With the NFL draft in full throttle the past week end, Gov. Kasich got his man. Fellow named Matthew Borges (not to be confused with Borgia). A right guard, I believe, although Republicans in the Dawg Pound will have to go on trust regarding his talent.
He had been touted all along as the governor’s chosen crony to replace the temporary Republican chairman, Bob Bennett, a former chairman himself who came out of the steam room to fill a vacancy at headquarters after the governor exiled Kevin
DeWine. But that’s another story, which is hardly worth repeating.
The GOP high command sounded rather excited by Borges’ potential as the governor’s lead blocker to open a few holes through which Kasich could slither to reelection in 2014. But some eyebrows did rise when word got out that Borges owed – what was it? – $161,000 or so – to the Feds on unpaid taxes. At that point we began to wonder whether Kasich might decide to trade down to a lower pick to shut up the damn Democrats from accusing Borges of being a “tax cheat”.
Given their historic disdain for taxes, Republicans never see a a hefty tax lien as anything more than a nuisance that, for painful political ends, must be paid. Which, we were told, they somehow were, just before Borges was drafted by the State GOP Central Committee to satisfy the guv. The choice was only slightly dented by a Tea Party entrant into state politics, Tom Zawistowski, who wanted the job, too, and could be heard from again.
We’d have to assume that in many political races these days, GOP candidates are terrified at the thought that a Tea Partier will challenge them in one congressional district or another. And from what we have seen they are not quick to join the team controlled by the old establishment.
Borges, meantime, vowed to protect the governor’s interest, come what may. With the usual boiler plate, Borges said after the vote that “our Republican leaders led by Gov. John Kasich need our full support as we continue [!] to build Ohio into the best state to live, work and raise a family.” (Maybe not work, but you get his point.) A release from Republican headquarters quoted a glowing central committeeman Dave Johnson,who described Borges as “experienced’ and “prepared”.
For the Ohio GOP, this is a monstrous leap from the days of Ray Bliss, a fastidious, squeaky-clean operative whose strength as state chairman for 11 years was that he was his own man who never looked at Jim Rhodes as his boss. Kasich, we can be sure, would have given Ray a helluva headache.