Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Memo to Ohio Governor Strickland

I know you're delivering your State of the State address shortly, but this advice remains relevant well into the future.

Ted, this is the time for bold, innovative tactics, and there are plenty of gubernatorial examples, both current and past, on which you can draw. Here are but a few:

The late, legendary James Rhodes. He either served as or ran for Ohio's highest office over the course of four decades. Promoting the state on a mission to China, he flapped his arms like a bird, crowing "Wright brothers." On another occasion he urged everyone to drink an extra 16-ounce can of Ohio tomato juice, claiming it would create 2,000 jobs. Best of all, he proposed building a bridge to Canada across the middle of Lake Erie – although he hadn't bothered to ask the Canadians about it.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. He's throwing himself on the hot grille of public ridicule and no one seems to understand his motive, which is to totally take the minds of the state's citizens off the economy, the wars and Chicago gridlock. Every day they get comic relief right on the front page.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. How could you listen to either of them giving the most boring address without thinking of Arnold slaughtering his enemies or Jesse hurling his out of the ring? Once again, smiles all around.

You more than anyone in the state can take our minds off our problems. Maybe it's not professional rassling, celluloid sadism or pure buffoonery, but I'm sure you'll think of something.

(A necessary footnote to Rhodes: Unfortunately he spoiled his reputation as Ohio's court jester by making an incendiary speech to the national guardsmen at Kent State in 1970, priming them for the May 4 tragedy that ensued the following day.)

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