Monday, May 5, 2008

Marc Dann puts his head in a vice

Considering the number of public verbal condemnations coming Marc Dann's direction from members of his own party -- including Governor Strickland's threat of impeachment -- I can only imagine how many calls are coming his way behind the scenes.

The media tank around the Attorney General's office has grown from piranhas to sharks to killer whales -- all thirsting for blood. Can you blame them? On Friday, Dann stood on the side of the tank with a bucket full of political chum.

I first met Dann on election day 2006. I was told to "swing by" a church in Cuyahoga Falls that was one of the polling locations because we believed Dann would be there shaking hands. I think Betty Montgomery was also coming through town, and we were more interested in talking with her than Dann .. but wanted to get Dann to balance the story journalistically.

I was taken by how friendly Dann was with the voters .. and how personally down-to-earth he presented himself. He seemed more like a local public defender who believed in the good of poor clients than the stereotypical hardcore prosecutor. He gave me a brief interview and I wished him luck, not really giving him much of a shot to win that night.

That night, sure enough Dann did win. Surprising to a lot of folks then, and on Friday Dann said even he was surprised.

I wonder how surprised he is now that he's still in office today.

I also interviewed him a few weeks after he took office for an investigative story about how professional solicitors keep much of the money we donate to charities as "operations" costs. Dann became a hero within the story vowing to become more aggressive in forcing solicitors to give $$ to charities; He also promised to make donation data easier for consumers to access so they can find out who's really getting their money. A year later, I checked with Dann's office to see what, if any, of the promises Dann made had been fulfilled; a staffer told me that the data access remained unchanged.

With the Presidential vote just six months away and Ohio key to the Democrats' hopes for retaking the White House, the Buckeye State needs a clean political runway for the Dems to take flight.

It's as though Dann's head is now in a vice .. yet he's the one who pretty much put his noggin inside the grips and gave those in the workshop every reason to tighten the jaws. Only in Dann's case, he's added the additional dare of "I'm not quitting no matter how hard you squeeze my skull."

State Democratic Chair Chris Redfern says Dann will be tossed out of the Democratic Party while local, state, and federal leaders are signing letters urging Dann to step aside. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, and Treasurer Richard Cordray are pushing for Dann's exit as well.

It's times like this that you need a close friend and/or or political ally but at 3 a.m. is there anyone who will take Dann's calls right now?

He sure as heck can't call Jessica Utovich any more, right? Wasn't he embarrassed enough by the 2,000 emails he and Jessica shared going public last week? Does he really want to wait until she sits down with a TV reporter like me and does an exclusive interview to give up the dirt? Does he really want his family to sit through that? Is he sure she doesn't have any pictures or recordings?

That's what Dann can expect as he solidifies his bunker at the AG's office ... never again able to hold a press conference without questions about why he isn't resigning and/or what he did or didn't do while his lieutenants were watching "Old School." All because he's standing his ground.

Under that kind of pressure, I doubt Dann will last a week .. but then again, I was wrong about him once before.


Anonymous said...

Your article was right on the money.
I think Dann was someone who didn't have enough years under his belt nor enough political experience to see the the train wreck ahead. Add in a heap of hometown loyalty and a puffed up male ego and you have the makings of a perfect storm.

Ben said...

Agreed with first comment.

Seems like he is hellbent on staying on, but I dont know how that will work.