Alex Arshinkoff's decision to place his visiting Republican candidates in protective custody by barring the "media" from the party's big finance dinner Wednesday night can't - and shouldn't be - explained as the work of a rational party chairman. Indeed, it was a hoax that belonged on a silly sitcom. No one has complained more than Arshinkoff in recent years of the lack of coverage by the Beacon Journal of his coming-out political bashes. So much for his boast to his audience of several hundred that the media was barred from sharing an evening on his plantation of choice.
Still it raised more questions than it answered about this mercurial pol who doesn't appear to be aging well in his line of nasty work.
First of all, did he really want to use the generic term "media" when he had his loyal subjects man the gates to the $250 servings of chicken cordon bleu? Sources at the Beacon Journal said they had no intention of covering the dinner. The broadcast media doubtless were at the Browns' training camps or wherever. That left only me as the sole medium to be kicked out.
No, it would be in his comfort zone to ban one person on this occasion - yours truly. In so doing, he could boast to his retinue that he had risen well above the media in conducting his business by keeping out a longtime political writer who knows all about skeletons in the closets. It's also true that I have come down hard on two of his favorite candidates - John Kasich and Mike DeWine - which is what political writers sometimes do.
Actually, I am quite appreciative that I didn't have to sit through still one more event from the Arshinkoff Academy of Political Arts. It's the most attention I have received on the job since the late Gov. Jim Rhodes spit on my shoe. Or maybe the time when the same Jim Rhodes interrupted a press conference with stunned national reporters at a Republican presidential convention by asking me if I wanted to go bowling with him.
Sources who attended Alex's dinner told me there was nothing said by any of the celebrities on the dais that couldn't be shared with a wide public audience. So for reasons largely of ego and breast-pounding, he wanted my scalp. Big deal.
Well, I'm not that important to be the focus of this sort of sophomoric nonsense. What is the larger issue is the trend in the modern Republican Party toward insanity, a scary condition for the nation's future to which Alex has now added his own eerie ideas. His public outbursts over the years have shown him to be his own worst enemy. His behavior Wednesday night didn't change a thing. More and more he has become the GOP's problem, not mine. And so I would say, to hell with it. For now.