CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Self-assured, fiercely partisan and way too interested in Connie Schultz's armpits. That's one way of reading the RightAngleBlog's agitated write-up about former Cleveland Plain Dealer Columbus Bureau reporter Ted Wendling. RAB has produced a duplicitous online screed whose tenor is meant to demonize a truly excellent person.
Wendling, with whom I worked for nearly 20 years at the PeeDee, is dedicated, honest, polite, intelligent and a superb human being. Every resident of this state should sleep better at night upon learning that Ted Wendling has been hired as a deputy inspector general to monitor the Ohio Department of Transportation for fraud, waste and abuse of public funds.
Wendling is a dogged investigator. He and his former partner, Dave Davis, were finalists for a Pulitzer in the mid-1990s for a series of stories that exposed covered up medical errors with radiological equipment. It was a seminal event that changed policies across the nation.
Matt Naugle, the RightAngleBlog's editor, writes posts that are interesting, engaging and occasionally enraging. (I am a fan, though I sometimes flinch over things I see there. But it is fun, and I love free speech.) Now he is labeling Wendling a hack, a Democratic hack:
"But on the bright side, at least Ted Wendling won't be a spokesman for a Democratic office holder -- I guess he was tired of being a Democrat spokesmouth via his job at the Plain Dealer, and wanted to try something new. Ted, you are a partisan hack, and I wish you much failure with your new gig."
RAB is wrong. Ted has unrivalled experience. He has character. He will serve the state well.
RAB's rap against him comes out of the last election, when Ken Blackwell, the rock upon which Matt Naugle had sought to build his hopes, was crushed. By firing unscrupulous and uninformed salvos at good people intent on public service, Naugle is still trying to salvage something from that sad wreck. Naugle is a voice who wants to show that Republicans can produce superior statecraft. But habitually engaging in duplicity won't make that case.