Election Day 2014 is now less than 90 days away. Based on prevailing political winds, which have been fueled by lopsided negative coverage of Ed FitzGerald, the party endorsed Democrat to challenge first-term incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich and a series of polling results that show Kasich holding a lead that swings back and forth between double-digit and single-digit leads, the next governor until 2018 may very well be the same governor who barely won his last race in 2010.
Democrats, especially Ed FitzGerald, have had to fight off a war of words waged against them by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch, two newspapers that endorsed citizen Kasich in 2010 because they allowed themselves to become hypnotized by the former Fox TV political talk show host’s enticing razzle dazzle, ideological talking points—virtually all of which have proven over years, even decades, to be false—while they simultaneously became bored with the steady stewardship of the state through the Great Recession and the impressive recover from it.
Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland was elected in 2006 when Ohio voters, disgusted and fed up with pay-to-play antics that included the corruption mess at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation called Coingate and gifts former Gov. Robert Taft failed to disclose, elected him and Democrats to four of the state’s statewide offices. Running on a campaign to “turnaround Ohio,” Gov. Strickland, a former congressman like John Kasich, inherited a state already sliding into troubled economic waters caused by long term, top-to-bottom control of the state by Republicans since 1994, the year Congressman Kasich signed onto the “Contract with America” that elevated former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich to House Speaker and the Wizard of Westerville to Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.
Strickland had to contend with an ideologically split legislature, a political trickbox that Gov. Kasich has not had to deal with. Even though he had to fight Republicans in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House during his first two years in office, Gov. Strickland balanced budgets and drastically downsized government expenditures – with the help and blessings of the state’s employees and their unions – to save the state from really falling off the cliff as the Great Recession devoured over 400,000 jobs.
Strickland saved the state from turning into a real economic basket case by accepting federal stimulus and stabilization funds and tapping reserves for such situations—namely, Ohio’s so-called rainy day fund. Gov. Kasich has never had to explain what he would have done differently.
Kasich was hired as a “rain maker” by Lehman Brothers in 2001, and he remained there until 2008 when the failed investment firm collapsed, helping trigger the meltdown on Wall Street from which the nation still struggles to recover. He was tasked by Lehman to shake down state pension funds for Lehman Brother investments. Kasich, the glib salesman for failed Republican policies, did as instructed, extracting hundreds of millions from Ohio pension holders that eventually evaporated under Lehman management when their promises turned into false promises.
A big fan of rich people, Kasich was all friendly with Lehman’s tremendously wealthy leader, Richard Fuld, but immediately distanced himself from Fuld when Lehman went belly up. Ohio’s governor even tried to gin up sympathy for him saying, without fully disclosing what he was paid or would have been paid had his big deals succeeded, that he lost a lot in stock options and other executive compensation.
When John Kasich first ran for Congress in 1982 against Democratic Robert Shamansky, he challenged the incumbent representative to release his tax returns. Now that Kasich is himself a multi-millionaire—recall that he only disclosed one of his tax returns in 2010 for reporters to look at for a limited time without aid of a copy machine or other recording device—he has adopted the strategy used by Mitt and Anne Romney last year when they were asked to disclose years of tax returns as President Obama and previous presidents have done. Anne Romney said they would not release their tax returns, because it would just provide more fodder for Democrats and other to pick at their economic abundance.
A popular Democratic slogan this year is: “Remember in November.” What is it voters are supposed to remember this November about Kasich’s 1,316 days in office so far?
Here’s a very small sample to help you remember:
Kasich thought he was going to be the official chairman JobsOhio, his secret, poorly performing non-profit job creation group, until the Ohio Constitution prevented him from realizing his promise. Of course, Kasich is the “eminance gries” at JobsOhio. His political cache is saying how many CEOs he talks to on a daily basis.
Kasich appointed his rich, Silicon Valley guru Mark Kvamme, who has benefited mightily from his decades-old relationship with Kasich, to a cabinet post despite that appointment being prohibited by the Ohio Constitution because Kvamme had not established his residency by the time Kasich made his illegal appointment.
Trashing tradition and transparency, favorite ploys by Team Kasich on a variety of issues that Ohio media swallows with little attempt to question, Kasich wanted to be sworn-in in private at his home residence, until some Ohio reporters said the public deserves a right to be present at such an official event through their presence. Kasich eventually relented, undertaking his swearing-in event in the Ohio Senate.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be covering even more. But we’d also like to hear from you. What do you think we should “remember in November”?