This column is painful to write. I have been putting it off.

Please understand that the minute I complete writing a column, I begin thinking about the next one. I do not immediately face deadline pressure because I only write once or twice a month. Imagine what it is like for a columnist or newsletter writer who files once a day. There is immediate, mind-numbing deadline pressure.

The late Mike Royko, who wrote several columns a week for the Chicago Tribune, was asked late in life by TV interviewer Larry King what his favorite column was. Royko replied, “The last one.”

I always have my next column in the back of my mind and have the luxury of having two or three weeks of contemplation time. Sometimes the idea for my next column will come to me while mowing the lawn, while falling asleep, while driving, or while having a conversation. I often scribble the idea on a piece of paper and put it where I keep my stack of clippings and printouts that become content for my next column.

Today’s column idea came to me at one of the most peaceful places on earth: Lake Tahoe.

My thinking is the opposite of serene, as you see in the above headline: The Summer Of Hate.

Some of us remember The Summer Of Love. It was 1967. Hippies flocked to San Francisco where music, drugs, anti-war protests and free love were embraced. It spread around the country, which was bitterly divided over the Vietnam War that most young people believed was not worth fighting. Families and communities were split as well. College age students turned into liberal war-protesting Democrats alienating them from their pro-war Republican parents.

Fifty-five years ago, not unlike today, observers wondered if the country would ever heal its breaches. It took a decade or more for the animosity to subside. Eventually it did.

Will history repeat and folks in the United States get back on the same page a decade from now? I hope so, but I am not confident.

The divisions are both pronounced and intractable in The Summer of Hate.

The straw that broke the camel’s back this time around was the U.S. Supreme Court decision ending federal abortion rights.

It sent people out celebrating on one side of the street and many more protesting on the other side.

Folks uncomfortable with the social changes in the country the last 60 years seized upon an issue that would turn back the clock on:

-The civil rights movement.

-The feminist movement.

-The gay rights movement.

-The acceptance of people’s right to define their own gender and sexual orientation.

-The trend away from religious beliefs and practices.

People took to the streets to defend the rights of women to make decisions about their bodies without government interference.

Cher once sang “If I could turn back time.”

You cannot roll back the clock and make U.S. society that way it was when I was coming of age in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Are those who would turn back time going to do away with girls’ sports so there is no high school girls’ tennis team like it was in the late 1950s when my brilliant tennis playing older sister Ruth was denied a chance to compete for Ashland High School because it had no girls’ team while yours truly little brother Jack played on the boys’ team?

Will Blacks be told to sit in the back of the bus, live in the poor part of town, be denied a college education and offered menial jobs like in the bygone era? No.

Will gay, bi and trans children and adults be sent back into the closet and derided? No.

Will we herd folks a back into church to be lectured to and advised by pastors who sometimes are phony, lack real-world experience and hide their deviance? No.

Five Political Hacks Posing As Judges Give Whaley Opening

The Supreme Court ruling was given to us by five political hacks who were appointed to the court for their right-wing political orthodoxy by a confluence of a rogue president trying to court favor with fringe groups and misguided folks who want to turn back time for political gain.

The court unleashed the whirlwind of counterforces that just may sweep people into office on Nov. 8, 2022, who will re-codify the hallmarks of modern times: civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom from religion.

And -- this is a big “and” -- save Nan Whaley’s gubernatorial campaign.

Before the decision, Whaley was 16 points behind in the polls and did not have any money for advertising after the May 3 primary.

Her opponent, Gov. Mike DeWine, was coasting with a big lead and able to keep his millions of dollars in reserve for a time closer to election day when and if she became a threat.

A threat is defined as Whaley getting within single digits of DeWine in public or private polling. Rest assured, DeWine’s people are polling every day to see if Whaley is gaining on the incumbent. If she ever gets close, DeWine and/or friendly independent committees will drop a bomb of TV advertising/news leaks on Whaley to pound her into the turf.

I bet that DeWine’s folks have vicious TV ads already in the can ready to bring her down.

I further bet that DeWine’s cronies have negative news items about Whaley ready to release around Aug. 15 like John Kasich’s minions did to Ed Fitzgerald (driving without a license, spending the night in a car with a woman not his wife), that rendered Fitzgerald unelectable in 2014, and left the Ohio Democratic Party unable to put in a replacement.

Give Whaley her due. The abortion ruling enraged women, her core supporters, and they took to the streets to protest and to listen to Whaley and other leading Democrats speak to their concerns, giving Whaley an opening and a fresh start.

Second, angry women and men, began to open their wallets and donate to Democratic candidates, such as Whaley, who spoke to their needs. I have not seen any definitive reports, but it could be that Whaley and independent groups supporting her have collected millions of dollars in the past two weeks. Maybe now Whaley can afford to get on the air.

She has got to get better known in Ohio – one poll showed a third of respondents had never heard of her. She needs a clever biographical ad on Ohio voters’ TV screens.

Her second ad should trumpet her lifelong support for women’s rights because -- guess what? -- two-thirds of Ohioans either unflinchingly support women’s rights to choose what happens to their bodies or are personally opposed to abortion but believe it is a women’s choice, not the government’s.

What do I think of Whaley’s chances?

A month ago, I thought she was a longshot, with only 1 chance out of 10 of being elected governor. I give her 3 chances out of 10 now. That’s called within striking distance.

Dispatch’s Fawning Coverage Of Intel Boosts DeWine

Did the Wolfes buy back the Columbus Dispatch?

It seemed so in the Sunday July 3 edition of the now Gannett-owned newspaper as most of the front page and an entire inside page were devoted to the wonders of the multi-billion dollar rout on the rural serenity of Licking County being wrought by the chip maker Intel.

Lavish details were given of how Intel built up the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area and benefited its Chandler suburb, where the plants were located. It was speculated that The Intel invasion will do same for New Albany and the Columbus metropolitan area.

Since DeWine is up for re-election on Nov. 8 and since the governor and his administration went all out and all in with billions in tax dollars given away to Intel, the one-sided article boosted his political stock.

As the Dispatch’s print circulation dwindles, only the Sunday paper has enough reach to matter in a political race.


-I wrote multi-millionaire author Don Winslow and asked him to put some of his millions into Ohio politics. I am still awaiting a reply. I may do same with Bitcoin billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, mentioned in my previous column.

-Jeff Crossman, Democratic nominee for attorney general, recently married Pamela Ogilvy, a Beachwood teacher. I suggest a honeymoon-style kiss in front of the courthouses in all 88 counties as a worthy undertaking and a campaign gambit.

-Leave it to longtime Ohio civic leader, commentator, and political activist John Michael Spinelli to show the folks in his new hometown of Gahanna how to promote civic engagement. He developed and promoted the first annual Red, White and Blues Gahanna Votes Celebration at the Gahanna Sanctuary on July 2. When turnout goes up in the city, the credit will go to Spin.

-Cincinnati’s John Cranley is back with his old law firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp, landing on his feet after losing the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to Nan Whaley. We have not heard the last of the Cincinnati Kid. I hope Cranley and his running mate State Senator Teresa Fedor will tour the state on behalf of the Democrats. They would be particularly helpful to the down ticket races such as Crossman’s.

-The Denver Post knows how to cover a big event the next day, like a good newspaper should. On Monday June 27, it proclaimed the Colorado Avalanche as the NHL champions with headlines, pictures and detailed coverage. The Dispatch used to do same before it gutted its deadlines and started printing 2-day-old news.

-Traveling through Denver International Airport in late June, I spotted a lovely t-shirt inscription: Colorado Makes Me Happy. It always does.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman, ColumbusMediaInsider@gmail.com)  (ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2022, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved.)