Thursday, December 31, 2009

3BP: The Best of 2009

For my last post of 2009, I figured I'd post a compilation of some of my favorite and most important posts of the year.

Thanks again to my ever growing legion of readers. 2010 will bring with it a few new developments here in the land of Third Base Politics as well as, good Lord willing, a new Governor in Ohio.

And without any further adieu, here's 2009...

I know....if this was a greatest hits album it would be several volumes too big. Ah well.

Thanks again for reading and I hope you have a safe & happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Taking Strickland at his word.

Ted Strickland long ago painted himself into a corner.

In 2006, the Democratic governor, then a little-known congressman from southern Ohio, made the kind of campaign promise that often ends up slung tight around your neck. He
boldly told anyone who would listen that he'd solve Ohio's intractable school-funding dilemma or he wouldn't be worth his salt as governor.

"I said that if this issue were not dealt with, regardless of whatever positive things I may achieve as governor, than I will consider myself a failure," Strickland has repeated to reporters since then.
That's from the Plain Dealer earlier this year.

Well, Pat Smith, a former teacher and past president of the Worthington and State boards of education, recently wrote an editorial that highlights just how much of a failure Strickland has been on education.

While giving credit to Strickland for a few ideas, the meat of the editorial rips into the Governor for many aspects of the joke of a plan he submitted earlier this year:
  • Obviously ignored was the fact that per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, has doubled in this country in the past 25 years, largely due to ever-shrinking class size with no corresponding increase in achievement. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently gave Ohio a C for return on investment, noting that student achievement is mediocre relative to state spending.
Mandating all-day kindergarten even though many, if not most, districts lack staff and space to comply without additional funding. In response to districts' astonished outcry, they were granted a reprieve but only if they seek a waiver that includes a plan to implement the mandate -- still with no assured funding -- by 2012.
  • Adopting the so-called evidence-based model that two national gurus provided as a basis for funding their version of an ideal education -- whether taxpayers can afford it or not -- and regardless of what other equally important services may have to be cut to the bone or eliminated. What it amounts to is arbitrary and uniform hiring mandates on all districts, regardless of their varying needs, and $3 billion -- roughly a 30 percent increase in the education budget.
  • Ignoring several national reports calling for needed system overhaul, such as the McKinsey report on the world's best performing schools; the National Center on Education and the Economy's "Tough Choices or Tough Times," highlighted by Ohio's foundations; and the School Redesign Finance Study, funded by the Gates Foundation, as well as others that specifically examined Ohio. These reports advocate far different approaches from the one adopted.
I think it's safe to say we can take the Governor at his word.

Ohio about to learn whether it gets its choo-choo.

From Monday's Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio has plenty of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package left to spend in 2010, but it's the big prize that hangs in the balance: the prospects of landing funds for a marquee train project.

For now, the state, will give rebates to people who buy new, energy-efficient appliances; it will begin work on a massive new bridge for downtown Cleveland; and it plans to finish high-profile projects to improve drinking water in rural areas.

Still up for grabs is $8 billion in stimulus money that Obama has set aside for high-speed passenger rail projects. By late January, the Federal Rail Administration will decide if Ohio gets $564 million for a 79-mph, startup train service connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

79-mph? Ha!

Unfortunately, the Dispatch fails to remind us that the average MPH for the Ohio Choo-Choo Express will be a mindnumbingly slow 39mph. That means a trip from Cincy to Columbus would take nearly three and a half hours.

I can't stress how badly I want Ohio to lose this stimulus grant.

With excruciatingly long travel times combined with a total and complete lack of demand from commuters, this is one government-run project that will be doomed to yearly bailouts - and that money will come straight from the Ohio taxpayer.

With the potential for a $9 billion shortfall in the coming budget, that's another financial smackdown that the state can't handle.

Fortunately, legit rail studies like that done by pro-rail urban planning group America 2050 surmised that the Cincy-Columbus-Cleveland connection should be far down in priority.

So unless the President wants to make sure Strickland gets another treat in his federal goodie bag, Ohio should come up losers.

Which makes everyone winners.

By the way, with "plenty of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package left to spend in 2010", I don't think "stimulus" means what the President thinks it means.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


With Obama's tacit response to the increased violence in Iran, it's understandable that the American public isn't up in arms about what's going on.

It's hard to get any media into the country to see what's going on. And our President barely acknowledges it.

Thank God for the internet.

Twitter and youtube have once again been a great help in getting the message out.

If you aren't of the faint of heart, I implore you to watch this video highlighting just how awful things have gotten, and just how amazing.

Per Gateway Pundit:
Iranian protesters in Sirjan rescued two prisoners being hanged by the brutal regime. They rushed the Iranian officials smashed up their truck and cut the prisoners down.

The more things hope and change, the more they stay the same.

Jim Geraghty over at NRO nailed this one yesterday:

Obama, speaking today: "We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable."


TEEING OFF: A half-hour after President Obama vowed to catch the terrorists behind a plot to blow up a plane on Christmas, he arrived at 10:40 a.m. at the Luana Hills Country Club, where a golf course winds through a rain forest, the pool reports. The club is below inland cliffs and the towering Mt. Olomana.

What, does he suspect the caddies?

Perfunction had the perfect chaser to the shot with this youtube gem:

Is this the hope and change you all voted for, Dems?

Who's in charge over there?

Back in September I took an in-depth look at the September Quinnipiac poll of the Ohio Governor's race. In it, I discussed the challenge Kasich faces in regards to his lack of name ID relative to Governor Strickland.

In concluding the post, I wrote the following:
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.
For this post, I'd like to focus on #1, "Define yourself before Ted Strickland does it for you."

For Kasich, it's one of the most challenging aspects of the campaign. There are three ways to increase name ID. Grassroots(read: door-to-door/phone calls/social media) efforts, earned media, and paid media. Grassroots is done by implementing a massive effort among GOP activists. Earned media is done by getting your name in the papers. Paid media is done by picking just the right time to invest some of your hard-earned fundraising dollars on TV, mail, and other media.

In other words, it's complicated.

With that in mind, you'd assume the Ohio Democratic Party would be aggressively working to define Kasich to the electorate first.

Not so much.

At least if you look at their website.

In both their blog and Latest News section, Kasich is mentioned a grand total of two times since November 9th. For some reason they seem to have wiped everything prior to 11/9.

Twice. In nearly two months.

Now, I hate to give the Ohio Democrats advice here, but this just seemed too amazing to not mention.

Defining an opponent to the voting public before he has a chance to define himself is a very simple campaign tactic.

The only semi-rational reason I can imagine for them to keep quiet is because they've seen polls showing Kasich has a low name ID and they don't want to help him out any.

Well, in the latest Rasmussen poll, Kasich's name ID still isn't too great and he's up by 9 on the Governor.

Come on, Chairman Redfern. Step it up.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Plain Dealer rips Jello Ted on slots

You may have missed an interesting editorial yesterday from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

They took the time to detail the circus that was Governor Strickland's slots plan.

You can read the whole piece here, but it's the final paragraph that really hits hard.
In the end, he damaged his credibility, strengthened the hand of the casino campaigners, violated the Constitution, angered voters, and put the future of the tracks in greater doubt than ever.

Did someone see an elephant?

It seems little by little, mainstream media in Ohio is beginning to notice the elephant in the room - the real budget crisis in Ohio.

That of the 2012-2013 budget.

$4-9 billion?

If it took Strickland nearly 7 months to figure out how to raise taxes to fix a $851 million gap, I guess we can count on Jello Ted, if he gets his way in 2010, needing about 4.5 years to come up with another way to hike taxes.

The article by Jim Siegel of the Columbus Dispatch does a good job of representing the facts of the situation. Currently the deficit estimates are a bit all over the place, but as Siegel states, "whatever the correct number, it's big."

Siegel goes on to highlight the ideas presented by Republicans - construction law reform, privatization of government services, four-day work weeks, and government restructuring - and fairly discusses their potential negatives.

He also gives Governor Strickland an opportunity to discuss his ideas:

Strickland has talked about the possibility of selling state assets but is most hopeful that he can help persuade federal lawmakers to approve another round of stimulus funding.

"But that's not all I'm doing," he said. "We are not passive about looking forward. We are committed to scrutinizing everything we think we can do."

[cue crickets chirping]

His big idea is lobbying the federal government to bail the state out?


And what the hell does "scrutinizing everything we think we can do" even mean?

Jello Ted goes on to complain that Republicans haven't provided any details about their ideas and claims he's "willing to engage in a serious discussion" about the crisis.

For pete's sake, Governor, you were elected to your position to lead. Not sit back and hope the big boys in Washington come save some Buckeye butt again. And not to play political games with your state legislature.

They at least have ideas. You want specifics? Fine. Use the soapbox provided to you when you were elected in 2006 to ask Speaker Budish and Leader Harris for committee hearings to discuss how to fix the gap. Show leadership!

Or maybe, I dunno, come up with a few ideas yourself?

Whatever happened to "the buck stops here", Governor?

This isn't about the upcoming campaign. Kasich hasn't been elected to anything yet. But as 2010 wears on, he will have a responsibility to discuss the gap as we move into prime campaign season in the fall.

But Mr. Strickland, you are the Governor. You were elected to lead. Now do it.

17.5% that could swing 2010 in Ohio

Ready to get into the weeds on campaign tactics for 2010 in Ohio? Good. Me too.

As we all know by now, Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown once stated to me:
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 other words, if they are happy with how things are going, they'll re-elect the incumbent, if they aren't, they'll vote for the new guy.

With that in mind, let's move on to the meat of this post.

Back in July, I compared Ohio counties with high unemployment rates to those that voted for Ted Strickland in 2006.

Well, with 2010 just days away and a new set of unemployment numbers to start the year off, I figured it was right time to revisit the idea.

After all, all politics is local.

Below is the most recent listing of unemployment rates broken down by county.

So you wouldn't have to, I broke down the number of counties with exuberantly high unemployment rates - 12% or higher - and found 33 counties qualify. That's nearly 40% of all counties in the state.

Thanks to the ginormous unemployment rate, it's plenty obvious that voters in these counties will be vulnerable to targeted mailings and other paid media highlighting the job crisis at a county-level.

Now, it's fair to say that Gov. Strickland would hope these high unemployment rates came in counties that Blackwell substantially won, thereby meaning the Governor had little to lose.

Alas, that's not the case.

Below is a table listing all 33 counties, the 2006 election result, and the approximate total number of votes in each county in 2006. They are color coded by how strongly they voted for Ted Strickland - red means Blackwell won the county, blue means Strickland won by 9 or more, and purple means Strickland won by 8 or less.

First reaction? That's a lot of blue.

Second reaction? No, seriously. That's a lot of blue.

These 33 counties, all currently with 12%+ unemployment, accounted for 17.5% of all votes cast in 2006.

What that means is very simple - Governor Ted Strickland has a lot to lose in 2010, especially in the blue counties listed above.

If the traditional maxim is true, that voters vote based on their perception of the state of things, then these Strickland voters will be extremely vulnerable to targeted mailings and paid media focusing on the particularly high unemployment rate in their specific county.

In a race where Strickland is already running 9 points back, that's good news for the GOP.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Stimulus and America's frustration with it

I first said it back on May 15th.

Obama's stimulus has failed.

Now, at that point we only had initial indications of its failure, as well as basic knowledge of economics to understand that a pork-ridden, craptastic waste of cash like the stimulus would at best provide short-term employment and provide no substantive long-term jumpstart to the economy.

But from a political perspective, we knew the stimulus was already a failure for the President back then. The idea was to reenforce that perception into the public identity.

When the plan was on the verge of passage, the public opposed it by a 6-point margin, 43-37. Based on these numbers, the public was ripe for negative messaging re: the stimulus plan.

While Republican leadership wasn't quite as aggressive as 3BP in calling the stimulus a failure, they did take the message mainstream in the early summer.

By highlighting its failures at a macro and micro level, Republican leadership has successfully reenforced the message, even when it was pushed to the side for a focus on the health care debate.

Recent numbers from Rasmussen
highlight extreme disapproval of the stimulus and a widespread perception of its failure.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38% believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.
Only 30% of Americans believe the Democrat-sponsored massive federal stimulus has been a success. That means 70% believe it to be otherwise.

That is huge.

The stimulus is still the President's only major legislative accomplishment designed to help the economy. Once health care reform is passed, it's likely further jobs programs will be proposed, but none will carry with it the profile of Obama's signature jobs bill.

And the failure that comes with it.

By the fall, health care reform will be a distant memory to Americans as they get ready to vote. The jobs crisis and the economy will be where it's always been - first and foremost in the public's mind. They'll still see their neighbor or loved one out of work, and Republicans will remind them over and over again of the failure of the stimulus.

It should be, and hopefully will be, a major tactic used against Democrats as Republicans attempt to nationalize the election.

Americans are clearly on our side. It's up to us to keep them there.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ohio votes with its feet.

There are only two clear and undeniable ways to gauge the will of the people.

How they vote and if they move.

In elections, millions of Ohioans choose who they believe will best lead their state.

When people decide to move, they use a predetermined set of variables to decide that they want to live somewhere else. These variables can be anything from wanting to live somewhere warmer to wanting to go somewhere where it's easier to get a job.

Recently, we learned Ohio isn't the most attractive state in the union.
Under state law, the General Assembly will be required to adjust congressional boundaries after the 2010 U.S. census. Even though the state is expected to gain population -- it added about 14,600 residents between July 2008 and last July -- Ohio will lose one congressional seat for sure, and probably two, because the 435 seats in the House are apportioned nationally.

As a result, the fast-growing states -- Arizona, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina among them -- each will gain a seat in Congress, while states with relatively stagnant population growth, including Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, each will lose a seat.

Ohio is the only state in jeopardy of losing two seats, according to an analysis of census estimates by The Plain Dealer. It determined that Ohio is 42,753 people short of securing 17 seats in the House.
That's not good.

Less congressional seats = less influence in the federal government. It means fewer Congressmen looking out for the best interests of the great state of Ohio.

In the most recent estimate released earlier this week by the U.S. Census, Ohio's population growth accounted for only 6% of the total growth of the 12 states that encompass the Midwest as defined by the census.

That means with all geographical factors being relatively constant, there are other reasons why Ohioans and Americans as a whole are avoiding Ohio.

These people are voting with their feet.

Ohio needs recharged. It needs revitalized. It needs to be seen as a new symbol of what it made it great for so long - a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

This isn't something that can be fixed with a slogan. Ohio's economy hasn't been jumpstarted by any stimulus. And Green Jobs aren't going to right the ship.

Interestingly enough, two of the top five growing states, Texas and Florida, are states without an income tax. Some like to characterize the idea of eliminating Ohio's income tax as extreme. Well, those voting with their feet seem to disagree. Perhaps a more fair tax system has made these states more attractive. Because one thing is for sure, their weather sure hasn't changed.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from 3BP!

As you all sit back and enjoy your day with your loved ones, I leave you with three great youtubes for the 2009 Christmas season:

The first one speaks pretty darn well to Ohioans...
All I Want for a job.

Of course, you can never go wrong with the 12 Days of Christmas...the question is whether it would be the McKenzie Brothers version or the Muppets. The Muppets won out based on the performances of Fozzie Bear and Animal...

And finally, you can't go without one of the best Christmas monologues of all time...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm outta here.

Hey all.

As I head back home to Columbus for Christmas with my amazing family, I want to wish you all a fantastic holiday season and safe travels.

Spread a little Christmas cheer, knock back some eggnog, and don't forget to look for Santa on google maps with your little ones on Christmas eve.

I'll be posting less frequently until I get back here to Virginia on the 26th or 27th. Until then, I leave you with this glorious mash-up of an interrogation between Santa Claus and Jack Bauer.

Merry Christmas!

Ted gives himself an A, Ohio laughs uncontrollably.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has had a spattering of end-of-year interviews that have provided a glimpse into just how out of touch he is from reality.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer asked him to grade himself. It seems Ted failed to learn anything from the mocking Barack Obama received for giving himself a "good, solid B+" last week.
Asked to grade his performance this year, the Democratic leader, heading into a crucial 2010 re-election campaign, coolly said, "certainly a solid B."

Care to explain such a high mark, governor?

"Well, it's because I'm too humble to say a solid A," Strickland said in an interview with The Plain Dealer Monday. "But I think the affairs of this state have been managed responsibly in the midst of the most serious economic recession in many, many decades."
Holy crap.

Simply showing up for class never earned me an A when I was in school, Guv.

Grades are given for results. Not attendance.

So, what are the test results at the end of 2009?

Over 1 in 10 Ohioans are out of work.
The unemployment rate skyrocketed 36% in one year.
You've yet to live up to your promise to fix Ohio's education system.
You sacrificed your principles on a gambling proposal the Ohio Supreme Court laughed at.
You raised taxes on Ohioans by 4.2%.
And you've overseen massive turnover in key Administration positions.

Good Lord, man. If that's deserving of an A, or even a B, I'd hate to see what you'd do for an encore.

Additionally, Ted was asked how he's going to solve Ohio's job crisis. His answer?
The governor says an energy bill passed this year and stimulus money coming in for new Ohio Department of Transportation projects in 2010 and other purposes will generate jobs.
Sheezus, if that's his stump talking point on job creation, just hand the election to John Kasich right now.

Somehow, an energy bill and some construction jobs will provide long-term gainful employment for the 303,000 Ohioans that have lost their jobs since you became Governor, Mr. Strickland?

That's what you're trying to tell us?

See, this is the problem with the Governor in a nutshell. Rather than try to provide real solutions that will make Ohio more competitive to business than its current 47th ranking business tax climate, he instead continually chooses to kick the can down the road and hope for the best.

Alternatively, 315 days out from the election, Kasich has already intimated that his plan to make Ohio more attractive will include a transition away from the income tax.

Some like to paint this as extreme, which seems strange since 9 other states don't implement a state income tax and yet still average unemployment rates 17.3% lower than Ohio's. Additionally, these same states together average a ranking of 7th in the Tax Foundation's state business tax climate index. Ohio? 47th.

Hmmm....those states without an income tax must be doing something right, eh?

But Ted's solution? One-time, federal stimulus dollars to pay for temporary construction jobs.

That's a plan? That's a solution for 10.6% unemployment?

That's a joke.

Just like his grade.

For those with friends cheering Obama's health care reform plan...

....just show them this from the Wall Street Journal:
From the outset, the White House's core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they're sticking to that story. "Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't read the bills," Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.

These increases are solely the result of ObamaCare—above and far beyond the status quo—because its strict restrictions on underwriting and risk-pooling would distort insurance markets. All but a handful of states have rejected regulations like "community rating" because they encourage younger and healthier buyers to wait until they need expensive care, increasing costs for everyone. Benefits and pricing will now be determined by politics.


Monday, December 21, 2009

What really matters.

As I've been reiterating, the 2010 election is about jobs.

Two stories that hit the major newswires late last week pushed that very narrative.

The first story appeared nationally on MSNBC and the Washington Post.

The second was local and featured in the Cincy Enquirer.

These two pieces highlight what's really important in next year's election. They are about what really matters - families....and the jobs that help keep them together.

They are important not just politically, but realistically, too. Each reflects something said in Hershey's DDN article that I highlighted this morning:
“Even if I’m not unemployed, my neighbor is,” said Green.
Bingo. Us political hacks can talk til we're blue in the face about budget compromises and tax cuts or tax hikes, but what matters to 95% of Ohioans is their own situation, and that of their family and neighbors.

From the Enquirer article:
Jennifer Furber braces for the question every afternoon when her kids get home from school.

"Did you find a job today?"

She hears the worry in their voices and she wants to say something, anything, to make them feel better, to assure them they won't have to move away from their friends or abandon their house or quit playing soccer because she can't afford the sign-up fees.

Now, Jennifer Furber may or may not vote for Ted Strickland. But I'm betting a lot of her neighbors definitely won't be. And as we continue to see these failures of Turnaround Ohio....neither will the rest of the state.

It's official: Obama just as severely unpopular as Bush

In the last Rasmussen tracking poll of his tenure as President, a staggeringly awful 43% of Americans strongly disapproved of George W. Bush's job as President.

I'm pretty sure that same percentage still have the "1/20/09" bumper stickers still on their car.

It was because of approval numbers like these that lost the November election for Republicans and prevented the President from wielding any political capital in his 2nd term.

And now, Barack Obama owns the exact same number.

According to Rasmussen this morning, 43% of Americans, a new high for the President, strongly disapprove of his job performance.

That was fast.

But that's what we've come to expect from...

William Hershey nails it.

I've been a fan of William Hershey from the Dayton Daily News for awhile. He's fair and he's got a good grasp of what really matters in politics. Despite his saturation in the minutiae of statehouse politics, he recognizes that voters don't waste their time with details of statehouse politicking. And in his most recent piece, he uses a couple experts to back it up.

Yesterday's column from Hershey
perfectly sums up the politics of the budget deal and what they mean for the 2010 election:
Compared to the unemployment rate, the budget numbers probably don’t mean much politically.

“Budgets are hard to explain,” said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

In other words, unless the budget process had actually collapsed and schools started closing due to state spending cuts, nobody’s going to pay much attention to the Statehouse circus.

“In these economic times, it would take a government shutdown for Ohio voters to pay attention to the budget negotiations in the same way they are watching unemployment figures and job losses,” Eric Rademacher, co-director of the Ohio Poll at the University of Cincinnati, said in an e-mail.

The unemployment rate is easy to understand.

It means that more than one out of 10 Ohioans is out of work.

It’s been that way for eight straight months of double-digit unemployment and nobody’s predicting a turnaround – as in Turn Around Ohio, Strickland’s 2006 campaign theme – soon.

“Even if I’m not unemployed, my neighbor is,” said Green.
In other words, the budget mess means squat.

It's nothing new from what I've said over and over again on this blog, 2010 is jobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobsjobs.

You may recall a conversation I had with Peter Brown from Quinnipiac that I posted about here. Regarding Ohio's economy and Strickland's chances, he had this to say:
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.
In other words, it's hard to find any acknowledged expert that would claim something as minutiae-ridden as the Ohio budget deal would be a game changer for Strickland.

A game changer would be a massive TURNAROUND (hint hint) in Ohio's economy.

So, based on the most recent unemployment rate, what's the best case scenario on jobs for Ted Strickland?

Last month, when unemployment was at 10.5%, I asked the same question. Here's how I devised what Strickland's best case scenario really is:
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.
Ok. So if unemployment reports start decreasing at 0.3% per month beginning in January, what will unemployment be come early to mid-September when paid media really starts to saturate Ohio TVs?

About 500,000 Ohioans out of work.
60% higher than when Strickland took office.

With these kinds of numbers, does anyone possibly think Strickland will be able to diffuse millions of dollars worth of television commercials hitting him for failing to live up to his promise to Turnaround Ohio?

And remember, 8.5% is a best case scenario, if Ohio's historical economic trends hold fast.

Jobs. It's all about jobs.

Just one phone call.

That's all it would have taken to restore a little hope back into hope & change.

In order to secure Democratic Senator Ben Nelson's vote for cloture on Obamacare, Senate Democrats had to provide his home state with untold hundreds of millions of dollars.

In other words, he was bribed. Anyone who says otherwise is in denial.

Under the current merged legislation (the version unveiled on November 18th), the federal government fully finances care for the expanded population for two years and increases its matching funds (known as FMAP) thereafter. Page 98 of the managers amendment specifically identifies Nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year:

‘‘(3) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, the Federal medical assistance percentage otherwise determined under subsection (b) with respect to all or any portion of a fiscal year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, for the State of Nebraska, with respect to amounts expended for newly eligible individuals described in subclause (VIII) of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i), shall be determined as provided for under subsection (y)(1) (A) (notwithstanding the period provided for in such paragraph)

Subsection (y)(1)(A) refers to page 399 of the original merged Senate legislation which fully funds state Mediciad expansions for the first two years. The manager’s amendment also provides 2.2% increase in FMAP to help states finance their existing Medicaid programs.

And there it is.

Impossible to miss.

Now, with all the increased cynicism about Obama from the public, I can't help but wonder how his approval ratings would turn if rather than staying silent, he publicly called out the the Senate as a whole for embracing this level of outright bribery.

Of course, we're all cynics. Sadly, this behavior from the Senate is what we've grown to expect.

If wouldn't hurt so bad for many Americans if Obama hadn't run on changing that tone. On cleaning up Washington. On hope and change.

And what are we left with? A level of legislative bribery worse than any in memory.

It didn't have to be that way. With one phone call - with one speech - with one press release, Obama could have reinspired America's faith in their leaders.

But instead, it's more of the same.

It all reminds me of one of the first youtube videos I made. One from soon after the November election.

How appropos.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn from NRO had a great post last night on The Corner...

I like the way this guy puts it: "Cash for cloture."

This line from Congressman Cantor caught my eye:

They’re allocating taxpayer dollars as if those dollars belonged to the senators. It borders on immoral. Just look at the way Senator Landrieu put her vote up for sale. Senator Nelson did the same.

You can't even dignify this squalid racket as bribery: If I try to buy a cop, I have to use my own money. But, when Harry Reid buys a senator, he uses my money, too. It doesn't "border on immoral": it drives straight through the frontier post and heads for the dark heartland of immoral.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ok, I admit it. I was wrong.

In a post reflecting on the political implications of Strickland's budget, I stated that I believed that despite Strickland getting 1-2 days worth of positive coverage for the deal, that it still wouldn't be near enough to dissuade public opinion that Ohio's economy is in shambles and that Strickland poorly managed the deficit crisis.

Well, I was really wrong on those 1-2 days.

Initial coverage primarily discussed the tax hike and the legislature, rather than Strickland's preferred message that he saved the budget or saved schools..

Tom Blumer takes a look at much of the coverage here and finds that while there is still debate behind how to frame it - tax hike or tax cut delay - it's clear that coverage revolved around the tax issue.

In fact, it looks like of all the papers reviewed, only the Plain Dealer mentioned the Governor in its headline. The others focused on lawmakers and the tax issue.

And as for day 2? Well, take a look at the front pages of every major newspaper in Ohio, courtesy of the Newseum website.

See any mention of the budget deal? Nope. Not a bit.

Clearly, from a political perspective, this budget deal wasn't the big win Strickland's campaign consultants wanted it to be.

It's almost time to order HBO.

If you saw Band of Brothers, you're going to be very excited to see that its companion piece, The Pacific, finally has a release date.

As Warming Glow states:
The ten-part series will debut on Sunday, March 14th and will be the most important thing in my life every week until May 16th. I’m spreading the word now so that you poor people who don’t have HBO can save up to pay for premium cable for two months.
For those that haven't seen the trailer, it looks amazing:

Friday, December 18, 2009

An Ohio Christmas in DC

Here in the nation's capital, it's important not to take living here for granted.

For those that have been here awhile, it's easy to drive by the Washington Monument and not be astounded.

Back when I worked on Capitol Hill, one saying was that "if you ever ceased to be amazed by how the Capitol dome looks at night, it's time to leave DC and go back home."

Well, last night me and my fiancee took some time to take in a great Christmastime tradition in DC, the White House Christmas tree. For those that have never been, it's a must-do if you're in the area during the holiday season. One aspect of the set-up on the White House south lawn are the smaller trees representing all the states and territories.

If you missed it last night on twitter, here is a pic I took of Ohio's tree - which also happens to have a great view of the White House.

Sponsored by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, the tree is decorated with all types of ornaments representing the Buckeye State.

Very cool stuff. Make sure you check the scene out sometime.

Kasich & the Ohio Budget

Last night, John Kasich released his first statement on Ohio's budget.

Here it is in its entirety:

As I have traveled the state over the past three years, it has been clear to me that the people of Ohio understand that raising taxes is counter-productive to job creation and economic growth. The most prosperous states are the ones that are constantly reforming and restructuring, and not raising taxes.

Today’s agreement is strictly stopgap, and turns a blind eye to the massive shortfalls we will face during the next budget cycle. We better have new leadership and new ideas in place by then. Our state’s future depends on it.

For far too long Ohio has been stuck in a cycle of tax and spend. Hard choices continue to be pushed off to another day. And today, with this agreement between the Governor and the legislature, we are continuing the cycle and culture of tax and spend. It is a cycle I intend to break.

Love the last paragraph.

But some have complained about Kasich not putting his stamp on the budget process and providing his input, particularly considering his experience as Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. As you likely recall, Kasich served as the chief architect of the nation’s first balanced budget since 1969. To put that into some perspective, next year’s congressional overspending is expected to surpass $1.5 trillion.

So, considering this background, why didn't Kasich get involved?


He hasn't been elected yet.

Elections are done for a reason - for the people to have their say about who they want managing their government.

If Kasich got involved it would have politicized the process far beyond where it's stood the past several months. And that wouldn't be fair to the elected officials involved or the people of Ohio.

Now, as appropriate, Kasich has provided his first comment upon completion of the budget. It highlights his hope to reform state government to make it more efficient, lower the tax burden, and make Ohio more attractive to businesses.

Over the coming months we'll be hearing the details about how Kasich plans to govern Ohio. I'd expect a timeframe similar to Strickland's in 2006 where the rollout began in the spring. Seeing as I don't recall much griping from the left about not having time to study Strickland's plans back then, I'm sure we can expect the same patience from them when it comes to Kasich's rollout.


Gov. Strickland: A Man with Priorities

Today, we learned that Ohio's unemployment rate has risen again. Now up to 10.6%.

That's an exact doubling of the rate when he became Governor.
That's 303,000 more unemployed Ohioans since he took the oath of office.
That's not Turning around Ohio.

So on the day that we learn Ohio is going nowhere fast, at least we know the Governor is hard at work solving the state's probl............WHAT THE %&$$&#@#Y@?

Oh, you gotta be kidding me.

What's particularly infuriating, besides a ridiculous unemployment rate, is that the press release is dated yesterday.

That means this was something agreed to before the budget issue was sure to be resolved. As we all know, it's not like any event like this can be scheduled on the fly with the Governor of Ohio.

Can you imagine? The Governor was threatening to keep legislators around on Christmas, meanwhile he was planning a trip up to Youngstown to go weigh a couple guys in their underwear.


Maybe this is just the first step in preparing for his bout with Ohio's conservative blogging community.

I hope Pavlik calls him Jello Ted.

ESPN's Craig James for Senate?

Recently, I caught wind of an interesting rumor from a reader down in Texas.

Caroline was good enough to share some info about Craig James and his possible interest in running for a seat in the U.S. Senate representing the good people of Texas.

Yes. This Craig James.

Yep. Apparently the announcer and analyst for college football on ESPN had caught a bit of the political bug.

Here's the info straight from Caroline's mouth:
Ok, here's the lowdown on James. He's a rancher north of Dallas and everybody knows about his broadcasting. He did some lobbying in Austin for a bill the last legislative session and some people approached him about running for something. One of his old SMU connections who was Rudy's national finance guy got him thinking about the Senate, and then mentioned it to Gov. Perry, who liked it. So he's been working the aisles behind the scenes and trying to get up to speed on policy, etc. Then they commissioned a DC firm to do some polling with all of the declared and potential candidates in the race, and he came in 4th: Dewhurst was 1st (lieutenant gov), Bill White (former mayor of Houston), John Sharp (longtime Texas Dem), and James. He was ahead of 3 other R candidates who have been running for awhile. Once they threw in the ESPN and football player stuff, he was first. That got the consultants interested.

He's a fairly bright guy even though he sounds simple minded on TV. He's definitely got the bug and will run for something. Even if Hutchison loses the GOP primary for Governor and stays in the Senate, her term is up in 2012 and he may be willing to wait for that.
Things that make you go hmmmm.

The Politics of Ohio's Budget Compromise

Republicans and Democrats can argue 'til their blue in the face about who "won" the budget debate, whether it's a tax delay or tax cut, or who caved on what.

But when it comes to the 2010 election, it's massively shortsighted to focus solely on the past 24 hours as all that matters.

What is significant is how the issue played over the course of time and what the public's ultimate perception is on the issue.

Let me use an example we all know plenty about - the health care reform debate in Congress.

Health care has been contentious since July and exploded in August. After looking at the latest opinion polls on the issue, it's fair to say that public opinion on health care reform is mostly anti-Democrat. Now, if I were a betting man, I'd say odds were in the Democrats favor that something will get passed. Once it's passed, will those voting in 2010 forget everything they learned about the issue since July, or will they focus solely on what happened on these few days in December and January to frame their opinion and influence their vote in 2010?

Obviously, the answer is that the collection of experiences over time will have a far greater impact on voters than the coverage passage obtains whenever it goes to the President for signature.

We have the same kind of thing going on in Ohio with the budget.

Since Strickland compromised his own principles and supported slots back in mid-June, coverage of the budget debate has been decidedly negative for the Governor. Saying otherwise simply ignores the facts.

This negative perception has been reflected in public opinion polls showing Strickland having the highest negative numbers of any polled statewide candidate. Sure the economy plays a large part in that, but without a doubt the massive coverage slots and the budget maintained over time played a large role.

Now what has surprised me has been the relatively poor coverage for Strickland of the budget deal from media across Ohio. I figured the Governor would get positive coverage for a day or two - but he didn't even get day one.

The opening paragraph in the Dispatch's article states:
Schools, libraries and other social services will not face further cuts, but many Ohioans will either pay more or get back less when they file their income taxes next year under a contentious plan to fix the $851 million budget shortfall.
They bring up that Ohioans will be paying more taxes. That's not what Strickland wanted to see mentioned.

WLWT Channel 5 led with the headline: Ohio Budget Deal Stops Income Tax Cut


And the AP's headline said: Ohio tax cut delay means less for taxpayers

Triple whammy.

If media is covering Strickland's glorious victory like this, imagine what millions of dollars in advertising from Kasich will be able to say in the Fall.

Now, this isn't to say Strickland won't get a positive editorial or three out of this. He likely will. But relative to the mountain of Strickland-centric negativity that has been repeatedly reenforced onto the electorate for months, a weekend of editorials will amount to a mere ant-hill of influence.

Strickland lost the budget battle months ago when he chose to push for slots rather than work with the Senate GOP to find acceptable cuts. Now, some Dems may blame the Senate GOP and say they weren't cooperating.

But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is at fault.

The polls prove that voters blame Strickland for Ohio's mess. And unless a game-changing event happens, and a balanced budget is not a game-changing event, the Governor will not be able to sway public opinion back towards him. He simply doesn't have the time or economic environment for that to happen.

And that's the way it is. Whether you like it or not.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's funny cuz it's true.

Here's a hysterical clip of Obama put together by Conan O'Brien:

Yeah, they played with the editing. The sad part is, you're not sure when in the answer they started their tinkering.

Remember everyone, he's the smart one.

Rubio owns it.

For a guy with just a million bucks in his bank but ridiculous amounts of buzz, he knows how to run a race.

A day after learning Rubio was tied with Crist for the FL Sen nomination, we now learn that he runs far better against the likely Democratic nominee than does Crist.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Florida finds former state House Speaker Marco Rubio leading Democrat Kendrick Meek 49% to 35%. Governor Charlie Crist leads Meek 42% to 36%.


Crist’s edge over Meek is down from a 12-point lead in October.

The reason for the difference is that 79% of conservatives support Rubio but only 62% say Crist can count on their vote. Twenty-four percent (24%) of conservatives say they’d prefer either a third party option or are undecided. If Crist were to win the nomination, it is likely that many of those voters would end up supporting him over Meek.

Rasmussen nailed the key numbers, so I won't get into the weeds on this one. But it's clearly great news that ruins the perception pushed by the Crist camp that the FL Governor is more electable.

Yeah, I know. I talk about Rubio quite a bit on here for a blog with an Ohio focus, eh?

But I truly think he has great potential to be a fantastic leader for years into the future.

Doubt me? Watch his farewell speech when he left the Speaker's chair in the Florida House of Representatives:

This isn't what John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan meant.

When Winthrop and Reagan evoked the imagery of a Shining City on a Hill, they were talking about the New World. They were talking about America.

They weren't talking about Washington, D.C.

And yet, that clearly is the mindset of liberals.

To them, Washington D.C. is the heart of the nation.

No, really. See?

This poster was selected as the winner from a progressive policy group advocating for the public option in health care reform.

As Ace said about it:

I started writing about the sloppy thinking that would lead them to choose this particular quote (reading comprehension, much?), their evident ignorance that it is misattributed to Thomas Jefferson (musta been in his Stuff Jefferson Said After Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke Said It First, 3rd Leatherbound Edition), and the horrifying image of Washington persistently redistributing the vitality of the United States.

But you know what? The thing speaks for itself.

Indeed, it does.


Ohio's Budget: It's About Frickin' Time

I couldn't help but think of this exchange from Ghostbusters when I heard last night that the Democrats sorta came to their senses and a compromise had been reached on the Ohio budget.
Gozer: The Choice is made!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Whoa! Ho! Ho! Whoa-oa!
Gozer: The Traveller has come!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Nobody choosed anything!
[turns to Egon]
Dr. Peter Venkman: Did you choose anything?
Dr. Egon Spengler: No.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Winston] Did YOU?
Winston Zeddemore: My mind is totally blank.
Dr. Peter Venkman: *I* didn't choose anything...
[long pause, Peter, Egon and Winston all look at Ray]
Dr Ray Stantz: I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [angrily] What? *What* "just popped in there?"
Dr Ray Stantz: I... I... I tried to think...
Dr. Egon Spengler: LOOK!
[they all look over one side of the roof]
Dr Ray Stantz: No! It CAN'T be!
Dr. Peter Venkman: What is it?
Dr Ray Stantz: It CAN'T be!
Dr. Peter Venkman: What did you DO, Ray?
After this mess of a budget season[read: year], that question can also be asked of the Governor.

What did you DO, Ted?

But first, the compromise as it stands as of the drafting of this post very early on Thursday morning:

The agreement contains Strickland's plan to delay the final 4.2 percent planned income tax reduction to erase the budget gap. It also establishes a pilot project to test out proposed changes to construction contracting that supporters say will save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

A plan to make it easier for school districts to get out of a requirement that they provide all-day kindergarten also was included.

I give it a good, solid B+.

It's official. Ohioans are going to be paying more this year on their taxes than they planned.

Republicans gave in a bit and scaled back their request for construction law reform, despite Strickland voicing support for it months ago.

Finally, Republicans made a whole lot of teachers happy when they got the Democrats to agree to delay their totally infeasible all-day kindergarten proposal.

So let it be known that on December 17th, 323 days after Governor Strickland first introduced his biennial budget in the State of the State speech, Ohio finally has a budget.

A really, really, really, bad budget.

Out of curiousity, I checked out when Ohio's budgets had passed in the past couple legislatures.

In 2007, the budget passed on June 28th.

In 2005, it was June 22nd.

But now? December 17th.

Governor Strickland, you've clearly lost control of your state.

Imagine the time wasted. Under his leadership, this process took nearly five months later than normal.

During those months Ohio could have been focusing on ways to solve the job crisis, making state government run more efficiently, or giving education reform another go.

Instead, it was wasted.

Now Statehouse Democrats will do their best to blame Republicans, but at the end of the day, the buck needs to stop with the Governor.

Rather than lead, he tried to use a legally questionable slot proposal.
Rather than lead, he could only ask of his critics, "well, what would you do?"
Rather than lead, he tried to cancel Christmas.

This is why Strickland has far higher negatives than Fisher and Brunner. Because Ohioans recognize what a complete and total failure Ted Strickland has been as Governor.

Ohio needs a leader. Ohio needs John Kasich.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Will voting for Obamacare help or hurt incumbent Democrats?

Democrat polling firm Public Policy Polling recently asked that very question.

Their answer may surprise and disappoint some liberals that believe passing the legislation is in the best interest of Ohio Democrats that voted for Obamacare like Mary Jo Kilroy, Steve Driehaus, and Zack Space.

PPP looked at two congressional districts held by Democrats, but barely won by McCain in last year's election. One member, Vic Snyder, voted for Obamacare, and the other, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (who happens to be a total babe), voted against it.

Here's what happened:
-Among people who support the House health care bill, Snyder leads principal opponent Tim Griffin 86-3. Herseth Sandlin, despite voting against it, leads her chief competitor Chris Nelson by an 81-6 spread with those folks. So Snyder is doing eight points better on that front.

-Among people who don't support the House health care bill, Snyder trails Griffin 73-14. With that same group in South Dakota Herseth Sandlin trails Nelson 57-27. So she is doing 29 points better than Snyder on that front.

Herseth Sandlin faces very little in the way of recriminations from her base in spite of her vote, while Snyder now has little in the way of crossover support in the wake of his.

As you can imagine the sum result of that is that while our polls show both incumbents more vulnerable than normal Herseth Sandlin is in a stronger position than Snyder.
In Ohio, 59% of all likely voters don't favor Health Care Reform. Among Independents that number jumps up to 68%.

Taking all that into consideration, the Democrat Ohio incumbents who voted for the legislation have reason to be particularly nervous.

And rightly so.

Jello Grinch.

As we heard yesterday, thanks to the Ohio House Democrats refusing to accept the bipartisan Senate compromise, Gov. Strickland may call the legislature into session on Christmas Day.

Thus, Jello Grinch.

This silly political ploy even inspired a little mini-meme on Twitter yesterday, with contributions from myself, Jesse at Athens Runaway and @jacoblarger.

Ladies & Gents, I give you some faves from Twitter's #jellotedxmaslyrics:
  • No more jobs are coming to town.
  • I saw Mommy kissing her job goodbye.
  • Let's argue over the budget, for auld lang's syne.
  • We'll not do what's necessary, cause I don't care if even a miracle needs a hand!
  • The only thing I want for Christmas is you to lose your job.
  • I wouldn't touch this budget with a 39 and a half Foot pole.
  • Grandma got run over by an uncompromising House Dem Caucus.
If you can't have fun mocking a failed Governor at Christmas time, when can you have fun?

The Polling Couldn't Get Much Better

Rasmussen had two pretty shocking polls come out last night.
  1. Republicans now lead by 7 on the generic congressional ballot.
  2. Marco Rubio is now tied with Charlie Crist.
The crosstabs in the generic ballot are pretty much what you'd expect, though there were two numbers that particularly stood out to me.

First, among the youngest age group, 18-29, Democrats only have a 7 point lead. That's half of where young people stood just a little over a year ago on the eve of Obama's election.

Secondly, Republicans are up by 25 among Independents, 44-19. For reference, that's a 29 point turnaround from election eve last year.

I think it's fair to say the Obama honeymoon isn't just over - folks are looking for a divorce.

As for Rubio/Crist?


For those unfamiliar, the Florida Senate primary race is a microcosm of the battle of ideas in the Republican Party. Rubio, the former Speaker of the Florida House, is a favorite of the Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives, while Crist is favored more by moderate Republicans.

While almost two months ago I predicted a Rubio victory, I never would have guessed his momentum would carry him to a tie this far ahead of the primary. There almost has to be a concern that he's peaked too early.

But let's take a look at his numbers...

What first stands out is name ID. While only 1% don't know Crist, a full 21% don't know enough about Rubio to have an opinion. And yet despite this obstacle, Rubio's favorables still are far ahead of Crist's. In fact, among those that do know Rubio, 43% have a very favorable opinion. For Crist, that number is at 19. Clearly, the enthusiasm gap is massive. If Rubio can maintain his successful enlistment of Republican primary voters, this race is in the bag.

That doesn't mean this race is over. Not by a longshot. Crist still has a sizeable fundraising advantage and will be able to work to damage Rubio's still fermenting image among the base. If he can take a little of the bloom off the rose, he may still have a chance. But as I mentioned back in early November, the Club for Growth has been able to take away a bit of that financial sting by hitting Crist with their own ads, allowing Rubio to focus on positively enhancing his own image.

This is going to be a fun one to watch. Keep an eye out.

What's next on health care?

This whole mess is awfully difficult to keep up with. I was checking in pretty often yesterday with a buddy focusing on it all over at Heritage and even he had to laugh at how ridiculous things have gotten.

According to him, as of right now we can expect to see the bill pass the Senate, sans public option and medicare buy-in reforms, and go to conference committee around December 26th. From there we'll likely see a two-week conference and a vote in both the House and Senate on passage sometime in early/mid-January.

What's the deal with the conference committee? I'll let Rich Galen handle it from here:
The House-Senate conferees will meet in secret. They will craft a bill which looks nothing like what either chamber passed and they will each bring that version (known as a "Conference Report") back to their respective floors for a final vote.

This is a little complicated, but it is worth the typing. Conference Reports are privileged, meaning they can be brought up at any time and the motion to do so is not debatable. However, the Conference Report itself - in the Senate - is subject to filibuster and so needs 60 votes to pass.

Unless … It is a Conference Report presented as a "budget reconciliation bill" in which case 51 votes suffice. What is a "budget reconciliation bill?" That phrase is understood by only two people … and they don't agree.

Seriously, though. Because of the enormous budget implications of this legislation, it is quite likely that Harry Reid (D-Nev) will bring up the Conference Report under reconciliation. Republicans will scream bloody murder. Democrats will sheepishly withdraw to the cloak room. The bill will pass the House and the Senate and, healthy or not, it will go to the President for his signature.
Rich does a great job with this info, eh? Make sure you subscribe to his publication, Mullings, at

Now don't think for a minute that it's an acceptable bill just because it's missing that scrappy public option(for now, at least).

It's still an obnoxiously expensive mess. And we must keep up the pressure.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who doesn't like Animal?

There isn't a character in the Muppets with better comedic timing than Animal.

I dare you to disagree.

Just in case you were wondering.

Yep. I'm still blocked.

And it sure looks like Ted is still sleeping.

Ohio Democrats Implement Secret Weapon

Unveiled at a recent meeting of the Cleveland Regional Chapter of Obama's Organizing for America, it seems Ohio Democrats are fully prepared to unleash hell upon their Republican opponents.

Please note, this isn't for the faint of heart...






Ya sure you can handle this?







Here it comes....




For all that's holy, NOOOOO!

But in all seriousness, this is a picture captured from facebook of a recent meeting of OFA in Cleveland.

The caption states:
Our fearless Regional Field Directors, David Cooke and Amy Diamond are the rockstars leading today's training - see David in action as he guides volunteers to act "Matrix-like" to prepare for how best to respond to the evolving political landscape.
[Bull Shannon voice on] Oooooooooooook. [/Bull Shannon voice off]

Apparently the "evolving political landscape" includes someone playing the Air Stand-up Bass, Air Hula Hoop, and Air Oh-Crap-I-Think-I-Pulled-Out-My-Back.

A Message for Ohio's Library Lobby

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Gov. Strickland is threatening massive education cuts if the GOP-led Ohio Senate doesn't pass his tax hike.
The 21-member GOP caucus has offered five votes - enough to pass the plan if all 12 Senate Democrats voted for it - if it includes changes to state construction law and prison sentencing. Democrats have insisted that the budget fix not include other significant policy changes.
It's important to note, the changes to state construction law and prison sentencing are supported by Gov. Strickland and presumably Ohio Senate Democrats.

It is only Speaker Budish and the Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives that refuse to accept the compromise.

If the Speaker accepts the compromise, the Governor gets his tax hike and budget solution he's been clamoring for, and Republicans get to save the state a few hundred million dollars in revising programs that even Strickland has shown support for, and the Libraries get their funding. Everyone, except a few construction and labor unions, go home happy.

But rather than pressuring the Ohio House to accept the compromise, it seems the impressively effective Library lobby is going after the Ohio Senate.
Sen. John A. Carey Jr., R-Wellston, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said his office was flooded this weekend with 7,000 e-mails, mostly from library supporters concerned that those facilities could be on the chopping block.
Now, after reviewing the Save Ohio Libraries facebook page, and using my own common sense, we can figure out that most of these folks tend to be fairly liberal. The activists promoting action against the GOP Senate are "fans" of Ted Strickland and the like.

That's fine. Do your own thing. Vote Democrat.

But if you really care about your libraries, please recognize that the only person holding this whole mess up is Speaker Budish in the Ohio House.

Republicans have already compromised. A small number of them have aligned with Ohio Senate Democrats to support the tax hike. They only ask a little fiscal responsibility in return.

Now personally do I support what the five Senate Republicans are doing in supporting the tax hike? Absolutely not.

I'd prefer we go through the budget with a red pen and cut out what really is superfluous spending. But realistically speaking, that's not going to happen.

Instead, I hope Republicans hold out until December 18th to see if the anti-slots folks get the signatures necessary to get their issue on the ballot. If they don't, Strickland may be able to install the slots on his own. As the Cincy Enquirer pointed out over the weekend, if Strickland does get his way on slots and the tax hike is passed, Strickland may have $700 million extra in Ohio taxpayer dollars to spend at will. And that shouldn't be how government works.

But I digress.

Supporters of Ohio Libraries, if I were advising you, I'd tell you to refocus your energies on the House and the Governor. The House must relent and the Governor, who supports the requests made by the Senate, has the political power to pressure Budish to accept the deal. You've motivated them into submitting to your will before - you can do it again. The Senate GOP has already made their compromise, it's time for the Ohio House to do the same.