The Corner

Open Letter to the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party

Chris Redfern, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic party who famously called the tea partiers “f******,” has attacked one of our bloggers. My letter in response follows:

Dear Chairman Redfern,

I hesitate to take your time with a missive like this because I know you are busy losing a governorship, a Senate seat, and conceivably as many as six House seats in the great state of Ohio. Managing such a massive political failure can’t be easy, so I don’t want to do anything to distract you from it.


But I must respond to your shameless attack on a writer who blogs for National Review, Mytheos Holt. His offense is that he caught Gov. Ted Strickland in a blatantly dishonest attack on Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, and Kasich used Holt’s analysis in his response ad.

To recap: Kasich explained at an August press conference his proposal for JobsOhio, a plan, as the Columbus Dispatch describes it, “to replace the Ohio Department of Development with a private, nonprofit corporation run by a 12-member board of corporate chief executive officers whom Kasich would appoint.”

Kasich said he wants to move to performance pay, and, while the department might still receive some government funds, he would seek private funding for most of its operations. He vowed to keep the best current employees of the department while scouring the private sector for the best business minds.

For most Ohioans, this must sound like common sense, especially with Ohio’s unemployment rate at 9.7 percent. Through the wonders of maliciously selective editing, however, Strickland portrayed the Kasich proposal as a plan for Wall Street CEOs to run the state’s development program with unlimited bonuses and no accountability.

This was such a laughable distortion it didn’t even rise to the level of good dishonest advertising. It made the national Democrats’ attack on the Chamber of Commerce look almost deft and well-supported by comparison. Holt blew the whistle on this nonsense in a blog post, and the Columbus Dispatch vindicated his judgment just yesterday.

Instead of passing over this latest embarrassment for Ohio Democrats in silence, you compounded it with a personal attack on a journalist whose work you happen to find inconvenient. In a press release on Friday, you scorned Holt for being a recent college graduate. I know it must seem mystifying to you that a young person would move to Ted Strickland’s Ohio, when the state has been steadily shedding population, but that doesn’t make it nefarious.

You allege that he has “connections to the Ohio Republican party,” a deliberately vague formulation meant to question his integrity without any evidence — in short, a smear.  

Finally, you say the Strickland ad “is clearly true, because it uses Kasich’s own words.” Well, here is a sentence drawn from the words of your very own release: “Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern must have been embarrassed when Ohioans started to find out about his plan to put Wall Street CEOs in charge of creating Ohio jobs and his plan to pay those Wall Street CEOs massive, undisclosed, taxpayer-funded bonuses.” Is the sentence true?

Don’t answer that; it’s a rhetorical question. When you proudly called tea-partiers “f******” last month, we learned that you’re drawn to witless name-calling, so I know I’m probably wasting my time here. Besides, you have more important things to do — you have an ongoing political debacle to oversee.

In that respect, all I can say is whatever you’re doing, please keep doing it.

Gratefully yours,

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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