Friday, October 2, 2009

Fire the Coach.

David Skolnick has an interesting column in today's Youngstown Vindicator highlighting the treacherous political road ahead for Governor Strickland.

But there were two aspects of the piece that I wanted to briefly discuss.

In sports, when a team is losing, a typical move is to fire the manager or coach, regardless of whether that person is at fault.

In politics, when a state is in trouble, voters typically blame those in leadership and vote them out of office.

This is what Strickland is facing a little over a year from his November 2010 re-election bid.
Skolnick is extremely close with this metaphor, but it misses on one essential point. In Ohio's case, the "coach" hasn't even made an effort to modify the playbook. He's kept running the same plays that made everyone want to get rid of the last coach.

Thus, Ted Stricktaft.

It was only a week ago that [John Kasich] scoffed at the five-year, 21-percent income tax cut that is in its final year.

“It’s not been enough,” he told me. “It’s not getting anybody’s attention.”

It’s interesting that Strickland is proposing to freeze the last of that tax cut, 4.2 percent, this year [and in 2010] to fill an expected state deficit of about $850 million.

I think people are paying attention to it now.
Skolnick seems to be trying to get a little too cute with his word play here. Clearly, Kasich meant that the tax cut wasn't the type of tax reform that provides motivation for businesses and individuals to come to Ohio - not that it simply needed more publicity.

But one thing has become clear as I read newspapers from around the state as they discuss Ted Strickland's plan - they aren't picking sides. Newspapers aren't depicting it solely as a tax "freeze" or a tax "increase", pending on which side is explaining it.

That means it will be up to the candidates and messengers on each side to convince the voters which it really is. And that's the challenge.

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