An old-timey town crier

It should come as no surprise Ohio Gov. John Kasich is still looking to scratch his presidential itch, what with his book tour and his ongoing challenges to the politics of President Donald Trump.

The New York Times is reporting that Kasich may be one of several GOP primary challengers to the sitting president.

From Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns at the NYT:

Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse have already been to Iowa this year, Gov. John Kasich is eyeing a return visit to New Hampshire, and Mike Pence’s schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago. …

The Ohio governor, who ran unsuccessfully in 2016, has declined to rule out a 2020 campaign in multiple television interviews, and has indicated to associates that he may run again, even if Mr. Trump seeks another term.

Mr. Kasich, who was a sharp critic of the Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act with deep Medicaid cuts, intends to step up his advocacy by convening a series of policy forums, in Ohio and around the country.

“He’ll continue to speak out and lead on health care and on national security issues, trade policy, economic expansion and poverty,” John Weaver, a political adviser of Mr. Kasich’s, said.

Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer went on to confirm that Kasich will hold some health policy forums:

Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf confirmed to cleveland.com that the governor will convene health care policy forums. As for Kasich’s presidential plans, Schrimpf stated he could only point a reporter to the governor’s “public comments” — Kasich has said it’s “very unlikely” he’ll run for public office again, though he won’t rule it out.

If Trump manages to still be president in 2020, Democrats should be happy to see him face primary challenges in light of history showing this does not bode well for the incumbent (Ford/Reagan ’76, Carter/Kennedy ’80).

Kasich will continue to play himself up as some sort of moderate. Those of us in Ohio who have suffered Kasich’s cuts to education, his war against labor, his attacks on the privacy rights of women, his budgets destroying anti-poverty programs and local government to give windfall tax breaks to rich people, will have our work cut out to remind the nation who Kasich really is when he gets power.

‘Ello Gov’na

Speaking of gubernatorial-related topics, it looks like Democrats will have their work cut out in the 2018 Ohio Governor’s Pageant, seeing as how the Republicans have apparently started off with a large fundraising advantage.

From Howard Wilkinson at WVXU:

Right now, there are four declared candidates on the GOP side – Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. And there are, at the moment anyway, four Democrats – former state representative Connie Pillich of Hamilton County, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former U.S. Representative Betty Sutton and former Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni.

Campaign finance reports show that, as of July 31, the four Republicans had a total of nearly $13.8 million in the bank.

The Democrats, on the other hand, had $1,570,119 in the bank.

At this early stage in the game, Democrats would do well to help inspire the Republican candidates to bloody and muddy each other up as much as possible, and spend as much money as possible doing so.

Portmandia

And speaking of politicians who should have some serious stains on them in perpetuity, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman has been the subject of some shaming efforts in the Buckeye State.

From The Athens NEWS:

Activists last week completed a statewide “Week of Action,” which in part involved the hanging of signs “shaming” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, some of which were put up in Athens and Nelsonville.

According to a release from the local Ohio Congressional District 15 chapter of a loosely organized grassroots activist group called Indivisible Ohio, the week of “shame” capped off with the posting of signs in public with messages such as “Shame on Portman, He Voted to Rob Our Healthcare!”

“Resistance groups across the state are deeply upset with Sen. Rob Portman, who went against his word and betrayed Ohioans by voting to take away health insurance and raise the premiums of millions of people,” the group’s release reads.

Portman and 48 other Republican senators voted in favor of a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act in late July; just three Republican and all 48 Democratic senators voted against the measure, essentially dooming that particular piece of legislation and for the time being, any practical GOP effort to repeal and/or replace the ACA.

Ohio voters should never forget, and Rob Portman should never be allowed to forget, that he tried to rip away health care from 24 million Americans to give hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Say it early, say it often, and say it for the next five years: Shame on you, Rob Portman. Shame.

Egads, ECOT

Praise be, the Columbus Dispatch has come out swinging against online charter school swindle ECOT in an editorial this past weekend. It’s nice to see the mainstream media going in after ECOT considering how ECOT appears to be bankrolling its own propaganda machine in the form of the dubious Third Rail Politics blog.

The Dispatch has put their dogs on ECOT and its founder Bill Lager, and let’s just say, them dogs hunt.

From the Dispatch:

On Sunday, The Dispatch traced the story of how Bill Lager, a bankrupt office-supplier, cooked up the lucrative operation that became the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. He’d literally sketched out the business plan on the back of napkins at a Waffle House — where he was filching free cups of coffee, having photocopied a discount card.

From 2001 to 2016, ECOT reaped more than $1 billion from Ohio taxpayers. Of that, it paid associated Lager-owned companies more than $170 million. Today, he owns luxury homes in Ohio and Key West, Florida, all presumably equipped with decent coffee machines. …

A Waffle House waitress who later worked for Lager for 16 years, Chandra Filichia, remembers him saying, “It’s not about the (expletive) kids, Chandra; it’ s about the money.” …

ECOT got hammered again on Tuesday, when a letter was released from state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria agreeing with state Auditor Dave Yost to cut more of ECOT’s funding, holding back $12.4 million for services ECOT says are being provided this year. That’s because ECOT is still billing the state for high enrollments — despite its own admissions to a court and at board meetings that it has lost a significant number of students.

The deductions come on top $60 million that the state is subtracting from its payments to ECOT over the next two years, for failing to verify about 60 percent of its enrollment for which it was paid in the audited 2015-16 school year.

Another kick in the teeth came on Thursday, when it was reported the Ohio Republican Party is returning $76,000 in campaign donations from Lager and a top associate.

Food For Thought

Hey progressives, Democrats, liberals, whatever you like to call yourself, we’ve got some serious challenges we are all facing. The reactionaries are still on the march, to all of our detriment. Esquire’s Charlie Pierce has some thoughts about what opportunities await us if we play the current opportunities correctly. But if we get all jammed up with infighting, those opportunities may quickly dwindle.

Here’s Pierce’s column, which merits some real consideration:

I swear to god, if you invited 20 Democratic and/or liberal partisans to a four-star, five-course meal at the finest restaurant in all Provence, at least eight of them would get up, cross the room, and start fighting over who gets to eat out of the dog’s bowl. Presented with a legitimate national crisis in the White House, and presented with the golden political opportunity that said crisis is almost entirely the fault of the Republican Party, which has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of handling it, the Democratic Party has a chance to realign the electoral map over (at least) the next four years. All that’s required is shrewdness, patience, and the ability to resist cannibalizing themselves long enough to watch the dry rot collapse the other side entirely.

Fat fcking chance.

Read the whole thing to see where he takes it from there. We should really be giving some thought as to how we can come together to face the reactionaries together and then figure out what’s to be done among ourselves. And as Pierce points out, this is critical in our various states, during the mid-term elections. Remember, the 2018 election is likely to determine Ohio’s trajectory until 2030.

 

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