“I hate campaigning in Ohio. It’s not one state; it’s three states, and they all hate each other.”
Ulysses S. Grant said that. It’s still largely true. Ohio can be a very strange place politically. Today, I heard an interesting rumor at work that Dennis Kucinich was running for governor. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but as this Cleveland Plain Dealer article shows, Dennis has gone from nyet to maybe. He even has a potential running mate.
Kucinich vs. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald would be a most interesting Democratic Party primary. I’m sorry to say I’ve been unable to learn that much about Fitzgerald. He was an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, and then the Mayor of Lakewood, a western suburb of Cleveland. He burst big time onto the local political scene when he ran for the new office of County Executive which was created after the Dimora/Russo scandal, which led voters to abolish the old County Commissioner system and replace it with a County Executive and Council, and won because he was the Democrat.
I don’t know who is really backing Fitzgerald. I DO know that first the Lakewood city workers, and then the Cuyahoga County employees, really, really don’t like him. He’s been no friend to unions, and was quite fond of layoffs in the name of efficiency. He backed the building of a new hotel at county expense and then giving it to the Hiltons for a song. He seems to be all for giving tax dollars to private investors for development and gentrification. In short, he appears to be a DLC Democrat, and that makes him vulnerable to a challenger from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with the name recognition of Kucinich.
I’ve always liked Dennis, though he has let me down a couple of times, most notably when he broke his word and voted for Obamacare with no public option. I think he did it in exchange for the preservation of lots of good-paying jobs at NASA Glenn, but I can’t prove it. In any case, as soon as he was gerrymandered out of his Congressional seat, Obama promptly cut that budget and many of those workers lost their jobs anyway.
Even many Republican-leaning Ohioans respect Kucinich for sticking to his guns the vast majority of the time. Libertarian types like him for voting with Ron Paul against imperial wars. In a swing state like Ohio, Republican Governor John Kasich, who might be facing his own Tea Party primary challenge, which I think he’d win, would have a good chance of defeating a relatively unknown challenger like Fitzgerald, though probably not by anything like a landslide. Against Kucinich in these hard economic times? I think that’s actually tougher once Kucinich hits the stump and after a debate. After all, Kucinich has been in Presidential debates; Kasich has not.
For one thing, everybody in Ohio knows who Dennis is. A lot of people don’t like him, but a lot of those people still respect him. Even rednecks from Appalachia might think, what do we have to lose? At least he’s guaranteed to be entertaining, and if Obama endorses Fitzgerald and Kucinich wins the primary, then Dennis can run as an independent-minded sort, which he actually IS.
Besides, his wife’s really hot. Smart, too.
So. Run, Dennis, run. I’ll even register as a Democrat. (Ugh)