Saturday, June 25, 2005


I hate to say I told you so...

Oh, who am I kidding? I like being able to say “I told you so” as much as the next guy. But sometimes, you’d really prefer to be wrong. Friday Brit Hume’s “Grapevine” at the FoxNews site had this item:

The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party is complaining that his state's two Senators, both Republican are hurting his fundraising efforts. Chairman Bob Bennett says donations to the party through direct mail and telemarketing have recently dropped, and "there's no question" Senator George Voinovich's opposition to U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton, and Senator Mike DeWine's role in that Senate compromise over Bush judicial nominees are at least partially to blame. As for how much fundraising is down, Bennett didn't say.

On June 15, as part of a lengthy post about what a mess the Republicans are making for themselves in Ohio, I wrote:

With this as a background, realize that Ohio Republicans, under the supposed “leadership” of Governor Bob Taft, are cooking up a real mess here in the Buckeye state, a veritable witches’ brew of carelessness, foolishness, and downright stupidity that may provide a real opportunity to Ohio Democrats and a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008.

First, you have both Republican Senators acting like fools, Voinovich over the Bolton nomination and DeWine joining McCain and Co. in caving in and selling out over the filibuster compromise. While I believe that Voinovich, and perhaps DeWine, too, was deliberately posturing for the cameras back home (previous posts here and here), they certainly have done nothing by these actions to endear themselves to the core Republican constituency. And the real danger here is that the resentment engendered among conservatives may be translated into lukewarm support for the next Republican who really needs the support of that core constituency.

And the next Republican who needs that core is not likely to be Voinovich or DeWine.The next Republican who needs that support is likely to be Jim Petro, Ken Blackwell, or Betty Mongomery, in a run for the governor’s mansion.

Since that June 15 post, there has been even more bad news for Ohio Republicans, with Governor Taft revealing to the Ohio ethics commission that he had failed to disclose golf outings paid for by lobbyists, an offense for which he’s already fired three administration officials. This prompted calls for Taft’s resignation. Calls that were loud enough for Taft to feel he had to respond by announcing he has no intention of resigning. Taft explained it as errors made by staff, just as Nancy Pelosi explained away her failing to report a trip she took with Stephanie Tubbs Jones, whose report said a lobbyist paid for it. This stuff goes on all the time. But here in Ohio, things are starting to pile up.

Barring more nasty surprises, it’s unlikely Taft is in real danger of being forced out. But it’s not much of a leap to get from ineptitude to incompetence, and from there it’s just a hop-skip and no jump to get to corruption.

Stay tuned, boys and girls, because Ohio politics could get very scary in the near future. The current Republican state leadership in all three branches of government is starting to look like a campaign ad for any Democrat who cares to run. If the GOP doesn’t get its act together, and soon, there may well be a real opportunity for Democrats, not only for the Governor’s mansion, but for the state legislature and congressional delegation as well as the other state-wide offices, all held by Republicans, all of whom want to be governor.

Ironically, the two Republican officeholders who are probably the least at risk are the Senators, Voinovich and DeWine.

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