You have to wonder what in the world Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Bernadette Noe was thinking when she called up a local radio shock jock on the air and suggested he ought to consider running for mayor.
Toledo already has a mayor, and a pretty good one so far. If the Republicans want their challenger to Jack Ford to be taken seriously when the incumbent stands for re-election in 2005, they're going to have to do a lot better than somebody who peddles filth, pretty much on a daily basis, just for its shock value.
Ms. Noe called the guy after he commented on the air that his contract will be up soon and he might not be around the local radio scene much longer.
She offered him an alternative to ponder if he was really serious - running for mayor, presumably as the GOP's endorsed candidate. “What great politics that would be,” she said. “What a dialogue.” Moments later she urged him to give her a call: “We'd love to have you.”
Ms. Noe has since backed off and claimed that her phone call was intended as a joke. But we would suggest that the humor was lost on those few Toledoans who may have been listening.
And it certainly didn't sound like a joke. This is the era, don't forget, of bizarre politics. Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura, a man who used to wear tights and wrestle professionally as “The Body,” as its governor. And the Ohio Democratic Party has been flirting with the idea of offering up shock-TV host Jerry Springer as a statewide candidate.
Ventura and Springer, of course, might not appreciate the comparison. Both have at least served in public office - Ventura as governor and Springer as mayor of Cincinnati several years ago.
The object of Ms. Noe's attention, on the other hand, seems to have devoted most of his time to abusing community standards of decency, not exactly the conduct Toledoans have a right to expect in their public servants.
Talking to shock jocks is not how Ms. Noe should be plotting the return of a healthy and vibrant Lucas County Republican Party. Former County Commissioner Sandy Isenberg used to do that from time to time as well. The voters figured out the appropriate response.