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Saturday, August 20


Ohio GOP Reeling With Governor Conviction

GROVE CITY, Ohio - In November, Ohio was at the center of the national political stage, delivering the White House to President Bush.

Eight months later, the state's Republican Party is reeling: its leader convicted of ethics violations; a narrow win in a gimmie congressional district; an investment scandal that won't go away.

The troubles play out as the casualty rate climbs from the war in Iraq and the state economy remains stuck in a slump. The war could hurt Bush's standing in Ohio, mirroring a decline in his popularity nationally. His overall job approval was at 42 percent in a recent poll, with just 38 percent approving of his handling of Iraq.

Diane McCune, who lives in this solidly GOP Columbus suburb, bucked her Democratic roots twice and voted for President Bush, but now she's having second thoughts.

"I'm not feeling so good," McCune said. "I think we maybe made a mistake putting him in there."

As for Ohio's Gov. Bob Taft, convicted Thursday for not reporting that he was treated to dozens of golf outings, the 50-year-old teacher's aide shook her head. "Taft, I feel, has kind of made a joke out of all of us."

Republicans have had a firm grip on Ohio for a decade, controlling the Legislature, all statewide offices and a majority of congressional seats. Not long ago the talk was which of the three GOP candidates would win the primary for governor next year and presumably the job itself.

That talk has changed. (read the rest)

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