Jim McNeill

Jim McNeill is a former managing editor of In These Times whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Newsday and The Baffler.

Recent Articles


RAGGED COATTAILS IN OHIO. Though top-ticket Democrats in Ohio have swept to victory, their coattails may not be long enough to make the gains the party was hoping for in the state's congressional delegation. Here are the numbers -- which we must take on faith from the website of outgoing Secretary of State Ken Blackwell -- in the four key House races. The only Democrat with a lead is Zack Space in the district of disgraced and just-resigned Congressman Bob Ney . District 1 John Cranley D - 64,796 - 48.41% Steve Chabot R - 69,058 - 51.59% District 2 Victoria Wulsin D - 103,160 - 49.21% Jean Schmidt R - 106,414 - 50.76% District 15 Mary Jo Kilroy D - 91,565 - 49.76% Deborah Pryce R - 92,435 - 50.23% District 18 Zack Space D - 98,103 - 61.45% Joy Padgett R - 61,533 - 38.55% --Jim McNeill


"READY TO TRAVEL, READY TO SUE." Guardedly optimistic news from the land of voter suppression. Here in southwest Ohio�s 2nd congressional district, where late polls showed Democrat Victoria Wulsin with a narrow lead over incumbent �Mean Jean� Schmidt , voting seems to be going fairly smoothly. �It�s going much better than could�ve been expected,� said Michelle Young , part of a bipartisan team of attorneys doing election protection work in heavily Republican Warren and Clermont counties outside of Cincinnati. Both counties have given Democrats jitters in the past. In the 2004 election, just after the polls closed, the board of elections in Warren County -- which Bush carried by 42,000 votes -- locked out the media and observers, saying that the FBI had warned of a terrorist threat. The FBI later said it issued no such warning. In the 2005 special congressional election won by Schmidt, her home county of Clermont was the last one in the...

Bringing It All Back Home

In the final days of Ted Strickland's run for Ohio governor, as his lead over GOP nominee Ken Blackwell has grown to a stunning 36 points in the last Columbus Dispatch poll, his campaign stops have felt less like political rallies than revival meetings. At the Eagles Fraternal Club in rural Putnam County, Strickland tells the overflow crowd, "I'm not going to talk a lot of policy stuff tonight, it's not that kind of night." Strickland, a Methodist minister before he became a congressman, proceeds to preach about the values he learned growing up on a dirt road called Duck Run in Ohio's Appalachian region. He talks about his eight brothers and sisters, about his steelworker father, and about "the most marvelous mother that ever walked on God's earth." Then he goes on about the family home that didn't have indoor plumbing till he was in high school. "In the wintertime we took our baths in a big round galvanized tub," Strickland says. "Anyone here ever taken a bath in a big round...

Dr. Nice Vs. Mean Jean

Adams County, OH -- Just how high will the Democratic tide rise on Tuesday? There may be no better place to gauge the strength of the coming wave than here in southwestern Ohio's 2nd congressional district. Running a hundred miles along the Ohio River, from humble farming towns in the east to Cincinnati's well-heeled suburbs out west, the 2nd district has long been one of the most Republican in America, going 64 percent for George W. Bush in 2004 and choosing the distinctly unappealing GOP candidate Jean Schmidt over the charismatic Iraq veteran Paul Hackett in a special congressional election nine months later. Yet on Monday, the influential political analyst Charlie Cook shifted the race from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up." Here, as in dozens of suddenly competitive districts across the country, it's easy to assume that Democratic candidate Victoria Wulsin is merely riding a wave of voter discontent with Republican corruption and the Iraq war. Indeed, Cook insists that it's...

The Test Case Race

The world headquarters of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is still in Akron, Ohio, but all they make there now are decisions. Except for a few specialty racing tires, Goodyear hasn't made tires in Akron in years. Industry here is dead, dead, dead, and there is nothing we can do to revive it. Apparently, Sherrod Brown never got that memo from the Atari Democrats. Twenty-five years after the cutting-edge members of his party gave up on quaint ideas like manufacturing and collective bargaining, Brown, a seven-term congressman from northeast Ohio, is running a campaign for Senate that breaks every rule in the New Democrat playbook. On a cloudless day in August, Brown is holding a press conference on a sidewalk two miles up East Market Street from Goodyear's headquarters. Here in Akron's hollowed-out core, he talks earnestly about rebuilding Ohio's industrial base by investing in alternative energy. He blasts incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine and President Bush for having “...