Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reflections on ORP Civil War

Aside from a a few short posts, you may have noticed that WMD hasn't really weighed in all that much on the Great Civil War of the Ohio Republican Party. There are several reasons why we keep our powder (mostly) dry, but now that the infighting is over we can offer some analysis and deal with some of the fallout. "Unity" Going in to the State Central Committee's organizational meeting, the message of the day was "unity" and that is a codeword for "all you rank and file Republicans shut up we know what we're doing and you don't." The best part, is that both sides were doing it. Team Kasich was especially filled with hubris on this score. Team DeWine was playing this card publicly all along, but nobody really believed it was about anything else but saving the chairmanship. Politics is a strange business sometimes, but hearing the same message from both sides of a fight is kind of a new one on me. The truly sad part is that there is no unity and there won't be any until these wounds heal. That isn't likely to happen before November. "Change" Team Kasich was pushing for change, but is that really what we got? I say "Hell no we didn't." Team Kasich managed to set back the clock on reforming the state party a whole decade by bringing back Bob Bennett, the architect of the 2006 and 2008 debacles here in Ohio. I love hearing about what a great chairman Bennett was. It is like they expect us to forget the chaos of his last two election cycles. Tom Noe. Bob Taft. Culture of Corruption. Good times all around..... On the liveblog for the radio show on Friday, our good friend and state representative candidate -- John Becker -- made an excellent point about just how much change we got as a result of the Great Civil War of the Ohio Republican Party:
Governor Kasich and the Tea Party won the fight. What did they win? It is true that Kevin DeWine is no longer Chairman. If I'm not mistaken, about a third of the committee turns over every two years. Therefore, I would have expected 20 new members. We have 24. With Governor Kasich and the Tea Party in control of the SCC, I would expect major changes. Aside from a new chairman, I don't see it (yet). Prior to the election, the three Party leaders (in alphabetical sequence) were: Bob Bennett (RNC) Joann Davidson (RNC) Kevin DeWine (Chairman) After the reorganization meeting, the three Party leaders (in alphabetical sequence) are: Bob Bennett (Chairman) Joann Davidson (RNC) Kevin DeWine (RNC) This is not a criticism of the process, the committee, or any individual(s). It just appears that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This is what I call "re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic" because I've seen how this movie ends and the boat still sinks. "The Future" John also said that there was not enough time to vet a new chairman and I agree on that point. Basically, I think the timing of this whole thing displayed just how badly Team Kasich understands the stakes of this election. But the real kicker is who the "leading (only) candidate to replace Bennett" is... Bouncin' Bob McEwen I will never understand the "establishment" mentality that thinks guys like this should be allowed anywhere near any real power. And make no mistake my Tea Party friends, you are now a part of the establishment. How this guy remains politically viable is astounding to me. Aside from the House Bank Scandal and the voting/residency shenanigans, this guy is responsible for the rise of T-Shirt Ted Strickland. The only way Strickland could have won in that district is if the GOP ran someone with McEwen's reputation. I haven't even gotten to the Amway stuff... Bottom line: If this is the future, then they really are the Ohio Stupid Party. UPDATE: This just occurred to me... We are likely to see staff shakeups as a result of this "change" as we head in to the Most Important Election Cycle in History. I have already heard that "new" Executive Director Darren Bearson is packing his bags for greener pastures. Bearson is going to be a BIG loss for us as he is an experienced political hand in dealing with high profile races. Chris Maloney has been a VAST improvement over John McClelland at the communications post. I would hate to see him go...