On Thursday we wrote about John Kasich’s lack of enthusiasm in defending his own budget, specifically the now-cut Medicaid expansion, which was removed and/or altered along with his sales tax hike, income tax break and school funding plan, by members of his own party in the Ohio House.

Today three Ohio papers followed up with similar stories.

My favorite was from the PD’s Brett Larkin.

You really never know what you’re going to get from Larkin these days, but today his piece about Kasich’s lack of “leadership prowess” was some great reading, mainly because he unearthed this quote from last June when Kasich appeared on Meet the Press to bash President Obama.

Frankly, this whole city is dysfunctional, you know. And the executive is not leading. You can’t– it’s like blame. I’m an executive in Ohio. I can’t blame the legislature for things not getting done. I have to accept responsibility. And you know what? I’ve led. And I’ve worked well with the legislature. … You have to lead.

Compare that with Kasich’s quote in the Toledo Blade last week after the legislature completely gutted his budget:

“This is a time where the legislature has to work things out themselves… I’m not a mechanic, I’m the governor”

The Dispatch’s Joe Vardon approaches the story from the same angle as us, writing that “Kasich isn’t playing hardball on the budget”, and noting that in 2011, Kasich backers raised $5 million through the tax-exempt group One Ohio United to do outreach and advertising in support of Kasich’s first budget.

Contrast that with this year when tea party activists and other special interest groups are spending money to fight against Kasich’s second budget.

Jackie Borchardt and Andrew J. Tobias also pursued the topic in today’s Dayton Daily News, running some great quotes from Republicans and Democrats.

When asked about the rift between Kasich and Republican legislators, Republican Seth Morgan said: “I think they’ve been sleeping in different bedrooms for a couple of months now.”

Democrats were even more harsh.

“This is the legislative equivalent of the Titanic,” said Kasich’s likely 2013 challenger Ed FitzGerald.  “It was a real failure to not know what it takes to get a legislative program through.”

And this was exactly our point all along.

Creating the state budget and getting it passed is, without a doubt, the most important job the governor has.   And that means working with the people in the legislature who have to pass the budget.

Instead, Kasich developed his plans in a vacuum without input from the legislature or from key stakeholders.   Then he had the bill introduced and acted surprised and offended that no one wanted to support it.

Plunderbund supports the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio.  We generally support the expanded severance tax if the money goes to right place.  And we support the Governor’s efforts to do the right thing on these two issues despite facing opposition from his own party.

Medicaid expansion, especially, is the type of thing Joe Biden would call a “big fucking deal.”    It’s good for Ohio’s budget, for Ohio’s small businesses and for lower income Ohioans.

But you don’t get something that big done by ignoring the fact that your own party, which happens to have big majorities in the Ohio General Assembly, doesn’t like the idea.

You get it done by working with the legislature.  By building coalitions in advance.  By making sure you have the support and the votes before you drop your budget bill in the laps of legislators.

As Kasich said, “you have to take responsibility… you have to lead”.   And with this budget, he’s done neither.

 

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