That was the gist of a report in the Plain Dealer that DeWine has turned down invitations to debate Ohio AG Richard Cordray at the Cleveland City Club, the Bliss Institute and its program partner, the Akron Press Club.
The DeWine team would consider these comments unfair. After all, they maintain , he agreed to "debate" Cordray at Lakeland Community College, a rather controlled Q&A with no audience and a couple of news people who ask each a set of questions without the candidates responding to each other. Laura Kessler, the managing editor of the Lake Country News-Herald summed up the sterile event this way: "It isn't a debate of any kind. We invited all of the candidates and we ask them all the same questions. It's not a debate. They don't talk to one another unless they happen to turn and talk to each other." In other words, she says, "There's very little interaction." ("In case you are are still interested in this phantom exposure of DeWine's views, that exercise will be televised later on the college's public access channel.
His rejection of debates runs counter to the way it usually works when a challenger demands to debate the incumbent. But I'm told this is the new world of politics.
Other than his lofty promise to Ohio's voters shortly after his nomination that his first noble act as AG will be to repeal the new health care law, we haven't heard much of interest from him. Just as well, DeWine is not the liveliest ostrich in the sands. (I remember a time when I tried to interview him for a half-hour TV program and ran out of questions in the first 10 minutes as he peppered me with responses that were stoically quite brief. He wasn't the deer in the headlights but rather the one under the bus.")
And he wants to be Ohio's vibrant next attorney general. Anything good on TV tonight?