’ve criticized Pelosi, President Barack Obama and the stimulus package are going to lose this year.

Ryan will cruise to an easy win.

He said, “I take all my challenges seriously.” But Ryan is so confident that he hasn’t had commercials on Youngstown’s television network affiliates, and has no plans to do so.

When it comes to this election, Ryan has nothing to worry about.

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