Ohio’s junior U.S. senator in Washington, Rob Portman, has voted once, and might do so again, to cast more than 700,000 Ohioans who depend on Medicaid into healthcare purgatory by backing a bill so incompetent, deceitful, and draconian that it defies real commonsense.

It bears reminding Plunderbund readers that most Buckeye newspapers used the flimsiest of arguments, which have now proven to be false, to endorse Portman in 2016 over Ted Strickland, Ohio’s governor through the worst recession since the Great Depression who put it back on the road to recovery.

Instead of toasting Strickland for saving the state from becoming a true economic basket case, as would have happened if Kasich or Portman had their way and cut income taxes as their chief market-based solution, the former Democratic governor was incessantly roasted for exercising keen management skills at the more dire of times that included large workforce reductions and a final budget smaller than his previous one.

Fools On The Hill

Strickland’s adjustments when the bottom fell out kept Ohio afloat. Period. Republicans like then-Lehman Brothers banker John Kasich and ideological soul mate and alter ego Portman repeatedly lied to Ohio citizens, and to Buckeye newspapers gullible enough to swallow their flimflam rhetoric despite a duty to inform readers with unwavering accuracy. Bogus GOP solutions pushed by Kasich and Portman that went unchallenged would have only made matters worse.

With millions of Ohioans now poor enough to qualify for Medicaid – a litmus test of how poorly Kasich and Portman have performed over the years – a trip down memory lane seems in order after legacy newspapers dumped Strickland last year after roundly endorsing him in 2006 after GOP scandals left voters with no choice but to toss them out.

Electing Strickland to the U.S. Senate, they said, would only lead to more ideological gridlock in Washington, as if Portman had a real record as an independent thinker who regularly bucked his party on long-held but unproven programs and policies. Like lemmings writing their way into the sea of stupidity, most Big Eight print papers praised Portman like Breitbart and Fox News praise the nation’s inveterate liar, misogynist and crypto-white supremacist leader, Donald J. Trump.

The amazing miracle Strickland pulled off while working with a GOP-controlled legislature trying to stymie his commonsense sanity, put Ohio back on the road to recovery. Any chart showing job losses and jobs created during his years in office will clearly show, even to those blinded by Fox News’ rage and the ascendency of the alt-right’s alternative facts, that Ohio took a licking but kept on ticking due to Strickland’s carefully crafted budget choices.

Newspapers apparently forgot, or didn’t want to remember, the inconvenient fact that Portman was budget director for President George W. Bush when 43 ended his two terms with negative job growth and upwards of one-half million net jobs lost. Bush departed from office after two terms, leaving President Barack Obama to figure out how to make the nation whole again after the Great Recession kicked in, kicking states like Ohio in the economic gut.

As anyone who still has half a brain knows, Strickland didn’t create the Great Recession. But Rob Portman’s fingerprints are all over it, a fact Ohio newspapers couldn’t or didn’t want to see and report to their readership.

Editorial Stupidity Supporting Portman On Display

From Portman’s website:

“Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown Newspapers Endorse Portman for Re-election. Akron Beacon Journal and Youngstown Vindicator Previously Endorsed Strickland for Governor and Portman’s Democratic Opponent in 2010

This weekend, three newspapers in Northeast Ohio threw their support behind Rob Portman, two of them having previously endorsed Ted Strickland for governor.

“The Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed Rob pointing to his bipartisan work to protect Lake Erie, his effort to pass a comprehensive heroin recovery bill, and his ability to reach across the aisle on job creation and retention efforts. The Plain Dealer said Rob has the “proven ability, understanding and energy to help Ohio citizens and businesses prosper” and that “on every level, Portman is by far the superior candidate in this race — smart and engaged on the issues that matter to Ohioans, including working people.” Of Strickland the editorial board said, “it’s hard to believe Strickland could make a difference in the Senate.

“The Akron Beacon Journal was the first to break from Strickland this weekend – having endorsed both Strickland and Rob’s Democratic opponent in 2010 – in announcing its endorsement of Rob pointing to his ability to work across the aisle to get things done, his work to find solutions to the heroin and prescription drug epidemic as well as energy efficiency among other issues. The Akron Beacon Journal said Portman stands out as “prepared, diligent, and thoughtful” and that “he has taken the lead in the congressional response to the heroin epidemic, a stance that appeals across party lines.” In contrast, The Akron BeaconJournal said Strickland seems “disengaged and stale.

“Finally, The Youngstown Vindicator – having endorsed Rob’s Democratic opponent in 2010 and Strickland in previous races – also announced its endorsement of Rob highlighting his bipartisan work to protect the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna Township, General Motors’ assembly plant in Lordstown, and specialty steel mills throughout the area. Of Rob the Youngstown Vindicator said that he has “shown a willingness to protect the Mahoning Valley.

“So far, The Cleveland Plain Dealer,Crain’s Cleveland Business, The Cincinnati EnquirerThe Columbus Dispatch, The CourierThe Akron Beacon Journal, and the The Youngstown Vindicator have all endorsed Rob for U.S. Senate. Source: robportman.com.

“Toledo Blade, Nov, 3. Editorial: Rob Portman for Senate. “We want to protect Ohio, not a party or an ideology. One of the points Mr. Portman often makes is that lots of issues are not, by their nature, partisan — they are human issues. Two immense human issues in our time are the opioid addiction problem and human trafficking. Mr. Portman has not only been the champion on these two issues, above all others in Congress, but he has worked on these matters with an attention to detail and a focus most unusual, almost unique, for a senator.

“Another such issue is the quality of federal judges. When a state has one Republican and one Democratic senator, they have to work together on judicial nominees and the result is a more moderate judiciary.

“In short, Mr. Portman is an exceptional legislator, one who has made a difference and one who may yet make a difference on trade and manufacturing. We reserve the right to hold his feet to the fire on those issues. But The Blade endorses Rob Portman for re-election to the U.S. Senate.”

The Dayton Daily News wrote on Oct. 31, 2016 about why it wouldn’t issue endorsements:

“The Dayton Daily News is among a growing number of newspapers that have made the decision not to endorse candidates or issues. There are two major reasons why we are not endorsing: Most readers don’t want us to tell them how to vote. They’ve asked us to dig into the issues and races and provide all the information they need to make their own decision. Some readers don’t trust our news reporting because they see endorsements as an indication of institutional bias. We want to prove to you that our news coverage is as fair and balanced as possible.”

How Do You Like Portman Now?

Less than a year after losing their collective marbles by endorsing Portman after disparaging Strickland when he did so much to keep Ohio’s bacon out of the fire, not one of these newspapers has editorialized for Portman to vote for the moronic bills Washington Republicans are bringing forward, just so they can say they kept their diabolical promise to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature law passed in 2010 without one vote from Republicans, including then-congressman Rob Portman.

These same newspapers didn’t have the spine to sack Portman for his many fatal flaws. He’s voted once already to cast people so poor they can’t afford insurance on their own or who don’t have employers who offer healthcare coverage into limbo. If that’s not pandering and capitulating to a party and a candidate who have lost their way, yet again since 2000, these so-called news sources should stop pretending to honor the qualities and virtues the Fourth Estate is supposed to embody.

Ohio Media At The Crossroads Of Integrity Again In 2018

Except for some minor crossroad issues they have worked on in tandem, Portman and senior brother in Washington, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, are polar opposites on issues too numerous to list here.

Will these newspapers who trashed Strickland also trash Brown when he seeks a third term next year? Will they hammer the gravely voiced senator with perpetually mused hair as an ideologue bound by party doctrine like they did Strickland? Will they try to balance state Treasurer Josh Mandel’s insane Tea Party-Trumpian fueled stances with Brown’s sane ideas on how to move Ohio out of escalating retrograde motion put in place by the wrong-headed political brothers-in-law Kasich and Portman?

Time will tell whether these publications continue to congratulate Portman for not always being a moron, or kick him in his backside when he mouths vague, equivocal, not-leader-like statements that resemble the dance of the seven veils on health care and other issues key to moving Ohio out of the 19th century and back into the 21st century?

What is telling already, however, is that Portman has shown himself to be the opposite candidate all these newspaper who endorsed him last year over Strickland claimed he was. If Ted Strickland was serving in the Senate today, he wouldn’t be selling Ohioans down the river of for-profit health care companies like Rob Portman is doing right now.