Friday, December 31, 2010

3BP: The Best of 2010

Well, it's the end of 2010.

And it's been one hell of a ride.

This is the 1,361st post on 3BP this year. For the mathematically challenged, that's nearly four posts a day, every day. Considering how rarely I posted on weekends, that's pretty ridiculous.

Here are a few of my favorites, with a little commentary to go with them...

The State of the State is...
A hysterical list of guesses from several 3BP fans on twitter on how Strickland would describe the State of the State.
Day 1 Fail.

A breakdown of Strickland's awful rollout.
More Buzz about the White House worrying about Ohio...

One of my favorite pictures of the 2010 campaign: The Organizing for America grassroots powerhouse.
Kasich's LG - Who will it be?
3BP nails Kasich's pick.

Breaking it Down - The 2/23 Quinnipiac Ohio Gubernatorial Poll
A poll showing Strickland in the lead also showed some of the first indications of a Kasich victory. 
Where in Ohio is Yvette McGee Brown? - THE MUSIC VIDEO!!!
The funniest in the "Where is Yvette" series. 
Ganley's Big Move - What it means in Ohio & the Nation
Tom Ganley may have lost, but his challenge to Sutton helped the dominos drop across Ohio. 
Ted Strickland and Chris Redfern keep finding ways to lose.
The first hint that Cuyahoga County was going to cause major problems for Team Strickland. 
"Green" Jobs in Ohio - The big joke.
A breakdown of the Strickland green job fallacy.

An Interview with Rick May: On the Front Lines of the Balanced Budget Battle
A 3BP exclusive interview with Kasich's Budget Committee Staff Director from his days in Congress. 
Ted Strickland: Mission Accomplished! 
Some of my absolutely favorite photoshops mocking Strickland's ALL IS WELL moment. 
Strickland wins Governor's Cup! Ohio Saved!
"Say JELLO to prosperity!" 

Democrats blew it with Lee.
I finally get to speak my mind about why the ODP was so incredibly stupid in backing Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner. 
Lis Smith thinks Ted Strickland has a "glass jaw".
The Lis Smith screw-up that finally got me unblocked from Ted Strickland's twitter feed. 
After a few months of searching, Strickland's LG candidate was found...and the results were hysterical. 
Lee Fisher is a hypocrite.
Video showing just how big a schmuck Lee Fisher really was for the Dems.  
The best of "Ohio Democratic Party Books"...
Easily in my top three favorite posts of the year.

The stimulus is not working. Unless you're in the 43215 zip code.
Hallett is wrong: Ted Strickland is responsible for job loss.
Whether he likes it or not. 
It's the jobs, stupid.
A headline from the Cincy Enquirer that defined the campaign.  
You want to talk voter enthusiasm?
The primary vote tallies really did indicate bad news for Dems. 
Ted TV
Strickland showed his hand early. And we laughed.

If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it's probably....
The OSFC scandal may have defined Strickland best. 
Fisher campaign in total and complete disarray
We start wondering less about whether Fisher can win, and more about how badly he will effect down ticket races. Which is exactly what happened.  
BREAKING: Kilroy staff kicks public out of official congressional event
Classy move, Mary Jo.  
The Domino's Theory
Another in my top three favorite posts of the year. This theory turned out more accurate than I ever expected.

Kasich is winning the New Media war
Winning the war online, and why it's so important.
Kasich supporters should welcome President Obama with open arms
An early analysis of why Obama's appearance would only help Kasich
Guess which Chairman is the grown-up.
The ODP should consider taking Chris Redfern's twitter privileges away.
Lee Fisher can't even be honest about Independence Day parades.
This is just sad.

Worst Campaign Literature of the year?
And you saw it here first.
This was just embarrassing.

Oh no. Not another one.
Trying to list all of Strickland's scandals is exhausting work.
Ohio Dems: Feel the Enthusiasm!!! - Part 396
The first official sign that things were going to go badly for Dems in November.
Is Strickland closing the gap on Independents?
Dems said yes. I said no. And the exit polls proved me right.
"How to Alienate People and Stoke Class Warfare" by Lis Smith
One of the many times Strickland asked for an endorsement, got denied, then said they didn't want it anyway.

Team Strickland overly optimistic in Cleveland [UPDATE: Really funny pic added]
The picture that defined the end of Strickland's campaign.
What I did on my Saturday afternoon.
I get stalked at a Strickland rally. Hilarity ensues.
I believe.
Ted failed.
Absentees show the enthusiasm gap is for real in Ohio
More previews of the bad news to come for Ohio Dems.
Has Strickland given up on winning over Independents?
Yes, he did.
How bad has it gotten for Ohio House Democrats?
They were paying to promote Libertarian candidates. Ouch.

Getting real on Ohio's jobs crisis
WCMH in Columbus steps up and teaches us a thing or two about unemployment numbers.
Is Strickland's shadow government already in place?
Ted Strickland isn't taking losing too well.
A final look at the Ohio Gubernatorial 2010 Exit Poll
What worked. What didn't. What mattered.
That'll show ya.
I tried to teach my readers a few things about reading polls these past few months. The results proved me right.
Congratulations Governor-Elect Kasich!
My favorite post of the year. 3BP is the first to call it!

Kasich gets it.
Unlike Strickland, Kasich understands he's there to do a job first, and not worry about re-election.
Strickland hates Cleveland. Cleveland responds, "who?"
In defeat, Strickland shows the NRA his true colors
Ted proves he was no friend to supporters of the 2nd Amendment.
Kasich's win was more impressive than you knew.
The 3-C is no more.

That's it.

Here's to a happy new year.

A New Day. And a New Way.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Tis the season!

As we all get ready to head to our respective homes for the holiday, here is a pretty damn cool video to get you in the Christmas spirit.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Steve Driehaus: Sore Loser

Guest posted by Bytor

Emphasis on "Loser"

Poor Steve. He's not taking his defeat very well. Let's go back in time for some background on this story.

In October, the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life PAC, announced plans to erect billboards in Driehaus's district, criticizing him for flip-flopping on Obamacare, and voting for the bill, even though it would allow federally funded abortions. Driehaus, who is supposedly pro-life, filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, accusing SBA List of falsely claiming that he supports such abortion funding.

Meanwhile, the Ohio law used to file the complaint is being reconsidered as to whether it violates the First Amendment. Driehaus's attorney threatened the billboard company, Lamar Companies, and the billboards were never erected. After he loses the election, Driehaus effectively dropped the complaint with the OEC.

Fast forward to December. Driehaus is now suing SBA List for defamation and "loss of livelihood". Give. Me. A. Break.

Driehaus is wrong in so many ways here.

1. Regarding Obamacare, SBA List is right. Several other pro-life groups agree that the health care bill will allow for taxpayer funding of abortions, including the National Right to Life Committee, Ohio Right to Life, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

2. This is a clear violation of free speech. If we cannot criticize our government officials, we might as well pack it up and move to Cuba. Driehaus wants to be the only one allowed to describe his vote to you, while punishing any others who offer a different version. Even the ACLU weighed in on this, and defended SBA List.

“The people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, the government should not be the arbiter of true or false speech and, in any event, the best answer for bad speech is more speech,” the ACLU Ohio’s amicus brief noted.

3. SBA List did not deprive you of your livelihood. The voters did.

4. Rep. Driehaus, if you describe your job in Congress as your "livelihood", then you absolutely needed to be kicked out of Congress. The people of your district did not elect you to give you a livelihood. They did so because they thought you would represent them.

Congressman, you called yourself pro-life, and then you betrayed the unborn and the voters of the 1st district. Take your loss like a man. You cast the votes that led to your defeat. And you paid the price.

Good riddance.

Kasich gets it.

I absolutely love this quote from John Kasich's recent appearance on Fox to discuss budget issues.
"I got elected to be a servant. I did not get elected to get re-elected. I told everyone what I was going to do. I'm going to balance the budget. I'm going to reduce taxes. And I'm going to make Ohio business friendly and competitive with states around the country. Period. Exclamation point."


Now, I know what our friends on the left would say in response.

"Strickland balanced the budget." using billions in one-time federal funding and raising taxes.
"Strickland cut taxes." Actually, only once did Strickland get in the way of the tax cuts that were passed and signed by a previous Administration.
"Strickland made Ohio business friendly." LOLOLOLOL! 

The fact is, John Kasich stands in direct contrast from Governor Strickland.
  • He's not going to use a federal bailout to kick the can down the road.
  • Despite the massive hole left him by Strickland, he's not going to break on the principles of the NTU No New Taxes pledge he signed during the campaign.
  • He won't embrace the status quo.
Now compare that style of leadership with the absolutely devastating editorial hitting Strickland in today's Plain Dealer:
...voters here were also put off by Strickland's failure to anticipate the recession and begin retooling state spending in the way that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson did before the deluge hit. Had he taken similar steps, Strickland might not have to be so worried about what Gov.-elect John Kasich will do to escape the fiscal crater he inherits. Some real salesmanship might also have built public support for the 3C rail project that Kasich has killed and Strickland now mourns.

What do every one of these failures have in common? Timid leadership. That's what drove Strickland out of office. Maybe some day, he'll look in a mirror and understand.

A New Day can't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strickland hates Cleveland. Cleveland responds, "who?"

If Strickland ever considers a rematch with Kasich in 2014, this article in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer won't help.

Strickland says he wants to stay relevant in Ohio politics. Apparently to him, the best way to do that is give his political base the middle finger on the front page of the Plain Dealer.

If you'll recall, the lack of Democratic turnout in Cuyahoga County was a major factor in how the race turned out. So, to be fair, Strickland should be bummed about his lack of support up there.

But he has no one to blame but himself.

I take you back to an article in the Plain Dealer back in February...
Nationally known Democratic strategist Jerry Austin of Cleveland said this ticket will prove what elected officials in Northeast Ohio had suspected all along from the Strickland administration.

"Politicians up here have expressed frustration about the lack of attention from this administration for a while," Austin said. "And now you turn around and there is no one on the ballot from Cuyahoga County. Well, now people think there is absolutely a disregard for Northeast Ohio going on."
Strickland ignored Cuyahoga for four years. Then all of a sudden he's up in arms when they didn't turn out to vote for him.

Well, I hate to say I told ya so, Governor. But I did.

3BP in February...
The vitally important Democratic political activists of Northeast Ohio are clearly unhappy with the Ohio Democratic Party and their slate of statewide candidates.

This kind of frustration, if it can't be turned around quick, will make it extremely difficult for Ted Strickland & Co. to get out the vote in the all-important Democratic bastion of Northeast Ohio.

And it could cost them dearly.

Two down.

It's official. Per the U.S. Census, Ohio will lose two congressional seats.

Not only does that mean less clout in Congress, but also fewer electoral votes and lesser importance in the Presidential race.

Unfortunately for Ohio, people don't just vote in November. They also use their feet.

The state of the state can be just as well defined by whom it elects as by who stays and who leaves. If people like living here, they stay. If they don't, they leave. It sounds so simple, but it's very important.

People may move for weather, but Ohio's weather hasn't changed much since its founding in 1803, and yet it's over the past couple decades we've lost population to other states. That means other factors are coming into play.

Ohio isn't attractive anymore. We need to change the way we do business.

Ohio needs a reboot.

As for redistricting itself, we all know it's up to the Republicans in Ohio who will lose those seats.

Will it be two Democrats? Will they split it?

Who goes?

All kinds of theories are out there right now.

Nate Silver at the New York Times has some ideas...
Quite a few Ohio districts have lost population outright since 2000. The one that has lost the most is 11th district, which covers most of Cleveland, but it is so blue that a core of Democratic voters will remain to ensure Marcia Fudge’s re-election to Congress. Dennis Kucinich’s neighboring 10th district, however, has also lost ground, and he could be vulnerable. Some of Ohio’s Republican-leaning and swing areas, like the Appalachian 6th district that Republicans took over in November, have lost population as well. But the Republicans in control of the redistricting process will do their best to see that the two seats the state loses both come from the Democratic column.
So what do you think? Who goes? Who stays?

This is how you want to go out? Really?

"He brought jobs to Ohio."

"He made the tough decisions to solve Ohio's budget crisis."

"He gave us the 3-C passenger rail project."
None of those will be Ted Strickland's legacy in Ohio.

So, with nothing else to hang his hat on, this seems to be how Strickland wants to go out...

A whiny, grumpy, old, do-nothing.

The article goes on to quote the Governor...
The Democratic governor also said he is concerned that Kasich's "bombastic rhetoric" could presage an irresponsible approach to governing with the state facing a projected $8 billion budget shortfall.

"I would have less concern if I felt like there was any compassion coming from Mr. Kasich when he talks about what he's going to do," Strickland said. "I don't hear it; I don't sense it; I don't feel it. And that troubles me."
Anyone else see the irony of an outgoing Governor complaining about "bombastic rhetoric" in an article where he spends the entire time throwing bombs at the incoming Governor?

Did Taft do this to Strickland?

Did Celeste give this kind of treatment to Voinovich?

Is this classless and surprisingly childish rhetoric really how Ted Strickland wants to be remembered?

Considering the historic nature of Kasich's victory, I can understand being upset about losing. These kind of wins just don't happen in Ohio.

But ladies and gentlemen, things get even more weird.
Strickland also invoked what he called his "black helicopter theory," a popular reference to conspiracy theories such as the military using black helicopters for clandestine purposes.

In the governor's theory, Kasich and legislative Republicans want to weaken public-employee unions by blaming their pay and benefits for the state's economic woes. The real culprits for the worst recession since the Great Depression, Strickland said, are international forces and failure of the federal government to police greed on Wall Street.

Black helicopters?

Really? That's what you're talking about in your big exit interview with the state media?

To their credit, this was the Kasich team's response...
Kasich's office declined to respond to the governor's comments.
Their restraint is admirable.

Ted Strickland should have wished Kasich well, offered to help however he can, and move on.

That's the dignified thing to do as an outgoing Governor.

But considering how he ran the state into the ground, I can't say I'm all that surprised at how this interview of his turned out.

Goodbye, Governor.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"The Day of Reckoning"

Last night 60 Minutes hit hard on a big problem facing states across the nation - the impending fiscal crisis.

States have been kicking the can down the road for years and now it's up to us to clean up the mess.


In defeat, Strickland shows the NRA his true colors

This fall, to the frustration of many conservatives, Ted Strickland won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association.

According to the NRA, Strickland earned an A+ for being "a legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment."

Well, it seems his bitter loss this past November has helped show Ted Strickland's true colors.

Twice the Governor had an opportunity to put forth a "vigorous effort to promote and defend the second amendment". Twice he failed.

First came the opportunity presented to Strickland from State Representative Danny Bubp:
Rep. Danny Bubp says he has collected the 50 signatures needed to force a House floor vote on a controversial bill that would allow Ohio permit holders to carry concealed handguns into bars and other places that serve alcohol.

The West Union Republican, is utilizing a rare discharge petition to force a pair of bills out of a House committee and into the full House, circumventing Speaker Armond Budish's control of the matter. Both bills have already passed the Senate.
This is a bill that would have passed the House and been sent to the Governor for signature, if just given the opportunity by Speaker Budish.

While the Governor announced he would sign the bill, he never utilized the bully pulpit to call for his fellow Democrat to allow the bill to go to the floor for a vote. It was so simple. If Strickland had publicly lobbied the Speaker, the pressure would have been too great and Budish would have needed to relent. Alas, he didn't, and Budish never reconvened the House, leaving the bill to die. Is that a "vigorous effort"?

But it's Strickland's appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court that was a full-on moon to the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association.

In mid-December, Ted Strickland appointed his running mate, Yvette McGee Brown, to the highest court in Ohio.

Yvette McGee Brown received an F from the NRA.

What do F's mean? "True enemy of gun owners' rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners' rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation."

And this is the person Ted Strickland deems most qualified to interpret and rule on Ohio's gun laws.

When he appointed her, the Governor said Brown would be "a wise and compassionate voice for the most vulnerable."

With all due respect, that's ri-damn-diculous.

The job description of a Supreme Court Justice has nothing to do with working to represent one constituency over another. Instead it requires interpreting the law equally and fairly, no matter who it affects.

So is this appointment Strickland's way of putting forth a "vigorous effort to promote and defend the second amendment"?

Absolutely not.

In fact, it's just the opposite. His rationale for appointing her speaks directly to her politics and perspective - not her ability to do her job properly. Well, Governor, her politics and perspective earned her an F from the NRA and you deemed her fit to have a seat on the Supreme Court.

Ted Strickland is not the champion of 2nd amendment activists that they thought he was. And now that he's leaving office, he's shown his true colors.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The poll numbers keep pouring in....

Yet more polling has come out from PPP. This time was a straight up question of "400 usual Ohio Republican primary voters" and asking where they stand on the Senate and Presidential primaries.

Not surprisingly, the most well known Republicans do the best in each.

Here are the Senate numbers...

Only thing that really stood out to me is how Jim Jordan is only 1% behind Husted and 3% ahead of Taylor.

Pretty impressive for an unannounced candidate who doesn't represent a major metropolitan area.

In fact, it was reported on twitter yesterday that Jordan is leaning strongly against running for Senate in '12.

That's a smart move. It tampers down expectations and encourages the focus to stay on Sherrod Brown. Ultimately, this will be a referendum election, and the longer the electorate focuses on the incumbent when things are bad, the better for the challenger.

The number that will surprise a few conservative activists? Among conservatives, DeWine leads with 26% of the vote. Blackwell is closest with 20%.

Here are the Presidential numbers...

Once again, the most well known candidates lead. Not surprising this far out.

Finally, there were also new numbers that came out on approval/favorability of Strickland, Kasich and Portman.

Ted Strickland is still in the dumps, coming in at 39/44 overall and 38/42 among Independents. But for the first time, Kasich is also underwater at 36/40 overall, and is even among Independents at 34/34. Now, to be fair, this poll was taken of registered voters rather than likely voters. As we've learned, that means it's a little less friendly to Republicans. That said, Rob Portman is still enjoying positive numbers, coming in at 35/26 overall and 36/21 among Indies. Of course, it's a lot easier to keep a positive image when you're able to quietly head into the Senate.

Ultimately, all these poll numbers don't mean much right now. And news organizations would be far better served if they ceased polling primary and general matchups altogether. After all, the only numbers that matter now are of incumbents up in '12. They are the ones known to the general public and they are the ones upon whom there will be a referendum.

And it can't get here soon enough.

Once again, unemployment numbers are worse than they appear...

While it's good, but useless PR for Strickland, Ohio's unemployment rate shrank 0.1% to 9.8%.

Unfortunately, the reasons why aren't exactly good.

In fact, the number of employed Ohioans shrank by nearly 8,000 and the labor force decreased by 2,000.

In other words, a big reason why the unemployment rate is shrinking is because there are less Ohioans in the workforce or looking for work.

In the past year, the labor force has decreased by 5,000. That means the total number dropping out this past month was 40% of Ohio's total for the past year. That's not a good way to go out.

Last month I wrote a post explaining why the labor force numbers are such a vitally important indicator of the state's well-being.

Check it out here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Confirmed: Sherrod is in trouble, and where the GOP Senate field stands in '12

Disclaimer: Just as our post a couple days ago on other poll numbers, the same goes here. The 2012 election is a long ways away. A lot can and will change. But every campaign needs a starting point, and that's what these analyses are meant to help frame.

A couple weeks ago 3BP discussed some very troubling numbers for Sherrod Brown that hadn't really been discussed in the press. They indicated the Senator may be very vulnerable to a Republican challenger in 2012.

Well, brand spankin' new numbers from PPP confirm that theory.

While Brown currently maintains a lead over most of his likely opponents, the level of support is nowhere near the level it needs to be for him to stand a chance in 22+ months.

Currently, Brown leads Lt. Gov-elect Mary Taylor 40-38, SoS-elect Jon Husted 43-38, Rep. Jim Jordan 43-35, and ties Atty. Gen-elect Mike DeWine at 43.

In other words, after four years of service in the Senate, Sherrod Brown is averaging just 42.3% support against both known political veterans and relative newcomers.

By comparison, after three years as Governor and at this time last year, Ted Strickland was earning an average of 48.7% support across the three major polls taken over December and January. We all know how that turned out.

With more years of service to his state than Strickland and with seemingly less responsibility for its economic problems, you'd expect Brown to have better numbers. He doesn't.

Additionally, Brown's approval sits at just 40% and is at -20 among Independent voters.

Even worse news? The PPP poll sampled registered voters, not likely voters. As we all know, registered voter samples tend to skew further left than likely voter models.

Of the challengers, Mike DeWine is by far the most well known with only 73% having an opinion of him. Husted comes in with 38%, Jordan with 27%, and Taylor with a surprisingly low 35%.

The strangest number that came out of this poll? Despite DeWine coming in with -13 favorability, he still ties Brown. A rare feat.

Since 3 of the 4 GOP candidates are so unknown, it's hard to gauge who would have a solid head start if all four jump in. PPP did poll favorability by ideology, so we can determine who has the best ratings among conservatives (i.e., those most likely to vote in a primary). Thanks to their erratic name ID numbers, I've divided their favorable number by their unfavorable. In other words, if someone is 20% favorable to 10% unfavorable, their number would be 2. This gives us a constant data point that helps us see where a candidate stands among those that know them. The higher constant, the better the candidate does among conservatives that know them.

Dewine is at 46-30, or 1.53.
Husted is at 29-13, or 2.23.
Jordan is at 16-10, or 1.6.
Taylor is at 27-12, or 2.25.

So, among conservatives that know each candidate, Husted and Taylor perform the best.

Yep, it's a stretch, but it's all we've got for now.

Of course, this doesn't consider the massive gorilla in the room - Jim Jordan's $846,501 already stowed away and available for spending on the primary. In a primary where 3 of the 4 potential candidates clearly have a long way to go to build up their name ID, money matters. And Jordan has a lot of it. The other three will have to start at zero.

But ultimately, and as PPP mentions in their summary, the major player in determining whether Brown gets re-elected is how Obama does in Ohio. If he does well, that helps Brown. If he doesn't, it hurts Brown. Pretty simple and pretty obvious.

That said, neither candidate is currently in a good position, and that means Ohio's Senate seat is up for grabs.

Despite Jordan's low name ID, his cash advantage has to make him the favorite. His conservative credentials are impeccable so it's hard to see where he could run into any trouble from a messaging standpoint.

Obviously, there are an enormous number of variables yet to be determined, but we have to start somewhere.

Considering Brown's extreme liberal voting record in the Senate and his poor poll numbers after serving for four years, it's hard to see how Brown won't be a top target in '12.

You know you're in trouble when...

Yesterday in a meeting with 20 CEOs, the President said the following...
"I want to dispel any notion we want to inhibit your success."
Wow. Just the fact that our President feels it necessary to say such a thing to our nation's job creators is a scary thought.

Such a notion should never be anywhere close to reality among America's private sector.

But the President himself has taken things so far that he feels it necessary to make such reassurances.

This is where we are, America.

1,420 days from the election, Cordray announces candidacy for Governor

Yesterday, Attorney General Richard Cordray announced his future plans serving as an Obama presidential appointee for a consumer protection panel in Washington, DC.

But most interestingly, he made no qualms about announcing his intentions in four years.
“You do a lot of soul searching after you lose, but I do expect to be running for office in the next cycle,” he said.
If anyone tells you that office is anything less than Governor, they're only fooling themselves.

But I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the perennial candidate has announced his intentions 1,420 days from his next election.
  • He served just one term as a State Representative in '91 before letting his ambition get a hold of him and try for Congress. He lost.
  • He ran for Ohio Attorney General in 1998. He lost.
  • In 2000 he ran for the U.S. Senate. He lost. (well, technically he couldn't even win the nomination)
  • In 2002 he finally won an election in his race for Franklin County Treasurer.
  • He made it to the big leagues in 2006 when he joined seemingly every Ohio Democrat in winning their respective race. This time it was for Ohio Treasurer.
  • And, of course, as soon as an opening for another job opened up, he ran for Attorney General in the wake of Marc Dann's resignation.
  • Then he lost his bid for re-election.
In other words, the guy gets around.

Now don't get me wrong, Cordray has the potential to be a very formidable candidate. But his record as candidate isn't anything that should have anyone at the Ohio Democratic Party jumping for joy.

While Cordray has twice won statewide office, both times were in the middle of an intensely challenging environment for Ohio Republicans.  Rather than winning each race, he was in the right place at the right time.

Ultimately, do Ohioans reward perennial candidates with a record of losing? Ask Lee Fisher.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Really, Governor?

Ted Strickland gave his final speech today at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

Reportedly, he stated...
"The foundation of Ohio is stronger now than when I took office."
Really, Governor?

Well here are some other numbers that have changed from when you first took office.

There are 337,371 fewer people with jobs.
There are 267,300 more unemployed Ohioans.
The workforce has shrunk by over 70,000 people.
The unemployment rate has increased by 83%.

Oh, and you left Ohio with the biggest financial disaster it's ever seen.

In what world is that a stronger foundation?

Teacher's Pet

Teachers don't always listen to what their union tells them.

And despite the cuts coming to education that must be done thanks to the Strickland Budget Deficit, there is one very easy way for Republican John Kasich to get on their good side.

From the Dayton Daily News:
Kasich told the Dayton Daily News he’ll move to switch back to five calamity days, commonly called “snow days,” after he takes office in January. “We live in a climate where we have bad weather,” said Kasich, acknowledging that his ear got bent by his daughter, Reese, and Elin Hansen, the 10-year-old daughter of his chief of staff, Beth Hansen.
One of the questions I would always ask of a trio of teacher friends of mine when I'd see them over the holidays, "what are you looking for from your next Governor?"

In that small sampling of Independent voters, calamity days would be mentioned before anything about budgets or funding.

Teachers know their budgets will be cut. They know teachers will lose their jobs. That wouldn't have changed no matter who was governor.

And now they know that Kasich recognized something that had become a challenge in their profession...and he fixed it. That doesn't go unnoticed or unrewarded.

Kasich, like Chris Christie, likes to say he's a friend to teachers, but in opposition to their unions. This is a clear sign that his relationship with teachers will be improving.


From Politico...

The caption? "From left: Ted Strickland, Jennifer Granholm and Tom Perriello could be joining the White House."

The President isn't this stupid, is he?

Oh wait...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So Goes Ohio...

Disclaimer: Yes, 2012 is still a long ways away. Undoubtedly, things will change and events will occur that will swing poll numbers back and forth. That said, this PPP poll provides an interesting glimpse at where things stand today. Let's take a look...

If there is one lesson out of the new Ohio PPP poll, it's this...

If you want to beat Obama in 2012, you probably don't want to vote for Romney, Huckabee, Palin, or Gingrich in the primary.

An Overview
Obama is still very unpopular in Ohio.

His overall approval is underwater at 42-49 and even worse among Independents at 40-54. Among his own Democratic base he's just at 71% approval.

By comparison, right before this past election, the last PPP poll showed Ted Strickland was at 41-50 approval overall with and 75% among Democrats. The difference? While Obama is -14 among Independents, Strickland was -28.

In other words, their overall approval numbers are awfully similar overall, but Obama is doing worse among Democrats and better among Independents. Obviously, considering where Strickland ended up, that's still very bad news for Obama.

Among the four Republicans polled by PPP, their unfavorable numbers among GOPers came in at 23% for Gingrich, 19% for Huckabee, 21% for Palin, and 22% for Romney. By comparison, right before the 11/2 election and despite all the attacks, Kasich's unfavorable number among GOPers came in at just 11%.

Why is that significant? Because the only person with higher name ID among the 2012 field chosen by PPP was 1%.

In other words, without the 2012 campaign even beginning, the big names are already far too unpopular among the base.

And it's seen in the matchups.

Obama beats Gingrich 47-41. Obama beats Huckabee 45-44. Obama beats Palin 49-42. Obama beats Romney 44-42.

Not good.

What It Means

Folks, this is just a little over a month after a gigantic GOP tidal wave swept over Ohio and the nation.

And we have all four "leading contenders" getting beat.

Why? Because they are unpopular.

Make no mistake, Obama is very vulnerable in Ohio. In fact, he's just as vulnerable as Strickland was and is facing an even more discouraged Democratic base. And as we all saw in this past election - a discouraged base damages turnout.

But our leading candidates are already at a severe disadvantage. They're already known and people don't like what they see. When impressions are already negatively entrenched, it's hard to change them - especially in the face of someone who will be as well funded as the President.

So what does that mean?

Republicans need someone else.

Mitch Daniels? Haley Barbour? John Thune? Tim Pawlenty? Mike Pence?

Who knows? But someone else has to step up and forge their identity by utilizing a record of accomplishment and leadership to show they are the superior candidate.

Ultimately, 2012 will be similar to what we saw in Ohio in 2010 - a referendum election. We're in a very good position if Obama's numbers stay anywhere close to where they are now, but only if our nominee is someone who isn't already tarnished.

We all know the phrase, "so goes Ohio, so goes the nation". And it's no less true today as it has been for decades.

Want to win? Support someone other than the big four.

Make no mistake.

The extension of the Bush tax cuts is not a tax cut in itself, and yesterday Rep. Paul Ryan articulated that point perfectly.
WALLACE: Well, I don’t understand. Why — I mean, I understand that stimulus has become a politically loaded word, but why isn’t it a stimulus? Tax cuts are a stimulus. You guys think that they’re the best kind of stimulus.

RYAN: Look, only in Washington is not raising taxes considered a tax cut. Nobody’s getting a tax cut here. We’re not cutting taxes. We’re preventing tax increases from occurring.

If we were actually cutting tax rates, then we might have a stimulus. We’re not actually cutting tax rates here. We’re simply preventing them from being increased. That is why we do not see this as particularly stimulative. It just prevents bad policies going forward.
Nailed it.

Many are pushing the meme that extending the tax rates will be some type of stimulus that will jumpstart the economy.

Listen to Paul Ryan. We're just fighting over whether there should be a tax hike or not.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where it begins...

Just how it was for Governor Strickland, John Kasich will be judged in four years based on the state of the state.

Is unemployment down? Are budgets balanced? Are you not selling drugs out of the residence? That kinda thing.

Well, here's another good one. Population.

When people are happy with where they live, they stay. When people hear positive things about a place to move, they go there.

But when things aren't going well, they get the heck out.

Such is Ted Strickland's legacy.

In a new report out from Forbes magazine, Ohio is 3rd in a study of the "top 10 states people are fleeing".

Not only is population loss reflective of the problems facing Ohio, but it's also the cause of new problems into the future - namely, a smaller workforce, decreasing tax revenues, less representation in Congress, and on and on...

This is John Kasich's starting point. Can he improve on the mess imposed on Ohioans via a 'kick the can' approach to problem solving?

Ohioans will get their chance to judge for themselves in less than four years.

"The Next Speaker"

Miss the profile of Speaker-to-be Boehner on 60 Minutes last night?

Here ya go...

DCCC wastes paper and bandwidth on Steve Stivers

Believe it or not, the first attacks for the Congressional elections of 2012 have already begun.

And it was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that threw one of the first stones at a Ohio Congressman-elect.

Fortunately, they throw like Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

In the release, the DCCC spokesman unleashes a barrage of generic attacks focused primarily on the exact same message we've heard against Stivers for the past two cycles in Ohio's 15th congressional district.

So why the attack now? Well, for some ridiculous reason, they believe he's vulnerable.

Yes, we're talking about the same guy who just won by 14% against an incumbent Congresswoman.

The same guy who lost in 2008 by 0.76% in the same district where Obama won by 9%.

Now, it's totally fair to assume 2012 won't be as friendly to Republicans as 2010 was. But it's also just as fair to assume 2012 won't be as friendly to Democrats as we saw in 2008.

The fact is, the chambers in the DCCC's guns are empty. They've used the same attacks over and over again. And yet they think they're suddenly going to start working now?

Um, I don't think so.

Until the year of Obama, the 15th had been a Republican seat since 1967. And even with the largest of Democratic waves in 2008, Stivers still only lost by just 2000 votes. Now the district will be redrawn by Republicans. Anyone think Stivers' district will somehow be more vulnerable? Not so much.

Last week Charlie Cook identified Ohio's 15th as a "Likely Republican" district in 2012 while naming Ohio Democrat Betty Sutton's seat as a "Toss-up". Fortunately for us, he's a lot smarter than the DCCC.

All that said, I do welcome the DCCC decision to target the 15th this early. Stivers has proven to be a fundraising machine and building his profile as a Dem target in two years can only enhance his ability to raise the money necessary to defend the seat.

The DCCC should be worried about protecting their own. Clearly, they aren't.

Friday, December 10, 2010


That's one very clear way of describing John Kasich's win over Governor Ted Strickland.

As we approach the Inauguration and the official beginning of A New Way and A New Day, I decided to take a quick look at just how rare a feat John Kasich was able to pull off back on November 2nd.

One data point we heard about quite a bit leading up to the election was "1974". That was the last time an incumbent Governor lost in the state of Ohio when former Governor Jim Rhodes came back to lay the smack down on John Gilligan.

But what John Kasich accomplished goes back much farther than 36 years.

He beat Ted Strickland without having ever run for statewide office.

That just doesn't happen in Ohio.

In fact, after speaking with the Ohio Historical Society, the last time an incumbent Governor lost to someone who had never run statewide in any capacity was 1914 when Frank Willis defeated Governor James Cox.

96 years and 33 elections ago*.

In other words, it ain't an easy thing to do.

The reasons for such rarity are various, starting with the obvious - name identification. But it goes far  beyond that. Having run statewide before, candidates have already had a chance to build up their fundraising network and grassroots organization. They've shaken hands, kissed the babies, and built the relationships necessary to make victory possible. On the other side, incumbents have stashed away cash to run, built a record, owned the bully pulpit, and had the time to develop a formidable statewide organization.

In other words, there is a reason the last time this happened the United States was still three years from entering World War I.

On November 2nd, John Kasich broke with tradition. Without ever having run for statewide office before, he defeated an entrenched incumbent.

Now I can't wait to see what he does with the opportunity he earned.

One month until A New Day begins.

* - Until 1959, Governors served two year terms.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Way back in June of last year I wrote my first post lobbying for Ohio to forego any efforts to bring taxpayer funded passenger rail to the Buckeye State.

Well, since then I've been waiting for a press release like this one.


Now, I hate to see the money spent elsewhere rather than just being sent back to the treasury, but at least it won't be spent in Ohio.

While we face the biggest budget challenge Ohio has ever faced (thanks for the parting gift, Governor Strickland!), the last thing taxpayers need are further financial obligations for a public works project no one will use.

"We're sending jobs to other states!", screams the left.

First off, it's not the job of taxpayers to subsidize salaries just for the sake of people having jobs. That's simply not fair to the taxpayers.

Second, Keynesian economics doesn't work. Just ask the newly unemployed since the 2009 stimulus bill came into effect.

Don't get it yet? Watch this...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Charlie Cook: Get used to a red Ohio

At least in Congress, that is.

While providing the usual caveats about redistricting, renowned political analyst Charlie Cook has published his first race ratings for 2012.

As we should all know by now, Cook breaks down ratings into 3 categories for both Republicans and Democrats - seats that are Likely to stay with the Party, Leaning that way, or a pure Toss-Up.

And things are starting off well in Ohio.

While six Republican seats are listed - Chabot, Johnson, Renacci, Stivers, Gibbs, and Tiberi - all are under the "Likely Republican" qualification. That's a good place to be. There are no Republicans listed in the Lean or Toss-Up category.

Meanwhile, Cook gives Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton a little reason to worry by placing her with only three other Democrats in the Democrat "Toss Up" category.

In the other chamber, Cook believes Sherrod Brown to be one of the six most vulnerable Democrat members of the Senate. He's listed only as a Lean Democrat. Considering his most recent, and terrible, approval numbers, I'm not surprised.

Obviously, things are going to change. 2012 is a long ways away and who knows how redistricting will change things. But for Republicans in Ohio, this is one heckuva good starting point.


This is just getting sad.

As Kasich states in the article, Strickland's letter says nothing new. The Governor still wants to use our money to subsidize state jobs. Blah blah blah.

Listen, Governor. It's over. Done. Ka-put.

I'm sorry, but your legacy won't be a state subsidized train that no one rides and goes as fast as a souped-up go-kart.

Instead it will be double-digit unemployment and the worst budget deficit in Ohio history.

Get over it.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We're waiting, Mr. Chairman.

After Kasich's last cabinet appointment was made, Redfern made news with a press release entitled, "A New Day, A New White Male". He even went so far as to publish a few snarky tweets more befitting a College Democrat than a Party Chairman.

His foray into racially based cheap shots earned him a scolding from longtime Democratic stalwart, diversity advocate, and African-American, State Senator Ray Miller.

Well, today the Governor-elect made his next cabinet appointment.
Retired Air Force Col. Thomas Moe, who spent five years with in the infamous Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam with U.S. Sen. John McCain, is Gov.-elect John Kasich's pick to run the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
Here's his picture.

He's white. He's male.

Go ahead and make another remark, Chairman. Try to tell us Col. Moe isn't an outstanding choice because of the color of his skin.

I dare ya.

Two graphs that should scare the heck out of you.

[click pictures to make larger]

'Nuff said.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Democrats seem set to wave white flag on tax cuts, then explode

Back on December 1st, the Huffington Post published an interview with Governor Strickland in which he said the following:
Talking, unprompted, about the debate over the expiring Bush tax cuts, Strickland said he was dumbfounded at the party's inability to sell the idea that the rates for the wealthy should be allowed to expire.

"I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up," he said.
Well, Governor, I've got bad news for ya.

From ABC News:
The worst kept secret in Washington right now is that President Obama is set to cave on tax cuts. This marks a reversal of a long-held position, dating to the early months of Obama's presidential candidacy, to allow tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000 a year to expire.

But what's most amazing to me is the decision by Democrats to extend our tax status quo for two more years.

Considering the unpopularity of raising taxes in any way, Democrats seem set on allowing them to once again become a point of debate in the 2012 elections.

Note to Democrats: Suggesting any kind of tax hike in an election year is really, really, really dumb.

So, if you want to have this debate again in 2012, I welcome it. After over a decade of Americans paying the same tax rate, it won't be about any "extension of Bush tax cuts", it will very simply be about raising taxes on Americans. That doesn't go over well.

In the meantime, I guess Governor Strickland will have to find himself a new Party.

UPDATE: Rumors swirling that a deal may be announced this evening for a full extension along with a 2% payroll tax cut over the next two years.

Kasich gets a head start...

For over a year we heard about A New Way and A New Day.

Very early in the morning on November 3rd, we celebrated the idea that this promise would begin January 10th.

Well, we were wrong.

John Kasich got a head start.

In Sunday's Dispatch
we saw this article about Ohio's budget crisis above the fold...

Many advocates and special-interest groups seeking pieces of Ohio’s dwindling budget pie say that with sweeping cuts unavoidable, they need to adjust their strategy for the coming budget debate.

Instead of lobbying Gov.-elect John Kasich and Republican legislative leaders for money, they hope to preserve the services they hold dear by pitching ideas for saving scarce tax dollars.

“You can’t sit around singing Kumbaya anymore. There’s an $8 billion deficit, so we need to see what we can do to help this governor,” said Terry Russell, interim director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

“I want to be his poster child for ‘You can do things better with less money.’"


The rhetoric and realities of the next budget are forcing groups to do things differently, and key lawmakers say it’s a refreshing change.

“This is not the standard procedure I’ve seen over the years,” said Rep. Ron Amstutz, R-Wooster, a 30-year veteran and incoming House Finance Committee chairman. “The standard procedure is more of a frontal attack — we’re doing this critical stuff, and this is how much more we need.

“I think they’re recognizing special carve-outs aren’t going to be happening because of a lack of funds. They are trying to be more creative.”

Senate President-elect Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, agreed. Two years ago, when the budget problem was less severe but still significant, he said, groups would say: “I know the budget is going to be difficult, but this is only $50 million.”

“I’m not hearing that now,” he said. “I’m hearing: ‘We know how tough it’s going to be ... so we want to be proactive and share some ideas on how we can continue to deliver services in this new environment.’ I think that’s very encouraging.”


Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, co-chairman of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a coalition of health and human-services organizations, said she was told in a meeting with House leaders last week: “Don’t come in here and ask for anything; come in with ideas.”

She plans to oblige them.

“I would much rather that we come up with ideas and come to the table than sit around and whine that we don’t want to do anything different,” she said.
In a political world that has relied on a "screw the other guy, my stuff is more importmant" mentality, this new way of thinking is fantastic to see.

It shows interest groups recognize Ohio has been left in a tough spot, and they're willing to make the sacrifice necessary to bring the state back.

Kasich's hard-nosed style has helped make this happen. By being as clear as day that he'll do what he believes is best for Ohio, he has sent a message that if interest groups want to be heard, they need to recognize the position they're in. And it's working.

Would this have been happening if Strickland was re-elected? Possible, but very unlikely. The Governor's constant reinforcement of his desire for another federal bailout would have relieved the pressure on interest groups and given them hope for the a continuation of the status quo.

Instead, people are getting on the bus and working towards a better Ohio.

Nice head start, Governor-Elect.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chris Redfern is losing it.

Earlier this week, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern sent out a release mocking Kasich's cabinet selections for, so far, being white.

Well, that didn't sit well with many. And someone spoke up. But it wasn't who Redfern may have been suspecting.

Instead, it was Democratic State Senator, and African-American, Ray Miller.

Redfern may want to tread lightly. After Ohio was labeled by Larry Sabato as "Democrats' biggest black-eye state", Redfern has to already be feeling the heat.

Add this onto the somehow-still-going-on fiasco with getting checks to their "volunteers". From yesterday's Dispatch:
The Ohio Democratic Party says it is resolving cases in which checks paid to people by a vendor for get-out-the-vote work for the Nov. 2 election bounced.

The party hired a vendor that subcontracted with Washington D.C.-based Lancer Group to hire and pay more than 2,000 canvassers statewide. But some checks bounced when the workers tried to cash them.

Sandy Theis, a spokeswoman for the Lancer Group, blamed the problem on funds not being deposited to the proper accounts because of a software glitch at the company.
A software glitch that has lasted a month? Yeah, right.

The embarrassments keep piling up. And when you see major players in your own Party publicly calling out their Chairman, that means things are bad. After all, someone with Sen. Miller's experience wouldn't take this mess public unless he was privately pushed back by Redfern.

Not smart, Chairman. Not smart.

Jordan gets ready.

The latest fundraising numbers for federal candidates were released this week and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan's total fueled expectations that he'll be running against Senator Sherrod Brown in 2012.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, ended his successful campaign for Congress with a large nest egg in case he decides to run for U.S. Senate in 2012, according to his post-general election campaign finance report filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

Jordan is one of the people mentioned as a potential candidate for the seat held by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Jordan, in his House race, collected $835,501 during the election cycle as of Nov. 22 and spent $421,908.

Taking previous balances into account, the Jordan campaign’s cash on hand at the end of the reporting period totaled $846,501.
It's important to note, with only cash in federal campaign accounts allowed to be transferred over to other federal campaign accounts, that's $846,501 more than any other Republican has raised for a primary run against Jordan. So unless another Congressman wants to make a leap, Jordan already has one heckuva head start.

The big question is whether Lt. Gov-elect Mary Taylor will jump into the race and if she can raise the money necessary to run a competitive race against Jordan.

Whomever the nominee, they already have a good start against what seems to be a very vulnerable Sherrod Brown.

Brown's approval rating was measured in the October 30th poll done by Democratic polling firm PPP. He comes in with just 31% approval overall and 23% among Independents. That's not good. Most interesting, despite being far less well known than Obama and slightly less well known than Fisher, his disapproval rating among Democrats was comparable to both at a frighteningly high 18%. Obama was at 19% and Fisher at 20%. As 2010 taught us, and as 3BP preached all election season, that doesn't lend itself well to turnout.

Additionally, Brown is an unabashed liberal that has made the kind of votes that will severely damage him if any of the same political trends from 2010 continue.

Yes, it's early. Yes, plenty will change. But as today's increase in the unemployment rate shows, that change may not always be a good thing.

BONUS VIDEO: Here's Jordan doing a solid job on Fox News yesterday making the case for not raising taxes and maintaining the current tax rate...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Let our people go"

After meeting with the President this afternoon, Kasich knocks it out of the park this afternoon on Cavuto.

Kasich & Boehner

They're two of the biggest names in politics today.

And Speaker-elect Boehner brought them together, along with other GOP Governors-to-be, for a meeting in Washington DC yesterday.

Boehner is smart to develop and enhance cooperation with Governors. Too many times we see politicians try to go at it their own way.  By including Governors, Boehner is able to better implement a conservative agenda that so directly impacts states rights.

Here's a transcript of Kasich's remarks yesterday at the press event:
I think part of the message is let our people go. You know, we have a situation where we have all these strings from Washington. You have governors that know how to design solutions for specific problems. The problem is Washington will not let our people go.

We'd like to solve things based on not a one-size-fits-all mentality, but let's not keep putting a size 10 foot in a size 6 shoe. We want flexibility. We'll take that message to our Democratic colleagues because we're all in it together.

Secondly, I sit at home and watch the new at night and can't believe how we dither about whether we're going to keep taxes low and provide certainty to companies so they can invest. The policies in Washington are hurting our states' ability to create jobs. And if they want to create jobs, make the tax cuts permanent, keep the capital-gains, the risk-taking invest low.

I don't understand what they don't get about this. They've tried all this government spending. It hasn't worked. Companies want certainty.

And, finally, at the state level, we have to get our books in order. We have to balance our books. Now, in the '90s, we were able to get to a balanced budget and pay down debt, but look at where we are today. Our children are being held hostage.

If we have to be responsible and balance our books, they better get their books in order in Washington. And I hope that the president will -- I understand they had a good meeting yesterday. I hope it will result in action.

But we are very determined about all of this, and we will take the message to our Democratic colleagues and bring it up here to Capitol Hill.
Nailed it.

Sabato calls Ohio the Democrats biggest failure

Larry Sabato, one of the foremost prognosticators in American politics, has a post-mortem out today highlighting four diverse "purple" states. The analysis isn't kind to Ohio Democrats.
The Buckeye State may have been the Democrats’ biggest black eye state. Not only did the party lose a golden opportunity to win a Senate seat vacated by the embattled, retiring Republican George Voinovich, but the Democrats’ golden boy Governor Ted Strickland lost his reelection bid as did a remarkable five House incumbents.


Not long ago, Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia were akin to the Fab Four Democratic states. The 2010 results changed all that. Overall, Democratic losses were most severe in Ohio and least deflating in Colorado, with New Hampshire and Virginia somewhere in between. These four states alone accounted for just shy of one-fifth of the Republicans’ House gains, and two of the party’s nine net gubernatorial pickups during the past 13 months.

Despite their regional and demographic diversity, these four states are microcosmic bellwethers of two-party competitiveness nationally. And thus the 2010 results prove that, just two years after Obama’s precedent-setting victory, America remains entrenched in a period of partisan dealignment and gridlock, and divided government nationally.
Usually, when a state Party is the "black eye" among many states who fell victim to a "shallacking", it means it's time for a leadership change.

But no, not Ohio Democrats. Hysterically, there has been no call for Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern to step down, despite being at the epicenter of total and complete demolition.

But it goes beyond the results.

While the ODP gets raves for its organization, the reality reflected a complete and failure. Of course, what do you expect from them when they rely on paid volunteers for GOTV efforts rather building a true volunteer network of enthusiastic activists?

And it doesn't end there. We can also look at a major decision that caused a ripple effect across the state - that being the support of Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner. Now I can understand the initial effort to force one of the candidates out, though in their position I would have pushed for Brunner over Lee. But once a primary between Brunner and Fisher was assured, Redfern should have backed off. Instead, he froze Brunner out and the Democrats lost their best candidate for Senate. Instead, in a year where voters were anti-establishment and in desperate need for a job, Redfern pushed for the failed "Jobs Czar". Fisher's failure caused a wave effect that damaged each and every other candidate in a multitude of ways - money, organization, message.

It didn't have to happen.

If Redfern continues to serve as Democratic Chairman, I will join many fellow Republicans in celebrating. His failure is our victory.

Take an early lunch.

Because this debate on the role of government between Rep. Paul Ryan and New York Times Columnist David Brooks is a can't miss.

The action begins at 10:30am. You can view on the AEI website by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Strickland admits he had no clue what he was talking about.

In the closing days of the election, I wrote several posts about the enthusiasm gap in Ohio and how Governor Strickland was in denial of its existence.

In fact, on October 27th, Strickland stated the following:
"It's a myth that there's an 'enthusiasm gap' in Ohio. It doesn't exist. We are ahead of them."
Now, December 1st, we finally see the Governor admitting he was full of it as his inevitable defeat was at hand.
I lost because there was an enthusiasm gap and too many people who would have most likely voted for me did not vote."
The denial from Democrats in the last few weeks of the election was downright odd to witness. Their refusal to accept the inevitable and push internal polls that said the exact opposite of public polling forced everyone from activists to media to wonder what the Strickland camp was doing. Were they really that desperate?

Now, to be fair, releasing the internal data that went against virtually every other bit of public data available did the job. It gave liberal activists hope and made them keep pushing. Unfortunately for them, it didn't get the average registered Democrat to the polls.

But ultimately, it damaged their credibility. Just how we now know just how widespread their "paid volunteer" program really is, we also were provided insight into the desperation and deception they require in order to push their message.

Yes, Ted. There was an enthusiasm gap.

We told ya so.

Be wary of CBO reports on the stimulus

Without question, the Congressional Budget Office is an invaluable resource. They can produce detailed, non-partisan analysis and provide valuable economic forecasts.

But they are fallible.

For example, their reports on the stimulus leave much to be desired. They claim jobs have been created, but use projections from the original formula to come to that conclusion rather than looking at real-life data.

Peter Suderman breaks it down:
Here’s the problem: Those CBO reports don’t definitively prove anything about the real-world effect of the stimulus. That’s because in order to produce those reports, the CBO effectively re-runs the same models that it used to estimate the effects of the stimulus before it started.

The reports aren’t based on a detailed measurement of real-world output. Instead, they’re based on measuring the input (how much money was spent), and then using models to project how big the multiplier effect has been. Measuring spending and modeling output means that you can believe the CBO when it says that the stimulus turned out to be more costly than expected, but you should remain wary about any claims made using the “real-world effects” side.

Indeed, CBO director Doug Elmendorf has explicitly made this point, agreeing at a speech earlier this year that that “if the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis.”

So if in reality no jobs had been created, or only 10 jobs had been created, then the CBO’s reports would not reflect those numbers. It’s using the models that projected the stimulus would create lots of jobs to report that the stimulus did create lots of jobs.
Good to know, eh?

Dispatch: Taxpayers pay enough on pensions

Amen to that.

An editorial in the Dispatch this morning gives Ohio's pension plans a bit of a nudge on what they need to do to remain viable and fair to taxpayers:
After the plans suffered huge investment losses in the stock-market swoon of 2008 and 2009, the Ohio Retirement Study Council helped make recommendations for how each could become financially sound. The suggestions include increasing contributions by employees as well as taxpayers and, in some cases, higher retirement ages.

But any fixes should come primarily from public employees. Public-pension terms, especially the early retirement ages, already are far more generous than those enjoyed by most private-sector workers. Along with generous employer contributions, some cities and school districts also pick up some or all of the portion, typically 10 percent of salary, that employees are expected to pay.

Public pensions are further burdened by their voluntary decision to provide health-care coverage to retirees.

To its credit, the School Employees Retirement System, whose members include mostly lower-wage, nonteaching employees of school systems, has made a reasonable proposal to increase its minimum age and service requirements to retire, and is not suggesting any increase in the taxpayer contribution of 14 percent of salary.

These are steps in the right direction that all the public pensions should follow.
Ohio's pensions are a massive drain on the state's budget. How Kasich addresses this issue will be key to resolving the black hole of a deficit left behind by Governor Strickland.

Boehner gets it; Part 183

It's so refreshing to have a Speaker-designate that understands what he was sent there to do.

Ohio's own John Boehner continues to impress with another proposal that may seem like common sense to the American public, but is particularly challenging on Capitol Hill.

From Politico:
House Republicans are devising a plan to simplify spending decisions by considering government funding bills on a department-by-department basis in the new Congress, according to Republican insiders.

The move would facilitate cutbacks in government programs and, GOP aides say, enhance oversight and accountability for individual agencies, fulfilling promises made by Republicans on the campaign trail and in their Pledge to America. But it would also threaten to complicate an already tattered appropriations process on the House floor and in negotiations with the Senate, which is why the mechanics of the transition are still under discussion.

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year, Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined the idea that he, Republican transition chief Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and rank-and-file Republicans are now working to implement.

"Let's do away with the concept of 'comprehensive' spending bills. Let's break them up, to encourage scrutiny, and make spending cuts easier. Rather than pairing agencies and departments together, let them come to the House floor individually, to be judged on their own merit," he said at AEI more than a month before the midterm election. "Members shouldn't have to vote for big spending increases at the Labor Department in order to fund Health and Human Services. Members shouldn't have to vote for big increases at the Commerce Department just because they support NASA. Each department and agency should justify itself each year to the full House and Senate, and be judged on its own."
Make no mistake. This is a big deal. Boehner listened to voters talk the talk, and now he's walking the walk.

Pay attention to Paul Ryan

It's hard to make national headlines as Chairman of the Budget Committee, but Paul Ryan is making his mark.

And hopefully this is someone that can find a way to more senior office. I'd love to see how he would do as Governor of Wisconsin, but Republican wunderkind Scott Walker just won that job.

Senator, perhaps? Herb Kohl is up in 2012 and considering his age, 75, he may decide to retire.

Let's hope Paul Ryan gets the chance he deserves to raise his profile.

Need a reason why? Check out this fantastic vid of a recent appearance of his at American University:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BREAKING: Voinovich introduces bill that gives Ohio flexibility on train funds

Kasich doesn't want to spend $400 million on a passenger rail system Ohio doesn't need.

Instead, he'd like to use that money to pay for the real transportation needs facing Ohio.

All along, Kasich discussed how, in his experience, Congress had found ways to reallocate awarded funds using the tools of the legislature.

And now, Congress has stepped up - specifically, Senator Voinovich. From a letter released today:
U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) introduced a bill Nov. 29 to allow Ohio to repurpose grant funds received from the Federal Railroad Administration for capital projects in the stimulus bill for other transportation projects, such as roads and bridges. Giving the state of Ohio the ability to allocate funds would benefit the state’s economy and workforce without the excessive burden placed on the state’s budget by the proposed 3C rail project.

In a Nov. 17 letter, Sen. Voinovich asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to work with Congress and governors to give state leaders the flexibility to allocate transportation dollars to projects which will best create jobs. A copy of the letter is attached below.

“As a former governor, I recognize that state and local leaders, those closest to the economic circumstances in the area, are better able to determine the most beneficial uses of funding …. As someone who has worked for the past two years to push, prod and plead for this administration to work to pass a robust surface transportation reauthorization, I know providing funding for road construction would provide a much-needed boost to the state’s road construction industry and those industries, like steel and concrete, which supply it,” Sen. Voinovich wrote to Secretary LaHood.