By Todd Franko
There’s a lot of Marc Dann in your newspaper today.
It’s not without extraordinary effort or reason.
One year ago, Dann’s political career collapsed with a thunder that would draw a tornado chaser.
It was a debacle for Ohio, and it was another soiled chapter for Mahoning Valley politics.
His professional operations were enduring mismanagement by his political cronies from the Valley. His personal life was falling victim to the rock-star lifestyle in which he was now engulfed. And it all crashed in on him.
I vividly remember his words last year:
He was not ready for the attention, he said. He was not expecting to win the office.
Well, he won the office.
He was a rock star.
And he’s now a one-hit wonder, the “Louie, Louie” of politicians.
Dann’s been pretty quiet since — probably not a bad idea.
In today’s Vindy, he opens up in a way very similar to the way he did last year.
Unbelievably open; brutal on himself; personally revealing.
You can’t be the least bit sympathetic for him, yet one can find it hard to hate him.
Sitting with him, you never know if you get the whole story. But you do get a lot of the story.
He got about 20 Christmas cards this year, compared with 2,000 the year before.
He shopped at Aldi.
Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher has forgotten him. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown almost has.
And he goes on and on.
In allowing The Vindicator’s David Skolnick to interview him for this one-year review, Dann agreed to it with certain stipulations.
He’d answer any question we asked, but he wanted the full, complete answer to appear in The Vindy, as well as in an online video. “Verbatim” was his request, to be exact.
That’s what you see today in print and online — minus some “ums” and “ahs.”
He also asked us to print an apology from him to the community that put him into office. We obliged, as well.
If you’ve ever wondered how much space a 45-minute interview takes up in print, you have your answer.
When you look at the Q&A interview today, there will be many of you who will say, “All of this? What a waste of space.”
Some readers already have chimed in on my blog online:
“Other than the perverse curiosity of how someone could be so stupid, he doesn’t deserve the time or the space in your paper. There’s a lot of other stuff that is much more important to discuss and investigate than Marc Dann.”
Why did we put so much space toward Dann?
It’s a phenomenal bit of history — a history that will be better served with Dann offering more insight than he did last year.
Too, there is the hope that some future leaders will draw lessons from Dann. At least they should.
No future Valley politico should be able to claim he or she wasn’t ready to win and wasn’t ready for the rock-star lifestyle. Dann already owns those excuses.
What you see in today’s Vindy is important for this year.
It’s unlikely you’ll see this as an annual event such as Christmas or fall football.