That was some display of hubris that Gov. Kasich exhibited in Fairlawn Tuesday evening for the annual Summit County Republican Finance Committee dinner. His agents, in league with county chairman Alex Arshinkoff, banned all media from attending the $300 a plate dinner in the Fairlawn Hilton that drew 450 guests and the usual coterie of supplicants. (I say “In league” because Arshinkoff is the $10,000 a month lobbyist for the University of Akron to gain access to Kasich and state lawmakers for campus goodies.)
Coincidentally the event was held on the first day of the government shutdown and one can only wonder whether it had the slightest depressing effect on the good time that was to be had by all, with the possible exception of the servers.)
Having been banned from the annual fund-raiser for a couple of years by the chairman, I rely on a piece in the Beacon Journal by Stephanie Warsmith that reported Kasich had “declined repeated requests the Beacon Journal made.” The paper quoted Rob Nichols, Kasich’s out-of-the-bullpen closer, as saying it wouldn’t be fair to grant an interview to the paper because such courtesies would then have to be extended to other media across Ohio. Fairness? Courtesy? Haven’t heard those words mentioned often on the political dial in Columbus these days.
Clearly, the Kasich royalists believe that whatever they want the voters in Ohio to know must be restricted to soaring press releases about the governor’s Ohio Miracle, which has yet to be explained to me
However, Nichols did tell the BJ it wouldn’t miss anything, that Kasich would only be giving the same speech to the Akron area crowd that he always gives, so I was relieved to learn that my time would be better served watching the National League playoff game, which could be more rewarding. (Full disclosure: Having grown up in a small town near Pittsburgh I was quite surprised to see my team, the Pirates, win to add to the luster of breaking a 21-year string of losing seasons).
Without referring to the First Amendment – the Second Amendment is granted much more validity on Planet Kasich – we can’t help recalling that in the days of Summit GOP Chairman Ray Bliss, a taciturn man, reporters were given every courtesy of covering the event, including pre-dinner interviews with the speakers. And if a guest speaker had wanted the event closed to the media, Bliss would probaby have told him or her to stay home.
But times do change, and an indication of the Summit Party’s moribund condition these days is that its only opportunity to boast is behind closed doors.