Politics & Policy

Strickland Slams Kasich as Wall Street Insider, Grasps for More Stimulus Money

Intemperate claims regarding one’s opponent are par for the course in high-profile races, but usually they have to walk a fine line between effectively intemperate and downright ridiculous. Strickland seems to be treading the wrong side of that line, given a recent headline in the Dayton Daily News: “Strickland pins blame for recession on Kasich in Dayton visit.”

The story elaborates:

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, on the stump for a second term, visited one of the most economically devastated areas of the city Friday, Aug. 6, to hammer at his opponent, former U.S. Rep. John Kasich, for what he contends was Kasich’s role in that devastation.

Strickland spoke to more than 60 people at the United Auto Workers Local 696 union hall, a stone’s throw from the area where a Delphi plant once stood off Wisconsin Boulevard, west of the University of Dayton Arena. […]

“This recession occurred because of Wall Street,” Strickland said. “I didn’t cause it.” […]

Strickland sought to pin Kasich to Wall Street, asking what Kasich did to earn a $400,000 bonus in 2008 for his work as a managing director for investment firm Lehman Brothers. The firm went bankrupt in September 2008, triggering the financial crisis that Strickland argues led to the recession.

“John Kasich was a Wall Street congressman long before he went to Wall Street,” Strickland said.

The governor also raised the specter of trade agreements, which he said moved jobs out of Ohio and the United States.

“When we were in Congress, we voted on NAFTA,” Strickland said. “I voted ‘no.’ He voted ‘ yes.’ ”

So John Kasich worked for Lehman Brothers and is a Republican. Check. Let’s ignore the fact that he wasn’t part of the leadership and that he took home a lot less in compensation than anyone even near the top of Lehman. Evidently just being associated with a firm makes you morally culpable for something that was a systemic failure of multiple firms, including Lehman–and if we count it as a “firm”–the state government led by Strickland.

But that’s not the only ridiculous thing that Strickland is doing to cater to his union base. Consider his recent attempts to bring rail workers on board via an allegiance with Transportation Secretary (and nominal Republican) Ray LaHood:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday downplayed threats by Ohio Republicans to stop a high-profile passenger rail project if they take over state government in the November election.

LaHood said the $400 million stimulus project to connect Ohio’s major cities is an important part of a national rail program, similar to the development of the federal highway system, which took five decades to complete and survived numerous elections.

“The reason that Ohio is connected to an interstate system that runs all over America … is because it was a national plan. Ohio will be connected (to rail),” LaHood said following a meeting with construction workers to talk about the impact of the federal stimulus package.[…]

Without directly commenting on what he would do if Kasich is elected, LaHood said elections come and go and that he expected to see Ohio included in the national rail network as it is built over 25 years.[…]

Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who is in a tough re-election fight, has billed Ohio’s project as something that can create hundreds of construction jobs, spark new economic development in cities with train stations and set the stage for a faster service that would eventually connect to regional hubs in Chicago and the East Coast.

And all this for the low, low price of $400 million! But quick, call now and your trains will run as fast as 39 miles per hour!

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