UPDATE: See here
Over a month ago I had reached out to the Sherrod Brown campaign about doing a one on one interview with Sherrod Brown. Up till now they had denied any requests to be interviewed by members of the Ohio blogosphere. Still, even though I was one of Sherrod Brown’s strongest critics during the primary, Connie Schultz always made a point to thank me for being fair. This made me think that there was a slight chance that they would say yes. Surprisingly enough they did, and this Saturday they were able to fit some time in at their hotel in Columbus.
This was the 3nd time that I met Congressman Brown and his wife. The first time was back during the Senate primary when I was writing some of my hardest posts on his campaign. Even so, when we met, we exchanged kind words to each other. The day of the interview I found Sherrod Brown and Connie Schultz to be extremely nice people. While I was setting up Congressman Brown asked me about where I lived, and my family. He was particularly interested in my Grandfather who was elected a Democratic State Senator in Indiana the same year that Kennedy became President. He noticed my copy of Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine amongst my things while I was unpacking. We spent some time talking about what a tragic figure Colin Powell was.
There were no rules. The Congressman did not know the questions in advance. I stopped taping several times for technical reasons, and once at the end to take pictures. There were only two chairs in the room so he ended up making a makeshift chair out of a footrest and a pillow while myself and a staffer sat down. I tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t have it since I was operating the equipment.
For this interview I decided to ignore all of the static that I had heard and read from other people about Sherrod Brown and the Senate primary, and just talk to him about what I wanted to talk about… issues that matter to me: How he’s going to beat Mike DeWine. What he would do to turn this country around. I didn’t get into blogging in order to debate who said what to whom in some private conversation at a Christmas party I wasn’t at. As an independent entity I like being relatively isolated from the behind the scenes sturm und drang that most political staffers and wonks obsess about. I didn’t enjoy it back in High School, and I don’t want to blog about it now.
Having now had a chance to interview at length Paul Hackett and Sherrod Brown the thing that strikes me is the intense level of self-confidence they both have. The political sports fan in me loved the clash this produced… the foul mouthed gun toting marine and the crusty old labor street fighter. It was one hell of a fight. Unfortunately, as do all really good fights, it left a lot of lasting damage.
In another time and another place they would have played well off of each other. Anti-war liberals, and pro-military (real) conservatives… these are the two groups that we need to bring together in order to truly change our country… the great bridge as I like to call it. For a time it looked like we were going to build that bridge. Maybe we still can.
In the end I came away very impressed with Congressman Brown. When I listen to him talk, I think how much I would love to have him as my Senator. I don’t care what the polls say. If we have a chance to get someone like that in our corner we’ve got to fight like hell to make it happen, regardless of the past, and no matter what the odds. Besides, I’m really itching for a rematch with Karl Rove.
Bring it on, baby
OH02: Hi, this is Chris Baker, editor of the Ohio 2nd Blog, and I’m sitting in the hotel room next to Sherrod Brown’s hotel room (laughter) interviewing him about the race for Senate. How ya doing Congressman?
Sherrod Brown: Good, thanks. Glad to be with you.
OH02: First off, thanks for letting me do this. It’s very cool. I appreciate that a lot.
Sherrod Brown: Thank you for the substance that you bring to this race, and thanks for your progressive outlook on the world.