CINCINNATI (TDB) -- His words -- which have a Mission Accomplished! flavor of insolent unreality -- certainly ring hollow today. The complete text of Marc Dann's swearing in day speech is here, and he preached and swathed himself in ethics: "The effort to eliminate corruption will continue in my own office where my staff and I will adopt and adhere to the highest possible ethical standards. I will then work with other officeholders, both Democrat and Republican, to extend those standards to every arm of the state and every community in Ohio. And, importantly, I will never hesitate to take immediate action if I learn those standards have been violated or the public trust has been abused by any public official of any party."
Of course, it now is quite clear he spoke only of possibility. And everyone sees that Dann neither adopted nor adhered to the highest ethical standards. Dann's use of the word "possible" in his inaugural address was a weasel word. Perhaps what we've witnessed -- Dann's sexual affair with a young female employee, the atmosphere that led to firings and resignations of top aides -- was impossible to avoid. He is, after all, an officeholder who preached standards to Ohio that he would not, or could not, apply to himself. The hollow and empty message of Dann's January 8, 2007 speech is also apparent in his pledge to bring ethics and high standards for public service to all Democrats and all Republicans, and to "every arm of the state and every community in Ohio."
But who today would listen, or want him around? Who would accept a lecture from Marc Dann about ethics and standards in government? Who today seriously values Ohio's Democratic attorney general as standard bearer against those who abuse the public trust?