What will be the political impact of Troopergate?
That’s yet to be determined.
Ultimately, much of it has already been felt. Thanks to their own choices, Troopergate forced the Administration off message for much of the spring. During a time when the Governor should be working to repair his own reputation in the face of a massive jobs crisis, he’s instead was forced to answer questions about drunk inmates.
But then Joe Hallett of the Columbus Dispatch hit on something this weekend that won’t fully be determined until election evening. When discussing why the story stretched out as long as it did, Hallett states:
…a strategy of denial, obfuscation and attacking Inspector General Thomas P. Charles ultimately cost Collins-Taylor her job and stained Strickland’s reputation as a forthright public servant.
One of the best things Strickland has going for him is what many consider his likable personality. Personally, I didn’t realize “boring” equated with “likable”, but I digress.
So if the GOP can get this stain, as Hallett describes it, to stick, how much can that damage Strickland amongst his base and Independents?
Clearly, it’s a net negative. There is nothing positive about what came from Troopergate. Strickland just needs to find a way to mitigate its effects.
So why then is he focusing totally and completely on negative attacks? Don’t get me wrong. I understand the political benefit of attempting to define Kasich first, but that does no good if in the long run, the ads don’t significantly improve his job approval rating among Democrats and Independents.
It’s not easy to get rid of a stain that has set.