Having declared Ed FitzGerald’s gubernatorial campaign DOA on several occasions, the Plain Dealer still persists in digging into his distant past in the hope of handing the election to Gov. Kasich by acclimation. In less-polite circles, it’s known as piling on.

There’s never been any doubt that the PD, the voice of the city’s controlling business and religious establishment, was on board with Republican Kasich way back when it endorsed him against Democratic incumbent Gov.Ted Strickland. When I asked an influential source at the paper how they arrived at that decision, he gave me his raw assessment:

“Kasich scares the shit out of me. But Strickland never did anything for Cleveland.”

Oh. Another glimpse of Cleveland’s fantasy of statehood?

In today’s moment, the contest is no longer about re-electing the governor. Heavens, no! It is about having their guy win by such a crushing margin that he can immediately set out to run for the White House. (Kasich denies interest in higher office about any of his motives other than blistering his opponents in temper tantrums. Meantime, secretive big- money comittees are gathering to pay for his trip to Disney World.

What a selling point in the heavy-footed swing state. To suppose that the Blue Collar Kid would be the savior of the party that has lost two presidenticsl races to an African American, well, you might know how those things go, rather softly among his caterers in the state media. .

So on Saturday, there was PD politics writer Henry Gomez telling us on the front page that 15 years ago, FitzGerald didn’t mention any traffic violations when he ran for a seat on Lakewood City Council. Yes, FitzGerald should have. And in a race that might have been a dead heat, that could have rolled some eyes.

But. hey, what does it matter to be sniffing around for more flaws from 15 years ago? And to have the Columbus political writer writing the story with a Lakewood dateline.

From experience I can suppose that the Republican leak machine is working overtime while the governor, in one of those white hard hats from the central casting stock room, is appearing in TV commercials with his delighted Smilies with a shovel to stress how many jobs he has created in Ohio. (When will he – or the media, for that matter – admit that whatever success he’s enjoyed with the state economy can be immeasurably traced to the comeback around the country from the Bush recession?)

Careful, there, Guv. Your right wing has long insisted that government doesn’t create jobs. Even when the governor is decked out in a hard hat and flanked by a bunch of happy-go-lucky Republicans.