Bob Taft’s Scandal: A Blessing in Disguise

By now, you all have heard the news about Ohio’s scandal plagued Governor, Bob Taft. Yesterday, Taft issued an apology to the citizens of Ohio after being charged with four misdemeanors for failing to report 52 gifts worth about $5,800, including 47 golf outings.

In Taft’s apology, he said, “I accept total responsibility for my mistake, and I’m sorry… Words are not adequate to express the remorse that I feel personally for the embarrassment that I have caused to my administration and to this great state. … I hope you will understand that my mistake, though serious, was not a purposeful one and hope and pray that you will accept my heartfelt apology and allow me the opportunity to restore your trust.”

These ethics charges, while serious, aren’t nearly as bad as one may think. $5,800 is small pickens compared to the broad scope of the debacle of Taft’s gubernatorial stretch. What I’d rather see is a public apology for turning Ohio into a laughing stock around the United States. Taft has overseen one of the largest economic downfalls in recent history, and he has done little to nothing in terms of encouraging a healthy free market to make Ohio prosperous once again. Instead, we were plagued with Taft’s wishy-washy stances and poor decision making.

In almost a culmination that exemplified Taft’s tenure, he pleaded “no contest” to the charges. Instead of admitting guilt, he took the low road and gave yet another half-baked answer when faced with a problem. Such was the nature of Taft’s tenure. No answers; just temporary band-aids. Taft has mark of the typical do-nothing politician. Taft sat back and let the state rot all so he didn’t have to offer any ideas or solutions to the problems facing Ohio, most of which, he could have prevented. He figured he could coast through until 2006 where he could leave office and get a job as part of a future Republican administration at the federal level. Thanks to this charade, it seems as though we have been spared.

Taft announced that he would not resign, still delusional enough to think that his political career is not over. As he continues his last term, it is now clear that he is adamant on staying in his fantasy world where he can still do as he pleases without repercussions.

Veritas Forum had this to say:

Ohio governor Bob Taft ought to resign. He says he won’t, but Republican leaders should lean on him to quit. Basically, he accepted a bunch of gifts he wasn’t supposed to. I’ve heard of worse problems also, but to be honest, I don’t follow Ohio’s internal politics that closely. He insists that he didn’t know the rules, but I find that hard to believe. I was given a large set of ethics guidelines when I started work this summer, and most of it dealt with gifts. Now, if they’re going to make a measly summer intern in a fish pathology lab look at that, you can bet that a state governor should have known. And even if he’s innocent (morally, we know he’s legally guilty), he ought to take one for the team and resign before hurting the state party more.

I think Veritas Forum displays the common sentiments you’ll find from folks on both sides of the aisle. Democrats realize that this whole experience has made their attempt to recapture Ohio that much easier, and Republicans know that every day that Taft is still in office will mean that their chances are less likely to remain in power in Ohio.

While the ethics charges raised against Taft speak volumes of his character, it is important to remember that this is just a means to a better end. Taft’s disregard for individual rights and Ohio’s economy is what is really unethical about his tenure as governor. And even though these specific nondisclosures are somewhat unrelated, it can give all of us a sigh of relief that once 2006 rolls around, Bob Taft will just be a thing of the past for Ohioans. Resignation papers please, Mr. Taft.

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