Hate to admit it, but the Pubbies were worse for the state than Celeste was.
This little scandal could be the salvation of the party. This might awaken the Ohio Republican Party to the nature of the people who have been the leadership of our party for many years.
Its time to set up the Revival Tent. We need a rebirth of the Republican Party.
Its time to admit our sins and repent.
And its time to excommunicate the unrepentant from the congregation.
Toledo Blade Editorial
Article published Friday, May 28, 2004
'Kicking back' in Columbus
NOW that Republican fratricide in the Statehouse has become grist for a federal investigation, there's no telling how far the political damage will spread, or which GOP leaders may be tarred.
The most likely victim is House Speaker Larry Householder, whose overbearing fund-raising tactics have not endeared him to many in his own party. Getting back at Mr. Householder certainly was the goal of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who gave the U.S. Justice Department an anonymous memo with details of a purported kickback scheme by the speaker involving contracts for party activities.
The move was payback by Mr. Blackwell, who was the target of an aborted proposal by Householder advisers to defeat the secretary of state's maverick attempt to roll back the temporary state sales tax increase and "dismantle" him as a candidate for governor in 2006.
Federal subpoenas now have been issued to vendors who did work for the Ohio Republican Party. The allegation, serious enough that it reportedly has been bucked up to the Justice Department's public integrity section in Washington, is that the vendors overcharged the party for services, then passed on the overage to Mr. Householder's operation.
Such activity would be criminal, but since no public money is involved, it remains to be seen whether the budding scandal will have any impact on Ohio voters, who over the past two decades have given the GOP a hammerlock on state government.
Mr. Householder denies any wrongdoing, but it is instructive that Bob Bennett, state Republican chairman, concedes that the scandal is gaining at least some traction at the expense of the speaker, who is exploring a run for state auditor in 2006.
As Mr. Bennett put it: "You have to think where there's a lot of smoke, there's a little bit of fire."
The GOP chief's reticence to unconditionally support Mr. Householder's claim of innocence might be interpreted as a move to inoculate the state party in the event that the federal investigation turns up evidence of crimes.
While we do not prejudge the outcome, we continue to believe that one-party rule promotes an atmosphere of arrogance and entitlement in which kickbacks and other such activities tend to thrive.
Moreover, when politicians are busy squabbling with each other, it should surprise no one that the state's important public policy problems get kicked into the background.