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.

Now Playing: TRAINNNN CULT!!!!

Marc Kovac of Dix Newspapers does a great job videotaping and posting footage from his gaggles with Ohio's politicians.

Well, today he scored a great one.

Train Cult.

Kovac was right when on twitter he said that may be a great name for a rock band.

Of course, they'd probably only play slow tunes. The venue wouldn't be nearly as full as anyone expected. And we'd all end up paying a lot more for a ticket than anyone expected.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How do you know the stimulus failed?

Even local television stations have begun airing post-mortems on why it didn't work.

Don't worry. It was only $814 billion, right?

An "oops" should suffice as an explanation for such overwhelming waste.

And the bad news doesn't end there.

From the CBO:

Without declaring the impact over, CBO estimates 70% of the budget impact ended with fy2010. It suggests the impact on growth peaked and is now “diminishing” and the impact on unemployment will “wane gradually” in the current fourth quarter.
Great. Just great.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beat Michigan

Want to see just how far Michigan has fallen?

Check out this video:

Go Buckeyes! Beat the Michigan TickleBears!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yvette puts Ted on the spot

One of the last important decisions Governor Strickland has left is whom he will place into the vacant seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Well, his former running mate went public with what she thinks he should do.
Gov. Ted Strickland’s running mate says the vacancy on the Ohio Supreme Court is one post she’s interested in after the Democrat lost her bid this fall.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that Yvette McGee Brown has said she would be open to an appointment to a two-year vacancy on the high court if Strickland asks her to serve.
Boy, way to put the Governor on the spot, Yvette.

He was considering putting soon-to-be unemployed AG Cordray in there, but now he has to consider the ramifications of publicly embarrassing the woman who would be Lieutenant Governor.

A few days ago, Ohio Dem Chairman Redfern tweeted this in response to Kasich's 3rd cabinet pick of Steve Buehrer:
@JohnKasich to announce Sen Steve Buehrer to run BWC. Adds diversity to his cabinet. Steve's left handed.
So if Strickland picks a white guy instead of an African-American woman, what will the Chairman tweet then?

Obviously, the answer is that it shouldn't matter.

Selections like this should be based on ability, not superficiality.

I'll take "Headlines that won't help in two years" for $400, Alex.

Bill Johnson beat Charlie Wilson.

Unfortunately for soon-to-be former Congressman Wilson, he isn't taking his loss too well.

Today, the Youngstown Vindicator published a scathing column detailing their futile efforts to chat with Wilson. It read like a boy desperately trying to get in touch with the girl that wronged him. But in this case, it was the boy that looked pathetic.
Again, no one likes to lose. But when you lose, it’s important to be professional, not act like a spoiled kid who’s taking his ball home because he didn’t like the outcome of a play.

Despite its length — eight years in the Ohio House, two years in the state Senate and the past four in the U.S. House — Wilson’s political career was hardly impressive or inspiring. But Congress and state Legislatures throughout the country are filled with politicians just like Wilson.

Wilson is best known nationally for failing to get at least the required minimum number of signatures, only 50, on his nominating petitions in the 2006 Democratic primary, spending a lot of money because of the mistake, winning a write-in campaign in the primary against two opponents, and then capturing the congressional seat.

I’ll remember him best as a sore loser.
Now it's possible Wilson may try to take his seat back from Wilson in a couple years. But with headlines like this one, those chances just got a little more slim.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the road again.

I'll be beginning a trek back home to Columbus starting this afternoon. After making a stop at the in-laws I'll be that much closer to ingesting a gargantuan turkey and unacceptably high amounts of stuffing and pumpkin pie.

That means posting will be light this week, but not non-existant.

Have a great week, everyone.

Beat Michigan.

(speaking of, anyone have an extra game ticket? ha.)

Reality Check.

I know. After the midterms, it's hard to believe how President Obama has a shot in hell at winning in 2012.

Unfortunately, that mode of thinking is probably a bit too optimistic.

And this reality check helps reinforce the point:
Based on the facts at hand right now, Mr. Obama is likely to win the 2012 election in a landslide. That, at least, is the prediction of Ray C. Fair, a Yale economist and an expert on econometrics and on the relationship of economics and politics.

What’s the basis of this forecast? In a nutshell: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Read more here. It's interesting stuff.

Kasich on the side of "unions that make things"

I'm extremely curious to see how a Governor Kasich will handle Big Labor once he enters office.

Will he go as far as Mitch Daniels did when he became Governor of Indiana?
On his first day in office, Daniels issued an executive order stripping government unions of their power to collectively bargain. The decision has not only cost the left's perpetual dependence machine millions in taxpayer-funded union dues, but also enabled the state to cut costs by instituting a "pay-for-performance" personnel system. Without a burdensome labor contract, Daniels slashed government employment rolls from more than 35,000 to 30,454, a 14% reduction. As a result, Indiana now has fewer state employees than it did in 1982.
How very tempting.

Kasich recently gave us a preview of what we may be able to expect:
“With organized labor, look, the public-employee unions, particularly the teachers’ union, you know how I feel about them,” Kasich said during the Republican Governors Association’s annual meeting in San Diego this week, where there was a lot of talk from the governors and governors-elect about reigning in public employees' pay and benefits.

“But for the unions that make things, I’m going to sit down with them. And I’ll tell you what, they’re going to become part of the solution, not part of this problem. And I’m going to give them a full opportunity to participate. … We’re going to give everybody a chance to pitch in.”
I love that phrase. "Unions that make things."

Kasich has it right. And if he ends up following the lead of Mitch Daniels he may find himself in the same position Daniels was in when he ran for re-election in 2008. What happened then? He was endorsed by a number of unions.

After all, as Jason Hart said in his fantastic piece on the future of labor in Ohio on his blog, that hero....
....what are the union bosses going to do, support Republicans less?

I'll end with yet another fantastic clip of NJ Governor Chris Christie putting unions in their place. I have a feeling we'll be getting a bit of deja vu under a Kasich Administration.

New Hampshire already has Governor Envy

It's nice to be on this side for a change.

The New Hampshire Union Leader released an editorial lauding the efforts of Governors-elect John Kasich and Scott Walker of Wisconsin for their refusal to accept federal dollars for the passenger rail boondoggle.

They end their column like this:
If only New Hampshire had a governor as clear-headed as the new hires in Ohio and Wisconsin.
Ah, that feels good.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting real on Ohio's jobs crisis

I've been on the case of the Ohio media for awhile now regarding the reporting of Ohio's employment situation.

I've contended that state reporters simply spewing quotes from the ODJFS press release announcing the latest unemployment rate or simply stating whether the rate went up or down doesn't provide the public with an honest analysis of Ohio's employment situation.

Ultimately, jobs are issue #1 on the minds of voters. They deserve to be educated on what's really happening out there.

One specific variable I've been pushing to be discussed is the movement of the labor force numbers. The labor force is defined as those in the workforce or actively looking for work. When people stop looking for work, they drop out of the labor force and in turn, drop out of the formula that determines the unemployment rate. To put it simply, the less people in the workforce, the better the unemployment rate. But it also means people aren't looking for work in Ohio, and that means bad news for Ohio's economy.

Now taking that into consideration, finally someone in Ohio's media took that extra step and is working to better educate Ohioans:

From WCMH TV in Columbus:

Mark Hudson personifies what happens when the public is miseducated by the media on the unemployment rate. He thinks the number simply going up or down determines whether things are worsening or improving.

As I've contended for months on 3BP, things aren't that simple.

The economist interviewed by WCMH puts it very plainly for all to understand:
When the number of people looking for work declines, the unemployment rate declines and that is actually what's been happening over the last half dozen months.


And depending on how fast they come back into the labor force, we may actually see the unemployment rate go up which will not be a bad thing.
In other words, once the unemployment rate starts increasing, provided it includes an increase in the labor force, it will mean Ohio's job situation is starting to improve.

Unfortunately, Ohio has a long way to go before that happens. In fact, according to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ted Strickland's term will be the first time since 1976(as far back as the online data provides) that a Governor has seen Ohio's labor force decline over the course of a four year term.

Maybe that was the Turnaround that Ted Strickland promised Ohio.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deadline: Spring

In the clearest indication yet that they are running, this week Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour said they would 'make their decision' to run by April or May of next year.

Barbour made a good point about the commitment he's about to make:
Barbour said his consideration includes whether he wants to spend the next decade, which for him amounts to the rest of his working career, involved in a single pursuit.

"This is all-consuming, somebody running for president of the United States. Running is the easy part. If you get it, you're talking about all-consuming. Do you want to give ten years of your life? Because you have to be prepared to do that," Barbour said. "You have to be prepared to run, win and serve two terms. Whether you end up succeeding or not, you have to be prepared to do that, and that's a very big commitment. You know, I'm 63 years old. So I'd spend the rest of my useful life essentially doing nothing but this. There's a lot to think about, because if you do it you owe the country to be in whole hog."
Indicating you have a deadline to decide might as well be throwing your hat in the ring.

Let the vetting begin.

Maria Cino for RNC Chair?

On Tuesday, 3BP was hoping for Ed Gillespie to submit his name for consideration as RNC Chairman. But since then a new name has come up.

Maria Cino.

And she'd be a fantastic candidate.

"Who?", you say.

Cino is probably one of the biggest names you've never heard of. Here's a bit of background:
Cino served as deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation under President George W. Bush and went on to become CEO of the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn. She was also political director for Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. Along the way, she became a friend of soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner and confidante of numerous party leaders.
To put it plainly, she fits what we need in a Chairman to a tee.

She's smart and more importantly, effective.

Her record of success is hard to top and she'd be a very well-respected name among big money donors who need to be on board with the new Chairman.

Another name floating around out there, but not nearly as likely to enter the race, is Nick Ayers, the man who served as executive director of the RGA during this past cycle. As we all know by now, the RGA helped save the butts of Republicans hoping for a wave this past cycle. He'd be another solid pick, but without anywhere near the level of experience level of Cino.

On his way out, Ted Strickland is trying to hurt Ohio

John Kasich isn't going to build the 3-C passenger rail project.

He's going to scrap Strickland's unfunded "evidence-based" education plan.

Those are facts. Nothing will change that.

But a complication arises from the federal monies attached to the 3-C project and the "Race to the Top" funds out of the U.S. Department of Education.

Each is for $400 million.

John Kasich has asked the federal government to adjust the rules for funding of the 3-C to allow for spending on other transportation infrastructure that Ohio needs. He also says the scrapping of the evidence-based model won't risk the Race for the Top funds.

Rather than recognizing the fact that the new Governor plans to follow through on his campaign promises, Ted Strickland is doing whatever he can to help Ohio lose those federal dollars.

Rather than lobby for 3-C funds to have alternative uses that can help Ohio, Strickland sides with Washington that the funds must be spent on passenger rail. Rather than agree with Kasich that Ohio can keep the Race to the Top dollars, Strickland goes to the Secretary of Education and lobbies for Race to the Top funds to be pulled if Kasich makes the changes he promised during the campaign.

Now I can understand that the Governor wants to see his initiatives be implemented. But it's not his decision anymore come January 10th. Just how he went against the will of a previous Administration and scrapped this year's tax cut, Kasich is allowed to scrap ideas he doesn't deem good for Ohio. Why? Because Ohioans chose him to make those decisions.

The difference between Kasich's decisions and what Strickland did with the tax hike is simply that Kasich made his decision known well before he takes office.

So rather than acknowledging the reality that his programs will be scrapped, the Governor is still trying to do the impossible and force Kasich to continue this Administration's misguided policies.

That doesn't help Ohio.

It hurts Ohio. It's also petty and egotistical.

Ted Strickland should be doing whatever he can to work with the incoming Administration to do what's best for Ohio. Not what's best for Ted Strickland's legacy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is Strickland's shadow government already in place?

Yesterday we took a look at a very interesting quote from Ted Strickland.

Specifically, the Governor said:
“I wouldn’t call what we’re contemplating a shadow government, but you might,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me. I think we all do. We’re going to make sure the incoming administration adheres to high ethical standards. We’re going to continue to fight.”
Shadow government. According to him, that's what we may want to consider identifying what he's planning to do.

So what would a shadow government entail?

Well, an important aspect of it could include people inside the government that are able to fight the will of the Kasich Administration. But how would that happen?

Well, if there were any Strickland allies within Kasich's executive branch, they'd have access to internal information and also be in a position to make news if they decided to protest a decision or action made by the Kasich administration. Think about what happened when member of the Strickland Administration dug up information on Joe the Plumber. Now you can see the potential.

Well, let's connect that to one of the stories of the week - right now there are 198 Strickland appointees waiting for approval by the State Senate. There is some debate as to how many of them should be given the go ahead and how many should be rejected and replaced with Kasich appointees.

90 are Democrats. 35 are Republicans. The rest are unaffiliated.

Now some of these appointees are for relatively harmless panels and boards (which makes me question why they exist at all), and others are in more vital positions.

Does all this mean Strickland is working to coordinate a shadow government by trying to push through his appointees? No, not necessarily. After all, previous Administrations have utilized appointments from their predecessors.

But at the same time, I can't think of any time where a sitting Governor has gone so far as to state his willingness to set-up a shadow government after he left office.

Think about that for a moment. It's one thing to simply say you want to hold the new Governor accountable. But using the words 'shadow government' takes things to a whole new level.

Now, after calling for a shadow government, Strickland is asking for his appointees to be approved by the State Senate.

Excuse the Republicans if that leaves them a bit skeptical.

Onto another interesting aspect of Strickland's statement.

The Governor said he will ensure Kasich "adheres to high ethical standards".

Seriously, Ted?

For the sake of all Ohioans, I hope Kasich comes nowhere close to the level of ethical standards exhibited by the Strickland Administration.

January 10th seems much too far away right now.

1/10th of RGA's expenditures went to Kasich

Over the past year I cheered heavily everytime the RGA released how much cash they had raised.

Why? Because it meant more cash to help Kasich compensate for Strickland's advantage.

And today we learned that the RGA ended up spending $11 million on the Ohio Governor's race of their $102 million in nationwide expenditures.

We've yet to hear the total spent by the DGA, but I assure you it will be nowhere close to $11 million. Of course, that doesn't mean Strickland didn't have plenty of help. Big labor and an anonymous special interest group still dropped millions into the race.

Despite all the complaints about the RGA's ads, no one can question they were a net negative for Ted Strickland during a time when Strickland needed to be improving his approval numbers; particularly among Independents.

That improvement never came and Ted Strickland lost.

What a mess.

This is what happens when you put amateurs into the highest office in the land.

From US News & World Report:
There's a reason why few in Washington are calling the floundering President Obama the next Comeback Kid. That's because unlike the most famous Comeback Kid of all, Bill Clinton, the Obama White House is riddled with self-doubt, finger-pointing, and a lack of direction.

That's part of the assessment of a favored Obama White House reporter, Richard Wolffe, who spent two months winning insider interviews to write his second account of the Obama administration, Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House.

In his sequel to Renegade, Wolffe, a former Newsweek reporter, reveals that the White House staff is split between revivalists who want to return to the weighty theme of change and survivalists who want to play the old game of compromise and combat. But what he also does in the book is point out the problems of the administration that have led to the current disarray and lack of confidence that the president can stage a comeback in time for his reelection.
Click here to read the ten reasons Obama is in trouble. This insider knowledge of the internal difficulties facing the Administration is downright scary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Behind the scenes of the GOP leadership elections...

A friend sent a couple photos from the GOP conference meeting today where John Boehner was elected Speaker-Elect.

Take a special look at the 2nd picture. It seems having the new Speaker of the House being from Ohio has paid off for some new members of Ohio's delegation.

New Ohio Members pictured are, from left to right, Bob Gibbs, Jim Renacci, Bill Johnson, and returning to Congress, Steve Chabot.

Even Biden knows.

The Speaker and Minority Leader

Congratulations goes out to Speaker-Elect Boehner on his unanimous victory this afternoon. The passing of the gavel is going to be glorious to watch, eh?

Also, I want to thank Democrats in Congress for re-electing Nancy Pelosi to be your leader in Congress. According to Rep. Heath Schuler, a challenger to Pelosi for the leadership gig, there was a lot of "unrest in the room".

Nothing live a little civil disorder among the Democratic caucus to brighten your day, eh?

Now Republicans in Congress need to take advantage of the gift Democrats gave them. Continue to raise Pelosi's profile. Don't let Democrats force her into the shadows.

Obama & Pelosi. We should hear that phrase a lot.

UPDATE: I was sent excerpts of Boehner's speech from the Speaker-Elect's office. Check it out:
“This is the dawn of a new majority. . one I believe will be humbler, wiser, and more focused than its predecessors on the priorities of the people. It will have these traits not because of me, but because of you, and the people you serve. It will have these traits because it was forged in the fires of a new movement that repudiated Washington, and gave us more than 80 new colleagues to stand with us for freedom and smaller government.”

“The job of the next Speaker is to work to restore the institution. . .restore it to being the People’s House. It’s not about us; it’s about them. And what they want is a smaller, less costly, more accountable government. More jobs, less spending. It’s that simple.

"For the good of our nation, and the hopes and dreams of future generations, we have to get this right. We’re going to move ahead with humility. . .cheerful in our demeanor, and steady in our principles. . .always mindful that the power we hold is entrusted to us by our fellow countrymen and the nation we serve. I’m honored and humbled by your confidence in me to lead the House as we begin this journey. From the bottom of my heart – thank you. Let’s get to work.”

Ted doesn't comprehend what happened to him.

Yesterday, Politico released the first interview with Ted Strickland since voters booted him from the Governor's office.

I don't think he's taking it too well.

It seems the Governor believes in two things that aren't true; 1) he'll be relevant come January 11th. 2) Ohioans like him.
“I wouldn’t call what we’re contemplating a shadow government, but you might,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me. I think we all do. We’re going to make sure the incoming administration adheres to high ethical standards. We’re going to continue to fight.”

Strickland said Kasich’s 97,000-vote margin did not grant him a mandate but was a reflection of voters being “beaten down by this economy.”
A shadow government? You can't be serious.

Methinks the Governor is taking the press he's been getting while fighting for the 3-C a little too seriously. The only reason the Governor is getting media coverage is because he's still the Governor. After Kasich is inaugurated, his opinion won't matter any more than any other Ohioan.

As for having a mandate to be some type of "shadow government"? Well, in that case he's gone off the rails.

Not only would any effort to do so be an unsightly disrespect of Ohio's structure of government, but the belief that Ohioans are behind him is just delusional. In the final poll from Democratic polling firm PPP, Strickland's approval rating sat at 41-50. 1/4 of Democrats didn't approve of him and Independents had him underwater by 28 points.

In their last poll of the race, Fox News showed the Governor with just a 43% favorability rating.

In Quinnipiac's last poll that asked voters questions beyond whom they support for Governor, Strickland was stuck again with a 43% favorability rating.

In other words, the reason the race was tight had nothing to do with support for you, Governor Strickland. It had everything to do with your scorched earth brand of campaigning in an effort to tear down John Kasich.

Strickland likes to say he only lost because the economy was bad. That's horribly shortsighted. Strickland lost because after four years, voters didn't believe he was the man that could pull Ohio back to where it should be.

A perfect example is in the final Fox News poll that showed only 27% of Ohioans thought Strickland had a clear plan for handling the economy and creating jobs. That's after four years of being Governor and an entire campaign season. That lack of confidence in Strickland is why he lost.

Re-election campaigns are first and foremost referendums of the incumbent. And despite all the trash Strickland threw at Kasich, they still believed Kasich was better suited to be Governor for the next four years.

That doesn't entitle Strickland to a shadow government. That entitles him to enjoy the economic environment he helped create.

What other crazy stuff did Strickland say? Oh yeah. This one is a doozy.
"We’ve got to hold the center in this country."
In the CNN exit poll, Strickland lost Independents 53-37. 'Nuff said.

But I must credit Strickland for one quote. In regards to the potential 2012 GOP field, he stated...
With the exception of Mitt Romney, the others are pretty far to the right, and I think are really harmful.
As many of my readers know by now, I'm not the biggest fan of Mitt Romney. While he's still a far better alternative than Barack Obama, his 'wherever the polls tell me to go' brand of leadership has never impressed me. So I appreciate Strickland providing a quote that can be used time and time again in the primaries to highlight to conservatives why Romney shouldn't be the GOP nominee.

All this said, I hope Strickland keeps giving interviews through the end of the year. It's the gift that keeps giving.

Sadly, the November wave didn't take the stimulus with it.

A great new column from Reason magazine gives us a not-so-subtle reminder of just how bad the stimulus has been for our nation.

One of the great (and incredibly wrong) theories from stimulus supporters is something we've seen in the arguments in favor of the 3-C passenger rail push by its advocates - that spending our money on a project that will barely be used will still create jobs - not only for those that build and run the railroad, but for the businesses they claim are bound to sprout up upon completion of the rail system.

Well, that sounds good in theory. In practice it's a bit more of a longshot.

But let's start from the beginning...
Imagine that I break my arm, but instead of getting a cast I take a big shot of morphine. The drug will make me feel better, but it won’t fix my arm. When the effect wears off, the pain will come back. And instead of being restored to their proper position, my bones will remain out of place, perhaps solidifying there, which will surely mean chronic pain in the long run.

Stimulus spending is like morphine. It might feel good in the short term for the beneficiaries of the money, but it doesn’t help repair the economy. And it causes more damage if it gets in the way of a proper recovery.

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed on February 13, 2009, it became the biggest spending bill in the history of the country. Its original cost of $787 billion was divided into three main pieces: $288 billion in tax benefits such as a refundable tax credit; $272 billion in contracts, grants, and loans (the shovel-ready projects); and $302 billion in entitlements such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.The checks felt good for the Americans who received them. And the contractors who got those grants and contracts were happy to have the work. But the idea behind the stimulus was that this money would not just be a subsidy to those in need; it would revive the economy through a multiplier effect. The unemployed worker, for instance, would cash his unemployment check and spend it at the grocery store. The store owner would in turn spend the money on supplies, and so on, triggering a growth in the economy that goes beyond the original investment and jumpstarts the hiring process.

White House economists used forecasting models that assumed each dollar of spending would trigger between $1.50 and $2.50 of growth. As a result, President Barack Obama announced that his plan would grow the economy by more than 3 percent and “create or save” 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, mostly in the private sector. These models also forecasted that without the spending, the unemployment rate would increase from 7 percent to 8.8 percent.

Since then the U.S. economy has shed another 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.6 percent. Figure 1 shows the monthly unemployment rate, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the adoption of the act, alongside the cumulative grant, contract, and loan spending as reported by the recipients on recovery.gov.

The stimulus isn’t working because it is based on faulty economics. Using historical spending data, the Harvard economist Robert Barro and recent Harvard graduate Charles Redlick have shown that in the best case scenario, a dollar of government spending produces much less than a dollar in economic growth—between 40 and 70 cents. They also found that if the government spends $1 and raises taxes to pay for it, the economy will shrink by $1.10. In other words, greater spending financed by tax increases hurts the economy. Even if the tax is applied in the future, taxpayers today adjust their consumption and business owners refrain from hiring based on the expectation of future tax increases, which worsen the economy today.


Unless you believe that federal spending magically conjures up purchasing power (or that morphine heals bones), the total GDP will remain unchanged, because the federal government has to borrow the stimulus money from either domestic or foreign sources. This borrowing in turn reduces other areas of demand.

Stimulus spending does not increase total demand. It merely reshuffles it, leaving the economy just as weak as before—if not weaker, since it also increases the national debt. By trying to ease the pain, the administration may well have made the patient worse.
Indeed, they did.

But what's past is past.

Now the voters have spoken. They didn't like how their country was being run. That includes the stimulus. Obamacare. Cap & Trade. And on and on...

Fortunately, there's a new sheriff in town. And things are gonna be run quite a bit differently.

Go get 'em, Mr. Boehner.

Thanks for the mess, Ted and Bob and Speaker Budish and...

You made a kid cry.

In the Dispatch editorial pages, at least.

So the question stands.

Can Kasich clean up the giant mess left behind by Ted Strickland, Bob Taft, and previous iterations of Ohio's General Assembly?

Yes, he can. But don't think for a second that it will be easy. Nothing this challenging ever is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steele is done. Bring on Gillespie.

This news just broke on Politico:
Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins resigned from his post Tuesday morning with a stinging indictment of Chairman Michael Steele’s two-year tenure at the committee.

In a four-page letter to Steele and the RNC’s executive committee obtained by POLITICO, Collins lays out inside details, previously only whispered, about the disorganization that plagues the party. He asserts that the RNC’s financial shortcomings limited GOP gains this year and reveals that the committee is deeply in debt entering the 2012 presidential election cycle.
Go on and click the above link to read all the gruesome details.

I hate to tell you all "I told you so", but as I wrote back in April...
Michael Steele is done.

He may remain as Chairman through the next year, but any hopes for an effective chairmanship of the RNC have vanished. He's bloodied and bleeding. And there's no reason to think anything short of an overwhelmingly dominating month of fundraising in April can begin to save him.
Ok, he sucked. So what do we do now?

Well, fortunately we have a chance to install another chairman in the upcoming RNC meeting.

Now we all knew Steele's chances at getting re-elected RNC chair have been somewhere between slim to none for awhile. But after a high profile staffer publicly details mismanagement of this magnitude, it's time to put the nail in Steele's coffin. He's done as Chairman.

So far, only former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis has entered his name into consideration as a candidate. He's very competent, but has never seemed to spin up that much buzz.

My hope is Ed Gillespie, a former Chairman, will decide to give things another go.

Once again, as I wrote back in April...
Gillespie's skillful leadership of the RNC during the 2004 Presidential led to fantastic fundraising numbers and an unparalleled ground game.


Now some may call for a higher profile leader to assume the chairmanship, but the last thing the RNC needs right now is another big personality. Selecting a Chairman isn't a choice for best spokesman. While occasionally appearing in front of the media is an obvious part of the job, it isn't the priority. Instead the job should be held by the best strategist, best organizer, and best fundraiser, all in one package. Instead of a big personality we need the strong, unassuming winner that inspires confidence in both the volunteers that win races and the donors that fund them.
At the end of the day, it's not just a good choice for the RNC, but also a good choice for Gillespie. Sure, his reputation is already stellar. And he already helped save our butts this year by organizing American Crossroads with Karl Rove. But to lead the RNC back from the brink and win the White House in '12 would place him at a 'Haley Barbour in 1994' level of stardom within the GOP.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.


This is a better idea than the 3-C rail project.

3BP 2012 GOP Presidential nomination poll 4.0 results....

Thanks for voting in this weekend's poll. While we recognize it holds no meaningful significance, it's always interesting to see where my readers stand on who they feel should be the nominee in 2012.

So without any further adieu, the results...

Mitch Daniels won his 3rd straight 3BP poll, coming in with 24.7% of the vote.

Despite all his claims not to be interested in running, 3BP's readers still love them some Chris Christie. He came in a close 2nd with 21.2% of the vote.

Haley Barbour had his best performance yet, coming in 3rd place with 10.2%.

Mitt Romney continues his losing ways by earning 4th place with 8.9%.

Sarah Palin hasn't won many 3BP readers over, coming in 5th with 6.1% of the vote.

If anything stands out from this poll, it's the surprisingly strong and consistent support of Mitch Daniels among 3BP's readership - the same readership which also so happens to include some of the strongest and most involved GOP activists in the state of Ohio.

The Draft Mitch movement keeps growing. Maybe now is the time to hop on the bandwagon.

Obama cost Ohio State $80k

The purpose of the President's visit to Ohio State in late October was to help Ted Strickland and the rest of the Democratic ticket win on November 2nd.

It didn't work.

In fact, the big takeaway from the event was this hysterical quote from Ohio State's student newspaper.
"It got to the point that when Strickland was announced, the last person to go on before the Obamas, an audible groan rumbled through the crowd."

What's not funny was the cost of the event.

From the latest Lantern:
Nearly four weeks after President Barack Obama's campaign rally on Ohio State's Oval, the university is paying the price for hosting the event — literally.

The Democratic National Committee paid for many of the rally expenses, but OSU was left to pick up a tab of nearly $80,000.
And if the attendees had just picked up after themselves, they could have saved $16,000 in cleanup costs.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Despite attempts to take up residency, Obama is losing Ohio by 15 points

In a poll against a generic Republican opponent, Obama is trailing 55-40 in a new poll by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

Even if their sample is adjusted to be equal to that of the 2008 election, the President would still lose 45-51.

The most apparent challenge for the President is among Independents where he loses them 59-32. The partisan breakdowns should be a bit scary, too. The Republican pulls in 95% of the vote while Obama only gets 77% of Democrats.

Now sure, going up against a generic candidate rather than one with personal flaws and specific policies to attack is a whole different story. But no Obama supporter can be happy with where their candidate stands at this point in Ohio. As far as starting points go, it doesn't get much worse.

The big question is how the electorate will change over the next two years and whether the economy will improve enough to provide the President the necessary boost to woo Independents and bring Democrats back home.

According to Jim Pethokoukis, a new survey by the Feds of 43 economic forecasters showed unemployment will average 9.3% in 2011 and 8.7% in 2012. Is that kind of slow improvement enough? My bet is no.

We have a long way to go and an immeasurable number of variables to still be determined, but without a doubt, the President is in trouble in Ohio.

Maybe a 13th visit would help.

This makes me happy.

Courtesy the Ohio Republican Party.

Thought you'd like to see a map of Ohio's congressional districts after this month's election. Thanks to your hard work, we reduced the number of Ohio Democrats in Congress by 50%.

A final look at the Ohio Gubernatorial 2010 Exit Poll

Back in early October, 3BP had a post detailing how Ted Strickland was surrendering the Independent vote to bring in the President in hopes of turning out the vote among the base.

After a review of the CNN exit poll which sampled over 3,300 Ohioans, that's exactly what happened.

By 53-37, Independent voters supported John Kasich. And while Democrats turned out at the same level as Republicans, they far underperformed where they needed to be.

Very simply, Independents were turned off by Strickland's failures and the President's presence. And Democrats weren't inspired by a Governor that failed to live up to his promises.

Survey USA, PPP, and Fox News all came within a point or two of the final margin among Independents.

One interesting demographic point came in the difference between African-American males and females. While African-American women favored Strickland by 90 points, African-American men strongly supported Strickland, but not by nearly as much - 73 points.

The educated preferred Kasich over Strickland. College graduates preferred the Republican 56-41 while non-graduates preferred the Governor 50-45.

Surprisingly, despite his obsessive support for big labor, Strickland's support among union households dropped a massive 14 points from his win in 2006.

A lot of hay was made near the end of the campaign about the Kasich's vulnerability among Republicans on the gun issue. It turns out the effect was minimal, if there at all. Each one their fair share of partisans with Strickland winning 89% of the Democratic vote and Kasich pulling in 88% of the GOP vote.

What about the big attack? Wall Street.
According to exit polls, a third of Ohio voters primarily blamed Wall Street for their state’s economic problems, but those voters went for Kasich 49 percent to 47 percent.

“Sometimes people have all the information on the candidates and still vote for the other guy,” said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, about the Ohio race.

Ultimately, I believe Strickland's strategy was faulty from the beginning when his campaign ran a blistering negative attack on Kasich.

Back in May before the first ad came out I said:
As we've been saying for awhile, every poll out there, even the ones showing Strickland ahead, also show the Governor with some very high negatives. They also show Kasich with a name ID problem.

This poses Strickland with a problem. He needs to fix his own image while negatively defining his opponent. Unfortunately for Ted, voters tend not to believe such opposite messages coming from the same source at once.
And they didn't. Ted's negatives never substantively improved. That killed him among Independents.

Sure, unemployment was in the dumps and he didn't have a record of success to latch onto. But he needed to at least use the power of television and the bully pulpit to push a more positive image to voters. While the DGA's presence faded in the final months, they and union allies were there at the beginning and could have handled the tar and feathering of Kasich. Strickland should have stayed positive and let others do the dirty work.

Instead, Strickland's strategy abandoned Independent voters. Maybe he hoped they would stay home. They didn't. They actually came out as a larger proportion of the electorate than in 2006.

While the race was tight, considering his poor strategy it was also the best result Strickland could have hoped for. Independents voted as expected and by failing to push a positive enough image to boost turnout by Dems and supportive Indies, Strickland did as good as could be expected.

It just wasn't good enough.

The trip to nowhere.

Maybe the President should have stayed home.

First, he went to India to, as commentator Rich Galen puts it, "[promise] them something he won't be able to deliver on - a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council."

Then things went bad. Really bad. From the AP:
Obama failed to achieve a free-trade deal with Korea that was to have been the biggest trophy of his trip, and instead of banding with America against China's currency manipulation, several countries aligned themselves against the U.S.
Galen provides his insights:
Let's take that free trade business first. When a President meets with another head of state to sign an agreement on whatever, the general rule is the staffs hammer out agreements on all the major issues, then leave one thing - should this be a comma or a semicolon - to the principals so they can pretend they had a hand in it.

But, Obama went to South Korea without an agreement on cars and beef imports, found that he couldn't charm his way into a deal, and so had slink away from the negotiating table having promised a Free Trade Agreement which would have added 70,000 U.S. jobs.

The only other time in my memory that a President went to sign a deal and left without making one was President Ronald Reagan's trip to Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986 to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, but it was well known that there was no pre-agreement before they met in Iceland.
So Reagan didn't have something figured out with our sworn enemy of the cold war - and Obama couldn't work something out with someone who owes us for protecting them for 60 years against their communist neighbor to the north.

On top of it all, Obama then went to the G-20 to attack China for fudging with their currency - right after our own Fed director announced we were doing the same by printing $600 billion more in cash.

This trip screams ineptitude in every way.

Of course, coverage of the failures seems to have ranged from nonexistent to minimal. But that's par for the course.

2012 can't get here fast enough.

Boehner gets it - Part 19

It seems time after time we're being reminded how this House Republican majority is going to be run differently from the last time we were in power.

And that's a very good thing.

Last night Speaker-to-Be John Boehner spoke with the massive class of incoming freshmen to give them an idea of how they should plan to approach the work they'll do the next two years. The event was closed press, meaning no press was allowed, but these excerpted quotes provided to 3BP give us a better understanding of the kind attitude Republicans are taking as they head into power.
"I look at our Conference as a team. That's how I run my office, and it's how I approach the Conference as well.

"Everyone has a talent. Everyone has a place. I'm committed to finding a place for each of you, and putting you in a position to succeed.

"On a football team, a good coach knows every player -- their strengths, their weaknesses, their gifts -- and figures out how to put each player in a position to use those gifts for the good of the team.

"With apologies to our new colleague Jon Runyan, a Michigan Wolverine. . .I'm going to use a quote from the great Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes.

"Woody Hayes wasn't big on gloating after a win. He told his team (quote): 'Once we get winning, [if] anybody comes up to congratulate you, kick them in the shins, unless it’s a little old lady over 80. Pats on the back soften you.'

"I don't recommend kicking anyone, but I do think we need to take our accomplishments in stride. That's how I want to approach the coming year."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New study reveals true motivation behind push for 3-C passenger rail line....

We've always wondered how any rational individual believes it's a good idea to spend millions we don't have for something we won't use in the face of the biggest fiscal crisis in Ohio history.

Well, now we know their true motivations...
WASHINGTON, DC–A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.

"With traffic congestion, pollution, and oil shortages all getting worse, now is the time to shift to affordable, efficient public transportation," APTA director Howard Collier said. "Fortunately, as this report shows, Americans have finally recognized the need for everyone else to do exactly that."


"Expanding mass transit isn't just a good idea, it's a necessity," Holland said. "My drive to work is unbelievable. I spend more than two hours stuck in 12 lanes of traffic. It's about time somebody did something to get some of these other cars off the road."


"Improving public transportation will do a great deal of good, creating jobs, revitalizing downtown areas, and reducing pollution," Sager said. "It also means a lot to me personally, as it should cut 20 to 25 minutes off my morning drive."


Collier said he hopes the study serves as a wake-up call to Americans. In conjunction with its release, the APTA is kicking off a campaign to promote mass transit with the slogan, "Take The Bus... I'll Be Glad You Did."

The campaign is intended to de-emphasize the inconvenience and social stigma associated with using public transportation, focusing instead on the positives. Among these positives: the health benefits of getting fresh air while waiting at the bus stop, the chance to meet interesting people from a diverse array of low-paying service-sector jobs, and the opportunity to learn new languages by reading subway ads written in Spanish.

"People need to realize that public transportation isn't just for some poor sucker to take to work," Collier said. "He should also be taking it to the shopping mall, the supermarket, and the laundromat."
Yes, this article is from The Onion.

But it honestly had ya going for a bit, eh? Shows ya just how shady some of the 3-C disciples really are.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Look who bought and paid for the 2010 Republican wave!

David Freddoso used data provided from OpenSecrets to figure out once and for all which evil corporations and special interest groups paid to fund the GOP buttkickings this past midterm.

Check it out:
First suspect: the military-industrial complex!

  • Defense Contractors: 55% Democrat, 44% Republican ($18 million)
Oh, really? Well, then, it must have been Wall Street! That’s it: Wall Street bought Congress for the GOP!

  • Securities & Investment: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($8.2 million)
Oh. Well, even if Wall Street as a whole preferred Democrats, it must have been the real bad guys, those risky Hedge funds and exotic investors…

  • Hedge Funds: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($6.8 million total)
  • Venture Capital: 64% Democrat, 36% Republican ($6.4 million)
  • Private Equity: 56% Democrat, 43% Republican ($4.6 million)
Huh. Well, then, it must have been the big health insurers and for-profit hospital corporations! They didn’t want reform! I know because I heard President Obama say so at least 64 times!

  • HMO/Health services: 58% Democrats, 40% Republicans ($9.4 million)
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: 51% Democrats, 48% Republicans ($10.4 million)
  • Medical Supply: 57% Democrats, 42% Republicans ($4.4 million)
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes: 63% Democrat, 36% Republican ($14.9 million)
Huh. Well…then it must have been those evil lobbyists that President Obama has been fighting against ever since he got to Washington! That’s it!

  • Lobbyists: 65% Democrat, 34% Republican ($23.5 million)
What? You mean all that time I’ve spent watching Keith Olbermann hasn’t taught me any real facts???? You mean my head is now full of garbage and White House propaganda?

For good measure, here are a few industries that did, in fact, support Republicans (although most of them by narrow margins).

  • ‘Tonsil Thieves‘ (Dentists): 37% Democrat, 62% Republican ($5.3 million)
  • Health professionals: 48% Democrat, 50% Republican ($55 million)
  • Credit/Finance: 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($5.8 million)
  • Commercial Banks: 41% Democrat, 59% Republican ($15.4 million)
  • Insurance (Health, life and property): 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($31.2 million)
  • Agribusiness: 41% Democrat, 58% Republican ($40 million)
The challenges I see ahead for the new GOP House will be (1) reining in Agribusiness subsidies and (2) forcing banks to live without hope of future bailouts. The first is probably the bigger challenge, at least in the short run.
Probably not exactly what you were expecting, eh?

Et tu, Dr. Drew?

People of my generation are all aware of pop culture M.D., Dr. Drew.

Well, recently he was asked about his thoughts on Obamacare.

The money quote? "You will see a massive flight of physicians from the field."

The 3BP 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination poll - Version 4.0

Last time we did this, Mitch Daniels came in first place with 24% of the vote, followed by Chris Christie with 17% and Mitt in a distant third with 11%.

Well, now that the midterms are over and the 2012 season has officially begun, it means it's also time to give this poll another go and see how things have changed.

Obviously, this poll is far from scientific, but it's an interesting sampling of the kind of activists that care enough about politics to pay attention to current events and the power players currently maneuvering for the nomination.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your government at work.

Members of a key panel created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill, have scheduled a meeting on November 22 to consider ways to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds.” The meeting will be held at the super-luxe Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

The group is the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, a sub-committee of the larger Recovery Accountability and Transparency board (sometimes known as the RAT board). The stimulus bill set up the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, or RIAP, to make recommendations to identify and prevent waste of the bill’s $814 billion in stimulus spending.

“The purpose of the November 22, 2010 meeting is to allow the RIAP to have an open dialogue, with input from the public, on issues relating to fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds,” says a notice in the Federal Register.

Haley's advantage.

Haley Barbour is running for President.

No, he hasn't announced yet, but his intentions are well understood.

The best thing that happened to Haley Barbour and his aspirations for the presidency came when Mark Sanford decided to be an idiot. When Sanford was knocked from his post as head of the Republican Governors Association, Barbour took over and turned it into a powerhouse.

When all was said and done, the RGA had plenty to brag about come November 3rd.
Republican Governors have won control of the majority of 2012 swing states. The following states that held gubernatorial races are considered swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The RGA spent $49.5 million in these 10 swing states we deemed critical to 2012.
And while it's not a swing state, the RGA also was forced to move into South Carolina and provide some reinforcements to ensure Nikki Haley's victory.


There's something awfully interesting about some of the states listed above.

Iowa. Nevada. South Carolina.

Well, it just so happens that the GOP primary calendar undertook some slight revisions this past year in order to guarantee four states had the first primaries.

New Hampshire. Iowa. Nevada. South Carolina.

Additionally, the new calendar emphasizes the importance of delaying the beginning of primary season and ensuring there isn't a kind of national primary that provides a candidate with an insurmountable lead.

Now no one would think a man with as heavy a drawel as Barbour could compete in New Hampshire. But Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina? Those seem like decent possibilities.

Now take into consideration the massive amount of political capital Barbour gained among the new Governors in each of those three states by investing so heavily into their races. Branstad, Sandoval, and Haley all owe Haley Barbour. And they owe him big.

Is it enough to bring a hugely important endorsement? That much is unclear, but Barbour clearly has every reason and right to put the pressure on all three.

Now consider what happens if Barbour is able to finagle the early endorsements of people like Corbett, Kasich, and Scott in PA, OH, and FL. In the horserace that is primary politics, that provides quite a momentum shift.

No one doubts Barbour can raise money. No one doubts his abilities as a tactician. His record in Mississippi is exemplary. The only question is his background as a lobbyist and I'm not quite convinced that's the Achilles Heel many seem to believe.

If Barbour can manage to pull down these endorsements, watch out. Without a doubt, he'll be the man to beat for the 2012 GOP nomination.

UPDATE: Here's Fox's recent interview and profile of Barbour as they begun their discussion of likely GOP presidential candidates...

Ya don't say!

So when you yank requirements for big labor, costs of public projects go down?

Who woulda thunk it?

In a final slap to the face of the evil Richard Murray of the OSFC, we have this bit of good and completely unshocking news:
Construction bids at the state schools for the deaf and blind came in 22 percent below bids that were rejected this summer, and one group says it's because workers are no longer required to be union.

The lower bids for dormitories come after design changes and a less-competitive construction environment, which drove up the state's cost estimate 10 percent, an official said.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission solicited bids in July to build new dormitories at the Ohio State School for the Deaf and the Ohio State School for the Blind, but contractors' proposals came in 46 percent over projections.

Nonunion construction companies said a "project labor agreement" that mandated union labor caused the overruns. The agreement had been ordered by commission Executive Director Richard Murray, a former union official who was the focus of a critical inspector general's report this summer for his dealings promoting unions.

So you remove PLAs and costs shrink for taxpayers? Amazing.

I think we may be onto something here...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Facepalm Presidency Strikes Again

Sometimes there are stories that sound so ridiculous that they can't be real.

For example, there's no way the White House would blatantly fudge data in order to promote their own political agenda at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of Americans.

Except it happened.
The Interior Department's inspector general says the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it falsely appear that scientists and experts supported the administration's six-month ban on new drilling.

The inspector general says the editing changes resulted "in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed." But it hadn't been. The scientists were only asked to review new safety measures for offshore drilling.

The investigation is the latest in a string of incidents where the Obama administration has been accused of overstating the science behind official reports and political decisions made after the massive Gulf oil spill.

This is about a really, really stupid idea.

The 3-C passenger rail project is a really, really stupid idea.

With all the discussion about turning down $400 million and where it would go, everyone debating the idea has allowed themselves to get distracted from that very important point.

It's simple.

Ohio can't afford it.
There is no demand for it.

First off, let's focus on why we can't afford it.

From the Dispatch:
...the $400 million grant covered only about three-fourths of the cost of upgrading tracks and buying new trains. And that doesn't even count the $17 million or more per year in subsidies that would be required to keep it running.
So under the original projections, Ohio will need to pony up about $135 million more in start-up costs in addition to the "$17 million or more in subsidies".

Additionally, the likelihood that these costs are accurate is also in doubt. Look at one of the largest government infrastructure boondoggles in American history - Boston's Big Dig. The Big Dig also happened to be contracted out to the exact same company that is right now responsible for Ohio's 3-C project - Parsons Brinckerhoff. This is the same Parsons Brinckerhoff that had to pay $407 million in restitution after the Big Dig for its poor oversight of subcontractors. The Big Dig was initially supposed to cost $6 billion in 1982 dollars. It's eventual cost? $22 billion. A 367% increase over the original projection. Now let's just assume the 3-C projection is only off by 1/6 of that - 61%. That would require Ohio to pay $461 million to start-up the project (the $135 million + 61% of original 535 million projection).

Obviously, Ohio can't afford that.

But forget that projection. Under the current projections, the cost of building the train system is far beyond our capabilities. Ohio is facing an $8 billion budget deficit. Spending yet more taxpayer dollars in the face of this massive deficit goes against every sensibility. It makes me wonder if advocates for the train really comprehend just how deep a hole Ohio has found itself.

Now onto demand.

These are 3 shots of traffic on I-71 this morning around 8:30 - rush hour.

If the 3-C is going to be successful, people have to want to ride it.

Roads would have to be jammed and people would be clamoring for an alternative.

They aren't.

Once again, we'll let the Dispatch handle this one:
Initial estimates that the trains would average 39 mph and that the trip from Cincinnati to Cleveland would take at least five hours and 20 minutes drew derision; a later estimate by ODOT, based on a one-page computer analysis, revised the average speed to 50 mph but has been questioned. And it depends on cooperation among three different railroads, which can't be guaranteed. And it's still slower than driving.
It's still slower than driving. That's an incredibly important point.

Now, no one is saying ridership will be zero. Of course there may be some that don't have cars that need to use it on a daily basis to get to a job in Dayton or Cleveland. Then again, those same people need to find a way to get to the train station every day. And surely people would utilize it to get to a Reds or Indians game - provided they don't mind spending the cash for a hotel room since the schedule doesn't allow for a return trip after the game.

"But what about the jobs?", they say.

It's not the government's responsibility to subsidize employment for the sake of making sure someone has a job.

If Ohio can't afford the project and the demand for the train is too low, the project is doomed to failure. All we're left with is yet more government welfare in the form of subsidized jobs to manage the train system.

And that's with an $8 billion deficit staring us in the face.

Broken window fallacy, anyone?

Finally, the Dispatch brings up an interesting point when discussing how determined Governor Strickland is to see money spent for the $25 million preparation study, despite the fact Kasich has asked for it to be suspended.
Strickland might sincerely believe that all the variables would line up in the train's favor and that the 3C project would draw Ohioans to take the train in unprecedented numbers, spurring enough jobs and economic development to pay for itself. Or he might value the chance to keep handing out lucrative contracts for his last two months in office.
Strickland interested in taking care of special interests? What? Noooo. Perish the thought.

The reality is this - the 3-C passenger rail project is a really, really stupid idea.

Kasich is right to stop it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boehner gets it.

When the Republicans regained the majority last week, there was an oft-repeated request from conservatives.

"Don't screw this up again."

Well, Speaker-to-be John Boehner is giving every indication that this time will truly be different.

The latest signal came from the following...
For the first time in years, House lawmakers will soon have the chance to vote on a standalone measure to increase the federal debt limit next year under the new Republican majority — a vote that’s shaping up as the first early test of the GOP’s commitment to spending restraint.

The House Republican leader, Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, will give lawmakers a chance for a direct vote on raising the debt limit, spokesman Michael Steel told the Washington Times.

That would be a break with the recent tactic of burying the debt limit increase in parliamentary maneuvers — a way to shield vulnerable lawmakers from having to take the unpopular vote — and would instantly give leverage to those in Congress hoping to impose immediate spending cuts.
This is exactly right.

And the beginning of a new Republican majority.

Popularity and principle

It's rare when both go hand in hand in politics.

After all, it's not always easy to do what's right when the opposition is screaming bloody murder.

Unless you're Chris Christie.

In what may be a preview of John Kasich's first year, Chris Christie made what some would call painful cuts in state government in order to balance the budget. He also faced off against the teachers unions and began his fight for a reformed pension system.

Usually, such cuts woud be demonized by the opposition and turn public opinion against Christie.

Well, Christie was demonized. But the people love him anyway.

In a new poll released by Quinnipiac, Chris Christie's approval rating stands at 51-38 overall and 56-32 among Independents. Christie even gets 22% approval from Democrats.

Compare that to New Jersey's two Democratic Senators who are both underwater in their approval ratings.

What about Obama? He comes in at 46-50 overall and 42-55 among Independents.

In New Jersey.

The world is upside down.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One step closer to derailment of the 3-C...

Under a Kasich administration, there will not be a 3-C passenger rail system in Ohio.

That's simply the way it is.

But that isn't stopping Governor Strickland from continuing to spend your taxpayer dollars to help fund its development.

Today, the Governor-elect sent two letters, one to Strickland and one to the President in an effort to cease the 3-C once and for all, and to redistribute the federal dollars Ohio won to more economically beneficial projects.

From the letter to Obama:
Passenger rail is not Ohio’s most pressing infrastructure concern at this time. Instead, Ohio’s existing freight rail and highway transportation infrastructure has significant upgrades needs. Therefore, I request that you make provisions for the $400 million to be used to support other vital transportation infrastructure projects in Ohio.

In the event that you cannot accede to my request, I ask that you take no actions to spend the funds allocated to Ohio so that these funds can go toward reducing the federal government’s $1.4 trillion deficit.
Does $400 million make a significant dent in the federal deficit? Relatively speaking, no. But that's not the point. Federal money is your money. Plain and simple. Spending it for the sake of spending it is partly what got our country into such a fiscal mess. If the federal government is unwilling to bend the rules so Ohio can spend our tax dollars in ways that have been proven to enhance economic well-being, then the right thing to do is to write 'return to sender' on the envelope and send it back.

Ted Strickland has a responsibility to look out for the best interests of Ohio's citizens. Each day he fails to cancel all contracts regarding the 3-C is another day where your money is being wasted. He'd be better off simply turning it all into cash and burning it. At least the Statehouse wouldn't have to spend as much on the heating bill.

Join the Derail the 3-C facebook group by clicking here. 

UPDATE: Strickland said no. Again. 

From the Dispatch:
"There is nothing to fear from obtaining the good information that this study will provide to policy makers in the near term as well as the long term," Strickland spokeswoman Kelly Schlissberg said. "So even if the governor-elect chooses not to support rail when he takes office, future governors or legislators with a vision for a modern Ohio will have better information as a result of this work."
That response is downright insulting to the intelligence of taxpayers. For pete's sake, Ohio is facing an $8 billion deficit. Should Ohio really be spending 10s of millions to maybe give future governors a potential plan in case the federal government decides to throw $400 million down the drain again? And what good would this potential plan provide? Without a doubt, variables will change over the next few years. Technologies will evolve and infrastructure will develop. So an old plan will be of use to whom? No one. That's who.

I just don't get Strickland's angle on this. You don't agree with Kasich that it should be built? Fine. But continuing to waste dollars out of spite isn't exactly the way a Governor should want to go out.

Ok, that didn't work too well.

Back in August I wrote the following:
Democrats are starting to accept the fact that they won't win on the economy, jobs, or health care. So that means it's time to start throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks. First up? Social Security.
I went on to quote an article detailing the coordination at the time between Democratic campaign leadership and their candidates in working to make social security a campaign issue.
This week alone, Democrats are set to host 100 town halls centered on keeping Social Security intact. And they're putting together TV advertisements to air against Republican lawmakers who have supported privatization.
We saw many of these attacks in Ohio races. Space hit Gibbs. Wilson hit Johnson.

Clearly, it didn't work, and I said as much back then. Based on the issues most important to voters, I stated the following:
While the new strategy dreamed up by the Democrats may briefly distract from the issues that matter most to voters, it won't have any significant effect on the elections in November. Does that mean Social Security reform doesn't need addressed? Of course not.

It's simply not a winning issue for the fall.
Turns out I was right. Just ask Politico:

Voters over 65 favored Republicans last week by a 21-point margin after flirting with Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections and favoring John McCain by a relatively narrow 8-point margin in 2008.

Concerned by changes to Medicare and compelled by a Republican Party that promised a return to America’s glory days, seniors played a crucial — and often understated — role in races across the country. They were unswayed by ubiquitous Democratic warnings about Republican changes to Social Security. And they put a series of campaigns out of reach for Democrats.

Ya can't blame the Democrats for trying their scare tactics over social security privatization. After all, with a record like theirs, the politics of distraction and fear is about all they had left.

The answer.

President Obama has visited Ohio 12 times since he was inaugurated.

That was the most of any state with a major competitive race this year.

And John Kasich still won.

Late last week Fox News Opinion submitted their own thoughts on just how important the victory was from the perspective of the 2012 election:
With the dust still settling from Tuesday's historic election results, the pundits are busy sizing up what to make of it all. The shift of power in the U.S. House, the national gains by Republicans, the impact of the Tea Party and the implications of all of the above are hot topics. And names like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ron Johnson are dominating the discourse.

Still, with all due respect to the field of this week's victors, the storyline of one winner stands above the rest: John Kasich is the governor-elect of Ohio.

But more telling than just his win is how he did it: by withstanding an Obama onslaught; turning back liberal fear attacks with a message of hope; and offering a leaner, more efficient alternative to big government run amuck.

In short, if Barack Obama’s spend and tax presidency for the past two years is a question, John Kasich emerged Tuesday night as the logical answer.

Now this isn't to say that John Kasich should run for President. Instead, this is about how to counter the President's likely tactics come time to run for re-election. And John Kasich's campaign provides a blueprint to whomever will be our nominee.


In delivering a campaign and message that were pitch-perfect, the son of a mailman with working class roots provided a blueprint on going toe-to-toe with Obama and coming out on top.

Kasich took the president’s best shot – 12 of them to be exact – and never strayed from the notion that results trump rhetoric.

Of course, it helps that Kasich is Kasich. His record of results is impressive. In particular, as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee through much of the '90s, he’s remembered fondly as the last man to balance our nation’s budget. At the time, it was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since a man walked on the moon.

Today, thanks to the Obama administration’s spending spree, it’s an achievement that seems less likely than catching a cow jumping over the same planet.
Ohio is the presidential firewall. Of that there is no dispute.

Since 1860, no Republican has won the presidency without also winning Ohio. If Obama can win the Buckeye state, history is clearly on his side.

Kasich is now the President's opposition in one of the most vital states of the 2012 election. And the Governor-elect's style of governing will be the polar opposite of Obama's - Principle over rhetoric. Hope over fear.

It's on.

So goes Ohio, so goes the nation.

Yes, I'm still reveling in this...

Friday, November 5, 2010

New twitter handle and other odds and ends....

For those on that follow me on twitter, take note of my new twitter handle.

DJTablesauce is retired. The new handle is Jon3BP.

For those considering joining twitter, I highly recommend keeping your handle as short as possible as it better lends itself to retweeting (or forwarding) of your tweets. With only 140 characters to work with, you have to make each one count if you want others to retweet you!

While I've got ya, I want to apologize for the less than normal amount of blog posts post-election. As you can imagine, there is a bit of a Victory Hangover that wears you down a bit. But don't worry, we'll be back to full-go soon!

I also want to thank everyone for reading through this election season. Traffic has gone absolutely through the roof and all the feedback has been fantastic.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who introduced themselves to me during the last few days of the campaign season and at the Victory celebration in Columbus. It was great to meet so many of my readers and your kind words were sincerely appreciated. 

How could things possibly get worse?

[The Ohio Democratic Party was] soliciting what I call the "soft crowd", figuring we weren't that educated - figuring we weren't able to really fight for ourselves - so they picked on the weak in order to strengthen themselves.
These are the words of a hired "volunteer" for the Ohio Democratic Party after getting screwed by Redfern's 'well-oiled GOTV machie' that promised them cash for canvassing.

Republicans were still reeling from Tuesday's victory when we heard about this story. It spread like wildfire. Despite all the claims of a ground game fueled by inspired volunteers, there was always discussion of our opposition hiring their help rather than relying on "paid volunteers".

And here we had evidence splashed all over television news stations in Columbus.

But it went far beyond just Columbus.

It's Cincinnati. It's Cleveland. It's everywhere.

They make you think, why are the Republicans in office? Because we ain't doing what we're supposed to be doing as Democrats. Maybe I need to switch over.

This is Chris Redfern's Ohio Democratic Party.

A ground game built from smoke and mirrors.
Massive losses across the board.
And this ultimate embarrassment spread far and wide across Ohio.

Every day Chris Redfern remains in office is an insult to every sane Democrat in Ohio.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ohio's Rise in the U.S. House

It's sounds a little crazy, but come next January the partisan advantage in the Ohio congressional delegation may switch from 10-8 Dems to 13- 5 GOP.
 I wrote that in February in a post about why Bill Johnson can beat Charlie Wilson.

Come January, Ohio's congressional delegation will be 13-5 GOP.

And Ohio will have its first Speaker of the House since Nicholas Longworth presided from 1925-1931.

But one higher profile member of the delegation is one from my hometown district - the 12th. Pat Tiberi.

From the Dispatch:
On Monday, Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township was a backbencher in the U.S. House and a relatively junior member of the Ohio congressional delegation.

When the 112th Congress convenes in January, Tiberi will enter the Capitol as a member of the inner circle of presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and likely will become a powerful subcommittee chairman on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.


"I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, but it is certainly not lost on me the position Ohio will be in, that I will be in, and being close to the speaker of the House, that doesn't happen to just anybody and everybody in their lifetime," Tiberi said.
 Indeed. And it's no surprise that Tiberi gets it. It's great to win, but what matters is what you do with it. 

We'll be watching.

That'll show ya.

Over the past few months, a lot of you have come to 3BP in search of a better understanding of the polls that covered the Senate and Governor's races in Ohio.

While I had problems with certain polls and how they may have been conducted, there was always one constant - I told you to look at the average of all polls to see where the race really stands.

So, how did that turn out? Well, let's take a look at the final Real Clear Politics poll averages...

The RCP average was 0.2% off the final tally.

Not bad at all.

So what about how each candidate did by Party?

There was some worry near the end that the obsessive focus on Strickland's NRA endorsement was going to change the course of the race.

Turns out that wasn't the case. Republicans still solidly backed Kasich.

I also repeatedly warned that bringing the President to Ohio so many times when he was so incredibly unpopular among Independents could damage Strickland's chances. And ultimately, it showed that Strickland was sacrificing Independents in order to boost his standing among his base.

Considering the partisan breakdown in the CNN exit poll of 3,300 respondents, it looks like I was right.

Kasich won Independents by 16 points. Impressive.

And how important was that enthusiasm gap? Well, Chairman Redfern wanted us to believe that even if it was real, the Democrat ground game was vastly superior and would win the day.

It didn't.

From the Dispatch:
Pre-election predictions by Democratic officials that their expensive get-out-the-vote machine would overcome an "enthusiasm gap" were rendered empty boasts by a profound lack of interest among their voters in the midterm elections, particularly in urban counties where the party needed a big turnout.

Less than 48 percent of registered voters cast ballots, the worst participation in a statewide election since 2002. And the 10 counties - including Franklin County - that had the largest decline in total votes Tuesday from the 2006 election account for 57 percent of Ohio's registered Democrats.

The sparse turnout doomed Gov. Ted Strickland's chances of re-election against Republican John Kasich, the first winning gubernatorial candidate since 1978 to fail to get at least 50 percent of the vote.

Over the course of the campaign I repeatedly stated how the Governor's incredibly low approval ratings were going to doom his cause. I said polls that showed Democrats not liking the direction Ohio was heading weren't going to show up. Obama may have rallied the far left portions of the base to vote for Ted, but the machine sputtered out.

So, what does all this show?
  1. Listen to all polls - even ones you don't like - in order to gauge the state of a race.
  2. Independents matter.
  3. Tearing down an opponent doesn't work if you aren't able to sell a good brand at the same time.

I'll likely have more post-mortems as we move forward.

Maybe after the glow of victory finally wears off.