Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How about this idea instead, Ted?

Rather than increasing taxes by $844 million, how about considering increasing state spending at 80% of the current rate of growth?

From the House Republican Caucus:
The fact remains that total spending is authorized to increase $3.5 billion this new fiscal year over last. And next year it is authorized to increase another $900 million over this year. That is a $4.4 billion spending increase that is authorized compared to last year. That is a 7.8 percent increase over last year.
It's downright ridiculous that it's even gotten to this point.

Want a bit of perspective? Between 1981-2008, federal spending has increased an average of 2.48 percent per year in inflation-adjusted dollars.

In other words, just in the last year, spending in Ohio increased at over 3 times the federal average between 1981-2008.

And Ted wants a tax hike.


How will it play?

One thing is for sure after today's announcement from Ted Strickland - Republicans will use his decision to raise taxes against him.

There are many ways to frame it. For example, "Ohioans didn't expect they'd be asked to pony up $844 million more for Ted Strickland's budget mess, but here we are."

In the Fall of 2010, there will be a message war between the Strickland and Kasich campaigns. As with all re-election campaigns, it will be centered around the record of the incumbent.

So, using the talking points from Ted Strickland's own campaign website, how will they play against eachother? Let's test it out....
I added school days to the calendar.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.

I created a residency program for teachers, similar to the process a new doctor might go through.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.

I crafted an evidenced-based approach that ensures that every Ohio child will receive an adequate education.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.

I signed a major tax cut for senior citizen homeowners, lessening the tax burden on Ohioans with fixed incomes.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.

I froze tuition at all public colleges and universities - the only state in the nation to do so over the last 2 years.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.

I proposed and signed legislation requiring that 25 percent of all of Ohio’s electricity be produced from advanced energy sources, such as wind and solar.

Under Ted Strickland, unemployment doubled and your taxes were raised by $844 million.
I think you get my point.

Effective campaigns are defined by effective messages on issues of high priority to voters.

The economy is, and will continue to be, the number one issue among Ohioans. Thanks to Strickland's ineptitude, Kasich now has his primary message that, whether you think it's fair or not, will be incredibly effective on the Ohio electorate in 2010.

Toldja. Strickland announces $844 million tax increase on Ohioans.

3BP broke the story last night.

And there is one clear fact that came out of this morning's press conference: the Governor announced an $844 million tax increase on Ohioans.

After all, how else do you raise $844 million from taxpayers to cover a budget shortfall?

This is the harsh reality of the Governor's plan - for the individual taxpayers, withholding tables were reduced effective 1/1/09. That means this year they are having taxes withheld at a lower rate than the actual taxes they will owe under the Governor's proposal. So come tax day, every Ohio family will owe much more, or receive a much smaller refund, than they bargained for.

Ohio families will pay for the Governor's incompetence.

The Governor framed his choices as three fold, 1) Raise sales taxes, 2) Cut education funding, or 3) freeze income tax rates.

Except those aren't, and haven't been, the only options, Governor.

Ted Strickland seems to forget he came into office almost 3 years ago. He's had years to reshape how Ohio government works and reform its structure.

And he's done nothing.

Particularly ironic was a story that came out this morning:
The state says more than 100,000 Ohio employees of major retail and restaurant chains get health insurance not from the companies but from taxpayers, through Medicaid.


The report notes that some Ohioans who could be insured through their employer opt for Medicaid instead because it costs them less or offers them more coverage.
Ohio shouldn't be paying for 100,000 Ohio workers to get medicaid coverage that they could just as easily get through their employer, Governor. They are taking advantage of a state system that is set up for abuse and your lack of leadership has allowed this to happen.

The Governor wants to frame his choice today as one that took courage? Ridiculous. It was the only one he had left. And it's his fault.

Ted laughs at the idea of condemning Democrat corruption in Cleveland

All you need to see is the first few seconds of this video to get an understanding of what Ted Strickland thinks about standing up for an ethical government...

Strickland, Brown won't call for resignations in Cuyahoga County corruption probe


Especially when you consider the latest in the case:
Timothy J. Armstrong, 65, will likely face at least three years in prison after admitting he helped distribute $1.3 million in kickbacks to Russo and a Russo aide in exchange for contracts to perform commercial appraisals for the county.
What else do you need, Governor?

For pete's sake, as leader of the Ohio Democratic Party and Governor you should at least ask him to step down from his position of authority while these charges are reviewed.

It makes you wonder what is motivating the Governor to refrain from such an obvious tactical move.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BREAKING RUMOR: Jello Ted to Raise Taxes!

Word in circles this evening is that tomorrow morning Ted Strickland and House Democrats will put the nail in the coffin that is the Governor's campaign for re-election.

Rumor is that Ted is going to announce a plan to raise taxes.

-Because that's what you do when your business tax climate is the absolute worst in the midwest and 4th worst in the nation.

-Because that's what you do when unemployment is at levels not seen in 25 years.

-Because that's what you do when you don't have the guts to cut back the wasteful government spending that has flourished in Ohio for decades.

Besides this not-at-all surprising revelation, two aspects of this story are going to be particularly interesting to watch in the short- and long-term

First, over the next few days it will be intriguing to watch how Strickland spins his own claim that Senator and Former Governor Voinovich was "immature" in suggesting he do just what he's planning to do tomorrow.

Second, and more interesting in the long-term, virtually every major newspaper in the state has been calling for the Governor to raise taxes for months. Will they end up supporting the Governor's long and meandering path to their side? Or will they call out his clear lack of principles until he was forced into a corner?

One thing is clear, Strickland only had two options - raise taxes or cut spending. Strickland saw how the left was all too happy to feed on its own when the Governor cut their spending(e.g.; the Libraries, early ed programs, etc.). Strickland must feel that further enraging his base isn't politically feasible.

So where does he stand now? The left still upset that he broke his promises and cut their spending. The middle wondering what it would be like to have a Governor with principles. And the right ticked off that they are getting their taxes raised.

Well Gov, if you really go through with this tomorrow, and that's a big if considering your affinity for bad-news-Fridays, you will have completed the all-too-rare Political Suicide Trifecta.

I shoulda put money on it.

Yet more evidence that "Bush Attacks" won't work...

We here at 3BP have taken a look a couple times at what is, and what will continue to be, a familiar refrain from Ohio Democrats in tagging Rob Portman in the upcoming election for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat.

To put it simply, "Bush Bush Bush Bush PORTMAN Bush Bush Bush Bush."

We discussed the initial strategy here, then highlighted how there already is evidence it won't work here. Clearly, the Ohio Dems are relying totally and completely on the Bush canard.

Well, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post has provided us yet more perspective on this all-too-fallible strategy.
A look back at history suggests that even the most disliked of presidents tend to linger over their party's candidates only while they remain in office.

A look back at history suggests that even the most disliked of presidents tend to linger over their party's candidates only while they remain in office.

In 1974, the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon -- coming as it did just three months before a midterm election -- badly damaged his party, which lost 48 House seats and five Senate seats. Two years later Jimmy Carter was elected president largely on his pledge to be the anti-Nixon -- but congressional Republicans lost only a single seat in the House and no seats in the Senate.

Carter's ineffectual presidency cost him the White House and his party 34 House seats and a whopping 12 Senate seats in 1980 but two years later any lingering distaste for Carter had clearly worn off as Democrats picked up 26 House districts.

Now, after 2008 I can understand how difficult it must be for Ohio Democrats to pull away from their strategy. And by all means, feel free to continue with your effort.

Just don't spend much time getting ready for any Victory Party balloon drop.

An obvious answer to an obvious question.

"We continue to believe that below-average economic performance and a high reliance on nonrecurring measures to balance the current budget will make the return to structural balance more challenging."
Those were the words of Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robin Prunty when discussing Ohio's situation and their reasoning for the State's lowered credit rating.

It's easy to focus on the "below-average economic performance" aspect of the comment. After all, it's the number 1 issue in every Ohioan's mind when considering the state of the State.

But the most frightening aspect is the "high reliance on nonrecurring measures to balance the current budget". In other words, our next budget is going to be fubar.

So, with that in mind, who do you think Ohioans will want in charge?

The man who put us in this perilous situation to begin with, or the guy who served as the chief architect of a federal balanced budget?

The answer is clear.

Monday, September 28, 2009

This isn't good.

If you were to guess how many times the President has had a conversation with the U.S. Commander of Operations in Afghanistan, what would it be?

Countless? A bi-weekly update perhaps? Monthly, at worst?

Try once.

“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC [video teleconference],” General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.

“You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up.

“That is correct,” the general replied.


How were things different under Bush? You be the judge.

Bye, bye Cleveland?

Sorry Browns fans, as much as you likely wish it to be true after this weekend, this post isn't about the Dawg House moving to Wyoming.

Instead, it's to thank Brent Larkin for yet more campaign fodder. Here's a sample of his latest musing from the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Governor Strickland....


In Northeast Ohio, which Quinnipiac had going 47-33 for Strickland as of their last poll, the Democratic stronghold may not be quite as inspired to get off their butts and go vote for Ted Strickland after reading columns like this one. Remember, an absolutely vital aspect of every election is the Get Out the Vote(or GOTV) effort. If the voters have the same concerns as Brent Larkin, the Cleveland base won't even bother heading to the polls when the guy leading the ticket is someone they despise.

Now, to be fair, Larkin also says this in his column:
As 2010 approaches, the one thing that might save him is the scary fiscal policies advocated by his likely Republican opponent, former Rep. John Kasich. Strickland may seem to voters the lesser of two evils.
Scary fiscal policies? 1) Quite a cop-out to say such a thing without detailing what his objections specifically are; 2) Even more amusing to say such a thing since no policies have been officially rolled out; and 3) Playing devil's advocate, let's assume Cleveland voters don't like Kasich's policies which he announces them, it's not too often voters actually go out of their way to vote against someone, and especially in a midterm election.

But that single sentence matters not relative to the gist of the whole column, and how parts of it will hopefully be reprinted and placed on every Cleveland doorstep come Fall of next year.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breaking it down: The 9/25 Rasmussen 2010 Ohio Governor Poll

Word quickly spread yesterday about the Rasmussen poll that had Kasich up 1 against Jello Ted.
Now, no one believes polls this far out are indicative of how the race will play out, but with toplines like this one, they do accomplish a couple things and the demographic crosstabs indicate several others.

What do they do?

1) Used appropriately, they can give fundraising a kick in the butt. Contributors like to give to a someone that has a someone in an important race. This poll obviously indicates the first two are legit, and national media has repeatedly indicated the third.

2) It sparks a fire under the butts of the activist base. As was indicated last week at the Leading Ohio dinner when just Kasich's introduction brought the crowd to its feet, the candidate's efforts to swing through the state and hit up dozens upon dozens of Lincoln Day dinners has fired up the base. But seeing poll numbers like these provide that base a little red meat. It shows them there is a reason to be fired up. It shows them, that with hard work, they can help John win.

Now what do the demographic crosstabs indicate? Let's take a look...

1) First thing that stuck out were the age breakdowns. No where is it close. Strickland leads solidly among 18-29, 50-64, and 65+. Kasich maintains leads of 15 and 19 among 30-39s and 40-49s, respectively. A couple good things can be read into this one. Young people don't vote. Even in 2008 with Obama on the ballot, participation among that demographic was only slightly higher than normal. Imagine what it will be like in a midterm election with Ted Strickland inspiring them to get to the polls. As for the older generations, I just can't see Strickland maintaining his 14 point lead among the 65+ group. Yes, his politically well-targeted, but silly, property tax cut for seniors will obviously play well, you can't discount seniors' ill will towards Democrats in general thanks to how the health care reform plan has been played.

An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted this month showed that while the public in general was opposed to Democrats' health care proposals, seniors were almost twice as likely to be concerned. Opponents of Democrats' plans outnumbered supporters 49 percent to 34 percent. Among seniors, 59 percent were opposed compared with 31 percent in support.

This likely won't translate to flipping Strickland's numbers, but it will make a serious dent.

2) Independents. My favorite demographic this year. Kasich has a 14 point lead. This is ten points higher than the Quinnipiac poll from a couple weeks ago.

3) Another interesting difference between the Rasmussen poll and the Quinnipiac poll? Support among the base. With Rasmussen, Kasich has greater support among Republicans than Strickland does among Dems. In fact, Kasich's numbers among the base improved by 14 points net.


4) They know him.

Here's where we see the most massive difference between Rasmussen and Quinnipiac. In Quinnipiac's poll, 55% of Republicans didn't know Kasich. In Rasmussen, that number improves 34 points to 21%. Something else interesting to point out here is that the favorable numbers don't change, despite massively more voters knowing about him. In Rasmussen, the GOP approves of Kasich 66-13. With Quinnipiac, the proportion was relatively the same - 39-5. The GOP is fired up.

5) What about Kasich's indies? 47-19.

6) My favorite number from this poll? Kasich is only -4 in favoribility among....wait for it....Democrats.

Are you kidding me? If that sticks, Kasich wins. Hands down.

7) For comparison's sake, what about Strickland among Republicans? He's -59.


Conclusion: Identifying the candidate. That's the big difference between this poll and Quinnipac. So, why the difference? It's in who they are polling. Quinnipiac polls all registered voters. Rasmussen only polls likely voters.

Wanna take a second and tell me who is more likely to vote in a midterm election?

Exactly. Polling all registered voters matters more in Presidential years than midterms, when there aren't two big national names to vote for.

One of the most vital strategies for the Democrats coming into this election was to define John Kasich before he could define himself. "Lehman Lehman Lehman" is all we've heard from the opposition since Kasich announced.

But from the looks of these numbers, it may already be too late. Once a voter initially forms their opinion on a candidate, it's more difficult to change it. And a whole lotta likely voters already know John. And they dramatically approve.

As we move forward Ted Strickland faces a great challenge. His resume is one-sided. He is Governor. He will be judged on what has happened over the course of four years. That's it.

And at the same time, Strickland must convince the voters that all that matters about John Kasich is that he worked at Lehman Brothers at the time of the national financial disaster and is in some way responsible for it. Anyone who has a basic understanding of finance will know it's a massively intellectually dishonest strategy, but it alone could be effective.

[DJ note: How depressing must it be knowing your only argument is based on a completely and intellectually dishonest debate tactic? I wonder if it makes it hard to sleep at night.]

If that's all there was to John.

But it isn't. John's resume of service goes back decades. You will be overloaded with commercials that repeatedly highlight John's role as architect of the first federal balanced budget since man walked on the moon. Voters will have a choice, either believe these commercials from John are a total lie, or don't. If they believe there is a shred of truth to them, which obviously there is, then Strickland's Lehman Brothers argument will be discounted. "Sure, he worked there, but Kasich obviously knows how to fix government," they'll say.

And this doesn't even bring to mind Strickland's negatives. Comparitive and negative ads will completely destroy whatever shred of credibility the Governor has left. As I've said before, the amount of ammo is massive.

And the GOP knows how to shoot straight.

h/t again to WMD for his help with obtaining the numbers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Absolutely. Positively. 100%. Yes.

Yes, we all had our issues with this guy, but wow what a few months will do to your opinion.

Kasich takes the lead!

This is how I like to celebrate post #1,001.

Rasmussen is up with their first poll on the Ohio Governor's race.

I'll try to get my hands on the demographic crosstabs and put up an analysis ASAP.

1,000 posts.

This is the 1000th post on Third Base Politics.

Considering this blog was initially started as simply a way to vent my thoughts and ideas on the political world that I've left behind, that's damn surprising.

As I said in our very first post in June of last year:

Our goal is to provide yet another perspective in the immeasurable world of opinion that is American politics. Fortunately, there is more than enough material to analyze, interpret and mock incessantly.

We'll try to update once a day...and who knows....maybe more.

And just in the past four months we've averaged nearly 100 posts a month. Wow.

I wonder how many of them have the words "Strickland" and "failure" in both. Ha.

Anyways, thanks to the several hundreds that come and visit each day. Your comments and support are sincerely appreciated and the only payment I receive, other than the sweet, sweet knowledge that I'm getting under the skin of Governor Strickland.

Also, we're just four away from 200 fans on facebook, so click here to join the gang.

In the meantime, I was thinking in honor of the 1000th post it would be great for our readers to visit Kasich for Ohio and donate just 1/10th or 1/100th the number of our total posts as their team pushes on towards victory next November.

And as always, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments or story ideas.

Thanks again, everyone.

Don't you know that you're toxic?

No, this isn't another post about Toxic Ted being left out of an Ohio Obama visit.

Instead, it's about a very important number that has been floating around DC.


That's the number, according to political analyst Charlie Cook, of congressional seats currently held by Democrats that were won by Bush in 2004 AND McCain in 2008.

Red seats. In blue hands.

For Democrats preparing for mid-term elections without an Obama on the ballot, that's bad news.

But I digress, I take you back to February of this year. Obama's approval rating is up over 60 percent, and his net approval was bouncing above and below 20 points. Democrats were leading the Generic Congressional ballot by 4 points. The President had political capital, and he spent it getting the stimulus passed.

All of it.

Since then it's been a quick ride downwards. The President's net approval has flipped by around 25-30 points. And the Generic Congressional ballot has completely inverted.

Now, I'm not going to go making any predictions about the House turning hands, I'll leave that to respected left-wing bloggers. Instead, I'm thinking in the short-term.

With poll numbers showing signs of Republican resurgance and backlash to Democrat policies like Health Care reform, the Democrats in those 48 vulnerable seats have, along with their commander-in-chief, run out of political capital.

Time has run out on the President to pass any sweeping progressive legislative agenda for the mere reason that those 48 members, plus whatever blue dogs aren't included in that number, will be so worried about retaining their seat that they will force the Administration to hold off on forcing them to take a position on immigration policy, the tax code, or whatever may be next for the President, before the midterm election season begins.

Don't ya know that he's toxic?

What's with the logo, Ted?

This is Governor Jello Ted Stricktaft's logo for the upcoming 2010 election.

Ted Strickland FOR Governor.

Not "Re-elect Ted".

Not "Keep Ted".

Not "Ted Strickland - Governor".

But, "Ted Strickland FOR Governor".


Now, I'm usually not one to read too closely into things....except in politics. When it comes to phrasing and messaging, words mean things. And none will be as scrutinized as a candidate's logo.

And Ted Strickland's campaign decided to keep as far away from inferring incumbency as possible.

Now, clearly Ted's campaign won't tell people to stop calling him Governor, and Ted won't go back to living above his campaign HQ rather than the Gov's mansion.

But one thing is clear - Ted doesn't want credit for his mess.

I can't say I blame him. But it just amazes me how one logo can tell you so much about an election.

Poor Ted.

Take aim. Fire! Dave Yost steps it up.

Ohio AG candidate Dave Yost has recently shown his attack dog chops in taking Democrat AG Richard Cordray to the woodshed.

We already knew Yost was a bright conservative with a solid future, but his game clearly has stepped up.
As Attorney General Richard Cordray prepares to intervene in the corruption scandal in Cuyahoga County government, opponent Dave Yost today criticized Cordray for his allegedly sluggish response.


“Fortunately, the federal government has the lead in this case," Yost said in a statement. "Ohio’s legal watchdog should have pounced on this matter long ago. Now that he’s put his puppy paw in the ring, we are left to wonder what kind of job Cordray could possibly do, given the fact that, prior to taking office, he had no prosecutorial experience whatsoever."
Puppy paw? Awesome.

While DeWine is laying the groundwork as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, Yost is embracing his role as underdog with his second attack against Cordray in a week and showing the state Party establishment that he understands who is the real enemy.

As we've mentioned before, DeWine is the candidate we need to stop the Cordray for Governor 2014 train, but it's clear that Yost has a bright future in the Ohio Republican Party.

Breaking down the Rasmussen Poll on the Ohio Senate Race...

What can I say? Once again we're saturated with loads of useful info from Rasmussen's latest poll on the Ohio Senate Race between Rob Portman and Brunner/Fisher.

The topline is easy: Portman is in a statistical deadheat with both.

But when you look deeper, there is some very good news for Rob Portman.
So, what caught my eye? Let's start at the beginning...

While the most likely matchup will be Portman v. Fisher, the results of both matchups are comparable. With that in mind, we'll look at them both together.

1) The only gender gap is among men when Portman pulls a 6 point lead over Brunner. All other gender breakdowns between the candidates are statistical dead heats. Seeing as female candidates usually enjoy some sort of gap among women, Brunner's insignificant 1 point lead is surprising.

2) Unlike the Quinnipiac polls for Guv and Senate, Rasmussen has all candidates drawing relatively similar support from their own Party. With that said, slightly more Dems support Portman than GOPers support Fisher/Brunner.

3) But the kicker is the independent voters. Wow. In the famous 'other' Party ID tab, Portman wins 46-19 vs. Fisher and 42-20 vs. Brunner. That is ri-damn-diculous. But where can Portman improve? Moderates. And he will.

4) Not surprisingly, Portman is the least well known among the candidates, but not by much. With Fisher and Portman, both have similar approval ratings within their own Party, a sign of solid support from the base which is vital for GOTV. But it's the approval ratings among Indies where things turn sharply towards Portman. While Fisher's approval rating with them is a net -10, Portman enjoys a +15. A 25 point gap. With Brunner, things are a bit stickier. Her net approval among Indies is -13. A 28 point gap against Portman.

5) The economy. The number one issue in Ohio. And with the Democrats in power, that's bad news for the donkeys. In the only number that really matters, only 29% of Ohioans think things are getting better. Even among Democrats, the quantity of those thinking things are getting worse or staying the same(which is not good) is higher than those that believe things are getting better. As you can well imagine, the number among Indies is even worse news for the Dems - 49 think things are getting worse, only 19 believe they are getting better. Without an incumbent to run against and the Democrats perceived to be in control, this is clearly bad news for the left.

6) Rasmussen was kind enough to tease us a bit by asking voters their thoughts on the Gov. As we've hit on before when discussing the Quinnipiac polls, the numbers detailing support within one's own Party are vital in determining how well the candidate will do with GOTV. And after looking at these numbers, Ted Strickland should be worried...a whopping 1/4 of Democrats disapprove of his job as Governor. Among indies, his approval is negative -17.

As you can see, lots of good news for Portman and Ohioans.

Special thanks to Matt at WMD for getting me the numbers. It's great to see some teamwork among the GOP Ohio blogosphere. Check out his analysis here.

UPDATE: One more point I forgot to mention, while Brunner's negatives tend to be higher than Fisher's, thereby making her a more attractive opponent for Portman, it's important to note that the toughest card has yet to be played against the Lt. Governor - his time as Director of Development where he oversaw massive job loss and his obvious ties to Toxic Ted. Brunner, on the other hand, has had her hand in several controversial headlines since months before the '08 election. Lesson being, don't get too caught up with these numbers. Remember, we still have a long way to go.

And so it begins. Ohio House Dems propose raising taxes...


Yesterday, Rep. Hagan introduced HB 284, a bill that would increase the marginal income tax rate applicable to income in excess of $200,000 to its pre-2005 rate.

So, is this a good idea? After all, the Governor's budget is in complete disarray and he has yet to propose how he's going to fund the shortfall.

Well, let me give you two real-life and current examples of why Hagan's idea could not be more stupid.

1) I give you Democrat and soon-to-be ex-Governor David Paterson of New York speaking yesterday on his state's tax revenue problem:

"You heard the mantra, 'Tax the rich, tax the rich,' " Gov. David Paterson said Wednesday at a gathering of newspaper editors at an Associated Press event in Syracuse. "We've done that. We've probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state."
2) From this past May, here is the Wall Street Journal on Maryland.
Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

Two case studies just in the past few months that prove taxing the wealthy, if you even want to consider $200k as wealthy, is a dumb idea.

But when has that ever stopped Ohio Democrats?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kanye interrupts Jello Ted

More on the unproven proven missile defense system...

As we all know by now, during the campaign President Obama said he would "cut investments in unproven missile defense systems."

Since then, that thought process has evolved into "the U.S. will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven."

As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air states so well:

There has always been an air of absurdity about the opposition to missile-defense systems. No one argues that missiles aren’t a threat, but somehow defending ourselves against it is illegitimate unless one stumbles on a complete, perfect defense immediately. That we have never found a perfect defense against any weapon on the first throw doesn’t appear to faze people at all.

When Germans introduced U-boats in World War I, we answered with depth charges. Did that kill every submarine? No. Did that make depth charges a waste of effort and money? Not at all.

Well, as of this past weekend we've now learned, yet again, what an incredible success the missile defense program has become with the destruction of a mobile target[read: missile] during testing. Props to a reader within the Boeing organization that forwarded this great news:

This past Saturday, our teammates on the Advanced Tactical Laser achieved another first for that program. At White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the ATL aircraft successfully damaged a mobile target with several direct hits from the air. This achievement comes less than three weeks after a successful test by ATL against several stationary targets. These tests demonstrate that an airborne directed energy system can fire a high-energy laser in flight and precisely track and hit both stationary and mobile ground targets.
Below are pictures from the development and testing of the laser.***

*** - Not really. But Real Genius is an awesome movie and considering the great news this was too perfect not to share.

Strickland: "I know you guys won't fall for this, but...."

From the PD:
The state’s top Democratic officeholders – Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sherrod Brown – say they’re too busy doing their own jobs and focusing on issues like job creation to take a stand on whether Cuyahoga County public officials who are being investigated for corruption should resign.
So we're supposed to expect this jello eating, band leading, forty-city fundraising schmuck is too busy to live up to his duty and stand up against corruption?


Governor, you've become a parody of yourself.

Tiberi: "It's censorship. Pure and simple."

Don't mess with Big Brother.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office director told Mr. Baucus's committee that its plan to cut $123 billion from Medicare Advantage—the program that gives almost one-fourth of seniors private health-insurance options—will result in lower benefits and some 2.7 million people losing this coverage.
An insurance company named Humana decided this was information it felt necessary to pass on to its customers.

To put it lightly, Senator Max Baucus, author of the most recent form of Health Care reform legislation, didn't take kindly to a private company enlightening its customers. Baucus ordered medicare regulators to investigate. What happened?
Jonathan Blum, acting director of a regulatory office in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said that a mailer Humana sent its customers was "misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe that it represents official communication about the Medicare Advantage program."

Mr. Blum has also banned all Advantage contractors from telling their customers what Mr. Elmendorf has just told Congress. Mr. Blum happens to be a former senior aide to Mr. Baucus and a health adviser on the Obama transition team.
Needless to say, this is downright ridiculous.

Central Ohio's very own Pat Tiberi isn't taking this sitting down.
This order was spurred by Humana sending a one page letter to their beneficiaries explaining the possible cuts. However, leaders at CMS have ordered Humana to cease communication and have begun an investigation. It’s censorship pure and simple. Amazing that other insurance providers, like AARP, can vocally advocate for changes outlined in President Obama’s plan,without such scrutiny.
Keep it up, Pat. Keep your boot on their back, and don't let go 'til they cry uncle.

Change you can believe in?

Hey Obama zealots, this is what you voted for, right?
The Obama administration has decided not to seek new legislation from Congress authorizing the indefinite detention of about 50 terrorism suspects being held without charges at at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, officials said Wednesday.

Instead, the administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.
Good for the President.


The indoctrination continues...

I know this has been posted on Drudge, but I can't let a chance go by to briefly comment on this video of children singing their praises of Barack Obama...


Now, at the time of posting there is some question about whether or not this is a public school. Obviously, a private school could teach what it chooses, however bizarre. But either way, it's just downright odd to me to force schoolchildren to learn and perform a song praising the words and teachings of the current President of the United States.

Like I'm sure you do, I remember the elementary school plays where the tall kid dressed up like Lincoln and recited the Gettysburg Address. Or the kid with goofy glasses pretending to be Teddy Roosevelt. Of course, I never saw anyone portray Chester Arthur. Quite a shame...

But I digress...

The point is that those figures are historical in nature.

While many on the far left like to think otherwise, right now Barack Obama is simply a politician. He doesn't require songs pronouncing his good word from children who don't know better.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cuyahoga County embarrassment getting noticed by national pundits...

NRO's Jim Geraghty took note of the Democrat's ethical mess in Cleveland:

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer notices: "On Monday, county Commissioners Tim Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones, county Treasurer Jim Rokakis and Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald all publicly asked county Auditor Frank Russo to resign. Advice so good should be repeated as often as necessary by the state's top Democratic officeholders. So far, however, Gov. Ted Strickland and the Cleveland area's Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Sen. Sherrod Brown have stayed silent."

Why, it's almost as if they put party loyalty ahead of ethics and the law. Lee Fisher, by the way, wants to be Ohio's next senator, touting the fact that when he was the state's attorney general, "took seriously my solemn responsibility to protect Ohioans as their chief law enforcement officer." I guess he got over that.
Good points.

Well, Ted and Lee? We're waiting.

Is the GOP starting to lose momentum on stimulus messaging?

One of the primary messages that led us to the amazing showing of citizen activism in August was the unified voice of GOP leadership highlighting the failure that is the nearly trillion dollar stimulus package.

In July, Rasmussen had only 25% of all Americans believing the stimulus had a positive impact. That meant 75% believed it had a negative impact, no impact, or didn't know. All are positive for GOP messaging.

However, since then, this positive impact number has trended up each month. Up to 33% last month and to 36% this month.

While the focus is bound to turn away from the stimulus, it still is the one signature item of Obama's domestic agenda that has actually been implemented and one that should be a major point of debate in the 2010 elections. It's essential that the electorate maintain an understanding of its inefficiencies and failures.

Stay on target, everyone.

Cincy to Columbus in 3.2 stupendously long hours!!!

Gov. Strickland's most intense lobbying efforts in Washington of late have been in hopes of obtaining a chunk of the $8 billion in stimulus dollars for high-speed rail connecting Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland.

It's an incredibly stupid idea.

Now, we've gone over the reasons many times before here on 3BP, but even more information has come to light lately that only reinforces our belief.

Today, the Columbus Dispatch informed us of a report that lowered the average MPH for the trains to a mindnumbingly slow 39mph.

So, if you wanted to get from Cincinnati to Columbus, it would take you approximately 3.2 hours, based on a required stop in Dayton.

3.2 hours.

From Cleveland to Columbus? Over 3 hours.

Now, why would anyone consider this commute? Well, according to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood:

"People like to ride trains," LaHood told The Dispatch editorial board. "You don't build these trains to travel faster, although you sometimes do."

He said people could read books, work on their computers, eat and perform other tasks on trains that are difficult or illegal to do while driving.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing.

So, now that we've irrationally rationalized spending nearly double the amount of time necessary to travel on a train, let's look at whether it's even needed in the first place....according to folks who realllllly want more passenger rail throughout the United States, America 2050, a non-profit urban planning project. In their report "the authors evaluate 27,000 city pairs in the nation to create an index of city pairs with the greatest demand for high-speed rail service."

Defining which corridors are most appropriate for highspeed rail development is critical for the long term success of this nascent federal program. The $8 billion appropriated for high-speed rail in the ARRA legislation is only a small fraction of what will be necessary to fully construct an American high-speed rail network.
And where is Cincinnati-Dayton, Dayton-Columbus, Columbus-Clevland...or even Cincy-Columbus, on their list of priorities?

Not even in the top 50, or phase one of their plan.

Nor is it in phase two.

Not until do we get to phase 3, and billions upon billions later, do we get to connect Ohio via rail service.

There simply is not the demand or infrastructure necessary to require such an over-the-top investment.


Not yet?

Ok, we'll conclude with the latest bit of analysis from those who know screwing up rail service best, Amtrak:
Amtrak says an inventory shortage means that Ohio would need to buy new trains for its planned rail service, and that will challenge the state's 2011 startup date.

Amtrak said in a study released last week that about $175 million in new equipment is needed for trains connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

The agency says train sets, from design to assembly, can take several years to deliver.

That's all passenger rail service will be for Ohio if this project is approved.

And yet another Strickland mess for the next Governor, and many Governors after him, to clean up.

Unless there was any doubt...

...that the 2009 gubernatorial races in NJ and VA are the first report cards on the Obama Administration.

Need proof? See Corzine's latest...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The rankings are in!!! And Ohio is....

Still 47th.


The past year we here at 3BP have been frustrated at Ohio's place among the rankings for the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index (SBTCI). The ranking is designed "to gauge how states' tax systems compare. Policymakers can use the SBTCI to pinpoint changes to their tax systems that will explicitly improve their states' standing in relation to competing states.

"Certainly job creation is rapid overseas, as previously underdeveloped nations enter the world economy. So state lawmakers are right to be concerned about how their states rank in the global competition for jobs and capital, but they need to be more concerned with companies moving from Ithaca, NY, to Indianapolis, IN, than from Ithaca to India. This means that state lawmakers must be aware of how their states' tax climates match up to their immediate neighbors and to other states within their regions."

So, with the new rankings released this morning, how does Ohio stack up in its region?


The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan organization, used each state's Corporate Tax Index, Individual Income Tax Index, Sales Tax Index, Unemployment Insurance Tax Index, and Property Tax index to determine the final rankings.

Unfortunately for Ohio, the state scored 47th, 38th, 46th, 37th, 10th, and 49th, respectively. Even more depressing, where the state scored best was the least important factor in determining the ranking.

You see data like this and so many of Ohio's troubles make sense.
  • Unemployment at levels a full 11% higher than the national average and more than double what they were when Ted Strickland came into office.
  • Going back as far as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics allows online, Strickland is the only Ohio Governor who has seen the state labor force decline under his watch. This means Ohioans have completely given up looking for work, and many young people are leaving the state under what has come to be known as the brain-drain.
  • And most recently we learn that the latest census figures show the median household income declined in eight of the Ohio's 10 largest cities last year.
Turnaround Ohio, Governor Strickland?

Ohioans are done waiting.

Want to do something about it? Contribute today to elect John Kasich the next Governor of Ohio.

Husted v. Brunner - a legal perspective of a total and complete mess

3BP contributor Insert Clever Alias Here, Esq. is back with another legal analysis. This time he helps us out by examining the Brunner/Husted fiasco. This is great stuff. Check it out.

I've briefly read Brunner's decision and the letters she's sent back and forth to the Mont. Co. Board of Elections. Essentially, there are at least two provisions and a great deal of case law that establish voting residence as, roughly, "the place where you intend to return." While Brunner acknowledged these laws, she applied a third provision that defined residency as, roughly, "the place where a married person's family lives."

This is the tricky part of her decision. I think she understood that if she applied the usual "intend to return" test that Husted probably wins. [note: Husted testified that he intends to return Kettering] While some of his water bills and other bits of evidence may indicate he doesn't reside there too often, I think a disinterested fact finder (e.g., NOT Brunner) would have concluded that's enough. By introducing a different provision of Ohio law into the mix she muddies up the water just enough to help her defend her position if she's reversed in Court. If that happens, Brunner will emphasize the fact that she was forced to apply conflicting law and can't be faulted for getting it wrong.

I think it's unquestionable that she picked a politically motivated result (Husted loses) and then reasoned to that result by bending (and perhaps breaking) well established law. I think there's a 70% chance that this will wind up reversed in Court. The issue does turn on the application of facts to a somewhat squishy legal concept and Brunner's rationale isn't that far out of whack.

However, I think it's readily available to almost anyone with a pulse that Ms. Brunner used her power in an attempt to injure a person who happens to be running for her job in an aportionment board year. In our Country, the right to vote is a fundamental right. I pray that Ohio doesn't send a person who fails to recognize that to the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE: I notice that Sen. Husted has answered the question of what comes next. Ohio Supreme Court should have a decision on this within 3 weeks.

Here is a super interesting point that I missed because I assumed Ms. Brunner would discuss all relevant authority. The Ohio Constitution - Article II Section 3, entitled "Residence Requirements for State Legislatures" - reads:

§3 Senators and representatives shall have resided intheir respective
districts one year next preceding theirelection, unless they shall have been
absent on thepublic business of the United States, or of this state.

Ms. Brunner did not mention this section at all in her decision. I find that very curious considering the Ohio Constitution happens to trump every state law that Ms. Brunner cites. It doesn't take a law degree to see how Section 3 might apply to Sen. Husted's situation. If the Supreme Court is so inclined, and I don't know if they will be, they could easily reverse Ms. Brunner on these 18 words.

This is what you call a heavy news day.

Wow. The Dispatch Political reporters were busy today.

Let's sum up.

Strickland is in denial about his vicious defeat. And getting into a fight over raising taxes isn't helping. Slots are off the table, Ted. Either cut spending or raise taxes. Quit being a wuss.

Higher taxes?
The Dispatch sidesteps Strickland and gives some options for increasing taxes. The media discussing increasing taxes on Strickland's watch does nothing to help the Governor's messaging.

Brunner v. Husted.
Brunner defies the legal experts and sides against Husted. Clearly, politically this is a negative for Husted, even if the OH Supreme Court overturns it. But interestingly enough Brunner just can't help putting herself in the position to once again lose out to the Ohio Supremes. She's going to lose. The question is how embarrassing it will be.

Anti-Estate Tax activists.
Signatures are being gathered to push for the General Assembly, and maybe even the voters, to consider repealing the Estate Tax. As one of Kasich's priorities, it will be interesting to see what kind of traction this gets.

Senate hearings on illegals and driving privileges.

Husted delays hearings on request from the IG, thereby making the story last even longer and making Ohio Republicans happy.

House Republicans promote job creation.

As I said yesterday, the House GOP is stepping up. Dem Rep. Sandra Williams' quote had me laughing, "I would tell them to show up and bring some ideas to the table." Um. They did. You're the one asleep at the wheel.

The Green Movement in a nutshell

Back in January, one of the more widely embraced arguments in defense of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was that the bill would spark a national clean energy revolution. This revolution would be a twofer, so the proponents said, that would create thousands of good paying "green jobs" and help to end our reliance on the dirty, carbon based, and imported fuels that our economy has come to depend on.

Roughly $70 billion was set aside in ARRA to fund the revolution. Early White House estimates predicted that nearly half a million jobs would be created by the end of 2010 from stimulus-funded investments in advanced energy technologies and projects. These funds are just now starting to trickle into Ohio, so it is hard at this point to predict how the state's energy portfolio will be transformed by the stimulus bill. But if a U.S. Forest Service energy project in Wayne National Forest (brought to my attention by a contact of mine on the hill) is any predictor, American tax payers are in for a pretty big let down.

Displayed proudly on the U.S. Forest Service's ARRA Success Stories web page, is an entry about a $400,000 project to upgrade a solar system on the roof of the Wayne National Forest's Supervisor's Office near Nelsonville, Ohio. In March, Wayne National Forest (Ohio's only national forest) was awarded nearly $400,000 in stimulus funding to install an additional 252 solar panels to its 2-year-old solar energy system. The forest service had previously installed a 20-panel solar energy system, at a cost of $33,000 in 2007, and added 30 more solar panels at a cost of $35,000 in 2008. This 50-panel system generated about seven percent of the building’s energy needs during peak production months.

In a March press release, the forest service claimed that the combined 302 panels would supply 50 percent of the building’s energy needs and that four local jobs would be created. After the project was completed in August, the Forest Service revised expectations and announced that the solar panels would generate about 30 to 34 percent of the building’s electricity during peak production months, but average only 15 to 20 percent annually.

Thanks to information provided on the U.S. Forest Service's website, we are given enough to be able to do a back of the envelope cost-benefit analysis of the project. According to personnel at the Wayne National Forest, the building's electricity bill in 2007 was $31,000 (based on an average electricity price of 9.4 cents per kilowat hour). If you give the engineers the benefit of the doubt and say that the new system is able to achieve a 20 percent reduction on annual electricity costs, that equates to a savings of approximately $6,200 a year on electricity costs.

When the annual savings are divided against the cost of the new solar panel system plus the cost of the 50 panels that had previously been installed ($468,000), and given that there will be no dramatic spike in the cost of electricity, the length of time that it will take for the system to pay for itself is around 75 years. Of course, this does not take into account maintenance costs or the diminishing generation rate of the panels as they age.

This is a ridiculously long return on investment in and of itself, but keep in mind that the estimated lifetime of your average solar panel is around 25 years.

A good idea? You be the judge. The project will be a stop on the Green Energy Ohio 2009 Ohio Solar Tour on October 3 and 4th. I'd encourage you to stop by and let them know how you really feel about it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What about Afghanistan?

For weeks I've been discussing with friends about the potential political landmine that is Afghanistan for President Obama. Slowly, it has begun to re-enter the consciousness of America as we realize the missed opportunity and the dangerous situation we've allowed to occur.

As usual, The Hammer hits a home run on the issue:

Key takeaway: In March, the President announced the implementation of his "new strategy" in Afghanistan. Six months later, here is the situation.

It's time for Obama to start taking his job more seriously.

Can you wait a couple decades?

Today, President Obama said Ohio's economy is going to take two decades to recover.

Well, Mr. President, 641,000 unemployed Ohioans don't have that kind of time.

Back in February when you were touting your stimulus bill in Ohio we saw this headine:

Little did we know what the real timeline would be.

But, at least the Ohio House Republicans are stepping up to the plate of leadership.
Frustrated with inaction on the part of Governor Strickland and the Economic Development Committee, Republican members engaged in discussions with the local business community for ideas to revamp Ohio's economy. Based on their findings from market research and conversations with constituents, the House Republicans created a package of proposals that were announced at the press conferences and will be introduced in the coming weeks.


The House Economic Development Committee [chaired by Democrats] has only met four times since the commencement of the 128th General Assembly and has yet to pass a single bill. The only item to pass out of committee was an ineffectual House Resolution that created the Compact With Ohio Cities Task Force, which focuses on local municipalities rather than the economic health of the entire state.
Since Ted Strickland has been so focused on avoiding the issue of economic growth, I'm happy to see House Republicans, despite their position in the minority, stepping up and offering substantive solutions that directly address the job crisis that currently exists in Ohio.

Because two decades is much too long to wait.

Stimulus Failure: It's in the media now.

The Dispatch had this headline on Sunday:

Stimulus Pool Wide, Shallow

And its conclusion?
What's debatable is whether it's working. If the goal is to aim dollars at counties with the highest unemployment, they're not always finding their mark, a Dispatch analysis shows.
No matter which side you are on of the debate, this kind of article is reinforcing the belief in the electorate that the stimulus was a failure.

And that's bad for Democrats.

Plain and simple.

Slots, the budget, and starting over...

Ted Strickland's 6-1 loss today in the Supreme Court deals a massive blow to the Governor.


As we all know by now, Strickland's fear of doing what's necessary for the greater good forced him to abandon whatever principles he had left and advocate using slot machines to balance the state budget.

Back when this was first proposed we not only were shocked that the Governor so blatantly went back on his word, but also at the Governor's belief that this gamble would payoff. [pun intended]

Not only were Strickland's revenue projections iffy, but his dogged defense of how slots would be implemented without voter approval seemed downright odd.

And with the Ohio Supreme Court voting nearly unanimously in favor of a voter referendum, those concerns were proved valid.

So, now what? According to the Dispatch:
It is too late to place an issue on the fall ballot, so the earliest a referendum could be held is May - the month that the state said 80 percent of the expected 17,500 slots must be operational to meet projections of raising $933 million from the slots for the two-year-budget that ends June 30, 2011.
In other words, Ohio needs cash.

The most recent Quinnipiac poll shows favorable conditions for voter approval, but we all know it's entirely too early to assume success at the ballot box. Even with approval, Ohio will be far behind in its efforts to raise revenue.

The question now will be whether Strickland is the kind of Governor that prepares for the worst or the best scenario. A responsible statesman would sit down today with legislative leadership and start finding ways to save/collect the $933 million needed to balance the budget, without any assumption about whether any referendum will pass in eight months.

Ohio's budget simply doesn't have the kind of time to do what the Governor has done since he came into office, namely twiddle its thumbs and hope it all works out.

Does he gut more programs? Does he do what he's been doing everything to avoid - raise taxes?

It's almost as if Strickland has a second chance.

And Ohio will be watching.

How much is too much?

With word this morning of the Ohio Supreme Court overwhelmingly shooting down Ted Strickland's slots plan in favor of a voter referendum, I am forced once again to wonder how much is too much?

How much bad news can the voters really comprehend?

As we learned with the most recent Quinnipiac poll, Ohioans have a more positive perception of the man that is Ted Strickland than of the job he's actually doing. With massively negative numbers on issues like the economy and budget, it's clear that Ohioans can comprehend what a bad job the Governor is doing, but his approval numbers reflect a sense of forgiveness or 'at least he's trying.'

- 60,000 illegal aliens getting driving privileges.
- A massive budget mess.
- Breaking promises and cutting early education funding.
- A corrupt and mismanaged cabinet.
- Doubling of unemployment.
- Going back on his word on slots.
- A bait and switch on public education.

And on and on and on...

Is it possible that when the voters hear about all of these issues that they recoil and question their validity? It's almost as if there is too much to actually be believed to be true.

And yet, it is.

The Kasich campaign's challenge will be determining how to keep their message simple and focused. We all know campaigns with incumbents are first and foremost a referendum on their term in office. Trying to hit the Governor on all these issues is like trying to hit a target from 60 yards with a shotgun shell. You might pepper it, but using a single bullet and a scope will cause a lot more damage.

The campaign against Strickland must focus on a single issue. Strickland tries to bring up education? Fine. Turn it around and bring up the job crisis. Strickland wants to brag about property tax cuts for seniors? Fine. Turn it around and bring up the job crisis.

The Kasich team will be well served to remember that what's most important is the answer to every question, not the question itself. No voter remembers the question being asked...

Unless it's, "are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good news for Ted Strickland?!?!?!

Not so much.

Today, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released data on unemployment in Ohio.

The headline in the papers over the weekend will read, "Unemployment down to 10.8%."

Unfortunately for Ohio, this number comes with a HUUUUUGGGEEE caveat.
"A decrease in Ohio's labor force was a primary factor in drop of the August unemployment rate," ODJFS Director Douglas Lumpkin said. "The unemployment rate declined as the number of service-providing and goods-producing jobs decreased and fewer Ohioans were actively seeking work."

So there are less jobs available, and more Ohioans that have given up looking for jobs in the state.

Ugh. Great job, Gov.

Now, from a political perspective, Dems will still say the decrease in the rate is good news for Ted Strickland. Well, if all you consider is the weekend news cycle, I'd agree.

But take off the Strickland-colored sunglasses(DJ Note: I do NOT want to imagine what those must look like) and consider some of the fun stats using the 10.8% unemployment rate that could be used in commercials hammering the Governor.
  • Ohio's unemployment rate is a full 11% higher than the national rate.
  • Unemployment under Strickland has more than doubled.
  • 321,000 more Ohioans are without work since Strickland took office.
  • 641,000 Ohioans are out of work.
  • Under Strickland's watch, more than 1 in 10 Ohioans are out of work.
All are effective ways of describing Ohio's job crisis under the Governor's watch.

And that's bad news for Ted Strickland.

The Way-Too-Ready-For-Primetime President


He's everywhere.

We've been hearing quite a bit about Obama being "overexposed". In fact, today's New York Times has an article asking "How much Obama is too much Obama?"

Well, thanks to USA Today, now we know.
Obama will have done 124 print, broadcast and radio interviews by day's end on Sunday, according to a tally by Martha Joynt Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University in Maryland. George W. Bush did 40 and Bill Clinton did 46 by the same point in their presidencies.

And has it worked? Well, let's look at the most recent example of massive exposure - the speech to the joint session of Congress last week. Since that speech was given, disapproval of Obama's health care plan has increased to a new high of 56% among likely voters.

I guess you could say it was a "game changer", just not in the way the White House was hoping.

Going back to the NYT article, speaking on the sunday news show blitz being planned by Obama this Sunday:
One senior White House aide, speaking about media strategy only on condition of anonymity, cited a “buzz factor,” saying that by completing a feat unprecedented for a president, Mr. Obama would draw even more attention to his message. “Doing five becomes a story in itself,” the aide said.
This is the problem of the White House in a nutshell. They are so focused on selling the man, that they forget the focus should be selling the policy. While clearly it's easier to sell a policy if the seller is popular, there is demonstratable evidence that shows, in this case, it's not working.

Speaking of the 124 interviews, one has to wonder how well the Obama White House is being managed. Prepping for interviews takes a sizeable amount of time and energy from the staff. When the White House staff has nearly three times the norm of interviews to worry about, there has to be a concern about their priorities.

Take a step back, Mr. President.

Moveon sucks at reading polls.

From yesterday's 'Spatch:, the liberal political action committee, is targeting U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, in its latest “caught red handed” commercials.

The ad features a picture of Tiberi with bright red hands and charges that the congressman took hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from health care and insurance interests and then voted against legislation which would lower health care costs by limiting co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.
From Wednesday's Ohio Quinnipiac Poll:

-Only 39% of Independents approve of the way Obama is handling health care.
-Only 37% of Independents support Obama's health care plan.
-72% of Independents don't believe Obama when he says his health care plan won't add to the deficit.

In other words, Obama's health care plan is a massive loser among swing voters in Ohio.

On top of that, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to take on a five-term Congressman who shows zero signs of vulnerability is downright silly.

Now, if Moveon wants to waste its money, fine. Spending cash in Ohio's 12th does nothing but make sure it can't be spent in an actual competitive district and it helps Tiberi raise more dough.

And by the way, Tiberi's opponent doesn't even live in the 12th District, and has expressed zero desire to move there.

Keep it up, morons.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ohio Independents and Obama

The headlines read: Obama rebounds in Ohio.

True enough. His favorability rating has increased to over 50%.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't face serious issues. After all, among Independents more people disapprove than approve of how he is handling his job as President.

But overall approval is just one thing. To minimize vulnerability you have to win the issues.

And Obama isn't.

Among Indies, Obama is down 11 when it comes to handling the economy.

Health care? Down 9.

In addition, more Indies oppose his health care reform plan by 9 points.

By 72-22, they think Obama's plan will add to the deficit. A claim Obama himself said is untrue.

In regards to his speech last week, 64% said it made zero difference or made them less likely to support his plan. Only 15% of Indies said it made them more likely.

Now, to be fair, the same poll isn't kind to Congressional Republicans. But as anyone who follows polling knows, the word "Congress" always brings extremely low numbers.

One thing is clear. Among Independents, the swing votes of every election, Obama is facing extreme pessimism and doubt. Unless that turns around, this lack of popularity will be dangerous for incumbents heading into 2010 and, in turn, massively decrease the President's political capital.

Independents, Fisher, Brunner, and the latest Quinnipiac Poll...

Most interesting to me from the numbers released today on the Ohio Senate race were Fisher and Brunner's numbers with independents versus Strickland's from the day before.

Fisher beats Portman 32-30. Brunner beats Portman 36-30.

But Kasich beats Strickland 39-35.

That's a 6 point turnaround from Fisher and a 10 point turnaround from Brunner.

So what does it mean? Either 1) Independents are already attaching Portman's name to Bush and it's providing negative connotations; or 2) Independents have yet to attach either Fisher or Brunner to the poisonous Strickland Administration.

Now if you look at Portman's approval ratings, 77% of Independents don't know him. But of those that do, they approve of Portman 18-4. That shows, of the Independents that have heard of him, any efforts to negatively link him to Bush aren't working.

Among the same Independents, they still have favorable opinions of both Fisher and Brunner, but their job disapproval is 5-6 times higher. That shows a vulnerability.

Fisher, as former Director of Development and as Strickland's LG, will be easy to attach to the mess that is the Governor's Administration. Brunner won't be so easy. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have skeletons in her closet.

However, all that may be moot if Brunner isn't able to make up ground fast. With the primary only a few months away, it's important that Brunner have a ridiculously good fundraising period or she may be finished.

This isn't going away anytime soon.

Just had this press release forwarded to me from the Ohio Senate leadership:


COLUMBUS – Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) today directed the Senate’s Government Oversight Committee to conduct hearings on the failure of the Ohio Department of Public Safety to expeditiously address a shortcoming in its verification process that allowed thousands of undocumented immigrants to register cars and get license plates.

60,000 illegal aliens with official Ohio driver's licenses has a way of getting under the skin of people.

Politically speaking, it's in the best interest of Republicans to keep this issue at the forefront for as long as possible. It hits Strickland where it hurts most, decision making.

One quick thing, Buckeye fans....

Duron Carter is still open.

A call to action for Jennifer Brunner

Ms. Brunner,

Kyle Sisk, when discussing the 60,000 illegals that obtained drivers licenses via Ted Strickland Administration, recently asked, "how many of these 60,000 people who have & are committing fraud by driving illegally actually voted in last November's election and who did they vote for???"

A fair question.

While I understand your desire to avoid all things relevant to your office :cough...HUSTED...cough:, this issue raises serious questions about voting rights in the great State of Ohio.

Ms. Brunner, do your job. Investigate this issue.

DJ Tablesauce

UPDATE: As an all-too-hate-filled commenter pointed out, it's "plates", not "licenses". Whoops. My response? So what? That doesn't change anything. Kyle Sisk's question stands.... how many of these 60k illegals, all of which have proven to be willing to go to significant efforts to commit fraud, voted? As Secretary of State, Brunner has a responsibility to investigate. Hell, it may even pay-off politically for her as it distances her from the poison that is Ted Strickland and this issue.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Breaking down the Quinnipiac Poll

As promised, here is the 3BP analysis of the latest poll from Quinnipiac.

First off - Wow. Lots of interesting information is contained within. It took awhile to go over it all.

The number you'll be hearing primarily on local news is the topline - Kasich down ten to Strickland.

Make no mistake, at the end of the day the most important number to each candidate is who has more votes.

But it isn't the end of the day.

Far from it.

And because of this, it's necessary to look deeper into the numbers to properly gauge where the 2010 Ohio gubernatorial race currently stands.

So off we go...

  • The first demographic highlighted in the numbers is candidate support by Party. While Democrats support Strickland 81-5, Republicans only support Kasich 73-15. Without question, the Kasich campaign wishes their candidate's numbers equaled Strickland's when it comes to Party support. Interestingly enough, these numbers are very similar to the poll released back in early July. Only when we get to name recognition numbers do we learn why this has happened. While Strickland is enjoying 79% name recognition from Democrats, Kasich is only at 44% among Republicans. It's obscenely difficult for a Republican to support a GOP candidate when they know zero about him, especially among those Republicans still suffering from the hangover brought on by Bob Taft and Co. Without question, over the course of the next 14 months Republicans will have an abundance of opportunities to learn more about their nominee and provide him the base support necessary for victory.
  • Good news for Kasich is that he continues to enjoy greater support from Independents; winning them 39-35. This is a slightly greater margin than the same poll from July.
  • After chatting with folks over at Quinnipiac, I was able to obtain the Party ID breakdown for this poll. It came out to 27% Republican, 36% Democrat, and 31% Independent. Based on exit poll results from the 2008 election, this breakdown is only slightly generous to Democrats. But, it's important to note that the political environment is vastly different from November of 2008. According to Rasmussen, nationally speaking the margin of those identifying themselves as Republicans and Democrats has shrunk almost in half since November. Currently, 37.3% identify themselves as Democrats and 32.6% identify themselves as Republicans. I think it's safe to assume Ohio, as the bellweather state, has had a comparable change in Party identification, and in turn, Party ID for this poll may be slightly skewed towards Democrats.
  • Next up, among evangelicals Kasich still enjoys a healthy 17 point lead. As we mentioned a few days ago in our Rifqa Bary post, it will be interesting to see if this lead increases or not.
But it's the answers on favorability and issues where the true weakness lies for Ted Strickland.

  • Among Democrats, Strickland's approval rating has continued to deteriorate to 65 approve-15 disapprove. While this may seem like a positive on the surface, having 15% of your base disapproving of you causes a serious problem to your get out the vote efforts. When it comes to a re-election campaign, a candidate needs to find a way to reinvigorate his base to support him once again. With continued disapproval numbers among Democrats, that's not going to happen.
  • Also getting worse for Strickland are his approval numbers among Independents where 40% disapprove and only 30% approve.
  • On the other hand, Kasich enjoys 39-5 approval among Republicans and 24-6 among Independents.
  • Things get worse for Jello Stricktaft on the "do you approve of the way Ted Strickland has handled his job as Governor" question. Democrat disapproval increases and the margin of disapproval among Independents widens to 15.
  • Worse still is the question of whether Ted Strickland kept his campaign promises or not. 25% of Democrats said no while the no to yes gap among Indies stood at 20.
  • Finally, Quinnipiac asks whether the voter is satisfied with the way things are going in Ohio. Among Democrats, 51% are satisfied and a whopping 48% are dissatisfied. The numbers among Independents are enough to make Strickland cry. 67% are dissatisfied and only 32% are satisfied.
All these point to three unquestionable conclusions:

  • Without massively increasing their confidence in him, Ted Strickland will not be able to count on getting enough Democrats to the polls to win.
  • Independents don't like Ted Strickland, the job he's doing, or the condition of their state - and that trend is increasing.
  • John Kasich's topline poll numbers will not show serious improvement until his name recognition grows.
Or, to put it simply, Independents and a good chunk of Democrats don't like Strickland and all are just waiting to learn of a viable alternative to latch their wagon to.

Don't think this has to happen all at once. The Kasich camp is smart to allow Strickland to wallow in the mess he made for himself and allow the electorate to firm up their perception of him as a failure. When the time is right next year, Kasich will put his campaign team into overdrive. Until then, don't expect massive changes in polling data.

The Kasich formula for victory over the next nearly 14 months is simple: 1) Define yourself before Ted Strickland does it for you; 2) Increase name recognition and build confidence among the base and Independents by providing common sense solutions to what ills Ohio; 3) Target Democrats and Independents to reinforce their perception of Strickland's failures.

The strategy is nothing new or unique. But it will bring Ohio a new Governor.

Nice timing, Dennis Willard

This weekend, Dennis Willard of the Akron Beacon Journal became the latest Ohio columnist to write a piece critical of Gov. Strickland's leadership, or lack thereof.
Three and a half years into his first term, Gov. Ted Strickland has been cleaning house.

In August alone, Strickland accepted resignations from or pushed out three directors.
Willard goes on to list ten high profile resignations within the Governor's cabinet.

The promise to ''Turnaround Ohio'' that Strickland made in running for office in 2006 has gone unfulfilled.

Strickland has been ambitious in rolling out a progressive agenda, but his attempts to fix the school-funding formula, provide more benefits to the needy, even avoid raising taxes by expanded gambling through keno and now slots, have faltered initially or failed because of poor planning, communication and execution.

Some of this is the result of being new at the job of administering government after spending years as a minority member of the U.S. House.

But a contributing factor to Strickland's shortcomings is that the people he needs the most — those who speak truth to power — are not welcome.

And the ones he needs the least seem to have a way of hanging around just a little too long.

Those words, written on the 12th, were all too prophetic.

In a column that kickstarted itself by highlighting the resignation of Henry Guzman, Willard had no idea the mess the Governor's former Public Safety Director had caused.

The next day, on the 13th, the Columbus Dispatch published an expose of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and its failure to prevent 60,000 illegal aliens from obtaining drivers licenses.

Now, we won't go into the implications of such a grave situation here. We all are smart enough to understand the ramifications.

Instead, consider the disaster from a political perspective.

Can you see the "Under his watch, Governor Strickland allowed 60,000 illegal aliens..." ads already?

It's amazing. Just when I think things can't possibly get worse for Gov. Strickland, something like this happens and just blows me away.

It's time for Ohio Democrats to consider the political poison that is the Strickland Administration and their strategies for playing keep away.

Fisher must find a way to project the debate in the Senate race away from his service with the Governor.

Brunner, if she's smart, will use the power of earned media to compensate for her massive financial disadvantage and make news by attacking Fisher with his attachment to the Governor.

Cordray will cover his eyes and ears and avoid the Governor at all costs in hopes of being the last man standing for 2014.

As for Boyce, Pepper, and Garrison/Brown.....well, all they can do is hope and pray their respective opponents shoot themselves in the collective foot.

Ohio Democrats scoffed at the mess that Bob Taft and Republicans put themselves in just 3 years ago.

Well fellas, it's time to pay the piper.

UPDATE: If you're interested in reading more about the implications behind allowing 60k illegals to have their own drivers licenses, Kyle Sisk has a post up that goes into detail about what is at risk. Check it out here.