A job no one wantsWritten by Bob Frantz | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The job responsibilities of a volcanologist, according to Popular Science magazine, include waiting for the Earth to rumble and spew ash, sulfuric gas and molten lava into the air, then ignoring every natural instinct of self-preservation by running toward the volcano to study it.
A manure inspector, by comparison, is charged with the unenviable task of wading through the 1.5 billion tons of animal manure created annually, used to fertilize the fields of America’s farmers. It’s their job to find traces of E.coli and salmonella that, if present in the fertilizer, will be present in your dinner vegetables.
Odds are, not many of us had either of those positions checked on the ”career goals” inventory our high school guidance counselors made us fill out, and that’s likely why Popular Science listed them last month among this year’s ”Ten Worst Jobs” in the world. Yet I’d lay odds that at least a handful of those lava surfers and pooper scoopers wouldn’t trade their posts for the job of Lucas County Republican Party Chairman. After all, they’re professionals, not masochists.
Last week’s announcement that Interim Chairman Doug Haynam was stepping down as the GOP leader was just the latest move in a game of musical chairs no one wants to win. Picture, if you can, a half-dozen grown men and women cautiously circling an empty chair to the tune of ”Sing a Song of Sixpence” and then screaming for the exits when the music stops. It’s kind of like that.
Haynam’s departure from the hot seat follows the abbreviated term of Sally Perz, who resigned due to health reasons just months after inheriting the post from Bernadette Noe. It also coincides with the resignations of party officers Steve Hornyak and Patrick Kriner, giving the appearance to the casual observer of every man fighting for a spot in the last lifeboat before the ship goes down for good.
A closer inspection of the SS Just Say Noe, however, reveals a vessel that is rudderless but not yet taking on water. All things considered, the recent election was a rousing success for GOP candidates. Despite the ever-present Noe cloud hanging over his party, and without two rare coins to rub together in campaign financing, Haynam helped engineer Toledo City Council victories for incumbent George Sarontou and newcomer Joe Birmingham, as well as Sylvania Township trustee seats for Dee Dee Liedel and Pam Hanley.
Additionally, a number of judicial seats were won or retained by Republican candidates, and although not officially endorsed by Haynam and the party, Betty Shultz retained her seat on Toledo’s City Council.
Statewide, the GOP still controls the Ohio General Assembly and the majority of state offices. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich still occupy our U.S. Senate seats, and despite the horrendous approval ratings and pathetic performance of Bob Taft, there is still a good chance that a Republican governor will succeed him. Ken Blackwell and Jim Petro have their own warts, but so far there’s no one strong enough on the Democrat side (Mike Coleman? Ted Strickland? Please.) to scare a red state blue next year.
So why, then, does the ”R” after the name of local GOP leaders stand more for ”Reluctant” than ”Republican” when it comes to uniting and organizing their party? Why is it easier to recruit Orangutan pee collectors in Borneo (No. 10 on the Popular Science list … honest) than it is to find a permanent party chair?
It’s an absolutely thankless position, that’s why. I can’t blame Doug Haynam a bit. Nor Sally Perz, nor Steve Hornyak. Not one bit. Despite all the advancements made in the last election, they know they’ll always be outnumbered in this union-run, Democratic region, and they’ll forever be answering questions about Taft, Noe, Hicks and every other Republican who’s ever screwed up in their state. They know they’ll always be pushing their cart uphill, and sometimes they just get tired. They want someone else to push for a while.
You see, Lucas County GOP cart-pusher might not have made the Popular Science top 10 list, but it can’t be far behind.
Bob Frantz may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.