Friday, July 31, 2009

The numbers. What do they mean?

Ah, days like today are what political nerds live for.

Campaign finance reporting day.

These are also confusing times for the political layperson. The number of variables that go into analyzing fundraising totals can easily be misinterpreted.

Sooooo I'll try to help.

There are two primary types of numbers being discussed right now. Cash-on-hand (total amount in the bank as of the finance deadline) and total raised (the total amount raised over the reporting period).

This reporting period started on January 1st of this year and ended on June 30th.

While everyone agrees that cash-on-hand is an important number, it isn't what's most important right now. The money being raised isn't yet being spent in mass quantities for things like satellite offices in Toledo and commercials to be aired in Southwest Ohio. Campaign offices or hired consultants are bare bones operations that are focusing on only four things; preparing the grassroots organization, fundraising, formulating policy proposals and representing the candidate in the media.

The point of all this is simple: you can have all the money in the world right now, but what's most important is the cash you have on hand as you get ready to actually spend it, and that doesn't begin until early 2010 at the earliest.

So then we are left with analyzing what the candidates actually raised. Now, it's easy to simply look at the total number and say this or that campaign did better. But that doesn't take into account a number of factors. For example, when did the candidate enter the race and did they transfer any funds from other campaign accounts?

Taking this into account, let's take a look at the Ohio Treasurer's race.

Current Treasurer Kevin Boyce raised $511,000. Not bad, right? Well, not if you consider that he's been fundraising since January. And not if you consider almost half of it comes from a donation from the Ohio Democratic Party. Even with that large sum included, Boyce has only been raising $85,166 a month.

What about Republican Josh Mandel? The Plain Dealer had a headline late this afternoon touting the Treasurer candidate's "big fundraising number". Mandel's is a special case. He only announced for Treasurer in late May, but he was able to transfer his funds from his State Representative campaign account where he was well known as a top fundraiser. Since January, he raised upwards of $977,500. That averages out to $162,916 per month. Very solid.

Clearly, the most fair way of gauging the quality of fundraising is by their rate of contributions per month.

So, let's take this to the all-important gubernatorial race: Kasich vs. Strickland.

Lots has been written already in the Ohio blogosphere taking advantage of the vastly different circumstances of each candidate. Kasich just kicked off his campaign on June 1st, leaving one month for fundraising. Strickland, as was documented in this morning's Dispatch, has been hard at work traveling in and outside of Ohio to raise cash since January 1.

6 months of fundraising versus 1.

So what was the total raised by Strickland? $2.5 million.

And Kasich? $516,000.

Ouch, right?

Wrong. It's simply intellectually dishonest to consider Strickland as being a more successful fundraiser when you take into account that he raised a full $100,000 less per month than Kasich, despite his 40 trips outside of Ohio for fundraisers.

And how many major fundraisers did Kasich attend on his own behalf? None.

Now, it's only fair to forecast where these two will stand come August of next year when everything really heats up and cash-on-hand really matters.

If they continued to raise money at the same rate (which neither won't, but it's all we can go with based on the data we have), spend none of it, and include what they have on hand as of the June 30th deadline, Kasich will have approximately $7,159,000 and Strickland will have $9,416,000.

Obviously, Strickland's head start is an advantage.

But there are four important variables to consider as we move forward, and all are beneficial to Kasich.
  1. In June, poll numbers still had Strickland with a massive lead. It wasn't until July 3rd, after the finance deadline, that the Quinnipiac poll came out showing Kasich quicky closing the gap to within the margin of error. Needless to say, it's much easier to raise money when people think you have a serious shot to win.

  2. Since the deadline we've seen a consistent theme in the MSM of targeting Ohio as the state to watch and the one the GOP must win in 2010 election. This means more of a focus and an increased effort at the national level to make sure Republicans are competitive. And that means money.

  3. Fundraisers. Kasich is actually going to have some.

  4. Finally, the high quality of very electable statewide GOP candidates makes it much more difficult for the Ohio Democratic Party to spend the kind of money they want to on Strickland. In order to maintain the apportionment board they'll need to focus elsewhere.
A long post, I know, but it's a complicated issue and I figured I owed it the time necessary.

Now quit reading this and go out and have a good time.

UPDATE: After going through the report again, Kasich actually received his first contribution on May 19th, not June 1st. If you take out the contributions before June 1st, Kasich raised about $467,000 in one month alone, and all without any fundraisers or major drives to raise cash. This is still higher than Strickland's per month average of $416,000.

Remember what I said earlier? Nevermind.

40 fundraising trips since Strickland took office.

$5.5 million raised since Strickland took office.

22% of which was raised out of state.

For a second, let's ignore the obvious neglect to the affairs of state. 22% of $5.5 million is $1,210,000. That means Strickland raised only $30,250 for each trip.

30 grand a trip? That's worth leaving your state 40 times for political reasons?

Nevermind what I said yesterday. Ted Strickland is a crappy fundraiser.

Spending like a sailor.

Not cash. Political capital.

Rasmussen daily numbers on the President's approval rating have lately been a good source of red meat for the conservative blogosphere. His success at being the most accurate national pollster from 2008 boosted his legitimacy and forced many to buy-in to his polling model of robo-calls to likely, versus registered, voters.

His Presidential Approval Index in particular regularly makes a buzz. It measures the Strongly Approve versus Strongly Disapprove numbers, and the difference marks the index. For example, yesterday's numbers had Obama at 28% strongly approve versus 40% strongly disapprove for an index of -12.


Strongly disapprove.

George Bush's strongly disapprove numbers in the last month of his Presidency?


A 3-point difference.

Can you imagine if it gets any worse for Obama? History books will be written about the President who not only spent taxpayer dollars faster than any other President, but spent his political capital even faster.

Now, to be fair, Bush's index was higher since he didn't have many folks strongly approving. But the takeaway here is the skyrocketing, comparable, and most importantly - intense, disapproval of President Obama.

Now, Dems may say such numbers are to be expected. After all, every McCain voter probably strongly disapproves.

And they're probably right.

But that didn't used to be the case.

Just two months ago this number was hovering in the mid-to-high 20s.

And now. 40%. And trending upwards.

The fact of the matter is that the intense negativity that did in President Bush's agenda is now at very near the same levels for President Obama.

And that means he's maxed out his political capital credit card.

Lost in translation?

Yesterday, Ben Smith from Politico posted on some interesting numbers coming out of the Virginia Governor's race. Republican Bob McDonnell's lead has been growing over Democrat Creigh Deeds. Yesterday's poll from Survey USA included some of the demographical breakdowns that oftentimes can read more into a race than the overall numbers.
It's what the pollster figures as the composition of the electorate: 52% McCain voters, 43% Obama voters.

Obama carried Virginia with 51% of the vote, so the pollster's data suggests that -- if voters are responding accurately to questions about their plans to vote in the governor's race -- the electorate that Obama activated -- young and African-American voters primarily -- will sink back into passivity in the off years. Black voters were 20% of the electorate last November; they're 17% in that survey.

There are two ways to read this: The poll's sample is off; or this is a danger sign for Democrats heading into the midterms. If the latter, it may affect legislators' calculations about how closely to align themselves with the president.

Are Democrats regressing in this key battleground state? Virginia, in some ways, is similar to Ohio. It went Republican in 2000 and 2004, but blue for the President in 2008. And in Virginia, just like Ohio, Democrats have taken over state government.

And now, if this poll is to be believed, those that went blue don't want to admit it, are too apathetic to want to vote, or have simply left.

If this same phenomena happens in Ohio, Strickland's days may be well be over.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nothing unexpected.

With all those trips to New York and DC for fundraisers, it's no surprise that Strickland has reported quite the fundraising haul.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has reported raising $2.5 million toward his re-election bid in 2010, setting up another expensive race for the Midwest swing state's top political job.
$416,667 a month for Ted from January 1st til June 30th. Solid work. Not quite the Rob Portman standard of $565,000 a month, but very solid work.

And not unexpected.

So simple that it's impossible.

3BP contributor The Seaward had a simple, yet flawed, thought that he shared with me earlier today.
Let's just give $2500 annually to the uninsured so they can buy their own health care.

Assuming a population of 30 million uninsured citizens (I'm throwing out the illegal aliens whch inflate the number of uninsured to over 40 million), the annual cost of this "plan" is $75 billion - which is far less than Obama's plan. Plus, this allows everyone to select the free-market insurance company and health care provider of their choice.

I'm no big fan of welfare handouts and I don't think that health care is a 'right", but this idea is cheaper and better than a 1,000 page overhaul of a system that works for most Americans.

It would be interesting to know also, if you gave $2500 in unrestricted cash to the 30 million uninsured, how many would actually use it to buy insurance?
Maybe a voucher could work. I dunno.

Obviously, this is pretty much impossible to implement, but it does a great job of highlighting the deficiencies in Obama's plan.

Keep up the good ideas, folks.

Nothing we haven't heard before.

I've posted a few articles the past few weeks highlighting Ohio as the key to the 2010 elections.

No surprise there.

And now we have John Kasich being named as not only key for Ohio, but a potential key player nationally for the GOP.

This isn't a position that's new for Kasich. The spotlight shone bright during his time fighting for a balanced budget in Congress.

But the buzz he's getting now will be vital as he continues his campaign for Governor and his drive to raise the money necessary to win.

Sidenote: Chris Matthews likes Kasich? Maybe I should rethink this one....

I like Paul Ryan.

No, not in that way.

Rep. Paul Ryan and Katrina vanden Heuvel debated on MSNBC about health care.

This quote pretty much sums up the buttkicking:
Katrina vanden Heuvel: Competition is at the heart of America. To deny Americans competition by denying them the option of a public plan seems to me to be un-American.

Rep. Paul Ryan: What’s weird about that line right there, Katrina, is that I know you and others are very much in favor of a single-payer plan, which is obviously to deny competition and have the government run it all. What’s concerning about this debate with me is that you’re using capitalist rhetoric to try and move a plan that is inherently anti-market.

The problem is that the facts tell us this: A public plan option quickly becomes a government-run monopoly….The actuaries are telling us is that in a few short years, the public plan option displaces the private sector, employers dump their employees on the public plan, and then they have no choices but the public plan.

And so, let’s not try to sell a government-run plan using free market rhetoric. Let’s have an honest debate about what this bill is all about.
Check out the rest here:

h/t: NRO

Two of Thirteen.

The Hill had an article out yesterday naming the top 13 targets for the NRCC. In other words, the 13 races House Republicans feel are most vulnerable to switching, one way or another.

Two of those targets are Ohioans Steve Chabot and Steve Stivers.

As I've stated before, when you combine recent generic congressional ballots from pollsters like Rasmussen along with the changed likely voter demographics, the 1st and 15th districts won't be any more vulnerable than they will be in 2010.

A side benefit of the money and energy that will go into these races goes to John Kasich. While the 1st CD went to Blackwell in 2006, the 15th went to Strickland. Taking advantage of the GOTV efforts behind each of these congressional campaigns will only help Kasich as he works to get conservatives to the polls.

That's it?

Oh come on, you can at least throw a little O-H-I-O in there for us, Guv.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Spectator Gets it Wrong.

An article in today's American Spectator absolutely reams Sen. Lindsey Graham for his decision to vote for Sotomayor in her confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Condescending to Sotomayor about her "wise Latina" beliefs, he also ruminated that some of the speeches she has given are "pretty disturbing," and they "blow me away." He wondered aloud "who are we getting" in a Justice Sotomayor, something not unlike guzzling scotch and wondering if there is a connection to perpetual hangovers. [...] Senator Graham is no dummy. To proceed to vote to put someone on the Court who is so obviously devoted to principles he claims to oppose gives new meaning to terms such as cowardly, lily-livered, irresolute, chickenhearted or, in Spanish, no cojones.
As I wrote in a post back a couple weeks ago, Republicans have to pick their battles. And the battle over Sotomayor is the wrong one. Why? Because these battles are less about the nominees and more about who they are replacing. Sotomayor will replace the reliably liberal Justice Souter. It's a wash. Whomever Obama would nominate if Sotomayor was voted down would vote just the same way as she would and as Souter did.

So what is Graham doing by ripping her to shreds and then voting for her confirmation?

He's setting himself up as a voice of reason for the real fight - the fight to replace the Supreme Court's swing voter, Justice Kennedy.

Imagine the way it can be framed, "Graham showed his ability to be reasonable during the Sotomayor debate when he supported the President's nominee despite his obvious reservations."

And with the Kennedy replacement, Graham's voice will be heard much louder when the President attempts to nominate another liberal to fill the spot. The Senator's refusal to support the nominee will be considered more legitimate based on his history of supporting Sotomayor.

It's all a game. Some people just don't understand the rules.

The Government Takeover of Private Industry

And no, I'm not talking about health care.

Lost in a news cycle dominated by hawaiian birth certificates, Cambridge police and public option is a story about Obama's effort to become the biggest provider of school loans in the nation.

But what we learned this week from the CBO is that his plan will save only half of what he claims it would.

I'll let Stephen Spruiell from NRO take over from here:

But shouldn't we still support the option that would save money, even if it would save less that the administration claims? The answer is that getting the government out of the student-loans business altogether would save taxpayers the most money, but that's not even part of the discussion. Government-subsidized financing for college has become a middle-class entitlement. We wouldn't be facing this choice if the government hadn't first subsidized private lenders and then set up a "public option" to "compete" with them.

This is the very choice that Obama wants to force on health care. If Congress enacts his health-care agenda, chances are good that some future Democratic president will point out how much we "waste" by subsidizing private coverage and how much we would "save" if we just forced everyone to take the public option. And, as is the case with Obama's student loan plan, the bulk of those savings would be chimerical, based on accounting tricks. Lost in the debate will be the notion that the government shouldn't have intervened in the first place.

DeMint responds to Voino.

“Well, he is apparently very frustrated. He has decided not to run again. And I don’t mind him taking out his frustrations on me.

“But the fact is, if you look at the southerners, a lot of our elected leadership, like Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, I mean, these folks are southerners and we’ve got probably the most constructive working members of the Senate, Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss.

“You look at Richard Burr, these are all contributing people. They’re certainly not hurting the party right now. But, Wolf, the point I’ve been trying to make is Maine doesn’t have to be like South Carolina or like California."
Well said.

You just know Wolf Blitzer at CNN and all of MSNBC were praying for an OHHH SNAP! moment, and they didn't get one.

Even more importantly, DeMint's final point hits the nail on the head. Politics is local. What's important is not speaking in one voice(or one accent), it's doing what's right on behalf of your constituents.

On a sidenote, I've been incredibly impressed with Sen. DeMint since he went to the Senate in 2005. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised. Back when I worked on the Hill I recall watching him in hearings when he was in the House and coming away less than impressed. Clearly he has surrounded himself with great staff and has stuck true to his belief system.

Keep it up, Jim.

A potential rebound?

Stories have been circulating throughout the MSM the past week or so about Obama's sinking approval rating. NPR, of all organizations, even have him down to 53 in their poll.

But things may be looking up.

And it would be the fault of Republicans.

As I've discussed before, the Birther movement provided the left with ammo to paint the right as extremist nutcases - an identifier not very much appreciated by the vital Indepedent swing voters.

But as that dies down, the right's even more recent efforts to paint Obama as racist or racial opportunist may be the key to turning around those approval ratings.

Without getting into the merit behind the accusations, Glenn Beck's tirade and Michelle Malkin's interview with Matt Lauer this morning have both provided the left with all the firepower they need to distract from the issues that have been most damaging to Obama and refocus the debate for the left.

Theirs is a game of personal politics.

"Forget the issues, they're attacking our guy. We told ya they were jerks."

This refocusing has worked time and time again in politics.

The fact is, Republicans didn't honestly expect Obama's ratings to turn so quickly. They had hopes, but the reality of the matter was a shock. They saw blood in the water and they pounced.

Unfortunately, many don't know when their tummy's should be full.

Obama's actions with the Gates mess spoke well enough on their own. Taking it to the next level has provided the left with an opportunity to bounce Obama back.

If his ratings start to turn over the next month, that will provide Obama with the political capital he may need to finally push through the health care package he's been wanting.

Stay focused, GOPers. Win the issues.

'Nuff said.

h/t: BCSBuck

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rahm's upset.

Just late last week Rahm Emanuel said to expect a vote on health care reform before the August recess.

Well, I'm guessing he's back to his signature swearing now.
The House will adjourn by Friday without voting on a health care bill, according to planning memo obtained by POLITICO.

Tit for tat.

Blog fight!

Today, the folks over at BSB are up with a response to my flogging of them yesterday.

A quick recap:

1) They jumped on a Kasich remark about waiting to implement increased tax cuts until the economy stablized. They felt it was impossible to define a 'stabilized economy'.

2) I responded by saying a normalization of the unemployment rate would be necessary before tax cuts could take place. After all, why cut taxes on people that don't pay taxes?

Their response?

If that is the case, then that disproves the main hypothesis of Kasich's rationale for repealing Ohio's income tax. You've just stated that Ohio's unemployment rate can return to the natural rate of unemployment without the repeal of Ohio's income tax rate. Therefore, the state's income tax rate is not a serious barrier to entry for employers to create jobs in Ohio's market.

Except that's not the only motivation for tax cuts.

The BSB guys seem to think as long as everyone has a job, everyone is happy.


Kasich has long been an advocate of bringing quality jobs to Ohio. That can't happen with a business tax climate that's 47th in the nation.

And are the jobs we currently have left quality jobs? No. Since the Governor took office, Ohio's median income, the best gauge to judge job quality, has increased at almost half the rate of the national average.

That means that not only are we losing jobs under Ted Strickland, but we're only holding onto jobs that pay less than the national average.

That's not good.

The way to fix it? Encourage innovative businesses to come to the state via lower taxes that help all Ohioans.

And giving the taxpayers a little extra money to invest and spend into the economy doesn't hurt much either.

Case closed.

School vouchers, do they work?

The DC School Voucher system was quite an experiment. After years of bickering, Congress finally approved them just a few short years ago. And now, thanks to President Obama and the Democratic Congress, they're going bye-bye.

But what do the people that actually experienced these vouchers think?
  • 79% of parents of school age children oppose ending the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
  • 74% have a favorable view of public charter schools.
  • 74% of Democrats support the voucher program.
Vouchers worked.

It's my hope that communities across the nation will see these numbers and give vouchers the shot that they deserve. Not only is it a winner for the children, but it's clearly a political winner as well, even in one of the highest concentrations of liberalism in the country.

All you need is courage.

h/t: AT QB

So goes Ohio...

There has been a glut recently of national stories proclaiming Ohio as the bellweather state for the 2010 midterm elections.

And as we all know, 2010 will have one helluva impact on 2012.

The most recent story was in Real Clear Politics:
If Ohio is the nation's political weathervane (and you can make a good case that it is), then a two-election trend toward Democrats may be over.


Things have changed. Ohio's recession now seems to be owned by Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, whose handling of the state's budget did little to instill confidence in voters that he has a plan to get the state back on track.

"Incumbents rarely get more popular when conditions worsen, whatever their party," says political scientist Bert Rockman.

If the slide continues over the next two to three public-opinion surveys, then Democrats and the Obama administration have lots of reason to worry.
Clearly, it's now conventional wisdom that Ohio is the most important state of the 2010 election.

And everyone will be looking at Kasich and Portman.

For that reason alone, money likely will never be a worry for either campaign. Obviously, they'll both still need to work their tails off to get it, but come October of next year, contributors should have emptied their pockets to make sure these key races are secure.

Rockman's quote also brings up an often forgotten point. No matter how much blogs like mine bring up the specific failures of the incumbent, what matters is whether more Ohioans feel things are going well for them and their neighbors..

And that's the challenge for Kasich, Portman, et. al.

Cyclical economics suggests that we should have been easing out of the recession by now. Obviously, we haven't, and experts suggest unemployment will lag in Ohio through the beginning of 2010. As I've explained before, the recovery in is taking much longer than it should.

But things will recover.

What then?

Will voters look at the uptick in the economy and forgive Ted Strickland all of his faults? Will they forget about the missed opportunities?

That's where the challenge lies. Educating Ohio voters. Working against their short attention span.

It's a long road. And we're in it to win it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reasserting dominance over the intellectually vapid.

Buckeye State Blog is up with a post this evening that takes stupid to another level.

They take this statement from John Kasich as it appeared in the Youngstown Business Journal:
[Kasich wants to] reduce the tax burden once the economy regains stability and offer incentives for employers to create jobs in the state.
And interpret it as:
Kasich: Ohio may never be able to afford my tax proposals
Now, it's one thing to be intellectually dishonest. And it's another to be downright moronic.

Their issue is with the "once the economy regains stability" comment. The only way to interpret that as "Ohio may never being able to afford my tax proposals" is to believe that Ohio's economy may not recover in the next five years and four months.

While I believe Strickland's inaction has put Ohio into a death spiral, that doesn't mean we won't pull out of it.

Economies recover. That's what capitalist societies do.

It just some take longer than others. [cough, TED STRICKLAND!, cough, cough!]

Also, in regards to Kasich's comment, when Ohio is facing massive unemployment, what good is it cut taxes on people who aren't making any money? They aren't paying anything anyway.

Once the economy stabilizes, Ohioans are employed at normal levels and able to use money gained via tax cuts to reinvest into Ohio's economy.

Which leads me to another favorite line of mine from the guys at Buckeye State Blog is this one:
Kasich is suggesting a change in course: no tax cuts until the economy stablilizes, whatever the hell that means.
You don't know what that means? Fine. Here, see this graph?

When that funny red line goes back down and straightens out again, that means we're stable.

Let's see, what else did they say that made me shake my head and laugh.

Ah, yes. My favorite.
Strickland is a doer. Kasich is a sayer.
Honestly, I have no idea how they wrote that while keeping a straight face.

A doer?

Ted "Does Anyone Else Have Any Ideas" Strickland is a doer?

Ted "Mmmmm....Jello" Strickland is a doer?

Ted "I Used My Line Item Veto to Cut Early Education for 15,000 Kids" Strickland is a doer?

Ok yeah...I guess it works for that one.

And John Kasich is a "sayer"?

The same John Kasich who is widely regarded as the chief architect of a federal budget that produced the first back-to-back federal surpluses since 1957.

The same John Kasich who went against his own party to cut unnecessary funding for B-2 bombers.

The same John Kasich whose actions as a leader in Congress brought Newsweek to name him one of their "100 People for the 21st Century".

Seriously, fellas. You're gonna have to do better than that.

This lesson was brought to you by the letters J, E, L, L, and O and the number 11.1.

Oh no you di'int.....

Sen. Voinovich has been a bit of a polarizing figure among Ohio Republicans since he entered the U.S. Senate. Going from a reputation as a fiscally responsible Governor to what many would only describe as a RINO hasn't left many weeping for his retirement.

But now it's clear ole Voino is more than happy to say whatever is on his mind. Even if it means making fun of the entire south.
The GOP’s biggest problem? “We got too many Jim DeMints (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburns (R-Ok.). It’s the southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, ‘These people, they’re southerners. The party’s being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?’ ”
"Errrr, errrrr?"

Do you think there was debate in the editorial room about how to spell that?

Oh, Georgie. You pistol.

A most egregious retreat.

This picture is a screen capture of the google cache of Ted Strickland's now defunct campaign website from 2006.

Highlighted at the bottom is the first priority Ted Strickland made of his grandiose, and poorly named, Turnaround Ohio plan.

It states...
Provide every child a fair start through access to high-quality early care and education.
Among the headlines Ted Strickland enjoyed during the 2006 campaign are the following...
Helping kids early will help Ohio later, candidate Strickland says (Cols. Dispatch)

Getting a campaign - and kids - started right (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Strickland's first plank resonates (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
And in 2006, Ted Strickland was quoted as saying, "[Early education is] the most effective use of economic dollars."

Without question, if Turnaround Ohio was Ted Strickland's campaign theme, early education clearly served as its bedrock.

So, the question each Ohioan should be asking is simple.

How'd he do?

Well, it depends on whether you think cutting services for over 15,000 children sounds like "providing every child with a fair start."
The Early Learning Initiative, which funds full-day preschool for some 13,000 children, was one of 61 items that Gov. Strickland struck from the budget last week using the power of his line-item veto.


The state also runs an older half-day program, once called "public preschool" and now called Early Childhood Education. Children in this program are typically taught in pre-K classrooms located in public schools. To balance the budget, lawmakers stripped the program of $11 million, leaving it with $23.5 million. About 1500 to 2300 fewer children will be able to served, said Jane Wiechel, an early education official at the Department of Education.

So where will parents enroll those children instead? Good question. If they are looking for an affordable alternative at a child care center they may find themselves out of luck. The budget ax came down on child care providers too. The Ohio Legislature reduced reimbursement rates for providers that serve low-income families and lowered the income level at which families can qualify for subsidies. Newcomers to the subsidy program must now show that their incomes are at 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($33,075 for a family of four). Previously, families at up to 200 percent of the poverty were eligible.
So not only is Strickland knocking 15,000 kids out of early education, he's also making sure a large number of parents won't have the resources necessary to have someone look after their kids while they are at work. So what happens then? The parent has to hope Grandma can stay home with the child, or else choose between quitting their jobs and staying home with their kid or heading to work and hope the kid finds the peanut butter & jelly.

And it doesn't end there.
The shame is that the backsliding on early childhood investments may take Ohio out of the running for a new federal grant program that is part of legislation in Congress this week. Under the proposed planning for Early Learning Challenge Grants, states can compete for $1 billion a year to build a state-wide early learning system. The catch is that to get the grants, states must show progress and dedication to upgrading what they've already got. Ohio no longer looks so strong on that score.


Including a few smaller programs not mentioned above, the cuts mean a drop of about $150 million in funding for early childhood in Ohio from 2009 to 2010, according to the summary by the Department of Jobs and Family Services.
Overall, Strickland has cost the state a potential net loss of $1.15 billion for Ohio's children.

The Education Governor?


As Americans, we've learned to be cynical about our political leaders. We've accepted that part of the political process includes bending and breaking promises. But that doesn't mean our cynicism knows no bounds.

Ted Strickland is guilty of violating the trust of Ohioans and allowing his ambition to trump reality. By making lobbying Washington for temporary federal dollars his #1 priority, he has wasted his term as Governor and left Ohio to sink down the drain.

This isn't a joke, Governor. Because of your gross incompetence you have brought pain and suffering to thousands of your state's citizens.

Rewarding you with another term wouldn't just be wrong, it would be a massive miscarriage of political justice.

h/t: Johnny Drama for his research assistance

"Strickland is the primary villain in this betrayal of the inner city..."

If you're a regular reader of the Plain Dealer, you likely read a column yesterday by Brett Larkin.

In it, Larkin focuses on the overwhelming success of charter schools and the utterly illogical efforts of Gov. Strickland to destroy them.

While the column can only be done justice by reading it in its entirety, I will give you this small nugget of truth to tease you with...
Strickland's calling seems to involve being dishonest with voters on this issue. Friday, in response to a question at the City Club, the governor had the audacity to praise E Prep's success, adding, "I would like to see more schools doing as E Prep is doing."

So, just a few weeks after trying to wreck the school, Strickland tries to tell us he loves it. The man has no shame.

The column perfectly establishes the success of charter schools, and E Prep in Cleveland specifically. And it outlines the downright foolishness of any effort to destroy them.

But it slips right on by the question of.....why?

Why is Strickland trying to destroy charter schools?

Well, a hint can be found by reading this paragraph:
The education received at charter schools is significantly inferior to those of traditional public schools. The failure of the charter school program must be addressed now. Too many Ohio children are being left to chance by the lack of serious accountability. Too many Ohio taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a perpetually failing program.
Who wrote that piece of garbage?

The Ohio Education Association.

Why does that matter?

Because since Ted Strickland became Governor, the Ohio Education Association has been the 2nd highest contributor to.....

....wait for it....

Governor Ted Strickland.

Stay classy, Jello Stricktaft.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's stimulus has failed, exhibit #4327

As I travelled through a college town on my way to visit a possible location to marry my lovely fiance next year, I drove past this store...


By the way, what's a Mondo Gonzo?

Friday, July 24, 2009

No wonder it's been so popular recently.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

h/t: LetsTalk

It happened.

This morning when I discussed the arrogance of the House leadership in bypassing the Energy & Commerce in order to bring the Health Care legislation to the floor, one of my main points was how these actions would affect the will of the Blue Dogs.

Their Coalition's relative silence earlier this afternoon had me a bit worried, but this article just breaking from The Hill late this afternoon makes me quite a bit more optimistic about the direction of this debate.
House healthcare negotiations dissolved in acrimony on Friday, with Blue Dog Democrats saying they were “lied” to by their Democratic leaders.

The seven Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee stormed out of a Friday meeting with their committee chairman, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), saying Waxman had been negotiating in bad faith over a number of provisions Blue Dogs demanded be changed in the stalled healthcare bill.

“I’ve been lied to,” Blue Dog Coalition Co-Chairman Charlie Melancon (D-La.) said on Friday. “We have not had legitimate negotiations.


"Waxman simply does not have votes in committee and process should not be bypassed to bring the bill straight to floor,” Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the lead Blue Dog negotiator, said on Friday. “We are trying to save this bill and trying to save this party.”

Melancon said there would be 40-45 “solid no” votes from the 52-strong Blue Dogs, among other problems throughout the caucus.

“If they try to bring it to the floor, I think they’ll find out they have more problems with the Blue Dogs.”

A leadership aide said no decisions have been made on how to proceed.
Bring it to the Floor. I dare ya.

The Fix is in.

And they keep giving Rob Portman some love.
Republicans have reason to feel good about where they stand in the Buckeye State's open seat race. Former Rep. Rob Portman (R) continues to prove himself to be in a class of his own in terms of fundraising in the race; his $1.7 million raised in the second quarter was hundreds of thousands more than the combined total collected by Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D). While Brunner continues to insist she is staying in the race, her back-to-back lackluster fundraising periods send a different message. Democrats acknowledge that Fisher is not the most charismatic candidate in the world but believe Portman's time spent in the Bush administration will come back to haunt him next November.
The Washington Post once again has some good words to say about Portman. Of course, it's hard to knock a guy who has raised $1.7 million in one quarter. The only thing missing from the analysis is the question of how Tom Ganley will effect the GOP primary, if at all.

One interesting thing to consider with all the talk of fundraising numbers is where John Kasich may stand relative to Portman's take. Reporting for federal candidates like Portman was over a 3-month period, so he averaged about $565,000 a month.

With the June 30th deadline to submit fundraising reports, Kasich only had 30 days since his announcement before reporting his numbers. So the question is this - how will he fare over the course of just one month?

My understanding is the Kasich team hasn't had one major fundraiser yet. With that taken into consideration I think it's safe to say anything over 500k would be a major success, especially when you take into account the major slaps on the back Portman is getting nationally for averaging 565k a month.

Numbers should be coming out soon, so keep an eye out.

You can't take it with you.

The office of Ohio Congressman Pat Tiberi e-mailed me this morning. They wanted to share their frustration about the lack of mainstream coverage a major aspect of the comprehensive health care legislation was receiving.

Obama has been quoted as saying, “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

No, you can't. And Congressman Tiberi wants you to take a look for yourself.
He has made a daily ritual of saying "If you like what you have you can keep it." It’s not true. If you like what you have, you can’t keep it. We see that it in the bill on page 16 and 17 of the bill.


“This commissioner gets to tell employers, if you don’t meet the guidelines and mandates of the exchange, the minimum coverage, then you have to change your insurance to meet guidelines that this new government bureaucrat decides.”
You can listen to a full interview with Tiberi about the subject here.

The Congressman is doing the right thing. He's using his bully pulpit the way each Congressman should in their home district. Get on the radio. Sit down for an interview with an editorial board. Make sure voters understand what they're Congress is getting them into.

As I've said before on 3BP, it is cynicism that will turn the tide against the President. When the vote comes to the floor next week, let's hope there's plenty of it.

The Opaque Congress

The Energy and Commerce Committee in the US House of Representatives is one of the Committees that maintains jurisdiction over the Obama Health Care bill.

To Nancy Pelosi, that doesn't mean squat.

In yet another brazen act of arrogance, the Speaker is foregoing Congressional protocols and ignoring the process by bypassing the E&C Committee in order to bring Health Care to a vote next week.

Why? Blue Dog Democrats that populate the Committee promised to block it.

Transparency? Ethics? Who needs those when determining how to spend trillions of taxpayer dollars, right?

The crazy thing is, this isn't the first time she's done it.
  • Cap and Trade? She bypassed the Ways and Means Committee.
  • The FY09 Omnibus? Referred to the Budget and Approps Committee, pulled, then rushed to the House floor.
  • PAYGO legislation? Referred to the Budget Committee where they had one hearing before pulling it out for a vote. Who needs a markup, right?
And now we have a better understanding of why Obama was unable to convince the Blue Dogs to support the HC legislation when he met with them earlier this week.

It's because they've lost all trust in the Speaker. She's screwed them over time and time again.

That's not how you run Congress.

How long is this gonna take, fellas?

It's only a matter of time until the economy, both in Ohio and nationally, turns around.

Despite the President's efforts, unemployment will start to shrink again and people will go back to work.

We all understand that recessions happen. Historically speaking, they've been a part of our cyclical economy.

With all that in mind, the question we must ask our leaders is this, how long should it take us to get out of that hole?

Well, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, none of the United States' ten recessions, prior to this one, have lasted longer than 16 months. And on average they've lasted 10.4 months.

So with that in mind, how long has it been since we've seen Ohio's unemployment rate go down?

16 months.

Shouldn't we be turning around by now, Governor?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another day, another opportunity for Ted Strickland to make me burst out laughing

Ya know, I may have been blocked from following Gov. Stricktaft on Twitter, but that doesn't mean I can't see his tweets.

And this one is a doozy.

This really says it all, doesn't it.

Let's break it down, shall we?

"Thanks to his jobs stimulus plan"

Ignoring the fact that there is zero evidence that the federal stimulus will generate any long-term job growth, how hysterical is it that Ted is thanking the feds for trying to save his ass and bring jobs to Ohio? It makes sense. After all, it's pretty damn clear that the Ohio stimulus has been one ginormous failure.

"many Ohioans will be put to work"

Well, due to hiding under your desk hoping the mess goes away, there sure is a large supply of individuals eligible for employment.

Either way, keep up the tweets, Guv. There's bound to be even more comedy gold in store.

Pro-gun activists are loud

If you peruse the political blogs, you may have found that the U.S. Senate's recently voted down conceal-carry legislation has reinvigorated the pro-gun lobby, and rightly so.

But when Ohio pro-gun activists get talking, they can't help but talk about John Kasich. And they talk. And they talk. And they talk.
  • Even when Kasich says he owns his own gun, they're worried whether he supports the rights of gun owners.
  • Even when he explains that "violent crime rates are lower now than before the [assault weapons] ban was lifted", they still question whether he believes in it.
  • Even when he says he's against anymore regulation on guns, they still think he may want more regulation on guns.
  • Even when he voted to decrease the waiting period on guns from three days to one, just as the NRA supported, they still think he doesn't have their best interests in mind.
And one thing that has particularly irked me, why don't these Kasich critics bring up his No vote on the famous Brady Bill?

Because it doesn't help their argument, that's why.

Listen, guys. For as long as I've known John Kasich, he's wanted to reduce the influence of government in our lives. His priority as Governor will be to streamline Ohio's budget and foster an environment conducive to economic growth and personal freedom.

There is absolutely zero reason to believe he'd propose, lobby for, or support increased government regulation designed to take away the rights of gun owners in Ohio.

Now put down your keyboards before they go off.


h/t: Ace

BUMPED: What to watch out for during tonight's presser...

Bumped this post up to give a quick analysis of what we ended up seeing based on what I recommended you watch for...

1. Who gets called on - Looks like I got this one right. The President bypassed MSM members representing the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and, of course, Fox News. The President even ignored MSNBC's correspondent who was sitting in the front row right in front of the him. Ouch.

Obama instead seemed to focus much on local rags, like the Plain Dealer. A smart move considering his trip to the Cleveland Clinic today. Gotta butter 'em up, right?

2. Will there be news? - There should have been, but there wasn't. You can bet this continued practice is going to get on the nerves of major networks abandoning millions in ad revenue in order to cover an event that isn't newsworthy.

3. Lonnnnngggg answers - Right again. In the past three primetime news conferences, Obama was asked 13 questions each. Last night? 10. And the last one in particular from his liberal buddies at the Chicago Sun-Times was set-up on a tee for him.


If you read this blog often, you probably already know that the President is holding his fourth primetime press conference this evening.

With support for his health care plan plummeting, Obama needs to keep a stranglehold on his message and not lose control of the press conference. That being said, there will be three things to watch for tonight.
  1. Who gets called on - Don't be surprised to see the President bypass a chunk of the MSM in the first few rows. Obviously, many will get their licks in, but you'll likely see a larger percentage of smaller mediums getting a chance to throw a softball at the President.
  2. Will there be news? - As First Read mentioned, Obama would be smart to provide something new early in the press conference that requires the press gaggle to focus more on the new information than going on the attack. Maybe it will be an announcement that he won over some of the Blue Dogs that he's been meeting with the past couple days. Hopefully not.
  3. Lonnnnng answers - The President wants to control the message. That means maintaining a focus on the theme he wants to present, namely health care. That means utilizing the finite time available for the press conference, and that means answering as few questions as reasonably possible. I'll be surprised if tonight doesn't see the fewest questions answered of the four press conferences.
Either way, grab a beer, sit back, watch the press conference and try not to throw things at your dog in disgust.

The King of Backwards Thinking

One of the less publicized cuts made by Ohio's education Governor(try to say that without laughing) was the elimination of the Ohio College Opportunity Grant.

This grant provided assistance to 22,500 individuals attending career colleges in Ohio.

So who exactly are these people?

On average, they're 26 years old, 72% are women - many are single mothers with one or more children - and more than 30% are minorities.

They're also people who have lost work and are trying to learn new skills and trades so they can re-enter the workforce.

And what happens when they graduate?
80% get well-paying jobs within 90 days of graduation. Career college graduates contribute more than $700 million in income and wages to the state and local economies - with each graduating class contributing an additional $98.4 million more than they would have otherwise earned without their degrees. Based on a 10.4 percent tax rate, that $700 million-plus translates to about $73.6 million EACH YEAR in state and local revenues.
Now, I obviously support cutting unnecessary and inefficient government spending, but instead Strickland is irresponsibly working to destroy an education program that is providing Ohio with increased tax revenue via skilled workers and the retraining of the unemployed.

Leave it to Gov. Strickland to find a way to screw Ohio on education and jobs at the same time.

How bad has it gotten for Gov. Stricktaft?

Even his own Ministers are beating up on him.
Gov. Ted Strickland's change of heart over the expansion of gambling in Ohio has drawn criticism from two of his bosses - the state's two United Methodist bishops.


"We suggested it would have been a better expression of his moral leadership if he had stood his ground and offered other ways to balance the budget," Bishop Ough said. "The United Methodist Church has a longstanding commitment to oppose gambling. It is bad economics. We are obliged not to use forms of generating revenue that cause harm."


The Rev. John Edgar, a United Methodist pastor and chairman of the East and West Ohio Annual Conferences' anti-gambling task force, said political leaders have better options for dealing with the budget crisis than to rely on gambling revenue.

"It saddens me that our governor, who is a fellow United Methodist who has publicly talked about how casinos and slot machines harm Ohio families, didn't see any other alternative he was willing to take," Mr. Edgar said. "It doesn't mean I don't respect him or think he is fundamentally a decent guy. I'm just very sad that he's done what he's done."
The negative ads are just writing themselves, eh?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Holy S&%*!!!

3BP contributor Johnny Drama and I couldn't believe our eyes when we saw this headline.


Now, I know the Governor wants to pull the debate away from the 109% increase in unemployment since he took office, but saying truly outlandish things like this just ain't gonna work.

And now, a 3BP response entirely in screencaps. Enjoy.

An Open Letter to Birthers

Dear Idiots Who Won't Let the Obama Birth Certificate Thing Go,

Stop it.

Listen, I understand how you feel about the President. I'm with ya. His policies, if fully enacted, have the potential to damage our nation in ways that will take years, if not decades, to recover.

But in a time when Republicans actually are winning the issue debate, you're inane obsession is damaging our message and making us look like extremists with no viable alternative ideas.

Let's say you win. After all the legal battles are over with you are able to prove that Barack Obama is ineligible for the Presidency. What happens then?

Well first, it's impossible to gauge how long it would take to win such a monumental legal battle, but we do know it would take a ridiculously long time. Two years? Four?

Great. So in a time when Americans approve of the President, but are turning on his policies, you give Democrats a rallying cry and turn independents against us. The political capital gained by removing Obama from power would give President Biden.......[pardon me while I give myself the sign of the cross].....the kind of political capital not seen since LBJ took over for Kennedy.

Republicans finally have a chance to prove that unchecked liberal power yields nothing but negative results for our country.

Don't take that opportunity away from us.


DJ Tablesauce

Michigan sucks.

As an Ohio-centric political blog, I couldn't help but notice the latest bout of stupid from the state up north.
The Michigan Democratic Party plans to test support for an array of populist ballot proposals, with an eye toward mounting one or more petition drives to put the questions before voters in 2010, state party Chairman Mark Brewer said today.

The potential measures include:

• Hiking the minimum wage to $10 an hour for all workers.
So. Incredibly. Stupid.

First off, let's better understand what happens when we have a minimum wage hike.
The vast majority of economists point out that unskilled workers bear the brunt of minimum wage hikes. According to a 2007 survey from the American Economic Association and the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 73 percent of labor economists believe increases in the minimum wage will lead to employment losses, which will fall disproportionately on the least skilled workers.
Now, let's take into account that Michigan enacted a series of three minimum wage hikes annually beginning in 2006.

What happened? This.15.2% unemployment. Yikes.

Now, what kind of effect would the 38% increase in Michigan's minimum wage yield? Consider this...
Research from the University of Georgia (2006) found that for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, teen employment at small businesses decreased between 4.6 to 9 percent.
So, at a minimum, teen unemployment alone will increase by 17.5%.

Michigan is stupid.

h/t: Nukem

And the hits keep on coming...

I wonder if John Kasich will have to report all of the earned media he has gained by keeping quiet and letting Ohio's newspapers rip the Governor apart.

Obviously, I'm kidding, but check this piece out from up in Cleveland. Harsh.
...among the items [Strickland] red-lined was a proposal for the state to continue to reimburse school districts for dollars schools lost when the tangible personal property tax on businesses was eliminated in 2006.

For now, the state is making up that lost money, but between 2011-16, those payments will be phased out.

Guess who will make up that money? Yes, you, to the tune of $11 million in Solon, $9 million in Twinsburg, $4 million in Beachwood and $16 million in Kenston. New levies, here we come.

In nixing the provision, Strickland said he hopes there will be "dialogue" on school funding between now and 2011, when the phase-out begins. This is a solution?

Taxpayers, rise up. During his 2006 endorsement interview, I asked Strickland, "How will you fix school funding?" He said, "I'm going to talk to people." Three years later, he's still talking.

I am weary of promises, "dialogue," Strickland's traveling "education reform" tent circus. He hit the road again Monday just days after scrapping that budget provision, assuring us suckers that reform is just around the bend.

Ohio's education spending next year is palatable only because of one-time federal money. What then? So far, Strickland is flunking out as the "education governor." John Kasich, are you listening?

You can bet he is. Strickland's failure to appease the education lobby means extremely bad news for the Governor.

He can keep holding all the Town Hall meetings he wants, but his failure to act is going to be a hard negative to overcome come November.

6% that may decide Ohio.

When the most recent unemployment numbers came out for Ohio, I noticed something downright frightening.

14 of Ohio's 88 counties have unemployment rates over 15%.

Guess how many of those counties voted for Ted Strickland in 2006?


While the number of voters in these counties may not exactly be high relative to Ohio's total voting population, only around 230,000, it's clear that these voters will be highly vulnerable to increased attention by the Kasich campaign.

Make no mistake, despite Strickland's plummeting numbers, 2010 will still be a very close race. Each county matters. Every vote matters.

And Strickland's failure to "TurnAround Ohio" will be especially evident among this important 6%.

Governor Strickland, it didn't have to be this way.

That should be the theme of a number of ads nailing Ohio's Governor in the heat of election season next fall.

Each ad focuses on cuts to public libraries, gambling or....this.

The recently passed two year budget eliminates Ohio's Early Learning Initiative -- which impacts about 14,000 low-income at risk children.

At Kiddie Kampus in Bedford, 20 students are in the ELI program out of 75 children.

"It's going to hurt the center, we will have to look at staffing," says owner Dawn Smith.

This program is for children before they enter kindergarten starting at age 3.

Victoria Johnson sends her 3-year-old son to the program, and says ELI has helped him with his verbal skills and literacy.

"This hurts, I don't think we'll find a quality program like this," says Johnson.

Governor Strickland's office hopes that children who are no longer able to go to ELI will be absorbed by Headstart programs or qualify for county vouchers for subsidized childcare. But there are now tighter requirements for vouchers, so many families won't qualify. Also, Headstart programs may not have openings.

"I worry about the children possibly being left home alone when parents have to go to work or them going hungry," says Johnson.

"I wish there had been a plan B."
Ouch. Tugs at the heartstrings, eh?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pick one, Guvnah.

The Dispatch's blog has a new post addressing much of what was discussed in the Politico article I linked to early this morning.

They also include a couple comments from Ted Strickland that make him sound awfully confused.
Although Kasich so far has refused to say how he would have solved the budget crisis, Gov. Ted Strickland said in an interview last week that he doesn’t think Kasich has a responsibility to speak out about it because it wasn't his problem to resolve.


“As a declared candidate for governor, I think he has the same kind of responsibility that I have to talk about everything facing Ohio now,” Strickland said.

So help me out here. Kasich shouldn't speak out or he should talk about everything facing Ohio now?

Which one is it, Governor?

How is the stimulus doing? No, not that one.

Most everyone probably forgets, or maybe never even knew, that in April of 2008 Gov. Stricktaft enacted his own $1.57 billion stimulus specifically designed to "create new jobs while laying the foundation for future economic prosperity."

From his press release on April 2nd, 2008:
With the exception of the Clean Ohio program, this bipartisan package will not need to go to the ballot in November, allowing the positive benefits to the state’s economy to start almost immediately.
"Almost immediately"?

Hmm. Well, let's take a look. 15 months later just how stimulated is Ohio?

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics

Holy crap.

So since Strickland's stimulus was enacted, what has it accomplished?

288,508 less Ohioans with jobs.

That's a 77% jump in the unemployment rate.

Now to be fair, the GOP in the General Assembly gave the Governor what he wanted. After all, it's hard to say no to a guy that enjoys a favorability margin of 39 percent(DJ note: Now that margin is four).

But back in March of 2008, many Ohioans had a feeling this wasn't good policy.
Gov. Strickland's proposal to borrow $1.7 billion to create jobs in Ohio is a "bad idea," voters say 44 - 40 percent in the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll. A total of 50 percent of voters say it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" the Governor's stimulus package will create 80,000 new jobs in Ohio, while 44 percent say it is "not too likely" or "not likely at all" to succeed.
I think it's safe to say -288,508 does not equal +80,000. And all Ohioans paid for these jobs losses is $1.57 billion.

You think that's $1.57 billion that Ohio's schools and public libraries would like back?

Say it with me, Strickland's stimulus failed.

UPDATE: Darrell Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch was nice enough to e-mail me about this post. In particular he forwarded me an article they wrote back in February revisiting Strickland stimulus, but as he mentioned, refraining from including Ohio's job crisis in the discussion.

A few key paragraphs from the article:
But a year after the governor proposed the bipartisan plan during his annual State of the State address and eight months after the legislature passed it, less than 15 percent of the $1.57 billion has been spent or fully committed, figures provided to The Dispatch by the Strickland administration show.


Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who also is the state development director, said the stimulus plan as approved by the legislature was to spend a certain amount of money each year through the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013.

"This is approximately where I thought we would be," he said. "What we need to be measured against is not where we are at halftime, but where we are at the end of the game in the first year."
It seems after reading this statement that one has to question the wisdom of the Strickland Administration's decision to pace, for lack of a better term, execution of the stimulus in lieu of the massive job losses.

h/t: Johnny Drama for the ridiculously good photoshop job.

Whose fault is it?

A three sentence post on the Cincy Examiner's blog this morning had me riled up.
Gov. Strickland will be back in the Cincinnati area Wednesday, but on the other side of the river.

Not his fault - that's where the Ohio Teamsters are holding their annual meeting.

According to the governor's schedule, he will be speaking to the union at 10 a.m. at the Cincinnat Marriot River Center in Covington.
Not his fault? How about asking this question, why are the Ohio Teamsters, an organization that is supposed to be dedicated to helping the Buckeye State's labor force, taking their money and jumping across state lines to host their big annual meeting?

Ohio's economy is in the dumps. Strickland going to Kentucky to talk to Ohioans about Ohio issues speaks volumes about what he has let happen to his state.

In other news, Kevin over at OPO has a good post this morning highlighting a sentence that speaks to Strickland's true nature. Check it out.

'Politico' takes Kasich to task.....sorta.

An article in today's Politico, a daily must-read online resource for DC insiders, delves into a question we've addressed on multiple occasions here on 3BP, that being John Kasich's early campaign strategy.

The article begins with a narrative we've seen often from Ohio Democrats:
Former Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio) is an author, former Fox News host and short-lived presidential candidate, but you’d hardly know it from his uncharacteristically low-profile campaign for governor.

Since announcing his gubernatorial bid on June 1, Kasich has been all but silent on what is widely recognized as the single most pressing issue facing Ohio at the moment: a $3.2 billion budget shortfall.


[Kasich] Spokesman Rob Nichols explained that Kasich had refrained from offering his views on the budget — which Strickland finally signed into law on Friday, more than two weeks overdue — because “we didn’t want to parachute in and politicize the process.”
First off, props to Nichols. This is exactly what 3BP said in rebuttal to similar accusations from the Columbus Dispatch's Joe Hallet.

But seeing this theme of 'Kasich laying low' come up again in a national story obviously ticked us off.

Then we clicked on page 2.

Quotes from Alex Triantafilou, the chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and Doug Preisse, Chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party, echoed exactly what we've been saying for months - John Kasich's best strategy is sitting back and letting Strickland take the heat.

Clearly, after looking at the latest polls from PPP and Quinnipiac, it's working.

Democrats can complain all they want. Kasich has 15 months to communicate his positions to the voters. And he should be taking his time in formulating those positions so Ohioans have a clear understanding of what he'll do as Governor.

If Dems want to play politics with responsible campaigning, fine, but it won't do them any good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is cash all that matters?

As LetsTalk reported for 3BP last week, Rep. Zach Space has a sizeable chunk of change in the bank for his re-election bid - $800K.

His challenger, Jeannette Moll, has $52k.

That's quite an advantage.

But what these financial reports don't detail are the benefits gained by what's called 'earned media'.

For those that never worked in politics, earned media is a term used by pols to describe favorable media coverage, as opposed to paid media, which is favorable coverage via advertising.

Well, with the saturation of negative stories about Space regarding his vote on Cap and Trade, he now is dealing with serious negative coverage of his efforts supporting Obama's health care plan.
While U.S. Rep. Zack Space hammered through the new Health Care Reform Bill in Washington, D.C. Friday, protesters showed up at his office voicing their opinions as to why they don't agree with the bill.


"I've tried and tried to get Space on the phone, but I can't ever get anyone, so I decided to come in personally," Mendenhall said. "I'm truly blessed and grateful that I can be here, but it wouldn't have been possible if a plan like Obama's gets put in place. I just want Space to listen to us and read whatever bill is put in front of him carefully."
And the money quote?
"It scares me to death what the people in Washington are doing to us," Miller said. "I voted for Space but when he voted for the Cap and Trade, that was it."
In a story all about health care policy, how gratuitous a shot was that? Ouch.

So how much is all this earned media worth to Jeannette Moll?

It's priceless.

Interrogation Obama-style

The Obama team is getting into the anti-terror game. This should be interesting.
The White House is considering overhauling interrogation techniques of suspected terrorists by creating a small team of professionals drawn from across the government, people familiar with the proposal told The Wall Street Journal.


The team would likely be charged with devising a new set of interrogation methods, a person familiar with the proposal tells the paper. Those techniques could be drawn from sources ranging from scientific studies to the psychology behind television ads.
Here is a sneak peak at their methods.

Please note, this is not for the faint of heart.

h/t: Ho Tep

Where in the world is Governor Stricktaft?! Day 25!

As my readers know, 26 days ago I e-mailed the Governor's media office asking, "in light of Mark Sanford's situation, what is the policy of the Governor in releasing his schedule? Where can it be accessed, when is it released, etc.?"

I received a response the next day from Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst stating, "We generally release the governor’s schedule of public events on Fridays for the upcoming week."

I promptly responded, "would it be possible for me to be added to the list that receives this announcement? Also, if there are changes to the schedule, how is that updated?"

I had heard that the Governor has a bad habit of changing his schedule at the last minute, and I figured it was in the public's interest to know where the Governor is going.

After all, we can't have him unexpectedly heading down to South America. Ok, maybe we can, but I digress...

After yet another follow-up from me, today we are now at DAY 25 of no response from the Governor's office.

What kinda top secret stuff is Stricktaft getting into that the public isn't allowed to know where he goes? Even more annoying, does the Governor's media team not have a spare 30 seconds to respond to a blogger?

Or are they still ticked at me for calling them out on blocking me from following the Governor on twitter?

The 'Spatch is Pissed.

Late last week some, but not much, news was made in Ohio when GOP leaders made their push for waiting periods before voting on legislation.
State Representative Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), Minority Leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) and all House Republicans members will soon introduce legislation re-establishing a requirement that conference committee reports must undergo a two-day waiting period before consideration on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The proposed bill is in reaction to Monday’s House vote o
n the conference report for the $50.5 billion state budget only hours after the Conference Committee publicly released more than 2000 pages of changes. Almost no legislator on either side of the aisle was able to read the budget conference report before voting.
Not many paid attention. Maybe they just felt this was politics as usual. Maybe it was just more whining from the Minority Party.

Well, it turns out the Gov. Strickland/Speaker Budish strategy has angered a hungry lion.

The media.

How serious was it? Well, the Editor of the Columbus Dispatch felt it was serious enough to devote his column this past Sunday to the mess.
Our front page has been dominated by coverage of the state's budget crisis for the past few weeks.

This past week alone, we published one story after another exposing something else our reporters found tucked into the state's two-year spending plan.

We're not trying to torture you with a series of what some of you will call "bad news" stories. Rather, we want you to be informed.

We were forced to dribble out story after story because we didn't have access to the budget before it was approved.

The final 3,120-page, $50.5 billion budget wasn't available for public inspection online until Thursday. The 1,879-page amendment that finalized the changes in the budget surfaced Monday -- the same day lawmakers voted it out of committee and passed it in the Senate and House, sending it to the governor.

We all know how the MSM seems favorable to the left. But personal politics tends to be trumped when the media feels their craft has been insulted.

Expect continued vitriol from the Dispatch as we move on into campaign season. Reporters tend to have long memories.

And here he is again.

My 2012 candidate du jour, Haley Barbour, had his profile raised to serious contender this weekend thanks to a glowing profile from the Washington Post.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was Republican National Committee chairman the last time his party was at such a low, after the election of 1992. Two years later, Republicans captured control of Congress, and although Newt Gingrich, who became the new House speaker, got much of the credit, party insiders say Barbour played a major role.

Sixteen years later, Republicans are looking to Barbour to help lead them back once more. It is perhaps ironic that, at a time of generational change in politics, an elder statesman such as Barbour, 61, is once again poised to play a pivotal role for his party, this time in the elections of 2009 and 2010. And although he says a presidential candidacy in 2012 is not likely, Barbour has refused to shut the door on speculation that he is interested.
As we all know, refusing to shut the door on speculation might as well read, "I'm running for President."

Check out the rest of the article here.