Thursday, May 24, 2018

Buckeyes beware: Kasich's last lame-duck session this fall could be doozy

Ohio workers and voters have good reason to fear what motivated-by-time Ohio lawmakers and a willing exiting governor can do after the fall election is over and before the next General Assembly is sworn in at the start of the new year.

Gov. John Kasich in the Ohio Statehouse
Aptly called "lame duck" sessions, the 2018 version in Ohio will be even more lame-duck when term-limited, lame-duck governor John Kasich wields his pen for good or bad for the last time.

So called lame-duck sessions are news worthy because of what can happen when lawmakers, some of whom may not be back in the new year, scheme to pass bills that maybe never had a hearing in committee or were passed out of committee, are brought back from the dead by lawmakers who fear no repercussions from their constituents and will vote for all manner of bills that benefit one special interest over another.

Next year's new governor, whether its Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine or Democratic candidate Richard Cordray, may inherit a legislative landscape they could only watch from afar as neither can effect what Ohio's 132nd lawmaker class does before they take office.

By his own design, with the acquiescence of a GOP-led legislature, Gov. John Kasich turned a two-year budget cycle into a one-year budget cycle when he started his mid-biennium review. This scheme effectively created two one-year budget cycles. The benefit of such a scheme is that since a budget cycle is about appropriating money, challenges to anything in it via citizen referendum is prohibited, enabling all manner of bad policy to be signed into law without public hearings or comments. Legislative leaders relish the weeks after an election and before year's end to throw everything that couldn't pass muster before into a giant bill where important matters easily are lost among the trees of this thick forest.

Kasich has continued to pursue his fantasy quest to be president despite two losses, the first in 2000 and the last in 2016, that he ignores because state and national media love to feature even though they all know his chances of being taken seriously, in ways that differ from his two campaign crucifixions so far. Looking for his next gig, Kasich spent large portions of 2015-2016 campaigning out of state. Even thought he national election that Donald Trump won two years ago wafts in the wind, Kasich, like The Donald, looks back to his losing campaign as if it's a prequel to his next anticipated run.

Soon to be out of office and wandering past the graveyard of fallen and forgotten politicos, Kasich could be an accomplice for good or evil this fall, depending on what lame-duck lawmakers bring to his desk as they pack the concluded weeks of the year with any number of partisan bills that the next governor and General Assembly will have to grapple with, that may help or hurt the agenda they ran on.

While Kasich is now very much of a one-trick pony preaching his "find meaning in life sermon where and when he can, as he did at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard recently, the end of his eight years in office brings a thunderstorm of scandals and policy picks that would make him a lame-duck leader the likes of which Ohio has rarely seen. Any number of categories——from budgets to women and workers to for-profit charter schools, taxes, voter suppression and healthcare—are bad enough as they are without further complications from what outgoing lawmakers will send him that he'll sign into law to cement his legacy as a performance politician whose ego, as big as the great outdoors, refuses to acknowledge that he's past prime-time.

Who wins or loses on November 6th of this year will dominate headlines. Those same headlines will be trumped by the back-room scheming so essential to how elected officials handle their responsibility when voters can't see and can't vote on what happens before the new year arrives.

Beware Buckeyes, your worst days could still be ahead of you. And don't count on Ohio media to inform you better than they already have.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Late to the party, Plain Dealer tells sad but true tale about John Kasich's poor job's record

For reporters and others who follow analysis of Ohio's job numbers by Cleveland's preeminent analyst and number cruncher George Zeller, the sad but true tale told Tuesday by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on just how poorly Gov. John Kasich's record has been over two terms comes as no surprise to those of us who peer through the haze of public relations to see the gritty world that lies beneath.

The Rotunda of the Ohio
Zeller, who each month issues his digestion of government data on all aspects of job creation or job loss, has long documented Ohio's failure to even break even with national job figures.

At the same time, reporters for the state's Big Eight legacy newspapers have offered worthless analysis of the numbers by focusing on the unemployment rate, which is impacted by other factors. It then takes Kasich's comments at face value, without ever challenging the public relations statements by Team Kasich that sound rosy but masks the sub-par performance by a governor who promised to be a jobs governor.

Plain Dealer Falls Short On Analysis

As recently as last week, Zeller notes that "Ohio Extends Sub-Par Job Growth Streak to 65 Consecutive Months." Only two Ohio news sources dared carry a article based on the monthly jobs data. This reporter, on the other hand, has a proven record of following and writing about Zeller's monthly work, the results of which should be among the top issues this year's candidates for governor should be forced to address in detail beyond delivering platitudes about how "friendly" Ohio is to job creators.
To quote Zeller, "Ohio extended its lengthy sub-par job growth streak to 65 consecutive months with Ohio's job growth below the USA national average. The April 2017 year over year Ohio job growth rate is 0.92%, while the USA job growth rate during the same period is 1.55%. This horrible sub-par job growth streak in Ohio has now been every month for five full years and five additional months."
The PD's jobs article, "Ranking Ohio governors for jobs: John Kasich's current term is a lot like Ted Strickland's record vs. the U.S.," starts out this way: "When it comes to Ohio's jobs count in comparison to national trends, Gov. John Kasich's current term is a lot like the four years under his predecessor, Ted Strickland."

That's high irony for a shrinking paper that portrayed former one-term Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland as the slow, plodding but dependable hare compared to the flash and flimflam of Kasich the rabbit who has yet to cross the finish line ahead of anybody.

Ohio media treat Strickland and Kasich as if all things economic were equal during their respective tenure as state CEO. The facts tell a far different story, however, because Strickland's one term coincided with the second worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s. By contrast, Kasich inherited a recovering economy from Strickland's astute budgeting, then stalled the recovery even though the nation was advancing to recovery.

Kasich bashed Strickland for loosing hundreds of thousands of jobs, as if the Ohio economy was humming along with nothing to worry about. Kasich accused Strickland of being incompetent, when a case for the reverse can reasonably be made. Kasich took control with a national recovery underway, then proceeded to under-perform the national average for the last 65 months.

When he's a guest on national TV talk shows who feature him because they think he'll be a challenger to President Trump in 2020, Kasich's cheery chestnuts are three-fold: 1) He balanced the state budget, a duty all governors including Strickland have done; 2) He socked about $2 billion into the state's emergency fund, money he essentially stole from local governments and schools; and 3) He's created one-half million jobs, a figure that sounds impressive until articles like today's PD piece come along to deflate that big, false, fat balloon.

PD author Rich Exner writes about Kasich's policies and promises by again re-running Kasich's bogus claims of job creation. He first cites Kasich's tax changes over the years - "decreases in state income tax rates and elimination of income taxes for most self-employed people, coupled with increases in the sales taxes and property taxes for senior citizens."
"Kasich signs bold state budget to further Ohio's Comeback," Exner posts, about a headline from Kasich's office when he signed the state budget in 2013. The release, Exner notes, predicted the changes will help "fuel our economic recovery and get people back to work." After passage of the Ohio budget in 2015, Team Kasich said this: "The result is an economic climate friendly to job creators for future prosperity that helps more Ohioans participate in our state's economic revival."
In a summary of Kasich's first and second term, which end when 2019 arrives, it's all too clear how poorly Kasich has performed on the job front. Other analysis reveals that a majority of the jobs Kasich crows about creating are minimum wage jobs, not the high-paying ones he promised when running in 2010.

With nothing but informed speculation, this reporter has already forecasts that Ohio won't win Amazon's HQ2 headquarters, for reasons that go beyond just economics to right-wing, repressive social engineering laws that in many case are directed at women and the obstacle court to their health care Kasich has signed into law on over a dozen times.
Zeller, the jobs cruncher, says what he's said before about Ohio needing to do better: "The new data once again point out the vital importance of speeding up Ohio's rate of recovery. It will be more difficult to do that next month in the May data, since large mass layoffs at the General Motors Lordstown assembly plant have already been announced, but which are not yet measured in the new April 2018 data for either Lordstown or its suppliers."
In related news, Zeller also looks at county sales tax data. When he looks at The Cuyahoga County sales tax data, as he did last week, he found was both depressing and a reflection of how weak Kasich has been in bringing prosperity to a once great state whose population growth is moribund and whose future is full of worry, made worse by Ohio's battle with opioids.

Zeller notes "The 12 month real moving average of the Cuyahoga County sales tax data in May 2018 is down -9.40% in comparison to May 2017. May 2018 is the eleventh consecutive month when the real 12 month moving average has been negative in Cuyahoga County."

He says the peak of the 12 month real moving average continues to be February 2001 in Cuyahoga County seventeen years ago. Comparing the February 2001 figure to the current May 2018 figure we see a monthly decline of $2,204,218. Annualized, that is a decline of $27,170,614 on an annual basis. That of course is $27.2 million that is badly needed, but which has not been collected."

The PD has chosen not to run an article on the decline of the Cuyahoga County sales tax, which Zeller notes "has now been negative during every month between July 2018 and May 2018, accounting for the current streak of 22 consecutive months with a decline in the Cuyahoga County sales tax."

When John Kasich says he can do for the nation what he's done for Ohio, caveat emptor (i.e. buyer beware). While Kasich spends more time out of state trying to float his boat for a third presidential run in 2020, voters in Ohio and TV pundits in New York and Washington will fail in their duties to inform their viewers and readers if they don't understand that Kasich's public relations far out distances his real out put.

Zeller Explains What PD Doesn't

A criticism Zeller has of Exner's analysis is points to the silence about why these long term patterns are so weak. "He establishes that Ohio's growth is weak over long periods of time, but he does not explain why," Zeller told me today via email when asked to comment on the PD piece.
Zeller takes time to explain the numbers. "The key factor, of course, is weakness in Manufacturing and also cuts in Government. The cuts in Government are harmful. That is the key point that everybody needs to understand. But, there is great resistance in the press to pointing this out, mainly for ideological reasons and not data reasons. Even today, the legislature and the Congress are considering additional Austerity cuts to Government. They don't clam that this will slow the economy down, but that is what it does."
The old saying, "an ounce of promotion equals a pound of production," applies nowhere more than it does in Ohio.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Goosing the gander: Is Kasich's endorsement worth anything to Mike DeWine?

When Ohio Gov. John Kasich started running what turned out to be his second losing battle for the White House in 2015, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine didn't withhold his endorsement until Kasich made certain commitments to him on certain issues of importance.

Now that AG DeWine won the Republican right to take on Democrat Richard Cordray this fall, Ohio's term-limited, lame duck CEO wants to base his endorsement on what DeWine's plans are for two of his signature policy efforts: accepting expanded Medicaid via Obamacare and the creation of JobsOhio, an entity that wouldn't hold up to constitutional scrutiny, if the state supreme court would allow a case challenging its legitimacy to come to trial.

Until and unless DeWine brokers a deal with the former Lehman Brothers broker turned Ohio governor, Kasich apparently feels it's okay to withhold any level of public endorsement to his Republican colleague.

In Kasich world, what's good for the goose is obviously not good for the gander. The question to Team DeWine is whether Kasichs endorsement is a plus or a minus for him? Kasich's political bi-sexualism, berating both Republicans and Democrats, leaves him a lonely man not liked and definitely not loved by either party.

Kasich's name is bandied about as a possible challenger to President Trump in 2020, should Trump still be president by then. If Kasich got pummeled while the governor of a major swing state while he complained of not having enough money to get his message out, the odds of anyone with deep pockets backing him when he's walking past the political graveyard in two years is so long that Vegas odds makers might not even take that bet. History is littered with losers who thought an independent run or a third-party movement was their magic bullet. The only bullet it produced was one that shot them dead.

John Kasich on Election Night 2010
As Kasich sees it, “The question is how aggressively do I campaign?” for DeWine, who hopes winning in the fall will cap his long political career. At a Michigan Press Association event in East Lansing, Kasich said about whether he'll offer any level of endorsement to DeWine, a candidate he said he'll vote for over Cordray, “And I’ve laid out a couple things that are important to me.”

Unlike DeWine who offered no such bargaining of his support of Kasich for president in 2016, Ohio's 69th governor said he and DeWine "must come to an agreement on the future of the governor’s Medicaid expansion and his job-creation program, JobsOhio."

In response, DeWine’s campaign has said in reports that it would welcome Kasich’s endorsement, then said what it said throughout the nasty GOP primary with Kasich's second in command, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, "that the plan championed by Kasich to expand the Medicaid government insurance program to cover 700,000 people in Ohio isn’t sustainable financially." DeWine looks to the Trump administration to give Ohio more flexibility to craft its own plan.

In a stunning plot twist, Richard Cordray, the Democratic attorney general Mike DeWine beat and who will again be pitted against DeWine this fall, said he believes the JobsOhio office can play a role in workforce development. “I will work to make sure it fulfills its mission and that it is transparent and effective,” he said, the AP reported in the Washington Times.

In separate but related news that further shows Kasich's ego-centric mindset, he's warning fellow Republican legislators to not "weasel" on his gun-safety proposals. “I’d really like to get my gun stuff going,” Kasich said in remarks after a Statehouse event Tuesday, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch. “You’re either for taking guns out of the hands of someone who presents a danger to themselves or others, or you are not. Say it.”

Third graders know it takes one to know one, so when a long-time weasel like Kasich admonishes his right-wing General Assembly to do his bidding as asked, it takes a lot of brass to do that. “Don’t weasel around on this; take a position ... Get out of the weasel, the weasel activity of ‘I’m going to avoid saying anything because I may make somebody mad.’ ... When you’re all things to all people, you’re really nothing to many people,” reports said on Kasich's comments.

Revealing his always dominant self-righteousness on this and other issues, Kasich said, “I don’t want to get in the area of self-righteousness when it comes to my own political party, but there are just some things I think this party should stand for. I also think there are some things politicians should be able to say.”

Monday, May 14, 2018

Breaking Fake News: CNN hires Ohio Gov. John Kasich to keep his dying presidential hopes alive

National Chaplain and part-time Ohio governor John Kasich has put himself yet again on the horns of a dilemma he thinks will work to his advantage but only serves to again show what a petulant snowflake he really is.

Gov. John Kasich at his 2013 State
of the State event, with Senate President
Keith Fabor (left) and House Speaker Bill
Batchelder (right)
Like Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" monologue, should the Buckeye States term-limited, lame-duck state CEO endorse Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine for governor this year at all, and if so, to what degree?

Recall Kasich's quirky move that reflected his spoiled and selfish nature when he refused to welcome the thousands of Republicans who arrived in Cleveland in 2016 for the party's national convention. The GOP holding its national event in Cleveland was big news. It was so big that even Cleveland's Democratic mayor showed up to welcome a sea of ruby-red Republicans to his once great but now hard-bitten city.

By convention time, Trump had felled all his challengers, including Kasich, who despite being the last one to leave the race was among the first to get thoroughly trounced. That first big loss came when Ohio's 69th leader got thumbed bigly in his favorite state, New Hampshire. He came in a very distant second to Trump, then started bottom feeding in one primary or caucus after another, with the exception of Ohio, where his lone win looked lonelier because he couldn't break the 50 percent mark at home.

DeWine, whose long career in politics stretches from a humble county office to the statehouse to Congress, will reach its natural apotheosis should he be victorious in November against Democratic candidate Richard Cordray. DeWine blasted Kasich's two-term running mate, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, by easy double-digits on May 8th. Kasich endorsed Taylor, who promptly hide that endorsement as much as she could, distancing from her boss by promising to undue Kasich's signature legislative accomplishment: expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. Even though DeWine got on board Kasich's second presidential train like all other GOP Ohioans did, he never mentioned Kasich's name during his so-called spirited (and very nasty) campaign to beat Taylor, where mud was slung by the ton by each candidate, as each tried to out-Trump the other.

At odds with President Donald Trump from the beginning of GOP debates in 2015 to this day, Kasich seems lost by design in his lonely world where if the story isn't about him he's not interested. Spending more time out of Ohio than in it these days, Kasich relishes earning local and national coverage by repeating the common wisdom, backed up by what many polls show: political parties are further apart today than ever, and candidates are at polar opposites. Kasich says he can break the spell of gridlock in Washington, where he served for 18 years in the House before abandoning his cozy seat to run first losing campaign for the White House. Now that Trump World gets up everyday with its goal to undue something former President Obama put in place, Kasich has become politically bi-sexual, talking smack about Republicans and Democrats that only makes him even more distrusted by the warring factions.

The National Chaplain is clearly fishing for his post-governor job. That job might well come from CNN, the network he's a regular on Sunday talk shows like State of the Union with host Jake Tapper that Trump calls the fake news network. CNN employs an army of people who get paid to speak about issues of the day. If Trump's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, can get paid hundreds of thousands, surely a honed and crafted career politico like Kasich can have a big payday. He'll be called governor and speak like he's tackled all the problems any governor can handle, when he of course has done little to nothing to make Ohio great again.

CNN can keep his boat afloat for a couple more years as 2020 approaches, and Kasich can play hide-and-seek about whether he'll try a third time to win the White House. America so far hasn't wanted him to be Commander-in-Chief after two tries, so time will tell whether he finds another hobby job to do after he leaves public office at the end of the year.

It wasn't all that long ago that John Kasich hosted his own TV talk show on the Fox News channel. During his TV days, he often substituted for now disgraced "No Spin Zone" womanizer Bill O'Reilly. Having mastered the art of political talk over decades in Congress, Kasich is a glib governor whose daily discourse is both confusing and funny at the same time. On any given day, who knows whether he'll be anti-Republican or anti-Trump or wonder what Democrats stand for? He'll parlay his governorship into a lecture on how to address the problems of the world, when his record at home in Ohio is less than stellar. Grabbing a headline by saying something bombastic is basic Kasich.

Between now and Election Day, watch what Kasich does with respect to Ohio and national elections. Will his record be a factor going forward for DeWine or Cordray? Democrats have virtually sainted Kasich for doing an end-around run of the legislature to bring expanded Medicaid to Ohio. Democrats say they don't attack Kasich because he's not on the ballot and his popularity is above 50 percent. His high ratings, for Democrats who haven't thought about it much, is due in large part because they've taken a hands-off approach, letting his myths become fact.

When a sitting Democratic senator running for a third term says he salutes Kasich for expanded Medicaid, the party knows it has lost a war that it could have won had it just done what Republicans do so well: dredge up long past Democrats as scary figures voters shouldn't install in office again. Former Gov. Ted Strickland, who served one term starting in 2006, has been demonize time and time again by Kasich and cohorts. Strickland will be demonized again in 2018.

On the bright side, if Kasich panders enough to CNN officials, maybe he'll get another chance to talk to America on a regular basis if the network hands him another "Heartland" show opportunity.

The sad fact is that Kasich has been a terrible governor, stealing billions from schools and city's, passing laws harmful to women, signing bills that suppress democracy and voter turnout while being intentionally blind to scandals involving billions for for-profit charter schools and not creating enough jobs for Ohioans who want them.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Ohio 'telecommunications harassment statute' appealed to US Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit

House Bill 151 was sponsored by Republican State Representative Marlene Anielski of Walton Hills. Known as the "Cyberstalking and Harassment Legislation," the bill addresses "the use of technology growing rapidly every year, the tools available to offenders who wish to threaten or harass others is also growing.

Gov. John Kasich, seen here in 2011 
delivering his first and only State of the
State speech from the Ohio House, signed
HB 151 into law.
HB 151 is a step toward bringing state law up-to-date with today’s technology," a posting by the House Member says.

Lead attorney Eugene Volokh of the Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic at the UCLA School of Law and Raymond V. Vasvari, Jr. of Vasvari/Zimmerman, an Ohio law firm, filed an appeal of "Plunderbund Media L.L.C., et al. v. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, et al," in which I am one of three plaintiffs, challenging a key provision of HB 151 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The Honorable Sara Lioi, a judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, ruled that plaintiffs Plunderbund media, a liberal Ohio blog, John Michael Spinelli, an independent blogger, and Tom Zawistowski, Chairman of the Portage County Tea Party, lacked standing to challenge Ohio Rev. Code § 2917.21(B)(2), on the grounds that Appellants suffered no injury in fact and there was no credible threat of prosecution, according to court documents filed Monday.

Plunderbund, Spinelli and Zawistowski were recruited by Volokh to challenge a provision of HB 151 that represents the constitutionality of a speech restriction that would "criminalize, in relevant part, 'knowingly post[ing] a text or audio statement or an image [online] for the purpose of abusing, threatening, or harassing another person.'”

All three appellants "fear their criticisms would be construed as intended to abuse or harass political figures, especially local prosecutors, they have limited their criticisms of such figures," plaintiff attorneys wrote.

The state, represented by AG DeWine, a Republican candidate for governor who hopes to succeed term-limited Gov. John Kasich this year, won its case to dismiss from a lower court based on plaintiff's lack of standing according to Article III standing criteria.

According to the filed document of appeal, "It is now a crime in Ohio to 'knowingly post a text or audio statement or an image on an internet web site . . . for the purpose of abusing or harassing another person,” un-less the speaker is within a favored list of exempted media entities. All three appellants do not meet media standards as defined by the bill, which covers only people who are speaking “while employed or contracted by a newspaper, magazine, press association, news agency, news wire service, cable channel or cable operator, or radio or television station.”

Volokh argues that the First Amendment protects against the kind of "chilling effect" the bill imposes "by rendering overbroad statutes unconstitutional." Accordingly, Volokh says, "Courts invalidate [overbroad] statutes in their entirety to prevent a ‘chilling effect,’ whereby speakers self-censor protected speech to avoid the danger of possible prosecution.”

At the core of the case is the understanding that nothing in the bill, specifically § 2917.21(B)(2), excludes political speech, such as the speech in which Appellants seek to engage. Moreover, the bill has no exception for political expression, an activity that all three plaintiffs engage in on a regular basis.

Included in what it does, the bill prohibits a person from intentionally posting a message using written communication, like e-mail, Facebook or text message, or verbal graphic gestures to lead another to believe they are in danger.

“The bill brings our current laws on menacing and stalking up to date and will provide more peace of mind to the victims and families of those who have experienced these terrible situations,” Rep. Anielski said. Moreover, the bill expands the offense of “menacing by stalking” and telecommunications harassment and prohibits a person from knowingly causing someone to believe that the offender will cause physical or mental harm to that person’s family.

The bill was inspired by one of Rep. Anielski’s constituents, from Broadview Heights, who was a repeated victim of cyber stalking and harassment in the mid-2000s. At the time, local law enforcement was unable to assist due to the type of harassment was not specified in state law.

Monday, May 07, 2018

In Kasich's favorite state—not Ohio—polling shows Trump clobbers the 'National Chaplain' 2-1

Kasich Gets Trumped Again In New Hampshire

Suffolk University published a poll about New Hampshire that Ohio media, especially the Columbus Dispatch, the legacy newspaper most likely to promote Ohio's lame-duck, term-limited Gov. John Kasich, didn't cover. 

Two years before Kasich's campaign 
banned me from attending his 2014
State of the State Address, I attended a 
year-end discourse in the Ohio Statehouse 
in 2012.
And for good reason: It showed President Donald Trump again clobbering America's "national chaplain" 68 percent to 23 percent

New Hampshire, the tiny libertarian leaning state where Kasich won only 16 percent of the Republican vote in 2016, is where he continues to travel to pump up overblown expectations that he'll try a third run at the presidency under the Republican banner in 2020. 

Other than coming in a distant second to Trump in the Granite State two years ago, Kasich's best showing, and only outright win, came in his home state of Ohio, where despite his victory, he failed to break above 50 percent.

Tuesday Turnout In Ohio

Tomorrow is primary day in Ohio, a one-time bellwether state that could make or break a candidate's goal to be elected President of the United States. For most of the last couple decades, Republicans have ruled the roost, helping to explain why the Buckeye State is losing political capital in Washington and hurting on so many fronts, from education to job creation, from laws harming women to voting rules that suppress voting to scandals galore that Ohio media have allowed to grow and fester without any serious investigative reporting to place blame where it lies.

Following the 2010 midterm elections, where majority Republican in the legislature colluded with GOP statewide office holders like Kasich and others to terribly gerrymander the state in away that chances for Democrats to win those same seats are often far out or reach, The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP), under different leadership from former Chairman Chris Redfern to his successor David Pepper, got their respective heads handed to them in local and statewide races in 2012, 2014 and 2016. 

If this year's midterm elections go to Republicans as they did in the last three election cycles, ODP can virtually pack their bags and turn out the lights, because voters will have essentially done that work for them.

With voter turnout expected to again be low, maybe as low as it was in 2014 when turn out at 37 percent was the lowest since World War II, Ohio's gerrymandered districts will deliver Republicans another win, albeit maybe a few seats less than its current veto -proof majorities in the State House and Senate.

In the Democratic race for governor, Richard Cordray is facing off against Dennis Kucinich, with two other candidates, Bill O'Neil and Joe Schiavoni, placing far, far behind the two front leaders, as polling shows will be the case.

In the Republican race for governor, where front runner Attorney General Mike DeWine appears to have a significant lead over Kasich's two-term Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, the issue is which is conservative and Trumpy enough to keep the state headed in retrograde motion, especially with respect to healthcare. Each has said, Taylor directly and DeWine more evasive, that Medicaid expansion undertaken by Kasich in an end-run around lawmakers who didn't want to accept it won't be continued, putting hundreds of thousands of Ohioans at risk of having no affordable health plan. 

Does Sherrod Brown Play Well With Other Democrats?

This question has yet to play out in real time. Brown let former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland twist in the wind in 2016. The two-term senator with seemly permanently mussed up hair and signature gravel voice didn't show up with Strickland on the stump. Even though Strickland saved Ohio from a far worse fate after the Great Recession decimated jobs by the hundreds of thousands, by cutting state spendinga favorite principle of Republicans over the years—Ohio media gave him no credit for turning the state around, but did give credit to Kasich for his rhetorical routine of claiming the state was "broke" when he took over. 

Kasich's narrative was that he replenished the emergency fund, created JobsOhio to bring
I speak with Sen. Sherrod
Brown in 2016 in Columbus
jobs back, and balanced the budget. To show how out of touch with reality one Ohio newspaper was, it said sending Strickland to the U.S. Senate would only contribute to gridlock, then later labeled Strickland a cynical candidate.

What concerns some Ohio Dems about Brown is that he'll keep his distance from Cordray, to avoid the link between Cordray and former President Barack Obama, who selected Cordray to run the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a federal agency Republicans didn't wanted created in the first place and wanted to shut down if they could. Brown definitely won't come close to Dennis Kucinich, either, since his populist base is full of Bernie Sanders' supporters, 10 percent of whom voted for Trump in 2016.

It's not well known because Ohio media has not reported on it, but Brown isn't doing fundraising with or for local county Democratic parties. Sources say all his fundraising is for his own campaign. 

The Democrat's so-called "coordinated campaign" isn't very visible at this point, with the exception of a few large counties. Some see ODP's Pepper more interested in pushing his works of political fiction than working to make the rumors of a national blue wave a reality in Ohio. 

Not seeing this kind of hard work helps explain why Trump is making campaign stops in Ohio, where he's endorsed Jim Renacci to go against Brown. At the same time, Brown is trying to not wake sleeping GOP/Trump dogs by saying he and Trump are on the same page when it comes to issues like tariffs on steel and aluminum. 

Brown knows that Ohio voters who voted for Trump, if they turnout this year like they did two years ago, would deliver another great disaster to Ohio Democrats including Sen. Brown, who was on Hillary Clinton's short list for her running mate. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kasich taps Tapper on CNN's 'State of the Union' like a sweet maple syrup tree

Duty bound to keep outgoing, lame-duck Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich's name front and center before he fades into the sunset, The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Buckeye State's CEO is warning that suburban women, who have "traditionally been voting Republican," are very uncomfortable with the harsh rhetoric on today's political front.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich looking his crusty
self in the Lincoln Room in the Ohio
Statehouse. His term ends later this year.
Offering nothing more than the conventional wisdom shared by most beltway pundits, that Democrats are more energized this year than Republicans, one of Ohio's best career politicians said what politicians say about respecting a free American press, despite  a Quinnipiac Poll poll showing more than 50 percent of Republicans don't trust the press and think, like President Trump believes and instructs them to believe, that media is the enemy of the people.

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union with it's super-friendly-to Kasich host Jake Tapper, Kasich said people from both parties came up to him last night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner to say they support him should he stop his favorite peek-a-book scam of keeping the idea that he'll run to challenge Trump in 2020 and declare his candidacy.

Tapper, who with his wife was also in attendance last night at a dinner where comedian Michelle Wolff was unanimously condemned for crossing the line of attacking political people on a personal basis, couldn't help himself when, at the conclusion of an interview about everything except the state of Kasich's Ohio, he lobbed another big softball to Kasich, a former TV pro from Fox News who often substituted for now disgraced Fox News "No Spin Zone" TV leader Bill O'Reilly. Kasich, grinning like a slugger who sees a slow pitch coming his way, drove it out of the CNN park.

Kasich, a politicians politician after nearly 40 years in public office whose public service extends from 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives to the Office of Governor, said the far-left and far-right have left open a middle ground that he purports to represent. He said that when a blue department story and a red department store no longer offer what people want, it opens the door to a third department store. Tapper got played like all other national TV political talk show hosts, giving Kasich another shot at the free-throw line to further pump up himself as a candidate who can fill the void.

It was classic Kasich, when he again said he has no idea what Democrats stand for today. For someone who's fought against nearly everything Democrats do and have stood for for decades—like taxing the rich more, universal healthcare for all, pro-choice policies, strengthening unions, supporting public schools and their teachers, expanding voting rights, and not balancing budgets on the back of those who can least afford to pay more, among a long-list of other Democratic-backed issues—it was stunning to again hear him say he doesn't know what they stand for.

At the same time, Ohio Democrats wrote a letter to Kasich telling him some of the things they do stand for, as reported by Kasich's adjunct PR department, The Columbus Dispatch. What Ohio's congressional Democrats told Kasich was to do more than he's doing on expanded Medicaid, an issue Democrats have given to Kasich without challenging him on its implementation. Waivers and work requirements, they told the governor, are bad for Buckeyes.

Appearing at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night is further proof that Kasich is networking on the tax-payer dollar to land himself another lucrative, talking-head gig on TV that will keep his name in play for 2020. It was another example of the gone governor being gone from his normal day-to-day duties back in Ohio, where both his Republican wannabe successors, one of them his Lt. Gov for two-terms (Mary Taylor) are running as fast as they can away from him.

It's worth mentioning for Tapper's benefit, that unlike what Kasich did back in 2010, Republicans Taylor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine have shown the press their tax returns. Kasich refused to do this, choosing instead to let media have a 30-minute gander at just one of his tax returns with further restrictions of no copying.

Kasich got another unchallenged shot from the 3-point line to tout his fake news that back in Ohio he's balanced budgets, created jobs, and produced surpluses. He and every other state governor is by law forced to balance budgets.

Tapper doesn't care about this, otherwise he might have asked the supply-side politico why lawmakers had to fill a billion dollar whole with cuts to other programs? His statement of creating one-half million jobs is better understood when the fact is brought to light that he's underperformed the national job creation average for 64 straight months, and that Ohio today has fewer jobs than it did in 1980?

Kasich bragging about a state surplus is tempered by the fact that he stole billions from public education and local government funding to do so. Many of these same local governments have had to make up for Kasich's executive branch theft by putting tax levies on the ballot to keep services levels the same. Kasich seems to have no memory of the billions of dollars he took away from public school system budgets to fund poorly performing for-profit charter schools, among them ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) that gave Kasich plenty of campaign cash and a chance to address an ECOT graduating class.

When media does the bidding of flimflam politicians like Kasich, who has mastered the craft of pretending he's not a politician who does very political things while denying he's doing them, they indeed deserve the low ranking the public places on them. Until and unless Jake Tapper confronts Kasich with his own record, and all the rhetoric that surrounds it, the big, high-paid talking heads only add to their reputation of being complicit with skilled politicos like Kasich when they should be deep-diving on a record that shows Kasich's very Republican ideology doesn't work in Ohio and won't work for the nation.

Kasich's duplicity gets even worse. "I'm still a Republican ... the Republican Party left me," he told Tapper about why he's on the outs with the White House and Democrats. His political bi-sexuality is stunning, begging the question of why the media turns every outlandish statement into its own article.

Gov. Kasich can be credible, first by stop saying he does know what Democrats stand for, then by acknowledging that his performance salesmanship is part of his stagecraft to find a job where he can pontificate (a cherished goal for all former Catholic choir boys) and spread his sweet sounding but false narrative of austerity politics, while still being considered a rising star as he approaches his seventh decade of life.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Is Ohio the home of the brazen or land of the failed?

The State of Ohio is in quite a state these days. Statehouse watchers can genuinely wonder whether it's the home of the brave and land of the free, or home of the brazen and land of the failed?

The Buckeye tree is indigenous to Ohio.
It's nut is poisonous and hard to crack,
much like some of its political leaders.
The leading big presidential battleground state that can make or break the fortunes of candidates seeking to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is caught on the horns of a dilemma of its own making.

A once purple state, Ohio is now ruby red in many ways. From control of statewide offices to the composition of the General Assembly, its leadership has devolved toward the worst public policy on taxes, women, voting rights, fair representation, income inequality, education and healthcare, just to name a few areas where it falls far short of best practices.

With moribund population growth and diminished political clout in Washington, the Buckeye State is stumbling forward to elect a governor this November to replace outbound John Kasich. Ohio's 69th governor is governor in name only, as he fills his remaining months with out-of-state events designed to keep his long hoped for fantasy of being elected President of the United States, a quest he's failed at spectacularly twice already, an example of zombie apocalypse come true.

Ohio media carries its fair share of guilt coddling Kasich over the last eight years. It has chosen to put down its investigative pen when it comes to Kasich's many scandals while inking many column inches following the former Fox News TV host's various performance-politician forays into national politics. The consequences of these Quixotic have been to make a once-great state less great.

For Kasich fans, his abandonment of governor's duties is all for higher goals, as his surly ego plays on the national stage in advance of 2020, when America will again be keel-hauled as President Trump defends himself and Democrats try again to connect with voters at the local level on kitchen-table issues like jobs, wages, healthcare and taxes.

Camp Kasich tells us about what Ohio's term-limited, lame-duck career politician does to fill his days. A three-fer trip to Texas, to commune with for Bush-era Secretary of State Jim Baker prior to speaking at the Baker Institute for Public Policy's lecture series, an appearance at the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and remarks delivered at the 2018 EarthX Global Gala event in Dallas, are among his recent sojourns as he auditions for National Chaplain.

Ignoring the fact that Ohio under his watch has lagged the national job creation average for 64 straight months, Kasich touts March as the second best month for new business filings in history and a state unemployment rate at its lowest point in 17 years. Not to be missed Kasich classics include well-worn fake news talking points like balancing the state budget, cutting government spending and taxes and diversifying Ohio’s economy. His showboat number, that out of context sounds fantastic when it isn't in context, is creating over a half million new jobs, when in reality Ohio has fewer jobs today than it did in 1980.

"Under Gov. Kasich's leadership, Ohio continues to set an example for other states and the nation that when we balance our budgets, lower taxes and remove the regulatory burdens, it leads to job creation," Camp Kasich says.

One of Ohio's Big Eight legacy newspapers sees a very different Ohio. Here's what the Toledo Blade sees and says.
"There is plenty to be angry about. Poverty and crime infest our central cities. Our great lake is perishing before our eyes. Many of the beautiful small towns of Ohio, and the gentle folkways that existed in them, have been obliterated by the so-called global economy. Our children are dying of heroin and fentanyl. And as all this unfolds, our governor, blinded by an idiotic dream of being president of the United States, has seemingly lost all interest in the people who are suffering in our state, or in governing — the job he is duty bound to perform."
The Blade passes judgment on Kasich without naming him, as it struggles to endorse two aging, it says boring candidates, who may be elected Ohio's next and 70th governor.
"Maybe the old shoe Mike DeWine and the plodding, rational Rich Cordray, both of them uninspired and uninspiring, win by a kind of default. Both will offer sobriety, calm, competence, and something else — full engagement. Half the secret of being a good governor is working at it. Not at the promotional part of it but the job itself."
Land of the free and home of the brave doesn't explain Ohio today. The nation's 17th state has seen far better days since it joined the union in 1803. Claiming eight leaders who moved into the Oval Office, Ohio, where people once moved to for a better, richer, fuller life, is rusty-belt fly-over country.

Growing western and southern states are the new frontiers for jobs, family and lifestyle.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ohio to decline even more after Chevy Cruze lays off 1,500 at Lordstown

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics and ODJFS released employment and unemployment data for Ohio on Friday. Even though the numbers look good in comparison to previous months' figures, the speed of job growth in Ohio remains well below the USA national average, Ohio's top jobs number analyst reports.

The Ohio Statehouse Rotunda
" Ohio extended its lengthy sub-par job growth streak to 64 consecutive months with Ohio's job growth below the USA national average," George Zeller wrote today. "The March 2017 year over year Ohio job growth rate is 1.17%, while the USA job growth rate during the same period is 1.55%," Zeller noted, adding, "This horrible sub-par job growth streak in Ohio has now been every month for five full years and four additional months."

Ohio To Decline Even More

Ohio's economic slide down hill over the decades is well documented. Ohio Gov. John Kasich lands lots of newspaper ink for going out of state to pursue a favorite fantasy that he'll be elected president in 2020.

Kasich got shellacked bigly by Donald Trump in 2016. Ohio's term-limited, lame-duck governor's name always escape mention when the state comes up short on the jobs front, as it has each month for more than five years. Kasich, a former Wall Street banker who worked for Lehman Brothers before it crashed, promised to "move the needle" on jobs if elected in 2010. He's has moved the needle, but mostly in the wrong direction.

Poor, Slow And Fewer Jobs Now Than In 1980.

As Zeller observes, during 2017 Ohio gained just 32,200 jobs, the weakest annual year for job growth in Ohio since the end of the "Great Recession."  Ohio's job trend, he says, is most closely associated with trends in Manufacturing and Government employment. "During March, Ohio gained 1,600 mainly high wage Durable Goods Manufacturing jobs. In contrast to most months during 2017, Ohio also gained 2,200 Government jobs, including 1,900 Local Government jobs, 200 State Government jobs, and 100 Federal Government jobs," he says.

Poor, slow and fewer jobs than in 1980 isn't what one Ohio Republican leader saw in today's number. Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) prefered to focus on the figure of 501,000 new private sector jobs created since 2011, as if that's an impressive number when it's not. Obhof ignores the fact that the Buckeye State today has fewer jobs than it did in 1980 and has yet to recover from the recessions of 2000 and 2007.

"We work diligently to not only create an environment of possibilities for Ohio's job creators but also to ensure Ohioans from all backgrounds are prepared to take advantage of those opportunities," Obhof said in a statement Friday.

"We've done this through creating a jobs-friendly business environment, developing a jobs-ready workforce and empowering Ohio's small businesses, the backbone of our economy," he said, adding, "While this is an important milestone that shows Ohio's policies are working, we have much more to do, and we will continue to build on this progress."

The John Glenn School of Public Affairs released a report recently on Ohio's decline called "Toward a New Ohio." Co-authors William Shkurti and Fran Stewart offered lots of history and perspective along with a dozen questions the 2018 class of governor hopefuls should have to answer if only Ohio media would ask them, instead of asking questions based on the daily ping-pong of social-media side issues that replace more substantive ones.

Cruze Lay Offs Will Also Lay Off Hundreds More In Supply Chain

When I asked Zeller to noodle on the consequences for Chevy Cruze's announcement that it will lay off 1,500 jobs at its Lordstown plant, he offered some key observations you won't find any other Ohio media reporting on, since their focus on these monthly statistics mostly focus on the unemployment rate, which offers little to no understanding on the numbers.

Zeller tells me that the Ohio job trend is most closely associated with trends in Manufacturing and Government employment. He then says that during March, Ohio gained 1,600 mainly high wage Durable Goods Manufacturing jobs as well as gaining 2,200 Government jobs, including 1,900 Local Government jobs, 200 State Government jobs, and 100 Federal Government jobs.

"The odds of continued growth in Durable Goods Manufacturing will decline in the short run future, as a result of the already announced mass layoffs at Lordstown," Zeller says. He adds, "In addition to those layoffs, there will be additional declines in the hundreds by contractors who provide parts for the Cruise."

It is likely, he says, that Durable Goods Manufacturing will turn negative during next month's April data, although that might extend to May, depending on the actual date of the mass layoffs in Trumbull and surrounding counties.

The other variable he mentions, is that it looks like a "decline in Federal Government is likely, given day to day chaos in Washington with the federal appropriations process." Moreover, cuts made by the Ohio legislature are also relevant.

"This month's and last month's gains in Local Government are locally financed, not financed by the state. There are limits to what the cities, counties, townships, and school districts can spend, given the large cuts that they took at the legislature," he warns.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Plain Dealer's Kucinich endorsement argues against it twice endorsing Kasich

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (PD), a once respected legacy newspaper that's fallen far short over the years as its readership has dwindled, endorsed Dennis John Kucinich Sunday as its preferred candidate in this year's Democratic primary.

Dome of the Ohio Statehouse
"Ohio's next governor must be a fighter -- a fighter for greater equity, justice and common sense; a fighter for the state's urban centers; and a fighter against the moribund thinking on education, diversity, economic opportunity and home-rule rights that's held Ohio back for too long," the editorial board of and The Plain Dealer wrote today.

In its endorsement of Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland who served numerous terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and twice ran for president, the PD used the same kind of spurious thinking it used when it first endorsed John Kasich for governor in 2010 and again when he ran for reelection in 2014.

The PD offered a list of what's wrong in Columbus without ever once mentioning that John Kasich, the candidate they fell for twice, has been Charles in Charge for the last eight years, running at times with and against the state's legislature controlled by veto-proof margins in both chambers by Republicans. 

Instead of choosing the steady hand of former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, on whose watch the Great Recession descended on Ohio like a plague of hungry locusts eating up hundreds of thousands of jobs in quick fashion in less than two years, the PD editorial board bought the razzle dazzle, flimflam of Kasich, who promised much but delivered little.

After nearly eight years of Kasich's political showmanship, that favors rich individuals and corporations over everyday laborers and small businesses, Ohio ranks 40th among states. The perennial battle ground state that's drifted far right of center over the decades, now trails the nation in job creation, made life for women harder and robbed cities and schools of billions in revenue that was redistributed to the already wealthy, among many other metrics.

Rich Cordray may be a smart guy but he lacks charisma. Dennis Kucinich has charisma but he lacks Cordray's connections to Clinton-Obama money. When the PD says " ... business as usual in Columbus has left too many Ohioans behind," they are now in opposition to their own reasoning on endorsing Kasich over both Strickland or Ed FitzGerald, the 2014 candidate Democrats ran against Kasich who the media slaughtered for all the wrong reasons while letting Kasich off one scandal after another Scott Free.

Roldo Bartimole, Ohio's leading independent reporter, recoiled at the PD's endorsement of Kucinich. Bartimole, who worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer back in the day when it was respected far more than it is today, thinks the paper has gone off the rails.

"The PD, I think, is just so far out of it that they don’t know what they’re doing," Bartimole wrote to me today. He stopped short of accusing the PD of being in league with the DeWine/Husted camp, but thinks the paper comes up short if it doesn't also inform its readers that Kucinichs progressive image has some serious defects, as he points out here and here. He and others think the PD would rather see Mike DeWine as the next governor than either Kucinich or Cordray.

"I think they’re for DeWine to win. Such bullshit," he says.

Let's not forget that the PD took down a disturbing video of Gov. Kasich acting the petulant child he is just weeks before the midterm election in 2014, when Kasich, FitzGerald and Anita Rios, the Green Party candidate, were together in the same room at an editorial interview session. Kasich knew that to be viable to run for president in 2016, he had to win a second term. Kasich's performance was such a train wreck that his aides bullied the PD into taking the video of the interview session down after it being on line for just a day or two. For many, that action cemented the paper's bias for Kasich, who hasn't stopped running for president even though he got clobbered in 2016.

When your so-called political friends turn on you, it's a bad sign of bad things to come. But that was as clear as pure water when a very Republican, very conservative blog, 3rd Rail Politics, butchered Kasich for abandoning his job as governor.

Cyndy Rees, author of "A Contract with the Caucus," said Ohio GOPers should "require Governor
John Kasich on Election Night in 2010
Kasich to actually do his job, or else pay back his salary and face removal proceedings." Rees writes what is in plain sight for all media not too blind or too invested in Kasich to see. "The state’s Republican Governor has checked out of Ohio for the express purpose of trashing the sitting Republican president and challenging him in 2020. And in a state where the President won by 8 points, the Republican General Assembly gives him a pass? From the moment Kasich boycotted the Republican convention in his home state, the legislature should have made his tenure a living hell. Instead, they privately grumble and hope things will get better under Mike DeWine. The ostensibly conservative Ohio House should be steamrolling this guy whose staff is already out the door anyway."

Who Democrats nominate for governor will have an impact, like it or not, on whether Ohio's senior senator in Washington wins a third term or goes home defeated if Trump Republicans turn out to install Brown's GOP challenger if Democratic turnout isn't up to snuff. Team Brown emailed today, saying, "A newly released poll says a single point is all that separates my opponent, Congressman Jim Renacci, and me. Needless to say, this isn’t very comforting."

If Kucinich leads the ticket, will Brown endorse him or campaign with him or run a campaign that divorces itself from him? It's hard to imagine Kucinich losing without Brown suffering repercussions, since all their names will be on the sample ballot. But like Kucinich, who has lined up on occasion with President Trump, Brown has done the same on steel and aluminum tariffs he sees protecting Ohio jobs.

A recent poll of Democratic candidates for governor show Cordray and Kucinich tied at 21 each. Voter turnout among Democrats, and whether independents or Republicans will vote in the Democratic primary are big factors that can swing the May 8th primary vote to either the consumer finance protector or the Fox News fighter who has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Friday, April 13, 2018

America's 'National Chaplain" preaches federal balanced budget amendment, then evaporates as House votes it down

When he first came to public office back in 1978, Ohio's term-limited, lame-duck governor offered up a resolution for a federal balanced budget amendment.

Donald Trump, see here campaigning in 
Columbus in 2016, signed two bills that
will add $2.7 trillion to the national debt 
over the next decade.
John Kasich has made it part of his performance politics mission to rail against red-ink spending in Washington throughout his 18 years in congress and after. Ohio's soon to be gone CEO voted for each and every one of President Ronald Reagan's budgets that ballooned the federal deficit, especially in military spending as the Great Communicator sought to grind Russia down by out spending them.

Kasich has made it part of his agenda over 40 years to blather on about how Washington should rein itself in on spending. At the same time, he's never turned down a dollar DC was handing out if those bucks furthered some aspect of his political agenda.

In Amazing Grace, the composer says, "I once was lost, but now am found. T'was blind but now I see." Kasich, who can hardly keep the Lord out of any comment he makes, is still lost and still can't see, when it comes to debts and deficit spending.

In Ohio, where he's cut income taxes several times based on his misunderstanding of economics, the state found itself nearly a billion dollars short of a balanced budget. So what did the GOP-controlled legislature do? Of course, it made cuts to other important programs to come into balance as state law requires. For reasons too numerous to cover now, Ohio ranks 40th among states, a measure of how poorly Kasich's budget razzle dazzle has worked over two terms.

In DC this week, the U.S. House of Representatives, with a large margin of like-minded Republicans who cry about deficits and debt but only add to it when they can with tax cut bills and massive military spending, failed to pass a federal balanced budget amendment.

As the Los Angeles Times put it, "As House Republicans prepare to vote this week on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget, it's hard to know what adjective to apply: Cynical? Ironic? Hypocritical? Or all of the above?"

The Golden State newspaper added this observation: "...Republicans have taken every one of those opportunities to make the deficit worse, whether by passing a wholly unwarranted and enormously expensive tax cut or demanding budget-busting increases in spending on defense and homeland security (increases that Democrats were more than happy to support, as long as their favorite domestic programs were similarly blessed)."

Back in Ohio, a state where Kasich spends increasingly less time governing because hes mounting another peek-a-boo campaign to run for president in 2020, his voice on one of his favorite topics—a federal balanced budget amendment—was a silent as a rural night in Appalachia. Instead of being the lead voice in pushing his party members to adopt the bill—which lost 233-184—Kasich disappeared from the effort.

As Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, put it according to USA Today, "Anyone supporting a balanced budget amendment should also have a plan to achieve a balanced budget and support efforts to implement such a plan; otherwise, it is not a serious proposal."

Kasich and others have no plan that doesn't include exempting military spending while simultaneously cutting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid drastically to make up for being blind on defense spending and tax cuts that don't create jobs of prosperity for anyone but one-per-centers.

The combination of debt expected to be added after President Trump signed a massive tax cut bill and an equally massive spending bill is projected to be $2.7 trillion more in debt over the coming decade, a figure the congressional budget analysts had not anticipated just a year ago. "It made sense for Washington to run large budget deficits in the wake of the deep recession in 2007-08. It makes no sense to run bigger ones now, after eight consecutive years of economic growth," the LA Times editorial board opined.

Kasich and other Republican governors who won office in 2010, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Scott in Florida, mocked then-President Obama for his stimulus spending bill, that was far less than many responsible economists of the day said was necessary to pull the nation out of the economic ditch it found itself in, when Lehman Brothers—the storied Wall Street investment bank Kasich worked for—imploded from derivatives and sub-par mortgaged backed securities.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, said on the House floor Wednesday according to USA Today, "This Balanced Budget Amendment is supposed to trick people into believing Republicans still care about fiscal responsibility."

The woman Republicans love to demonize, that helped guide important legislation like Dodd-Frank, the stimulus bill and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said of the GOP bill, "The balanced budget amendment is in no way balanced in terms of values and how we invest in our future." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "Now Republicans have the chutzpah to bring forth a balanced budget amendment." She added, the real goal of that measure was “to force devastating cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

Kasich voted for Ronald Reagan's Social Security fix, but then told people in his 100-plus town hall events in New Hampshire in 2016, that they would have to work longer and receive less when they retired, based on his mindset that austerity, not increasing the resources the federal government needs to do its job, is his preferred choice to make ends meet.

For these and many other reasons media are afraid to challenge Kasich on, he won't be president in 2020. He won't run as a third-party or independent candidate, since both are the kiss of death. He will find a handful of loyal donors who will keep his name and voice in the mix going forward after he leaves office later this year.

Sadly, the National Chaplain from Ohio is still lost because he still can't see.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Kasich loves buzz about media buzz on his peek-a-boo 2020 run for president

Ohio Gov. John Kasich rolls in the media buzz about him and the 2020 race for president like a pig loves rolling in warm mud. New Hampshire, it seems, is the real promised land for Ohio's term-limited, lame-duck governor these days. Not Ohio, as he likes to recount about his uncle telling him as a young boy traveling west from his home state of Pennsylvania.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich at Bureau of
Workers' Compensation campaign
event about returning funds to employers.
Ohio's 69th governor has been drinking liberally from the taxpayer trough since before the 2014 election, when a second-term win would guarantee he would mount a second campaign to win the White House. His first try in 2000 failed early on, after he left his 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. His second try came two years ago, when he failed spectacularly by loosing 49 state GOP contests. His lone victory, with less than 50 percent of the Republican vote, came in Ohio where he beat Donald Trump. Polling shows Kasich remains popular, but it also shows President Trump would handily beat him today in Ohio.

The State of Ohio pays Gov. Kasich $71.30 per hour. Estimates are out there that suggest John Kasich racked up over a million dollars over the course of his last presidential campaign. Kasich isn't a fan of public scrutiny of his administrations workings, as many requests for public records document. His administration refuses to show the bills Ohio Highway patrolman logged protecting his CEO-ship, when he spent month after month campaigning out of state for a job taxpayers didn't elect him to pursue when he won a second term during the lowest voter-turnout year since World War II. 

Kasich wrote another book about his last campaign run, which aside from its title, essentially tells Kasich's personal story again. His book and his campaign have become assets to him as he tries to keep his voice in the public arena, as media fawns over him as to whether he will or he won't make a third try at winning the hearts, minds and votes of Republican Party voters. As the quirky leader looks past his date of retirement from elected office, Kasich has the media right where he wants them: Following his every comment and speculating about his every move on whether he's all talk and no action for 2020 or whether he'll again enter the fray, this time to take on an incumbent GOP president who shellacked the one-time boy who wanted to become a priest but found politics had a more direct road to fame and fortune.

Republican candidates to succeed him are either distancing themselves from him, or in the case of his two-term Lt. Governor partner, Mary Taylor, trying to wriggle out of his endorsement of her. Democrats, meanwhile, sound like they'd vote for him based on their constant adulation of his so-called "Kasich expansion of Medicaid." From Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, running for a third term this year, to Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, Kasich enjoys them touting his work without ever once returning the compliment on any issue.

CNN appears to have signed on, like Columbus' hometown newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, to promoting Kasich for his next Quixotic run at the White House. "'Why doesn't he shut up and go away.' And these come from staunch Republican Trump people were sick of" me, Kasich told reporters, CNN reports. "So, that must tell me I'm doing something right."

Kasich loves being Daniel in the Lions Den, from afar, not so much to actually being in the den itself. The performance politician he is, even though he says he's sick of politics and politicians, Kasich is careful to pick and choose where he shows up. And showing up in the Lion's Den, where someone might drill down on him for his terrible record in Ohio that includes tax giveaways that mostly benefit the rich, signing gun bills that relax rules while signing anti-abortion bills that tighten rules, standing by as for-profit charter schools rip off the state for billions, being on the wrong side of gay marriage, and his poor performance on creating good-paying jobs for Ohioans still looking for one, isn't where you'll see him.

Where you will see him is on national TV shows where he's the reliable dancing bear to mouth anti-trump criticism and in the tiny Libertarian-oriented state of New Hampshire, scene of his best performance in the 2016 GOP race for president.

When he needs a helping hand from above, Kasich doesn't shy away from play the God card. CNN reports Kasich saying, "The Lord" could eventually tell him to "shut up," but it hasn't happened yet. It's sort of like, it's not just you hear voices. You get a sense of what you're supposed to do. Keep doing what I'm doing," is how he describes his short term plan. He continued, Even though there are times when I can be severely criticized, it's okay, it's part of it. If you can't take a punch, get out of the business, you know?"

Kasich has Ohio in his rear view mirror. His comment about being out of state so much is that Ohio is actually easy to run from afar. Had Kasich fessed up about whether he would or would not run for president when he ran for re-election in 2014, that would have been a demonstration of honesty few have seen over the years. At the time, media seemed amused by the fact that Kasich had no formal re-election campaign event, adding it his well-known penchant to go rogue as a modern-day Pecks Bad Boy.

Soon to be out of office, and looking for a new perch where he can be his bombastic self, John Kasich doesn't want to go back to Wall Street, where he worked for Lehman Brothers before it failed and the American economy melted down. Kasich is looking for his next TV gig, like the one he had at Fox News, where he often substituted for Bill O'Reilly and hosted a show about the heartland.

John Kasich is independently wealthy, so he can afford to stay in the media spotlight if media wants him in it. He has a handful of contributors who can pay for his voice to stay in the mix. He'll continue to make appearances to talk about bringing people together, when examples of that back in Ohio are few and far between.

Kasich won't run as an independent candidate in 2020, a move that guarantees he'll become another foot-note on the list of losers. He won't lead a third party in a couple years, either, since he's Republican from his head to his toe, even though one of his favorite claims is he "has the right" to refashion the GOP in his image. Trump controls the party, and the party is behind Trump, not Kasich.

Media buzz will last as long as media toys with him like a cat plays with a mouse. In most lion's dens outside the Bible, the lions thank God for delivering them their next meal.

Monday, April 02, 2018

'Ohio in decline' report reveals Gov. Kasich's budget 'razzle dazzle' as unproductive

It was par for the course for the politically compromised Columbus Dispatch to run another supportive headline about Ohio Gov. John Kasich's upcoming trip to New Hampshire.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich at a bill signing
ceremony in the Ohio Statehouse
Kasich's next out of state trip is designed to create more sound and fury about whether the term-limited, lame-duck Buckeye CEO will mount a third try in his long political life to win the White House during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

"Kasich's New Hampshire trip will create buzz" ran in the Sunday edition of Ohio's so-called "Greatest Home Newspaper," priming the pump in an otherwise dry well.
"John Kasich’s return to New Hampshire this week is likely to get widespread media coverage as a significant milestone toward what many view as his inevitable 2020 presidential campaign," the legacy Columbus newspaper wrote about a candidate and personality it has promoted for going on 40 years. 
In the same Sunday edition, though, in an article titled "Report documents Ohio’s job slide, presses candidates for solutions," about Ohio's economic slide down hill over the decades, Kasich's name isn't mentioned once, even though the former Wall Street banker who worked for Lehman Brothers before it crashed, setting the "Great Recession" in motion, ran promising to be a jobs governor who would "move the needle."

The only important needles Kasich has moved so far have moved in the wrong direction. Ohio's 69th governor has overseen lagging job growth that's under-performed the national job creation average for 63 straight months. He's sequestered a billion or more from local governments and schools, which have had to resort to tax hikes to keep services from deteriorating further. The one-time boy from McKees Rocks, PA, who wanted to become a Catholic priest, has seen the quality of Buckeye schools plummet from fifth to 22nd in the nation. And the list can go on and on, from creating hurdles on women's health to unproductive tax cuts for the wealthy, to more sinister episodes including the husband of his chief of staff who falsified data in a federal education grant and a dirty-tricks campaign to derail a potential challenger in 2014, Kasich and his kitchen cabinet have done some pretty awful things.

For Ohio voters, unfortunately, media who follow his every bombastic move or comment have fallen short of their vaunted duties and responsibilities as the Fourth Estate to delve into any meaninful investigative reporting on his many shadowy scandals.

This is not the kind of news Kasich will tout in New Hampshire about why he should duplicate his lackluster record in Columbus in Washington, as the rest of the nation plowed forward from policies Kasich believes in that always favor the private sector at the expense of the public sector.

Meanwhile, the report from The John Glenn School of Public Affairs on Ohio's decline, "Toward a New Ohio," released last week and co-authored by William Shkurti and Fran Stewart, offers lots of history and perspective along with a dozen questions the 2018 class of governor hopefuls should have to answer, if only Ohio media would ask them, instead of the daily volley about inter-party and internecine political dustups that are part of every campaign season, which usually have little if anything to do with the real issues of the day, that voters should use to make informed, not emotional, decisions about which candidate can move them forward instead of treading water or going in retrograde motion.

Some members of Ohio media are realizing, maybe eight years too late, that the razzle dazzle Kasich promised in 2010 was just so much snake oil that didn't cure the patient and may have made matters worse. One example of the political enlightenment some commentators now have, based on Kasich's nearly eight years in office, comes courtesy of Brent Larkin, a former Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial page writer, who takes Kasich to the woodshed on his duplicitous record on guns and gun legislation.
Larkin writes a truism in his opening sentence: "No one on the planet has a higher opinion of Ohio Gov. John Kasich than Ohio Gov. John Kasich." Larkin follows that up with another reality many Ohio media reporters, and all big-monied national reporters, are slow in reporting, that "some of the stuff that tumbles from this governor's mouth suggests he's become borderline delusional."
For perspective, John Kasich was one of 16 other Republicans who fought and lost the war to topple Donald Trump in 2016. Kasich's best showing came in New Hampshire, a small libertarian leaning state where his off-beat performance and personality can hit its target audience. But even in this tiny state, with only two congressional district, where Kasich returns soon to evoke memories of his distant, second-place loss to Trump, he'll find his fading star won't guide many wise men to his next manger scene. Kasich knew that if he stayed in the presidential primary race in 2016 media would be forced to follow his trajectory by portraying his fool's errand as the anti-Trump dancing bear as bucking his party. When it was all over, the former 18-year congressman from a reliably Republican district near Columbus only earned one Electoral College vote, just 269 shy of winning the nomination.

Blaming his poor performance two years ago on poor name id and poor fundraising, John Kasich thinks that will all change after he steps down from state CEO, when he'll wander in the wilderness for another three years, hoping to find a media perch to keep his voice in the mix. Unwanted and unliked back home, his poor track record from 2000 (his first try to run for president) and in 2016 won't open the doors big donors control.

Who will give him scores of millions of dollars to mount a third campaign in a Republican party firmly in the grasp of Trump? If Ohio's petulant and easily-angered leader decides the GOP isn't his vehicle going forward, running as a third-party candidate will only underscore the truthiness of Larkin's diagnosis of being delusional.

Based on the success of third-party candidates over thee last century, Kasich will become another biggest loser should he decide to abandon his life-long Republican Party. He may get his fair share of publicity, courtesy of adjunct PR departments like the Columbus Dispatch and national news crews ignorant of his work on the ground in swing-state Ohio. But he'll have little funding from the likes of the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson when the rubber meets the 2020 road. As it is, those who believe in John Kasich enough to give him a few bucks to keep his media boat afloat come from Ohio. 

Kasich's now-documented flip flops, false promises and sever under-performance on a host of key issues Shkurti and Stewart focus on in their white paper on Ohio's decline will be both his calling card and his obituary.