Tuesday, May 06, 2008

It's not the affair. Mostly not, anyway.

I thought this was finally taking a turn in the right direction. Nick at BSB put together this quote from an AP interview of Ted:

When Governor Strickland was questioned about the fact that, while in Congress, he opposed the impeachment of President Clinton, he said the two situations were "dramatically different" and his request for Dann to resign is "not based substantially on the extramarital affair."
with the observation:

a careful reading of the Dispatch's editorial stating that Dann should resign shows that the paper mentioned the affair not even once, while still making a persuasive case that Dann should step down.

Ding Ding Ding. Clinton was impeached because he tried to keep an affair a secret, an affair that had no connection with any of the accusations being made at the time, let alone with any actual malfeasance. It was wrong then to impeach Clinton, and it would be wrong now to impeach an official based on vows they made to their spouse rather than the rest of us. But really, if all Marc Dann had been doing was cheating on his wife, this would still be a NaugBlog exclusive.

Dann hired people who were unqualified for their jobs. He hired them because they were friends, or for other *cough* personal reasons. When his friends were engaging in sexual harassment, crashing state vehicles, etc., he was at best looking the other way while his friends covered up the wrongdoing. The fact that he did not take any serious action until the Dispatch began reporting on the harassment means that either the media should have been running his office for him or he was willfully slow in responding. Dann couldn't or wouldn't put a stop to behavior in his own office that he would certainly have prosecuted in others.

The roles may be reversed for aesthetic purposes, but this is the couple you should keep focused on:

So when I see people who should know a lot better quoted thusly:

“I think this is between him and his family,” Koziura said. “He has not done anything to violate any law… or any of the duties of his office.”

It makes me livid. When I see national stories like this:

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is resisting pressure to resign over what he described as a “romantic relationship with a member of my staff,” but the situation threatens to stall his probes of alleged wrongdoing related to subprime mortgages.

Glossed into teasers like this:

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is resisting pressure to resign over a romantic relationship with a member of his staff, but the situation threatens to stall his probes of alleged wrongdoing related to subprime mortgages.

I wonder if I'm the only one who cares that there's a world of difference between the two paragraphs.

This is not Boinkgate. Nor is it really the story of J.U., the 28-year-old. This is the story of Tony Gutierrez. The story as it is constructed in my head from the fragments in the media, goes something like this:

Poor Ton, who didn't have a girlfriend on staff. Marc had one. Leo had one. Tony was determined to get one, even if he had to hire her in himself. Marc appears determined to help him ("wherever she fits...""come over for pizza..."). Poor Tony, when his friends romp, he gets himself a complaint filed. When he gets drunk, the truck loses paint. Everybody knows the names Dann and Jennings III, but Tony? Anyone can see that this is a disaster waiting to happen, but what is an AG supposed to do? Tell Tony to give it up, you'll never be cool like Leo and me?

I could be way way off. But if I am, then the D-U affair part is really none of our concern at all. If I'm not, then yeah, the narrative forming has a small place for salaciousness. But only as part of the frame: Marc Dann let his poor personal judgments critically interfere with his professional obligations, and in so doing rendered himself incapable of fulfilling his duties to the State of Ohio. By doing nothing to discourage, implicitly encouraging by example, and possibly even explicitly encouraging behavior that was unethical, unprofessional, and potentially illegal, he showed himself unfit to be the Attorney General. Game over. It's who he hired, and how he disciplined them. Not who he slept with. Don't let him weasel out of this so easily.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I definitely can't see eye to eye with Koziura on the Dann mess. I ran against Koziura twice for state rep, and I hope voters realize that there's another name, Stipe, that they can vote for on election day rather than Koziura.

I'm still waiting for that promised impeachment. Whatever positives Dann accomplished could clearly be accomplished by a more ethical Democrat (or Republican, for that matter). Strickland was so right when he stated that no public official is irreplaceable.