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.

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  • Amber

    I don’t think Dems know how to take political advantage anymore…they all just want to “get along.” (Which might be okay if the other side felt the same way!)

  • mvirenicus

    democrats can’t govern, and those aren’t my words. those are the words of a long-time democratic campaign apparatchik i met shortly before the last elections, and his predictions about those elections held true. why were his forecasts so gloomy? “democrats can’t govern.” then why bother trying to elect them? i wasn’t so rude as to ask that last question.

  • Anastasjoy

    I have to wonder myself. Will Democratic leadership crush the six Democratic legislators who rushed a cruel and completely superfluous anti-choice bill into the House before it recessed for the holidays? These Garrisons are a real threat to our electoral success in 2012 as well as to our ability to stand for ANYTHING. One of the most dangerously unhappy groups in Ohio now is Democratic women, and they will not take it kindly if the party gives any support to this maverick band of anti-choicers. They should all change parties and lose to teabaggers, and let us run REAL Democrats. We’ll see what the party does. They need to think hard about whether they want to lose all those womanhours in 2012.

  • mvirenicus

    i won’t lift a finger to elect another democrat. ever. any and all political efforts from me in the future will be directed to working-class revolutionary political parties and movements. the american experiment is dead. so are its two major political parties.

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