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.