CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Was it the politics of personal destruction? Or merely an open -- but not widely known -- lifestyle fact spread like a prairie wildfire across the Ohio blogosphere? And the biggest unanswered question of all: Who wrote the "anonymous" comment about Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown's sexual orientation? Who unleashed the Furies? Any half-wit can surmise the motivation: Anonymous intended to destroy Brown's OH-05 candidacy some 24 hours after his initial public comment about running for the vacant NW Ohio congressional district. And anonymous was incredibly successful. The poison pen comment led Brown to say he was a gay man holding elected office as an Ohio Republican, an office he still hopes to keep. Brown won't be running for OH-05.
Jill Miller Zimon has constructed a timeline that traces some of the more significant twists in the episode from its start to the place where it is now currently stalled in the Ohio blogosphere. She says the outing of Tim Brown of Bowling Green shows the powerful influence that blogs can exercise in Ohio politics. Others might be thinking toxic influence. Still others might be thinking his candidacy for Congress and his personal privacy were swallowed whole by the vast storage space now available on computer chips and the explosion of information tossed hither and yon by search engines. She does not speak of the responsibility that comes with yoking influence to search engines --or used to come with influence before the age of search engines.
And she does not attempt to answer the uber question -- who started the rumor? (People are working on that, and Jill at Writes Like She Talks is probably tapping into her political sources, too.) Soon, she and others must address the current status of the Ohio political universe, an edgy universe where anonymous rumor has the gravity of fact. This is not criticism of Jill, nor of any blogger, including yours truly. It is simply meant to note that events unfolded so quickly amid the hyperlinks, so damn quickly amid the hyperlinks, that nobody has yet been able to comprehend their roles or the greater meaning of the episode.
According to JMZ, lawyer Scott Pullins who publishes The Pullins Report first noticed the comment some two hours after it was posted Friday morning. There is no suggestion Pullins is "anonymous" -- he was observant and picked up on the Tim Brown comment first. From there it metastasized. It was a drama, a mystery, a whodunit. Now it needs a super sleuth, a Sherlock Holmes to find who unleashed the hounds.