Monday, May 12, 2014

Why did Rick Bryan do it?

We are not trying to relive the results in Ohio's 28th House District Primary Election in which conservative Jon Dever defeated hopeless moderate Rick Bryan.  And we are not trying to gloat over the hard-fought COAST victory in which every action of the opposition and every campaign issue could have been the margin of victory.

Rather, we are just trying to get inside Rick Bryan's mind and offer a cautionary note to aspiring GOP politicians.
State Rep. Wannabe Rick Bryan 
Thought he could score political points by 
poking a sick in the eye of COASTers everywhere
He was wrong

Three years ago as Blue Ash Council was pondering the re-do of their Airport deal in a manner that allowed, under FAA regulations, the proceeds from the purchase of the Airport from the City of Cincinnati to be used to fund the Cincinnati Streetcar.  They met, they considered the positives and negatives of such a transaction, and decided to go forward.

Understand that Blue Ash had already cut its deal and already closed and owned the land.  The only purpose of the "re-do" was to allow the City of Cincinnati to use the proceeds to the Streetcar project.  And the Streetcar was opposed 2-1 in the City and 4-1 in the suburbs.  It was and is a wildly unpopular project.

Blue Ash politicians obviously knew they would take political heat for the decision -- but decided to proceed anyway.  Perhaps they underestimated the firestorm.  Perhaps they calculated that the political cost endured was less than the benefit promised to them for doing the deal.  Perhaps their palms were getting greased in other unseen ways.

But ultimately Blue Ash decided to vote for the issue, and in the process decided to poke a stick in the eye of COASTers and other anti-taxers throughout the City.  And they seemed to do so with relish, calling COASTers names from the floor of Council during the debate, and writing an Enquirer editorial blasting Cincinnati's pre-eminent conservative organization.

(What was the point of all of that?)

So, we wanted to know if Mr. Bryan could do those things without consequence as he ran for State Representative.  Or perhaps he thought he could derive some benefit from "taking COAST to task" throughout the debate.

Well the results are in.  Bryan lost a close election -- one he should have handily won as an 18-year Blue Ash incumbent.  Moreover, the COAST ground game, and the Airport sale issues were front and center in the election, i.e., the issue more than tipped the scales in favor of COAST.  In other words, it was a bad bet, a miscalculation by Bryan to "go along" on the pro-streetcar vote.

And the question left for history is: Why did he do it?  Only Rick Bryan can answer that question.

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