In reading Joe Wessels' column today those quoted seem to me to be resting upon the Conventional Wisdom of Cincinnati politics from 20 years ago. Politically, Cincinnati is not what it was in 1987. A Republican majority on council is nearly an impossibility, unless the Dems run 9 Chris Smitherman clones for office. The Westside Conservatives are not around much anymore, at least not in force. Eastside Conservatives are a different breed and will not fit into the same mold.
The Republicans long ago abandoned the city. This cycle some appear to be putting more effort, but when you put up reactionary candidates like Charlie Winburn and Sam Malone, you are not going to win majorities. What is happening is they are picking one or two candidates to fit their splintered constituency. That is not going to win a majority, especially when you don't have a full slate of 9 to begin with.
What I found most entertaining is reading Bill Cunningham try and handicap city politics. The man is living life like it was 1983 and all in Cincinnati was calm, cool, and Republican. I think Bill even thinks Hamilton County is still a Republican stronghold. It is not yet a Democratic stronghold, but is clearly not an automatic GOP winner.