Mike Dewine

(The following is a fictitious memo from Gov. Mike DeWine’s campaign manager to the governor. It is make-believe, but it contains much truth.)

Good morning, Governor!

It is another lovely fall day in Ohio. The leaves are turning. I am sure there is lots to be done on your farm, but it will have to wait until after Nov. 8.

Things are looking very good, governor, as you have lengthened your lead in the public opinion polls over you know who since the primary.

Your opponent and her advisers apparently had no plan beyond winning the May 3 primary over the upstart John Cranley, and they had to turn to Sen. Sherrod Brown to do a million dollars’ worth of TV ads to defeat Cranley.

While your foe was figuring out what to do next, you were quietly mending fences with the misguided Republicans who did not vote for you in the primary. That effort was advanced when you had to make that inconvenient trip to Youngstown airport to receive the blessing of none other than Donald J. Trump. How you managed to keep him from endorsing one of your opponents in the primary is a secret that I am happy to let you keep!

And I will happily keep the secret of how you managed to sucker the other side into making your decision not to debate into a major political issue. I will further happily keep the secret of how you suckered the news media and do-gooder organizations into making a big stink about your decision not to debate. They think we are living in the late 20th century again when newspapers were all-powerful and could wreck a candidate with investigative reporting and nasty editorials. And they must believe that most Ohioans are paying attention to the governor’s race in 2022, yet fewer and fewer Ohioans are paying attention to politics amid today’s widespread blithe ignorance.

People underestimate your political brilliance. Every day that the newspapers and do-gooders are complaining about your debate refusal is a day that issues like First Energy, PUCO, corrupt Republicans, and your playing footsie with pro-life extremists are forgotten.

You are brilliantly copying the old fable about Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and the briar patch. The Fox captured his nemesis, the Rabbit, and debated about how to do away with him. From captivity, the Fox beseeched the Rabbit to “please don’t throw me in that briar patch over there” … “go ahead and barbeque me up.”

The Fox bought the Rabbit’s rationale and tossed him in the briar patch. The next day, the Fox encountered the Rabbit running free. Said the Rabbit: “I was bred and born in the briar patch” as he hopped away.

My dear governor, you always have distinguished yourself in debates and would have nothing to fear in the debate with you know who. In other words, you win if you don’t debate, and you win if you do. I call it the Briar Patch Strategy.

Lunch today with Fran at the usual place with grandchildren in attendance. Some stops later at county fairs and community events. You will be home by 8 in time to watch the baseball playoffs.

A few more weeks and this election madness will be over, you will have been re-elected, and I will be taking a well-deserved vacation.

With blessings, your campaign manager.

(Remember, the above is completely fictional. Find your own truth.)


-The promised profile of Jeff Crossman, Democratic candidate for attorney general, will appear in my next column. Sorry for the delay, but the satirical bug bit me. See above.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,  

(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2022, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved.)