Friday, August 22, 2008

More drama in the GOP/Scotland saga

Yesterday, I blogged about the conspiracy theories surrounding the failure of the local Republican Party to file paperwork filling a vacancy in the commissioner race with candidate Jan Scotland.

I said the theory of keeping Scotland off the ballot so that Comm. Tina Skeldon Wozniak could run unopposed did not hold water, as The Blade likes contested races. That is confirmed by their editorial today.

"An uncontested election is a miscarriage of the democratic process, and the same would be true if the incumbents were Republicans, and the Democrats were on the outside looking in."

Another theory was that this failure was all about the Board of Elections and GOP Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook's efforts to make the current Republican board members, Patrick Kriner and Lynn Olman look bad. While there are other problems with this conspiracy, it certainly has a high degree of plausibility. However, I don't think this theory represents Stainbrook's plan - rather, his attempt to mitigate and deflect blame for his own failings.

"...if Stainbrook's goal was to make the current board members look bad, he's failed miserably. He may have thought he could spin the missed deadline as being their fault, especially when he's friends with a man who buys ink by the barrel."

The spin has begun with the help Stainbrook gets in today's editorial.

"As to who is responsible for this sad state of affairs, voters have only to look in the direction of Lynn Olman and Pat Kriner, the Republican members of the elections board, who have been in vendetta mode ever since Mr. Stainbrook ousted the local party establishment in June."

Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. It's not Kriner and Olman in vendetta mode - it's Stainbrook. Stainbrook sat down with one of them in an effort to patch up differences and begin working together. I understand that a phrase similar to 'there aren't enough of us to be fighting each other' was actually used by the BOE member.

However, the response from Stainbrook was that he believed in the Old Testament's "eye for an eye" and he was going to bury the two BOE members. Who, exactly, would be holding a grudge?

"If they truly had the interests of the GOP at heart, rather than an intense desire to see their adversary fail, Mr. Olman and Mr. Kriner could easily have helped to ensure that the nominating papers for Mr. Scotland were filed in time."

Again, the Blade gets it wrong. It's not the duty of the Board of Election members to look out for the best interests of the Republican NOR the Democratic Party. Their obligation upon assuming the office of board member is to ensure that fair and accurate elections are held. Their obligations are to the sanctity of the elections process. If they are putting the interests of the party ahead of the sanctity of elections, imagine what kinds of unscrupulous actions could result.

Additionally, for any board member to do as the editorial suggests would require them to go against the Ohio Revised Code and the rules/directives issued by the Secretary of State. Is The Blade advocating that they go so far as to violate state law in order to cover for Stainbrook's error?

Why isn't The Blade asking about the chairman's role in this matter? Is Stainbrook somehow immune to any responsibility? I guess so, according to the editorial.

In 2002, the Republican candidate for county commissioner withdrew from the race. I was recruited to fill that vacancy. The party chairman, in preparation for filling the vacancy, had numerous phone calls with the Ohio Secretary of State's office to ensure all aspects of the process were followed perfectly. Everything from the mailing of the notice of a special meeting of the central committee - including the proper wording - to the proper method of making the motion, to the wording of the forms to be filed with the BOE. On the night of the meeting and endorsement, we all signed the forms and they were delivered to the BOE the next morning.

So why isn't the current chairman expected to do the same thing to ensure that the party's replacement is properly on the ballot? And why, when he failed in this regard, is the paper covering him by assisting in the spin that this is somehow the fault of the BOE?

As I said in my conspiracy post, the relationship between Stainbrook and Blade Publisher John Robinson Block - and the penchant for the paper in their editorials to take the same positions as Stainbrook - are the facts that lend credence to the conspiracy. But as many people said when Stainbrook first announced he wanted to be party chairman, why would the Republican Party want, as chairman, someone who's close friend is the publisher, a person who has NEVER had the best interests of the GOP at heart? That issue, too, contributes to the plausibility of these conspiracies.

Thankfully, there are numerous other sources of information that can give you a complete picture so you don't have to rely solely upon the opinions of our local paper.


Tim Higgins said...


I hate to disagree with you (and seldom do), but feel that this situation has turned more into comedy than drama. Like one of the satirical "X-Files" epsiodes of the past, this appears to be drama plus irony to equal humor. The difference is that Jon Stainbrook's leadership as chairman of the GOP is turning it into the "Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight".

I would suggest that maybe we could replace Mr. Stainbrook with Don Knotts, but he dies 2 years ago.

Maggie Thurber said...

I would agree with you Tim, except for the fact that there is serious harm in this fiasco: to the GOP as a whole, to the party faithful who suffer the imcompetence, to the candidate who could have provided a good race, to the voters who no longer have a choice and to the citizens of Lucas County who are stuck with more of the same from the Commissioners' office.

skeeter1107 said...

It will never be known why or what caused the filing to be late. The public pronouncements and blame game doesn't hold water in any way. It makes for fun conversation and speculation after 3 or 4 drinks.

So instead of speculating about what we don't know, let's talk about what we do know. What we know is that anyone who has ever been involved with a political campaign knows how the system works. You know that deadlines are exactly what the word means....deadline. Everyone also knows that the receiving of filings are handled by the staff and not the Board of the BOE.

If it were a first time political candidate missing a filing, maybe, just maybe I could find it plausible. But when Mr. Stainbrook and Mr. Scotland contend otherwise, a collective blurting of "what?" is followed by a giggle.

The reasons that have been foisted upon us are laughable at best and insulting at worst. Nice try fellas but that dog won't hunt.

But I must express my greatest disdain for the Blade. The Blade is saying that the laws that are applied to everyone should be ignored just because they said so. No other reason? It is breathtaking the height of arrogance. Yet, it also saddens me to see an organization that holds itself out as a great national newspaper but advocates a position that defies the law.

So for Mr. Stainbrook, Mr. Scotland and of course the Blade, I would prefer their public position be "we made a mistake, rules are the rules, it is over and finished."

Tim Higgins said...


Disagreeing with you twice (and in the same posting) is beyond my ability. You are of course right about the harm caused and the resultant tragedy occurring. Though not a registered Republican, I am a committed Conservative; and I too long to see something in Lucas County other than more of the same.

My laughter over this is to hide my tears.

Hooda Thunkit said...


"While there are other problems with this conspiracy, it certainly has a high degree of plausibility. However, I don't think this theory represents Stainbrook's plan - rather, his attempt to mitigate and deflect blame for his own failings."


Because, as we both know, Jon doesn't have a plan. Oh he can always sue someone but can he legally sue himself?

And, besides the obvious legal entanglements, there are those pesky puppet strings to consider.

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