Wednesday, February 01, 2006

MoneyGoRound Pt. 2: Scandalocracy Survey

Lets start our survey with the recent allegation against Jim Petro. Yesterday the PD reported that ODP Chair Chris Redfern called for an independent investigation of the allegations. I've heard from Subodh Chandra's campaign that he issued a similar statement.

Unfortunately, this scandal, big as it might be, has yet to grow legs. The Redfern statement prompted the PD to extend the news cycle, albeit reluctantly -- the story devotes as much space to Petro's running mate selection as the scandal. Nothing appears in either the Dispatch or the normally reliably scandal-sensitive Toledo Blade.

The BJ is also silent but, get this, Steve Hoffman is not. In his blog, Hoffman discusses the scandal. In a long piece about the new funding reports Hoffman devotes a graph to the scandal. He doesn't provide any links -- apparently he won't give the PD any love either -- but does run out the following analysis:

Arshinkoff's hatred of Petro is legendary. As soon as Betty Montgomery dropped
out of the governor's race, Arshinkoff jumped on the Blackwell bandwagon as a
campaign co-chairman. The next thing, Morrison was suddenly remebering all these
conversations he'd had with Petro.
I'm afraid I hadn't heard the Legend of Alex Hatin' Jim before this, but yes it does all make sense. I lauded Jack Morrison in my previous post on this and stand by that -- Morrison is too smart and too honest to make something like this up. On the other hand, I fear he won't come out of this with a whole shirt. Lawyers are required to report misconduct with other lawyers (DR 1-103 for any legal types needing to brush up.) The rule says "report," not "report when it will most grievously politically harm a political adversary." That Morrison waited a couple of years and dropped the bomb the day before Petro announced his running mate doesn't "maintain the integrity and competence of the legal profession," it just smells bad.

So generally, how will this play out? Well, for starters, it depends on whether the matter is investigated and who does the investigation. Second, will Blackwell use it? Presumably Alex cleared all this with his new endorsee, but given Alex's penchant for vendettas, not necessarily.

Finally, some evidence suggests that Ohio voters aren't yet ready to slap the scandal label on the Republicans. Hoffman writes up news of a survey purporting to show that voters blame R's and D's equally. And he links to a blog! OK, it's the GOP blog, but it's a start:
While 32 percent associated scandal with Republicans, 30 percent linked it to
Democrats. More, 36 percent, put the blame on both parties without
distinction. And a majority (52 percent) said political scandal
doesn't affect the view of government.
Unlike the GOP blog, I think this just shows the Dems what they have to do -- shine light on the scandals whenever, wherever.

One Democrat on the job is Paul Krugman. In a piece about bias and balance in media, he tosses out this chestnut about Republican claims (and media echoes) that the Abramoff Scandal is "bipartisan:"
over the past few weeks a number of journalists, ranging from The Washington Post's ombudsman to the "Today" show's Katie Couric, have declared that Mr. Abramoff gave money to both parties. In each case the journalists or their news organization, when challenged, grudgingly conceded that Mr. Abramoff himself hasn't given a penny to Democrats. But in each case they claimed that this is only a technical point, because Mr. Abramoff's clients -- those Indian tribes -- gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans, money the news organizations say he "directed" to Democrats.

But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture; he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations, while giving much more money to Republicans.
(courtesy of a DailyKos Diary, thanks to NYT's paywall.)

It's like what Sherrod Brown said about this Monday night: We have to embarrass these guys again and again and again.

Coming next: What do we do about it?