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 cleveland.com 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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

CNN, Columbus Dispatch tag team promote Kasich for 2020 POTUS run

It takes little research to realize that the Columbus Dispatch, out of all Ohio's Big Eight legacy newspaper, is the most likely to keep Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 2020 presidential run afloat.

A long time public relations machine for the now outbound, lame-duck governor, the very Republican newspaper devotes lots of column inches to what Kasich says on any given day. Whether he's "popping off," as he said he did when he called recent job numbers showing how bad the state is doing "fake news," or decrying politics and political parties, Ohio's so-called "Greatest Home Newspaper," follows his ever utterance, as it has since he first entered politics back in 1978.

Tag Team

Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the Ohio
Statehouse during his first term.
Now that Kasich won't be state CEO anymore in just nine short months, the role of cheer leading Kasich on seems to have fallen to "most trusted name in news," CNN. Kasich was one of 16 Republicans who tried and failed to topple 2016's non-traditional candidate, Donald Trump, but he seems to be the only big presidential loser CNN regularly offers Sunday cameo spots to, to ask him to weigh-in on domestic or foreign issues that have little if anything to do with Ohio, as they detour around his less than impressive record in office since 2010.

Basking in the limelight media afforded him, Kasich has got his TV rap down. A bare-knuckles politico his entire life, Kasich talks like he's no longer a politician, saying he's sick of politics, as if to buddy up with many in America who share the same thought. A life-long Republican who has walked the GOP pathway diligently for decades on lower taxes, less debt, fighting unions, standing against abortion and gay marriage while doing more to ease regulations than button them up, Kasich has one issue he owns, namely, expanding Medicaid in Ohio over the objections of the state's alt-right legislature that wanted to let low-income people in Ohio faced with health problems fend for themselves, to avoid the state's share of funding the federal/state health program from consuming a larger percentage of the two-year budget.

Democrats are complicit in giving Kasich the high-ground on the expansion, always referring to it now as "Kasich's expansion of Medicaid." These same Democrats, from the state party and its officials to Democrats running for various statewide offices or the legislature, seem unable to tie Kasich to busting public unions back in 2011. In his first year as governor, Ohio's 69th governor led the charge to enact SB 5 as him and his team threw themselves and a ton of resources into fending off a statewide referendum on the bill that broke 2-1 against the former Fox News channel TV host. Yet Kasich's name is never associated with SB 5, but he owns the admiration of Democrats when it comes to expanding Medicaid, a program he probably would have voted against had he been in congress in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson got it passed because it created "dependency" on government, and he's not for that.

On a recent edition of CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday talk show, Kasich came on following a syrupy video endorsement by former Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bodybuilder and adulterer wants Kasich to mount a third run for the White House by challenging Trump in 2020, should the New York real estate mogul and reality TV star still be president. Always wondering what the Lord has in store for him, Kasich man-handled show host Brianna Keilar like a cat plays with a mouse. Keiler thought the tough question to ask was if performance politician, who's honed his craft of bombastic commentary, intends to try to unseat Trump in the 2020 primary?

Headed for pasture, he risks being buried in the political graveyard once he leaves his perch as Ohio governor. Kasich, who has little interest in being governor these days, opined on Trump taking on new advisers, especially John Bolton. Keilar had no clue how poorly Ohio has performed under Kasich's control, where state schools fell from fifth to twenty-second in the nation, where tax cuts have only enriched the already wealthy leaving the state's median wage far below the national average, and where job creation has lagged the nation so much that Ohio today has fewer jobs than it did in 1980.

And so it is remembered, even though CNN and other media outlets have memory loss, John Kasich lost 49 state contests and only earned one Electoral College vote. He was the last candidate to bow out, but voters from the earliest states on were not enamored of Kasich as vote totals showed. Kasich stayed in the race because he knew that was the smart and political thing to do, even though his chances were less than nil to catch fire.

Kasich Lobbies To Guest Host SNL

3rd Rail Ohio, a right-of-center blog whose tag line says, "We touch what they won't," offered a stunningly funny story about Kasich secretly lobbying Saturday Night Live! executive producer Lorne Michaels to guest host the show. Kasich has claimed his low name ID, and lack of funds to boost his familiarity, was the reason he didn't do well in 2016. 3rd rail counters, saying he's unlikeable and has a mediocre record.

"While Kasich has been a fixture on the political shows, he is also trying to cross over into the pop culture scene, to 'be cool' and connect with millennials and that segment of the electorate that doesn’t watch Morning Joe and his girlfriend," wrote Cyndy Rees. "The results have thus far been, shall we say, mixed. But can you imagine Governor Kasich and his awkward Dad-jokes in an SNL monologue? Neither can we.  And, we’re guessing, neither can Lorne."

A new poll by Baldwin Wallace in Ohio shows Trump would smash kasich by 11 points if an election were held today. CNN and other reporters call him a "moderate" governor, based solely on his decision to expand Medicaid, a decision he made that differs greatly from why Democrats wanted it.

For Kasich, the allure of $2.5 billion coming to the state was too much to pass up, and since the state had no obligation to kick in a ten-percent share until he was out of office, the decision was even easier. For those that follow since boring budgetary items like Medicaid costs, Kasich used some of those federal tax dollars to fund more tax cuts, by shedding programs the state had funding out of general revenue and letting Medicaid pick up the tab. It was a win-win for him: he got lots of money and Democrats, not Republicans, applauded him, making him their hero.

SOA would love to hear from anyone who can show Kasich spending more than three words to compliment any Democrat like Dems do for him. Kasich's innate inability to speak of anyone other than himself is a good reason why he's not vice presidential timbre. Can anyone imagine Kasich playing the adoring role to his superior like the role Mike Pence plays with Donald Trump? Are you kidding?

Dems Pursue Hands-Off On Kasich Policy

Insiders at the Ohio Democratic Party tell SOA that state party leaders don't pound on Kasich because he's not on the ballot and his approval is above 50 percent. SOA would argue that Ted Strickland isn't on the ballot this year either, but that's not stopping Republicans from bashing him and his record on jobs, when "The Great Recession" took down Ohio like it did virtually every other state. And maybe, just maybe, Kasich is as popular as he is precisely because ODP and Democratic candidates have taken a hands-off approach to him.

Democrats have made Kasich their hero on Medicaid expansion, an awkward set of circumstances he'll point to as another exception to his rule of being a locked-in GOPer on virtually all other issues. Democrats seem to have no appetite to go after him. Were they to grow a backbone on it, Kasich-friendly media might find it hard not to cover their criticism, which would be valid, based on his very observable record.

The governor who some say is virtually stealing from the state, now that he's outbound, mostly to venues outside the state, is auditioning well as the "gone governor."

Friday, March 23, 2018

Report: Ohio still has fewer jobs than it had in 1980 as Kasich extends sub-par job growth to 63 straight months

The Dayton Daily News reported Friday that AES Ohio Generation plans to lay off approximately 370 workers in Aberdeen and Manchester at two power plants. Once known as Dayton Power & Light, the news of jobs cuts isn't all that unusual.

The power plant job loss became public on the same day that job growth numbers show Ohio under Gov. John R. Kasich has extended his sub-par growth streak, relative to the national job creation average, to 63 consecutive months.

Kasich Can't Get The Jobs Done

John Kasich on Election Night 2010
promised to "move the needle" on jobs.
Ohio's preeminent jobs number cruncher, George Zeller of Cleveland, reported a startling finding on Buckeye State jobs. Revisions to 2017 data "find that Ohio's job growth during 2017 was precisely zero ... Thus, 2017 resulted in no recovery at all in Ohio, the only such year since the end of the "Great Recession," Zeller told Spinelli On assignment today via email.

Included in today's dreary news on jobs, Zeller notes that the year over year job growth rate (not seasonally adjusted) in Ohio fell from 0.52 percent in January to 0.03 percent or almost zero in February. Zeller offers some perspective, saying that the year over year USA job growth rate (also not seasonally adjusted) rose from 0.45 percent in January to 0.57 percent in February.

"Thus, Ohio's job growth rate of 0.03% in February is well below the 1.57% USA job growth rate in February," he concludes, adding, "February 2018 is the 63rd consecutive month when Ohio's job growth rate has been below the USA national average. This lengthy sub-par job growth streak now extends to five full years and three additional months. This is not a one month fluke, since the below average job growth has been continuous for every month during more than the last five years.

Stunningly, Ohio still has fewer jobs than it had in 1980.

Gov. Kasich, who spends more time out of state than in, as he courts media for more attention to his fabled run for president in 2020, is planning a celebration when the state hits the half-million jobs mark. Kasich has no appreciation for how's he's really doing, choosing instead to fixate on a number, that while it sounds impressive, is really underwhelming, especially for a candidate who promised to be a jobs governor when elected in 2010.

Population Problems

Adding to Ohio's jobs problem is its chronic stagnant population problem. New estimates can be read to suggest that Ohio might be stabilizing population loss with growth, but barely so. Ohio had the largest net migration and smallest domestic migration loss in more than seven years, one report showed, noting more than 36,055 people came to the state than left from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017.

The numbers are very small and likely won't prevent the state from losing another congressional district or two when the 2020 census is finished, and lawmakers redraw legislative boundaries to reflect population gain or loss. Ohio once had 25 Electoral College votes. That number is down to 18 currently, and could go lower at 2020, further reducing its political clout in Washington, which in turns means reducing its take of federal tax dollars on a wide variety of programs.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Can Sherrod shed Dem candidate worries with Trump approval high in Ohio?

In a new Axios poll called "Big warning signs for Senate Democrats," the race for U.S. Senator in Ohio between two-term incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and his likely challenger Republican Congressman Jim Renacci of Wadsworth is highlighted.

Banner at Ohio Democratic Party in
2012 when Bill Clinton delivered the key
note address. Hillary Clinton lost Ohio to
Donald Trump in 2016 by 447,000 votes
For Sen. Brown, a liberal, progressive Democrat whose name is very familiar to Ohioans after spending 40 years being elected to a state or federal office, the report by Axios that he's at a 50-percent approval rating and leads Renacci by five points is something to worry about, especially when Republican forces geared up to take him down are coming out in force.

In recent email solicitations, Brown's campaign sounds the alarm that the election this November will be a close one, despite Brown's long tenure in office in his home state.
"We don’t have any room to play games. Once the RNC starts smearing Sherrod -- special interest groups will write seven-figure checks like it’s nothing," a recent email warned. "If you’re feeling the Sunday scaries already, don’t worry. You’re not alone. A new poll came out showing only five points separating Sherrod and Rep. Renacci. Now the RNC has the green light to spend money helping Rep. Renacci win."
Sometimes called the candidate Republicans dislike the least, Brown will have to contend with a mountain of money to soil him—as happened to once-popular former Democrat governor Ted Strickland in his race against Rob Portman— and his time in office.

The senator whose ruffled hair and gravely voice are his trademark will also have to contend with a small army of Republicans coming to states like Ohio, where electing Republican senators to maintain control of the Senate in Washington is first priority.

The RNC is preparing to dispatch a huge ground operation to beat back the threat of a “blue wave” this November, NBC reports. “The RNC will add an additional 170 permanent staffers to its field program by the end of March, more than doubling the number already in the field to over 300," the peacock network said, adding, "And the party expects to add 200 more before before the start of the summer.”

Can the Democratic National Committee under Tom Perez or the Ohio Democratic Party under David Pepper match those numbers for Brown, or for any of the other statewide candidates running for secretary of state or auditor or treasurer or attorney general?

In the Axios poll, approval for Trump in Ohio, where the New York billionaire clobbered Hillary Clinton in 2016 by almost a half-million votes, is at 54 percent. In another poll by Marist, which touts itself the "home of America’s leading independent college public opinion poll," President Trump’s national approval rating is at 42 percent, his highest approval rating since taking office.

In 2012, Brown beat his then-Republican candidate Josh Mandel by about six points, a margin that stayed the same from the beginning of the year through Election Day even though Mandel's campaign was aided by $40 million or more in anti-Brown campaign spending. Jim Renacci, who already has the support of Trump himself even though the Ohio Republican Party has not outright endorsed him as it has the ticket for governor of Mike DeWine-Jon Husted, is independently wealthy and can expect even more help as outside campaign cash to beat down Brown comes pouring in.

Portrayed as an economic populist along the lines of Trump, Sherrod Brown cheers Trump raising tariffs on steel, a sharp contrast to other Democrats who say it could easily lead to a trade war and job loss across the nation. Sometimes called the "liberal lion of the senate," a moniker held by the late great Teddy Kennedy of Massachusetts, Brown knows Ohio's working class well and can defend his support of some of Trump's agenda even though the two are fields apart on nearly all other issues.

As Ohio continues to lag in job creation under term-limited, lame duck governor John Kasich, Brown is the working man's working senator. He knows his agenda well and how well it sells in parts of the Buckeye State that are wondering what their future holds, following years of GOP austerity policies that have robbed them of local government funds, which in turn have forced them to raise their own taxes to keep local services running.

Trained in political combat from his early days as an Ohio House Member, through his two terms as secretary of state, and his tenure in DC representing his congressional district in northeast Ohio, Sherrod Brown will use his talent and skills to fend off the many staffers and tens of millions of dollars that will be lined up against him.

It's no small consideration, therefore, to think that since Ohio is so skewed for Republicans, mostly because of gerrymandered districts Gov. Kasich signed into law in 2011, the continued popularity of Trump in the biggest swing state of them all offers Brown and his team lots of reasons to worry.

And like it or not, Brown's name will be on the Democratic slate of candidates. If Republicans turn out in this year's midterm elections with half of their turnout two years ago, Brown will need by necessity to separate himself as best he can from his fellow Democrats whose chances of winning are slim at best, to avoid going down with the ship.

If Democrats don't turnout in so-called "Blue Wave" numbers, that portend a surge of voters going to the polls in November as they have in Virginia or Florida, will Brown drown by that association? Can he build a life raft of his own to keep him afloat as one or more of his Democratic ticketmates go under if Democrats fail to turn out in off-election years as history shows is the case?

Friday, March 09, 2018

Media's concern about no GOP debates this year a curious contrast to Kasich's debate avoidance in 2014

In the nicest, kindest, most tepid way possible, Ohio's mostly go-along mainstream media panned Gov. Kasich's eighth and final State of the State address, calling it a class on philosophy and the "meaning of life."

Gov. John Kasich signs a state budget
Had the state's statehouse reporter crew been honest with their reader- and viewerships, what they should have said but didn't was that the National Chaplain's nearly hour-long sermon at Otterbein University on Tuesday—draped in faux religiosity and sanctimonious platitudes about values and living larger lives—was a premeditated avoidance of the facts of pathetic policies that have not advanced Ohio as promised.
One reporter put it this way: "Kasich’s final State of the State address was overly philosophic even by his standards," adding the governor didn't mention "tax cuts, privatization of prisons, education reforms, abortion restrictions, funding cuts to local governments and outsourcing economic development to a private nonprofit."
Every courtesy has been extended to coddle Kasich for a sermon that left everyone flat, disappointed and confused. Wondering where the beef was, given Kasich's unrelenting campaign to be the next President of the United States when presidential elections roll around again in just 31 months and his call to bring people together, is a legitimate question to ask of a politician who seems to want to follow in the footsteps of a preacher like Billy Graham instead of president like Franklin Delano Roosevelt who fought for Social Security and other government-backed programs to put food on the table and a roof over that table.

So what does Kasich's boring, uninformative, politically motivated ho-hum speech have to do with the race for governor this year between Republicans Mike DeWine, state attorney general, and Mary Taylor, Kasich's Lt. Gov since 2010? Actually, a lot, since both candidates rallied behind Kasich for governor and for president.

When you endorse someone, you endorse their record. That record, going back to his first days as a performance politician in 1978 and then through his 18 years representing Westerville in Congress, shows Kasich to be the establishment Republican insider he says he is. His core values over the years are always directed to benefit corporations over workers, private business over government, charter schools over public schools and healthcare as a privilege instead of a right, to name just a few issues where his values conflict with the values of common people.

How times flies and media memories fade, now that Taylor, seeing a loss to DeWine rushing at her, is crying about DeWine avoiding debating her. It wasn't that long ago, just four years ago to be exact, when first-term governor Kasich not only refused to debate Ed FitzGerald, the nominee of the Democratic Party, but refused to even mention his name. Reporters portrayed that demonstration of pique and perverted persona as a feature of Kasich's that showed how disciplined his partisanship could be when he's in campaign mode. It's curious, too, that media decrying the lack of debates then between Kasich and FitzGerald are now upset that the GOP primary contest probably won't have even one debate between DeWine and Taylor.



And if that debate should somehow happen, both candidates, but especially Taylor, will have to defend Kasich's record. And should any moderator or reporter, not ignorant of Kasich's less than stellar accomplishments, pins each candidate against their own previous support for Kasich, that would be good for all taxpayers to know.

Taylor's campaign theme is portray herself as more socially and fiscally conservative than DeWine, who she's tagged as a career politician with liberal leanings. Meanwhile, Democrats have long confused the reasons why Kasich defends the expansion of Medicaid with why they like it. They've continually complimented Ohio's 69th CEO for accepting $2.5 billion dollars through Obamacare, when he's never once said a kind word about them. Kasich is so full of himself that he's told national audiences he has "no clue" what Democrats stand for. Really, how out of touch with reality do you have to be to say something like that and get away with it?

Republicans in Ohio and nationally have their long knives out for the Great Reformer for doing an administrative end-run around the GOP-led legislature's expressed desire to shut down expanded Medicaid, a promise Taylor says she'll keep if elected.

Poor Mary Taylor is cursed with Kasich's endorsement. It's a safe bet that GOP candidates this year won't be out hustling John Kasich for his endorsement in light of his pathetic record in Ohio and on the national stage, where despite being the last man standing against Donald Trump in 2016, he could only win one state and one Electoral College vote. But because he's a reliable anti-Trump dancing bear, national TV talk show hosts and reporters love to have him do cameo appearances to portray his now adopted persona as the quirky anti-Trumpster who enjoys being out of step with his party when being out of step advances his personal ambitions.
His personal ambitions were made all to clear to anyone listening or watching, when at the end of his speech he said this: "We can't even see the finish line, it's so far in the future. And to my friends, of course, my beloved family, and the team, together we have a world to change."
For the hard of learning reporters out there, "we have a world to change" is John Kasich the crowd that he won't go quietly in his post-governor night.

When debates do occur between Republican and Democratic primary winners this year, the legacy of John Kasich should be a central part of those debates. The Lord knows that if John Kasich said he's done his best, it's light years away from what he could have done had his values been to help the down and out, those "living in the shadows," and Bob and Betty Buckeye who still look for jobs that pay a livable wage, affordable healthcare coverage, and a future that will employ their children so they don't have to go to real growth states to find a good job.

Just so this important point isn't lost, news on job statistics released Friday show that January is the 62nd consecutive month when Ohio's job growth rate has been below the USA national average, a period of time extended to five full years and two additional months.

Kasich ducked debates in 2014, and few media voices clamored about his petulant obstinacy to defending his record then. Let's hope debates in 2018 make up for what was lacking four years ago, when Kasich promised voters "they hadn't seen anything yet," a campaign commercial that foretold the truth better than anyone imagined.

For a change, Ohioans would like to see something.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

OpEdiTude: Predictions and thoughts on John Kasich's last political performance SOTS show

Ohio media is engaged in another round of meaningless mental masturbation about Gov. John Kasich's last State of the State (SOTS) address. Will it be a look back on his less than stellar two terms as state CEO or will it be another forward-looking infomercial about his personal ambitions for life after governor, including whether he'll mount a third Quixotic run for the White House?

John Michael Spinelli, Ohio's leading
independent reporter, in the White House
press room. Will he run for POTUS in 2020?
There are better and more fun questions to ask, since answers to the usual questions statehouse media bath in are easily found by just reviewing his previous off-road, made-for-TV performances.

Will the state flag he uses as a backdrop to his SOTS be as big as before or bigger? How many times will he invoke the name of The Lord in his address, since it's his go-to rhetorical device to utter political gibberish and get a way with it.

Will he use human props, as he did before when he brought on stage women who had been held hostage in Cleveland for ten years and engaged in a group hug with them, to distract from his mediocre at best and disastrous at worst public policies? How many times will he bring his wife and his twin daughters into his talk, since he's used them before to evade what he thinks on pointed questions, like whether he would vote for Donald Trump for president?

How much time will he devote to his well-worn narrative of his mail-man dad and faithful mom, both Democrats and pubic employees? Or his famous and favorite story of pressuring OSU's president of the day to deliver a letter to then-President Richard Nixon, who invited the young college student to the White House for a five-minute talk that turned into a 20-minute meet up with the president who engaged in corrupt activities and then avoided impeachment by resigning at the behest of right-wing senators, including Arizona's Barry Goldwater?

If Kasich falls back on his hyperbolic tale that Ohio was broke when he became governor, media worth their salt, who can review archived articles, should pin the tale on the liar. John Kasich inherited a recovering economy from a Democratic governor who indeed lost hundreds of thousands of jobs when Republicans Kasich-endorsed, like President George W. Bush and his Republican congress, teed up the Great Recession and the havoc it wrought across the nation. When Wall Street melted down as subprime mortgages and credit-default swaps tore people from jobs in all states, where was Kasich's voice then?. The recovery Kasich benefited from enabled him to hike the state budget by billions, a curious result for a broken state. For someone who has built a legacy on reduced government spending and whining about government debt, boosting the budget as he did needs more than a little explaining.

Las Vegas or Columbus odds makers would have safe bets that Kasich won't discuss the 20 bills he's signed that make women accessing their constitutional health rights an obstacle race. He won't talk about his role in enabling Ohio's terrible gerrymandering plan.

He won't talk about all the gun laws he's signed that have weakened state gun laws. He won't talk about his partnership with state leaders like Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine to thwart voting laws. He won't talk about how making eligible Medicaid recipients pay for some of their care, by working hours at jobs he's failed to create in quantity and quality, will make their lives better.

He likely won't talk about how far Ohio schools under his watch have fallen. He won't talk about how his closest political buddies successfully derailed a potential challenger in 2014 by engaging in Donald Segretti style dirty tricks, done with running for president in 2016 in mind. He really won't talk about how the husband of his chief of staff got hired at the Ohio Department of Education, where he then engaged in state and federal law breaking by falsifying data in an application to federal school authorities.

Now that the Trump administration is unraveling before the nation's eyes almost daily, it seems like a missed opportunity for Kasich. But for his antagonist posture on Trump, the National Chaplain might have already landed himself a cabinet official post or be in line to become the next big player in Trump's orbit as yet more Trump aides resign or exit following indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller.

All he wants, he says, is for his voice to stay in the mix after he exits his governorship. His shameless begging for donations to keep his voice alive, while still drawing a tax-payer paid salary and benefiting from all the tax-payer funded benefits of his office, borders on being beyond the pale. If anything, his record should be a classroom example for why voters should demand guarantees from future leaders that they won't use the office they're running for to run for a higher office voters didn't elect them to run for.

Having shown his cards on TV where he has essentially begged a couple of national political pundits to hire him so he can resume the talking-head media role he enjoyed at Fox News before being elected governor of Ohio in 2010, his last SOTS will be in form and substance as predictable as Ohio's right-wing legislature ignoring his major suggestions or overriding his next veto of a bill they will pass with veto-proof majorities.

For big-money TV host like Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos, Nicolle Wallace, Chuck Todd, and any other national political pundits who choose to ignore his disastrous record in Ohio because he keeps playing them for fools by dancing around their silly question of whether he'll run for president again, be a real journalist for a change. Don't swallow, hook, line and sinker, the lame-duck governor's flim flam. He has no aces to play at home or nationally, so why pretend he's got a winning hand that will do any better in 2020 than it did in 2016?

And if you just repeat what he says like its breaking news, here's some new breaking news: I'm keeping all my options are on the table for 2020, too. Who knows, maybe Ohio's leading independent reporter will mount his first campaign for POTUS.

Stranger things have happened. Just ask Donald Trump.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Kasich limits gun law tweaks to what Ohio's right-wing legislature might approve

After getting clobbered running for president in 2016, soon-to-be former Ohio Gov. John Kasich has built a reputation with national media on his claim that he has the right stuff to bring people together on one big issue after another.

Gov. John Kasich seated next to then
Senate President Tom Niehaus, one of the
eight members of his gun policy group.
Kasich has tried and failed on too many occasions to demonstrate his so-called healing powers when it comes to thorny issues that divide the nation, and its bellwether swing-state Ohio. His most recent fizzle comes with a weak brew of gun law tweaks he said might have any chance of passing the Buckeye State's very right-wing, pro-gun legislature.

By limiting his leadership to what he thinks Ohio's GOP-dominated legislature might think of approving, if they think that any of the ideas his nearly all-Republican sounding group came up with, he's shown again that when the going gets tough, the great reformer retreats to the merely modest instead of advancing the kind of leadership that can turn a loaf of bread and a few fishes into food to feed the masses. 

As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the National Chaplain, who's earned this nickname due to his self-serving sanctimonious, political showmanship wonderings about what the Lord wants him to do, offered up six tepid "practical" suggestions to correct some aspects of Ohio's gun laws in the wake of 17 high school students in Florida that were gunned down by a mentally ill student who slipped through the cracks when law enforcement ignored numerous signals and warnings of his instability and potential for committing mass murder.

Kasich and company's gun violence protection proposal orders:
  1. Gun violence protection orders: Allow friends and family members to petition a court to remove firearms from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. A handful of states including Indiana have passed such "red flag" laws.
  2. Domestic violence: Mirror federal law prohibiting anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence protection order from buying or owning a firearm.
  3. Background checks: Enforce requirements that courts submit conviction information to the state's background check database in a timely manner. 
  4. "Strawman" purchases: Ban purchases of firearms for third parties, except as a gift. Current state law bans these purchases only if the buyer should have known the third party is prohibited from buying a gun.
  5. Armor-piercing ammunition: Update Ohio law to mirror federal law banning body armor-piercing bullets, which would allow Ohio officers to pursue charges that federal officials might not.
  6. Bump stocks: If federal officials ban bump stocks, which increase a weapon's firing rate, Ohio law should be automatically changed to ban them as well.  
In the national debate, President Trump has expressed his approval of arming teachers in classrooms, an idea Kasich likewise seems to be alright with, even though so many others think it's a terrible idea. Last week on a call with reporters, Ohio's senior senator in Washington took the polar opposite position. "It's ludicrous to put guns in classrooms," Sen. Sherrod Brown told reporters on his weekly Wednesday call.

Kasich has been reticent to name the members of an 8-person policy group he convened to look into Ohio's gun laws. And for good reason, it seems, since all but two one of them were ether a Republican who supports the worst interpretation of the Second Amendment, and who have never been known to speak out against the National Rifle Association or any of its directives, or a member of Kasich's administration.

Democrats State Sens. Mike Skindell of Lakewood and Charleta Tavares of Columbus, who have proposed a ban on so-called assault weapons like the one used in the recent Florida high school shooting, were curiously absent from Kasich's lopsided GOP-skewed group. In their bill, SB 260, assault weapons are defined as any automatic firearm or semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting 10 or more cartridges. Furthermore, SB 260 makes possessing such a gun a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. Moreover, the legislation which won't see the light of day in committee, would require all Ohio gun sellers to report firearm and ammunition sales to the state attorney general's office.

Kasich could have but didn't ask any member of Akron's City Council to be on his policy group. Those council members asked state officials to ban assault weapons and other murder-making accessories, including giant ammunition clips and bump stocks, brought to the public attention by the Las Vegas shooter who claimed 59 deaths at an outdoor concert from his hotel room. Their perspective seems legitimate, but they were onlookers like so many other voices not included.

"No one is interested in some slippery slope and trying to grab everybody's guns," the Plain Dealer reported Kasich saying at a news conference. Ohio's governor clearly had not heard President Trump saying he would take some guns away first, then let due process sort the rest out.

Offering weak tea when a robust brew is needed, Kasich thinks minor tweaks will do the job, maybe in Ohio. But don't bet on anything happen until and unless GOP leaders stop shrinking at the very thought of doing anything that would change the status quo on state gun laws.

Senate President Larry Obhof, a Republican, said through a spokesman that changing gun laws was not on the table like investments in school security upgrades are. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, a Republican, gave Kasich a kind but clear shove off, saying he "appreciated the governor's work." Second Amendment rights continue to be the top priority for legislative leaders like Rosenberger, who didn't speak to one of Kasich's small tweaks. As if to pound another nail in Kasich's coffin on his half-dozen proposed gun reforms, the House speaker offered up a strong prerequisite: "Any potential policy changes will only occur after thorough vetting in the legislature and extensive conversations with the caucus."

This wouldn't be the first time Obhof and Rosengerger would roll over a Kasich veto. In Kasich's final biennial budget, not a few number of his vetos were overrode by GOP super-majorities in both chambers. Kasich has been cut off at the knees before on some of his most Kasich-centric policy proposals, so barking and then getting run over the car is becoming par for Kasich's course.

In further defiance of Ohio's 69th governor, a bill on "stand your ground," that Kasich said he wouldn't sign if sent to him, apparently will be sent to him. If Kasich vetoes it, as he said he would, Ohio's right-wing legislature, that controls veto-proof margins in the Senate and House, will override it. So much for what the governor says he's for or against.

What will do the job is a major overhaul of gun laws that might start with raising the age to buy an assault weapon to 21 or higher, banning the sale of assault weapons in the first place, strengthening background checks and delaying the time period to acquire an assault weapon from a few hours or days to weeks or maybe months. Another angle would be to limit gun sales to any individual until that person justifies why they need such a weapon and whether they have received substantial, rigorous training by more than taking a token class in gunmanship.

John Kasich seems to be a strawman himself, when it comes to the kind of leadership today's horrific gun violence needs. What would Abraham Lincoln have done had he limited himself to what his Congress at the time would have been willing to do on slavery laws? What would Franklin Delano Roosevelt had done had he limited himself to what conservative Republicans would have approved during the early, desperate days of the Great Depression? What would John F. Kennedy have done had his mission to put a man on the moon following Russia's breakthroughs in space technology been limited to what congressional leaders of the day were willing to approve? Barack Obama, defying the wisdom of the day, forged forward with an idea verboten to Republicans to take on health care like never before.

If John Kasich thinks incrementalism turns the tide when bold action is needed, he's only fooling himself when he take baby steps with giant leaps are needed. Appearing again CNN's State of the Union this Sunday, let's see if he tries to convince his Ohio model is the real model to follow. Let's also see if CNN reminds Kasich that while he did back an assault on assault weapons back in 1994, when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives, he feel silent on that issue as it expired in 2004, and has signed every gun bill sent to him that loosens laws on guns.

At each moment in history, when bold leadership was the recipe to challenge the trying times of the day, had leaders of the day relegated themselves to what was "practical" for their legislators to pass, does anyone believe that the kind of weak tea Kasich has served up would have made a dent in turning the tide of thorny issues that otherwise would have won the day because legislators with no vision defined the limits of progress?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Is John Kasich just a fool or is he stupid, too?

Ohio Gov. Kasich should thank the Lord he uses like a political prop when it suits him, but with whom he has so often differed when it comes to fundamentals of human decency, mercy and care for the least among us, that he's even still governor.

Gov. John Kasich at the Ohio
Statehouse in Columbus
For those unschooled in Ohio government, there is little doubt that the Catholic boy who once wanted to devote his life to his Master, but who found politics more to his liking since it would bring him fame and fortune, would have been recalled early-on had the state constitution contained a provision for recall.

If Ohio's constitution allowed voters to recall statewide leaders, there is little doubt that Kasich, elected in 2010 by just two percent (77,127 votes statewide), would have been subject to recall in 2011 when he threw himself and all his resources into backing Senate Bill 5, the wildly unpopular gutting of public sector unions orchestrated by Republicans.

The bill that riled up so many Ohioans, which got shellacked at the ballot box by a 2-1 margin, sent Kasich a warning to not try such a brazen move again. At the same time, Kasich looked likely in thankfulness that he wasn't his like-minded classmate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose state does have a recall provision and who because of it was hauled before the public for essentially doing the same thing Kasich did. Walker won, but it's hard to think Kasich, who barely squeaked by in 2010, would have been lucky enough to withstand a voter base who saw to what lengths he was willing to go to cement his reputation as a Republican who had it out for the Democratic agenda, in that case, collective bargaining rights.

Ohio's 69 chief executive has brazenly used the high office over the last nearly eight years for his own personal self promotion. Even today when he's still cashing taxpayer checks, he has the unmitigated gall to continue to tap the pocketbooks.
"We’re nearing our February fundraising deadline and could use your help. Our message is making a difference but we need to raise the funds to continue paying for the services that allow us to support Gov. Kasich's mission," a flash solicitation for more dough reads, reciting his stacked-deck performances on various TV shows
Using his office to further his personal ambitions has been a Kasich trademark from his first days in the Ohio Senate to two years ago, when he took a second bite of the presidential apple. His drubbing on the primary trail showed everyone, especially big ticket donors, how unpopular he is with his own Republican Party. The GOP instead nominated an inveterate liar and documented misogynist billion from New York, who pounded Kasich so badly that the boy from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, where his own hometown voted 5-1 against him, finds himself a governor who's on the outs with Republicans trying to succeed him and wolf in sheep's clothing in Democratic circles.

The best he could do two years ago was win one Electoral College vote. Pathetic and humiliating are apt words for his second White House loss. Because the multi-millionaire was too stupid to quit when losing was a foregone conclusion to all the other 15 GOP candidates when the Trump juggernaut rolled over them, media confuses his stamina of ego with voter support.

Like a pull-toy doll with prerecorded catch phrases, Kasich is adept at lying on a par with Donald Trump. Tripping on ant hills on the way to the pyramids, the Republican Party is my vehicle not my master or I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow are some of his favorite go-to gibberish comments.

Another more recent but equally false and vacuous statement he uses is that he doesn't know what the Democratic agenda is. Basic Kasich say repeat his blather often, because hosts and journalists don't know enough to challenge him on any one of them. Yet another national Sunday TV show, where he's become the reliable anti-Trump dancing bear, the career politician and moving target did it again as if no one was paying attention. Wrong.

How stupid is that for anyone so dependent on the public eye to claim that Democrats don't have an agenda? Is it also stupid that, of all people, he doesn't know what it is? Being a fool is par for Kasich, but showing his stupidity for all the world to see is a double whammy.

Very, actually, since he's fought tooth and nail against that agenda—union workers' rights, support for public schools and public school teachers, women's rights and their access to abortion, raising the minimum wage, allowing Medicare to bargain for prescription drugs, expanding Medicaid, protecting and boosting Social Security, wealthy individuals and corporations should pay higher taxes, tax cuts don't create jobs, gay rights o name but a few—his entire political life.

Nonetheless, even though it was an old notion from an old but fabulously wealthy hack whose parents were Democrats and government workers refuses to acknowledge how un-liked he is among both members of his own party and others, be they Democrats or independents, who have observed him for decades and concluded he's on the wrong side of most important issues, he trotted it out again. And loyal scribblers from his favorite Ohio newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, reported on it as if he was breaking new ground.

The Dispatch's Washington-based reporter Jack Torry wrote that the National Chaplain launched "a spirited attack against the Democratic Party ... Ohio Gov. John Kasich charged he has 'no clue' what Democrats stand for and complained they have 'no agenda.'" Speaking on “This Week,” "Kasich offered the strongest signal yet that he may want to run for president in 2020 as an independent, even though throughout the interview he kept insisting he was a Republican."

Nine months away from wandering off the political radar screen, the term-limited, lame-duck governor continues to raise money as if he were still on the campaign trail. His last book that recounts his failed run in 2016, that consists nearly entirely of regurgitating his quixotic life story of abandoning his family Democrats roots in favor of self-fish conservative causes that have endeared him to Republican donors who have funded he and his cadre of political operatives, has enabled him seem relevant even though Republican candidates back in Ohio running to success him, have done their best to not seek his endorsement, or for those who have it, like Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, are trying to put her boss in the rear view mirror.
As one Buckeye involved in political circles told me recently, Kasich is playing both sides of the field. "He is taking the hot topic of the moment, getting booked on national news programs to stay relevant and spouting his latest transformation," my source told me, comparing the great reformer to Buckeye weather. "Kasich is like Ohio weather: Wait 5 minutes and his positions change...Ok ... I'll give Ohio weather maybe 10 minutes."
This point is borne out by sources, including CNN, that report that a portion of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign website dedicated to the Second Amendment was altered this weekend. In the wake of the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 students, "Caches of the former GOP presidential candidate's page show that the page was altered sometime between Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18, the day the Republican governor criticized President Donald Trump and Congress on CNN over their inaction on gun violence."

It takes a lot of brass, and Kasich has plenty of it, to shift with the prevailing winds to say he has no clue what the Democrats' agenda is. The easily angered, petulant leader who has Ohio in his hindsight and talks on foreign policy like he was some roving ambassador, gets to claim the spotlight and headlines from loyal reporters who fawn over his ever word, even though those words are as old, tired and obsolete as he is.

He told ABC's national audience, yet again like a broken record, that "at the end of the day it's in the hands of the Lord as to what to my future is ... I don't know what he wants me to do." Clearly, what the Lord doesn't want John Kasich to do is become President of the United States, that's a message he's sent the grumpy governor twice.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Gov. Kasich's shame on gun and abortion bills

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed 20 bills into law over his nearly eight years in office that make it harder and harder for law-abiding women to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion. That's a fact.

John Kasich, Ohio's imperious governor,
asks Congress to "wake up and do something" 
after he spent 18 years there doing  next to 
nothing on gun control.
Another fact is that Kasich has not signed one bill into law, or introduced one himself, that makes it harder in Ohio to buy a gun. But he has signed over a dozen bills sent to him by Ohio's uber-right legislature that expands access to guns, Cincinnati.com reports.

Yet access to guns and abortions are both protected by the U.S. Constitution. For guns, the path to Second Amendment rights is virtually without impediment.

For abortions, the path to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that offered constitutional protections to women, is littered with one hurdle after another.

Still the darling of east coast elite media that continues to delude itself that the National Chaplain who's still waiting for the Lord to tell him what to do in life will mount a third run for president in 2020, as either "Republican classic" or an independent, Kasich enjoyed yet another cameo appearance Sunday on "State of the Union" on CNN.

In the avalanche of news surrounding the 17 students in Florida who were murdered by a student who bought an AR-15 assault rifle easier than he could a beer, Kasich, who says not a word more than he's "pro-life" when the issue of abortion comes up, said he would support background checks on people trying to buy guns. That's good, since 90 percent of Americans already agree on the need for background checks.

Not having expressed any previous support to ban so-called "bump stocks," a device that converts a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon, as a shooter in Las Vegas did to mow down 58 people at an outdoor concert, Kasich, who loves to talk about his religious values, apparently had a rare come-to-Jesus moment. He revealed he would support a ban on bump stocks. Does he also support bans on giant magazine clips that other shooters have used to cause deadly havoc? Don't know since reporters don't ask him these kind of pointed questions.

For reference on Kasich's close association with the National Rifle Association, whose solution is to give more people more guns, the NRA endorsed him in 2014, when he had to win reelection to make himself a viable GOP candidate for the white House in 2016. Kasich was so unviable that he got blown away by Donald Trump just like he got blown away by George W. Bush in 2000, when he first tried a run for the presidency.

Kasich aides went to great lengths to cover up his past tracks on guns that differed wildly with his new-found, media inspired evolution. One report by Kasich's adjunct PR department, The Columbus Dispatch said this:
"Kasich's aides removed from his campaign website a page that had boasted that as governor, Kasich had "signed every pro-Second Amendment bill that crossed his desk." The reported continued, "Those bills included measures that made it potentially legal to carry concealed weapons in day-care facilities and on college campuses."
A congressman for 18 years, Kasich's record on taking on the gun industry is as thin as water. His only noteworthy effort was his vote in 1994 to ban the production and sale of 19 models of semi-automatic assault weapons. After doing virtually nothing during his days in Washington, he's now calling on Congress to "wake up and do something," Fast talk from a fast talker.

Basic Kasich instruct, don't do anything important when doing nothing wins elections. Say something bombastic when you're out of harm's way, so you can point the finger of blame at someone else.

As a presidential candidate two years ago, and knowing the power the NRA holds for wayward candidates, he said the ban was "superfluous, and we don't need laws that are superfluous. It didn't have any impact," a reporter wrote. Congress failed to renew the ban in 2004.

The National Chaplain and soon to be former governor by the end of this year plays media, local and national, like chumps. He's allowed ten seconds to say his headline-grabbing banter without challenge that would make him look the fool he is. Diligent reporters who know his history and know his penchant for showmanship are few and far between. He riles easily, becoming testy and bristly when questions don't go his way.

Where was Kasich's new-found outrage in calling for background checks after any one of the 18 school shootings just this year? Where was his voice on the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Florida or the Las Vegas shooting? He says without naming any names, that he's formed another committee to propose recommendations on gun safety. Where will he be when those proposals come forward if they ever do? Where he'll be is churning the mill as a lucrative political talking-head on TV, something he did at Fox News before running for governor in 2010.

Ohio media has coddled Kasich his entire political career. As a bob-and-weave master, Mr. Reformer has been a flim-flam man who can be counted on to follow all the worst policy flaws that misguided and misled Republicans do as "fellow travelers" in GOP circles. Whether it's him being enamored of corporations and CEOs versus workers and workers unions, or being anti-women versus pro-life or being pro-NRA and weak on gun control regulations, Kasich has rarely been shamed as the rich fool he is.

He will continue to make headlines because media let him get a way with talking rubbish. Junk yard dog journalists, whose standard should be to hold two-faced politicians accountable for what they say and what they do is, are few in number.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks out on Gov. Kasich's plan to require Medicaid recipients to find work

After other states like Kentucky and Iowa and Indiana, each controlled by austerity-minded, tax-averse Republicans that love to talk tough about personal responsibility, it was only a matter of time before Ohio would follow suit and ask the Trump Administration for permission to require Buckeyes needing Medicaid health insurance to find a job.

John Kasich on Election Night 2010
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now term limited and looking ahead to what his next lucrative job might be, has been a broken record on calling for personal responsibility by individuals. Meanwhile, the CEO-style leader is ideologically averse to ask the same commitment from corporations, who apparently are worthy beneficiaries of state largess that include reduced taxes. fewer regulations and taxpayer-financed loan programs.

Reports out Wednesday say Kasich’s administration is moving forward to ask Washington regulators to approve adding a work requirement for adults who use expanded Medicaid coverage for their health care. By contrast, such a requirement wasn't allowed by the Obama administration.

On his weekly call with Ohio media, I asked Sen. Brown what his thoughts were on requiring people poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, tax-funded insurance for the poor and disabled that dates back to the Johnson Administration in 1965, to find a job?

Keep in mind that Kasich, who promised when he ran for his first term in 2010 to "move the needle" on jobs," has not done well in moving that needle when compared to many other states. In fact, while he claims to have created hundred of thousands of jobs, the reality of that claim is that scores of thousands of jobs he takes ownership for came through efforts by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland weathered the Great Recession, turning the tide around enough in 2009 to deliver both jobs and about $1 billion in revenue to Kasich, who will never acknowledge what he inherited from Strickland.

Another factor that presents a problem is that Gov. Kasich has failed for 61 straight months to meet or exceed the national job creation average. Ohio is ranked 33rd in job creation by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It's tough to find a job when those jobs go wanting in so many of Ohio's 88 counties.

Kasich, who ran for president in 2016 and got clobbered in the process, isn't big on transparency, especially when it comes to releasing his tax returns. However, through required filings for his second loss for the White House, the public learned his net worth is gaged between $9 and $22 million, as Forbes Magazine notes. Not bad for a congressman who served 18 years in Washington, who parlayed that time into lucrative gigs on Fox News and at Lehman Brothers, the storied Wall Street investment banking firm whose collapse triggered the meltdown on Wall Street that bloomed into the worse economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Brown's response on the question was that those who may be forced to find employment to keep their coverage under Medicaid, will mostly be stay at home parents, the disabled or those working for minimum wage.

Brown said such requirements come from "privileged politicians," adding that they are "mean spirited and wrong." Without naming the governor by name, Sen. Brown said efforts like Kasich is ready to undertake on behalf of Ohio's very right-wing legislature reflect "bigotry" spewed out by politicians "who should be ashamed of themselves."

A blueprint on Kasich's plan says the state "would exempt those who are over age 55, in school or training for a job, in treatment for drug or alcohol addiction and those with intensive health care needs or serious mental illness."

Kaiser Health News reports that 60 percent of Medicaid recipients nationwide already work, with advocating saying that "the ones that don’t usually have a good reason for not having a job, because they’re caregivers, students or in drug recovery."

Seema Verma was appointed by Trump to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after she ran Indiana's program under former governor-turned Vice President Mike Pence. She helped Indiana become the first state to enact a very conservative approach to Medicaid. Eight other states have submitted requests similar to Ohios. Sen. Brown voted against her nomination.

Brown is running for his third term in the Senate in Washington. His all-but nominated Republican challenger is Congressman Jim Renacci of northeast Ohio, who earned the endorsement of the Ohio Republican Party last week.