Politics & Policy

Ohio Weekend Roundup

Gubernatorial Race

  • Joe Hallett at the Columbus Dispatch is very, very upset that Ted Strickland can’t seem to pull out of his own rut:

Like a canary in a cage, Strickland is trapped in an environment not of his making, seemingly with no way out beyond the hand of providence. The recession has put Ohio voters in a punishing mood. Strickland is their whipping boy. Kasich only has to say, “I was not governor when Ohio lost 382,000 more jobs.”

  • Meanwhile, the Canton Rep thinks that issues of substance are anathema to the candidates.

  • None of this seems to be bothering organized labor, who are pumping money into the Ohio Democrats:

If Gov. Ted Strickland and his fellow Democrats hope to close the so-called “enthusiasm gap” in this year’s election, they better hope Joe Rugola succeeds.

Rugola, 60, is president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor federation, representing workers from 1,600 local unions.

Organized labor can’t flex its muscles like it once did, mainly because there are far fewer muscles to flex.

  • And Politics Daily begins to wonder if that enthusiasm gap isn’t…well, deserved in Strickland’s case.

Senatorial Race

The Republican candidate, Rob Portman, is a more intriguing proposition. He is a budget expert–was George W. Bush’s OMB director–and a real intellectual (which may be something of a handicap in these witless, anti-”elitist” times). He has lots of ideas, including a one-year payroll tax holiday for people with incomes under $50,000. “I’m not opposed to stimulus,” he told me. “But I would have done it much differently from the President and at about half the size. Our estimates are that my plan would have created 4 to 5 million jobs.” His plan would’ve also included some long-term infrastructure work. “The Democrats in the House used the opportunity to fill out a laundry list of things that shouldn’t have been there–like $2 billion for Head Start, without any reforms to make it work better.” (He’s right, by the way: Head Start is a worthy program than doesn’t work as well as it should; it needs a major rethink.)

Portman is a conservative, no question, but not one of the lunatics–he’s solid, sane and civil. He’s leading in this race and one wonders what impact a sane fiscal conservative, with his credentials, might have on the Republican Senate caucus.

  • But the Portman Campaign isn’t worried. Jessica Towhey, Portman Campaign Press Secretary, tells Battle ‘10:

“Regardless of whichever national Democrat comes to Ohio to try and cover up Lt. Gov. Fisher’s failed record, nothing will change the fact that Ohio has lost nearly 400,000 jobs under his watch with nearly 9 out of every 10 jobs that left the state went to another state. Lt. Gov. Fisher is an enthusiastic cheerleader for Washington’s dangerous tax-and-spend agenda and job-killing policies like the so-called stimulus that hasn’t created the jobs promised, a government take-over of healthcare that has small company owners already anxious about how it will impact their business and a cap-and-trade energy tax that will decimate Ohio’s manufacturers.”

House Races

  • The Washington Post puzzles over how freshman Blue Dogs can find Obama so distasteful as an ally, with some familiar names:

When President Obama took the stage at a campaign-style rally in Cleveland last week, sitting in the front row was Rep. John Boccieri, who drove more than 60 miles to get a presidential shout-out.

Nowhere to be seen was another Democrat from Ohio, Rep. Zack Space, who was dealing with a “personal family matter,” according to his campaign. Not that it was likely to matter — Space skipped an appearance with Obama in nearby Columbus last month, choosing instead to drive around his district, campaigning on his own.

  • The Boston Globe sighs with relief that Congressional Republicans aren’t talking about overturning Obamacare as much as they could be.

Boccieri actually flip-flopped from opposition to the bill in the fall of 2009 to support in the spring of 2010.  Not that it matters.  GOP nominee Jim Renacci will beat Boccieri on 11/2 and down the road in Ohio’s 20th District, sophomore Democratic Congressman Zack Space, who tried to flip-flop the other way to save his skin, is facing defeat at the hands of Bob Gibbs.

All across the country Democrats are running from the Obamacare bill that the president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid forced down the country’s throat and on which we continue to collectively gag.

  • I’m sure the Democrat incumbent he’s up against could probably pick up some endorsements himself, if he ever left his house:

Try to find Rep. Steve Driehaus.

There are no public meet and greets listed on the Ohio freshman’s campaign website — even though he signed a welcome note on his home page claiming it is the place to “find out about upcoming events.”

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