I think, and I’m not alone nationally in saying so, that the Strickland-Brown campaign has amazingly run a sharp and effective campaign in this political environment.

It took not more than a single brain cell to figure out the economy would place a major component of this election.  What the Strickland campaign has smartly figured out is how to turn the economy as a negative against Kasich with focusing on his slavish devotion to Wall $treet greed and outsourcing.  That has been no easy task.

So effective was this campaign was that the Ohio GOP and the RGA even attempted to muddy the waters of this attack by, incredulously, attacking Strickland on this issues with laughable results.

Anyone watching the ads sees the race as largely a debate about outsourcing and free trade.  That’s about as favorable ground to frame the economy in Ohio that Strickland could find in this environment.  This has been capped off with Friday’s ad highlighting Kasich’s personal involvement in supporting sending 300 Ohio manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico.


Now is the time to go in  for the kill.

Last week was a terrible week for the Kasich campaign.  Kasich unveiled the second proposal of his campaign, and it was largely a plagiarized copy of Ted Strickland’s regulatory reform.  This was a perfect opportunity to introduce people to one of the largely unknown aspects of Strickland’s record as Governor.

Which gets to my largest criticism of the Strickland campaign.  Paid media has a disproportionate impact in how people view a campaign.  Television ads shape how people view races more so than press conferences, “earned media,” press releases, and public speeches (combined.)  Despite attacking Gov. Strickland in every venue but paid media, Kasich has managed to spin some into viewing him as running a “positive” campaign and that Strickland has largely ran a negative campaign.  The former is not true, but the latter is.

Again, not that I blame the Strickland campaign.  Kasich was largely unknown and introducing Kasich to voters on their terms made sense.  But now with every attack, Kasich’s response has been that the Governor has nothing positive to say about his own record… a negative attack disguised as an observation.  It’s clever spin.  And it’s starting to stick.

If Governor Strickland is going to continue to be our Governor, he needs to run a positive ad about his record.  He has to show Ohioans that the “good things” that Kasich is proposing as an economic solution:  like cutting taxes, regulatory reform, and smaller government is things that Ted Strickland has already done.  The crazy stuff that Kasich has proposed, like privatizing economic development (which, I guess, does develop the market for private economic development consultants more) and a repeal of our income taxes with no plan to pay for them.  Talking about your record and comparing it on such terms does not make this a “referendum” election.  A “choice” election strategy requires that you give voters a reason to vote “for” you as well as a reason to vote “against” your opponent.  Instead, we have two candidates running a referendum against the other.

Joe Hallett of the Dispatch wrote on Sunday:

In fact, it is time for Strickland to stick an oar in the water and offer Ohioans a vision – even one single initiative – of his plans for a second term. Instead, all we’ve received from Strickland is negativity: campaign speeches smearing Kasich, one attack ad after another.

I disagree with the characterization that Kasich has been smeared, but Hallett’s larger point:  a negative campaign softens up support for the other guy, but the second side of the coin is that you give those wavering voters a reason to vote for you to close the deal.

No campaign has ever won an election simply running against an opponent who has not under an indictment or public scandal involving bribery or sex and won.

Ted Strickland can win if he can look voters in the eye and show them exactly what he’s done as Governor.  I’ve yet to meet a voter who didn’t at least pause when I told them about Strickland’s record.  It’s not enough to have it on your campaign website.  In this environment, he needs to get it on people’s television screens.  Ted can win with an ad that acknowledges the problems we’re all facing in this economy and talk about what he’s been doing about it (not talking about it doesn’t remove it as an issue.  Instead, it feeds Kasich’s entirely false narrative that Strickland hasn’t done anything effectively regarding the economy.)


I’ve yet to have a single conversation about Ted’s record that didn’t, at least, give even the most loyal of Republicans some pause.  In fact, the reaction I get is disbelieve because they can’t believe that a politician with this record wouldn’t mention it more.  The reality is that Ohio’s media has done a piss-poor job covering Strickland’s record.  And if the Governor’s office was going to effectively communicate Strickland’s records, well, we wouldn’t be in this situation.  The reality is that people know as little about Strickland’s record as they do about Kasich at all.  So little that most don’t realize, and Kasich is cynically praying on, that much of what Kasich has said are things that Strickland has already done, just like regulatory reform.

There’s time to win this thing, but we have to cover both sides of the equation.  We’ve got Kasich against the rope… now hit him with your record, Ted.

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  • Bob

    Why do you bother to quote The Dispatch or any of its political “coverage”? They are going to attack any Democrat whenever they can, which is all the time. Today’s hatchet job featured the week-old story about Invacare getting upset about the Strickland ad. (I won’t even bother to link to it.) Strickland has a tough re-election facing him because he has to campaign against Kasich and The Dispatch.

  • To be fair the Invacare stuff only went down on Friday so writing about it on Tuesday doesn’t seem all that late. I was “last week”, but not really “week-old”.

    Ted has a tough re-election facing him because he – like the POTUS – was handed the worst economic environment since the Great Depression and a Republican Congress hellbent on obstructionism…and well funded tycoons willing to obstruct any agenda as well. Ted couldn’t cure 16 years of Republican rule in Ohio in 4 and everyone is in an uproar. Likewise Obama couldn’t cure 8 years of Bush in 2 so everyone is beside themselves. Speaks to a lack of overall awareness and unrealistic expectations.

  • Good post. I think it is time to pivot to telling a story of accomplishment. This blog has been the only real place to go to hear about the things that have been accomplished in the Strickland administration. I’ll admit that I was very hesitant on the strategy to define Kasich out of the gate, but I was won over. I think it’s been played to perfection.

    I will agree with you now that it’s time to pivot and start talking to Ohioans about what has been accomplished and what can be accomplished by re-electing Ted. I don’t think Kasich was successful in muddying the waters on his Wall Street/Lehman credentials, but now is the time to start talking about why we are where we are and how we are going to overcome it.

    If I were writing Strickland ads they’d acknowledge the tough economic climate and use it as a call to action for Ohioans to weather the storm put on them by Wall Street types. We don’t need the likes of John Kasich – who spent his years after politics in the arms of Wall Street – talking down the economy and stoking fear. We need a realistic, hopeful, Governor who will fight like hell in the midst of the worst storm for the people of Ohio.

    Give us the scrappy kid from Duck Run! We might be in a chicken shack of economic times right now, but we can and will overcome it. We have to do it together though. Electing someone new is no silver bullet to the times we face. Having a Governor who will fight for us as we fight for ourselves is the way to beat The Great Lehman Brothers Recession™.

  • Anonymous

    Pardon my intrusion on the party’s conventional wisdom but what more did potus need than a 40 seat majority in the house and a super-majority in the senate? That certainly doesn’t equate to a “republican congress.” Two possible conclusions come to my mind regarding the federal gov: too many congressional dems are weak-willed pansies who aren’t interested in representing their constituencies and/or potus completely lacks the ability to lead his party and nation.

  • I don’t mean to imply the Republicans had control of Congress, just that they were obstructionists.

  • Bob

    I tried to reply earlier, but the iPad doesn’t play well with this site. Anyway, if I can remember what I was writing at that time, Strickland and the Dems have a hard time because the press is now extra-critical of whoever is in power because they got burned by Taft and Bob Bennett and Tom Noe. In the case of The Dispatch, they are doing this with an extra spring in their step because it is a Democratic governor. The Dispatch will only be happy when the GOP holds ALL seats in the legislature, all Executive offices, and the entire State Supreme Court. The newspaper acts like all of the current economic problems and education issues simply happened just because Strickland got elected.

    I am really tired of reading the daily attacks on Dems every morning in The Dispatch. And I really get upset with WCMH’s (Columbus channel 4) coverage of how the Stimulus dollars are being spent in Central Ohio. The station only covers two things, OSU football and the weather, with some happy talk between their anchors thrown in. So you can imagine the poor quality of their reports.

    I see below that mvirenicus commented on weak Dems and/or lack of leadership form Obama, Good points, but there is more to it, like the daily barrage from Fox News and the current state of journalism.

  • Anonymous

    That they are, but if potus had the will or ability to smack some chops, as in banksters, fight for public option, more focused and effective stimulus… Dems would not be endangered this cycle in the way they are. I am sincerely hoping that potus gets primaried.

  • “You have millions of Americans worried about the economy, jobs, deficits, their children’s future, and we’re out there talking about what — Bush, Iraq?” said Chris Kofinis, a longtime Democratic strategist. “Our message needs to be more positive, more hopeful, more focused, and we need [to] talk to the economic reality of everyday Americans and their families. There is time to pivot, but we’re just not there yet.”

  • Anonymous

    this potus administration is completely tone deaf, which to me is the biggest surprise about obama. i can’t believe this guy actually worked as a community organizer. complete disconnect happened somewhere along the line, and he’s surrounded himself with the usual ivy league elitist suspects.

  • Billpeterson

    why was my post, which only linked to realclearpolitics.com polling info on this race not published?

    modernesquire said “we’ve got kasich against the ropes”

    Truth is Kasich has a polling edge outside the margin of error

    Thats a double digit lead in multiple outlets.

    I didn’t flame the debate, I didn’t release a list of talking points, I merely linked polling data and asked moderesquire to explain his comment about having Kasich on the ropes.

    I understand its your blog, but to shut down ANY contrary opinions seems mean spirited

  • “Bill”. Two reasons maybe and I think you know one of them. When you comment anonymously and with a fake email prepare to not have your views heard here on this site. Own them and you have a much better chance. Fair?

    Second, the comment in question came on the same day you attacked a blogger here and that won’t be tolerated. Don’t let it happen again. The ban button is big and easy to hit.

    Is that “real clear”?

  • Modern Esquire


    The polls you refer to were all taken after a month and a half of Kasich and RGA having being on the air constantly exclusively. Strickland’s gone on the air last week heavily with some really good ads.

    Rasmussen, if they’re true to form, will have another poll in two weeks. Expect to see movement.

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