The Best Governor Ohio Will Have for the Rest of Our Lives
The only way Mike DeWine won't win the election is if he croaks.
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Ohio governor Mike DeWine won’t debate his Democratic challenger before November’s midterm election. It’s a deft political play. DeWine has a 15-point lead in the polls and has officially entered “don’t get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” territory.
And even if he did, he’d have that mighty (R) next to his name, which is increasingly all you need in a statewide election in a place as bent and broken as Ohio. There’s no reason for him to appear at a debate and remind voters he will gleefully sign the total abortion ban that will appear on his desk immediately following the inevitable Republican victory at the ballot box.
It also turns his opponent, former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, into a nerd complaining that her opponent won’t debate her. It’s total loser behavior you’ll only see from losing candidates.
The only debates that matter are the presidential ones. And even those have devolved into a comedic farce best surmised by the legendary poster Darren Rovell:
DeWine understands a golden rule of politics that many Democrats don’t. There’s no need to speak on an issue when the polling is upside down.
DeWine will run his ads about the Intel deal, which assuredly will underdeliver. He will paint himself as a moderate and coast to victory despite a majority of his party voting against him in the gubernatorial primary.
As soon as he wins his final term, he will co-sign on whatever freakish right-wing hobgoblin idea comes off the Christian-fascist assembly line at the Statehouse. He won’t care because he will have gotten everything he wanted out of his decades-long political career.
Hell, he even put his adult fail son, Pat, on the Supreme Court! Wife No. 2 accused the younger DeWine of banging his mistress in his mom’s downtown condo. We’ll re-elect that bum, too! That’s the kind of brand DeWine has built in this state despite majorities in both parties claiming to hate him.
The true tragedy, however, is that DeWine is right. He is a moderate… compared to the crackpots that will inevitably replace him. DeWine, for all his faults, isn’t incompetent. He has institutional knowledge and knows how government works, which in his interpretation, is through patronage.
A quarter million Ohioans voted for one of his opponents, fake farmer Joe Blystone, who ran such an incompetent campaign that he is facing prosecution. The other guy, Jim Renacci, campaigned on trying to make DeWine look like a Hollywood queer who shut down Ohio over coronavirus, whatever the hell that means.
It’s nonsense, but that’s where the party is heading despite the ploys not working.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted was DeWine’s chief rival in the 2018 gubernatorial primary. Husted purportedly exited the race to join DeWine’s ticket with the understanding he would be a one-term governor.
He probably should have gotten that deal in writing. I don’t see Husted replacing DeWine. For one, unlike DeWine, Husted is dumb. He will also be tainted for allying with DeWine while lacking the decades-long branding that protected his former boss come election time.
Husted may receive institutional support, but the hog voters of the primary will repudiate him. The next governor will be an incompetent zealot. Jim Jordan? Matt Huffman? Frank LaRose? Take your pick!
You wonder how far they can keep pushing this reactionary project. There will always be more taxes to repeal. More labor regulations to gut. More pollution of our green spaces. Maybe we could stop school shootings by arming the students and drilling them like military squadrons? It sounds ridiculous right until it isn’t.
But whatever viper comes to rule the nest, we’ll yearn for the gentile, grandfatherly religious autocracy of DeWine in ten years.
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