Standing in stark contrast to the breathless day-by-day reviews of where Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be in New Hampshire in the coming weeks and what his PR handlers are telling go-along reporters about his chances to become the presidential pick of Republicans next year, The Toledo Blade has shown itself willing on more than one occasion to deliver the kind of blunt and candid assessments of Mr. Kasich’s leadership The Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer appear politically freighted to do in any meaningful way.
In a Sunday editorial called “Mr. Kasich’s leadership,” The Blade delivered a 752-word straight-talk express critique of Camp Kasich that won’t get it permanently banished as has happened to Ohio’s leading independent reporter, who dares daily to unmask the governor for his many cons that go unchallenged by many statehouse reporters whose readership is the worse off for their lack of journalistic curiosity or pushback.
“Gov. John Kasich interrupted his presidential campaign last week to return to Ohio. While he was in Columbus, he asserted that he sees no need even to ask voters in 2016 whether they want the state to borrow as much as $1 billion to help pay to clean up Lake Erie and other key waterways. ‘I don’t see any reason to really do any more at this point,’ he said,” The Blade wrote in its not-so-kind review that focused on environmental issues, especially preventing another algae bloom that shut down the Lake Erie port city’s drinking water system for days.
A top concern for the Blade is the governor’s lack of interest in “reversing one of the worst failures of his administration: his acquiescence in the terrible decision last year by the Republican-controlled General Assembly to repudiate Ohio’s standards to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
While Mr. Kasich might think it helps his run for president, the paper’s editorial concluded just the reverse. The paper didn’t spare the rod to spoil the governor. “Mr. Kasich also has refused to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare the western Lake Erie basin a ‘distressed’ watershed. That action would allow closer scrutiny and regulation of pollution sources such as the heavily subsidized factory farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations.” Camp Kasich says such a designation would impair the public image of the western Lake Erie region, but the Blade disagreed, saying, “Not as much as a reprise of Toledo’s water crisis would.”
Mocking Mr. Kasich declaration that a candidate’s message “has to be big and bold and positive,” The Blade asked where’s the beef? “A comprehensive, meaningful plan to repair Lake Erie, the state’s most vital natural asset, would fit that description admirably. But such an economic and environmental boon doesn’t appear to be on the governor’s agenda.”
Maybe it’s harshest critique of John Kasich came at the end. “Voters are told repeatedly that Governor Kasich is the thoughtful, responsible, moderate candidate in the GOP presidential field. And compared to his rivals, he is,” The Blade notes. “It’s all relative, but that observation isn’t particularly comforting.”
More Blasts From The Blade
In addition to the on-going and rigorous coverage of Gov. Kasich by the crew at Plunderbund, another Blade reporter isn’t enamored of Ohio’s 69th chief executive. In her Dec. 19th column titled “A Christmas greeting to our mostly absent Ohio governor” with a sub-titled of “We need to remind him that Ohio lives matter just as much as those in New Hampshire,” Marilou Johanek decked the halls with her own boughs of holey hell holly.
“We need to interrupt his fantasy campaign to run the country. We need to remind him that Ohio lives matter just as much as those in New Hampshire,” Johanek writes. “We’ve heard you like to boast about turning around your rust-belt, recession-battered state. You’re talking about Ohio, right? No offense but many of us laboring in the trenches from Toledo to Cleveland and points south don’t see it. Our incomes have either stayed the same over the past five years or sank with cutbacks and downsizing.”
Plunderbund has covered Kasich’s performance on job creation like no other sources, including the occasionally testy Blade, as he enters his 37th straight month of subpar performance compared to the national average. “The job creation you take credit for in Ohio hasn’t paid off in a bonanza of livable wages,” she notes.
Among her other gripes Camp Kasich will dismiss out of hand are souring paychecks, renting instead of owning, increased reliance on food banks, more Ohioans, especially children, living in poverty, troubled education funding due to corrupt charter schools sucking up billions from traditional public schools that produce failing students. Ms. Johanek didn’t mention Plunderbund by name, but she did bother to mention the scandal over charter school data scrubbing that Plunderbund brought to light. “Surely your campaign felt the sting of disgrace in a charter industry you consider a crowning achievement,” she asked. Camp Kasich loves to operate in the shadows, keeping secrets until they are revealed by news sources like Plunderbund.
Last but not least on her crib sheet of complaints about Mr. Kasich and his administration, Ms. Johanek asks another jackpot question: “What’s with the full-on Republican campaign to get rid of affordable healthcare for women? We know the GOP is laying the groundwork for defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio next month.” Gov. Kasich never raises the issue of women’s health and their constitutional right to access abortion, for good reason, since he’s signed into law a slew of un-debated, harsh measures that represent an obstacle course to health care that would be unthinkable if the same thinking were applied to access to guns. She takes him on defunding Planned Parenthood. Gov. Kasich has gone on record saying he believes the group was selling baby parts.