It’s been a dreary election season, folks. No debates that invited the public to see the contestants going at it eye-to-eye. No gubernatorial contest. Gov. Kasich shoveling soil in his confident high definition mode as though he were needlessly digging up more campaign cash. The media in Cleveland, Akron and Columbus tacking, as always, to Republican candidates. Inventive endorsements that pardon their choices for glaring flaws. Not a good election season all around.

A prime exhibit was the odd word salad in which the Beacon Journal endorsed Republican Ohio House member Anthony DeVitis over his Democratic opponent, Paula Prentice, a veteran Summit County Council member.

The paper opined that although the “editorial page agrees more often on policy matters” with Prentice, it believed that DeVitis was a moderate (which he isn’t) who might be able to influence the nutty Republican hoof-beaters in the legislature on key issues. Fat chance. The R’s are mired so deeply under water that one could not reach them in a bathysphere. You’d think that people who write editorials would know that by now.

Then there is the bewitching stuff that both the Beacon Journal and Plain Dealer conjured up to make nice for Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine, a deeply entrenched social conservative on all counts. Not that they agree with him on such matters as women’s issues, same-sex marriage, abortion, charter schools and such. Nor spending taxpayer money charging off to other states to join those who share his gospel.

I’ve written several times that when you think of Mike DeWine, you think of his version of warm and fuzzy goodness. But it does work in editorial offices and on the stump even when he’s scandalizing the idea of the Affordable Care Act with promises to get rid of it.

The disconnect between the attorney general’s active policies and the papers’ own year-round gospel does make the friendly editorialists uncomfortable and forces them to concede that Mike is a million-dollar pay-to-play artist. A recent example is the word that he replaced a veteran debt collection agency with one that literally walked into his office with the seal of approval of Summit County GOP boss Alex Arshinkoff, a former DeWine payroller, and walked out with a lucrative contract.

And what did the BJ say about Mike’s widely reported cookie jar schemes?

“No question, DeWine has stumbled at times,” the editorial noted. “He talked about a system for bringing transparency and accountability to awarding contracts, only to find himself struggling to explain a local episode that carried the odor of pay to play.”

Odor? That alone would have qualified DeWine’s Democratic opponent, David Pepper,whom the paper credited with running a “pointed, vigorous and worthy [!] campaign.

The PD pattered over the same problem

These papers have a lot of transparency after they sit down to make endorsements. You have to have quite a problem as a Republican to lose their support. Sadly, creative writing is one of their few remaining claims to relevance.