Days in Northern Ohio have become much livelier in the heat of summer. The past week or so, for example, has produced three tornadic events: A real tornado in Medina County, LeBron James’ epic decision to return to the Cavaliers, and, of course, the Republican eruptive choice of Cleveland for its 2016 national convention.
So far, the GOP hasn’t found a way to blame the tornado nor LeBron’s flight from Florida – a key battleground state – on President Obama. But Marco Rubio is doubtless still working on it in James’ case, including it in a new immigration reform package that will ship him back to Miami in cuffs.
The most interesting response, however, is how the mainstream media virtually ignored Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic candidate for governor, in the symbiotic local effort to lure all of those Republicans to the oft-maligned city on the lake. The hometown paper, with one major exception, handed out huzzahs for the efforts by the convention bureau, Cleveland companies and the Cleveland 2016 RNC Host Committee, headed by Terry Egger, the PD’s former publisher.
The Beacon Journal, on the other hand, delivered to its readers a puffy Page One story from the Washington Post that “affirmed the influence of Sen. Rob. Portman” in the GOP’s decision under the headline “GOP’s choice of Cleveland reflects power of Portman”. The Republican senator, the article said, “pushed for months for the city as the site”. Hint: Portman was again elevated as a potential presidential candidate. For now, it couldn’t hurt. Or could it?
(About presidential politics: The Columbus Dispatch, which appears to be torn between advancing Gov. Kasich or Portman as the paper’s choice for the Oval Office, focussed on Kasich, satisfied that the convention would be a perfect national stage to dramatize the “revitalization and fiscal turnaround that Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich” has managed to pull off in a few short years…”)
And as for Kasich himself, he had nothing to say at all to the Dispatch’s Joe Vardon who asked about FitzGerald’s role. Said the governor: “That’s a question – I’m not in the middle of that kind of question. I have no answer to that right now.”
That non-response measures well against one of George W. Bush’s when a reporter asked a question about a nominee: ” I would have to ask the questions…I haven’t had a chance to ask the questioners the question they’ve been questioning.”
And where was FitzGerald in the planning and rollout of the convention site? It wasn’t until veteran writer Brent Larkin, who retired in 2009 as the PD’s editorial director five years ago, stepped up.
Summing up his column in the subhead over his commentary: “Credit FitzGerald with leadership, vision in landing 2016 GOP convention.”
Larkin noted that FitzGerald, with Positively Cleveland CEO Dave Gilbert as early as two years ago engaged in planning for a convention proposal. Wrote Larkin:
“And Republicans may not like it, but FitzGerald, a Democrat, deserves far more credit than any other elected official for the city landing the GOP presidential nominating convention. Anyone who tries to suggest a public official other than FitzGerald is the father of this process is simply not telling the truth.”
Well, now. Larkin’s incisive observation certainly bumps up against the PD’s own editorial page think tank that recently devoted a full page to questioning FitzGerald’s ”leadership”.
Having worked in the field with Larkin for years, I’ll take his word for it.