Politics in Toledo is a hoot, unless you are one of its citizens who expect your government to serve you effectively. Then, the story shifts to a dark tragedy. Beyond the closing of businesses, the lay-offs, the bleak economic outlook, there are the comic characters- dressed as politicians- that pop up like Muppet figures, albeit sans humor.
The main character in this tragedy is the ne'er-do-well mayor, Carleton S. Finkbeiner- a cross between Howdy Doody and Oscar the Grouch, with a splash of Dick Cheney and Goofy. He and the dopey city council of Toledo don't talk to each other. In fact, the mayor doesn't talk to anybody unless he has the upper hand in the conversation. The less-than brilliant citizens elected him to three terms, but now there will be an initiative on the ballot this fall to oust him from his last three months in office- about 3 years, 9 months too late.
Enter a new set of characters: the Tea Party Gang. Yes, those no-tax, head-in-the-sand malcontents who sat on their hands all throughout the disastrous Bush years, are offering this bruised and beaten city a slate of candidates for city council. Imagine that: a clutch of folks whose only interest is in slashing taxes wants to run a city of 300,000 during this economic morass.
Then, in a cameo performance, entering stage right, is convicted Tom Noe conduit Maggie Thurber who, disgraced by the scandal, is now a paid broadcaster for WSPD and a columnist for the Toledo Free Press.
The Blade reports: "Thurber, a former Republican Lucas County commissioner, a columnist for The Toledo Free Press, a free weekly publication, and a show host for WSPD, said she helped Ms. Lyons with organizing the Tea Party, but has not been involved in her foray into politics." Oh sure, we can believe that, Ms Thurber.
A convicted conduit is just one more odd character thrown into this Toledo brew. Thurber has yet to apologize for her misdeeds, but, like most Republicans, she can't seem to mouth the words, "I'm sorry for what I did." It will be quite interesting to see how she will stir up the Tea Party Gang and offer advice on how to 'obtain' financing for their political campaign. Surely she and her three other convicted compatriots- the ladies in black and white stripes- are quite savvy in fund-raising follies.
Finally, and adding quite a sharp spice to the brew is right-wing radio. It seems that local Clear Channel affiliate WSPD, host of Limbaugh, Hannity and other far-right wing gagglers, has its dirty hands in the tea party tempest. Jon Stainbrook, Lucas County Republican Party chairman, said that the head of the Tea Party organization appears to be getting encouragement and support from WSPD-Radio. He said, "There was a meeting with [WSPD reporter] Kevin Milliken and other Clear Channel employees and they were discussing the formation of this other political party." Right-wing radio, a bitter condiment, adding just the right 'flavoring' to make the brew just right for the citizens of Toledo to enjoy.
Holy Toledo! Surely this beaten-down city deserves better that this. Where are the real leaders, anyhow? Can we not find a dozen sensible, thoughtful and honorable citizens of this city who will step forward and lift Toledo up to a much higher plane, with a much more honest and open government? Or will Toledoans, once again, drink the Kool Aid-laced tea that is offered to them each election cycle?