Strike Three: Dayton Daily News says Dann should go...
From the Dayton Daily News editorial pages:
Our view: This has to be the end for Marc Dann
When Marc Dann likened himself to Eliot Spitzer, this is not what he had in mind.
But the Ohio attorney general's story should have the same outcome: a premature departure from office.
Mr. Dann has become a laughingstock. He deserves to be. This time, the image is the reality. He has made his own reputation.
Ohio cannot be represented in legal disputes outside the state — or inside — by a laughingstock or representatives of one.
Mr. Dann's 15 months in office have resulted in a long list of indefensible, unprofessional incidents. The last straw is not a straw, but a great big bundle of hay:
He has been discredited by an investigation done by his own office, an investigation Mr. Dann had no choice but to order.
Two top employees have had to be fired and a third has had to resign. Their leaving stems from allegations of sexual harassment and involve events at a condo that Dann shared with the two who've been fired. In short, one of his own guys was using a pad the three shared — and the power Mr. Dann gave him — to his sexual advantage.
As if that were not tawdry enough, the attorney general has had to admit to an extramarital affair with a close employee. At one stage, they were planning to go to a conference together in Turkey, before a staff person killed that idea.
Even before now, the two fired employees have caused all manner of embarrassments. One — whose domain included the office cars — kept getting in trouble as a driver.
As for other embarrassments: Mr. Dann has had to fire his "top cop," who was still working for the Youngstown Police Department while working for the AG. The AG also had to fire his driver, who turned out to have served time for manslaughter.
Mr. Dann found himself on YouTube shouting an expletive across a street at a reporter. He also used a state plane for a political trip and a state SUV to go to campaign events.
There was more.
As to policy issues, he seemed bent on making a headline a day for a while. He nurtured a populist — Spitzer-like — image. But sometimes he went decidedly astray. He found a role for his office in a dubious battle against charter schools, a role theretofore unseen by others.
Now, in discussing his problems (outside the realm of policy), he says, "I was not as well prepared for this office as I should have been."
His hiring decisions — right at the heart of the responsibility of any elected official — were ludicrous, sloppy, indefensible.
In arguing against resignation, Mr. Dann points first to the fact that he was elected. That's an important point, to be sure. In truth, if he were appointed, he'd be long gone.
Respect for elections — for the voters as the heart of the democratic process — requires tolerance of a lot. But even for elected officials, there comes a time.
When, for example, a crusading, moralistic governor — one who is proud of having gone after prostitution rings as attorney general — is found to be regularly frequenting high-price prostitutes, that's enough. After all, Eliot Spitzer was done for as governor, one way or another.
Similarly, Marc Dann is done for.
The name Bill Clinton arises. There were differences, of course. One is that Mr. Dann isn't a twice-elected president of the United States, just a novice in state office.
For old-timers, though, Friday morning — as the headlines were appearing fast and furiously on the Internet — brought back memories of another president: Richard Nixon:
Report Slams Top Dann Aides. Two Dann Aides Fired. Dann Aide Resigns. AG Admits Affair with Employee. Governor Asked about Resignation.
This wasn't the presidency, of course, and there was no constitutional crisis, but there were Watergate days like that, suggesting problems way beyond a mistake or two.
This time there's just a guy who demonstrated his lack of fitness for his job over and over.
Not only did the paper not endorse Dann in the general. It didn't endorse him in the primary as well. They got it right the first time, DDN endorsed Subodh Chandra.
Now, before you think that should discount the DDN's editorial now. Consider what the DDN said about Chandra at the time. It's practically prophetic:
The deciding consideration in favor of Mr. Chandra is his management experience. The attorney general's office is a large enterprise. Moving from a small law firm and Senate office would be a big leap for Sen. Dann who has shown a penchant for inattention to detail.
Yeah, they saw Dann for the potential trainwreck he became two years earlier.