Last week’s rollout of Inspector General Thomas Charles as Kasich’s Director of Public Safety and John Born as the head of the Ohio Highway Patrol was supposed to go very differently than it did.
Right up until the press gaggle afterwards, the Kasich transition team was selling these appointments, incredibly, as a sign of Kasich getting politics “out” of both agencies. But enough of the Ohio Statehouse media was aware enough about what was really going on to take that story somewhat incredulously given the documented rather “unusual” things Charles had done as I.G. as it related to trying to get Born the very appointment Kasich quickly gave him.
After all, we all knew that Charles wanted Born all along to run the Patrol. When Charles claimed that all promotion and other career advancements involving his own wife and son were involved that Born would operate as a “layer” between himself and those ethical issues, the media could rightfully scoff. Everyone knows that Born owes this appointment to Charles and saying that there’s no ethical issue over Charles’ wife and son within the Patrol because such issues would be handled by Born is as ridiculous as indicted outgoing Cuyahoga County Commissioner/former Democratic County Chairman Jimmy Dimora saying there was nothing wrong with his patronage racket because most of those hires were done by other Democratic elected officials. Charles’ “layer” is as strong and impenetrable as a wet single-ply tissue.
Regardless, at least during the announcement, Charles and Kasich said the right things that the media would have to report these appointments in a way that suggested this was an appointment centered on “good government.” It was going well, until Kasich decided to stop biting his tongue and angrily interrupted in a tirade against transparency.
And suddenly what was supposed to be a “good government” message became one of corruption and cronyism. Kasich’s comments became the story. It overshadowed the appointments entirely. And meanwhile, you had the Ohio Inspector General and the presumptive head of the Ohio Highway Patrol listen on to the Governor-elect rail against Ohio’s transparency and ethics laws with utter silence. They didn’t speak up or speak out. As a result, the story of the news cycle became Kasich ranting against transparency and ethics laws.
If you watch the video, you can at least see some discomfort followed by nervous laughter by Born. That’s it. What would Inspector General Charles had said or done if the current Administration adopted such an attitude? Would he have stood their in awkward silence?
John Kasich’s arrogance wrecked what they had tried to orchestrate, and by all accounts should have been, a low-hanging good news cycle. Instead Kasich not only whiffed, he then tried to punch out the umpire at the T-ball game for calling it a strike.
Oh, and did we mention that he said they still haven’t made a decision about whether to live at the Governor’s Mansion because his wife is too busy raising their twins and “staying fit?” It’s at the :55 mark in the press gaggle taken by Marc Kovak of Ohio Capital Blog.
The only question is that having been given a softball placed on the tee for them, will the Democratic leadership in the General Assembly take a swing on it? All they need to do is announce that they will opposed any effort by Governor-elect Kasich to weaken Ohio’s transparency and ethics laws and call on their Republican colleagues to do the same.
Put Batchelder and Niehaus on the spot. Choose between standing with Gov-elect Kasich or for good government. Kasich’s poll numbers give the GOP legislators cold comfort; he’s the first guy elected who has worse poll numbers before taking office than the incumbent he defeated, if the recent PPP poll is to be believed. It’s a no-lose proposition. If they agree with you, Kasich is handed an embarrassing loss before he’s even taken office. If they seem to side with him, it’s a defining issue for the 2012 campaign.
It seems to me to be such a no-brainer, I don’t know why it hasn’t already happened.