The Columbus Dispatch has never been subtle about its choices for running the government. Firmly lodged in its menacing redoubt across the street from the Statehouse, it has dared Democrats, particularly the liberal sort, to violate the paper’s sanctity as an unelected voice of the state’s destiny. With a plantation mentality, it has served to protect the family’s banks, broadcasting studios and vast other properties in its swollen portfolio.
A Wolfe family enterprise for more than a century, the city’s sole surviving daily newspaper has swallowed two other dailies whole and worked its influence all over town, including Ohio State University. And as Columbus Monthly magazine once said of the journal of deeply conservative opinion: “The city’s first civic commandment remains intact: Don’t buck the Wolfes.”
As the editor of a small liberal magazine in Columbus years ago I quickly encountered the Dispatch’s displeasure with an ideological intruder in its midst. The first edition of Commentator Magazine was greeted with a bit of a sniff by a Disptach columnist who told his readers that the publication probably wasn’t intended to hang around very long because it wasn’t dated. It was, in fact, dated, and we published for more than three back-breaking years until our angel, Murray Lincoln, the progressive titan of Nationwide Insurance, died and his successors decided the publication was too big a cross to bear. But while it was still alive, the magazine earned some distinction, including a national award for its civil-rights coverage from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
The latest evidence of the Dispatch’s plans to extend its mind-numbing hegemony over Planet Columbus appeared a few days ago in an editorial advancing Gov. Kasich to its own Valley of the Kings. We would be surprised if it didn’t appear as a gilt-framed paean to greatness at the governor’s inauguration. The speculation, too, that Kasich might be a presidential candidate has led the editors to lay out the kind of upbeat material that could work its way into the national media on a slow news day – or maybe a TV commercial at game time. .
For its rationale in a cliche-ridden recitation of the governor’s deeds, the paper right off explained that the “political lull” of the holiday season was a perfect time to consider how far the state has progressed from the Republican guv’s leadership.Without once mentioning the beneficial economic advances under the Obama adminstration from the Bush recession, it told us that their hero had led Ohio back from the 400,000 jobs lost under Gov. Strickland (cheap shot!), that happier days were here again blah blah blah that Kasich was as concerned about helping the poor and needy as he was about the wealthy.
Although the Dispatch and Kasich both opposed the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid with Federal funds, the editorial credited the governor with “innovative ways to help keep poor and lower-income Ohioans healthy.”
This sort of logic doesn’t just leap. It soars on a trajectory with more than enough force to get Kasich through the pearly gates.
Not surprising. The paper has been elevating the governor in higher and higher bounds since he was first elected, condemning Obama at every turn as a man who, of all unsafe passages, has “traveled in the left lane of America politics…” In its endorsement of Mitt Romney, it noted that Obama had added 12 million more folks to the food-stamp rosters that Obamacare generated with a “ham-fisted power play – accomplished by bald politicaal bribery and and backroom deals…”. It credited Mitt with a “wealth of executive experience in the private and public sectors that dwarfs Obama …His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he’s doing is managing the nation’s economy”.
Woah, there, pony. Would it be churlish to note that the stock market crossed the 18,000 mark this week for the first time history? Or that stronger consumer confidence and spending are reported? Or that the nation’s economic growth and GDP are up? Or that Obamacare is doing what it set out to do for millions of uninsured Americans?
During the campaign, even Romney conceded that the economy was improving but then added the paradoxical note that “Obama made it worse.”
For all of the Dispatch’s rants against Obama, the good news is that something else happened. Franklin County, the Dispatch’s assumed plantation, voted for Obama. You want to think that maybe its editors learned something from that, but you have to remind yourself that the paper hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for president since 1916.