Look Out Cleveland!

There’s always a sick temptation among political writers to experience a bit of schadenfreude at really big political disasters. Last night I was among those chuckling with a distinct lack of Christian charity at the plight of AZ Attorney General Tom Horne, the dude who got busted after a fender bender while fleeing an illicit assignation under the eyes of FBI investigators. And now there’s the smoking ruin of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s once-bright gubernatorial campaign. WaPo’s Aaron Blake sums up his plunge into the darkness in just one sentence:

First was the poor fundraising, then a report that he was found by police in a car at 4:30 a.m. with a woman who was not his wife — and that he didn’t have a driver’s license for a decade — and finally nearly all of his top campaign staff deserting him.

Yep, it’s never a good sign when the staff up and quits ten weeks before Election Day.

To his credit, FitzGerald seems focused not on self-justification but on minimizing the damage to the rest of the Ohio Democratic ticket. Guess it’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you’ve been exposed as a 46 year-old man who’s been driving around with a learner’s license for a decade (I can relate: at a similar age I was advised by DC DMV to apply for a learner’s license because the license I lost in a mugging had never been entered into DC DMV computers).

Speaking of taking oneself too seriously: John Kasich’s lucky break with FitzGerald, says WaPo’s Blake, may boost the odds of a 2016 presidential campaign. He shouldn’t push his luck.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.