Here we are, just a few days away from the 2014 primaries in Ohio – or so it always seems with the political class – and there are more eager and ready wannabes in the field than you might find in the annual NFL draft. For the sake of brevity, let’s ferret out of the list just three well-known Republican candidates who, if reelected, could continue to malform another four years of life in Ohio.
But first, there was more than a little conjecture – on those evenings when TV offered no equally fetching sitcoms – about how a win by Mitt Romney would extend its benefits to Ohio’s GOP headliners in Ohio. They would be the critical mass of Mourning in America.
(1) Gov. Kasich, who was never cut out for a day job dealing with ordinary people, would be appointed to a cabinet job – any job that would get him out of dealing with budgets, unions, school teachers and the like.
(2) Sen. Rob Portman, the guy who emulated Mitt’s pathetic attempt to be casually voter-friendly (i.e. likable) in white open neck shirt and blue jeans during the campaign, also would be appointed to a cabinet position in the city where he once worked felicitously for George W. Bush.
(3) Kasich would appoint Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor to be governor, which she would like very much since not one in a thousand people could tell you the name of the lieutenant governor. It would even be a tough question for the Jeopardy buffs.
(4)The office of lieutenant governor would be left blank, since it’s not easy for anyone to describe what a lieutenant governor actually does anyway.
But Mitt screwed everything up by losing – at least we think he did, the diehards notwithstanding – and Mr. Kasich now finds himself running for reelection. For a guy who won a narrow plurality his first time around, it may be even more difficult the second time. He still has the noose of Senate Bill 5 hanging around his neck (remember, the public-union busting issue was rejected in a landslide by voters).
And he is saddled with an anthology of crony-appointment stories that include the naming of Mike Gonidakis, the head of Ohio Right to Life, to the state medical board, which is supposed to judge the qualifications of physicians. Gonidakis has no medical experience.
Then there’s Secretary of State Jon Husted, a fellow obsessed with restricting the vote of groups not likely to vote Republican. If there were voting booths at country clubs, there would not be the usual long lines, do you think? It will be dreadful to have to put up with more of his saintly explanations of why he had no intention of suppressing the vote. But the subject will surely come up.
Finally there’s Attorney General Mike DeWine, who campaigned in a bad Democratic year (2010) that his first act would be to file suit against Obamacare. The Supreme Court upended that notion for him. He’s also the guy who dumped Mitt Romney in a the closing months of the campaign and switched to Rick Santorum in the belief that Rick would be a sure winner in Ohio. If he had stuck with Romney, DeWine could have at least been credited with a whit of consistency.
OK. That’s where we are with the three amigos seeking reelection, baggage and all.
But a big question remains. Will the Democrats find a way to capitalize on their political wealth or tangle themselves into defeat? I’m not smart enough to answer that, but it could happen even if an inviting table has been set for them.