Want to get under David Betras' skin? Tell the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party that he's afraid of Congressman-turned-criminal James A. Traficant Jr. which he why he hasn't publicly joined the thinking people in the Mahoning Valley in urging the ex-con to stay out of the public spotlight. Traficant has served seven years and a month in federal prison after being convicted of 10 criminal charges, including racketeering, bribery and tax evasion.
The chairman of the party that put Traficant in office — county sheriff and congressman — would be striking a blow for good, honest government by speaking out. But Betras' comments since the ex-con came home could best be described as politically bland. Very uncharacteristic for someone who is drawn to a microphone like a moth to a flame.
Ask him why he isn't speaking out and he offers this: "If Traficant attacks any of the Democratic officeholders, I'll come out firing." Until then, Betras will keep his powder dry.
Good politics or political cowardice? You decide.