Sunday, July 09, 2000

Can Bedinghaus get over the hump?

        There is a scene in the old Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein where the young Baron Frankenstein is rooting around the ruins of his mad scientist father's old laboratory when he comes across the demented, hunchbacked Igor.

        Help me revive my father's monster, the young baron says to Igor (the late, lamented pop-eyed Marty Feldman), and, in return, I will perform surgery to remove that hump from your back.

        Igor looks at young Frankenstein in bewilderment.

        What hump? he asks.

        Carrying a burden through life and being blissfully unaware or utterly indifferent to it is one way to cope.

        Politicians do it all the time.

Extra baggage
        Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus has been toting a burden of almost biblical proportions for the past two years, straining under the weight like a modern-day Job.

        It was he who led the campaign to pass a hike in the county sales tax to build a new stadium for the Bengals and a ballpark for the Reds. It is he who has heard himself called every name but mister ever since, with the cost overruns, the allegations of mismanagement of the project, and the astonishingly generous terms he handed the Bengals in the football team's lease agreement.

        And, now, he is running for re-election.

Early ad
        Put it all together and sane, reasonable political people in this town would tell you he might have some trouble doing that.

        Mr. Bedinghaus is not as blissfully ignorant of his affliction as poor Igor, but he chooses to carry on despite it all.

        Hump? What hump?

        He also knows that there are a lot of voters out there who are spitting mad over the stadium situation, many of them his fellow Republicans.

        So, Monday, when you sit down to watch the local evening news, you will see a Bedinghaus ad about two months ahead of the time when you would expect to see one.

"Mistakes were made'
        Mr. Bedinghaus takes the stadium issue head-on, arguing that, when all is said and done, it is not about “home runs and touchdowns” but about the future vitality of the riverfront.

        In the ad, he says that “mistakes were made” and that he learned from them.

        Asked Friday what mistakes he was referring to that were so instructive, Mr. Bedinghaus said that he learned from the Bengal experience that capping the cost of the new Reds ballpark and not being locked in to a guaranteed opening date were good ideas.

        Why these were not good ideas three years ago when the Bengals bellied up to the bar was not explained.

Circle Aug. 19
        With the early campaign ad, Mr. Bedinghaus is trying to defuse the stadium issue before it gets out of hand — and hope that the public will be so goo-goo eyed with awe when Paul Brown Stadium opens Aug. 19 that they will be willing to forgive and forget.

        And, for that, the debut of the new football stadium will have to go off flawlessly.

        Personally, we'd hate to have our career hanging on whether some guy in an orange-and-black fright wig has to stand in line for an entire quarter to get a hot dog.

        Howard Wilkinson can be reached at


Adoption case tests bonds of love and race
Boy's death changed federal law
Adoption requirements and numbers
Moving Wall stirs emotions
RADEL: Bun Voyage, Camp Washington Chili
- WILKINSON: Can Bedinghaus get over the hump?
AME won't reserve bishop spot for woman
Greasy test planned for buses
Metallica fans jam Speedway
Earthquake risk exists in Ohio
Ohio likes to plan for disasters - after one strikes
SAMPLES: CF patient dreams of being doctor
BRONSON: Signs of our times
CROWLEY: TV's 'Big Brother,' Ky. style
Diva driven by faith
Latest 'Potter' puts Harry under fire
'Potter' book does vanishing act
KIESEWETTER: Fall TV season a game of survival
Ballet's elder statesman far from retiring
'Chorus Line' almost a singular sensation
DEMALINE: 3 friends debut troupe, script
Ex-CEO rockin' to oldies band beat
KNIPPENBERG: Super time at the opera
Main Auction Galleries to sell a bundle of toys
Pig Parade: King Millie
Soup's on at St. Rita Fest
Who should be cast away?
DAUGHERTY: Out-of-touch friend wrenches the heart
Army players add sizzle to Pops' big-band sounds
Australia trip eye-opener
Center to study school violence
Center will help domestic violence victims
Fugitive kills boys in crash, then is shot
Local digest
Monroe gets new principal
OSU says athletes need higher grades
Reports raising doubts about death penalty
Square to get $1.9M upgrade
State senator donates to GOP