The colonel, flushed and fulminating, turned up in the midst of the civil rights revolution and deadly concern on the right that the U.S. was on the verge of a Red-inspired takeover. Either that or the supposed threat from some soft-headed liberal professors at Ohio State U. You may have read about it in the history books.
I had occasional conversations with ol' Umbus as he ranted about liberals, government, communists, evil and whatever else was in the news that spoke of the death of decency, patriotism and the American way. I seldom found him to be happy.
My angel for the bi-weekly magazine (The Commentator) was Murray Lincoln, the progressive founder of Nationwide Insurance who regularly grew impatient with the Dispatch's conservative meanderings and delivered the cash through the company's broadcasting holdings to offer a fresh voice to the Capitol City.
Once the magazine was in print on a biweekly basis Lincoln never again mentioned it to me. I could only assume that he was satisfied after we won several awards, thanks to a colleague, Dave Hess, including a national honor for our civil rights reporting.
I think a lot of Col.Umbus (Ret) today as the Ohio legislature parades one idiotic idea after another to advance its foolish idealogical mission in the public arena. Here, in this right-wing mass of fringe-a-lings, we have Speaker Bill Batchelder declaring his opposition to expanding Medicaid contained in Obamacare. Once again a person of Batchelder's great wealth is coming down hard (read: inhumanely) on poor folks who don't have health insurance.
The guy says he doesn't have enough information for the plan (and doubtless never will have because that's how they dodge the game!). It will continue to be tough on people who can't otherwise afford the monthly premiums for medical coverage. That's not a condition any legislator would agree to personally live with. Even the nomads of northern Afghanistan find the lack of medical atttention a severe hardship.
Over the years as a political reporter I talked to Batchelder many times and found his disarming good humor and widely spaced laugh a rare attribute of many ashen conservatives that I had covered. Man, did he snooker me. Col. Umbus (Ret.) would have been happy to contribute to his campaign.
As for The Commentator, shortly after Lincoln died, the less adventurous brass on the seventh floor shut down the four-year-old magazine and I was out of work.