Monday, November 30, 2009

I know Democrats are depressed, but this is ridiculous.

Some of you may have heard about a poll Daily Kos/Research 2000 recently conducted and released over the holiday.

It confirmed and enhanced what I've been saying regarding the voter enthusiasm problem Strickland faces in Ohio:

But a bigger indicator of peril comes from a new survey question added the DK tracking poll for the first time this week. The poll now includes a rather simple indicator of baseline voter enthusiasm for the year 2010. The question offered to respondents is a simple question about their intentions for 2010:

QUESTION: In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?

The results were, to put it mildly, shocking:

Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23

Two in five Democratic voters either consider themselves unlikely to vote at this point in time, or have already made the firm decision to remove themselves from the 2010 electorate pool. Indeed, Democrats were three times more likely to say that they will "definitely not vote" in 2010 than are Republicans.

Needless to say, this is extremely bad news for Democrats hoping to stem the Republican tide in 2010.

Remember the Quinnipiac poll from earlier this month? 38% of Democrats didn't have a favorable opinion of Ted Strickland, and a whopping 66% of Independents felt the same way.

That, along with this poll from the Daily Kos, doesn't translate to good news for Strickland's Get Out the Vote coordiator.

Ohio Democrats fail to reach across the aisle in DC

Democrats stormed into the majority on the promise that they would get rid of the old style of politics and be more bipartisan.

Well, it turns out Ohio Democrats were pretty much full of it.

On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch ran an analysis highlighting the partisanship of the Ohio delegation.

The makeup of the top ten drew my interest:

The top 6? All Democrats.

And 8 of the top 10 were Dems.

Including the three biggest targets for Republicans - Kilroy, Driehaus, and Space.

Now, I won't say I'm surprised. But it's clear that this is yet another bullet that their GOP challengers can store away for next Fall.

Did you know 103 minutes of independent filmmaking will get you a cushy job in the Strickland Administration?

Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Ted Strickland's "new" chief of the Department of Development, your hiring practices need work.

From a November 4th Ohio Department of Development press release:
Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Director of the Ohio Department of Development, today announced the appointment of Jeremy Henthorn as the Director of the Ohio Film Office. Henthorn is responsible for developing strategies to build the film production industry in Ohio, the implementation of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit program, and strengthening Ohio’s film industry crew base. The Ohio Film Office works in partnership with local film organizations and commissions to market the state to production companies.

“Jeremy’s experience working with local filmmakers in movies that include such highlights as blowing marijuana smoke in the face of raccoons and what's been described as a 14-minute short focusing on a 'disturbing performance' between two lovers are exactly what we've been looking for here in Ted Strickland's administration as we work to grow production and cultivate talent around the state,” said Patt-McDaniel.

Ok, I fudged the Patt-McDaniel quote, but that doesn't mean the substance is inaccurate.

Henthorn, the new man in charge of the Ohio Film Office and implementing a tax credit program, is most well known for two small independent films entitled 'Bunny's Farewell' and 'Johnny Appleweed'.

What's Johnny Applweed about you ask? Well, a simple googling will help answer that.
Inspired by the ghost of Johnny Appleseed, a young man undertakes a mission to populate the countryside with seeds… marijuana seeds that is.

Johnny Wagner is a smoked-out pottery student waiting to get off probation. While evading a surprise drug test, Wagner crashes his bike and is knocked unconscious. During his blackout, the legendary Johnny Appleseed appears and urges Wagner to follow in his footsteps by planting seeds. Wagner recruits two long time friends to help him in his quest - a sensitive pyromaniac poet and her brother, a self-serving filmmaker. The three set out into the woods and countryside to plant the seed, marijuana seed that is… And so becomes Johnny Appleweed.
Um. What?

Here's the trailer, but it won't make any more sense to you.

Besides these 103 minutes of film about pot and lesbians, as well as his time as a film grad student at USC, it's unclear what makes Henthorn qualified to run a state office responsible for attracting motion picture companies to Ohio as well as the implementation of a tax credit program.

Now, as for the films themselves, while they don't exactly seem to be something I'm going to be putting in my netflix queue anytime soon, this isn't a judgement on the films themselves. Henthorn has the right to make whatever movie he wants about whatever interests him. In fact, props to him for having the guts to give the extremely difficult world of filmmaking a shot.

My issue is more with Patt-McDaniel and Ted Strickland. While I understand no one wants to go down with the ship, as it were, but when your press office was writing the media release, didn't you find it odd that you had to brag about a scholarship Henthorn received to grad school as evidence of his qualifications?

I find it hard to believe that among the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Ohioans that there was no one with more experience or know-how to handle an office of such responsibility.

Wasn't Johnny Appleweed available?

Annnnd we're back.

Sorry for the sparse posting over the holiday weekend, but I was much more interested in spending time with my beautiful niece, the rest of my awesome family, and catching up with old friends to worry about this pesky little thing.

Of course, that just means there's plenty I've missed that I'll be catching up on. And don't worry, it's pretty much all bad news for Democrats.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Missing the point on the latest Brunner fiasco.

The Dispatch, as well as other papers and bloggers, have discussed the latest Jennifer Brunner hub-bub. Namely, the relocation of several of two of her campaign staff to state jobs.

Honestly, I don't really have a problem with it.

Clearly, these are two people that Brunner trusted enough to have major roles on her campaign, namely her political director and press secretary. So there's nothing wrong with placing these two staff members in another position of trust, her Secretary of State office.

But it seems everyone missed the most interesting part of this story.

Jennifer Brunner doesn't have the campaign funds to provide a salary for two absolutely essential cogs of a Senate campaign.

After two downright pathetic fundraising reports, Brunner needs to show some viability in her next report, lest be laughed out of political legitimacy. But, if things have gotten so bad that she now has fired two of the four most important campaign staff members, then clearly this signals continued difficulties.

Now, maybe Brunner will hang on through the primary, using her twitter feed as her line of communication to the outside world, but if she wants to maintain any future in Ohio politics she'll have to turn things around, and fast.

The Minutiae of Modern Politics

In an incumbent election, there are three requirements for every challenger:
  1. Define the state of "things".
  2. Define yourself as a legitimate alternative to the incumbent.
  3. GOTV.
If you accomplish all three, you win. End of story.

Let's start with the first.

Usually, I hate using the word, "things". It tends to imply bad and uncreative writing. But in this case, that ambiguity is required. If a challenger wants to win, he needs to identify whatever issue is of most concern to voters, and convince them that the incumbent has either not addressed the issue or made it worse.

Or, in other words, incumbents want voters to believe things are going well, or improving from the time they were last elected; while challengers want voters to believe things are going poorly.

To be successful in this endeavor, a challenger must be able to:
  • Have the resources and political sense to identify the issue of importance;
  • Have the skills and staff to craft and communicate a message that resounds with voters; and
  • Have the fundraising necessary to share the message with the voters.
Using the Kasich campaign as an example, the campaign didn't have to try very hard to identify the number one issue in Ohio - the economy, and the most important metric to determine its strength - jobs.

In this case, communicating the weakness of the economy hasn't been a difficult challenge. Each voter has either experienced its difficulties themselves or know someone that has. In addition, the media has highlighted the economic crisis almost daily.

Since Kasich has only been required to submit 30 days of fundraising totals, this is currently a question mark, though I have been hearing good things. What is for sure is that Kasich must raise upwards of $16-17 million, as well as take advantage of whatever the RGA is willing to contribute, in order to highlight how Strickland has failed to "Turnaround Ohio."

Number two is defining yourself as a legitimate alternative.

If the challenger is able to convince the electorate that things are going poorly, they know the voters will be looking for a viable alternative. This was clearly evident in the most recent Quinnipiac numbers as Kasich, despite having low name recognition, was able to still tie the Governor at 40% thanks to Strickland's extremely low approval numbers. The voters want someone else. But they need to have just enough confidence that he'll be able to handle the job.

As Peter Brown from Quinnipiac said, John Kasich must be the antidote to Ted Strickland.

This is where the challenge lies for the Democrats. How does Strickland convince the voters of Ohio that the architect of the first national balanced budget since man walked on the moon doesn't deserve a chance to fix Ohio? How do they convince the voters of Ohio that the man named by Newsweek as one of 100 Americans for the 21st Century isn't legitimate? How do they convince the voters of Ohio that someone that has served in elective office for over 20 years isn't capable?

Many Democrats seem to think Kasich's association with Lehman Brothers is that magic bullet. There are three reasons why they're wrong: 1) An exhaustive investigation by the Columbus Dispatch turned up no wrong-doing, and no other media organization in Ohio has given any indication that they buy into the charge. In other words, without the media pushing the story, Democrats must rely solely on their own paid media to communicate the message, however false it may be. That simply isn't enough to drive home the message; 2) It isn't easy to communicate to the electorate. "Kasich worked for Lehman" doesn't say anything to the common voter. Instead, they need to spend time to explain their rationalization of why that association was bad. Need proof? The first video the Ohio Democratic Party released when Kasich announced his candidacy was over three minutes long. I'm sorry Dems, but the average voter has an attention span of about 1/12 of that. Three minutes may appease the few activists that have viewed it, but the average voter would turn it off within 10 seconds; 3) Look at the numbers. The last Quinnipiac poll showed that among Independents that know Kasich, he enjoys approval numbers that are 4 and a half times his disapproval numbers. Even among Democrats, Kasich's approval is only 2% less than his disapproval. In other words, among the swing and Democrat voters that know Kasich, the message that he worked for Lehman isn't working.

So back to the big question of this section, how does Strickland convince the voters of Ohio that the architect of the first national balanced budget since man walked on the moon doesn't deserve a chance to fix Ohio?

They can't. At least not with the ammo they have now.

Therefore, as long as Kasich puts up a few biographical commercials, he will be able to prove he is a legitimate alternative.

Finally, there's number three, GOTV.

The 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race had many similiarities to what Ohio may be in 2010. But most important among these was an unpopular Democrat incumbent Governor that failed to fix the state's economy. In this viciously Democrat state, the Republican was able to get out the vote of the few Republicans and the larger number of Independents that wanted to see a change in Trenton versus the uninspired Democrat base. As we've gone over before on 3BP, polls have repeatedly shown a similarly uninspired Democrat base here in Ohio. But there's a big difference - Ohio is much more of a swing state than New Jersey ever has been. In other words, as a percentage, the Democrat base is less than that of New Jersey, meaning Strickland has even fewer votes to rely on.

And this is why Kasich's Lincoln Day speech tour while he was determining whether he was going to run or not was so massively important. He was able to take advantage of his considerable speechmaking skills to inspire thousands upon thousands of the most activist of Republicans around Ohio. These are the same Republicans that are responsible for manning and managing GOTV efforts throughout the state leading up to the election. These are also the same Republicans that have been begging for years for a serious conservative leader to support. And after seeing him on the rubber chicken circuit, they're hooked.

Now, why did I bring all this big picture stuff up in a ginormous post entitled "The Minutiae of Modern Politics"?

Because sometimes it's easy for some activist Republicans to miss the forest for the trees, as it were. They can get caught up on things that have shown no indication of effecting the outcome of the race. Now, I know that it's still a year out from the election and it's easy for political hacks to get worked up over campaign minutiae. But all too often it's political minutiae that can't substantively effect any aspect of what I described above. Until there is any indication that it will have an effect, it's a waste of breath, or bandwidth.

At the end of the day, I go back to what Peter Brown of Quinnipiac said a couple weeks ago:
Voters are much less complex than many of us think. They like things. They don't like things. Most of them don't focus on specifics.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I'm off to Columbus for Thanksgiving.

If you see my Jeep heading west on 70, give me a honk.

I'll be the one pondering how to fix this sign.

Posting will be sparse, but I'll do my best to check-in now and then. Follow me on twitter for more regular updates.

In the meantime, everyone have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

R.I.P. Martha Moore

From this morning's Dispatch:

Martha C. Moore, a Republican icon in Ohio and 35-year member of the GOP National Committee, has died at the age of 91.

She died yesterday morning -- 11 days after her birthday -- at an assisted-living facility in Columbus and will be buried in her hometown of Cambridge, the state party said.

Moore was active in state and national Republican Party politics for 50 years and her advice was sought by politicians from City Hall to the White House, Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine said.

"Martha provided unparalleled leadership and counsel to our party . . ." he said. "She was a role model for women in politics and, at a time when women were fighting for equality, she led our state committee to create county Republican Party chair positions for women in all 88 counties.

Thanks for all you did in order to make Ohio a better place to live.

Can't please them all.

Months ago, Ted Strickland got into some trouble when it was learned that up to 47,000 illegal aliens potentially obtained vehicle registrations.

Well, now that the Governor wants to take away those registrations, he's learning that doing so is going to tick off one normally friendly constituency.
A group representing Hispanic citizens is suing Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to stop the state from canceling vehicle registrations for thousands of people who cannot provide proof of legal U.S. residency.

The League of United Latin American Citizens said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit against Strickland and other state officials. The state sent notices in October to owners of some 47,000 motor vehicles that their vehicle registrations will be canceled if they do not provide proof of residency by Dec. 8.

The group says many of its members are hardworking people who rely on their cars to get to work and could lose their jobs if the policy is enforced.
It's alright, Governor. Only 72% of Latinos voted for Obama. You can afford to lose them, right? [/sarcasm font off]

Jindal gives Ted a hint.

Want to fix Ohio's economy?

Bobby Jindal clearly and eloquently gives a few pointers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Governor Game Changer

This is Dennis Spisak.

He's a member of the Green Party.

He's running for Governor.

And he just may hand the Governor's race to John Kasich.

Ohio Democrats, this is what happens when your nominee is an incumbent with a massively disappointing record in an election year that is harshly anti-incumbent.

Since the first Quinnipiac poll on the Governor's race was released I've talked about how amazed I was with the lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for their Governor.

And the most recent poll from Quinnipiac reenforced that perception. As I said earlier this month in my analysis:
This is a big one. Strickland's approval among Democrats has ticked down, and disapproval has ticked up. Only 62% of Democrat voters approve of the job he has done. Why is that important? In New Jersey, where voter turnout was key and Democrats failed to show up, Corzine's approval in the last poll before the election was 70% among Democrats. Eight points higher than Strickland. The Governor's approval among Democrats has now shown to be consistently and substantively worse. Additionally, Corzine and Strickland are even when it comes to the number of Democrats disapproving of the respective incumbent Governors.

If Strickland is doing worse among his base than Corzine, in a state where the Ohio Democrat base is a smaller percentage of the electorate than New Jersey, then that's extremely bad news for Ohio's incumbent Governor. Provided this keeps, without question Ted Strickland will lose. It's impossible to win if your base in a purple state stays away.
What happens when the base isn't enthused? (Well, other than them not showing up to the polls.)

What happens is that alternative candidates start showing up.

And that's what Spisak is...a medium for the left wing to voice their displeasure with their Party.

His platform?
Spisak plans on running a progressive green campaign based on better funding of education, single-payer health care, and a blue-green jobs program to make Ohio the new energy center of the United States.
Anyone else recognize those three themes? They are exactly the themes Strickland has been advocating the past year - Education. Green jobs. And most recently in a youtubomercial, health care.

And Spisak seems serious about running. Right on the front page of his campaign website he highlights his strategy for raising money. Will he raise much? Of course not. But if he can get on the ballot he will at least have a voice in the media.

And can he get on the ballot? Ohio's requirements are minimal. Spisak will only need to obtain 500 valid signatures by Feburary 18th. [DJ Note: Mr. Spisak, if you're reading this, make sure you obtain at least 5000 so you can ensure that you've reached your minimum of 500 valid signatures. You're welcome.]

As I highlighted on Friday, from a jobs perspective, Strickland's absolute best case scenario is for unemployment, the number one issue of this campaign, to shrink to 7.8% by the time campaigns and commercials go into full gear. That's still 44% higher than when he came into office and an incredibly difficult challenge to overcome.

Now subtract Spisak's 2-4% from his vote total.

It may not seem like much, but in the scheme of things, it's a game changer.

In addition, if Spisak is able to make some noise early, it will be interesting to see what it does to Ted Strickland's fundraising. By just showing a marginal effect on the race, Spisak will show the Governor's potential contributors that Strickland is facing a near impossible challenge.

And that would be devastating.

Welcome to the race, Dennis.

The last story Amanda Wurst wants to read.

As Ted Strickland's press secretary, Amanda Wurst, read an article in yesterday's Columbus Dispatch, she had to know it did more to damage her boss than any editorial or column could.

It told a story.

A story about just how bad things have gotten in Ohio.

The article told tale after tale about the woes Ohioans are suffering throughout the state due to the massive shortfall of state services.

In this case, forget pinning blame for this situation on this person or that. It doesn't matter.

As highlighted by William Hershey last week in the Dayton Daily News:
When times are good, incumbents get credit, whether they helped the economy boom or just went along for the ride.

When times are bad?

They get blamed, even if they’re mayors and governors and the economic collapse is national and global.

And why does this matter?

We go to Peter Brown of Quinnipiac:
Voters are much less complex than many of us think. They like things. They don't like things. Most of them don't focus on specifics. [In 2008,] Barack Obama was the antidote to George W. Bush. In Ohio, John Kasich is the antidote to Ted Strickland.
In yesterday's article in the Dispatch, Ted Strickland's name was mentioned only once. For it to damage Ted Strickland, it didn't have to even do that.

Newt to the rescue?

Newt Gingrich is doing what Ted Strickland won't.

He's hosting a Jobs Summit in Ohio.
"Beginning in Cincinnati, we will be travelling the country talking to small business owners and entrepreneurs - the engines of growth in our economy - to get their ideas on how to create jobs and grow the economy. With unemployment at 10.2 percent nationally and 10.5 percent in Ohio, Congress can't afford to wait any longer to pass real reforms that will create jobs and prosperity for America."
Here are the deets...
WHO: American Solutions General Chairman Newt Gingrich

WHERE: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel
35 West Fifth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

WHEN: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
6:30 to 8:00 pm (doors open at 5:45 pm)
I honestly hope Gingrich invites Ted Strickland to the event. Maybe the Governor can learn a few things about addressing the biggest crisis facing the state.

Obama's Stimulus is Dumb. Harvard Says So.

From Harvard's Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna:
Large changes in fiscal policy: taxes versus spending

We examine the evidence on episodes of large stances in fiscal policy, both in cases of fiscal stimuli and in that of fiscal adjustments in OECD countries from 1970 to 2007. Fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are more likely to increase growth than those based upon spending increases. As for fiscal adjustments, those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over GDP ratios than those based upon tax increases. In addition, adjustments on the spending side rather than on the tax side are less likely to create recessions.
Fellas, it doesn't get anymore clear than that.

Cancel the failed stimulus now.

h/t: Greg Mankiw

Whilst working nonstop on the budget during this impasse, the gov takes time to stop and smell the rosé…..

Apparently the Ballad of Jello Ted couldn't have been more prophetic.

Not one day after our latest youtube calling out the Governor for not living up to his own promises the last time he demanded the legislature join him in focusing on the budget, yesterday Jello Ted was busy doing this....
At the state capitol Claudio Salvador, president of Sandusky’s Specialty Wine Company, (SWC), importers of fine wine,, captivates Ohio Governor Ted Strickland with his ambitious, week long, five-city trade tour with three of Italy’s leading wine producers.

Governor, you're really bad at this.

And for his staff, you have got to be kidding me. Don't you know any better? You don't have to let everyone in the front door of the Governor's office. Images do matter. And so do perceptions. Clearly, Ted Strickland doesn't want to be taken seriously.

Job crisis? What job crisis?

We all know the numbers by now. It's nothing new to any Ohioan.
  • 10.5% unemployment rate.
  • Number of unemployed up 209,000 just in the past year.
  • And a staggering 94% increase in the number of unemployed since Ted Strickland came into power.
Ohioans are wondering what their government is doing to solve the job crisis. Is the man they put in charge to Turnaround Ohio working to find a solution? Does he even care?

Unfortunately, the answer to all these questions is no.

At least that's the easiest deduction to make when you look at the Governor's press shop.

A Governor's media operation is the driving force behind the message a Governor wants to send to his constituency. It communicates to the mainstream media each new idea, program, policy shift, and solution coming from the man in charge.

So, after looking at all 151 press releases distributed in 2009, how many address specific state-sponsored policy initiatives, ideas, or programs directly intended to solve Ohio's job crisis?


Just 6% of the Governor's press releases discuss ways Ohio's Governor is working to get his state back to work.

The list:

11,004 jobs potentially created or retained by these efforts. Of course, that's assuming Ted Strickland's shop does a much better job of accounting for jobs than the federal government.

Now, are there other press releases that address jobs? Yes, but those others focus only on federally funded grants and other federal programs - none of which can Ted Strickland claim credit for.

Nine press releases. Out of 151.

That's only 8 more than the number of press releases that welcomed Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers.


Ohio, your Governor is totally and completely out of touch with what plagues the state he governs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Does Obama want Reagan/Clinton popularity levels? Probably not.

Upon hearing that Obama's approval rating had dropped below 50 in nearly every major poll, I've read many Democrats deflect the plummeting rating by highlighting that Reagan went below even faster than Obama. Rich Galen does his part to make sure those same Democrats have something else to think about:
The Gallup folks announced that Obama's approval rating has dropped below 50 percent for the first time in his Presidency (49-44). The track which was available last night measured the three-day period between November 17-19. From the Gallup website:

"Among post-World War II presidents, only Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan dropped below the symbolic majority approval level faster than Obama."

Putting aside President Ford, let us remember what happened in the first mid-term elections of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

In 1982 - two years after Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter - Republicans lost 26 seats in the house (starting from a relatively weak minority, much as they have now). In 1994 - two years after Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush - the Democrats lost 52 seats and control of the House.

Clinton forced Democrats off the plank for a health care bill. Reagan oversaw unemployment numbers which touched 10.7 percent before it started back down.

Obama's Democrats are facing both.

So, when Gallup points out that Obama is in about the same political position as Reagan and Clinton, don't think 2012. Think 2010.

Indiana whoops Ohio's butt, Part 47

Yet again, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana has shown up Governor Ted Strickland and shown Ohioans what it's like to have a Governor who cares about bringing jobs to his state:
Gov. Mitch Daniels' trade mission to China and Japan is starting to pay dividends.

A dozen executives from Japan-based ITOCHU Corp., a general trading firm, signed a memorandum of understanding with Indiana Commerce Secretary Mitch Roob Thursday, agreeing to work collaboratively for economic growth.

The governor met personally with ITOCHU Chief Executive Officer Eizo Kobayashi on his September trip to Japan.


"Formalizing Indiana's relationship with this highly regarded firm will open doors for the state to increase its profile of Japanese investment and will also provide opportunities for Indiana ventures," said Roob, who also is CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., a state agency.

More than 42,000 Indiana residents currently are employed by 220 Japanese companies with in-state investments of $9.8 billion.

Meanwhile, Ted Strickland is busy doing "Party Building" in New York to raise money for his own doomed campaign.


The Ballad of Jello Ted

Ted Strickland's audacity to attack Senate Republicans this past week made me think of the last time he promised to stick around 'til a budget deal was done.

In fact, it inspired the first 3BP video in quite awhile.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you.....The Ballad of Jello Ted:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do I look like Mrs. Obama?

The blanket with sleeves!

Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner really knows how to entertain me on Twitter.

Yesterday's tweet
was of particular enjoyment:
@JenniferBrunner Got my OSU snuggie & in my recliner; watching OSU beat Michigan. Life is good.
Snuggie? Seriously?

I couldn't help but think of this:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brunner throws bang-snap at Fisher

I noticed a tweet from Jennifer Brunner posted earlier today.
@jenniferbrunner New unemployment figure for OH in Oct: 10.5%. In Oct. 2008 it was 6.9%. ODJFS shows 618,000 jobless, up from 594,000 last month. Not good.
Not good, indeed.

But why oh why would Jennifer Brunner want to highlight the number one negative facing Governor Strickland and his......Lt. Governor....and former Director of Development.....Lee...Fisher.

Ok, now I get it.

Unfortunately for Brunner and thanks to her total and complete lack of fundraising, she'll have to rely on her 922 followers on twitter in order to get this message out.

But we supporters of Rob Portman do appreciate the effort.

We're getting good at this.

Turnaround Ted is out with their latest youtube highlighting yet another of the Governor's numerous negatives.

This one? Government ethics.

You may remember the laughing video. 3BP was the first to highlight "the laugh" and Ted's less than dignified behavior back in September.

A Government Program Built for Bad P.R.

Yep. I'm talking about the stimulus again.

It seems a day doesn't go by without reading of another story, in the MSM or otherwise, highlighting the waste, inefficiencies, or downright failures of the stimulus.

Whether it's unemployment jumping over 10%, money being spent in imaginary congressional districts, or story after story of wasteful pork.

All perfectly play into the "stimulus failed" mantra.

As anyone who's done crisis management before, the key to solving a bad p.r. situation is to control the bad news and release it fully as early as possible.

Well, the stimulus is that strategy's antithesis.

The Administration is unable to control the massive amount of data behind $787 billion worth of pork. They can't control its coverage by the media. And the bad news keeps coming, day after day after day....with no end in sight.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, the stimulus is perceived by the American public as Obama and Pelosi's sole effort to solve the national jobs crisis. Once it was passed, focus moved on to the budget for a brief time, then health care.

As long as that continues to be the case, the Democrats' bad p.r. will continue.

And that's why we've heard recently of an Obama jobs summit. That's why we've heard of a newfound focus by Congress to shrink the deficit.

But neither of these is big enough to pull attention away from the stimulus.

The eggs are all in one basket, as it were.

And that's bad news for Democrats.

Ohio's 10.5% unemployment number and Ted Strickland's Best Case Scenario

This morning we learned that unemployment in Ohio jumped up to 10.5% in October.

That means that since Strickland came into office…
  • The unemployment rate has increased by 94%;
  • The number of employed Ohioans has shrunk by nearly 376,000; and
  • The labor force shrank at a rate not seen in over 25 years.
With the next election all about jobs, that’s bad news for Ted Strickland.

But is there hope? Can he finally turn things around?

In short - no.

In order for Strickland to have any shot in 2010, he needs to see the economy substantively improve before political advertisements saturate the market.

Unfortunately for the Governor, over the past three years the average variation in the unemployment rate on a month-to-month basis has been only 0.2%. In other words, over the past three years, on average, the unemployment rate has increased or decreased by only 0.2%.

Now let’s give Strickland the benefit of the doubt and assume Ohio starts turning around beginning with next month’s jobs report. So, if history is any indicator, the unemployment rate would improve by an average of 0.2% each month through August of next year (i.e., nine months down the road when campaign season moves full steam ahead and we have advertisement saturation).

At that rate of improvement, the unemployment rate would still be 8.7% - a full 61% higher than when Strickland first took office.

What if we get particularly generous and give Strickland the average rate of improvement from the best nine month period of economic recovery in Ohio since 1976 – January through September of 1983.

That improvement averaged 0.3% over nine months. At that rate over the next nine months, unemployment over the next goes down to 7.8%, or 44% higher than when Strickland came into office.

So you’re probably asking yourself, why all the math, DJ?

Because it shows just how bad things have gotten for Ohio.

Even if Ohio begins rebounding next month at the best rate it could possibly hope for – something that no economist in his right mind believes will happen - the unemployment rate when advertisements saturate the market next August would still be 44% higher than when Strickland came into office.

That alone is enough to convince Ohioans that Ted Strickland has failed in his mission to Turnaround Ohio.

And that’s Ted Strickland’s best case scenario.

$20.10 ain't that much.

Just received this fundraising e-mail from the Kasich campaign.

As I've mentioned before, trying to get 2,010 online contributors in one month and 12 months out from the election is a pretty ambitious task, but they just may do it.

Here's your chance to join the team:

I wanted to forward an email Karen Kasich sent me earlier today. She and John are extremely excited about the success of our "2,010 Donations for 2010" campaign. We have seen people from all over Ohio, and the entire nation, join John and the Kasich for Ohio team in wanting to bring a brighter future to Ohio.

We are well on our way to reaching our goal of 2,010 donations by November 30th, and we have you to thank for that. Ohio needs a leader who will bring Ohioans together to develop solutions to our state's most serious problems. There is no doubt that John Kasich is that person.

But we need your help. With just two weeks left in November, we are asking each and every supporter to make a gift of at least $20.10 today. Your help will sustain our momentum and send a strong message about the direction our state needs to go.

Karen and John greatly appreciate your willingness to give the campaign the resources we need to win.

Let's make sure that November 2009 will be our best month to date, and send a message to Ohio, and the nation, that a brighter future is coming!

Thank you for all you do,

Mike Hartley

Deputy Campaign Manager

--------------- ORIGINAL MESSAGE ---------------

From:Karen Kasich
Date: November 19, 2009 9:17:14 AM EST
To: Michael Hartley (
Subject: What a November!


I just wanted to let you know how pleased John and I are with how well the campaign has been going in November. The support this movement continues to generate is simply incredible.

John and I are so grateful to every member of the Kasich for Ohio Team, and to all of those who have joined our efforts to build common sense solutions. If we all keep up the good work, I know we will bring a new day to Ohio.



3BP Poll: 2012 GOP Presidential Primary - Round 2

The big news out of New York yesterday afternoon got me thinking.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has decided against running for governor, but is strongly considering running for U.S. Senate instead, sources told the Daily News.


Giuliani could use a Senate seat as a stepping stone to run for President in 2012 - rather than run for re-election to the Senate.
President in 2012, you say?

As a Rudy fan in '08 who was massively disappointed in his "how about I avoid all the important primaries" strategy, this is good news - well, provided he has some new political advisors.

Unlike Palin, Romney, and Huckabee, Giuliani doesn't carry with him the image of an '08 retread. Maybe because he was out of sight and out of mind far before all the rest.

And since January, he's proven to be a most effective voice of dissent.

Now, moving on to the 2012 GOP Presidential primary field as a whole, I simply don't see Mitt Huckapalin as the likely nominee. Republicans will want someone fresh.

So, as it stands now, I see the most likely nominee being Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, or John Thune, in no particular order.

They all have their positives and negatives.

But I'm curious as to where my readers stand on these potential nominees.

So, let's have it. Who's your pick?

R.I.P. Stefanie Spielman

Thank you to Stefanie and the entire Spielman family for being an inspiration to all those who suffer from cancer.

Their dedication to the fight has helped an untold number of victims.

She was once quoted as saying, "I know there's a reason God gave me breast cancer, and I'm supposed to do something with it."

God bless that woman. Rest in Peace Stefanie.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back from the Brink of Extinction: Principled Ohio Conservatives

In light of the budget mess I mentioned this morning, word from an inside source is that 14-15 GOP members of the Ohio Senate have agreed in principle to a comprehensive plan that would address not only the current budget shortfall, but also work to solve the $7 billion budgetary tidal wave coming in 2011. The plan restructures state government, increases privatization of state services, and uses income gained from gambling. In addition, it thankfully eliminates Ted Strickland's joke of an "evidence based” education plan.

This fight is far from over.

And I’m happy to hear that Republican members of the Ohio Senate are standing strong to do what’s right for the long-term benefit of the state.

Jello Ted, meet irony. Irony, meet Jello Ted.

“I think it would be unseemly for the legislature to leave this town with this matter unresolved.”

Those were Ted Strickland’s words this morning as quoted in the Columbus Dispatch Daily Briefing.

Unseemly, indeed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I take you back to July 2nd, 2009. Governor Ted Strickland, as quoted in the very same Daily Briefing, calls for the legislature to join him and not leave town until the budget mess is resolved:

We all remember what happened next.

From WMFD in Mansfield:

[On July 4th] More than 5,000 people attended the event which featured games, food, a car show, eating contests and a parade.

The highlight of event was the Jello eating contest. Gov. Ted Strickland rolled up his sleeves and joined the other competitors in eating a bowl of Jello in record time.

3BP was the first to call Jello Ted out on forsaking his own words so he could go to Mansfield and get his butt handed to him by a 5 year old in a gelatin eating contest.

After that mess, in more ways than one, his words carry with them a bit less meaning.

So what competition is Jello Ted going to enter himself in during this Thanksgiving season after urging legislators to stay home and negotiate?

Turkey legs in Tiffin?
Corn in Coldwater?
Mashed Potatos in Marietta?
Cranberries in Coshocton?
Pumpkin pie in Piqua?

No matter what the challenge, Governor, we all wish you the best of luck.

Our President, the legal scholar.

Andy McCarthy from NRO hits a home run with his analysis of yet another Obamateurism:
In a meeting with the press in China, President Obama said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be "convicted" and had "the death penalty applied to him" . . . and then said he wasn't "pre-judging" the case. He made the second statement after it was pointed out to him — by NBC's Chuck Todd — that the first statement would be taken as the president's interfering in the trial process. Obama said that wasn't his intention. I'm sure it wasn't — he's trying to contain the political damage caused by his decision — but that won't matter. He has given the defense its first motion that the executive branch, indeed the president himself, is tainting the jury pool. Nice work.
And Bush was the dumb one.

This grade counts.

Voices of independence are driving forces in American politics.

As the health care debate began over the summer, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and their analyses of the costs of Obamacare helped drive public opinion.

Well, another voice has spoken up.

While this one doesn't carry the weight of the CBO, it is an important one. And one that should be better utilized by opposition to the government takeover of health care.

Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School, speaking in the Wall Street Journal:

As the dean of Harvard Medical School I am frequently asked to comment on the health-reform debate. I'd give it a failing grade.

Instead of forthrightly dealing with the fundamental problems, discussion is dominated by rival factions struggling to enact or defeat President Barack Obama's agenda. The rhetoric on both sides is exaggerated and often deceptive. Those of us for whom the central issue is health—not politics—have been left in the lurch. And as controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial.


Tyrone Yates is right.

Legislative term-limits in Ohio have been an utter and complete failure.

And State Rep. Tyrone Yates, Democrat from Walnut Hills, wants to do away with them.

Unfortunately, that has about as good a chance of happening as Ted Strickland doing a background check before hiring someone.

When voters enacted term-limits in 1995, they effectively took away their power to hold their representatives accountable.

Why? Yates explains....
...others argue Statehouse lobbyists and special interest groups have gained too much clout in writing laws. New legislators have to leave just as they gain institutional knowledge, Yates said. The loss of continuity is ever apparent this year, he said, as legislators struggle to close an $850 million state budget gap.
In policy making, there is a finite amount of power and influence to be shared between legislators and lobbyists. Since term-limits were enacted, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find any person involved in state government, private or public, that would honestly deny that the power of lobbyists has increased. If lobbyist power increases, then empirically, the power of the legislator decreases. When the power of the legislator decreases, the voter's ability to voice their choice for the direction of the state decreases.

Unfortunately, this is clearly too nuanced a position to effectively communicate to voters, and therefore is dead on arrival. But attention and respect must be paid to Tyrone Yates for speaking up on such an unpopular issue.

Well done, Representative.

Ted Strickland's $7 billion secret

Ohio's budget is a mess.

Democrats want to raise taxes. Some Republicans want to find alternatives. Some don't. And everyone is confused.

All because of a measly $841 million shortfall that Ted Strickland failed to adequately address beginning 9 months ago when the budget was first introduced in the General Assembly.

Since then the Governor's office and the legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, have failed t0 find a resolution.

The latest news is that a likely solution won't come until at least December 2nd.

December 2nd.

That's 308 days since Strickland promised in his State of the State address that he would introduce a balanced budget that didn't raise taxes.

He failed to do either. And now look where we are.

If only Ohio had a leader at the helm instead of someone too busy doing fundraising for his own campaign up in New York City, the way Strickland did on Tuesday of this week.


Now imagine this...

[you may want to make sure you're sitting down for this]

Imagine the problem is 7 times worse.

As Senate Republicans continue to chew on ways to fix an $851 million hole in the current state budget, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants produced a slew of recommendations to attack the far-bigger, multibillion-dollar deficit that state leaders will face in the next two-year budget.

The future hole will develop as upward of $7 billion in one-time state and federal stimulus money used to balance the current budget disappears.

That is from an article that appeared in the Columbus Dispatch this past Tuesday.

And it just may be the ace in the hole for John Kasich's campaign.

This report is the first mainstream media coverage of the looming ginormous budget gap since State Auditor Mary Taylor released her analysis detailing an $8 billion gap in April. And it's the first time it's come from a non-partisan, independent source.

How non-partisan? These guys support Strickland's proposal to raise taxes this year - provided the Governor promises to consider long-term solutions to cutting state spending.

I hope the CPAs aren't holding their breath.

With this independent validation of the trouble in store for Ohio - trouble that the Governor refuses to address, John Kasich now has a formidable message.

As Ohioans suffer from a job crisis and economic meltdown, Ted Strickland has been asleep at the wheel and shown an inability to lead Ohio back from the brink. With the state staring down the barrel of the greatest budgetary challenge in Ohio history, how can any voter trust that Governor Strickland is up for the job?

They can't.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yeah, about that Fox News bias...

The non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs recently completed an analysis of the major networks and their bias during the election of 2008. In light of the recent White House/Fox News controversy, the timing couldn't be any better.

So what did we find out?
The CMPA study compares ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news shows and the first half hour of Fox News Channel's Special Report, which most closely resembles its broadcast news counterparts. (CNN and MSNBC have no comparable flagship evening news show; more on Fox's polarizing talk shows momentarily.)

So how could Fox have both the most balanced and the most anti-Obama coverage? Simple. It's because the other networks were all so pro-Obama. CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies. On the three broadcast networks combined, evaluations of Obama were 68% positive and 32% negative, compared to the only 36% positive and 64% negative evaluations of his GOP opponent John McCain.

In fact, Obama received the most favorable coverage CMPA has ever recorded for any presidential candidate since we began tracking election news coverage in 1988. The totals were very similar--within a few percentage points--at all three networks. (These figures exclude comments on the candidates' prospects in the campaign horse race, which obviously favored Obama.)

Meanwhile, Fox's Special Report was dramatically tougher on Obama, with only 36% favorable vs. 64% unfavorable evaluations during the same time period. But McCain didn't fare much better, garnering only 40% favorable comments vs. 60% negative ones. So the broadcast networks gave good marks to one candidate and bad marks to another, while Fox was tough on both--and most balanced overall.
Ok, fine. What about since the campaign?
From Inauguration Day to Oct. 10, only 27% of Special Report's comments on the president were favorable. That sounds like proof positive of Fox's negative intentions. But if Fox hasn't lost its anti-Obama edge, it has certainly lost its distinctiveness. During the same period only 35% of the evaluations on ABC, CBS, and NBC were positive. So from the administration's point of view, Fox's coverage has gone from being the worst of all to merely the worst among equals.
There you have it. You can all shut up about Fox News now.

Is Wall Street all that bad?

After all, 11 of the top 15 biggest recipients of Wall Street campaign cash are Democrats.

The Huffington Post has it all right here.

National pollsters agree: Strickland is in a world of hurt

Yesterday, I took advantage of a great opportunity to attend the Congressional Quarterly-Roll Call 2010 Election preview. It featured Political Wire's Taegan Goddard as the moderator, Scott Rasmussen from Rasmussen Reports, Peter Brown from Quinnipiac, Tom Jensen from Democratic (but well respected) Polling Group PPP, and Greg Giroux from CQ-Roll Call.

Their discussion reinforced what I have discussed a number of times here on 3BP: 2010 will be about jobs.

But I digress.

William Hershey from the Dayton Daily News nailed the points driven home by these pollsters this weekend when he said Strickland has another opponent, besides John Kasich:

It’s Ted Strickland, the governor himself. Elections almost always are about the incumbent’s record and 2010 won’t be different.

When times are good, incumbents get credit, whether they helped the economy boom or just went along for the ride.

When times are bad?

They get blamed, even if they’re mayors and governors and the economic collapse is national and global.

That blame helped fuel Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin’s defeat on Nov. 3 at the hands of political newcomer Gary Leitzell. [see the 3BP post on Rhine McLin's defeat here]

Hershey nailed what these three major pollsters repeated over and over again.

It's the economy, stupid.

We'll leave behind the argument about whether or not better leadership by Strickland would have minimized the economic blow felt by Ohioans [though a quick look at how Mitch Daniels managed Indiana during the same time period answers that question pretty quickly].

Instead, we must focus on the political reality, as these well-respected pollsters see it.

I discussed this issue with Quinnipiac's Brown after the event, and we agreed that the reality is this - at the end of the day, incumbent politicians are victims of circumstance. They can play offense or defense all they want, but what matters is how voters perceive the state of the top issue in their lives to be - and in the case of 2010, that's the economy and jobs.

I also had the opportunity to ask Brown and Scott Rasmussen about an issue that's been bugging me for awhile, and that's this - how soon must Ohio's economy show marked improvement in order to pull Ted Strickland out of the abyss?

In other words, if Strickland wants to win, when must we see a continuous and strong string of job growth in the state begin?

Scott Rasmussen did a great job answering the question:

Economists tell us the recession is over. 75% of voters disagree...When we interview voters, their primary gauge about how they view the national what is happening at their we sit here today, 52% of Americans say the economy is still getting worse. That's actually an improvement from the beginning of the year. But what hasn't improved is perceptions of their own personal finances. A majority still believe their personal finances are getting worse, and that's unchanged.


When bad news comes...consumer confidence tanks immediately...When good news comes in, it takes a long time before people believe it....there is typically one indicator that drives perceptions.... in 2002, 2003 it was foreign affairs, then it became jobs for a little while, then it became gas, the indicator is jobs. And it's not going to take one good jobs report. It's going to take 6 months worth of jobs reports before people believe things are changing.

6 months. May 21st, 2010. That's D-Day for Ted Strickland. The day the jobs report is released- five and a half months away from election day.

If a strong jobs rebound has not happened by then, Ted Strickland is in a world of hurt.

Brown reinforced the point here:

Ted Strickland's chances of turning around the Ohio economy when the rest of the nation's economy goes like this [points down] is zero. And intellectualy, everybody understands that, but that won't stop them from voting him out.

Voters are much less complex than many of us think. They like things. They don't like things. Most of them don't focus on specifics. [In 2008,] Barack Obama was the antidote to George W. Bush. In Ohio, John Kasich is the antidote to Ted Strickland.

The antidote.

I like that.

Now, the question becomes, how likely is it that Ohio will "Turn Around" in time for Ted Strickland to save his political career?

One of the pollsters I spoke with after the event said, "we both know that's not going to happen. Ohio is the first in and the last out of recessions. And that's bad news for Ted Strickland."

Indeed, it is.

Sharks? Laser beams? Somewhere, Dr. Evil is smiling.

Real Genius fans rejoice:
"The US military will shortly issue a brace of contracts for 'refrigerator sized' laser blaster cannons. One of the deals will see a full-power ground prototype built which will be the final stage prior to America's first raygun-equipped jet fighter. ... If it scales down far enough, this would seem to put handheld HELL-guns within an order of magnitude of the striking power offered by conventional small-arms. A 9mm pistol bullet has about 750 joules muzzle energy: a 5kg portable HELL-ray weapon would put out this much energy in a blast less than a second long. ... A dolphin can carry a human being weighing up to 100kg along for a ride. A thoroughbred shark in good training can surely match this. Thus, we seem to be looking at practicable head-[laser] output in the 20-kilowatt range."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ohio Libraries and Ted Strickland: The Damage Has Been Done

Over the summer, Ted Strickland came under fire from supporters of libraries(and reallly, what kind of weirdo doesn't support libraries) for proposing a massive cut of their funding to the tune of $84.3 million.

After a massive swell of grassroots opposition, Strickland relented a bit and the cut currently stands to be closer to $66.7 million.

But after some research, 3BP has determined that these cuts don't come without a price to taxpayers.

Upon learning of these cuts, 29 tax levies were voted upon this fall throughout the state to compensate for the shortage of state funding. In other words, rather than using state taxpayer dollars, libraries were going to need to use your local tax dollars.

29 tax levies.

For comparison's sake, that's 81% more library levies than were proposed 4 years ago.

In other words, Ted Strickland caused one hell of a mess, and left it up to local governments to clean up.

That's leadership?

Get to Know Gitmo

Steven Crowder of PJTV fame recently went on a visit to Gitmo to see what all the fuss was about.

While a bit long at 12 minutes, I highly recommend taking some time at lunch to watch this through to the end. He has a lot of great points and provides us all a better understanding of all the good our military is doing at Gitmo, along with a nice slam of Obama at the end.

Governor Envy.

I've spoken previously of my jealousy of Indiana for having a Governor like Mitch Daniels that can grow his economy and keep his state's budget in check in the middle of a recession.

Well, now I'm envious of Mississippi.

Yesterday, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour submitted his budget to his state legislature. In a press release and letter to the legislators, Barbour highlighted the difficulties facing his state in crafting a budget. He outlined challenges that sounded awfully familiar to what Ohio faces now, particularly when it comes to stimulus funds that will no longer be available down the road.

Governor Haley Barbour today proposed a 12 percent budget reduction for most state agencies and called for the merger of some state agencies, universities and school districts in his Executive Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2011.

The $5.5 billion state budget includes $370 million in stimulus funds that will cease after the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Governor Barbour is required by state law to submit a budget to the Legislature.

"About this time last year, state revenues started showing the effects of the recession," Governor said. "What we're seeing now is the full brunt of a soft economy, and state government must react accordingly. Clearly, business as usual won't keep essential services operating, and it won't work for the taxpayers. This budget crisis is real, and we cannot delay making difficult, long-term budget decisions.

Can you imagine what is must be like to have a Governor that recognizes the challenge that the future holds and has the courage to do what's necessary to find a solution?


No more rookies.

Yesterday, CNN was up with a headline about a poll taken in light of Sarah Palin's publicity tour.

The headline? CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as president

Ok, fair enough.

But why?

Could it be that Americans are now seeing for themselves how important experience really is when it comes to being President?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yost steps up.

This evening, Ohio Attorney General candidate Dave Yost was nice enough to comment on my earlier post about Richard Cordray's decision to use the tax dollars of Ohioans to pay for the defense of former employees of the state in the Joe the Plumber case.

He states:
The statute specifically says that the AG "shall not" provide representation if he finds one of the four disqualifying factors -- initially, or any time thereafter. That's why I called today for him to reverse his decision. He can, and he should.
Yost is right.

Republicans can't simply attack Cordray on this issue simply because he's using taxpayer dollars. They need to use the law to explain why Cordray's decision is improper.

And Yost does.

To read more from Yost on the issue, click here.

It's all about the Stimulus, baby.

Some recent numbers from the well-respected pollsters at IBD-TIPP provide Republicans with two particular data sets that will be vital to the 2010 midterms.

But, before I get into that, let me set these numbers up with some background on why they are important.

According to Rasmussen, since October of 2007, the economy has dominated the polls as the number one issue among Americans.

The Stimulus, being the only major piece of legislation which has focused on fixing the economy, was passed by the Democratic Congress and lobbied for by the President. It is, by default, the only way Americans can judge how Democrats have managed the #1 issue in their minds.

Therefore, how Americans judge the success of the stimulus becomes extremely important, as midterms are largely referendums on the Party in power.

When the stimulus was passed, no Republicans in the House voted for it. As I mentioned back then, that was extremely important. It gave ownership of the issue to Democrats.

So now, nine months later, how do the voters feel?

This graphic on the right should answer that for you.

Now, there is lots of good news in the answer to this poll question.

But there are two numbers of particular importance - how Independents and Democrats answered the question.

73% of Indepedents believe it fell short.

48% of Democrats believe it fell short.

For 3/4 of Independents, the single major effort by Democrats to solve the number one issue in their lives - failed. This, obviously, makes them unhappy. And it makes them want to change things.

And half of all Democrats are left disappointed that this issue of such massive importance wasn't dealt with adequately by their Party. And this makes them want to stay home.

The difficult question is how these numbers will change when/if the economy rebounds in 2010 and job numbers start to improve. Well, for arguments sake let's say that the unemployment rate begins to turn around at an absolutely unheard of rate - 0.3% per month, over each of the next nine months (i.e. next August, when campaign season starts in full swing). If that happens, unemployment will only be down to 7.5%, or almost 3 full points higher than when Democrats took over the House in 2006.

Now, take into consideration that nearly all serious predictors indicate unemployment will continue to suffer and you start to see what kind of trouble the Democrats are in.

As usual, Get Out the Vote efforts will be massively important in the 2010 election, and especially so for Democrats - as they'll have to convince their base to go vote, despite their massive failure.

Here's a riddle for ya.

How do you know all the noise from conservatives about big spending and deficits is going to be a major political issue in the midterm elections?
The Obama administration, mindful of public anxiety over the government's mushrooming debt, is shifting emphasis from big-spending policies to deficit reduction. Domestic agencies have been told to brace for a spending freeze or cuts of up to 5 percent as part of a midterm election-year push to rein in record budget shortfalls.
This messaging strategy would not be in effect had New Jersey and Virginia gone as they had been going for years for Dems.

No way. No how.

Tea Partiers - think your message isn't getting through? This is proof it is.

Shut up, Richard.

This story reminds me of a favorite movie of mine during my college days, Tommy Boy.
Richard: You have de-railed...
Tommy: Shut up, Richard!
The weekend saw a bit of controversy surrounding Ohio AG Richard Cordray.

The Dayton Daily News reported:
Ohio taxpayers are right in the middle of the civil rights lawsuit that Samuel Joseph — “Joe the Plumber” — Wurzelbacher has filed against three former state employees, charging that they illegally accessed his confidential information through state databases.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s office is defending former state employees Helen Jones-Kelley, Douglas Thompson and Fred Williams. All have denied wrongdoing and asked that the case, filed last March in U.S. District Court in Columbus, be dismissed.

Initially, I wanted to give Cordray the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps state code requires him to defend the former state employees.

Not so much.

He acknowledged that there are exceptions to the requirement that the attorney general represent state employees. For those to come into play, a determination must be made that the employee was acting “manifestly outside the scope of his official employment or official responsibilities, with malicious purpose, in bad faith or in a wanton or reckless manner.”
The state determined there was enough malfeasance "outside the scope of their official employment or official responsibilities, with malicious purpose" to have these folks pushed out or fired.

This is cut and dry.

Richard Cordray does not have to use Ohio taxpayer dollars to defend these folks the state found warranted termination.

But he is.

Strange move, Richard.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Facing Reality.

This post isn't about the politics, merits, beliefs, or qualifications of the Republican candidates for Attorney General.

It's about political reality.

There are some things in politics that one simply can't change, no matter how much you believe in a candidate or no matter how much a candidate frustrates you.

Very recently, I obtained a copy of a private poll conducted by the nationally renowned Tarrance Group. The Tarrance Group, run by Ed Goeas, is widely known as the premier polling firm of Republican candidates. If you want a poll, and can afford it, you talk to them.

Here are the results:
Among all likely voters in the 2010 general election for Ohio Attorney General, DeWine currently captures 50% of the vote compared to incumbent Richard Cordray’s 42%, leaving 9% undecided.

In two of the three largest designated market areas (DMA) in the state, DeWine holds tremendous leads over Cordray. In Cleveland, DeWine garners 50% to Cordray’s 41% and in the Cincinnati DMA he leads by 42 points, with 68% of the vote to just 26% for Cordray.

Among a subset of likely Republican primary voters across the State of Ohio, DeWine captures more than four-fifths of the vote (82%) against potential opponent David Yost’s 10%, leaving 9% undecided. DeWine’s support remains within the margin of error of his overall score across all regions and subgroups.
Two obvious takeaways?

1. Cordray should be worried.
Cordray is currently polling only two percent higher than Strickland did in the most recent Quinnipiac poll. In other words, not good.

2. Dave Yost doesn't stand a chance.
Down 73 points is never good.

Why the massive support for DeWine? Name recognition. When you've served as Senator and Lt. Governor as long as he did, Ohioans are going to know you. Yeah, some of that name recognition isn't positive among the Republican base. But it's still positive enough to garner DeWine 82% against an unknown candidate.

And that's Yost's challenge. He's unknown, and he doesn't have the cash to overcome that.

Yes, I know he won the Butler County Republican Party endorsement. But that doesn't buy name recognition among the thousands of Republican primary voters across Ohio.

The political reality is this - it's not Dave Yost's time.....yet.

Fortunately, he's playing his cards just right. He understands the enormous odds against him and isn't risking his political future by attacking the frontrunner. In order to succeed in Ohio politics, you need establishment support. And you don't gain establishment support by thumbing your nose at the frontrunner.

Dave Yost is a fantastic candidate, and as long as he maintains a positive campaign and focuses his energy on beating the Democrats in the fall, he has a future in Ohio politics. He will be good for Ohio. But the time is not yet ripe.

One closing thought before I head to Rhino's in Georgetown to catch the Buckeye game, this poll also says a little something about the Governor's race.

Cordray is currently suffering from the fatigue facing Democrats throughout Ohio. Thus, his similar polling number relative to Strickland. But Cordray is facing a Republican who is garnering 50% of the vote. Comparitively, Kasich was at 40%. But how is Kasich different from the other three? Name recognition. As Kasich's name recognition improves - and it will significantly, I'm confident we'll see a similar uptick in his support. Republicans and Independents who know Kasich quantitatively approve of him. Increasing his name recognition among those that don't will only increase his support and build a lead against the struggling Ted Strickland.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ganley is up. And down.

Back in July I said this about the Senate candidacy of Republican Tom Ganley:
While Ganley has all the cash he needs to mount a credible challenge, it's TBD whether Ohio voters will afford him any sense of legitimacy. I'd expect Ganley to start up with some advertising in the last quarter of 2009 in order to gauge any poll movement before deciding whether to spend even more of his own wealth to aggressively go after Portman.
Well, right on cue he's up on the air.

You can view his one minute commercial by clicking here. (for some reason, his video is not embeddable - a strange decision considering how important a function that is to best share video on the interwebs)

Since he announced, Ganley has shown to be consistently unknown and running in the single digits far behind Portman.

With this ad, the clock starts ticking. The next poll from Quinnipiac will come out in about two months. Since he's now on the air, Ganley must show some serious improvement if he wants to pull the trigger and go all out in the primary. Remember, this is his own fortune he is spending - if he's as conservative as he claims to be, he won't waste it.

But, speaking of wasting it, there is one thing about his ad that does bring some concern. At the 44 second mark, the seal of the FBI is shown. I wonder if Ganley knew about this provision of the US Code:
Unauthorized use of the FBI seal is subject to prosecution under federal criminal law, including Sections 701 and 709 of Title 18, United States Code.
Now, it's possible Ganley did get authorization. But that is something they will want to check on before running the ad too extensively.

Either way, Ganley faces a tough hill to climb. He's not going to out-conservative Portman. And considering Portman's massive fundraising haul, he'd be taking a mighty risk trying to out-spend him.

The question is whether Republican voters are interested in nominating a rookie outsider, or a voice of experience with a record of success in Congress.

Personally, I think we already have one too many rookies in Washington.