In today’s New York Times, Frank Rich writes with great skepticism about the notion that there is really and truly a movement of Clinton supporters eager to support John McCain:
Our new bogus narrative rose from the ashes of Mrs. Clinton’s concession to Mr. Obama, amid the raucous debate over what role misogyny played in her defeat. A few female Clinton supporters — or so they identified themselves — appeared on YouTube and Fox News to say they were so infuriated by sexism that they would vote for Mr. McCain.
How bogus is this narrative? How bogus are the self-identifications of Clinton supporters who say they will campaign whole-heartedly against Barack Obama and for John McCain? A local example of national prominence, Cynthia Ruccia, is not at all bogus in her identification as a long-time Democrat. Ruccia, after all, ran for Congress in Ohio against John Kasich in both 1994 and 1996. Her reflections on the experience can be found in Robert G. Boatright’s book Expressive Politics: Issue Strategies of Congressional Challengers, pp. 173-174:
[Of the 1994 race] It was not going to be an easy race, but on paper it was doable. It took me a fair amount of time to sell the DCCC on that, but I got a fair amount of assistance after I opened their eyes to it. Now when the 1996 election came around it was a whole different story, because Kasich had been on his own meteoric rise at the time, so he became sort of a target. People became involved in my campaign for philosophical reasons. When it came down to party help, I got more than a lot of people got, but it’s a horse race for them, they add up the numbers and see how people are going to do before they allocate the resources. They put me in a kind of special category, but I didn’t get to experience, for example, what Ted Strickland or Dennis Kucinich got. I wasn’t quite in that category….
I was received very well by the state Democratic Party. What I really appreciated was that I always had access to [state party chair] David Leland if I needed some help, and he was always straight with me, told me what they couldn’t do. I knew that in working with him, if I had specific requests, that if he could do it, he would do it. I didn’t get any double talk.
Boatright reports that as a congressional candidate, she had the assistance of the Ohio Democratic Party in gaining national figures such as President Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson and John Conyers to campaign for her. After Ruccia’s two unsuccessful campaigns for the House of Representatives, she also ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Ohio House in 1998, getting 40% of the vote. In her interview for Boatright’s 2004 book, she indicated hopes to secure some sort of political office as a way setting a foundation for future runs for national office.
It is not only in runs for office that Cynthia Ruccia has expressed herself as a Democrat. She contributed $1516 to Hillary Clinton this year, $300 to the Ohio Democratic Party in 2007, and $1750 to Ohio Democratic congressional candidate MaryEllen O’Shaughnessy in 1999. Ruccia ran for the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee in 2004 and before that in 2000. Ruccia is a Democratic ward leader in Bexley, Ohio, and sits on the Franklin County Democratic Party Executive Committee. As of last year, Ruccia was listed as a leader of the Eastside Progressive Democrats. A little bit more than a month ago, Ruccia held an event in her home that appeared to create income for herself in her work as a cosmetics salesperson along with donations of 25% of proceeds to the Franklin County Democratic Party.
Bottom line: Cynthia Ruccia is clearly NOT a Republican mole. She has years and years of experience in the Democratic Party as a functionary, a candidate and a contributor.
After her splash in the news media last month, with notes in Politico and a TV appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show, Cynthia Ruccia has converted an old pro-Clinton website into a woman-identified website against Barack Obama and nebulously for John McCain. That website has not done much to date except to feature thoughts about the 2008 race, and it remains to be seen whether this will be a significant force in the 2008 election or a fleeting fancy. I encourage you to follow Ruccia’s website and see where it goes.