The Hamilton County Democratic Party ousted Jeff Berding this morning. They pulled his endorsement for this fall's city council election. This was not a surprise to local political observers or to anyone who read my blog last Friday.
First, Jeff Berding is a Democrat and this blog isn't designed to defend him. There is much with which we do not agree on with Jeff Berding. In fact, his quote this morning should assure Republicans that he is not one of us. He said, [y]ou can take away my endorsement, but you can not take away the fact I am a Democrat...I take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Democratic values.” I am not in the business of defending Democrats--even when ousted from one Democratic group.
Nevertheless, Jeff Berding has sided with the "common-sense" city council members--two of whom are Republicans--in the latest issues to confront city government. He has defied the Mayor and fellow Democrats by seeking to make public safety a budget priority. For this perceived slight to the Mayor, Jeff Berding finds himself a man without a party.
What happened? The Democratic Party of Hamilton County took one gigantic leap to the LEFT today. I wasn't sure there was much room to move left, but they found a way. The Party voted to be intolerant of anyone not supporting their big-spending, pet project agenda at City Hall. There is little doubt that this vote will certainly have a chilling effect on any Democrat who wishes to take an independent approach from the Mayor and the other Democrats who pass things like the Environmental Justice Ordinance or who vote for expensive hi-tech recycling bins. It is unfortunate.
I give Chairman Burke credit for trying to keep it together.
One final thought...can one imagine if our Party ousted a member perceived as more "centrist?" God knows we have a few. Imagine the city's chattering class bashing us for our intolerance. Let's follow the reaction to this story.