There’s a new RGA ad, and it tries to blame Ted Strickland for every job lost in Ohio in the last four years, beginning with NCR in Dayton. I’ll give the RGA credit for putting its finger on the existential issue of this campaign. That issue is the utter failure of Republican economic dogma over the last 30 years.
The economy we live with in Ohio is not a result of whoever has been governor the last four years. It is the full flowering of every economic philosophy ever advocated by every single Republican in American politics for the past 3 decades. I know, because as a free-trade, pro-GATT, pro-NAFTA Clintonian Democrat, I once bought into that philosophy to the extent it helped us Democrats win elections for a while. That philosophy is that government regulation and oversight of business is necessarily to be opposed at every level, and that the market knows better, all the time, in every instance. We Democrats swallowed that ideology because we thought we needed it to win elections.
We were wrong, and by playing politics as a game, instead of treating it as the central theme of our philosophy of governing, we gave Republicans all they ever wanted, and allowed them to “govern”. That meant the American family, and American jobs, would be at the mercy of a system of economic incentives tilted toward the powerful at every single turn. Republicans did not, and do not, want to govern. They want the power to hand more power to the already powerful.
This economic philosophy’s crowning achievement was the presidency of George W. Bush, eight years of flowery, sugary cake decoration confectionaries gracing the top of a towering house of cards destined to collapse, as every Democrat worth their salt predicted it would. There is not a single economic dogma that Republican free market fetishism has not been granted in the last 30 years. Not one. And today, we stumble through the wreckage of that collapsed philosophy, clutching pennies that we hope fall into our hands from passing corporations leaving ever more debris for us to pick up after them, like a shrimper in the gulf begging BP to be allowed to clean up after their own stench.
John Kasich wants to blame Ted Strickland for the catastrophic consequences of a putrid economic Republicanism of which Kasich himself is the Platonic form. Kasich prances around the country telling Glenn Beck and Fox News how pious he is, while for those 30 years Kasich did every single thing in his power to create this Dickensian nightmare of an entire region of fellow Ohioans begging corporations to spare them the fate Kasich’s own policies etched in stone long ago.
American voters are notorious for their short memories, but not in such instances. Americans will remember how we got here, yes they will. For decades. And that remembrance has a name, and that name is George W. Bush, who Ted Strickland must fashion into a stone around every Ohio Republican’s neck if he is to win this fall. It shouldn’t be difficult. America will never forget Herbert Hoover’s version of this foul dogma, because it is now legend and lore how Americans survived the decade long consequences of that instance of Republican dogma given free reign.
I suspect John Kasich will learn that this fall.