Based on what I observed at Mary Taylor's Lieutenant Governor announcement in January, it seems that veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter/columnist Joe Hallett at least occasionally gets to ask the first question at press conferences based on respect for his longevity. This has led me to refer to Hallett as "Ohio's Helen Thomas." (Thomas was allowed to ask the first question at White House press conferences and press briefings for many years.)
Hallett's politics may not be identical to Thomas's far-leftism, but they appear to be in the same neighborhood. More relevant to his journalistic duties, he's wearing a very similar set of blinders. "Clueless Joe" would be an appropriate nickname.
How else can you explain how the supposed dean of Ohio political reporters can display the incredible ignorance shown in the first paragraph of his column today without feeling utterly embarrassed?
Here is that paragraph, followed by the detail served up in Paragraph 7:
A deeply involved Republican from northwestern Ohio called last week with a tip: The Tea Party is trying to take over the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee and, if successful, will oust state party Chairman Kevin DeWine.
... The committee comprises 66 members, a man and woman from each of the state's 33 Senate districts. At least 29 men and 25 women affiliated with the Tea Party are running for the central committee.
That's "a tip"?
For cryin' out loud, Jim and Lisa Woods of Medina County Friends and Neighbors distributed a list of Tea Party-"affiliated" State Central Committee candidates over 10 days earlier, on April 13! I re-posted that e-mail on Wednesday, April 14 at BizzyBlog.
Hallett would have known about his "breaking" news sooner if he had read his own newspaper, particularly his fellow political reporters' output.
Over a week ago, on April 16, the Dispatch's Mark Niquette, in his coverage of the results of an Ohio Elections Commission hearing about deceptive Ohio Republican Party mailers claiming that its State Central Committee incumbents were "endorsed" when no such endorsement had occurred, wrote that "There are more than 40 contested committee races statewide."
(The Commission issued a "probable cause" finding against the ORP for issuing deceptive campaign literature; a hearing before the full commission will take place in May.)
Here are Hallett's first five paragraphs, which only hint at the full scope of the carnage that follows:
Here's "a tip" for Helen, er, Joe: For your own sake, get outside of the I-270 beltway and away from the party establishments every once in a while. You might learn about what is really going on in center-right Buckeye State voters' minds. And for heaven's sake, read your own darned newspaper and/or its web site.
Hallett's full take on the competitive GOP State Central Committee races is so utterly out of touch and completely predictable that a thorough deconstruction, though enjoyable and fulfilling, would take hours that aren't available. I'll leave that fun to commenters.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.