Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ohio Gov. Strickland For Veep? May As Well Hand Columbus To GOP

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The Indian Ocean has lots of white sharks. The U.S. has lots of political reporters. Sharks eat people, seals and lots of fish. Political reporters write about people and elected offices, deals that aren't sealed, and fish for stories. The sharks have been around for millions of years (if you believe in evolution). Political reporters, it seems, have been baiting the public with this news minnow for almost as long -- (insert name here) who is the governor of Ohio would make a good Veep candidate in the next presidential election.

Anyhow, it is almost August, the waters are still in the heat, and the political reporters from Cleveland to Columbus to Washington have been fishing for stories. And they've landed this non-record breaker: Gov. Ted Strickland would make a good running mate for whoever heads the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket. It ought to be a serious violation of the game and fish laws in Ohio for a reporter to write such a story. The penalty: Permanent confiscation of a pundit's license, although I would prefer that the offenders be ordered to swim with white sharks.

Over the decades, I have seen (and probably written during my newspaper days) stories that Govs. John Gilligan, Jim Rhodes, Dick Celeste, George Voinovich and maybe even Bob Taft would make good running mates for their party's presidential candidates. It all grew out of the same lazy chumming of still political waters -- Ohio is a key state, it is a microcosm of the nation, blah, blah, (insert more cliches here) blah . . .

Strickland would have been in office for less than two years by the time of the 2008 election. He would not have had time to really turn around Ohio. In other words, he would be splitting for a long stint on the road, abandoning his state, handing off the levers of government (insert cliche here). The Republicans at the state level would have a field day about the absentee governor who took off mid-term, who left his state in the lurch after promising to change things for the better in Columbus. Strickland wouldn't be fresh anymore; he would be an opportunist, just another pol angling for more.

Is that the kind of leadership this state needs right now?

The Republicans would have the gift of a powerful message, a message that would likely resonate with voters who finally embraced the Democrats in November 2006 out of frustration with Taft, whose administration was out to lunch while the state drifted, declined and was stolen blind by crooked insiders. If Strickland's ticket lost, he would be damaged goods, and 2010 would be a hard race. What would his campaign slogan be? Elect me, I wanted to leave Ohio for another job!!!

If the ???? and Strickland for president ticket won, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher would move into the governor's mansion as his successor -- the same Lee Fisher who lost to Taft and Betty Montgomery.

Fisher is a dedicated and devoted Democrat, by all accounts an intelligent and honest elected official. But he has one knock -- he loses to Republicans. If he takes over from the popular Strickland -- who, though new to his job, appears to be having some success in reviving Ohio's economic fortunes -- the GOP will have a better shot at recapturing the governorship in 2010. Perhaps it would have a sure shot.

Seriously, the so-called "news" that Strickland would make a fine Veep candidate is like saying the Browns have a chance at winning the Super Bowl. In theory, they do.


  1. So to follow, if Strickland is tabbed as Veep, and his ticket wins in '08, then in January 2009, the Browns will win the Super Bowl?

    It might be lazy, but the theory is plausible. I don't believe Strickland will make the leap. But what do I know?

  2. Redhorse --

    It is great to hear from you. Yes, the theory is plausible, about both Strickland and the Browns.

    However, I think it is piffle for the columinists to spend time writing about Strickland as Veep, just as it would be piffle for a sports columnist to use ink and dead trees to write cliches (the team was founded by Paul Brown etc) about the Browns playing the NFC champs for the Rozelle Trophy (or whatever it is called) next February. These columnists get paid a lot. They are smart. Can't they think of anything fresh or insightful to say -- like how is the new higher ed chancellor doing, or something, anything . . .

    C'mon, man, there's so much else to explore. I'm a fan of newspapers, Redhorse, but every day I better understand why they are struggling and have lost market share to other media: New technology and stale news.

    Anyhow, I am glad to hear from you. Your page design is great and I am envious, really envious. And I always like what you have to say.

  3. I agree with your assessment of the theory as news: it's just not. Any Ohioan paying attention to the presidential race must have though at least once, "Wonder if Ted is going to get some consideration...".

    Seems like Dionne's WaPo piece a few Sunday's ago got that ball rolling. The question now: just how long will we read/hear variations of the meme?

    As for sportswriters, don't get me started. Among my interests is racing, but this year's Dale Jr Saga got old quick. The breathless reporting of his, his sister's, and his step-mother's every utterance was positively pointless.

    Don't get me wrong: I love racing and Jr. I loved his old man and still see that wreck in my head more often than I care to. But come on, the reporting this year of every minor change in tone and language.

  4. -posted by Matt N.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for dumping a cold bucket of reality on this story.

    How did you ever work for the MSM? You are far too grounded in reality.

  5. Redhorse 9:12 pm --

    We are on the same page, I think.
    I never thought about your Earnhart matter -- don't pay as much attention to racing as I used too. I liked the old stockcar racers (here my age is showing), but the France family and their money-grubbing killed a lot of my interest. I grew up in the South (or spent a lot of my younger years there) and used to really love the sport.

  6. Matt N. 10:14 --

    The sitting guv as Veep story is one of my pet peeves. Hackneyed is a word that comes to mind.

    A better story: Which way is gov so and so leaning in the primaries. Can he deliver? How much wooing is going on?

    Instant headline: Strickland endorses Edwards (or insert another name). But that would be work, guessing, digging and talking to a lot of people. Political writers don't seem to do that anymore. They like their air-conditioned offices in the summer, heated in the winters. They should not even have offices -- they should be on the streets working.

  7. I'm not sure that geographical balance concerns are used in picking a running mate as much as they were in years past. I think the experience, ideological mix with the head of the ticket is more important than the state of origin. Gore and Clinton were both sons of the south, but the bigger fix was Gore's legislative experience inside DC complimented Clinton's executive experience outside of DC. The background, gender, race, age, etc of the eventual nominee for president will all likely play a role in choosing a running mate.

    Separately, GO BROWNS! They may improve from lousy to mediocre this season.

  8. LargeBill -

    I suppose the whole Strickland as Veep rush comes from the fact that he might be considered as the person able deliver Ohio's electoral votes by landing the second spot on the ticket. Local pride, favorite son, whatever. I guess that has fueled speculation over the years about Voino and all the others, too.

    I think it is a non-story period.