[update] Forcing Dann’s hand

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has been issued an ultimatum to resign. State Democrats have issued a letter stating that the Democrats of the Ohio House will introduce a resolution to impeach Marc Dann.

Signatories to the letter are: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, Ohio S.O.S. Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Ray Miller, Ohio House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty, and ODP Chair Chris Redfern.

Took Redfern long enough to get on board.

Rep. Joyce Beatty comes out smelling like a rose, because she tackled the thorny issues of Matt Barrett AND Marc Dann, and she’ll be a key player if Dann refuses to resign. Kudos to her from me.

[update] Hat tip to JMZ at Writes Like She Talks for informing readers that state Democrat leaders are severing party ties to Marc Dann, which is a step in the right direction.

Redfern has more respect for Marc Dann than he does for women

There are a lot of people who aren’t saying things about the Marc Dann scandal because they don’t know all of the facts.

I don’t have that hangup. I’ll go ahead and speak up about some thoughts running through my mind, and wait to see if any person disgruntled by my musings presents any firm evidence that refutes what I’m saying.

The first thing that pops into my head happens to be the headline of this article. When the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, was asked to weigh in on this whole Marc Dann scandal, Redfern tried to offer some praise for Dann’s work as AG. The rest of the state is outraged by the working environment in the Ohio Attorney General’s office, yet Redfern won’t call for Dann to resign immediately. This communicates to me, as an observer, that Chris Redfern has more respect for Marc Dann than he has for women. This communicates to me that Redfern condones this behavior, so long as he can think up a few compliments to balance the equation. Sorry, but those compliments towards Dann do NOT balance the equation.

The second thing that comes to mind is that Marc Dann hails from Youngstown. And, in a free word association game, if someone says to me “Youngstown,” I say back, “Mafia.” I’m not saying Dann himself is mafia, but I’m not ruling it out, either, and I certainly think, of the four AG candidates in the primaries of 2006, Dann was the candidate favored by the mafia. After all, Gutierrez bragged about his ties to the mafia, but he was never milked for information on it, never so much as interrogated for what tips he could provide about the mafia, so the AG’s office is knowingly turning a blind eye to the mafia. In mafia-like fashion, Marc Dann has his own office do the investigation into the harassment charges, and then claims he’s exonerated when the findings are released. Then he names a legal firm of his own choosing to engage in the rehabilitation of the AG office, whose leading partner donated to the Dann campaign. Nice little payback: one gives campaign cash, the other rewards with income for the firm. It’s perfectly clear what’s going on. His own office investigates so that no smoking gun is brought forward to implicate Dann of an impeachable offense, and the Jim Friedman “clean up crew” will, I’m sure, pay attention to detail in setting the house in order, but as they leave no stone unturned in rehabilitating the AG’s office, they’ll also be able to scrub the place of any evidence against Marc Dann. After all, it’s outside of their scope to investigate Dann, and before any other investigation comes along, the Friedman team will make sure there’s nothing left to find. It sure would be nice if the Ohio State Bar Association would launch their own independent probe, and Dann would have a problem remaining in power if his license to practice law was suspended (**sigh** wishful thinking). And of course, Dann isn’t going to step out of power, just like the mafia would never let go of any toehold they had. All of this has a true mafia-like flavor to it.

Then there are those who are predicting that Marc Dann WILL step down, but a few months down the road, allowing for an interim AG appointment that won’t have to face election until 2010. If that’s the case, I doubt the bloggers on the left will see the appointment of Subodh Chandra to the AG’s office. I think it much more likely that Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will be appointed as the AG. There is a pattern to who the Ted Strickland-Sherrod Brown-Chris Redfern triumvirate handpicks as their candidates, and, short of spelling it out for you, Subodh Chandra does not fit the profile. (For more elaboration on the profiles of those who get handpicked by the triumvirate, I plan on doing a Matt Barrett followup, and the name “Dan Metelsky” just might appear in it.) Nope, the only way Chandra will be named as AG is if the newly appointed AG has to run in a special election for the seat this fall, because in that short run-up to special elections, they don’t like Lee Fisher’s chances. Notice that the triumvirate, while a Strickland might offer a scolding, is not demanding the immediate resignation of Dann. If the outrage continues over the next several months, then the triumvirate will demand the resignation of Dann, after the window for special elections has closed.  If that’s the way it goes down, that’ll be the first substantial chink in Strickland’s armor that could imperil his re-election in 2010.

And, in light of the desire to handpick Dann’s successor and trying as hard as they can to avoid any risk of a Republican taking the AG seat, the ODP hierarchy would throw women under the bus. Partisanship trumps gender. The upper echelons of Democrats will only step forward in the name of chivalry (yes, they are this medieval in their mentality) if it looks as though the political fallout over the scandal is too much to overcome. As Mark Naymik writes in the Plain Dealer:

The Democrats need to pick up four seats to win control of the 99-member chamber. But with newspapers across the state and the Republican Party calling for Dann to step down, it is unclear how effective he can be as a party surrogate.

Rep. Ted Celeste, a Columbus-area Democrat and brother of former Gov. Dick Celeste, said Friday it is too early to tell. But he planned to gauge reaction to the Dann scandal as he campaigned over the weekend.

“It is important to do some testing and see what they are feeling,” he said.

Celeste is one of a handful of Democrats raising money for House candidates in the hope of becoming House speaker if Democrats win control in November.

“The reality is that the proof will be in how the scandal unfolds,” he said. “It is hard to equate this situation with what happened in ’06, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real issues here that have to be dealt with.”

Asked if he thinks Dann should step down, Celeste said, “For me it is too early to say.”

State Rep. Armond Budish of Beachwood, who also wants to be House speaker, said he doesn’t think the scandal will affect the battle for the House. “I think they will still be won or lost on the merits of each of the individual races,” he said.

Democratic consultant Dale Butland, who manages statewide candidate and issue campaigns, says he, too, can’t predict what impact Friday’s events will have. But he predicted it will harden the partisan divide in this year’s elections.

What does it say about Ted Celeste (among others) that he has to stick his finger in the wind in order to decide whether to stick up for working women and demand Dann’s resignation? It says that there’s a complete lack of principles among Democrat party leaders except for the principle of holding on to power which is eerily similar to the philosophy of the mafia.

Something else that gets me thinking is that Gutierrez told his subordinate that she got her job because of her female anatomy. Capri Cafaro got the state senator job left vacant by Marc Dann, despite some controversy over her residency in the district. Did anatomy have anything to do with getting the nod? Did a connection to the mafia have anything to do with getting the nod? I never thought about these questions at the time of Cafaro’s appointment, but this whole Marc Dann mess has made me look at things from a new perspective.

Another thought that springs to mind is Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who also refuses to step down, after defending him cost Detroit a few million dollars (mostly to settle a suit, but additional dollars will be used to defend him against prosecution for perjury). That Kilpatrick stays in power is maddening. There will be civil lawsuits against the AG’s office seeking damages, I’m almost certain of it. How much money will taxpayers pay to mount a vigorous defense, only to have a large payout to the plaintiffs as the final result? Cutting Dann loose may help cut Ohioans’ losses.

Republicans were angered by improprieties of their own party leaders. Under pressure from Republican leaders, Joe Deters had to bail out of statewide office to find refuge in Hamilton County, and Bob Ney had to resign from Congress. Others, that Republican voters were dismayed who didn’t remove themselves from office, found themselves removed from office in the 2006 elections. Ohio Republicans have shown a willingness to purge the scandalous from among their ranks. I note that the left side of the blogosphere is ready to stand up for working women, but the Dem leadership is not. I’ll be interested in seeing if Dem rank-and-file voters are just as willing to purge the scandalous from among their ranks, and do the job that Dem leaders won’t do.