Thursday, June 25, 2009
RON PONDER THROWING SOFTBALLS TO JOHNNIE A. MAIER,JR ? JESTS GALORE IN THIS POWDER PUFF PIECE BUT PONDER TAKES MAIER SERIOUSLY
Ron Ponder of "Points to Ponder" of WHBC-AM radio (1480 on your radio dial) ends his recent interview with the now former Stark County Democratic Party chair telling Maier that he is the best Stark Democratic Party chairman ever.
Well, yours truly posits that it depends on your criteria of evaluation.
One way to look at the Ponder assessment is that Maier has succeeded by default.
In the interview Ponder and Maier refer to a telephone call that Maier received from Stark County Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews when it became known that Maier was retiring (effective: June 1st) "jesting" with Maier that he was retiring because Maier was fearful of appearing head-to-head with Matthews on Ponder's show.
Here's a guy, who in cahoots with his predecessor Curt Braden, has wrecked the Stark County Republican Party. Consequently, in many parts of Stark, there is no meaningful Republican competition.
A second way is to evaluate of how Maier is the SCPR's belief that he has used his leadership to the benefit of himself, some of his relatives, his political friends and loyalists.
In the audio tape of part of the Ponder/Maier interview, Maier says that he "believes in government."
Holy Hannah, why wouldn't he!
Look at a previous SCPR blog pointing out some of the Maier benefits from his connection to Ohio/Stark government and the clout he had as Stark County Democratic Party chair (CLICK HERE).
A third way is the Strickland/Maier connection. It was political genius on Maier's part to be the first county Democratic party chair to endorse Strickland when he ran in 2006. Strickland will never forget him for "the first" and has and will continue to reward Maier and friends handsomely.
Even though Strickland faces a difficult re-election bid next year, Maier will continue to fall on a sword for the politically weakened governor. If Srickland survives to serve another terms, even more political riches await Maier at the hand of the "aw shucks" governor from Duck Run.
Fourthly, there is Randy Gonzalez as the vehicle to Maier's success. In the opinion of yours truly, Gonzalez is a ton smarter than Maier. The SCPR has named Gonzalez the de facto Stark Dems chairman for some time now. Maier did nothing as chairman without clearing matters with Gonzalez.
The big laugh of the interview is how Maier pretends that there is competition for leadership among the Stark Dems.
To make the point, yours truly has the following illustration.
Early on in Maier's tenure, at a party made an obligatory call (now realized to be highly qualified) to "fill all those vacant precinct committee slots. Being from Lake Township, yours truly set out to help (naively) to fill those slots. On submitting a name, the question was: "How do I know this person will support me." Me? How about the programs and activities of the party?
This incident was a clear tip-off that Maier viewed the party as his personal fiefdom.
The message is that precinct committee persons are clearly expected to be personally loyal to the party chairman and support his recommendations. So all the Maier talk about "Randy needs to be elected" and "any Democrat can run" are total jokes in terms of the reality of how the internals of the Stark County Democrat Party are set up. Ponder gives him a pass. Great, Ron, great.
Maier also has relied on his "hand-on-for-dear-life appendage" Shane Jackson (political director of the Stark Dems - Heaven only knows why) for sycophantish reaffirmation. To repeat, it is not Jackson, but Gonzalez who provides the brain power for Stark Dems.
It is reported that Gonzalez is saying that he is going to be his own man as party chair. No doubt about it. The curtain is now ripped away and Stark's political version of the Wizard of Oz is outed and - yes, yes, yes - the real man appears.
Ron Ponder is a nice man who has a handle on public relations-esque "talk radio," but he very rarely asks his guests hard questions. And even when he gets adventuresome he back down quicker than "lager turns to _ _ _ _."
All the local politicians like to talk with Ron Ponder on his "Points to Ponder" because they have pondered Ponder and realize he is a "slow-pitch" pitcher who lets the interviewees hit the ball out of the park with regularity.
Listen to the selected portion of the interview for yourself below.