CLEVELAND - A report in the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer chronicles the divide between Ohio's Republicans and Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann.
The outspoken Dann has become a target of the GOP since he took office in January, and political science professor Alexander Lamis says in the report that Dann is being portrayed as the poster boy for Democratic incompetence.
"They're targeting a Democrat, and if they can spread the impression that any of these new Democratic leaders in statewide office has faltered, then that is going to help them in 2008 and 2010..." Lamis said.
Dann has been the focus of criticism for several moves, including spending $40,000 in taxpayer money at an auto dealership owned by a campaign contributor for his official state car.
Also, he cursed at a newspaper reporter over a story he did not like, and the video has surfaced on youtube.com. Those he has gone out of his way to criticize are federal organizations like the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, former Ohio Republican attorneys general and tort reform organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform and the American Tort Reform Association.
In the report, Mark Weaver, a Republican consultant who worked for Betty Montgomery (defeated by Dann in November), called Dann "an embarrassment to his fellow Democrats."
Democrats took every state office but one in November. He chalks the criticism up to people uncomfortable with change.
"Whenever you challenge the status quo . . . people who depended on that status quo are going to be unhappy," Dann said, according to the report. "I'm not the kind of guy that sneaks up on you. You'll always see me coming. And I try to operate my office in the same way."