Politics & Policy

Ted Strickland Takes a Page from the Alan Grayson playbook

Ted Strickland is out with a new ad allegedly showing John Kasich talking about how he’ll give a secret panel of Wall Street CEOs power over Ohio’s economic development program, with secret bonuses that can go up as high as necessary, and zero accountability.

The problem? Not one sentence of the ad takes Kasich in context. The full video of the gaggle where Kasich uttered the lines in question shows him making statements which imply precisely the opposite of what the ad wants to say.

In just the first part, you get the quoted line, “We won’t have any pay restrictions. If they deserve a bonus, we’ll give ‘em a bonus. You all are familiar with bonuses.” The ad’s hasty jump cut in the middle implies that this is the entirety of Kasich’s sentence.

However, the statement was made in the context of a wider statement about how Kasich planned to use merit pay to make sure the employees of his quasi-privatized Department Development were held to account the same way private employees are. At about 1:02 in the first part of the gaggle, Kasich says the following:

“You know, the financial environment is different today, and a people are waking up to the fact that purpose is almost as important as pay. And we won’t have any pay restrictions there. We’re going to pay them on the basis of how they produce. If they deserve a bonus, we’ll give ‘em a bonus. You all are familiar with bonuses. So anyway, it’s going to be professionalized.”

Clearly, the implication is utterly different from the unaccountable jump-cut narrative implied by the ad.

And that’s not even the start of how many things the ad gets wrong. For one thing, it says that Ohioans’ tax dollars would be going to pay the employees of Kasich’s new Development Department. However, Kasich more or less denies this, saying that while he may have appropriations involved, the majority of the funding would come from private entities. Kasich at 3:01 in the first part of the gaggle:

“And the funding of it, I mean, probably we’ll still have the appropriation, we’ll have to work this out. I still think there’ll be some government appropriation, but we intend to approach private businesses and ask them to fund this. They’ve traditionally been involved in funding real economic development and the people I’ve talked I’m confident will be able to raise the money that we need and run this like a business.”

The ad also repeatedly hammers the supposed fact that Wall Street CEOs will be running the new department. However, at a mere 36 seconds in Kasich says exactly the opposite, talking about how he hopes to hire people back from the old department who did a good job:

“I’m sure there are people in that department who are smart and hard working, we’re not gonna shut ‘em out.”

And then at 5:13, Kasich explicitly denies any buddy-buddy, old-boys-club style hiring:

“Look, the big part of this is going to be taking professionalism across the board. We’re not gonna hire a bunch of rumdums, we’re not gonna hire political friends or contributors or any of that other crap that’s been going on in this state. We’re not gonna put people on the board of trustees who are a friend of somebody — we’re going to put the best people we can in these positions.”

The one area where Kasich talks about hiring executives is in discussing his plans for the Ohio jobs program “Third Frontier,” but even there it’s not exclusive to CEOs, let alone Wall Street CEOs. Kasich at 7:08 of part 1 of the gaggle:

“No more university professors running Third Frontier. Third Frontier is going to be run by CEOs and entrepreneurs, people who have created jobs.”

The last, and most ridiculous line that the ad takes out of context is Kasich saying “They will not be required to disclose their bonus,” as if that follows from the first discussion of bonuses. In fact, you have to go nearly halfway through the second half of the gaggle, to the last question asked, to get to the discussion of that subject. Here’s Kasich at 3:14 of the second part:

“I mean, if you’re talking about getting some of our great leaders – I mean, if you get a Cheryl Krueger on the board – you know, Cheryl’s not interested in being paid, she’d like to contribute to our state of Ohio. And that’s terrific. I would expect maybe necessary expenses, but it would be the people, the staff in there who would be operating that we need to recruit, find and pay a competitive salary, and then you know, this whole bonus thing. We will not require them to disclose their bonus, but anyway, Joe really, think of it this way, it’s a group of people, and I would think young, but I don’t think young’s all we mean here – a group of people who are excited about pitching in.”

So let’s review. It would be not Wall Street CEOs, but “young” people, entrepreneurs, competent Department of Development employees and anyone else deemed worthy who would be paid according to merit, rather than getting unaccountable runaway bonuses. These people would be funded not solely with taxpayer money, but with largely private capital investment, and would be selected not due to Wall Street cronyism, but based on professionalism.

Strickland’s ad ends with “We can’t trust John Kasich.” Based on this blatant misrepresentation of the truth, it seems we can’t trust Ted Strickland.

Update: The lads at Plunderbund, Ohio’s version of the Daily Kos, apparently have a problem with this article. Specifically, based on their rebuttal, they think quoting John Kasich talking about Cheryl Krueger, one of his donors, is an example of cronyism because she’s a donor. They also seem to think that because I don’t come right out and say Kasich’s quotes aren’t real, I’m confirming the ad. They clearly didn’t pay attention to all the captions in the ad that tell us what Ted Strickland wants us to think, which are utterly false. Here’s the Tweet:

@SLCarbo @Ted_Strickland @djtablesauce NRO claims Kasich never said he’d hire cronies, then quotes him talking about hiring donor… #FAIL.

Let’s review, starting with Cheryl Krueger. Cheryl Krueger, besides being a donor to John Kasich and the Director of huge Ohio diner chain Bob Evans, also has the following items on her resume according to Forbes:

Chief Executive Officer of Krueger + Co., LLC, a strategic business consulting firm, New Albany, Ohio, since 2009; President and Chief Executive Officer of Cheryl & Co., Inc., a manufacturer and retailer of gourmet foods and gifts, Columbus, Ohio from 1986 to 2009. Ms. Krueger was nominated to serve as a director because of her extensive knowledge and significant experience in the areas of marketing and branding, retail sales, business operations, on-line marketing and sales, manufacturing, as well as auditing and finance. Ms. Krueger?s entrepreneurial spirit and experience in starting and building Cheryl & Co. into a significant and well known brand, as well as her long tenure as its chief executive officer and the knowledge and expertise of running such an operation, were also attractive attributes and considered valuable to us. Ms. Krueger also brings gender diversity to the Board.

Yeah, I’m sure the only reason Krueger was mentioned by Kasich (as someone who would work without pay, by the way, which makes her the most philanthropic crony on the face of the planet) is because she’s a donor. Besides, it’s not like she’d be hired and put on a payroll – as already mentioned, she’s offered to donate her time. This is one of those areas where liberals need to learn basic logic – correlation doesn’t equal causality. I’m sure I could claim that because Tim Geithner knew the CEO of Lehman Brothers and was mentioned by said CEO as someone he consulted with on his business practices, he clearly helped the guy cover up all his accounting fraud and intentionally looked the other way based on a good old boys’ network, which means that Geithner is directly responsible for the collapse of Lehman.

But I don’t. You know why? Because I can’t. prove. it. The facts correlate, but that doesn’t mean that one was the byproduct of the other. Plunderbund can’t prove anything in re Krueger either – they’re just playing to anti-business paranoia. The rest of their “rebuttal” doesn’t bear mentioning, because it’s almost all unsubstantiated assertions. They also misquote me – I didn’t say Kasich wouldn’t get any money for his project from the state – just that he’d get most of it from private businesses. The quote I gave indicates that. If Plunderbund objects to the state funding private businesses with overhead costs, I invite them to condemn the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, as well as the protectionism Strickland has advocated for with regard to Newpage, and every subsidy the Democratic Party has argued for. If not, then I humbly submit that they are tilting at windmills.

And the final misquotation, which I find to be utterly hilarious is this: “Holt claims that Kasich never explicitly said he’d get Wall Street CEOs.  He’s partially right, but it’s misleading of Holt to say that Kasich did not talk about bringing out of State CEOs to run this…Kasich’s most likely source would be people he met in NYC while he ‘worked on Wall Street.’”

Where to start – how about with the part where I explicitly said Kasich mentioned CEOs about five minutes into the gaggle? Or how about the part where the ad they’re defending claims (or at least heavily implies) that it’s only CEOs who will get hired? Or how about the fact that the clip they use to prove he’s going to bring in “out of state CEOs” from “Wall Street” doesn’t mention CEOs or Wall Street? It just says “people from out of state?” Or how about the fact that Kasich said he envisioned bringing in young people to staff this department? Or how about the fact that Kasich said he wanted former Department Development officials and entrepreneurs as well as CEOs…you know what, I’m not bothering. Plunderbund can feel free to take as many disjointed quotes from this article out of context as they want. Judging by Strickland’s ad, they’re in good company. Ping away, lads, we’ll let the voters decide.

…Oh, and by the way, the reason I didn’t contest the stupid jab about outsourcing at the beginning? Because Politifact did it for me. It’s nonsense. Talk about something true.

Update II: I hate to keep doing this, but it’s just too easy. Plunderbund is now claiming the essential claim of the ad is true:

plunderbund‎: @ohiocapitalblog They’re claiming calling them secret bonuses with taxpayer dollars is taking it out of context… It’s not.

Actually, it’s more that you can’t prove it and it’s lying to say that you can. I can’t believe I have to lecture these people about basic standards of proof and economics, but I guess when you spell “privatization” as “privitization,” something’s seriously wrong. All they can prove is that taxpayer dollars would fund the department of development. Those dollars would get mixed in with a huge pool of money from private investors, and there’s no way of knowing if any of it goes to the bonuses, or just to overhead (as they originally said it would, by the way). If they’ve got smoking gun proof of Kasich saying “mwuahahahahahaha I’m going to spend only taxpayer money on the bonuses because I like pretending to be Ragnar Danneskjold,” I’m happy to see it, but until then, I’m going to quote Alan Grayson in context and say “STFU.”


The Latest