Selective Outrage: Waniewski’s Campaign Strategy Unveiled

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

   A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.            – Adlai E. Stevenson

In a move that smacks of political theatre, the Lucas County Republican Party has called for an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation into County Commissioner Anita Lopez. The allegations of “harassment and bullying” by her executive assistant, Andrew Urrutia, have allowed the GOP to stage a performance of faux outrage, seemingly designed more to score political points than to uphold ethical standards.

Tom Waniewski, a former city councilman challenging incumbent Pete Gerken in the upcoming election, appears to be leveraging this situation for political gain. His indignation over the allegations against Lopez, a Hispanic woman, seems less about genuine concern for ethics and more about discrediting his opponent, especially given his history of derogatory comments referring to minorities as cockroaches and equating life in the inner city to a flower pot.

Similar to the negative public portrayal of Blacks and other minorities, the call for an investigation into Lopez exemplifies a candidate using insidious tactics to manipulate public perception in the run-up to an election.

This hypocritical maneuver becomes even more glaring when considering the Republican Party’s sudden concern for ethics, which is particularly ironic given its track record at the state and national levels.

The GOP has consistently resisted state ethics reforms and has been deeply implicated in scandals such as House Bill 6. This controversial 2019 legislation provided a financial bailout for two nuclear power plants and several Ohio coal plants and tied itself to a massive bribery and corruption scandal. Waniewski’s failure to address these issues within his own party while decrying supposed ethical lapses at the local level highlights the selective nature of his outrage.

This selective outrage extends beyond ethical concerns. Waniewski’s criticisms of local governance distract from the broader sinister issue of gerrymandering, allowing his party to maintain one-party rule in Ohio. So, his selective concern for democracy rings hollow in light of the GOP’s manipulation of electoral boundaries to entrench their power. Moreover, Waniewski’s past controversial comments, such as comparing Black people to cockroaches, further undermine his current stance and expose a pattern of hypocrisy.

In contrast to Waniewski’s approach, Lucas County’s handling of the complaint against Lopez by the county demonstrates a commitment to good governance and oversight. An independent investigation was conducted, and Lopez has taken corrective actions, including completing workplace behavior training. This response starkly contrasts Waniewski’s emotionally charged and performative rhetoric. The Democratic leadership, including Pete Gerken, appeared to adhere to established procedures, ensuring transparency and accountability.

The eighth floor has always prided itself on having a good work environment. They picked a distinguished and experienced team of outside investigators who delivered an independent report in a process to get to the bottom of the incident.

Moreover, unlike Waniewski, the victim or his family is not known to have requested that the rest of the report be released. I understand that the county may have held back the unreleased parts of the investigation to protect the victim and the victim’s privacy.

Political Strategy: Effective or Ineffective?

Waniewski’s early campaign efforts, such as running radio commercials in May for a November election, reveal a need for more strategic acumen. Campaigning this early is unlikely to have a lasting impact on voters’ minds through November. Instead, it wastes resources that could be spent closer to the election date when voter attention is more focused.

Furthermore, the race for Lucas County commissioner is part of a larger political battle, pitting the broader Democratic and Republican agendas against each other at the state and national levels. This contest is not just about Gerken versus Waniewski but also reflects the ideological clash between Joe Biden, Sherrod Brown and Marcy Kaptur on one side and Donald Trump, Bernie Moreno and Derek Merrin on the other. In this context, Waniewski’s tactics seem even more misguided and out of touch with the more significant political dynamics at play.

Historically, no local sitting county commissioner has lost in a presidential year since 1982. Lucas County’s strong Democratic-leaning electorate, evidenced by its support for George McGovern, even in his 1972 landslide loss to Richard Nixon, suggests Waniewski’s chances are slim. The Democratic Party’s deep roots and historical successes in Lucas County bode well for their candidates in the upcoming election.

All things considered, the Lucas County GOP’s call for an investigation into Lopez is a prime example of political theatre designed to generate faux outrage. Waniewski’s selective indignation, past behavior, and poorly timed campaign efforts reveal a lack of genuine commitment to ethical governance and effective political strategy.

As the November election approaches, voters should look beyond these theatrics and focus on each candidate’s substantive records and policy proposals. It’s time to see through the performance and hold politicians accountable for real issues, not manufactured scandals.

Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at