Politics serves us flip-flops and broken campaign promises on a frequent basis. In the midst of petty political bickering, we have a fully stocked arsenal of such flip-flops and broken promises to go tit-for-tat with our opponents, no matter which candidate one champions. Such is the human condition.
But some political reversals are so shattering that using the word “flip-flop” in those instances would be trying to trivialize the seriousness of the offense. An example of what I’m talking about would be George Bush the elder, who served one term as president on the heels of Reagan. Bush said, “Read my lips! No new taxes!” That was an outright lie. He didn’t get re-elected.
Ted Strickland’s abandonment of his stance against slots shows that he is a liar. Whatever he said in opposition to gambling to get co-endorsed (with Ken Blackwell) by the Ohio Roundtable in the 2006 gubernatorial race was an outright lie.
If I were a Democrat (OK, I’m not), this, to me, would signal the beginning of a gubernatorial primary challenge. There’s no way I would try to defend Strickland when he’s been caught in such a bold-faced lie. All the ammunition needed for the GOP to, not just go tit-for-tat with Strickland, but to outright defeat him at the ballot box has already been hand-delivered by Strickland himself with his outrageous lying. Clear the primary for Ted to run for a 2nd term? No way. That’s not giving the Democrat Party a chance to win in 2010. Time to find an alternative candidate that’s not as tragic a figure as Strickland.
The ODP, though, by way of Chris Redfern, is joined at the hip with Ted Strickland’s political ambitions. Rather than try to defend Ted’s outright lying, though, because that would strain credulity too much, the ODP is going to try to lull voters into paying no attention to the betrayal that seeks to bring slots to Ohio without the vote of the people. Along that vein, Chris Redfern has tried to overshadow Ted’s dastardly betrayal with his public request for Jimmy Dimora to resign as chair of the Democrat Party in Cuyahoga County.
Though there was initial hesitation on Redfern’s part, Redfern did the right thing by taking steps to purge state government of former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. By doing so, Redfern kept the ODP in the good graces of the voters of Ohio, when there was so much potential for political damage to the whole party had they just tried to let the matter slide.
Allegations of corruption continue to bubble to the surface in Cuyahoga County Democrat Party circles, with Jimmy Dimora at the epicenter of those allegations. If Redfern can give the ODP a boost in the eyes of Ohio voters by taking a tough tone with Dimora like he did with Dann, then full steam ahead.
However, excuse me for being a bit cynical, but no shocking new Dimora revelation hit the news headlines in the last few days, despite Cuyahoga County GOP chair Robert Frost’s continued drum beat against Dimora, and despite the announcement of Dimora’s temporary hiatus as the Dem party chair in his county, so the timing of Redfern’s public request for Dimora’s resignation leads me to believe that he was waiting to go public with this until such time as he needed to distract attention away from something else that was going horribly wrong. That something else is the revelation of Ted Strickland’s outright lying.
While Redfern and the ODP came out smelling like a rose during the outrage against Dann, the current scenario doesn’t have such a rosy outlook. If Dimora were concerned about the well-being of the Ohio Democrat Party, he’d have stepped aside long ago. Dimora doesn’t care about the well-being of the Ohio Democrat Party. Dimora cares about maintaining the status quo within his own fiefdom, and he’s got a political machine that is built to do just that. He’s not dismantling it. Dimora’s milking it for all it’s worth, and he’s counting on the P.T. Barnum maxim that, “A sucker is born every minute,” to allow him to maintain the status quo even amidst the negative portrayals of himself in the media. Even if Dimora is finally forced out of Cuyahoga County government, the machine will make it all to easy for Dimora to influence which of his cronies get to succeed him in office, so this isn’t going to end so well for Redfern. As I mentioned in a prior blog entry, to mitigate against such county-level corruption, it would be advisable to move county commissioner elections to odd-numbered years.
This also isn’t going to end well for Redfern because the Strickland betrayal of Ohio’s voters won’t go unnoticed, despite the distraction. In fact the distraction will only compound the problem. Whether the media chooses to focus on a Strickland administration that lies, and that only looks for short-term quick fixes for the state budget, or whether the media’s attention is diverted to the corruption of Democrat officials in Cuyahoga County government, the public will be made much more aware of how the Rust Belt economy came into being within Democrat strongholds.
So that brings us to the GOP response to Strickland’s lying. Enter GOP rivals for the 2010 gubernatorial nomination, John Kasich and Kevin Coughlin.
The GOP frontrunner, John Kasich, has failed to capitalize. Silence from the Kasich camp. Perhaps knowing that Kasich would utterly fail to capitalize was one reason why Strickland felt emboldened to carry out his act of betrayal.
Kevin Coughlin is an embattled politician, himself. There are rumors of a personal scandal swirling about Coughlin. I’m vague about it because the rumors are vague. While Coughlin vehemently denies the existence of any scandal, he needs to be vetted. If Coughlin is being truthful, then the sooner he’s vetted, the better for his fledgeling campaign. Right now, it appears as though Coughlin is stalling his own vetting process by quashing inquiries, which makes observers wonder whether there’s something there. If nothing’s there, then Coughlin should welcome the inquiries, have done with them, and move on to the issues.
Because he’s not been vetted, the MSM doesn’t seem to be taking Coughlin seriously, and his views on the issues aren’t receiving much coverage. So, to get Coughlin’s take on current issues, I looked to Weapons of Mass Discussion (bloggers, yet again, doing the job of MSM journalists), which posted a Coughlin statement, and Coughlin appears ready to pounce on both Kasich and Strickland.
Coughlin pouncing on Ted:
“The General Assembly should reject Governor Ted Strickland’s proposal to allow over 15,000 video slot machines in Ohio. Ohio’s voters have spoken loudly in four statewide elections to reject the expansion of gambling.
“I have no objection to allowing Ohio’s voters to decide the fate issues via ballot initiative. But Governor Strickland’s proposal is an end run around voters. The General Assembly is being asked to rush through a massive expansion of gambling without public testimony, proper hearings, substantive debate or a vote of the people. That’s downright sneaky and Ohioans should be outraged.”
Previously, Coughlin had assailed John Kasich for not being as protective of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as Strickland has been, while Coughlin firmly framed his own stance as a protector of the 2nd Amendment. Coughlin also had something to say about John Kasich in light of Strickland’s betrayal:
“Equally troubling is the deafening silence from John Kasich. Ohio voters who oppose casino-type gambling have a right to know where John Kasich stands on this important issue.
“The fact is that John Kasich’s top two campaign advisors are registered lobbyists for the gambling industry. Douglas Preisse and his partner Robert Klaffky are not only coordinators of the Kasich campaign, they are paid lobbyists for the Ohio Legacy Fund, a racetrack/gaming coalition that has spent millions to promote slot machines in our state.”
Ouch, Mr. Kasich. That definitely dampens my enthusiasm for the Kasich candidacy. Then Coughlin continues with his statement, targeting both Kasich and Strickland, collectively:
“So it’s clear that when it comes to standing for principles and against casino-type gambling, Ted Strickland and John Kasich are two of a kind.
“Ohioans are already paying too much for everything. The last thing they need is the government rummaging through their pockets for more money. Slot machines are just another means of sucking cash from the people who can least afford it. I will oppose the conference committee report on the state budget if this reckless plan is included and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
That’s a message that resonates with me. But Mr. Coughlin, you have got to clear your name from those that would besmirch it, even if Alex Arshinkoff is the author of those pesky rumors.
And Mr. Kasich, Mr. Coughlin has uncovered two of your glaring deficiencies that you ought to do something about. A third deficiency in your campaign message, that I intend to blog more about in the future, is your stance on education, which needs much more meat on its bones.
At this point, the GOP should be a lock for the governor’s office in 2010. As a Republican, I find it rather sobering that neither of the announced GOP candidates is currently positioned well enough to claim a stranglehold on the seat despite Strickland’s virtual forfeit of the job, and despite the continued damage to the Democrat brand dealt by the Dimora political machine in Cuyahoga County.