Throughout Lee Fisher’s 30 year political career, the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party has been an afterthought for Lee, at best.? Sid Cargle, the ever present ward leader in Lee’s home suburb of Shaker Hts., used to say to me all the time, “What’s Lee ever done for the party?”? The answer was always, “nothing.”
All of a sudden, Lee’s own treasurer Jan Roller is holding a meeting tomorrow morning at Lee’s old employer’s offices “about” the county party.? I’ve talked to a number of people who believe this meeting is the first step in closing a deal to hand the county party over to Lee.? The belief is that Lee endorsed Issue 6 as part of a deal to get Bill Mason to help Lee insert Jan Roller as Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair, at an expected county party election this spring, in advance of the May primary.? It’s a classic Redfern-esque stitch up.
The problems with this more-Machiavellian-than-thou flight of fancy are endless.? First, I can’t imagine any group of county party executive committee members deciding that a chosen Lee Fisher plant, be it Jan Roller or anyone else, is a logical choice for party chairman over the interim chair Pat Britt or anyone else, whether or not Bill Mason is suddenly behind her.? It beggars belief.? I can hear Sid Cargle laughing right now.? Second, getting in bed with Bill Mason at this particular moment is just bizarre.? The FBI is circling Mason cronies like a vulture, any one of whom might drop a dime on Mason at any minute.
Third, what exactly is the prize here?? The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party endorsement?? Is this some kind of a joke?? Who the hell is going to translate that endorsement down to the grassroots in a party that is in the midst of total meltdown?? Is Lee Fisher doing all this just to get the discounted mailing on a sample ballot?? Really, Lee, it ain’t worth this much trouble, trust me.
But more substantively, any Cuyahoga County internal party election inevitably, LIKE THE SUN COMING UP TOMORROW, breaks down along racial lines.? And Mason is always on the wrong side of that line, i.e. the side with no black people.? Just what Lee Fisher needs in advance of a Democratic primary – more reason for hard core Democrats in his own east-side base to line up against him.? Genius.
This tells me that Lee is in a total panic over his Cuyahoga County base.? In a non-panicky world, Lee would avoid this rat’s nest like the plague, count on his base to just show up and vote for him, and focus outside the county.? Instead, Lee is attempting a messy coup, to take over a messy party apparatus, for a marginal benefit.? If this is how bad it is in Cuyahoga County for Lee Fisher, Jennifer Brunner may have already won the nomination.