If you thought that this week’s coverage over Kasich’s tax plan which overshadowed what should have been nothing more than puff, positive stories about the Kasich-Taylor rollout wouldn’t continue, well, guess again.
Here are some major fault lines that this week’s event demonstrated that will grow like an untreated crack in a car windshield until election day.
- Something about Mary. Yeah, we all know there’s still the unresolved issue of who, if anyone, will the GOP be able to recruit to challenge Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper for State Auditor. ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine can call Pepper a “dud” all he wants, but neither he, Kasich, nor Taylor did anything to challenge the media narrative that it was Pepper’s impressive fundraising that pushed the only elected nonjudicial GOP officeholder from seeking re-election. But besides that, what happens to the money Taylor raised for the Auditor’s race? I’m sure there’s more than just a few donors who will want their money back because they thought they were helping Taylor stay in the Auditior’s race and thus helping the GOP with a majority on the Apportionment Board. Will she refund her campaign chest back to the donors? Will she just turn it all over to the Kasich campaign? Or will she transfer it to whomever the GOP finds at the last minute to run for her vacating office? Depending on the answer, there could be some real fireworks in store over the fight over Taylor’s $$$. I think this will be the next story you’ll see about the wake of the launch of the SS Kasich-Taylor.
- Kasich’s unnoticed double-standard on the economy. Kasich’s entire rationale for his campaign seems to be: “Because Ted Strickland couldn’t turn around the economy in two years, you should vote for me because I’ll fix it sometime after 2020.” Seriously. Even Kasich’s most loyal conservatives in the General Assembly do not believe its possible to repeal Ohio’s income tax before 2020, a timeline former Ohio Taxpayers Association President Scott Pullins even calls naive. When will the media point out that Kasich’s own insistence that his plan to allegedly fix Ohio’s economy won’t take place, at the earliest, until THREE GUBERNATORIAL and TWO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS from now is evidence that Strickland couldn’t possibly be blamed for the economy not turning around when Kasich’s strongest supporters say his plan (let alone the hoped for results of that plan) can’t happen any sooner than ten years from now? John Kasich has been attacking Governor Strickland over something that not even John Kasich claims he could do.
- Kasich=Blackwell. John Kasich was asked, point blank, how he was different from Ken Blackwell. He didn’t even argue with the premise of the question. Instead, he wished to be thought of as like Ronald Reagan. You know who else wanted people to think of him as Ohio’s Ronald Reagan? Ken Blackwell.
- John Kasich throws the rest of the GOP under the bus, including Mary Taylor. It was, by far, my favorite moment of the Kasich-Taylor press conference. After ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine called Mary Taylor’s “leadership” in crafting the tax reforms in 2005 in the General Assembly as her biggest policy achievement, John Kasich, to Taylor’s face, called them a failure. It actually stunned the media who gave Kasich a chance to talk it back. He didn’t. Kasich had already alienated himself with the ORP folks in Columbus by upending what everyone thought (myself included) was as strong of a slate as they could find. Now, the ORP is scrambling to the very real risk that they might lose the majority on the Apportionment Board that everyone, myself included, thought they’d get even if Kasich lost. With this single comment, John Kasich just threw the entire GOP legislative caucuses and his running mate under the bus and said their failed leadership is to blame for the current economic conditions. When, not if, when John Kasich’s numbers soften and it looks like he’s headed for defeat, his comment is going to give the Republicans in the General Assembly all the excuse they need to jump ship. . . just like they did with Ken Blackwell in ’06.
- John Kasich’s unnoticed double standard on delaying tax relief. At one point during his news conference, a defensive, and somewhat testy Kasich interrupted Mary Taylor to tell the media that the reason he doesn’t have an announced timetable for his income tax repeal is because he’s going to have to ease this through in a “responsible way.” This is exactly why Governor Strickland delayed the anticipated personal income tax cut this year that Kasich has criticized so much. So far, nobody in the media has pointed out that double-standard.
- Mary Taylor’s double-standard on fiscal conservatism. Where was Mary Taylor, the crusader against structural deficits during the Taft years? AWOL. These “structural deficits” didn’t just occur when Governor Strickland came into office. And he’s tried as much as he can get the Senate GOPers to work with him to address it. But despite the best efforts of ODP Chairman Chris Redfern, very few, if any, in the media pointed out that Taylor was the only statewide office holder who DIDN’T refuse a pay raise or cut salaries in her office. While every other Democratic official did both. Meanwhile, there’s still the issue of all the tens of thousands of dollars in self-promotional swag Taylor spent taxpayer dollars in buying to promote herself. Given her brief history in office, Taylor is a curious person to waive the banner of fiscal conservatism about.
Now I must say, the media did not sit back and play stenographer to the Kasich campaign as I’ve felt they’ve done in the past. They clearly see the impact of the LSC study has on the ticket and realize that Kasich has no real excuse for being so ill-equipped to defend what is after all his plan.
Every one of these observations are things that escaped me this week until just now. You’re not likely going to see these narratives in Sunday’s paper. It may be months, heck, until November even, before you see signs of these fault lines being noted in the media. But they are there, and it’s just a matter of time before they erupt and cause some serious damage to this ticket.