Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Making Room for Portman's Future?

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports this morning that Ohio governor Bob Taft is about to appoint his lieutenant governor, Jennette Bradley, to be state treasurer.

The treasurer's position will become vacant on January 2, when the incumbent Joe Deters resumes his old job of Hamilton County (Cincinnati-area) prosecutor. (Deters ran as a write-in candidate for the job when Mike Allen, current prosecutor, backed out of the race owing to a sexual harrassment lawsuit.) Bradley, who has a background in banking, will take her new job on January 3.

What intrigues me is that this would appear to confirm a rumor that's been circulating on local radio for many weeks. According to the rumor, Governor Taft will appoint Cincinnati-area congressman Rob Portman to be his lieutenant governor. Then, the rumor says, Taft will be appointed by President Bush to an ambassadorship, elevating Portman to the governorship.

Portman is wildly popular in southwest Ohio. In addition, he has strong ties to President Bush. He served in the administration of Bush the Elder and has acted as a stand-in debate opponent for Vice President Cheney. So strong are his ties to the Bush Administration that the House Republican leadership created a special position for Portman. In it, he essentially acts as a liaison between the President and House Republicans.

With two Republican senators and a bevy of statewide Republican officeholders in Ohio--there are no Democrats holding statewide office here, except on the state Supreme Court--the politically-inclined in the state wondered how Portman's political light could be allowed to shine outside of southwestern Ohio. Many feel that he has presidential ambitions or that he ought to have them.

Whether any of this will happen, I, of course don't know. I'm just a preacher and my track record as a prognosticator is, to the say the least, suspect. But it is interesting to watch these events unfold.

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