In a move reminiscent of the old Soviet Union newspaper, Pravda, a top local GOP official deleted an entry he wrote on his blog in its entirety after a commenter challenged him on his alleged hypocrisy, and is pretending it never existed.
Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou wrote an item Saturday criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama for selecting Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. Referring to Biden as "Bumblin' Biden," Alex wrote about how the senator was a plagiarist for his use of comments in a 1988 speech that were lifted without attribution from a Labour Party politician in Britain. Such a practice, the chairman said, spoke volumes about Biden’s character and fitness for high office.
Trouble is, the very first person to post a comment on the blog item called out the local Republican Party for its apparent double standard.
The commenter wrote, “So, Alex, plagiarists are bad? Then why do you keep supporting That Lying Plagiarizing Meddling Overblown Tax-and-Spend RINO Bitch Mean Jean ‘Hoffman’ Schmidt?”
The comment referred to U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township), who’s seeking re-election to Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District against Democrat Victoria Wulsin and independent David Krikorian.
Better known as “Mean Jean” in local political circles due to her penchant for making harsh and bizarre statements, Schmidt was embroiled in a plagiarism controversy over a guest column she submitted to a newspaper in 2006, which turned out to be almost identical to one written by another GOP lawmaker. Also, she once received a reprimand from the Ohio Elections Commission for falsely claiming to have a second bachelor’s degree.
Some area Republicans have bitterly opposed Schmidt’s endorsement by the county GOP. They have said she isn’t conservative enough, makes too many embarrassing remarks publicly and lacks a coherent legislative agenda. Those factors, critics add, make her seat vulnerable to a Democratic takeover.
Later over the weekend, shortly after the comment appeared on Triantafilou’s blog, the entire entry mysteriously disappeared.
We’ve seen temper tantrums before by a few prickly local GOP politicians, most notably Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. The case of the disappearing blog post could indicate the problem is more widespread.
So, if someone asks if local Republicans are thin-skinned about criticism, the correct reply would be, “Da.”
— Kevin Osborne