An old-timey town crier

The ineffectual egomaniac in the Oval Office shall be visiting the Buckeye State tomorrow for an inexplicable campaign rally in Youngstown.

The administration of President Donald Trump is in chaos. The president is tweeting strange threats at strange hours of the morning. He is openly hostile to his own attorney general. His secretary of state is reportedly considering resignation. He’s been unable to get the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to pass any major legislation.

Basically, he is what we thought he was: Wildly incompetent and unfit for the office. Of course, his utter incompetence is to our advantage for the time being; the less he accomplishes the less people he hurts.

Nevertheless, heavy weighs the coiffure, and President Trump will visit the Covelli Centre at 229 E. Front Street in Youngstown to soothe his feel-goods. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m.

David Skolnick at The Vindicator has some historical perspective and more details:

Even though Barack Obama did it in 2009 and Donald Trump will do it Tuesday, visits by sitting presidents to the Mahoning Valley in odd-numbered years – particularly after less than a year in office – are rare.

“They’re very unusual,” said Bill Binning, retired Youngstown State University political science department chairman and former Mahoning County Republican Party chairman. “It’s not campaign time. It’s not even a year after the election. To me, that’s unique.”

Bill Lawson, Mahoning Valley Historical Society executive director, said: “Any presidential visit is historic, but this one is extraordinary because President Trump is only six months into his term.” …

The Mahoning County Democratic Party and other local Democratic and progressive groups will have a counter-rally from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday on Central Square to protest Trump’s efforts to change the nation’s health-care system and to call on the president to create jobs.

The Ohio Democratic Party will also hold a news conference tomorrow morning, and are holding a press call this afternoon from U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Rebecca Vallas, managing director of CAP Action’s Poverty to Prosperity program. Ryan and Vallas will reportedly discuss Trump’s broken promises, which begs the question of how many hours this conference call might last. We kid. But seriously.

A release from the ODP previewed the call:

Six months in, Trump has failed to deliver on jobs, infrastructure, and stemming the opioid epidemic. His proposed budget would hurt manufacturing in Ohio and renege on his promise not to cut Social Security. Additionally, the House Republican health care plan drastically cuts resources for treating the opioid epidemic and could result in a more than $1 billion funding gap in Ohio alone.

Meanwhile, Thomas Suddes had this little nugget in his column this weekend:

It’s unlikely Trump will mention Tuesday that 20,292 Mahoning County residents had health care coverage (as of the end of May, according to state data), thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion option. That’s the Medicaid expansion that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want to kill.

We’d note that Trump also wants to kill it. He doesn’t know what it is. He doesn’t know how it makes people’s lives better. He doesn’t actually know anything about any policy, as far as we can tell. And he certainly doesn’t seem to care about any details (like 22 million to 24 million people losing health insurance). He just wants to kill it, because to him, no matter the broken promises, that’s “winning.”

Portman Still Backs Mandel After Mandel’s Latest Slimery

I’m not huge on ad hominem but does there exist a politician in Ohio as quintessentially slimy as Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel? I mean, I’d bestow upon him the sobriquet Slimer except it would seem to insult the charming entity of the same name in the Ghostbusters movies. I can’t do Slimer the dirty like that, linking him up with the likes of Mandel.

But I digress, point is, Mandel’s at it again, most recently launching a Twitter defense of Mike Cernovich against the Anti-Defamation League. Cernovich was described by the ADL as part of the “Alt Lite,” which is a term for right-wing white nationalists whose PR instincts prevent them from explicitly and openly employing white supremacist argot.

Mandel likes to try on different hats depending on the political weather, and his latest favorite is his MAGA cap, so none of this is surprising, sadly. Would it surprise you to learn that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman isn’t backing off his endorsement of Mandel against U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown next year? Again sadly, probably not. But he isn’t.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Despite the controversy, Portman will stand behind his endorsement of Mandel, Portman’s communication director, Kevin Smith, said in an email. But that doesn’t mean that Ohio’s junior senator was pleased with Mandel’s tweet.

“Rob has said many times that bigotry, hate, and anti-Semitism have no place in our society, but beyond that, we’re not going to comment,” Smith said.

Rob can say that as many times as he likes, but it’s an unassailable fact that time and time again he can be found standing arm-in-arm with those who espouse bigotry and hate, and we all remember what they say about actions versus words.

Come On Down To Brown Town

Speaking of Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown made some national news today about how gosh-darn popular his is with us regular Midwestern folk and what that might mean for 2020.

From the Washington Post:

In an alternate universe where Hillary Clinton picked Sherrod Brown as her vice-presidential candidate, which she almost did, the Democratic ticket could have won Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the White House.

At least that’s what Brown thinks.

“I mean, if I had gone to Wisconsin and Michigan a lot, anything would have changed those two states,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “My wife (Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz) thinks we would have won. She thinks we would have won Ohio.”

But instead of settling in to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Brown finds himself up for reelection in a state redder than the president’s face during an anti-CNN tweetstorm. His party, desperate to figure out a way to win back Rust Belt voters, will be scrutinizing this race like a laboratory experiment. If Brown pulls it off — well, perhaps they aren’t as doomed as some think.

Legislature Forced To Review $9B In Tax Breaks Ohio Doles Out Yearly

We’re just going to put this over here for your perusal.

From the Associated Press:

State legislative leaders acted under pressure recently to launch a panel of their own making that’s supposed to investigate the $9 billion-plus in tax credits, deductions and exemptions Ohio doles out each year. …

Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal think tank in Cleveland, brought their oversight to light. The group’s research director issued a release Monday spotlighting the delay.

“It’s past time for the General Assembly to get serious about limiting or eliminating unneeded tax breaks,” said Zach Schiller, the group’s research director. “A first step is for legislative leaders to name members to the committee and for it to start work.”

Schiller’s announcement was followed up by media inquiries into the matter, the newspaper reported, and soon thereafter the appointments were made.

The committee was created under legislation approved unanimously in December. Its charge is to review state tax expenditures to determine, at least once every eight years, whether they are meeting policy objectives and how they affect economic development. The committee now has 11 months to produce its first report.

We can’t wait to see what type of magical numbers this committee comes up with to attempt to justify their continuation of failed “trickle down” fire-hose-up economics.


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