Kyle Sisk was 100% correct in calling the GOP Senate’s willingness to strike a deal with Governor Strickland as a body blow to John Kasich‘s campaign.

Keeling is still fixated on the “negative” coverage Strickland got before he proposed the tax freeze.  However, Keeling ignores the substance of that criticism.  As I pointed out at the time, the basis of the media’s criticism was Strickland’s willingness to support more tax cuts and cuts in spending rather than actually raising taxes.  Again, this is not a line of attack that most general election voters are going to agree with.  Regardless, since Kasich not only shares the same view, but supports it to the extent that he would blow a 40% of the total revenues size hole in the budget, he’s not going to find that criticism as an effective weapon for him due to the obvious self-inflicted damage it causes him.

Keeling also apparently gets his Ohio news in Virginia from the Kasich campaign clip service, because he thinks that Strickland’s drop in the polls is the result of his support for the slots, except the only available polling on the issue found that Ohioans largely supported Strickland’s slots proposals.  In fact, by margins that beat their support for Issue 3.

Keeling also thinks that the negative coverage has been entirely Strickland-centric.  It hasn’t not by a long shot.  Pretty much since the moment Strickland announced his support of a tax freeze the media has been focused on the GOP… since September.  And it’s all been negative.  In fact, just yesterday, two of the dailies had editorials, yet again, blasting the lack of leadership by the Senate GOP.

Keeling, undeterred, vows:

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

Um, how do I put this politiely?  It’s pretty hard to commit to millions in advertising when you have yet to announce that you’ve even raised your first million despite running for Governor, essentially, since 2007.

Keeling wants to focus on tone of coverage but forget the emerging narrative:  After first trying to avoid the inevitable, Ted Strickland took the responsible choice, and after the Senate Republicans attempted to dither in the hopes they could stretch it into next year to make it an actual tax increase, he ended their partisan games by threatening to use his executive powers to call a special session and they caved emerging foolish that only five out of only twenty would support an actual plan that would create a balanced budget.

Governor Strickland emerges as a mature, responsible leader who is relatively immune from attacks for two reasons: 1) the finished product received bipartisan support in both houses; 2) the House-Senate-Kasich Republicans never proposed any alternative.  There was no package of spending cuts even the Senate GOP alone could agree they could stomach to support.

 

As expected, after hiding in a cave during the entire debate, Kasich emerged from his million dollar corporate lecture circuit to attack anything Governor Strickland did to have a balanced budget.  Kasich’s attack is entirely hollow though because he was given opportunity after opportunity to express his thoughts on the topics, but his campaign made it perfectly clear they could offer no solutions of their own, just like the rest of the GOP.

By Kasich’s attack, perhaps now the media will finally realize that the seal has been broken, and it’s about time they start questioning the lack of solutions offered by a candidate promising “Real Leadership” who used his PAC “Recharge Ohio” as an exploratory committee for his campaign instead of offering the “bold solutions” it said it offered.

Kasich has been going around for almost Strickland’s entire term claiming he has a better plan:  isn’t it time now that he’s attacking Governor Strickland to simply ask: okay, what would you have done?  Or better yet, question why Kasich seems to be all hat, no cattle?

Kasich’s inability to articulate any alternative doesn’t make him seem any stronger of a leader that those GOP Senators who blasted Strickland then agreed to give him everything he proposed because they couldn’t offer anything better.  Kasich’s criticisms sound like a guy screaming from the cheap seats, not a leader. 

Regardless, Ted Strickland will be able to respond to such ads by pointing out that he worked in a bipartisan way to pass balanced budgets that were praised, by conservative interest groups at the time, as been the most fiscally conservative in Ohio’s modern history, reduced spending, and cut taxes.  Kasich, on the other hand, will be remembered as a partisan ideologue who shut down the government rather than work in a bipartisan manner. If there’s anything that isn’t going to sell in 2010, it’s partisan hacks.

Yes, even with this freeze, Governor Strickland is still going to be able to campaign that taxes are less now than when he came in office.

“But Modern, those taxes would have happened anyway because they was part of the Republican tax package in 2005!”

O r ly?  I would argue that last night’s vote suggests otherwise.  You cannot, on one hand, attack Strickland for suspending tax cuts, but then on the other, deny him credit for the ones the came into effect under his budgets during his term.  It doesn’t work that way.

In the end, Strickland is going to be able to run on a record of working in a bipartisan manner to get Ohio to make the right choices to responsibly reduce taxes while keeping the budget balanced.  John Kasich has nothing on Governor Strickland’s record.

 

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