Some mostly meaningless musings that fill up a political muckraker’s notebook in the final weeks before Election Day:
• The Orange Man doesn’t necessarily go tanning to remain a “person of color,” as President Barack Obama calls him.
John Boehner, of West Chester, the House minority leader and speaker-in-waiting, has a naturally dark complexion, according to family and friends.
• Gov. Ted Strickland’s staffers had to drill him in the pronunciation of the word gelato before he headlined the grand opening last week of the Giant Eagle Market District store in Upper Arlington.
“Growing up on a dirt road called Duck Run in southern Ohio, we didn’t exactly head down to the local market for sushi and gelato,” he told an audience at the store, proudly adding, “I know I pronounced that correctly.”
• Strickland’s Republican rival, John Kasich, is unsure whether he and his family will move into the governor’s residence in Bexley if he wins Nov. 2. Kasich, his wife, Karen, and their twin 10-year-old daughters have a very nice house on the edge of a golf course just north of Westerville.
“That’s taking measurements before the election’s over,” Kasich said when asked if the family would occupy the taxpayer-provided mansion.
“We love where we live. ... Wait till the election’s over, and my wife will say what she wants.”
If Kasich wins and opts to stay in his Genoa Township home, he would be only the second governor since 1955 not to move into the mansion. Republican James Rhodes lived there during his first two terms, 1963-71, but stayed in his Upper Arlington home in his second two terms, 1975-83.
• One other thing about Kasich: He didn’t actually write his last two best-selling books — “Stand for Something” and “Every Other Monday” — at least in the hunched-over-a-keyboard way many folks might envision an author at work. At book-writing time, ghost writer Daniel Paisner visits Kasich for a couple of days and, according to Kasich, here is what happens:
“I talk into a microphone and he asks me questions. He pushes me on certain things to get my ideas out there. Then he will get it transcribed. Then he will put it down on paper and ship it to me. Then I will take a look at it and then I start marking it up. ... It’s really, truly a collaborative effort, but at the end of the day it’s my stuff so it has to be said right. Nobody else can say it the way I can say it.”
• Hypocrisy is bipartisan. Last Monday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown held a news conference decrying “the growing problem of anonymous money fueling American elections” and touting his co-sponsorship of a bill that would require independent groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to disclose the names of donors.
The same day, Democratic lobbyist Alan Melamed, a friend and political ally of Brown, acknowledged the creation of a new independent group, Our Future Ohio, to spend $2.5 million on TV ads supporting Strickland and other Democrats. He declined to identify the donors, and the nonprofit is not required to disclose them.
• Even a Republican tsunami on Election Day probably won’t save the job of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Criticized by Republicans for his verbal gaffes and fundraising shortfalls — Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine sent a letter complaining that the state party was being shortchanged by the RNC — Steele has been relegated to a minor role in the campaign.
Last Monday, he pulled his “Fire Pelosi” bus into Columbus and told reporters that rather than destroying the GOP, the tea party might have saved it by forcing a return to its smaller-government, lower-taxes roots.
“It took grass-roots activists — former and current Republicans, libertarians, conservatives — to bind themselves together under this tea party moniker to say, ‘Look, these foundational principles still matter, and if you are going to be true to yourself and true to these principles, then we’ll join you. If not, we won’t.’ I think it awakened us.”
And then Steele climbed aboard the bus and headed for Zanesville.
Joe Hallett is senior editor at The Columbus Dispatch. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.