TOLEDO -- Republicans and Democrats will both tell you their parties have weathered many political scandals and probes throughout history. Both parties have also learned from ethical mistakes and reinvented themselves.
Local Republicans believe there will be life for the GOP after the Tom Noe, Bob Taft, Tom DeLay and Lewis Libby probes. "The great thing about the Tom Noe situation, it will be resolved before the 2006 elections," said Doug Haynam, interim chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party.
Haynam says the Noe situation hurts, but the party is much larger than any one person. "Tom Noe is a very small piece of the puzzle. He's not here now. We're going to go on and do fine without him," said Haynam, who points out how both Tom and Bernadette Noe have helped the Lucas County GOP in the past. "We've got a party structure in place. People forget we have 79 elected officials that are Republicans in Lucas County. Those folks are ready to go out, get back on their horse, elect another governor, elect another attorney general, another auditor next year," said Haynam.
Do voters even care about Tom Noe's indictment for political money laundering and the probes and indictments of several other Republicans at the state and federal level? "I think this is small potatoes compared to things going on in place like New Orleans," said voter Jennifer Campbell.
Ohio House Democratic leader Chris Redfern says the electorate considers fuel prices and other cost of living issues more important than scandals. "These scandals are like background noise to most Ohioans. Frankly, they think most politicians are on the take to begin with, said Redfern.
"It doesn't matter which side, all politicians are corrupt and crooked. Democratic or Republican, they've all got something in their closet that's coming out sooner or later," said voter Gabe Cardenas.
Can Democrats learn anything from the Noe indictment and scandals involving other Republicans? "If Democrats only stand up and say 'they're all a bunch of crooks,' and don't offer any solutions to solve the problems, we're just as bad as the other guys," said Redfern.
Will the GOP scandals of the past six months cost the party at the ballot box in November? It just depends how deep people are into politics and if they really care about it. "I've always voted for the better man. I've never stuck to one party or the other," said Jennifer Campbell. "It just depends how deep people are into politics and if they really care about it," said Gabe Cardenas.
Voters see the investigations resulting in endless probes by both Democrats and Republicans, one retaliating against the other.