Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Whigging Continues: Fingerhut Out

Eric Fingerhut (D-Revolution), opponent of business taxes at the state level, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio.

Any chance of the Ohio Democratic Party showing the way forward for the national party is now over. Its nominee will be Ted Strickland, a thoroughly liberal politician in all respects but an oddity for the Ds in that he has roots in a rural area. He is Bill Clinton without charm or scandals. Or so the Ds hope. Since the Ds regard conservatives as quaint rubes, they believe that a guy who owns a shotgun and was once a mainline Protestant clergyman will hoodwink the hayseeds into voting for him.

Fingerhut hardly seems to belong in the party whose nomination he seeks. A two-term state senator, he works as director of economic development education and entrepreneurship at Baldwin-Wallace College. Since entrepreneurship hardly fits with the program of socialist victimhood largely promoted by the Ds at the national level, Fingerhut now asserts that he does not "expect to be a candidate again for the foreseeable future."

The Ds will rue this day. Strickland is doomed. The money he has raised will not win the election for him (see Mark Mallory's defeat of David "Richie Rich" Pepper last November), and neither will running mate Lee Fischer's name recognition, established largely by losing the gubernatorial election eight years ago. Ken Blackwell has better name recognition by far than any other candidate. And as Blackwell will rise well above the Rs' scandals, he gives the Ds no traction on the corruption angle. Plus, he destroys their necessary demographic coalition.

Fingerhut would have provided an interesting campaign of ideas against Blackwell, like the one that would have been in 1964 between Goldwater and JFK. Instead we'll have ideas from policy-wonk Blackwell and rhetoric from cardboard-cutout Strickland.

Pity Ohio. Pity the Democrats. Pity the republic.

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