[Updated @ bottom with Brunner’s response]
This was in yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch:
As Gov. John Kasich rattled through his policy agenda during a speech to the Columbus Metropolitan Club yesterday, there was an audience member seated near the stage nodding in agreement.
Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat.
“Not everyone agrees with those changes, but he’s making an effort. You can tell that he cares.” . . . Kasich is “dedicated to reforming Ohio,” Brunner said.
When you read a story and the only thing that your mind creates that makes a news story makes sense involves alien “pod people” or that you somehow got transported to “Bizarro Ohio,” you know you’ve hit a WTF moment.
I was one of the first people to publicly jump to support Jennifer Brunner when she decided to run for the Senate last year. I did so because I admired Jennifer Brunner’s work as Secretary of State, her position on the issues, and her willingness to unapologetically support progressive causes (and because I believed that history had shown that Lee Fisher would be a train wreck of a nominee.) But who is this person who talks about John Kasich as the empathizer? John Kasich the reformer? REALLY?!?
Brunner, allegedly, has been considering running for Governor in 2014. Perhaps it was just a rumor, but I had heard it from multiple reliable sources who would seem to know what Brunner was intending. But I fail to see how these comments Brunner positions her to make such a run.
I supported Brunner’s Senate candidacy because of where she stood on the issues, and tactically, I thought Lee Fisher was the worst candidate at the worst possible time.
But unless the Dispatch did a massive hatchet job in reporting her comments, how does Brunner run against John Kasich after calling him a reformer who is effective at getting his agenda through and as someone who cares.
And if you read the rest of the story, you’d see a prime example of how Kasich cares:
“I don’t want any foreigners working on wellheads. Foreigners are people who come from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky, and those distant foreigners from Texas,” Kasich said. “We want Ohioans. And let me let you in on something. I want African-Americans on those wellheads. (emphasis added.)
So African-Americans have little place for them in Kasich’s Cabinet, but they can work fracking gas wellheads in Appalachia Ohio with its…. um… massive African-American population.
It’s like Kasich views the economy with the zest of an interior decorator. “I want African-Americans working in the natural gas industry over here in Appalachia, and I want Asians doing the fishing in Lake Erie… Oh, and see if we can get some Native Americans for the casinos…” Look, I’m glad that Kasich says he wants African-Americans to find jobs but…. I mean… did he really say that and did Brunner really nod in approval during such a speech?
I checked on Brunner’s Facebook pages, and although at least one other follower has asked her to respond to this story, she hasn’t. Before posting this, I’ve emailed Brunner for an explanation. If she responds and agrees to go on the record, I’ll post it. But she’s got some serious explaining to do.
[UPDATE:] Here’s the response Brunner posted on her Facebook site to comments from followers who were asking her to explain her comments in the Dispatch:
Thanks for your comments. I fully support the SB 5 referendum effort. I also believe that we must respect our government officials for the offices they hold. Public service for the sake of public service recognizes that respect is the foundation for public policy that promotes further respect, fairness and equality. Those taking the free market view often believe they are working for the public good, but with an entirely different approach and emphasis. Sometimes you throw rocks; other times you use them to build bridges, even when rocks have been thrown at you. It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves what we will do. I respect all of your opinions.
We respect the office in which Kasich holds. We probably respect it more than he does. But I’ve always been taught that if you wanted to respect, you had to earn it. Kasich’s bullying and braying has divested him of the respect he would get for the office he holds.
So Jennifer Brunner wants to build a bridge with Kasich? Fine. That’s her choice. And it’s my choice not to cross that bridge with her.