Sunday, September 10, 2000

Politics


Dubya's coattails could save Bedinghaus

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        George W. Bush may or may not be elected president, but in Hamilton County, where the Bush name makes thousands of Republicans feel all warm and fuzzy inside, he could probably be elected county commissioner.

        Or, he could just help save the bacon of one Republican county commissioner this year.

        Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus, of course, is in the fight of his life, running for re-election against Democratic Cincinnati City Councilman Todd Portune, after being beaten like a tied-down goat nearly every day for three years over the building of stadiums and the rather generous terms given the Bengals for their new pleasure palace.

        We've talked to a lot of Hamilton County voters — many of them rock-ribbed Republicans who would vote for a can of pork and beans if it had an “R” next to its name — who hear the name Bedinghaus and start popping neck veins.

        Some people have told us that all Mr. Bedinghaus needs to quiet the furor over Paul Brown Stadium and waltz to re-election in this very Republican county is for the the Bengals to run off about six wins in a row, starting today.

        Wrong. The Bengals could whip the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium today, go 16-0 for the season, romp through the play-offs, win the Super Bowl and be immediately inducted en masse into the Professional Football Hall of Fame and it wouldn't win Mr. Bedinghaus many votes that he didn't already have.

        Most of these people who have come seriously unglued over the stadium situation don't care whether the Bengals even show up for their home opener today.

        No, Bob Bedinghaus does not need Bengal wins. Mike Brown is the one who needs that.

        What Bob Bedinghaus needs is Big Dubya; he needs to grab hold of the presidential candidate's pants leg and hold on for dear life.

        Dubya and his crowd down in Austin, along with the Republican National Committee, have made it quite clear to the GOP leadership in Hamilton County that they must find every Republican voter they can — any GOP voter who can still fog a mirror — and get him or her to the polls Nov. 7.

        To offset the big Democratic margin that Al Gore is expected to roll up in northeast Ohio, Hamilton County GOP leaders must make sure that the Bush-Cheney ticket wins the county by more than the traditional magic number of 60,000-plus votes.

        What they would really like to see are Ronald Reagan-style numbers. Sixteen years ago, when Mr. Reagan was running for re-election, he won Hamilton County by 105,685 votes.

        Even better would be Joe Deters-style numbers. Two years ago, when the former Hamilton County prosecutor was elected state treasurer, he won his county by about 115,000 votes.

        If George W. Bush were to do that, it might just put Mr. Bedinghaus over that big hump called Paul Brown Stadium. It might also pull the fat out of the fire for some GOP Ohio House candidates.

        Too bad for Mr. Bedinghaus that Joe Deters isn't on the ballot this year.

       Howard cn be reached at 768-8388 or via e-mail at hwilkins@enquirer.com.

       



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