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I am so smart! S-M-R-T!

So here’s a heck of a thing: The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper just loves Ohio Gov. John Kasich. In 2010, it endorsed Kasich, seeing in him a candidate “given to Reagan-style optimism and bold, sometimes questionable, ideas.” The editorial board seems to have stopped questioning those ideas and has endorsed Kasich again, saying he’s “proven himself a good governor — and an excellent fiscal manager of Ohioans’ money.” Kasich is also “gutsy” for supporting Medicaid expansion — and good on him for that — although the endorsement editorial somehow didn’t mention Kasich’s insistence that Medicaid expansion isn’t really part of Obamacare, not really, so he can still say that he hates the nasty Obamacares, hates it!

But here’s the thing: Despite being so in lurve with Kasich, the Plain Dealer has also taken down the video of its editorial board’s endorsement meeting with Kasich, Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald, and Green Party candidate Anita Rios.

You’d think that the Plain Dealer might want voters to see their man in action as he stunned them with the blazing intelligence, surefire wit, and easygoing confidence that so won the editors over, but that video went down the memory hole not long after it was initially posted. Ohio political blog Plunderbund describes Kasich as not exactly giving the most impressive performance of his political career:

Kasich slumped in his chair, refused to acknowledge the other candidates and ignored repeated attempts by PD staff to answer even basic questions about his policies and programs.

If you wondered why Kasich rejected multiple debate offers from FitzGerald this year, this is the video you need to see!

I would provide a link to the video… except the PD took it down. We are going to guess it had something to do with a very nice and polite request from the ever-nice and polite folks in Kasich’s office.

We love editorial board endorsement videos for moments like that: They’re less hyped than debates, and candidates often feel free to be their real, boorish, snippy selves, or, like Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst, revealing just what dimwits they can be. So the Plain Dealer’s decision to remove the video of Kasich (reportedly) being a megadouche is a great loss to both informed voters and smartass bloggers.

In fact, the Plain Dealer really does not want that video out there. After Plunderbund posted an excerpt of the video, they received this takedown nastygram from the Plain Dealer, threatening legal action. (Clarification: The letter was sent by the Plain Dealer’s corporate overlord, Northeast Ohio Media Group, which manages multimedia, sales, and marketing and “provides content.”) It seems to us considerably more vigorous than your average DCMA takedown template, no?

You have posted on your web site our copyrighted video of an endorsement interview in the Ohio governor’s race. You have not asked for, and we have not granted, the rights to use our property, which was illegally copied from our website.

We insist you delete the material immediately. We have registered the copyright, which means your illegal use of it entitles us to statutory damages, which can be quite steep, and recovery of all fees we pay our attorneys as we compel you to adhere to the copyright law.

We protect our copyrighted material with great vigor. You have posted it illegally. We expect immediate action in removing the video from your site.

Sincerely,

Chris Quinn
Vice President of Content
Northeast Ohio Media Group

And remember, that’s to protect the rights for a video that the Plain Dealer disappeared all on its own, and which the Plunderbund blog would have happily linked to or embedded, all nice and friendly-like. Plunderbund only YouTubed their excerpt — which they believe is covered by fair use, but pulled all the same, because lawyers — after the PD mothership version got beamed away from public view. The excerpt highlighted a particular bit of bad behavior by the governor:

FitzGerald’s campaign took offense at the removal of the video, especially the part where “Kasich refused to answer why he put a gag order on rape crisis counselors.”

As the FitzGerald campaign pointed out in a press release today, “Governor Kasich signed a law that threatens to cut state funding from rape crisis clinics if counselors tell victims impregnated by their rapist that abortion is a legal option.”

But when the Democratic candidate brought this up in the meeting, “the Governor refused to look at FitzGerald, often deliberately and petulantly looking off in the other direction, refusing to answer his opponents’ questions unless a Plain Dealer reporter or editorial board member repeated them.”

Wow… I bet you really wish you could see that video now, don’t you?

By golly, a cynical person might even get the impression that the goal here isn’t so much to protect the Plain Dealer’s intellectual property, but to make sure nobody sees Their Boy’s lack of intellect or propriety. But surely that can’t be! As Plain Dealer cartoonist Jeff Darcy makes clear, FitzGerald isn’t even qualified to run against Kasich, since apparently the Democratic candidate — we advise you to sit down before this bombshell — didn’t even have a valid driver’s license for several years.

Clearly, this election was over before it started. Besides, FitzGerald capitalizes his name funny, and he just reminds people of that Gordon Lightfoot song that was such a downer.

[Cleveland Plain Dealer 2010 endorsement, 2014 endorsement, & Jeff Darcy column / Plunderbund / Plunderbund again; h/t Angie Schmitt]

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